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TANTUM CUM LIBRIS CUM ISTIS USQUE LOQUAR (only with books, only with these I'll speak forever). NE QUID IMMINUAT DAMNOSA DIES (so that the fatal day won’t consume everything).~~~~~~ Sono americana,ma per più di un decennio ho vissuto e lavorato in Italia, in Veneto. I miei antenati e alcuni dei miei parenti arrivano da Brescia e dalla Val Camonica. Adesso vivo in Ohio e lavoro in una biblioteca. Sin dal nostro ritorno in U.S., più di sei anni fa, mi sono impegnata molto nel mantenere il mio italiano - non un'impresa facile,considerando che l'Ohio fu in primis colonizzato da persone di lingua tedesca. Lavorando in biblioteca, cerco sempre di cogliere ogni opportunità per diffondere il mio amore per la cultura e la lingua italiana tra gli americani,che parlano solamente l'inglese,e incoraggiandoli ad imparare una seconda lingua - l'italiano ovviamente!~~~~~~ I am an American from the United States, but for more than a decade I lived and worked in the country of Italy in the Veneto region. I have relatives who are Italian and they live in the city of Brescia and in the Val Camonica. Now I live here in the state of Ohio and I am working in a public library.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Wine is Sunlight ~ Bottle Shock Movie Review

Il vino è la luce del sole tenuta insieme dall'acqua ...
Wine is sunlight, held together by water.

~ Galileo Galilei.

There are certain moments in history when America has proven itself to the world: Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon; or the US Men’s Hockey team beating the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics. One such moment, however, never got the recognition it deserved. In 1976, a small American winery bested the exalted French wines of the time and sent the wine industry into a tizzy - putting California wines on the map for good. Based on a true story, Bottle Shock chronicles the events leading up to the famous tastings, told through the lives of father and son, Jim and Bo Barrett. A former real estate attorney, Barrett sacrificed everything to realize his dream of creating the perfect hand-crafted chardonnay. Along with his struggling business, he’s trying to overcome differences with his slacker son and fighting off creditors. Meanwhile in Paris, unwitting British wine shop owner, Steven Spurrier, hopes to revive his own failing business by sponsoring a competition which will pit the traditional French powerhouse against the California upstarts. Little did Steven and Jim realize that they were both on course to change the history of wine forever. Starring Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman (Big Love), Rachael Taylor, and Freddy Rodríguez, the film isn't up to the par of Sideways but it is worth a watch. The soundtrack highlights some of the best of early seventies tunes.

"You mark my words, we'll be drinking wines from South America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, China...this in not the end Maurice, this is just the beginning. Welcome to the future!"
~ Steven Spurrier

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Epifania 2010 ~ The Ballad of the White Horse

The Ballad of the White Horse is one of the last great epic poems in the English language. It deserves a high place in literature. The Ballad is the story of the English King Alfred, who fought the Danes in the year 878. But it is also the story of Christianity battling against the destructive forces of nihilism and heathenism, which is the battle we are still fighting.

At the beginning of the poem, the Blessed Virgin appears to King Alfred, and he asks her if he is going to win the upcoming battle. Her reply is not what he expects:

The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gold,
Men may uproot where worlds begin,
Or read the name of the nameless sin;
But if he fail or if he win
To no good man is told.

The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

The men of the East may search the scrolls,
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.

+ + + + + + +

But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you shall have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

I tell you naught for your comfort
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?

~ G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Though my New Year's Eve celebration did not result in a hangover, I am recovering from a bout of shellfish poisoning, compliments of a lobster tail probably tainted with some preservative chemical. Spent New Year's Eve in the hospital being pumped full of steroids and now I am comfortably recovering at home. Nothing worse for a dyed-in-the-wool Yankee like myself then to face the prospect of no longer enjoying a good crustacean. I never had this problem in the many years of eating seafood in Italy. Alas, this evening I made a large pot of pasta fagioli, which is probably what we should have had on New Year's Eve, as the beans (normally lentils) are a representatation of coins, hence meant to bring good fortune. Listening to 'Planet Money' on NPR today, a commentator remarked that the economic forecasters should substitute 'ish' for the decimal point going forward ~ not very promising.

As for the Hangover, I am listening to the Prairie Home Companion on the radio and the program highlights some of the best of 2009. Included is a poet by the name of Billy Collins, who wrote this poem:


If I were crowned emperor this morning,
every child who is playing Marco Polo
in the swimming pool of this motel,
shouting the name Marco Polo back and forth

Marco Polo Marco Polo

would be required to read a biography
of Marco Polo-a long one with fine print-
as well as a history of China and of Venice,
the birthplace of the venerated explorer

Marco Polo Marco Polo

after which each child would be quizzed
by me then executed by drowning
regardless how much they managed
to retain about the glorious life and times of

Marco Polo Marco Polo

As a librarian, I found the second poem he shared quite fun as well, as it addressed the shooting of a book:


When I came across the high—speed photograph
of a bullet that had just pierced a book —
the pages exploding with the velocity —
I forgot all about the marvels of photography
and began to wonder which book
the photographer had selected for the shot.
Many novels sprang to mind
including those of Raymond Chandler
where an extra bullet would hardly be noticed.
Nonfiction offered too many choices —
a history of Scottish lighthouses,
a biography of Joan of Arc and so forth.
Or it could be an anthology of medieval literature,
the bullet having just beheaded Sir Gawain
and scattered the band of assorted pilgrims.
But later, as I was drifting off to sleep,
I realized that the executed book
was a recent collection of poems written
by someone of whom I was not fond
and that the bullet must have passed through
his writing with little resistance
at twenty—eight hundred feet per second,
through the poems about his childhood
and the ones about the dreary state of the world,
and then through the author's photograph,
through the beard, the round glasses,
and that special poet's hat he loves to wear.

Tried to embed the code for the program, but it did not work, so here is the link. The recitation is at the beginning of Segment 3.

Happy New Year e Felice Anno Nuovo tutti!

My Library Thing