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All posts for the month August, 2012

DEFERRED MATURITY

Published August 31, 2012 by Tony

DELAYED  ADULTHOOD

It’s a matter of fact, thanks to scientific and technological innovations today we are living more and better.
But these changes have helped over the years also some genetic mutation, for example just think of the stature, with the new generations taller than their ancestors, or to the reduction of the fertility, because evolutionarily not the same need to reproduce ourselves as in the past.
But looking more closely to the evolution of the species, I have noticed, as many  experts also say, that with the longer expectation of life and from age to age, it also have been acquired  a lengthening of the time necessary for children to become “mature” or adults.
From long in many countries, the eighteen years of age represent the achievement of legal age, the coming of age linked with maturity, and this should suppose an eventual physic and mental maturity.
In the past, before age 18, a teenager was already considered an adult man, as evidently he  already showed a physical and mental adulthood. Once, for a young man twenty years old, it was normal to be married, having children and already with a professional activity, beyond the need to cut definitively the “umbilical cord”, which kept him still tied to the family.
Today, instead, it’s not unusual for men older than 20 years still act and look like teenagers!
I would venture to say that the 18-years-old of sixty years ago can be compared roughly with the 25-years-old of today, about the look or the manhood, at least.
An evolutionary gap of 6-7 years or the price to pay for a greater longevity?

Formal portrait of a 15 year old New York City boy in 1898 Portrait of a 15 year old boy in early 1900
0000271726-030 John Wayne at 30 years, with Marlene Dietrich
Handsome-Zac-Efron at 25 yo Zac Efron at 25 years
472px-Justin_Bieber_at_Easter_Egg_roll_-_crop Justin Bieber, 18 years old
early_years_0009!BoPO-Ug!2k~$(KGrHqMH-EUEuYESHe3RBLmtyp06 Q~~_3 George Clooney in his 20 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very young couple with children in early sixties

MY NEXT LIFE

Published August 30, 2012 by Tony

MY NEXT LIFE


The most unfair thing about life is how it ends.
I mean, after so many sacrifices
what do we get then in the end?
Sicknesses and death!
What the heck this mean?!?
What is death? The prize? Some kind of bonus for having lived?
I think that the life’s cycle should be completely reversed, as the great Woody Allen hopes.

“In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!”
Woody Allen

MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

Published August 29, 2012 by Tony

MEANING OF THE LIFE

Life, our life on this earth can be long or short, happy and wonderful for someone or sad and miserable for others. Whatever happens, for better or for worse, the question in everyone’s mind, all along from the dawn of civilization, is the meaning of life, or what meaning we must or can give to our existence.
Those who have a strong religious belief don’t go beyond, because for them exist for sure something else after the death, also if nobody knows where or what it is, with no certainty. But this hope comforts them without the need for additional questions. Lucky them!
I guess that most of us, mere mortals, have some doubt and sometimes  of existential nature even.
Without sounding pessimistic or nihilistic, someone simply does some logical evaluation.
Referring to a normal person that  – is born, is brought up by parents, marries, has children, gets old and dies –  one wonders why?
What sense gets this endless and similar sequence of things we stubbornly perpetrate without knowing the exact reason?
At least today, we cannot say that it is for populating the earth, because on this planet we are too many and the situation will worsen in the future.
For transmit our genes and ensure the continuation of the species? To love and be loved?
Vain! Towards these justifications someone would answer again with the same question, why, if we all have to die? Any human thing is futile. What’s the point?
On the contrary, if we look at the situation with a cool head, it sounds so masochist even.
Are you asking why?
Because our existence is often filled more with bad and sad events than joys, because beyond the carefree youth (if it is) we spend most of the life to survive, to work hard for our family, to raise and educate children, the same thing that our parents made and our ancestors still before. Our descendants have had a life full of sacrifices to raise our forefathers who, peace to their souls, are now ashes, so for our grandparents and for ourselves today. We are doing this from centuries without ever having understood the usefulness or the sense. If we then add all the other disastrous events that have always beset humans (wars, famine, diseases, poverty, natural disasters, etc.), we can really say, “Yes, the word masochism is just not out of place in this context”.
Anyway, in my opinion the matter is another.
We are not ourselves who can choose to be born, or how and when. And so life becomes as a “natural calamity” in which there is no escape.
Then it is up to each of you todecide if the own existence has been a fortunate event or, conversely, an adversity, aso if willy-nilly we must go on, hoping in the unknown ….. cold consolation, I know. Great-unknown which, as mentioned, becomes faith, and with the feeble faith I have, I would have a question for our Lord who is in the kingdom of heaven, the Creator who has planned everything and knows everything (I hope it!), if he had no other alternative. A question that I’d really like to ask him.

Each concrete rather than philosophical or theological contribution is welcome.

Clooney & Stacy Keibler

Published August 27, 2012 by Tony

Will Clooney sell the villa in Como?

Stop with paparazzi, please”.
The anguished cry comes from the shores of Lake Como and from Villa Oleandra, George Clooney’s home. To yell and bash on is Stacy Keibler, the last girlfriend of the most eligible bachelor in the world. The Junoesque and tall blonde is tired of Italian photographers intrusiveness. 
“They are too suffocating, stressful and boring.  Simply they have to stop
”,  Stacy says.
How to get around this? Simple. Escape from Lake Como or sell the villa.
It’s said that pressed by the girlfriend, George even hired two private investigators to photograph the photographers. The purpose? Demonstrate their intrusion in the privacy of others. After the complaints George hopes that the calm can return sovereign in the villa. On the contrary, the local paparazzi reject the accusations, while Pierpaolo Ferreri (a photographer that for almost 10 years hanged out the villa),
says:
None of us has received a legal notice and none of us has broken the law. Clooney is a public figure and a son of a journalist, we just stay out of the house trying to take some shoot when he comes out. We only are doing our work. Clooney has a good relationship with photographers, and he sometimes even made fun of us: a fortnight ago he has launched a balloon full of water that hit me in full. When he needs to breathe send his secretary to tell us to get away and we do it. Exasperate him means to go against our interests. Elisabetta Canalis was hiding, Stacy Keibler behave as an ordinary person, go around without an escort, smiles at us. Once she even asked me to take her to her car because didn’t remember where had parked it, and she did not seem so irritated“.
Where is the truth?

ANCIENT TRADES

Published August 24, 2012 by Tony

OLD NEAPOLITAN TRADES STILL PRESENT

In 1800 Naples, as in the whole Campania, was a plethora of arts and crafts, imaginative and sometimes very specific, many of them carried out by peddlers who roamed the streets of the city or in the suburbs. Over the years many of these trades are slowly disappeared because obsolete and unproductive, while others even have lingered on till a few years ago. Interesting to know that each pedlar had its characteristic strong “cry” that emitted as he walked through the streets to warn people about its product.
To tell the truth, even today, around the Neapolitan hinterland or in some small countries, where certain traditions are slower to die, we still can find some of these ancient jobs, also if some is seasonal.
In many areas it is not difficult, for example, run into a seller of watermelons (MELLUNARO), mussels (CUZZECARO) or ears of wheat (SPIGAIUOLO).
What follows is a list of old trades that if lucky, you still can have the chance to meet around in the narrow streets of the province of Naples.

Mellunaro

mullonaro  mellunaro
The “mellunaro” is the classic seller of watermelons (called mellune d’acqua), yellow melons (mellune ‘e pane) and green melon (mellune ca’ rezza)  the ones we can store and keep hanging in a grid of straw to consume later during  Christmastime. The melons seller, now as before, in the summer is still present in different countries. Watermelons once also were sold in individual slices, while for those who had to buy a whole watermelon, the seller effected the “test” to show that inside it was a bright red color, synonymous with right ripeness and sweetness. The prove was performed by cutting a piece in the shape of a cone (or triangle) starting from a central end of the fruit until arriving to its central part. The traditional seller’s cry was usually “tenghe ‘e mellune chiene’ ‘e fuoche” (I have watermelons full of fire).

Castagnaro

castagnaro
It’s the seller of roasted chestnuts, who with a cooker, a large pot riddled with small holes and a woolen cloth (to keep the heat of roasted chestnuts), on cold winter evenings enlivened the chilly passers by selling some hot chestnuts wrapped up in a newspaper sheet.  A times, early in the morning, he also sold the so-called Allesse (chestnuts peeled and cooked in water flavored with bay leaves, fennel seeds and salt) and Palluottele (ie chestnuts cooked with the skin).

Ammuola forbece

arrotino
It was the pitchman who repaired knives. He went around with his cart through the urban streets and by a foot pedal drove a grindstone to sharpen blades  of penknives, scissors and knives. Nowadays, it is difficult to find these peddlers around, especially as knives and scissors have become consumer goods sold cheaply, making repair less convenient.


Despite it’s very common to find around peddlers selling fruits and vegetables,  by a three-wheelers vehicle or truck, today someone still goes around to sell only a single product.  Here’s someone of them.

Cepollaro

cepollaro
It’s the seller of onions and garlic. Once, it was a farmer who dried garlics and onions, harvested in his small farmland, then came to city to sell them. Their main characteristic was to weave dried bulbs and leaves, so as to form long braids which he carried on his shoulders.

Patanare

patanaro
This is the one who sold potatoes stored in a large sack over his shoulder. His traditional cry was usually “Tenghe ‘e Patane p’ ‘e panzarotte“, (I’ve potatoes appropriate for making panzarotti)

Fravularo

fravularo
He was the strawberries seller.
A peddler who, from spring till summer, went around the town selling this fruit. Once,  strawberries were collected in the countryside or in the suburbs (especially in Afragola, where it says strawberry culture was already active in around the fourth or third century BC).


Today, these specific sellers go around for the streets driving a three-wheelers vehicle and often aren’t farmers.

Ceuzaro

ceuzaro  ceuze
He was the seller of mulberry fruits, both white and black, known in Naples as “Ceuze” or “cevze”.
He was a peddler who, after collecting the fruits in the countryside, moved into towns and villages of the surrounding area to sell these sweet fruits for the delight of the buyers. Usually, he attracted the crowd with colorful and entertaining cry like “Ceuze annevate“, because, often, mulberries were sold still covered with hoar-frost. Or “tengo ‘o mèle e te pitte ‘e russe ‘o musse, ca ciucculata!” (I’ve the honey which makes red your lips, as sweet as chocolate!).

Cuzzecaro

cuzzecare  cozzecaro
He is the seller of mussels.
There was who sold fresh mussels and the one who sold them cooked. This one usually had a removable stand, equipped with chairs and bench that gave customers the possibility to sit and eat a soup of mussels (boiled mussels) prepared by him. At one time, the mussels were abundant along the beaches of Sorrento, Bay and Cape Misenum. Today, we from time to time can still find along the road a stand of a mussels seller, collected in the area, but because of the restrictive hygiene rules such sale is now prohibited, while the shellfish typically purchased at any fishmonger comes from authorized farming only.

Spicajola

spigaiuolo
This was the person selling spikes of grain.
They are ears of wheat boiled with salt water in a big copper pot that the peddler carries around the streets still hot (on a small support with ball bearing wheels), through the cry of “Doje, doje…. manco ‘o ffuoco me paghe”, (two, two…  you not even pay me the cost of the fire). Someone else instead sells roasted spikes.

Turrunaro

turrunaro
One selling nougat. Today, these vendors still exists thanks to town festivals and village fetes during which they finds space for their own stall to sell candies and all kinds of nougat, white,  with honey or chocolate, with almonds or hazelnuts. In the past, the most appreciated producers of nougat came from Irpinia and Sannio, areas rich in tradition and quality manufacturers.

Zampugnaro


This is the the player of the Italian bagpipes, instrument that, unlike the common bagpipe, is equipped with more reeds sound (chanters), and accompanied by another man playing a shawm. Originally they were shepherds who came from the mountainous regions of Avellino. With the arrival of Christmas (especially during the Novena of the Immaculate Conception), arrived in the city they walked through the streets in traditional costumes, playing traditional Christmas motifs such as “You come down from the stars”.
They played on request in front of any votive shrine in the streets or in front of the crèche in homes of those who invited them to go in and play. Some time ago, they got few coins in exchange, or simply food and drink they put in their saddlebags made of sheepskin. Today, unfortunately, there are very few bagpipers players around, because those few who play bagpipes are no longer the poor shepherds than once.

Another vendor who still roams the streets, especially on Sunday or during holidays, is who is selling various types of seeds.

semmentaro  lupini

I refer to dried and salted pumpkin seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts and lupine seeds soaked in salt water. These seeds are a food for us to enjoy after lunch and as a way to stay more at the table, and for this considered as a trivial “pastime”. The seller of this seeds had various names derived from the kind of seed, unless we say “semmentaro” to indicate in a generic way the seller of different seeds. So we had the “Lupinaro” if refering to the person who sold lupins, or  “nucellaro” to indicate who sold hazelnuts. The typical cry of “semmentaro” was “Spassateve ‘or tiempe!” (Spend time having fun).

Besides, the seller of tripe together other boiled offals is very

trippaiuolo 

common, where people can eat it dressed with salt and lemon juice near the stall.

Lastly, I want mention others two occasional trades we usually meet on the beach during summer holidays, just a temporary work some people do to earn something during summertime. They are the water-ice and the coconut sellers.
They both walk on the beach, and the first sells cool drinks made with grated ice flavoured with a sugary beverage, as orgeat or mint. The second trader, instead, sells cool and small slices of coconut which usually keep in a wicker basket screaming “Cocco bello, cocco fresco” (beautiful coconut, fresh coconut).

water-ice drinks  coccobello