Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Fantastic Day for Mom!!!!

After weeks of us seeing little progress, today was an incredible new day for my mom. My sister was at the hospital, as usual, and mom was awake and aware. The last few days had been a bit heartbreaking for sis, as mom has slept a lot and not necessarily been the nicest person when awake.

But today was a different story. Mom has started to remember. She carried on a full conversation. She said she has lost track of time and asked what day it was. She said she feels she had been stuck in a dark tunnel and that people would come visit her in that tunnel, showing her photos and asking her who the people in the photos were (as my sister and I have done often with her). She said she remembers being confused and not being able to recognize the people in the pictures.

My sister asked her if she knew who she (my sister) is. Mom told her she was the nurse. Then she showed photos of herself (my sister) and asked my mom who the person in the photo was. My mom answered, "That's my daughter."

"What is her name?"

"Her name is Sally." (right)

She then showed a photo of me and asked her who I was. She responded, "That's my son." That was the first time she has done that since falling ill. My sister asked her, "What is his name? Is it Joe?"

"No," she responded. "It's Giuseppe." (That's my name in Italian!)

She also recognized my father, who died when I was two, and her mother, who is also deceased, and others in the photos! At a certain point, my mom told my sister, "How did you come in possession of these photos?" My sister told her that she brought them from home. She then told my sister to please arrange to bring photos of others who are still alive because the only ones in the photos that are still alive are herself and her children!

At another point, she asked my sister to get a piece of paper and then recited from memory my sister's home and cell phone numbers and asked my sister to call my sister and ask her to come visit! My mom said that she can't believe that even though she's been in the hospital for weeks, that my sister hasn't come once to visit. Of course, my sister has been there every day and said so, adding that I had been there every day for the three weeks that I was there.

My mom made it clear to my sister that she was surprised to have come out of the tunnel she was in and that she is very anxious to get back on her feet and get back to a normal life.

I know, I know, this may all be temporary. Tomorrow she may relapse back to how she was. I hope not, of course, I hope she gets better and better! I hope to return very soon as finances permit and see her awake, recognizing me, smiling and kissing me once again.

Thank you for continued good thoughts and prayers!

I am an Italian American

My roots are deep in an ancient soil, drenched by the Mediterranean sun, and watered by pure streams from snow capped mountains.

I am enriched by thousands of years of culture.

My hands are those of the mason, the artist, the man of the soil.

My thoughts have been recounted in the annals of Rome, the poetry of Virgil, the creations of Dante, and the philosophy of Benedetto Croce.

I am an Italian-American, and from my ancient world, I first spanned the seas to the New World. I am Cristoforo Colombo.

I am Giovanne Caboto known in American History as John Cabot, discoverer of the mainland of North America

I am Amerigo Vespucci, who gave my name to the New World, America.

First to sail on the Great Lakes in 1679, founder of the territory that became the State of Illinois, colonizer of Louisiana and Arkansas, I am Enrico Tonti.

I am Filippo Mazzei friend of Thomas Jefferson, and my thesis on the equality of man was written into the Bill of Rights.

I am William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

I am an Italian-American. I financed the Northwest Expedition of George Rogers Clark and accompanied him through the lands that would become Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. I am Colonel Francesco Vigo.

I mapped the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska and to the Philippines, I am Alessandro Malaspina.

I am Giacomo Belinimi, discoverer of the source of the Mississippi River in 1823.

I created the Dome of the United States Capitol. They call me the Michelangelo of America. I am Constantino Brumidi.

In 1904, I founded in San Francisco, the Bank of Italy now known as the Bank of America, the largest financial institution in the world, I am A.P. Giannini.

I am Enrico Fermi, father of nuclear science in America.

I am Steve Geppi, founder of Diamond Comics, the largest distributorship of comics on the planet.

I am the first enlisted man to earn the Medal of Honor in World War II, I am John Basilone of New Jersey.

I am an Italian-American. I am the million strong who served in America 's armies and the tens of thousands whose names are enshrined in military cemeteries from Guadalcanal to the Rhine.

I am the steel maker in Pittsburgh, the grower in the Imperial Valley of California, the textile designer in Manhattan, the movie maker in Hollywood, the homemaker and the breadwinner in over 10,000 communities.

I am an American without stint or reservation, loving this land as only one who understands history, its agonies and its triumphs can love and serve it.

I will not be told that my contribution is any less nor my role not as worthy as that of any other American.

I will stand in support of this nation's freedom and protect against all foes.

My heritage has dedicated me to this nation.

I am proud of my heritage, and I shall remain worthy of it.

I am an Italian-American.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beautiful Washington, D.C.

I live near one of the most beautiful cities in the world. When I was 17 and graduated from the American High School of Milan, Italy, I took a month to travel around the United States before I started college. The first city I visited was Washington and I fell in love with the city. It reminds me of European capitals, no wonder because Pierre L'Enfant, who had designed much of Paris a couple of centuries ago, also designed much of Washington.

After the Thai Festival, I decided to do a little sightseeing. It was a beautiful day. I'm going to try to get back this coming weekend and spend the whole day being a tourist!

More photos can be seen by clicking here.

Washington, D.C. Thai Festival

Yesterday was the Thai Festival at Union Station in Washington, D.C. The train station is beautiful and is always worth visiting. The Thai Festival was an added bonus!

For more photos, click here.

Don't forget to play the video at the end of this blog entry!

Olympics Standings...It's a Matter of Perspective

Interesting...if you look at the standings on the site, you'll see that USA is #1 in the standings, with 110 total medals, though only 36 of them gold. If you look at the standings on, the site that China maintains, China is #1 in the standings with 51 total gold medals, though only 100 total. Hey, it's all a matter of perspective!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Good Judgement or Judgment?

I spoke at a conference this week (it went really well!). There was an exhibit hall as usual and in it an exhibit with the banner above. I looked at it for a moment and spoke with the person manning the booth. After a few minutes of talking, I asked him if he knew that the word judgment was misspelled on his banner (and in their website URL). He expressed surprise and was incredulous. I then said he could check in Microsoft Word. He typed in the word, checked spelling, and sure enough it indicated the word was misspelled and should be spelled judgment. His shock was something to see! Apparently I was the first person to notice this after all the time they had been in business. He then said that the person who had come up with the phrase and name of the company was Dutch. "Ah," I said, "Maybe it's the British spelling!" I suggested he switch to the British dictionary. He did, and the word was accepted! I told him then that although his company is American, he had an out: "Well, we believe in using the Queen's English!"

By the way, this word has always bothered me because I used to misspell it as well. Judgement just looks more correct than judgment to me. However, I don't make the rules!

Bad English...Really Bad! Take the Challenge!

I came home to find a message on my answering machine, part of which I've recorded and you can hear in the video above. So here is my question to all of you...what errors can you hear in the video above? Type your comments below and let's see who gets it right first!

Oh, one more thing. The message on my answering machine was prerecorded, not live. So what excuse is there for bad English when the message was supposedly scripted and recorded?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Italian Ferragosto Party!

This past Sunday we celebrated Ferragosto, an Italian holiday that is normally celebrated on August 15th. A description of the holiday, stolen from Wikipedia, is at the bottom of my post.

The day was very beautiful and a lot of us local Italians and lovers of Italian met at Great Falls Park. The park is wonderful, the Potomac river winding past it, with big rocks and falls cascading over them. I have photos and such from last year's party. See them by clicking here.

It was a real fun time for all of us. We mostly spoke Italian, with some English. Thanks to all who came out! I can't wait until next year's!


Ferragosto is an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15. Originally, it was related to a celebration of the middle of the summer and the end of the hard labour in the fields. In time, the Roman Catholicism adopted this date as a Holy Day of Obligation to commemorate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the real physical elevation of her sinless soul and incorrupt body into Heaven.

Before the Roman Catholic Church came into existence, however, this holiday was celebrated in the Roman Empire to honor the gods—in particular Diana—and the cycle of fertility and ripening. In fact, the present Italian name of the holiday derives from its original Latin name, Feriae Augusti (Fairs of the Emperor Augustus) [1].

Almost the entire month of August was taken as holiday and leisure time in Italy in honor of this feast day.

In present days, Ferragosto is mainly a short holiday where Italian people have short vacations.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Poem From When I Was A Kid

A poem I've never forgotten. It holds a lot of truth:

Isn't man a fool?
When it's hot, he wants it cool.
When it's cold, he wants it hot.
Always wanting what is not.
Never happy with what he's got.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oh, David!

After a two year visit to the United States, Michelangelo's David is returning to Italy.....

His Proud Sponsors were:

A Memento From the Past

My sister looked in my mother's bedroom recently to find personal items she could bring to my mom in the hospital to help her feel comfortable and perhaps jog her memory. In her search, she found this card, which we had not seen before. It's a card from my father to my mother on her name day. We don't know what year it was, but as he died in 1962 when I was 2 years old, it was probably in 1960 or 1961. It's very special to us, written in his handwriting. At a time like this, it's even more special to us.

The Kittens Are Growing Fast

My sister sent me this photo. As you can see, the kittens are growing quickly. Oh, no, that means soon they'll be CATS!

Strange Goings On

We had dinner in Reston at Lake Anne which has an open plaza. This evening, a company of young players put on an act while an audience sat and watched. They ran around and threw water at each other in various ways. Check out the video for a sense of what this was like. We stood and watched for a while, trying to figure out the point, but as we had missed the beginning, we just couldn't do it!

Asian Festival in Reston

Last weekend in Reston was the Asian Festival. It was much bigger than I expected and many Asian countries were represented! Here in the first pic were two Indian girls and their mom. The girls had performed on stage before I got there. Believe it or not, I wasn't the only one to ask to take their picture. Aren't they beautiful?

I decided to adopt them! I'm their new daddy!

The stick game is always fun. Try not to get whacked on the ankles!

My friend Irene and her son Arthur showed up after a while. Irene has been to many Asian countries on business so I'm sure this didn't seem all that exciting to her, though she seemed to have a good time.