Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The St. Nicholas Tradition

Video description from YouTube user zzzuucx:

The origin of the Saint Nicholas tradition - from "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly" on PBS. Nicholas is the patron saint of children (hence the holiday), sailors, fishermen, merchants, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, pharmacists, archers, and notably pawnbrokers. The three gold balls that represent the pawn industry come directly from the St. Nicholas legend. To pay for the dowry of three young women, St. Nicholas threw three bags of gold through the window of the parents' home - one of which landed in a shoe drying by the fireplace. The three balls represent the three bags of gold. This is also the origin of the tradition of chocolate coins in the Christmas stocking.


For the pagan/mythological (Germanic & Roman) aspect of the tradition of Santa Claus, see 'How Odin became Santa Claus'


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Frank Sinatra - The Christmas Song

Frank Sinatra was of half-Cisalpine ancestry.. Genoese. Actually, I saw him perform once; at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California (about 30 miles south of San Francisco), it's not there anymore. That was in the mid-90s. My father had watched him perform in San Francisco several decades earlier. Thinking back, it would have almost seemed appropriate to acknowledge his Genoese ancestry since the San Francisco/San Jose area had been so heavily influenced by people from Liguria... going back well over a century. However, he was such a universal icon. The surname "Sinatra" is of Sicilian origin. In terms of talent and personality, for better or worse, I don't think there was an entertainer who was quite like him.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Raven witch and the Autumnal equinox

I missed this seasonally, but this video just sort've came together for me. However, we are still in the Fall. To change the subject, I suppose that I'm not the only one who has fallen in love with certain software programs which slowly become obsolete... and the newer versions of Windows force them out.... aaaand, the newer versions are awful. I loved Corel Photo Paint 8, but it's just no longer compatible, and the newer versions are really, really bad. They're ridiculously confusing and positively limited. There's a big difference between that, and merely getting used to the newer versions of Word, which really just take some time getting used to. I used to really love the older WordPerfect office, more than Word, but I guess it's just a matter of going with what it pragmatic and available.

The Raven witch and the Autumnal equinox


An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens. The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

Wheel of the Year

Autumnal equinox
The holiday of the autumnal equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druidic traditions), is a Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology.[27] Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three Pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas / Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.

[Music: 'Dream Weaver by Michelle Mays; 'Celtic Requiem Chant' by Elliot Simons]


Monday, November 19, 2012

San Francisco Opera - 'Tosca'


Music by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa


Puccini's masterful melodrama is a sexually charged, edge-of-your-seat thriller, in which a great singer, a rebellious painter and a corrupt police chief engage in a deadly test of wills. Music director Nicola Luisotti, "one of his generation's most accomplished Puccini conductors" (Opera News), leads two astonishing casts.

One stars Angela Gheorghiu, "in a part she seems to have been born to play" (Opera Today) and "who, like Tosca, is a born diva" (The Independent, London); Massimo Giordano, praised by The New York Times for his "ardent, expressive singing;" and veteran baritone Roberto Frontali, who brought "vocal brass and weight" (The Dallas Morning News) to San Francisco Opera's The Girl of the Golden West (2010).

The next cast stars Patricia Racette, who "tapped into Tosca's combination of regal and all-too-human traits and backed up her vibrant characterization with singing of considerable expressive fire" (Opera News); tenor Brian Jagde, lauded for his "beautiful singing, now nuanced, now ringing and forceful" (Washington Post); and Mark Delavan (Wotan in the Ring cycle, 2011), a singer of "ferocious power" (San Francisco Chronicle).

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Approximate running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes including two intermissions

Pre-Opera Talks are free to ticketholders and take place in the main theater in the Orchestra section, 55 minutes prior to curtain.

Production photos: Cory Weaver


See the above link for the cast, credits, profiles, synopsis, times, prices, seating, etc.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nights of Cabiria

Nights of Cabiria (Wikipedia)

Nights of Cabiria (Italian: Le notti di Cabiria) is a 1957 Italian romantic drama film directed by Federico Fellini and starring Giulietta Masina, François Périer, and Amedeo Nazzari. Based on a story by Fellini, the film is about a waifish prostitute who wanders the streets of Rome looking for true love but finds only heartbreak. In 1998 the film was rereleased, newly restored and with a crucial scene that censors had cut.

The name Cabiria is borrowed from the 1914 Italian film Cabiria, while the character of Cabiria herself is taken from a brief scene in Fellini's earlier film 'The White Sheik'. It was Masina's performance in that earlier film that inspired Fellini to make this film. But no one in Italy was willing to finance a film which featured prostitutes as heroines. Finally, Dino de Laurentiis agreed to put up the money. Fellini based some of the characters on a real prostitute whom he had met while filming 'Il Bidone'. For authenticity, he had Pier Paolo Pasolini, known for his familiarity with Rome's criminal underworld, help with the dialogue.

The American musical and movie Sweet Charity is based on Fellini's screenplay.

When I started watching this movie, I had no idea as to what to expect. The movie revolves around "Cabiria," who was a prostitute--although this is downplayed in certain ways and just not really presented that way, as she often hung out with normal 20ish people--who lived in a house in a downtrodden district in or on the edge of Rome. She is a very engaging character who always wears her emotions on her sleeve. I can't really describe the character, who was almost like Sandra Dee meets Gwen Stefani with a little Audrey Tautou thrown in... and loud!! Bad things always seemed to happen to her, but she was never down for very long before some experience would make her smile or dance. You don't want anything really bad to happen to her, and you want her to get her life together, but it always does. At the end, something really horrible happens to her where she doesn't want to go on; but then shortly later she is smiling, and the theme seems to be "life is worth living" no matter what happens. The movie always keeps your attention. There's never a dull moment with the bantam Cabiria.

I don't watch a whole lot of movies now, but when I do, I always look it up and cross-reference names, dates, places, etc. This movie was no exception. There are some interesting tie-ins with all of that here. Old movies are like a time capsule. I mean, it's not like this was a hundred years ago... it was from the late fifties; in some ways a long time, and in other ways not very long. However, in this movie they all seem to have passed away. I see more of a deeper meaning in older Italian or European movies, rather than those from Hollywood...which is almost like a political or social engineering machine now. There's a certain innocence to older Italian cinema, generally a certain honesty. There's a movie poster on the above link, and a few images and posters from the movie here.

"Spoiler Alert" beyond this point!


The film opens with Cabiria happy and laughing, on a river bank with her current boyfriend and live-in lover. He pushes her into the river and steals her purse which is full of money. She cannot swim and very nearly drowns, but is rescued and revived at the last possible moment by helpful ordinary people who live a little further down the river.

The rest of the plot follows Cabiria as she plies her trade, interacts with her best friend and neighbor Wanda, and searches for a chance to better her life. She is frequently mistreated and taken advantage of, but she has some interesting adventures, and manages to keep her basic attitude to life positive.

Eventually, she meets Oscar, an accountant, who seems genuinely kind and who promises her a happy future. At first she is cautious and suspicious, but after several meetings she falls passionately in love with him and they are to be married—after only a few weeks. However, during a walk in a wooded area, on a cliff overlooking a lake Oscar becomes distant and starts acting nervous. Cabiria realizes that—just like her earlier lover—Oscar intends to push her over the cliff and steal her money (she sold her house and possessions and keeps all the money in her purse). She throws her purse at his feet, sobbing in convulsions on the ground as he abandons her.

She later picks herself up and stumbles out of the wood in tears. In the film's famous last sequence, Cabiria walks the long road back to town when she is met by a group of young people riding scooters, playing music, and dancing. They happily form an impromptu parade around her until she begins to smile through her tears.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oktoberfest Argentina en Villa General Belgrano

Fiesta Nacional de La Cerveza - Oktoberfest Argentina en Villa General Belgrano

Cisalpine people make up a large percentage of Argentina's population. Perhaps one-third. There was a lot of tie-ins within the era of Cisalpine immigration to the cone of South America and northern California. If you're a Cisalpine descendant in California and the Pacific Northwest... you could very easily be living in Buenos Aires today. As Americans, we spend so much time geopolitically worrying about unrelated-foreign places in the world instead of our own connections!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Agnus Dei - Mass for five voices

William Byrd "Agnus Dei - Mass for five voices"

Uploaded by YouTube channel Musikkhistoria

Uploaded on Jun 23, 2009

William Byrd (c. 1540 4 July 1623) was an English composer of the Renaissance. He cultivated many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music.


A special feature of the four-part and five-part Masses is Byrd's treatment of the Agnus Dei, which employ the technique which Byrd had previously applied to the petitionary clauses from the motets of the 1589 and 1591 Cantiones sacrae. The final words dona nobis pacem ('grant us peace'), which are set to chains of anguished suspensions in the Four-Part Mass and expressive block homophony in the five-part setting almost certainly reflect the aspirations of the troubled Catholic community of the 1590s.


Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

Performed : The Tallis Scholars
Dir : Peter Phillips


Image : Detail of a 13th century window from Chartres Cathedral.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Veltha ruin" - Planting our flag

"Veltha ruin" - Planting our flag

Padanian American League flag

Voltumna (Veltha)

In Etruscan mythology, Voltumna or Veltha was the chthonic (earth) deity, who became the supreme god of the Etruscan pantheon, the deus Etruriae princeps, according to Varro. Voltumna's cult was centered in Volsini (modern-day Orvieto) a polis of the Etruscan Civilization of northwest Italy.

The bond of the twelve Etruscan populi was renewed annually at the sacred grove of Fanum Voltumnae, the sanctuary of Voltumnus sited near Volsinii (present day Bolsena), which was mentioned by Livy. At the Fanum Voltumnae ludi were held, the precise nature of which, whether athletic or artistic, is unknown.

Fanum Voltumnae

The Fanum Voltumnae, or shrine of Voltumna, was the chief sanctuary of the Etruscans: fanum means a sacred place, a much broader notion than a single temple. Numerous sources refer to a league of the "Twelve Peoples" (lucumonies) of Etruria, formed for religious purposes but evidently having some political functions. The Etruscan league of twelve city-states met annually at the Fanum, located in a place chosen as omphalos (sacred navel), the geographical and spiritual centre of the whole Etruscan nation. Each spring political and religious leaders from the cities would meet to discuss military campaigns and civic affairs and pray to their common gods. Chief amongst these was Voltumna (or Veltha), possibly state god of the Etruria.

Sacred grove

A sacred grove or sacred woods are any grove of trees of special religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves were most prominent in the Ancient Near East and prehistoric Europe, but feature in various cultures throughout the world.

[Music: Piano instrumental version of 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' by Allen Dale

Flute instrumental version of 'Brandy' by Blue Train

Piano instrumental version of 'Delta Dawn' by Allen Dale]


Monday, October 29, 2012

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder gets a facelift for 2013

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder gets a facelift for 2013

For 2013, changes to the Aventador's little brother are skin deep. What enthusiasts really want is an all-new Gallardo that can take on Ferrari and McLaren.

By Stephen Edelstein - DigitalTrends.com - October 17, 2012

These days, even beautiful people go under the knife for some aesthetic augmentation, and the same is true of beautiful automobiles. Lamborghini’s Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder has been on sale since 2008, so the company decided it was time for a refresh.

Most of the changes are skin deep, and are shared with the restyled Gallardo LP 560-4 coupe shown at last month’s Paris Motor Show. At the front, the intake is segmented by delicate-looking struts, making the car look like it either has redneck teeth or has been in a crash. There’s also a more pronounced vent in front of the wheels.

Nineteen-inch “Apollo” polished alloy wheels are also new for 2013.

At the back, the angular theme continues with a big piece of trapezoidal mesh, and taillights molded to fit. Overall, it looks like Lamborghini was trying to incorporate cues from its Sesto Elemento concept and Aventador flagship, but they don’t seem to jibe with the rest of the Gallardo’s styling.

Buyers who want a new Gallardo, but don’t like the way this one looks, needn’t fret. The LP 560-4 is actually the middle of three Gallardo trim levels. The less expensive LP 550-2 (available only as a coupe) and high performance LP 570-4 Superleggera and Spyder Performante are unchanged visually.

Aside from the styling changes, the LP 560-4 Spyder remains pretty much the same. Its 5.2-liter V10 still produces 552 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels through Lamborghini’s “e-gear” six-speed automated manual transmission.

The LP 550-2 continues with rear-wheel drive and the option of a six-speed manual. The Superleggera and Spyder Performante still have 570 hp, and are now offered with an Edizione Tecnica package that includes a big rear spoiler, carbon ceramic brakes, and exclusive two-tone paint.

With the fresh and fierce Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C nipping at its heels, what Lamborghini really needs is an all-new Gallardo. Sant Agata has been steadily updating its car over the years, but the basic chassis hasn’t been changed since the original Gallardo debuted in 2003.

Lamborghini isn’t talking about when that new Gallardo will appear, but there are rumors of a 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show debut, with a launch sometime in 2014.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ludovico di Varthema

Ludovico di Varthema

Ludovico di Varthema, also known as Barthema and Vertomannus (c. 1470-1517) was an Italian traveller, diarist and aristocrat known for being the first non-Muslim European to enter Mecca as a pilgrim. Nearly everything that is known about his life comes from his own account of his travels, Itinerario de Ludouico de Varthema Bolognese, published in Rome in 1510.


First explorations and journey to Mecca

Varthema was born in Bologna.

He was perhaps a soldier before beginning his distant journeys, which he undertook apparently from a passion for adventure, novelty and the fame which (then especially) attended successful exploration.

Varthema left Europe near the end of 1502. Early in 1503, he reached Alexandria and ascended the Nile to Cairo. From Egypt, he sailed to Beirut and thence travelled to Tripoli, Aleppo and Damascus, where he managed to get himself enrolled, under the name of Yunas (Jonah), in the Mamluk garrison. From Damascus, Varthema made the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina as one of the Mamluk escort of the Hajj caravan (April-June 1503).

He describes the sacred cities of Islam and the chief pilgrim sites and ceremonies with remarkable accuracy, almost all his details being confirmed by later writers.

From the imprisonment to India

With the view of reaching India, he embarked at Jeddah, a city-port around 80 km west to Mecca, and sailed down the Red Sea and through the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb to Aden, where he was arrested and imprisoned as a Christian spy. By his own account, he gained his liberty after imprisonment both at Aden and Radaa because of a love affair with one on the sultanas of Yemen. Later, he made an extensive tour in south-west Arabia (visiting San‘a’), and took ship at Aden for the Persian Gulf and India. On the way, he alighted at Zeila and Berbera in Somalia. He then in early 1504 traveled to the Indian port of Diu in Gujarat, which later became famous as a Portuguese fortress.

From Diu he sailed up the Gulf of Cambay to Gogo, and thence turning back towards the Persian Gulf made Julfar (just within the entrance of the gulf), Muscat and Ormuz. From Ormuz he seems to have journeyed across Persia to Herat, returning thence south-west to Shiraz, where he entered into partnership with a Persian merchant, who accompanied him during nearly all his travels in South Asia.

After an unsuccessful attempt to reach Samarkand, the two returned to Shiraz, came down to Ormuz, and took ship for India. From the mouth of the Indus, Varthema coasted down the whole west coast of India, touching at Cambay and Chaul: at Goa, whence he made an excursion inland to Bijapur, at Cannanore, from which he again struck into the interior to visit Vijayanagar on the Tungabhadra; and at Calicut (c. 1505), where he stopped to describe the society, manners and customs of Malabar, as well as the topography and trade of the city, the court and government of its sovereign (the Zamorin), its justice, religion, navigation and military organization. 

Nowhere do Varthema's accuracy and observing power show themselves more strikingly. Passing on by the backwater of Kochi, and calling at Kollam (formerly known as Quilon), he rounded Cape Comorin, and passed over to Ceylon (c. 1506). Though his stay here was brief (probably at Colombo), he learnt a good deal about the island, from which be sailed to Pulicat, slightly north of Madras, then subject to Vijayanagar. Thence he crossed over to Tenasserim in the Malay Peninsula, to Bengal, perhaps near Chittagong, at the head of the bay of Bengal, and to Pegu, in the company of his Persian friend and of two Chinese Christians whom he met at Bengal.

Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Nagapattinam

After some successful trading with the king of Pegu, Varthema and his party sailed on to Malacca, crossed over to Pider (or Pedir) in Sumatra, and thence proceeded to Banda Aceh and Monoch (one of the Moluccas), the farthest eastward points reached by the Italian traveller.

From the Moluccas, he returned westward, touched at Borneo, and there chartered a vessel for Java, the largest of islands, as his Christian companions reckoned it. Varthema notes the use of compass and chart by the native captain on the transit from Borneo to Java, and preserves a curious, more than half-mythical, reference to supposed Far Southern lands.

From Java, he crossed over to Malacca, where Varthema and his Persian ally parted from the Chinese Christians. From Malacca, he returned to the Coromandel coast, and from Nagapattinam in Coromandel he voyaged back, round Cape Comorin, to Kulam and Calicut.


Return to Europe

Varthema was now anxious to resume Christianity and return to Europe. After some time he succeeded in deserting to the Portuguese garrison at Cannanore (early in 1506). He fought for the Portuguese in various engagements, and was knighted by the viceroy Francisco de Almeida, the navigator Tristão da Cunha being his sponsor.

For a year and a half, Varthema acted as Portuguese factor at Kochi, and on the 6th of December 1507 he finally left India for Europe by the Cape route. Sailing from Cannanore, Varthema apparently struck Africa about Malindi, and (probably) coasting by Mombasa and Kilwa arrived at Mozambique, where he noticed the Portuguese fortress then building, and described with his usual accuracy the Negroes of the mainland.

Beyond the Cape of Good Hope he encountered furious storms, but arrived safely in Lisbon after sighting St Helena and Ascension Island and touching at the Azores. In Portugal the king received him cordially, kept him some days at court to learn about India, and confirmed the knighthood conferred by d'Almeida.


His narrative finally brings him to Rome, where he takes leave of the reader. As Richard Francis Burton said in his book The Pilgrimage to Al-Medinah and Meccah:

For correctness of observation and readiness of wit Varthema stands in the foremost rank of the old Oriental travellers. In Arabia and in the Indian archipelago east of Java he is (for Europe and Christendom) a real discoverer. Even where passing over ground traversed by earlier European explorers, his keen intelligence frequently adds valuable original notes on peoples, manners, customs, laws, religions, products, trade, methods of war.

Varthema's work (Itinerario de Ludouico de Varthema Bolognese) was first published in Italian at Rome in 1510. Other Italian editions appeared at Rome, 1517, at Venice, 1518, 1535, 1563, 1589, &c., at Milan, 1519, 1523, 1525. Latin translations appeared at Milan, 1511 (by Archangelus Madrignanus); and at Nuremberg, 1610.


Thomas Suárez (1999). Early mapping of Southeast Asia. Tuttle Publishing. p. 79. ISBN 978-962-593-470-9. Retrieved 18 October 2011.

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Itinerary of Ludovico Di Varthema of Bologna from 1502 to 1508. By Lodovico de Varthema, John Winter Jones, Richard Carnac Temple. Contributor Lodovico de Varthema, John Winter Jones, Richard Carnac Temple. Published by Asian Educational Services, 1997. ISBN 81-206-1269-8, ISBN 978-81-206-1269-3. 121 pages.

The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India, and Ethiopia, A.D. 1503 to 1508. By Lodovico de Varthema; Edited by George Percy Badger; Translated by John Winter Jones. Originally published by the Hakluyt Society, London in 1863. Reprint by Adamant Media Corporation, 2001. ISBN 1-4021-9553-2, ISBN 978-1-4021-9553-2.

The travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India, and Ethiopia, A.D. 1503 to 1508 (1863). Various formats


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Old Roman Catholic Chant - Dixit Dominus Domino meo

Old Roman Catholic Chant - Dixit Dominus Domino meo

Dixit Dominus Domino meo: Sede a dextris meis, donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum.

The Lord said unto my Lord: Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy foot-stool.


Friday, October 26, 2012

A Journey Through Early Christian Rome

A Journey Through Early Christian Rome

Based on the image album from LiveScience.com entitled 'In Photos: A Journey Through Early Christian Rome' by Owen Jarus (9-30-11). The rise of early Christianity.


[Music: 'Lacrimosa Dies' by Atrium Animae]


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spot where Julius Caesar was stabbed discovered

Spot where Julius Caesar was stabbed discovered [see image]
Concrete structure believed to mark location of Roman ruler's killing

By Stephanie Pappas - Senior writer - MSNBC - October 11, 2012

Archaeologists believe they have found the first physical evidence of the spot where Julius Caesar died, according to a new Spanish National Research Council report.

Caesar, the head of the Roman Republic, was stabbed to death by a group of rival Roman senators on March 15, 44 B.C., the Ides of March. The assassination is well-covered in classical texts, but until now, researchers had no archaeological evidence of the place where it happened.

Now, archaeologists have unearthed a concrete structure nearly 10 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall that may have been erected by Augustus, Julius Caesar's successor, to condemn the assassination. The structure is at the base of the Curia, or Theater, of Pompey, the spot where classical writers reported the stabbing took place.

"We always knew that Julius Caesar was killed in the Curia of Pompey on March 15th 44 B.C. because the classical texts pass on so, but so far no material evidence of this fact, so often depicted in historicist painting and cinema, had been recovered," Antonio Monterroso, a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council, said in a statement.

Classical texts also say that years after the assassination, the Curia was closed and turned into a memorial chapel for Caesar. The researchers are studying this building along with another monument in the same complex, the Portico of the Hundred Columns, or Hecatostylon; they are looking for links between the archaeology of the assassination and what has been portrayed in art.

"It is very attractive, in a civic and citizen sense, that thousands of people today take the bus and the tram right next to the place where Julius Caesar was stabbed 2,056 years ago," Monterroso said.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A couple of infamous rifles

I thought I would combine two rather infamous rifles into one entry. If nothing else, they both have a long and interesting history: The Carcano bolt-action rifles and carbines; and the Martini-Henry breech-loading single-shot lever-actuated rifle. Rather then copy a lot of tedious text, filled with gun jargon, I will just give a short summary of each. This is one of those subjects which tie into a lot of other subjects. Perhaps we can look at that vast history more in-depth some other time.


This rifle--actually it was a series--is best known as the rifle which some believe was used to assassinate President Kennedy. It's regarded as being of relatively poor quality; but was attractive due to it's affordability. Incredibly, it was the official rifle for the Italian army from 1891 to 1981. To a gun enthusiast, it was "a piece of junk," but that's somewhat of an exaggeration I think. It was viable; a killer.

Wikipedia: Carcano is the frequently used name for a series of Italian bolt-action military rifles and carbines. Introduced in 1891, this rifle was chambered for the rimless 6.5×52mm Mannlicher-Carcano Cartuccia Modello 1895 cartridge. It was developed by the chief technician Salvatore Carcano at the Turin Army Arsenal in 1890 and called the Model 91 (M91). Successively replacing the previous Vetterli-Vitali rifles and carbines in 10.35×47mmR, it was produced from 1892 to 1945. The M91 was used in both rifle and carbine form by most Italian troops during the First World War and by Italian and some German forces during Second World War. The rifle was also used during the Winter War by Finland, and again by regular and irregular forces in Syria, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria during various postwar conflicts in those countries.

The Type I Carcano rifle was produced by Italy for the Japanese Empire prior to World War II. After the invasion of China, all Arisaka production was required for use of the Imperial Army, so the Imperial Navy contracted with Italy for this weapon in 1937. The Type I is based on the Type 38 rifle and utilizes a Carcano action, but retains the Arisaka/Mauser type 5-round box magazine. The Type I was utilized primarily by Japanese Imperial Naval Forces and was chambered for the Japanese 6.5×50mm Arisaka cartridge. Approximately 60,000 Type I rifles were produced by Italian arsenals for Japan.

Wars fought with Carcano rifles:

Mahdist War,
First Italo-Ethiopian War,
Boxer Rebellion,
Italo-Turkish War,
World War I,
Second Italo-Abyssinian War,
Winter War,
World War II,
Libyan civil war

Users of Carcano rifles:

Bulgaria Kingdom of Bulgaria
Empire of Japan
Italy Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946)
Italian Social Republic
Nazi Germany
Libya National Liberation Army (Libya)


The Martini-Henry rifle is best known for it's use by the British Empire for several decades during their imperial wars. It was a heavy-duty, single-shot rifle, effective at long range, with a bayonet. In other words, truly a "hand-held cannon." Think 'Mutiny on the Bounty' for more of a historical perspective. The Martini-Henry mechanism was invented by American Henry O. Peabody in Boston in 1862, and later perfected by Swiss Friedrich von Martini in 1871, after being "combined with the polygonal barrel rifling designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry." Martini-Henrys have floated around the world long afterwards; and are still being used in some corners of the world over 120 years after the last one was produced.

Wikipedia: The Martini-Henry was a breech-loading single-shot lever-actuated rifle adopted by the British Army, combining the dropping-block action first developed by Henry O. Peabody (in his Peabody rifle) and improved by the Swiss designer Friedrich von Martini, whose work in bringing the cocking and striker mechanism all within the receiver greatly improved the operation of the rifle, which new iteration was combined with the polygonal barrel rifling designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry. It first entered service in 1871, eventually replacing the Snider-Enfield, a muzzle-loader conversion to the cartridge system. Martini-Henry variants were used throughout the British Empire for 30 years. Though the Snider was the first breechloader firing a metallic cartridge in regular British service, the Martini was designed from the outset as a breechloader and was both faster firing and had a longer range.

There are four classes of the Martini-Henry rifle: Mark I (released in June 1871), Mark II, Mark III, and Mark IV. There was also an 1877 carbine version with variations that included a Garrison Artillery Carbine, an Artillery Carbine (Mark I, Mark II, and Mark III), and smaller versions designed as training rifles for military cadets. The Mark IV Martini-Henry rifle ended production in the year 1889, but remained in service throughout the British Empire until the end of the First World War. It was seen in use by some Afghan tribesmen as late as the Soviet invasion. Early in 2010 and 2011, United States Marines recovered at least three from various Taliban weapons caches in Marjah. In April 2011, another Martini-Henry rifle was found near Orgun in Paktika Province by United States Army's 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

The Martini-Henry was copied on a large scale by North-West Frontier Province gunsmiths. Their weapons were of a poorer quality than those made by Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, but accurate down to the proof markings. The chief manufacturers were the Adam Khel Afridi, who lived around the Khyber Pass. The British called such weapons, "Pass made rifles."

Wars fought with Martini-Henry rifles:

British colonial wars
Second Anglo-Afghan War
Anglo-Zulu War
First Boer War

Users of Martini-Henry rifles:

United Kingdom & Colonies


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Visions Of Italia Northern Style

'Visions of Italia - Northern Style' was a VHS tape, produced by PBS about twenty years ago, which presents the Cisalpine landscape from the air. It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. I remember, it was a big deal back then, and was sold for $100. Is it the most beautiful land in the world? You can decide for yourself.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Theresa Viglione: Heroine on Horseback

Theresa Viglione

Theresa Viglione was an Italian and South African woman famous for saving the lives of many Voortrekkers in 1836 when she warned a group of them of an impending attack initiated by Zulu king Dingane. She is immortalized on a frieze in a Voortrekker monument in Pretoria, South Africa.



Born to an Italian family originally from Piedmont, Theresa Viglione moved to South Africa with her family in the early 19th century. Her family is believed to have belonged to the Valdese congregation, a Protestant church in western Piedmont, whose members were forced to flee Piedmont—then part of the Sardinian Kingdom —because of discrimination against Protestants by the local authorities.


On February 6, 1838, a group of Voortrekkers and their servants went to negotiate with the Zulu king Dingane. The party was led by Piet Retief, an Afrikaner leader. The king received Retief and his group at his cattle-kraal, and they began to discuss a treaty amending a previous treaty signed in January 1836. Initially he was obstructive about drawing up the treaty, but eventually he signed it. He invited the Voortrekkers to share some sourgbeer with him. The trekkers left their muskets outside, entered the kraal and sat at the King’s feet. While beer was served the surrounding warriors began to dance and shout. The King leapt to his feet and yelled ”buladani abatagati!” (“Kill the wizards!”). The Voortrekkers were taken to be executed. They were impaled and their bodies left on a hillside to be eaten by wild animals, as was Dingane's custom with his enemies. Piet Retief was the last to be killed. Dingane gave orders for the Voortrekker laagers to be attacked, which would have plunged the migrant movement into disarray.

The Zulus headed towards Natal to annihilate the rest of the Voortrekkers, who were encamped in the countryside watered by the rivers Bloukrans, Bushman and Mooi streams. Gerrit Maritz, the acting commander in Retief’s absence, was near Bushmans River. The Zulus, with a total strength of about three regiments, almost killed all of the Lieberberg, Prinsloo, Botha, and Bezuidenhouts laagers. A band of Italian traders were encamped not far from the laagers, where many women and children were killed. Theresa Viglione was one of them. When she saw what was happening, she jumped on a horse and rode off to Bushmans River to Maritz' camp and warned everyone there, allowing them to defend themselves.


References - A Short History of South Africa, by John Selby, pages 91–96: Classic in Post-Colonial Worlds, by Lorna Hardwick and Carol Gillespie, page 153.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

History of Italians in South Africa: Part II

The 'History of Italians in South Africa', which was posted here in 2008, was written by Janice Winters for 'Icon' magazine of South Africa in 2003. It has been one of the most read entries on this blog. It did reflect the history of a very self-determinist people. Many were of Piedmontese origin. For some reason, I decided to take a peek at it, I think in part because one item there stuck in my mind. It was the story of a Piedmontese woman named Teresa Viglione.

From the article link above:
Italians have been part of our military history from as far back as the Battle of Bloukrans during the Great Trek. When the Zulus attacked the Voortrekkers, an Italian woman, Teresa Viglione, rode down to the Bushman’s River, courageously risking her life to warn the Boer laagers and tend to the wounded. A carved marble tablet in the Voortrekker Monument honours her valour. During the next major conflict, the Anglo-Boer War of 1899, over 200 Italians formed the most renowned foreign legion to support the Boer cause, under the leadership of Italian cavalry officer Camillo Ricchiardi. This distinguished officer earned the status of hero as well as gentleman, writing condolence letters to the families of slain enemies and including any personal belongings found on the deceased.

I think it's safe to say that those "Italians" were Cisalpines who, as Afrikaners, were enthusiastically behind the Boer cause. I recall looking up her name and finding some more substantial information about her on a couple of Piemontesi nel Mondo blogs written in Italian, but I wasn't able to find them on a search and I have misplaced any links that I found then. Teresa's heroic ride on horseback--assuming that anyone who risked their life in the face of danger was heroic, regardless of which geo-political side they may or may not have been on--sort've reminds me of Caesar Rodney's heroic ride on horseback, while riddled with cancer, in order to arrive in time to vote for American independence.

I did find a 2008 newsletter, written in Italian, by Piemontesi nel Mondo. One item on there was about the Piedmontese history of South Africa, and a movie or documentary about the subject. I tried, but was unable to translate it properly. Teresa Viglione is mentioned, and the reality of her situation is presented in a much more blunt fashion, as the Zulus were exterminating the Boers. I only mention that because I would like the situation, from her individual perspective, to be known. The Zulus were killing off Boer villages, and this brave woman rode--presumably a long distance through dangerous Zulu territory--to warn people, presumably in the larger settlement.

Could she have looked like Kristin Cavallari, galloping along on a white horse, with flowing blonde hair? Maybe... probably not, but for whatever it's worth here in 2012 (the incident took place sometime in the late 1800s I think), I salute her courage. She's a Cisalpine to remember.

I think it is a documentary, and it was directed by Antonio Varaldi, who is a Piedmontese-Afrikaner from Johannesburg. Apparently, the story begins in 1688 to 1700 when a couple of hundred Piedmontese-Waldensians were forced to emigrate due to religious persecution. If anyone out there can look at the link perhaps, and give us some information about this 2007 movie or documentary, please leave a comment. Thanks.

[Note: It appears that her name is, historically-speaking, referred to as "Theresa Viglione." Although, some seem to think that "Teresa" was her actual name. This is what led me off track, and there is, in fact, much about her; which, of course, changes everything. But, it's a pleasant error; but one which makes this entry a bit out-of-place now. There will be more to post, but after her chief entry (the next one), I think I'll give it a rest for awhile.]


Friday, September 7, 2012

'Rigoletto' at the San Francisco Opera

'Rigoletto' at the San Francisco Opera

Music by Giuseppe Verdi

Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave


One of opera's most vivid and compelling characters, a vengeful court jester, desperately tries to protect his daughter from disaster in this heart-wrenching tragedy. The first of two world-class casts led by Music Director Nicola Luisotti stars Željko Lučić, "whose vocal artistry is exceptional" (The New York Times); Aleksandra Kurzak, "a superstar in the making" (The Guardian, London); and, as the lecherous Duke, Francesco Demuro, "whose open, bright, superbly focused tone was reminiscent of Pavarotti" (Opera News).

The equally impressive next cast stars Marco Vratogna, who, as the sinister Iago in Otello (2009), thrilled San Francisco Opera audiences with his "vocal power and theatrical electricity" (San Francisco Chronicle); Albina Shagimuratova, "a phenomenon that must be heard to be believed" (Opera News); and Merola Opera Program graduate Arturo Chacón-Cruz with his "clarion tone and piercingly clean top notes" (Washington Times).

Join us at Books, Inc. in Opera Plaza for Opera on the Couch—a lively post-performance discussion following the September 30 performance of Rigoletto at approximately 5pm. FREE and open to the public.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Approximate running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes including one intermission

Pre-Opera Talks are free to ticketholders and take place in the main theater in the Orchestra section, 55 minutes prior to curtain (please note there is no talk on Opening Night, September 7, 2012).


Friday, August 31, 2012

Eusebio Kino: Missionary and New World Explorer

Eusebio Kino (Wikipedia)

Eusebio Francisco Kino, S.J., (August 1645 – 15 March 1711) was a Jesuit priest from a town which is now a part of northern Italy. For the last 24 years of his life he worked in the region then known as the Pimería Alta, modern day Sonora in Mexico and southern Arizona. He explored the region worked with the indigenous Native American population, including primarily the Sobaipuri and other Upper Piman groups. He proved that Baja California is not an island by leading an overland expedition there. By the time of his death he had established 24 missions and visitas (country chapels or visiting stations).

Eusebius Franz Kühn (or Chini)
August 1645
Segno, Bishopric of Trent,
Holy Roman Empire

15 March 1711
Mission Santa Maria Magdalena, Pimería Alta, New Spain,
Spanish Empire

Holy Roman Empire

Priest, missionary, explorer


Early life

Kino was born Eusebius Franz Kühn (the name Kino was the version for use in Spanish-speaking domains) in the village of Segno, (now part of the town of Taio), then in the sovereign Prince-bishopric of Trent, a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Other sources cite his name as Eusebio Francesco Chini.

His parents were Franz Kühn (or Francesco Chini) and Margherita Luchi. The exact date of his birth is unknown but he was baptized on 10 August 1645 in the parish church, located in Taio. Kino was educated in Innsbruck, Austria, and after recuperating from a serious illness, he joined the Society of Jesus on 20 November 1665. From 1664-69, he received religious training as a member of the Society at Freiburg, Ingolstadt, and Landsberg, Bavaria. After completing a final stage of training in the Society, during which he taught mathematics in Ingolstadt, he received Holy Orders as a priest on 12 June 1677.

Although Kino wanted to go to the Orient, he was sent to New Spain. Due to travel delays across Europe he missed the ship on which he was to travel and had to wait a year for another ship. While waiting in Cadiz, Spain, he wrote on his observations of a comet, Exposción Astronómica de el Cometa.[1] This publication was later the subject of a sonnet by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

Life in New Spain

Mission in Baja

Kino's first assignment was to lead the Atondo expedition to the Baja California peninsula of the Las Californias Province of New Spain. He established the Misión San Bruno in 1683. After a prolonged drought there in 1685, Kino and the Jesuit missionaries were forced to abandon the mission and return to the viceregal capital of Mexico City.

Pimeria Alta
Missions in the Pimeria Alta

Father Kino began his career in the Pimería Alta on the morning of 14 March 1687, 24 years and one day before his death on 15 March 1711. This was the morning he left Cucurpe, a town once considered the "Rim of Christendom."

Once Father Kino arrived in the Pimería Alta, at the request of the natives, he quickly established the first mission in a river valley in the mountains of Sonora. Subsequently Kino traveled across northern Mexico, and to present day California and Arizona. He followed ancient trading routes established millennia prior by the natives. These trails were later expanded into roads. His many expeditions on horseback covered over 50,000 square miles (130,000 km2), during which he mapped an area 200 miles (320 km) long and 250 miles (400 km) wide. Kino was important in the economic growth of area, working with the already agricultural indigenous native peoples and introducing them to European seed, fruits, herbs and grains. He also taught them to raise cattle, sheep and goats. Kino's initial mission herd of twenty cattle imported to Pimería Alta grew during his period to 70,000. Historian Herbert Bolton referred to Kino as Arizona's first rancher.

Interaction with the Natives

In his travels in the Pimería Alta, Father Kino interacted with 16 different tribes. Some of these had land that bordered on the Pimería Alta, but there are many cases where tribal representatives crossed into the Piman lands to meet Kino. In other cases, Father Kino traveled into their lands to meet with them. The tribes Kino met with are the Cocopa, Eudeve, Hia C-ed O'odham (called Yumans by Kino), Kamia, Kavelchadon, Kiliwa, Maricopa, Mountain Pima, Opata, Quechan, Gila River Pima, Seri, Tohono O'odham, Sobaipuri, Western Apache, Yavapai, and the Yaqui (Yoeme).


Kino opposed the slavery and compulsory hard labor in the silver mines that the Spaniards forced on the native people. This also caused great controversy among his co-missionaries, many of whom acted according to the laws imposed by Spain on their territory. Kino was also a writer, authoring books on religion, astronomy and cartographys. He built missions extending from the present day states of Mexican Sonora, northeast for 150 miles (240 km), into present-day Arizona, where the San Xavier del Bac mission, near Tucson, a popular National Historic Landmark, is still a functioning Franciscan parish church. Kino constructed nineteen rancherías (villages), which supplied cattle to new settlements.

Kino practiced other crafts and was reportedly an expert astronomer, mathematician and cartographer, who drew the first accurate maps of Pimería Alta, the Gulf of California and Baja California. Father Kino enjoyed making model ships out of wood. His knowledge of maps and ships led him to believe that Mexican Indians could easily access California by sea, a view taken with skepticism by missionaries in Mexico City. When Kino proposed and began making a boat that would be pushed across the Sonoran Desert and to the Mexican west coast, a controversy arose, as many of his co-missionaries began to question Kino's faculties. Kino had an unusual amount of wealth for his vocation, which he used his primarily to fund his missionary activities. His contemporaries reported on his wealth with suspicion.


Kino remained among his missions until his death in 1711. He died from fever on 15 March 1711, aged 65, in what is present-day Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico. His skeletal remains can be viewed there.


Kino has been honored both in Mexico and the United States, with various towns, streets, schools, monuments, and geographic features named after him. In 1965, a statue of Kino was donated to the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall collection, one of two statues representing Arizona. Another statue of him stands above Kino Parkway, a major thoroughfare in Tucson. Another equestrian statue featuring Kino stands in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza across from the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. A time capsule is encapsuled in the base. Another equestrian statue also stands next to the Cathedral in the city of Hermosillo, Sonora, México. The towns of Bahía Kino and Magdalena de Kino in Sonora are named in his honor. A park with statue of Kino resides in the city of Nogales, AZ.

Missions and visitas founded

After the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, the Catholic Church awarded to the Spanish Crown the lands of "New Spain." This grant was with the directive that the Crown would underwrite the efforts to convert the pagan inhabitants to Catholicism. The lands included the Caribbean, Mexico, and portions of what is now the Southwestern United States.

In its new lands, the Spanish Crown employed three major agencies to extend its borders and consolidate its colonial presence: the presidio (royal fort), pueblo (town), and the misión (mission). In addition, there were asistencias (sub-missions or contributing chapels) which were small-scale missions that regularly conducted Divine service on days of obligation, but lacked a resident priest. Visitas (visiting chapels or country chapels) also lacked a resident priest, and were often attended only sporadically. These different types of settlements were established such that each of the installations was no more than a long day's ride by horse or boat (or three days on foot) from one another.

Each type of frontier station needed to be self-supporting, because supply lines (roads) were non-existent. There was no way to maintain a village from outside sources. To sustain a mission settlement, the Fathers needed either Spanish colonists or converted natives to cultivate crops and tend livestock in the volume needed to support a fair-sized Church establishment. Scarcity of imported materials and lack of skilled laborers compelled the Fathers to employ simple building materials and methods.

Although the Spanish hierarchy considered the missions temporary ventures, individual settlement development was not based simply on a priestly whim. The founding of a mission followed long-standing rules and procedures. The paperwork involved required months, sometimes years of correspondence, and demanded the attention of virtually every level of the Spanish bureaucracy.

Once empowered to erect a mission in a given area, the men assigned to it chose a specific site that featured a good water supply, plenty of wood for fires and building material, and ample fields for grazing herds and raising crops. The Fathers blessed the site, and with the aid of their military escort fashioned temporary shelters out of tree limbs roofed with thatch, reeds, or in Pimería Alta saguaro ribs or ocotillo branches topped with brush and mud. These simple huts would ultimately give way to the stone and adobe buildings that exist today.

The majority of structures, indeed whole villages, were oriented on a roughly east-west axis to take the best advantage of the sun's position for interior illumination; the exact alignment depended on the geographic features of the particular site. Directives from Spain clearly stated that villages were to be sited on the west side of any valley so that the sun would shine in the homes first thing in the morning, discouraging slothful behavior on the part of the inhabitants.

When founding a mission compound, first the spot for the church itself was selected, its position marked and then the remainder of the mission complex would be laid out. Workshops, kitchens, living quarters, storerooms, and other ancillary chambers were usually grouped in a quadrangle, inside which religious celebrations and other festive events could take place.

List of missions

This listing of the sites founded by Kino is not complete. Also, since names have changed over time, there appears to be some duplication. They are:

* Mission San Bruno: founded 1683 (Kino led the Atondo expedition to the Baja California peninsula of the Las Californias Province of New Spain. In 1685, after a prolonged drought there, Kino and the Jesuit missionaries were forced to abandon the mission.

* Mission Nuestra Señora de los Dolores: founded on March 13, 1687. This was the first Pimaria Alta mission founded by Father Kino. By 1744, the mission was abandoned.

* Nuestra Señora de los Remedios was founded in 1687 and was abandoned by 1730. Nothing remains of this mission.

* San Ignacio de Cabórica was founded in 1687 and is located in San Ignacio, Sonora.

* Mission San Pedro y San Pablo del Tubutama was founded in 1687, in Tubutama, Sonora.

* Santa Teresa de Atil was founded in 1687, in the small town of Atil, Sonora.

* Santa Maria Magdalena was founded in 1687, located in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora. Kino's grave is located here.

* San José de Imuris was founded in 1687, in Imuris, Sonora.

* Nuestra Señora del Pilar y Santiago de Cocóspera was founded in 1689. It is located in Cocóspera, Sonora.

* San Antonio Paduano del Oquitoa was founded in 1689. It is located in Oquitoa, Sonora.

* San Diego del Pitiquito was founded in 1689. It is located in Pitiquito, Sonora.

* San Luis Bacoancos was founded in 1691, but was soon abandoned after Apache attacks.

* Mission San Cayetano del Tumacácori was founded in 1691 at a native Sobaipuri settlement. This was southern Arizona's first mission and Arizona's first Jesuit mission. Later a chapel was built. (San Cayetano de Calabasas was established in a different location much later, after Kino's time.) Sometime after the 1751 Pima Revolt the settlement and mission were moved to the opposite side of the river and became San José de Tumacácori.

* Mission San José de Tumacácori, the presently known location that is a National Historic Park. The farming land around the mission was sold at auction in 1834 and the mission was abandoned by 1840. It is now a National Monument in Tumacácori National Historical Park in Southern Arizona.

* La Misión de San Gabriel de Guevavi was founded in 1691. It became a cabecera or head mission in 1701 with the establishment of what Kino described affectionately as a "neat little house and church." Through the years its name changed many times so that now it is known by the generic name referencing many saints: Mission Los Santos Ángeles de Guevavi. The chapel was initially established in a native settlement, but then was destroyed by fire, probably during an indigenous uprising. The church rebuilt in new locations twice, the final and largest one being built in 1751. Its ruins are part of Tumacácori National Historical Park.

* San Lázaro was founded in 1691, but was soon abandoned after Apache attacks.

Mission San Xavier del Bac
* San Xavier del Bac (O'odham [Sobaipuri-O'odham]: Wa:k), 16 m south of Tucson, Arizona, founded as a missionary location in 1692. The present building, located 1 mi from the original Kino-period location, dates from 1785. The interior is richly decorated with ornaments showing a mixture of New Spain and Native American artistic motifs. It is still used by Tohono O'odham Nation members (Wa:k community members especially) and Yaqui tribal members.

* Visitas San Cosme y Damián de Tucson: founded 1692

* Visitas Los Santos Reyes de Sonoita/San Ignacio de Sonoitac: a rancheria near Tumacacori, founded 1692.

* La Purísima Concepción de Nuestra Señora de Caborca: founded 1693

* Santa María Suamca: founded 1693

* San Valentín de Busanic/Bisanig: founded 1693

* Nuestra Señora de Loreto y San Marcelo de Sonoyta: founded 1693

* Nuestra Señora de la Ascención de Opodepe: founded 1704


* Father Kino, Padre on Horseback (or Mission to Glory: A True Story) starring Richard Egan as Kino, was made in 1977. The movie is available in DVD format.


* Bolton, Herbert Eugene, Kino's Historical Memoir of Pimeria Alta, vol. 1 (Cleveland, Ohio: Arthur H. Clark, 1919.

* Bolton, H., Rim of Christiandom, New York: The MacMilliam Co, 1936.

* Bolton, H., Padre on Horseback, Loyola Press, 1963.

* Polzer, Charles W., Kino Guide II: a Life of Eusebio Francisco Kino, S.J., Arizona's First Pioneer, and a Guide to His Missions and Monuments, Southwest Mission Research Center, 1982.

* Polzer, C., Kino: His Missions, His Monuments, Jesuit Fathers of Southern Arizona, 1998.

* Polzer, C. & Sheridan, Thomas H., Presidio and Militia on the Northern Frontier of New Spain: A Documentary History, Volume Two, Part One: The Californias and Sinaloa-Sonora, 1700–1765, University of Arizona Press, 1997.

* Seymour, Deni J., 1989 The Dynamics of Sobaipuri Settlement in the Eastern Pimeria Alta. Journal of the Southwest 31(2): 205-22.

* Seymour, D., 1997 Finding History in the Archaeological Record: The Upper Piman Settlement of Guevavi. Kiva 62(3): 245-60.

* Seymour, D., 2003 Sobaipuri-Pima Occupation in the Upper San Pedro Valley: San Pablo de Quiburi. New Mexico Historical Review 78(2): 147-66.

* Seymour, D., 2007 Delicate Diplomacy on a Restless Frontier: Seventeenth-Century Sobaipuri Social And Economic Relations in Northwestern New Spain, Part I. New Mexico Historical Review, Volume 82(4): 469-99.

* Seymour, D. 2007 A Syndetic Approach To Identification Of The Historic Mission Site Of San Cayetano Del Tumacácori. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Vol. 11(3): 269-96.

* Seymour, D., 2008a Delicate Diplomacy on a Restless Frontier: Seventeenth-Century Sobaipuri Social And Economic Relations in Northwestern New Spain, Part II. New Mexico Historical Review, Volume 83(2): 171–99.

* Seymour, D. 2009 Father Kino’s 'Neat Little House and Church' at Guevavi. Journal of the Southwest 51(2):285-316.

* Seymour, D., 2011 Where the Earth and Sky are Sewn Together: Sobaípuri-O’odham Contexts of Contact and Colonialism. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

* Soule, J.A., 2011. Father Kino's Herbs:Growing and Using Them Today. Tierra del Sol Institute Press, Tucson, AZ.

* Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, "Soneto. Aplaude la ciencia Astronomica del Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino, de la Compania de Jesus, que escrivio del Cometa....", Inundacion castalida de la unica poetisa, musa decima...; Madrid, 1689. [1]Portions of this biography are courtesy National Statuary Hall.

* Spicer, E. H. Cycles of Conquest. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona 1962


Monday, July 16, 2012

Cisalpine American History

Taken from the History Channel documentary 'Italians in America' (1998). Narrated by Joseph Campanella. Sorry about the poor quality.

Names mentioned:

Christopher Columbus (Ligurian)
John Cabot (Ligurian)
Amerigo Vespucci (Tuscan)
Philip Mazzei (Tuscan)
Leonardo da Vinci (Tuscan)
Antonio Vivaldi (Venetian)
Galileo Galilei (Tuscan)
Constantino Brumidi (Roman/Greek)
A. P. Giannini (Ligurian)


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oscar-winning film star Ernest Borgnine dies in LA at age 95

Borgnine being honored with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2011

Oscar-winning film star Ernest Borgnine dies in LA at age 95

Ernest Borgnine, who created a variety of memorable characters in both movies and television and won the best-actor Oscar for his role as a lovesick butcher in "Marty" in 1955, died Sunday. He was 95.

Borgnine's longtime spokesman, Harry Flynn, told The Associated Press that Borgnine died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with his family by his side.

A prolific and talented character actor, Borgnine was known for gruff, villainous roles such as the heavy who beats up Frank Sinatra in "From Here to Eternity" and one of the bad guys who harasses Spencer Tracy in "Bad Day at Black Rock."

Borgnine, who earned a salary of $5,000 for playing his Academy-Award winning role Marty, once said "I would have done it for nothing."

Borgnine, who was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on Jan. 24, 1917 in Hamden, Conn., began acting after serving in the Navy during World War II. He made his film debut in 1951's "Whistle at Eaton Falls" before winning an Academy Award four years later. He appeared in other notable films including "Jubal," "Flight of the Phoenix," "The Dirty Dozen,""The Wild Bunch," "The Poseidon Adventure," "Johnny Guitar," and "Escape from New York."

"No Stanislavsky. I don't chart out the life histories of the people I play," Borgnine told The New York Times in 1973 when asked about his acting methods. "If I did, I'd be in trouble. I work with my heart and my head, and naturally emotions follow."

Sometimes he prayed, he said, or just reflected on character-appropriate thoughts. "If none of that works," he added, "I think to myself of the money I'm making."

He was also known as the Navy officer in the television series "McHale's Navy," which aired from 1962-66. Younger audiences would know him as the voice of Mermaid Man in "Spongebob Squarepants."

Borgnine earned an Emmy Award nomination at age 92 for his work on the series "ER," and was honored with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2011.

"The Oscar made me a star, and I'm grateful," AP reports that Borgnine told an interviewer in 1966. "But I feel had I not won the Oscar I wouldn't have gotten into the messes I did in my personal life."

The actor was married five times, including to singer Ethel Merman, who became his third wife in 1964. The marriage barely lasted a month.

He is survived by his fifth wife, Tova Traesnaes — whom he married in 1973 —his children Christofer, Nancee and Sharon Borgnine; a stepson, David Johnson; six grandchildren; and his sister, Evelyn Verlardi.