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Page 8 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 6, 2012 Ray Barron'e 11 O'CLOCK NEWS And so begins another year of my attempt- ing to create weekly columns that will prove to be of some irtterest to the readers of this great newspaper. Well, let's get started by thanking many of you who sent me Christ- mas cards. We never did get a card from Bella Culo of Chestnut Hill! The widely read National Enquirer reports Prez's wife Michelle Obama "splurges thou- sands on pricey jewels." And they also reported the family's annual holiday vacation in Hawaii will cost taxpayers a whopping $3.2 million in airfare alone. Big dealf She well deserves the vacation for her and her daugh- ters Sasha and Malta. Wow! Eating more fish -- as long as it's not fried -- could help keep your mind sharp as you age.-A new study found that 70-year-olds who ate at least one serving of fish per week had bigger brains after 10 years than those who didn't. Many experts think the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by improving blood flow to the brain and preventing inflammation. But the new evidence that only baked and broiled fish proved beneficial suggests that "other factors" could be involved, says neurologist Richard Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medi- cine. Maybe it's not the fish itself that offers protection but the tendency of people with healthy eating habits to "exercise more or eat less total calories." Health scare! Many popular apple and grape juices contain arsenic and lead levels that could be dangerous to children, a study by Consumer Reports shows. The magazine tested 31 popular grocery-store brands and found that one in' 10 samples had arsenic levels higher than the Food and Drug Administration's limit for bottled water; el- evated levels of lead were also found in a fourth of the samples. The FDA previously suggested that juice could safely contain nearly five times the arsenic found in bottled water, because most people drink less of it. Meanwhile, experts urge parents to limit their children's consumption of fruit juices to avoid increasing their risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has banned cash payments in Italy over 1,000 Euros ($1,340). Many Italians pay cash for major expenditures like monthly rent, and small companies often pay salaries in euro notes, making tax evasion easier. Monti hopes the move will recoup some of the bil- lion Euros the government loses each year in unpaid taxes. Ah, taxes! The income tax, the property tax, and the sales tax are an unbeatable combi- nation. They get you coming and going. Add the inheritance tax and they get you after you've gone. Time for some opinions about taxes. The unofficial mayor of Medford, Tom Analetto, says, "The only thing easier to skin than a banana is a taxpayer." The brilliant Christina Quinlan of Windham, New Hampshire, says, "It's getting so your annual property tax is more than you paid for your home in the first place." Carlo Scostumato, says, "Most of us have enough money to pay our taxes. What we need is something to live on!" Wait! More opinions about taxes! Lucille A. Monuteaux of East Boston, says, "It might be well to bear in mind that when Uncle Sam plays Santa Claus, it's the taxpayer who holds the bag." The lovely, brilliant Rosalie Cunio of Waltham, says, "Pound for pound the Ameri- can taxpayer is the strongest creature on earth. For many years he has been carrying Washington and a considerable portion of the world on his shoulders." Cancer-ravaged Penny Marshall is smok- ing up a storm, and medical experts warn it could dramatically cut what little time she has left. But pals say the beloved comic ac- tress is determined to go out HER way, and she intends to enjoy her vices till the bitter end. "Penny has accepted the fact that she's terminally ill, so she wants to live life to the max while she can," a source reveals. The former "Laverne & Shirley" star, 68, showed total disregard for her health by sucking on a cigarette while chat- ting on her cell phone. Penny was I o o o diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and a malignant tumor on her liver in late 2009. "Penny is very sick, but she's writing like a maniac," divulged another source. "But once the book is finished, Penny says she's ready to go. She's not afraid of death, and right now she's concentrating on the joy of living." Regular mammograms do save lives! De- spite the debate over mammograms, the bot- tom line is they save lives in women ages 50 to 75. A new Dutch study shows the scans cut the risk of death from breast cancer by almost half. Women in that age group who had at least three mammograms before they were diagnosed were 49 percent less likely to die of the disease, according to Dutch researchers. Those aged 70-75 benefited the most from mammograms, with a whopping 84 percent reduction in breast cancer deaths. We discovered some stuff about how to ward off evil spirits. Are you ready? Bless some- one when they sneeze. When you spill salt, throw a pinch of it over your left shoulder (that's the side of your body where evil spir- its dwell). A yawn is a sign that death is sum- ming you, so cover your mouth when you yawn or evil spirits will enter your body through it. Tying knots in your handkerchief helps you to remember something because a knot is a charm against evil. When bak- ing, remember to mark your loaves with a cross• Hang a horseshoe above the door. Evil spirits linger in doorways. That's why a bride must be carried over the threshold. Ring bells and bang pots and pans after a wedding cer- emony. The bridesmaids dress up finely to act as decoy brides and confuse evil spirits. And remember, on Frfday the 13 th, walk around your house thirteen times. Some interesting show biz stuff from the stately musicologist Albert Natale. Where did the Chipmunks in the Chipmunks' "Christ- mas Song" get their names? Songwriter and performer David Seville chose the names for • the "stars" of his 1958 hit record• Simon and Alvin were named for two executives at Lib- erty Records -- Simon Waronker and AI Bennett. Theodore was named for Ted Keep, the recording engineer. Where did Chubby Checker get his name? Born Ernest Evans, Checker chose his stage name as homage to Fats Domino. As Maria in the 1965 musi- cal The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews was described as a flibbertigibbet. What is it? Shakespeare used the word in King Lear to describe a devil, and Sir Walter Scott used in Kenilworth to describe a young rascal. But the meaning Rodgers and Hammerstein intended a talkative or dizzy person -- arose in 1549, in a sermon by Bishop Hugh Latimer for King Edward VI. Latimer spelled the word flybertgybe. One more timeI Albert A. "Al" Natale, the youngest of 12 Natale children was raised at I I Sheafe Street in Boston's North End. In brief. Natale took up playing the trumpet and began his professional career with the house orchestra at the RKO-Boston Theater• He left the theater job to travel with big-name bands and for four years crisscrossed the country playing at ballrooms, theaters, nightclubs, hotels, Army and Navy bases. Some of the bands he played for Al Donahue, Jerry Wald and Bob Chester. Natale was active in the Boston's Musicians' Union and was elected as vice president. Natale thanks his mother for encouraging him to invest in real estate and she proved to be right! Natale, wound up . with highly valued real estate holdings in Boston. Natale is proud of financing a bronze casting of St. Leonard surrounded by the Sta- tions of the Cross, which he presented to the North End's St. Leonard's Church. Albert Natale has been honored many times for his contributions to many charities, scholar- ships, etc. He is truly a fabulous individual! We are blessed to have him as a friendl Per- haps a book will be written about the life and times of Albert Natale. God Bless You, Al! AMERICA IS A BEAUTIFUL ITALIAN NAME Recipes from the Homeland by Vita Orlando Sinopoli COPYRIGHT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED VINEGAR I quart white vinegar 1 quart water 5 green bell peppers 3 teaspoons salt (PICKLED) PEPPERS 3 medium pickling jars with screw caps 3 teaspoons sugar Place white vinegar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and cover. Bring to a rolling boil for about three minutes• Meanwhile remove stems and seeds from peppers• Wash peppers thoroughly. Cut peppers into quarter portions lengthwise and place in clean jars. Pour enough boiled water and vinegar combination over peppers, up to rim of jar. Add one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of sugar to each jar. Place cover tightly on each jar. On a clean cookie sheet or cutting board, turn closed jar upside down, resting jar on its cover. Check to be sure that water is not lea.king from jar. Allow standing for thirty min- utes before turning jars right side up. Sfore for three or four weeks in you cupboard before use. Refrigerate only after opening jars. Note: I began to pickle bell peppers in the 1950s when my cousin Josie (LaGrassa) DeSisto shared her recipe with me. Each time I pickled peppers, my mind wandered back to my childhood when each fall, Papa bought a case of the small Santo Nicolo peppers for pickling. They were small but firm. They were green, and some were spotted with a little red, or yellow skin. While Mama washed the peppers without remov- ing stem or inner seeds, Papa prepared the very large ceramic container. It was the same kind that everyone else in the neigh- borhood used for pickling peppers. After the peppers were clean, my parents placed them in the container and added the necessary vinegar and spices. I remember Papa placing a large ceramic cover on the container. He warned us not to go near the peppers. All this took place in the little cubical of space in the cellar of 39 Charter Street, below our bakery. Each family had a cubical reserved for storing extra canned goods, wine, and preserved vegetables. Before long, the aroma of the pickled peppers found its way up to the street.floor of the building. Papa wasn't the only one who had pickled peppers. Each time I look at the ceramic container, still in my posses- sion, it reminds me of the above yearly ritual. • Thinking Out Loud (Continued from Page 4) garbage cans of my own and also use a blue recycling bin too. I miss much of the old days when life on the sur- face seemed easy but that was probably just the view of a kid with parents who did For me the good was and is that I learned so much from back then that helps guide me through life today and into the New Year. I await 2012. I await all that lays ahead, all the easy everything for their chil- things, a11 the challenges dren. There was more love and all the new roads that back then, more kindness ; stand ahead of each of us. and understanding. We The past, present and future weren't always rushing stand together as we move around. We appreciated our forward. You can't have one lives no matter the struggle, without the other two! 1st Generation Italian-American Vita Orlando Sinopoli Shares with us a delightful recollection Of her memories as a child growing up in Boston's "Little Italy" and a collection of Italian family recipes from the homeland. Great as Gifts FROM MY BAKERY PtRCH available on AMAZON.COM and in local bookstores -- ask for Hard cover #1-4010-9805-3 ISBN Soft Cover #1-4010-9804-5 ISBN WWW.BOSTON POSTGAZETTE.COM