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February 26, 2010     Post-Gazette
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Page14 POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 26, 2010 NEWS BRIEFS (FROM ITALIAN NEWSPAPERS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS) Compiled by Or io Z. Buttafuoco THE SUDDEN EXPLOSIVE POPULARITY OF THE CACTUS PEAR. What we call in Italy fico-d'India (literally fig from India} we always enjoyed this semi-tropical fruit's fresh taste. I still remember the summer days, especially at the end of August and beyond, when my parents carefully selected and thoroughly brushed the fruit to completely remove the ever present thorns. Every morning we ate them, as by tradition, for breakfast. Previously we had greatly enjoyed the large figs, over a pound each, which are ripe at the end of June. They are purple, and after the initial production begin pro- ducing the same kind of figs, but as small as those we see at the supermarkets in the summer. During the summer we enjoyed several other fruits: peaches, apricots, cherries, and later in the summer, the delicious grapes, but with the seeds (then!). Now the seedless grapes are available in the Italy, with a large production in Sicily. They are also exported now to New Zealand. We read recently about a special service by the British BBC, about a sudden demand for cactus pears by several countries. To fill the increasing demand, Morocco has em- barked on a massive program to produce large quantities of cactus pears. They have found an area, semi-arid, in the countryside near the town of Sidi Ifni, which has become the Moroccan capital of the "opuntia indica" (the cactus pear's scientific name}. Things are changing rapidly in this area, which boasts an ideal climate. The locals eat the fruit and then feed the left-over to the animals, the hogs, that eat them just like ... pigsl How well I remember the days when I was growing up! Now the plantations around Sidi Ifni have rapidly expanded. The Moroccan government has invested millions to develop over 100,000 acres of land for the produc- tion of this highly requested specialty, both by the internal markets but also by several foreign countries. The demand is not only for the fruit "per se", as a staple, but also from factories that process the cactus pears by breaking it up and using the pulp to make marmalade, while seeds are pro- cessed to produce a special oil to use in beauty products. They need a ton of seeds to make about a liter (more than a quart) of the precious oil for which beauty labs are willing to pay any price. Meanwhile, we learn that the seed oil is an excellent liniment to make the skin stay young, and people look younger then their actual age! (I'm not one of them!). Also, from the fruit's pulp they have extracted an element that has proved to be active against cholesterol. Of course, we see that very little, or nothing, is wasted, for whatever is ready to be discarded is actually fed to, you guessed, the pigs. And so, my friends, don't be scared by the fruit's thorns. The fruit you often find at a supermarket has been totally deprived of its thorns, for they have been removed, mechani- cally, so you can handle them easily. If you happen to be in Sicily, where they grow well, and aplenty, everywhere, don't try to pick any from the thorny leaves. You will get stubbed seriously. Let me say also that the cactus pears are deli- cious when ripe and really tasty. And keep in mind that they are great to keep you young-looking and handsome too. Isn't it great that such goodness can come from a "proletar- ian" fruit? Buon appetito! Editorial (Continued from it is hated by the insurers that will be driven out of business by its subsidy ad- vantage, by the doctors and hospitals that will be forced to accept its below-market rates, and by the taxpayers who will be stuck with the bill. The backlash against ObamaCare is moving be- yond the Tea Parties and has now arrived in state capi- tals. In more than 30 states legislators are proceeding to pass statues or ballot initiatives that would guarantee the right to choose medical services and insurance. Page 3) These laws are generally called Health Care Freedom Acts. If enacted, they will set off a Constitutional I0th Amendment fight over whether there are limita- tions on the powers of the federal government to regulate health care and override the protections in these state laws. Experts on Constitutional law should be consulted before proposing laws that may conflict between fed- eral and state powers. Leg- islators should be advised to their findings before such proposals are enacted into law. Fully Insured Lic #017936 Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 kenskjs @ aol.com The time has come, the walrus said, TO TALK OF MANY THINGS of shoes and Ships and sealing wax of cabbages and kings by Sal Giarratani WORDS OF WISDOM "It is not enough to fight. It is the spirit which we bring to the fight that decides the issue. It is morale that wins the victory." "When a thing is done, it's done. Don't look back. Look forward to your next objective." - General George Marshall TEXAS DUELS OVER GUNS Texas is my second favor- ite state. I've gone down there many times. My nephew and his family live in Austin. Up here in Mas- sachusetts, I am perceived as a right wing conservative but down in Texas, people think I'm a liberal. Not the folks from Austin because that city is the BLUEST city in that big RED state. Re- cently, someone unhappy with answers received in- side the State Capitol de- cided to shoot off his guns on the state's of that build- ing. Anyone can freely enter the State Capitol most of the time carrying bazookers inside their jackets. No metal detectors in sight. Everyone seems to be carry- ing down in Texas which is probably why crime is low. No mugger is going to stick up an innocent pass- erby if he or she thinks they might have a Magnum in- side their coats. Call me a Bay State Lib- eral but I don't think people should be walking around their state house packing firearms no matter how legal this action is down in the Lone Star State. Just imag- ine what would happen if Death Wish met Dirty Harry? CROOKS: THE TV SERIES I think a reality show about dumb crooks could make a great cable TV se- ries. Never underestimate the ability of crooks to screw up a good robbery. Recently, down in Conroe, Texas, a hapless band of nitwits de- cided to rob a jewelry store. The electronics expert set off the alarm and when they all ran from the store the get- away car was locked with the driver snoring inside. Police arrived and arrested them all. Who could make this stuff up? BOB THE MUSIC MAN SHOULD STICK TO MUSIC I love listening to WJIB, The Memories Station, on 740am but recently caught his editorializing on the air about the recent US Su- preme Court decision on fed- eral campaign financing. Before he spoke, he should have known more facts about the case. He appeared to misread what the deci- sion said and meant for the future of campaigning in the media. Foreign corporations are stilled barred from using our airwaves to support can- didates of its choice. This is not at all close to treason as he called it. On an additional note, lwe won't be hearing liberal !Democrats, AARP, AFL-CIO, AFSCME or SEIU complain- ing about this Court deci- ision because they all will :benefit by it too. Corpora- tions like special interest groups or unions are all made up of individuals and individuals do have first amendment rights, don't they? HAPPY BIRTHDAY Belated birthday wishes to Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley who turned a year older this month. MARCH 13th SHANE NOONE FUNDRAISER Bobby D. just reminded me about a fundraiser on March 13 at the K of C Hall in Charlestown sponsored by The Friends of Shane Noone. Noone is undergoing can- cer treatment and proceeds will help with the treatment costs. BRING BACK DOVER STREET When I was growing up in the South End, Dover Street was skid row. The kids like me named these bums "Dovers' after Dover Street. When the South End started getting yuppified, the new people wanted to dump the old name and reputation of the area and got the city to rename Dover Street as East Berkley Street. Now, members of the Old Dover Neighborhood Association want to bring back the name of Dover Street once again. I guess if the neighborhood wins the name change battle, it will be back to the future again. CHEAPEST GAS IN TOWN? Gasoline has been going down again. The other day over on Washington Street at the West Roxbury-Dedharn border, King Petroleum was selling gas at $2.49/gallon. The next cheapes was $2.57/ gallon at the Prime Station in the Wollaston section of Quincy on Hancock Street. News Briefs (Continued from Page 1) St. Monica/St. Augustine Hall on the Sunday before the parade on March 7 at l:00pm. The parade itself will be held on Sunday, March 14 starting at l:00pm. The parade committee could still use more volunteers. If you want to help out, call Tim Duross at 617-269-9266. "Slick ~ Willie" Not Strictly Sinatra Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua dubbed by his crit- ics as "Slick Willie" over his ill-fated fight to hold onto two public jobs at once finally relented after unrelenting criticism from talk radio, especially Howie Carr on WRKO and Michele McPhee on WTTK 96.9. Talk radio started the ball rolling. Be- fore you knew it, Governor Deval Patrick joined in and finally his own base, Oiste, the Massachusetts Latino Political Organization. He finally resigned his state rep seat. Lawrence needs a full-time mayor as it seeks $35 million in state aid to keep the city afloat. The mayor repeatedly stated in the media that he left on his own terms. I'm surprised he didn't walk down the stairs at the State House singing "My Way" like Frank Sinatra. It would appear the only reason he did the right thing was the public outrage growing across the Commonwealth from angry taxpayers. South Boston Conservatives Unite Recently, the Boston Globe did a great piece on efforts in South Boston by political conservatives, Republicans and Independents to gather together for common politi- cal goals. One of the folks in- terviewed by the Globe re- porter at Mul's Diner on West Broadway was Jason Healey, 33, a rather new resident and Republican ac- tivist and an old friend of mine, South Boston, born and bred, who I first met decades ago back during the Anti-Busing movement. !These two guys and others are apparently hatching a new political movement in one of Boston's most political neighborhoods. The South Boston Republicans are also planning a coming out party on March 24 at the Atlantic Beer Garden on the vaterfront. Is Delahunt Running for 8th Term Is US Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Quincy running for an 8th term in the US Congress this year or will he retire from office. Word has it that Delahunt is mulling his de- cision as you read this. Word also has it that if Delahunt decides not to seek re-elec- tion that Joseph P. Kennedy III, son of Joe "4 Oil" Kennedy II might seek the vacant seat. Also mulling a run is Republican Joe Malone who now lives in the District. Recently, the former state treasurer has been seen around and about much more than usual. Bill Delahunt is a friend of mine. During the summer months when Congress is either not in session or on weekends, you can see him huffing and puffing along Wollaston Beach doing his jogging routine. Many times we would nod to each other as we were exercising in op- posite directions. I first met him back when he was a dis- trict attorney. However, be- fore that he served on the Quincy City Council and as a state representative. In 1996, he was elected to the US Congress. Stations of the Cross at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Boston will hold the Stations of the Cross every Friday throughout the Lenten Season at 7PM.