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August 8, 2014

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 8, 2014 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore Sweating Out the Summer, Italian Style by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz This summer has not been one of the hot- test around. I remem- ber last year, when an expansive heat wave made every day feel like a trek through the muggiest of jungles, when the chill of the air conditioner never seemed enough to pre- vent my hair from sticking my to face. On the contrary, this sum- mer so far has con- tained many days of balmy breezes and pleasant temperatures, warm enough to enjoy a drip- ping ice cream cone yet com- fortable for meandering walks outside. Nevertheless, the humid days that we have experienced over the past two months really reminded me of what summer usually feels like. After all, we are in the midst of the so-called dog days! Humid afternoons also remind me of the sum- mer I spent several years ago in Italy, a wonderful time that was also filled with boil- ing hot temperatures. That summer, I learned a lot about the Italian customs and more surrounding sticky summer days, and the fas- cinating folklore behind them. The term dog days refers to the hottest part of the summer, when the star Sirius rises at about the same time as the sun. The star Sirius was represented as a dog, and in fact, the Italian word for the sum- mer heat wave is can/co/a, or Latin for "small dog." Accord- ing to folklore, the official dog days last from July 3rd to August 11th, though accounts vary. For the ancient Egyp- tians, the star Sirius proved a welcome sight, since it heralded the flooding of the Nile River, which would pro- vide growth and life to the land around it. However, ancient Romans considered Sirius to be an evil and nefarious star, the actual heat. According to supersti- tion, a number of horrible deeds are more likely to hap- pen during the dog days: ill- nesses become rampant, snakes are more likely to bite, people and animals languish under the oppres- sive heat. Thanks to sci- ence, we now know that the dog days have no influ- ence on snakes or illness, but I think it is fairly easy to see why the dog days were looked upon so negatively in ancient times. In the modern world, we associate summer with school vaca- tions, dips in the pool, and lazy afternoons spent sip- ping a glass of ice-cold lem- onade. However, people in olden days had no such luxu- ries or vacations during the summer, and indeed spent the days out on the fields haying under the sweltering sun. That must not have been fun! When it gets realty hot during the dog days here, people tend to turn up the air conditioner• Several years ago, though, i discovered that Italians beat the heat in different ways. While I was visiting Italy, ! discov- ered that many places did not use air Conditioning. The few stores or restau- rants that did advertised the air conditioning with big signs on the windows. Since I was so accustomed to always stepping into freez- ing-cold movie theaters or FUNCTION FA CILITY 1 Please accept sincere condolences, from the Spinelli's family and staff. During this difficult time, we would like to offer our facility at a specially reduced price, for you, your family and friends. SERVED UPON ARRIVAL Coffee, Mini Danish Pastries and Tea Breads BUFFET LUNCHEON MENU Tossed Salad, Assorted Rolls with Butter Chicken, Ziti and Broccoli Alfredo Eggplant Parmigiana Italian Sausages, Onions and Potatoes Above price does not include a 15% Administration Fee and a 7% Mass State Tax. 280 BENNINGTON STREET, EAST BOSTON, MA Telephone: 617-567'4499 J shops in the United States whenever the thermometer went up, it took me awhile to get used to the warmer interiors in Italy. Rea- sons for the more rela- tive rarity of air condi- tioning in Italy vary, from the different con- structions of homes to ecological awareness to cultural norms. It is also less common for Italians to put ice in their beverages. A fre- quently cited reason is that ice gives indiges- tion, but most Italian drinks are so sweet and refreshing that they do not even need ice. These practices are not unique to just Italy, but fairly standard in other European countries as well. So how do many Italians cool off during the summer? Well, during the month of August, lead- ing up to the major Ferragosto holiday, most Italians take a two-week vacation to the beach or mountains. I love this idea of going out to enjoy nature rather than working sluggishly through the hot- test days of the year. During the dog days of summer, I believe that relaxation is the key. Too often we live our lives pre- occupied about minute details and long schedules. These sticky summer days remind us to relax, to take time for ourselves, and to learn about the importance of moderation. You can do as the Italians do, and spend some of the summer days listening to the rolling waves of the ocean or day- dreaming in a shady and secluded mountain hamlet• These opportunities will do more than just grant you a chance to enjoy nature or spend your vacation else- where. They will help you renew your energy and settle your priorities away from the bustling, busy world. Then, we can come back with an invigorating sense of renovation and serenity, powerful enough to beat even the muggiest of the dog daysl Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is a Graduate Student in History at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folklore at I DRIVERS 1 Local-Home Nightly! Boston Dryvan! $18.00/hr & Great Benefits! CDL-A, 1yr. Exp. Req. 855-971-6893 ST. JUDE AND ST. ANTHONY NOVENA May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and for- ever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. St.'Anthony, most loving protector and wonder worker, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. Favor received. A.T.P. by Sal Giarratani Rick Perry Exits Stage This coming November, Texas voters will be going to the polls to elect a new gov- ernor for only the first time in 14 years. Rick Perry took office in 2001 following the election of then-Governor George W. Bush as President of the United States. Texas seems divided over Perry's legacy. Conservatives and Republicans think he's been a great governor. How- ever, Liberals and Demo- crats, not so. The current issue of Texas Monthly's cover story was Rick Perry. Even this magazine -- hardly a conservative publication -- called Perry the best gover- nor in Texas political history but then wonders if that political perspective was best for Texas and its citizens. As a non-Texan with fam- ily in Texas, I know much about Perry both on my own and through my nephew's opinion of his long-time gov- ernor. All one has to do is take a look back to 2000 and then fast forward to 2014. Most Texans have seen an economic growth despite all the bad news America has seen in the last eight years. Texas is still a Red State. Liberal Democrats running for office have a difficult time at the polls. Usually Texas goes Republican. However, as more migrate from other states, Democrats think they see hope. Look at the City of Austin, it is a Blue City in a Red State. Austin Democrats control Austin City Hall and last year passed legislation to ban plastic bags citywide. If you don't bring your own bags to the supermarket, be ready to carry groceries out in your hands. If you go to Targets to shop, you can either carry them in your hands or pay ten cents for a paper bag. Remember only outlaws use plastic. However, Austin Demo- crats rule is still minority rule in Texas because liber- als never give up. This sum- mer Texas has been pretty below normal when it comes to the usual Texas summer heat. Fifteen to twenty degrees cooler than usual at least during my recent Texas vacation. Yet Texas liberals still push global warming. Most Texans see through this liberal (blank) and most Tex- ans think Perry has been good for Texas and its future economic growth. He will be missed because he cared and he was a good leader and motivator for positive growth. You know what they say about when one door closes, another one opens? Is Rick Perry ready for 2016? Can he overcome his dismal show- ing in the 2012 Republican presidential race? He cer- tainly didn't look too presi- dential then. However, 2012 is history. Many believe, myself in- cluded that Perry could be a big player in 2016. He has been showing some incred- ible leadership lately over the issue of the security, or better still, lack of security at our southern border down especially in south Texas where he called out the presi- dent to send in the National Guard to assist the border patrol• In a matchup against Obama, it was Perry who looked presidential• Compare Perry against another run by Mitt Romney or Marco Rubio or Rand Paul, Perry is a real contender. He is still able to bridge the divide between Republican regulars and the Tea Party folks. Republicans can win in 2016 but not by walking back- wards to Romney. Look at the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren seem to have eyes on 2016 despite what either say to the media. I really don't see Joe Biden doing anything. The Republicans need a strong candidate who cari bring the GOP together at the same time it reaches out to dissatisfied Democrats and Independents. I see Rick Perry as a strong candidate in the Republican primaries and as a strong candidate in November 2016. Don't count him out. Boston Harborside ph A. Langone 580 Commercial St. Boston, MA 02109 617-536-4110 Augustave M. Sabia, Jr. Trevor Slauenwhite Frederick J. Wobrock Dino C. Manca Courtney A. Fitzgibbons A Service Family Affiliate of AFFS/Service Corporation International 206 Winter St., Fall River, MA 02720 Telephone 508-676-2454