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September 28, 2012     Post-Gazette
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September 28, 2012

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Page 12 ", POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 Ray 15arron's 11 O'CLOCK NEW5 Wow! America's pets are even more prone to obesity than its human residents. An estimated 60 percent of domestic cats and dogs in the U.S. are obese or overweight, and are thus at increased risk of diabetes, joint and mobility problems, and shortened life spans. Reminder! Obesity is surplus gone to waist. Great! The percentage of Americans who smoke has fallen from 20.4 percent in 2008 to 18.9 percent today -- the lowest ever. That drop followed a big hike in federal taxes on cigarettes to $1.01 a pack. It takes most men about two years to com- pletely quit smoking cigarettes and twice as long to quit bragging about it. A Chinese company plans to build the _r[Ls tallest skyscraper in just three months in China's central-Hunan province. Broad Group, best known for making air con- ditioners, says its tower will be 2,749 feet tall -- 33 feet taller than Dubai's Burj Khalifa -- and will be made of prefabricated blocks that connect like Lego bricks. Dinner with class! 52% of registered vot- ers say they'd rather have President Obama at their homes for dinner than Mitt Romney. 33% say they'd prefer dinner with Romney. Asked which candidate they'd rather have as "captain of a ship in a storm," 46% chose Obama and 43% chose Romney. Strictly for the dogs! Dogs really may be man's best friend -- ranking even higher than our fellow humans in empathy. British researchers found that dogs responded most strongly to people who cried, submissively nuzzling and licking the crier -- the canine version of offering comfort -- whether they knew the person or not. The better a dog responds to human emotion, the more likely we are to give the animal food and shelter -- and ensure that the pet's genes are passed on to the next generation. According to Kyle Waters of Swampscott, "A dog is smarter than some people. It wags its tail and not its tongue." Life is good these days for the owners of pet funeral homes, said Eric Spitznagel in Bloomberg Businessweek. Pet funerals were rare a decade ago, but today the industry is "growing by leaps and bounds," with some 700 funeral homes, crematories, and cemeter- ies throughout the country. "If you're in this business right now," said Tom Flynn, presi- dent of a pet funeral home in Pennsylvania, "you're just sailing with the wind right at your back." Bob Walczyk, who owns funeral homes for both humans and pets in Green Bay, Wis- consin, said his pet funeral sales have risen by a staggering 524 percent since 2003, and that pet owners' devotion often knows no bounds. When "I tell them how much it is to cremate their grandfather, it's never cheap enough," he said. "But when the exact fam- ily brings their dog next door, they don't even ask about money." Huh? The share of Americans I/ho cor- sider themselves lower clasps -' frown, a quarter of the population ir years' ago to just under a third today, according to polling by the Pew Research Center. The wealth gap between the richest Ameri- cans and the average family has more than doubled over the past 50 years. In 1962, the top 1 percent had 125 times the net worth of the median U.S. household. By 2010, they had 288 times more. The noted philosopher Steven Sebestyen, says, "The easiest way to live within your income is to have a big one." And according to his astute and attractive wife Theresa, "Be kind to people until you make your first million. After that, people will be kind to you." Sit to pee: Taiwan's government wants me to sit down to urinate in the interest of cleanliness. The country's Environmental Protection Administration has directed local governments to put up signs in public restrooms requesting that men sit, so they are less likely to leave a mess. "We want to learn from Japan and Sweden," said the EPA's Yuan Shaw-jing. "In Japan, we heard 30 per- cent of the men sit." A Swedish political party recently published research showing that men empty their bladders more thoroughly while sitting. Well, should we also re- quest men here in the O O O U.S. to take a , seat? The latest beach accessory in China is the "face-kini" -- a full head mask that ensures that wearers go home without any trace of a tan. In China darker skin has traditionally been associated with outdoor labor, while pale skin indicates aristocratic status, so the new mask is proving to be popular. The face-kini's manufacturer promises that the face-kini will not only keep beachgoers pale, but also protect them from "insects and jellyfish." And so farewell to the great funny lady Phyllis Diller. Yes, we are one of her many, many fans. The legendary comedian died at her Brentwood, Calif., home on August 20 at age 95. Her beloved son Perry says his mother had suffered a couple of small strokes, "so we knew her health was failing. She wanted to be cremated, which has already been com- pleted, and her ashes will be spread along the Pacific Ocean where her boyfriend Robert Hastings' ashes were spread by his family when he died some years ago." In brief, Phyllis was married two times -- second time to actor Ward Donovan -- and had six chil- dren from first husband Sherwood Anderson Diller. "I've had so many things done to my body," Phyllis once joked, "that when I die, God won't know me." Charlotte Holicker, a local person, used to create jokes for Phyllis and we were friends. Charlotte's husband Joe is a musician and we once worked together. Pay attention! Chocolate lovers now have a new reason to indulge -- cocoa can improve your memory, say experts. For the study, Italian researchers had 90 seniors with mild memory loss drink dairy-based cocoa daily for eight weeks. The drinks contained high, medium and low levels of flavonols, which are plant compounds found in cocoa products, grapes, red wine and apples. The more flavonol-rich the cocoa, the more brain func- tion improved, including memory. Heart health and blood pressure also improved for cocoa drinkers. This just in! Scientists have made a dis- covery that could lead to the first effective, hormone-free birth control pill for men. In early studies, researchers found a molecule that rendered male mice reversibly infertile -- without putting a damper on their sex drives. "There has not been a new revers- ible contraceptive for men since the devel- opment of the condom, centuries ago," noted Dr. William Bremner of the University of Washington in Seattle. Wee bit of useless information! Venetian blinds were invented by the Chinese. The most common name for a town in the United States is Fairview. The White House was originally grey, It was burned during the War f 1812. and later rebuilt and painted white cbr the smoke stains. Three out of four Americans like to doodle. And Albert Einstein never wore socks. We once collaborated with the distin- guished musicologist Albert Natale in creat- ing a list of Italian American singers who captivated the country with their voices from 1956 to 1958. The Italian American singers are Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Vic Damone/ Vito Farinolo, Frankie Lane/Francesco Paolo LaVecchio, Mario Lanza, Tony Bennett/ Anthony Benedetto, Enrico Caruso, Russ Columbo, Louis Prima, AI Martino, Dean Martin, Joni James, Julius LaRosa, Lou Monte, Don Cornell, Johnny Desmond and Bobby Darin. Some of their hit songs: "That's Amore," "Volare," "Mama," "Angelina," "Mala Fem- mina," "Eh Compare," Pepino the Italian Mouse," "Piove," ."Al di La," Innamorato," and of course, "Vicin' 0 Mare, facimmo ammore." One of my favorite songs is "Vicin' O Mare, facimmo ammore." We play the song on my Baldwin and of course, we immediately think of my beautiful mother and handsome father, the Italian immigrants who came here to start a new life together. Enough said. ACCEPTING Advertisements AMERICA IS A BEAUTIFUL ITALIAN NAME Recipes from the Homeland by Vita Orlando 5inopoli COPYRIGHT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Asparagus Omelet 2 cups cut-up fresh, frozen 1 medium onion (optional) or canned asparagus 1/4 cup olive, canola or 4 beaten eggs or equal vegetable oil quantity of egg substitute Salt Cut up fresh asparagus, wash and par boil or steam in a saucepan. Set aside and dry with paper towel. To prevent dangerous oil splattering, be sure asparagus is dry before placing in skillet with oil. Remove skin from onion. Cut onion in half, and cut each half into 1/4-inch long slices. Set aside Heat oil in skillet before adding asparagus. Fry asparagus slowly for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion to skillet (optional) and fry until onion is slightly browned. Stir frequently. Meantime beat eggs thoroughly in a bowl. Add salt to taste. Skillet should be well heated before gently pouring beaten eggs in a circular motion over the asparagus/onion mixture. Lower burner. Using spatula, lift mixture slightly. Tip skillet, allowing beaten eggs to slowly drain under the asparagus. Repeat this process on opposite side of skillet until only small portions of the eggs remain on top. Gently shake skillet over burner to keep mixture from sticking to bottom. Carefully slide the mixture onto a platter. Return the mixture face down into the skillet. Fry slowly until all of the eggs have cooked. Slide omelet care- fully from skillet onto a platter for serving. VARIATIONS" In place of asparagus, use cut-up green peppers, vinegar peppers, potato pieces, ham, or frankfurters. Cheese of choice and/or mushrooms can be added to the omelet. Another option is to scramble all the ingredients in the skillet after adding the beaten eggs. Stir until beaten eggs cook thoroughly. NOTS: Omelets or "Frittati," as my mother called them, were frequently prepared during my childhood. My favorite high school lunch was a pepper and egg (omelet) sandwich. Now that I realize what a strong aroma the pepper and egg omelet has as a sandwich I often wonder what my classmates thought when I opened my brown lunch bag Vita can be reached at voswriting @comcast; , . 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 PERCH available on AMAZON.COM and in local bookstores -- ask for Hard cover #1-4010-9805-3 ISBN Soft Cover #1-4010-9804-5 1SBN POST-GAZETTE EAST BOSTON SATELLITE OFFICE is NOW OPEN MARIE MATARESE 35 Bennington Street, East Boston 617.227.8929 TUES. 10:00 A.M. - 3.00 P.M. THURS. 11:00 A.M.- 2:00 P.M. General Advertisements * Sales and Rentals Memorials * Legals ADVERTISING WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE I