Thursday, February 28, 2013

A memento of papal history in Milan

Milan, crossroads of travel between Italy and everything north of the Alps, hosted a recently elected pope.

The 1417 election in Constance of...More......

...Martin V, of the powerful Roman Colonna family, brought an end to the schism that had plagued Christendom.

On his way back to Rome, the pope stopped in Milan, and, in 1418, blessed the principal altar of the city's newly begun Duomo (newly begun in cathedral-building terms, that is, almost 20 years earlier).

To commemorate the event, Jacopino da Tradate was commissioned to create this image of the pope (1424).

It is visible in the Duomo's right hand part of the ambulatory...when it's open....

Not quite a "This day in Milan's history,...," but appropriate for today's historic stepping down of a reigning pope, only the second time ever in history (and perhaps the first time willingly).

One point for the first person to know (without looking it up!) who the first was, when and why...O.K., three points for all three!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Pope-ourri of languages

(I do love might have noticed...but this one is a groaner, I admit!)

Are you a language teacher? What do you teach?...More......

French? Italian? German? Spanish? English? Italian? Portuguese? Chinese? Or even Latin?

You're in luck!

The official web site of the Vatican is offered in all these languages!

What better way to study the language in a topical way, regardless of personal religious affiliation, given the current epochal changes in the church.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Springtime inside, snowy winter outside

Outside, little icy flakes are falling heavily to the ground, but in the kitchen springtime blooms fresh and white, profuming the whole apartment, thanks to these hyacinths from a dear friend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hadrian the VIIth, or, Papal Dreams

Upheaval in the papal court? Nuttin' new, there. Some of the most fascinating reading, with twists and turns of plots and plotting is the Oxford Dictionary of Popes by Kelly. Brief bios of popes from St. Peter onwards, with enough material for a thousand novelists.

So it's no surprise that, when Pope Benedict XVIth announced...More...

...that he was renouncing the papal tiara, that my thoughts turned to Kelly's book and to Hadrian the VII by Fr. Rolfe.

"This baroque masterpiece by the enigmatic Frederick Rolfe, the self-styled Baron Corvo, is a remarkable novel of thwarted ambition and ecclesiastica wish-fulfilment." That from the back cover of the version published by Wordsworth Classics...and the book, "baroque" in the sense of intricately composed, lives up to the promise.


Forewarned is forearmed...more strikes on the way in March

The handy "Department of Infrastructure" web site says it all: a new list of upcoming strikes....More......

MARCH 8 from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.: Trenitalia

MARCH 22 for 24 hours: local public transportation (These 24-hour strikes in Milan usually run along these lines: from 8:30 A.M. 'til 3 P.M., travel possible 'til 6 P.M., when the strike starts up, again, and continues until the end of service. Hours vary in each city.)

MARCH 25 from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.: Trenitalia (again)

APRIL 8 for four hours to be arranged locally: public transportation (again, but only one union currently is listed as participating, so the strike may not be a total shutdown of service...but I wouldn't count on it).

This far in advance, there is a chance that the strikes will be cancelled...but usually at the last minute, so it's still difficult to make plans. Or make them, then change them back.

I hardly can say my usual "Enjoy!," can I?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Some fashion advice on the eve of Women's Fashion Week, Milan, Feb. 20-26, 2013

Tip #1: The higher the...More......

...heel, the shorter the step...otherwise you galumph.

Tip #2: The higher the heel, the longer the hemline...otherwise you look like a lady of the night (unless that's what you're aiming at, of course)

Tip #3: Your shoes should never be lighter than your nylons...otherwise your feet look like summer, while your legs look like winter. It jars.

Want to watch some of Milan's fashion events, but don't get Italian channels on your T.V.?

Go here for some clickable screens that will be active during that week...the site's even in English.


Monday, February 11, 2013

I have just made a corporate decision...

...I'm not going out to get the groceries this morning, after all.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Second Food and Wine Festival in Milan, February 9-11, 2013

Like to sip choice wines, munch on scrumptious food and melt over heavenly desserts?

Milan's second "Food&Wine Festival" is for you!

Over 400 carefully selected...More......

...wines from 125 wineries can be tasted at will for the Euro 30 entrance fee.

20 famous chefs and 25 renowned dessert chefs will tempt you with tasty yummies for Euro 10 a serving.

Where? At MiCo, Via Giovanni Gattamelata, 5 (the area of the old in-town convention center).

When? Saturday, from 1 P.M. to midnight; Sunday from 11 A.M. to 10 P.M.; Monday from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. (tickets on sale until 1 hour before closing).


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Good news...bad news (maybe)

Let's get the (perhaps) bad news out of the way: I just heard that there will be a protest, today, in the area between Piazza Cavour and via Palestro. That means traffic snarls and snarls in traffic. 'Let the driver beware.'

Now, for the fun stuff. Milan's Mardi Gras...More...... almost here (our religious calendar--older than that of Rome by about four centuries!--is often a bit out of whack with the Roman one): "Fat Saturday" is on the 16th of February.

Streetside fun for all the family in town for days before and after, too. Parades, clowns (from the 13th to the 16th, there'll even be a clown festival!), kiddies running around in costume throwing confetti at everything that moves, and some smart alecs with a fast trigger on shaving cream cans (but, so far, I haven't seen them ruin the clothes of anyone except their friends).

The activites will be focused on the piazzas Duomo, San Fedele, Carlo, Fontana and La Scala.

"Innamorarsi a Milano" - "Fall in Love in Milan." Any lovers out there? Valentine's Day is on it's way, too, and there'll be some chocolate-y fun in Milan! From the 8th to the 14th, in via Montenapoleone 6/A, the well-known Italian chocolate kisses with a nut in the center, the "Baci Perugina", have a temporary store where it will be possible not only to buy a special edition of the yummies, but have the packages personalized, too.

Let the Kisses and confetti rain!


Monday, February 4, 2013

A picture worth 0.0001 words

Sometimes my quickly drawn pictures are a big help in our ESL-English as a Second Language classes...

...and sometimes they're not (but they're good for a laugh!).


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Den of ubiquity

Great! You're finally in Italy. You've tried for so long to get here.

And now you've got a run in your nylons....More......

No problem, right?


If you're used to the U.S. system of rating nylons in summer weight, sheers, regular nylons and tights, you're in for a surprise.

Ain't nuttin' like that on the Italian shelves. Anywhere.

And there ain't no samples to feel, either. Well, usually.!

The first thing to look for on a package of nylons (called "collant," pronounced French-style without the final "t") is the big number followed by the abbreviation "den"...for "density."

The next is to get an idea of what these numbers mean.

"20" is regular nylon density, anything lower is a kind of sheer, while anything higher is a kind of "tight." "30" is a kind of regular tight, while "40" is more like a heavy tight, and "50" are as heavy as clinical compression stockings.

And now you know.

Friday, February 1, 2013

How I spend my about you?

One of my favorite bloggers, the Suburban Matron, put up a pie chart about her daily activities, and that inspired me to hunt up a free pie chart generator online for which you don't have to register to use. Here's my chart!

The one I liked best was


Besides the fact that it's really easy to use and gives handy info (such as the pixel size of it's three size choices and the HTML color codes of the easily clickable colors), it also allows you to give a title to the graphic (surprisingly, not all I tried did!), it gives a really sweet clean little image, and, finally, it has lines drawn to the pie chart sections. Not all of the baker's dozen of sites that I tried do that. It makes it easier to read the chart.


Little niggling things: (1) if you want to pre-calculate in percentages so that the total is one hundred, you have to keep track of the total, yourself; (2) the number values are not automatically inserted into the graphic, if you want them, you have to put them into the item titles, (3) it's not possible to save the chart as a file, or get the chart as a graphic, but that's easy to solve doing a bit of copying, cutting and pasting, (4) the title line boxes are not self-limiting in length, so if you put in a title that is too long, it just gets cut off--but that's a niggling point because it's easy to edit and re-generate the graphic.

How can I justify spending more than 2 precious hours doing this, this morning?

Why...for its potential for my ESL-English as a Second Language classes, of course!

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