Felice Anno Nuovo!
I trust the Anno Nuovo's going well.
Seems like a long time ago that a few Wildcats got together at Cucina Vivace in Arlington (Crystal City), VA on 2 Janary
We had a great time...and absolutely squisto food. Chef and owner Gordon Vivace outdid himself! And, we more or less
had the entire ristorante to ourselves. Here's the motley crew:
Left to right: Scott Truver 68, Patsy Schultz 69, Gordon,
John Jaffe 66, Deb Sigman 69, Steve Rann 67 (behind
Deb), Jim McGhee 68, Susan De Palma Ulfelder 67,
Buddy Heiman 65, and Tim Hendrickson 66.
(We missed you, Eric "Haircut" Christenson 66, Cindi
Christenson, and Suzan Harjo 62!)
And, a delightful irony: we learned that Gordon was born in Napoli on 1 Gennaio 1967.
So, we celebrated his birthday, too, and made him an honorary FSHS Wildcat.
If you're in the DC/Northern Virginia area and want great Italian fare, give Gordon a call:
703-979-7676 /// www.cucinavivace.com
And don't forget to mention the Napoli/FSHS connection! He's one of us...sorta.
Speaking of the Anno Nuovo Celebration in Napoli...
Ugo Skubikowski (FSHS 67 / firstname.lastname@example.org) sends this:
Good news from Naples New Year: no deaths, only 114 injured from illegal fireworks, including a man with
"ustioni ai genitali, al pene e allo scroto". What was he trying to light?
News of a Demolition is Premature...
Last FSHSGRAM I included a note that the FSHS building on Via Manzoni had been condemned. Not so, according to Ugo:
One correction: old FSHS is not condemned (they don't do that in Italy). It was bought by the nearby Fatebenefratelli Hospital--where
if we had class on that side of the building, we could watch the hearse pick up the body--and it will become part of the hospital after renovation.
Reston Reunion Plans...
Theresa Dickie Branscome (FSHS 78 / email@example.com) alerts us of an upcoming Overseas Brats reunion in Reston, VA, 5-8 August.
"I'm trying to see if there's any interest in having a Naples group." The URL for the event is:
More to come, I'm sure!
FSHSWACD Updates Attached...
I've attached the Word file of the January 2010 "edition" of the FSHS Wildcats Alumni Database. I'll follow up with the Excel file, which
Pat Carter Bryant (FSHS 68 / firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains; this allows you to sort the information according to the various fields,
e.g., by class year. The Word file has the information in chronological order in which I receive it. We update both variants of the FSHSWACD
on a quarterly basis.
We have 457 Wildcats represented in the FSHSWACD (starting with retired USN Admiral Stewart Ring, the FIRST FSHS Graduate, 1952),
but my FSHSGRAM distro list has about 1,200 email addresses. So, there's a ton of FSHS/NAHS people out there who aren't on the
FSHSWACD. The "notional record" is at the end of the Word file, and we'd welcome getting you in the database.
Also, if there any changes needed to existing records, please send to me. We'll get to them in time for the next update in April.
James Dillon (FSHS 73 / email@example.com) has suggested posting both variants of the FSHSWACD on his FSHS Blog:
Instead of my sending out updates as attachments in separate emails, I'd post them to the blog
and will let you all know that the new updates have been posted. You can then go online to the blog and download.
Let me know what you think. I'll do it one way or t'other.
So, thanks from the FSHSWACD/FSHSGRAM Editorial Staff!
That's about it for 24 January. If you have FSHS/NAHS-related news, please send. I'll work into next FSHSGRAM,
FSHSWACD Word file attached; Excel file to come. And, Napoli News appended below.
Scott T 68
Buffalo Mozzarella Discovered to Have Cow's Milk
Scandal in Italy: Cheese, Made From Water Buffalo's Milk,
Was Watered Down
By ANN WISE
ROME, Jan. 20, 2010
Scandaloso!" Italians were upset to discover that their favorite mozzarella cheese -- Mozzarella di Bufala, made from buffalo's milk -- was being watered down with cow's milk.
Traces of a toxic chemical were found in the milk used for the cheese.
Widely recognized as the best, buffalo mozzarella is made only in central Italy, in the area between Naples and Rome, and only using the rich milk of the Asian water buffalo. A government sampling of cheeses across Italy revealed, however, that 25 percent of the cheeses tested also included milk from dairy cows -- less expensive, but also less rich.
On Tuesday, the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Luca Zaia, suspended the president of the consortium of buffalo mozzarella producers and replaced him temporarily with a commission to guarantee the quality of the cheese. Even he had watered down his cheese.
"I placed the consortium under the appointed administration after inspections found that even the consortium's president was watering down his buffalo milk with cow's milk," Zaia said.
"In November, controls made in leading supermarkets found that 25 percent of the cheese sold as buffalo mozzarella was fake because it contained 30 percent cow milk."
Zaia said the cheese is perfectly safe and good to eat, but it does not live up to the rigid standards for the product.
The head of the consortium, Luigi Chianese, vigorously denied diluting his buffalo milk, and said that the results of the tests had to be confirmed. He said it was "inconceivable" that 25 percent of buffalo mozzarella was found to contain cow's milk.
"What consumers are putting on their tables is real buffalo mozzarella," Chianese told the ANSA news agency. "This is just an administrative matter that has no repercussions for people's health."
But Zaia said that he wanted "to apply zero tolerance for those who are fraudulent in commerce, or who, in any case, deceive consumers."
"Over the past two years my zero tolerance policy has led to the discovery of many causes of food fraud," he said.
"The news of the discovery of buffalo mozzarella watered down with cow's milk is "gravissima" - very serious, "because it concerns a traditional product of our country," Silvia Basotto, the head of nutrition safety for a citizens' rights group told ANSA. "It is inadmissible."
Cherished by cheese connoisseurs, the Mozzarella di Bufala, like many other traditional Italian products, is protected with a special Protected Designation of Origin label, which is meant to guarantee its quality. Buffalo milk is much richer than the milk of dairy cows, and the mozzarella made from it is distinctly different from cow's milk mozzarella. The typical big ball of buffalo mozzarella has a thin rind and a delicate, slightly sour taste, and produces a milky liquid when cut.
How the Asian water buffalo came to Italy is still a matter of debate, but the most credible theory is that they were introduced to the area around the year 1000 by Norman kings who brought them from Sicily. They may have been introduced there by Arab traders.
The sight of these black-horned buffalo in the lowlands of central Italy often surprises modern visitors, who associate them with India or Thailand. But in the 12th century, the Italian coastal plains were swamplands, perfect for raising buffalo. They were used to pull plows through the waterlogged soil before they were used for their milk.
Zaia's move to protect the Mozzarella di Bufala is just the latest blow to this traditional cheese, which is also a prime ingredient in Neapolitan pizza (also protected - with a Guaranteed Traditional Specialty label.
In 2008, tests at hundreds of mozzarella plants showed that the cheese was being produced with milk that contained dangerous levels of dioxin, and mozzarella sales plunged. Last year, police found that some farmers in the area had given the buffalo a human growth hormone, somatropine, which is legal in the U.S. but not in Europe.
Authorities continue to keep a close eye on the Mozzarella di Bufala -- which is why Italy is going through the latest culinary scandal.
After Hours: Champs Elysees, Licola, Italy
By Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes
Stars and Stripes Scene, Sunday, January 10, 2010
There's nothing Parisian about the Champs Elysees.
Well, not when we're talking about the pastry shop and coffee bar by that name in the Naples, Italy, suburb of Licola, that is. Neither the name nor the lighted Eiffel Tower sign that serves as a beacon have anything to do with the famed street in Paris, the owner maintains.
The Champs Elysees prides itself on traditional and authentic tastes of Neapolitan confections - from its in-house-made pastries and cakes, to its ice cream, coffees and Happy Hour finger foods.
“We pay special attention to detail and tradition,” said owner Pasquale Piazza. “We strive to maintain the Neapolitan tradition.”
Started in 1991, the locale touts itself as a pastry shop, grill, ice cream shop and coffee bar.
The pastries and cakes are made on site daily by bakers with years of experience in the art of creating flaky sfogliatelle and rum-filled baba that beckon diners from behind the glass-encased rows and rows of desserts, Piazza said. During the recent Christmas holidays, Champs Elysees bakers also capitalized on two of Naples' holiday traditions: They created the famed presepe, or nativity scene, using traditional Italian Christmas sweet sponge cake called pandoro.
“While we are very traditional, we also do try to be creative,” Piazza said, laughing.
This is a place that locals frequent frequently, evident by the cars packed into the parking lot and the throng of parched patrons bellying up to the bar at peak hours for either an aperitif or a shot of the liquid drug Italians call espresso.
The clientele - including the stray dog or two that wander in - come to hang out, relax and have a good time. The gamblers can try their hands at slot machines or the occasional poker game - provided you speak some Italian.
The bar/pastry shop/ice cream parlor hosts a Happy Hour from 6:30 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m. daily except Sundays, during which the parade of finger foods such as bite-sized pizza, fried mozzarella sticks and breaded potato balls are free with the purchase of alcoholic drinks.
During the holidays, the seating area is filled with gift boxes for sale. Many include a smattering of items that capture the period in time, Piazza said, when poor Neapolitans, still wanting to exchange gifts with friends and family, did so with baskets filled with salamis, dried hams and dried beans like lentils.
Location: Via San Nullo 92, Licola, suburb of Naples.
Directions: From the Naples Tangenziale (bypass), take the Licola exit. Follow road signs toward Licola. You can't miss the yellow sign. Parking is paid to an attendant, about 1 euro.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 2, 3, 4 a.m., whenever the last customer leaves.
Constitution Center to present Roman exhibit
By Stephan Salisbury
Inquirer Culture Writer
The ancient Rome of gladiators and senators, conquering armies and slaves, togas and helmets will be the focus of the next exhibition at the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia.
"Ancient Rome & America," which will run Feb. 19 through Aug. 1, will consist of more than 300 artifacts and artworks from lending institutions in Florence, Rome, Naples, and 40 U.S. institutions, said David Eisner, the center's new president.
The center is curating it with Contemporanea Progetti of Florence and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities in Rome.
The exhibit, which will be shown only in Philadelphia, may mark a shift in the way the Constitution Center mounts exhibitions, Eisner said at a news conference yesterday.
Up to now, the special exhibitions were produced largely by others and were often part of a tour. "Ancient Rome" and the next exhibit in the fall (the subject of which Eisner declined to disclose) will serve as progenitors of what is hoped to be a new era of in-house curatorial creations.
In the long run, Eisner said, "this business model will require us to recoup the cost of exhibitions through sponsorships and other kinds of partnerships."
"Ancient Rome," which Eisner said cost less than $1 million thanks to the largesse and goodwill of lenders, will focus on the parallels and portents embodied by the Roman Republic, the empire, and the Roman decline and fall.
Roman orators and ideas had a profound effect on Washington, Adams, Madison, Jefferson, and their comrades. Artists liked to depict the founders in Roman dress - togas were a favorite - and the founders modeled their oratory on the work of Cicero, the literary stylist and statesman who lived in the first century B.C.
At the news conference at the center, at Sixth and Arch Streets, William Rush's 1817 marble bust of Washington in a greatcoat and draped with a toga was unveiled to demonstrate the exhibition's themes and quality. The bust is on loan from the American Revolution Center.
A wide array of art and artifacts will explore possible parallels between American and Roman culture. Two eagles, one depicting the American symbol of state carved in 1804, the other a bronze Roman rendering probably broken off a military standard, will be shown side by side.
The football helmet of 1970s Eagles great Harold Carmichael will be shown next to a gladiator helmet and four original pieces from the gladiator barracks of a pavilion in Pompeii.
There also will be artifacts excavated from Pompeii, as well as the cast of a man who could not escape the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Slave collars from both societies and Roman works owned and studied by those who crafted the U.S. Constitution will all be on view.
"Our goal," Eisner said, is to lead visitors "to ponder the lessons that ancient Rome can impart to America today."
14 quizzed after anti-Mafia arrests
(UKPA) - Jan 5, 2010
Italian police said that they have arrested 14 alleged members of Mafia clans fighting to control areas near Naples.
Police in Naples said that 11 of the arrests were carried out in pre-dawn raids in the southern Italian city.
Two other men were picked up in nearby towns and one in Bologna, in northern Italy.
The Naples area is home to the Camorra crime syndicate.
The clans are fighting to take control of drug trafficking and extortion rackets in some of Naples's northern suburbs, said Captain Gianluca Migliozzi of the local Carabinieri police. They are charged with Mafia association, illegal possession of weapons and drug trafficking.
Separately, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni confirmed that a bomb blast that damaged a courthouse in another southern Italian city, Reggio Calabria, was the work of the powerful local crime syndicate, the 'ndrangheta.
Maroni said in an interview with financial daily Il Sole 24Ore that he will increase the number of police and improve ties with the judiciary as part of measures to fight the 'ndrangheta.
The blast early on Sunday damaged the entrance of the courthouse.
Italy claims finally defeating the mafia
The Italian government says it is winning the war on organised crime. But can the mafia ever be defeated?
By Nick Squires in Rome
Published: 8:15PM GMT 09 Jan 2010
Of all the meticulously planned police stings, it was one of the most unexpected. When suspected mafia mobster Giuseppe Bastone was arrested by Italian paramilitary Carabinieri, he had been living for six months in a tiny underground bunker.
The subterranean cell was equipped with all mod cons - a refrigerator, a television and a DVD player - as well as the means of escape: a trapdoor hidden beneath a stairway, and a 200 yard long tunnel leading to a concealed exit.
But the 28-year-old fugitive had no time to use either when police burst in his hideout during a lightning raid in August.
His arrest was one of the most high profile of a string of successful actions by Italian police and prosecutors in recent months.
In a mass bust in May, detectives arrested nearly 70 suspected members of the Naples-based Camorra mafia, including one of the country's most dangerous fugitives, Franco Letizia, 31, who had been on the run for more than a year.
In November it was the turn of three brothers - Pasquale, Carmine and Salvatore Russo - to be captured after they were found hiding in anonymous properties near Naples.
All in all, a rogue's gallery of 21 out of Italy's 30 most wanted gangsters have been detained, among them convicted multiple murderers who had been on the run for years.
Now the authorities' success has emboldened the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, to boast that it is scoring unprecedented blows against organised crime.
"If there is a government that, more than any other, has made fighting the mafia one of its clearest and coherent goals, it is my government," he said recently.
His interior minister, Roberto Maroni, has gone further, declaring that the government has declared "total war" against the mafia.
"We have shown that the state is present in Italy and that it has unleashed a total war against the mafia to regain control of national territory.
"The government has worked with Italy's security forces to create a climate in which the fight against the mafia has found new vigour."
In a country where an estimated 130 billion euros a year - nine per cent of GDP - is earned by the mafia from arms and drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution, embezzled EU funds and illegal waste dumping, it is small wonder that the government would want to clamp down. Apart from the notoriety that organised crime brings to Italy, it also costs billions of euros in lost revenue to the state.
But many Italians are wondering why their leaders are risking such extravagant, headline-grabbing claims when most believe that the likelihood of delivering a mortal blow to the mafia's organisation power is so slim.
Police, prosecutors and organised crime experts say the government can have delivered only a temporary setback. Arresting a few godfathers is like cutting the head off a Hydra, they say - others will simply take their place.
"Just because you arrest some top people doesn't mean the mafia goes away," said Felia Allum, a mafia expert and political scientist at Bath University. "They still maintain social and political control of territory in places like Naples and Palermo and Calabria."
In fact, the global economic crisis may even have helped Italy's four distinct mafia groups - Sicily's Cosa Nostra, the Camorra from Campania, the 'Ndragheta of Calabria and the lesser known Sacra Corona Unita in Puglia - to grow in strength, according to some mafia-watchers.
They have taken advantage of the credit crisis to expand their loan-sharking operations and buy legitimate businesses cheaply from owners who have gone broke.
Flush with revenue from drugs, prostitution and extortion, they have ploughed money into everything from supermarkets to car dealerships, offering liquidity at a time when many enterprises are cash-strapped - and apparently making new inroads into cities such as Milan which had been thought relatively free of their influence.
The answer may be that presenting himself as a fearless anti-mafia crusader is a natural vote winner among those who want to believe it, having grown tired of the mafia's apparent invincibility.
It may distract attention from the sex scandals in which he has been caught up during the last year, including claims that he slept with a prostitute at his residence in Rome and that call girls were paid to attend his private parties.
But Mr Berlusconi's government may also want to distract attention from recent allegations that the prime minister himself colluded with the mob.
Last month a jailed mafia hitman claimed in a Turin court that Mr Berlusconi struck a deal with Cosa Nostra just before winning his first term as prime minister in 1994. Gaspare Spatuzza, a mafia pentito or turncoat, said that a clan boss had boasted to him that Mr Berlusconi and his business partner, Marcello Dell'Utri, had "practically placed the country in our hands".
Mr Dell'Utri, one of the prime minister's closest collaborators and a senator in his People of Freedom party, was sentenced in 2004 to nine years in prison for his mafia connections, but is appealing against the verdict. Mr Berlusconi dismissed the claims made by the supergrass as "vile" nonsense.
But allegations that he is closer to the mafia than he would ever like to admit will not go away.
One of his political favourites, Nicola Cosentino, a junior finance minister and a senior official in Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom movement, has been forced to deny claims that he received money from the feared Casalese clan of the Camorra.
Investigating magistrates demanded the MP's arrest on charges of mafia collusion, but last month the application was voted down by parliament, where Mr Berlusconi's governing bloc has a majority.
The greatest risk, however, is that the much-trumpeted clampdown will provoke a high-profile mafia backlash that makes the government of Italy appear even less competent at controlling organised crime than it is. The mafia cannot afford for those who pay it protection money to begin to doubt its grip.
Last weekend came a clear sign that the mafia was beginning to strike back when a powerful home-made bomb, consisting of dynamite lashed to a gas canister, exploded outside a court in the city of Reggio Calabria, on the tip of the "toe" of Italy's boot-shaped peninsula, causing damage to the building but no injuries.
The audacious attack was interpreted as a warning by the 'Ndrangheta to police and prosecutors to scale back their recently stepped-up campaign against the organised crime syndicate, arresting mobsters and seizing cash, cars and property. It was a violent means of "reasserting their supremacy in the area," said a senior prosecutor, Giuseppe Pignatone.
In response to the bombing, Mr Maroni ordered an extra 120 paramilitary Carabinieri and other police to Reggio Calabria to protect judges and safeguard against more attacks.
But it will take more than that to rein in the 'Ndragheta, which in recent years is thought to have overtaken its better-known counterparts in Sicily and Naples. Now regarded as the strongest and most impenetrable of Italy's mafia groups, it is believed to control a billion-pound trade in smuggling cocaine from cartels in Colombia into Europe.
The bombing was a sign of the 'Ndrangheta flexing its muscles, said mafia expert and investigative journalist Roberto Saviano, whose book on the Camorra so enraged Neapolitan godfathers that he now needs 24 hour police protection.
"If they had wanted to, the clans could have blown up all of Reggio Calabria," Mr Saviano told La Repubblica newspaper. "The 'Ndrangheta possesses C3 and C4 (plastic) explosives and dozens of bazookas."
The reality, for all Mr Berlusconi's boastfulness, is that no government is likely to make headway in the fight against organised crime with mere arrests and court cases unless it first tackles the social conditions which are the mafia's recruiting sergeants across Italy's poorer south - unemployment, poverty and lack of economic growth.
That, at least, is the view of academics like Miss Allum. "There needs to be a concerted effort to improve levels of education and remedy the lack of job opportunities in the South, but that's not happening," she said. "The mafia is a virus in society and in the body politic. The question is, how do you get it out?"
Not, it would seem, by making quite such extravagant claims about it.
Vatican confirms existence of possible miracle attributed to Pius XII
Vatican City, Jan 18, 2010 / 02:40 pm (CNA).
The Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, confirmed over the telephone to CNA today that a "presumed miracle" attributed to Pope Pius XII is under investigation. The case involves a patient cured of cancer in southern Italy.
Cardinal Saraiva was quick to caution, however, that there is a big difference between a "presumed" miracle and a "confirmed" miracle.
The case came to the attention of the Congregation for Saints' Causes from the town of Castellammare di Stabia near Naples, Italy. "Some months ago," the local Sorrento & Dintorni online publication reported on Sunday, a person was discovered to be cured of a form of cancer previously declared incurable after praying for the intercession of Pope Pius XII.
The doctors of the person, of whom no details are public, were unable to give a scientific explanation for the occurrence, according to the article.
According to the same news source, the story was confirmed by Fr. Carmine Giudici, Vicar General of the Diocese of Sorrento, who said, "It's all true." Fr. Carmine said that the Holy See was in contact with the diocese after having been contacted by a local church-goer who says that he or she received a miracle "by the intercession of Pius XII."
"The archbishop then decided to institute within days the appropriate diocesan tribunal."
The existence of the possible miracle was confirmed to CNA by Cardinal Saraiva Martins on Monday afternoon.
The prefect emeritus also said that it is impossible to estimate the amount of time it might take for the process of confirmation to be carried out.
[Speaking of Miracles…]
Woman gives birth to sextuplets in Italy; mother and babies all reported fine
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (CP) - Jan 10, 2010
A southern Italian woman has given birth to sextuplets in the first such case in Italy since 1997.
The ANSA news agency says the babies - boys Paolo and Maurizio, and girls Francesca Pia, Angelica, Annachiara and Serena - are in good condition. The babies each weighed between 610-800 grams (21.5-28.2 ounces, or 1.34-1.76 pounds)
They were born Sunday in the 27th week of pregnancy to 32-year-old Carmela Oliva in Benevento, near Naples.
Father Pino Mele told state-run RAI television he hopes the sextuplets' grandparents help out, saying they're the first grandchildren in the family.
ANSA says it's the first case of sextuplets in Italy since 1997.
Defender Andrea Dossena leaves Liverpool and returns to Serie A with Napoli
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (CP) - Jan 8, 2010
NAPLES, Italy - Defender Andrea Dossena has left Liverpool and signed a four-year contract with Napoli, the Italian club said Friday.
Napoli said it has reached a deal with Dossena through to the end of the 2013-14 season.
Since joining Liverpool in 2008, Dossena scored one goal in 18 Premier League games, also appearing in eight Champions League matches.
Dossena has also played 10 times for Italy and wants to secure a spot in the Azzurri squad for this year's World Cup in South Africa.
Napoli is currently fourth in Serie A.
Dossena previously played in Italy with Verona, Treviso and Udinese.