Friday, January 25, 2008


There you go, as predictable, Prodi's Governament was brought down, because for the failed majority at yesterday's vote of confidence.
Honors anyway to "grandpa" Prodi for not succumbing to the blackmail by Mastella.

As announced, Mastella voted against the Confidence to Prodi, and i already widely commented this in yesterday's post. But why should the other two Udeur Senators (Nuccio Cusumano and Tommaso Barbato) have done the same way?

If the magistrates investigate Mastella (and his wife), and he resign from the office, ok.
If Mastella votes against the confidence to Prodi, because the government didn't unconditionately defend him in his personal war against Magistracy (and how could the Government do it? Making pressure under the table to the magistrates? In which Democratic Country - excepting the case of Berlusconi, the only one in the world sincerely convinced to be above the Law - the Government interferes with the Juridical power to protect somebody?), okay. That Mastella is dishonest we already knew, it's only surprising his astonishment that the rest of the Government is not the same dishonest.

Barbato is held by his colleagues
during his shameful invective against Cusumano
But that the other Udeur Senators have to vote in the same way, well, frankly this is incomprehensible, other than admitting that the move was orchestrated on the purpose to make the Government be brought down. One cannot understand, infact, the logical relation between the presumed hatred of the magistrates against Mastella family and the no-confidence vote of the other two Udeur Senators.

The "Piece of Shit", "Wretched Fag" Cusumano
has a sudden illness after the verbal
and phisical attack of Barbato
And infact Nuccio Cusumano, surprisingly (what a surprise! He's coherent and he keeps the promise he made to the electors to trust the Government!) voted for the confidence, with this declaration: "I choose for the probity, I choose for the Nation, I choose for the confidence to Prodi and his Government" (my translation). But it happens that, at the declaration of vote of Cusumano it followed the violent reaction of Barbato, that insulted him, defining him a "Pezzo di merda" (Piece of Shit) (bonjour finesse) and "Checca squallida" (Wretched Fag) (definitely homophobic), and also standing up and spitting in his face (a move that recalls, maybe, unconsciously, the Mafia rituals).
What a beast!

Those facts have been followed by a measure by the regional Udeur committees of Sicily (region where Cusumano comes from) and Campania (region of Mastella), that left me amazed to the point that i had to read several times the article, to be sure i was not confusing.
I would have expected that in the document, sent to the central Udeur committee in Rome from the regional committees, they asked Barbato's resignment, or, atleast, in some way they dissociate themselves from his violent, vulgar, offensive towards Cusumano (and also disparaging towards homosexual communities and individuals), and anyway not consonant to the dignity of the office of Senator of Republic behavior.
On the opposite, in the document they ask for Cusumano's resignment, because "he does not represent us anymore".
"Cusumano was elected to the Senate because Clemente Mastella, first elected in Campania, opted for Calabria and Cusumano was number two in the Udeur lists in Campania" (Mauro Fabris, Udeur deputy). In this sentence there is the reference to a trick used by Udeur to assign the seats to some candidates even if they don't have the majority of votes.
So much for the electors that ingenuously believed that Cusumano was elected thanks to their vote!

Incredible ;-)
Who could believe that i had the stomach enough strong to do it? In two posts i inserted four photos, all dedicated to relevant exponents of Udeur party. Need to shut one's nose, for the stink, uh?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Clemente Mastella

I read from the text of Clemente Mastella's resignation: "I tried, i believed, i hoped that the break between politics and magistracy could be reassembled, through the dialectic, the confrontation, the dialogue, the point of contact." (Sorry, mr. Mastella, for the translation).

Are those proper words for the Ministro di Grazia e Giustizia (minister of Justice)?
If two worlds are completely independent and there is no interference between each other, as it should be the Governo (Council of Ministers) and the Magistratura (Magistracy), upon the foundamental principles of our Constitution, what does it mean to say that there is a "break" between them? In other words, what is there to "confront", to "dialogue", where do they have to find a "point of contact"? What is the request of the Ministro di Grazia e Giustizia to the magistrates? To close one eye, or maybe two of them, on some episodes that particularily interest Mr. Mastella?

Alessandra Lonardo
The story is easy. Alessandra Lonardo (here her homepage), President of Regional Council of Campania, and wife of Clemente Mastella, is under house-arrest for the crime of extorsion, upon the investigations which involved, besides hers, her husband and several other exponents of Udeur Party.
It is too difficult now to try to judge if Mrs. Lonardo is guilty or not for the crimes she is accused of, i am not able to. And i believe, moreover, that such a task belongs to the Magistracy, and not to an ingenuous blog like this.
I'm not saying that it's not ethical to speak of it, let this be clear, nobody doubts about the importance of freedom of thought. But any word, although intelligent, would be only a gossip, since, thanks heavens, we live in a State of Right, in which it is responsability of Magistracy to find out who infringed the law and who did not.
Of Magistracy, and not of any Dario "ItalianRoots".
And not of the Minister of Justice, even, and above all, if he is the husband of who's accused.

Mastella's resignation from the office of Minister, out of the context, doesn't look to me unappropriate at all. If you are the Minister of Justice and the Magistrates (right or wrong) investigate on you and your wife, it looks me more honest to resign than to stay sitting on that chair.

But even more strange it looks to me that Mastella's wife, under house-arrest, didn't resign at all from the office President of Campania Region. How comes? Minister Mastella doesn't trust Magistracy, and so he resigns, but, instead, President Lonardo doesn't resign exactly because she doesn't trust Magistracy? I don't understand the logic.

Minister of Justice, as any Minister of the Government, does not have authority of judgement, otherwise there would be a conflict of power, which in Italy is, since forever, divided among Legislative (Parliament), Executive (Government) and Judical (Magistracy).

Clemente Mastella
So he doesn't even have responsability of the acts of Magistracy.
Why should then he resign if his wife is accused? It's just like to say, in a game of Monopoly, "Okay, i play till i win, when i start to loose i quit playing". But this is not a game, this is the Law. And Law is (or should be) the same for everyone.
The same for this ingenuous Dario, as for his wife, for the President of Republic and his wife, and also, dear Mister Minister, for the Minister of Justice and his wife. To accept to be investigated for extorsion means to accept to submit to Justice, and so to accept that Law is the same for everone. And if this principle is not accepted but the Minister of Justice himself, then we are really in trouble. I will not regret for sure that Clemente Mastella (onorevole???) that held that office.

But made true that Mastella's resignment is out of any logic, if we see it in the context it was given, it is really difficult not to consider them exploitable. It is really difficult to believe that Mastella, before the resignment, didn't evaluate the political implications of that action. That is that with any probability today the Government will be brought down, because the majority will miss the votes of Udeur, and this will happen before the problem of the electoral law reform will be solved, that dirty trick invented by Berlusconi to favourite Berlusconi himself. Before that the problem of Interest Conflict, that favourite Berlusconi, will be solved.
Infact there are the first gossips that speak about Mastella's turncoat and all his "glorious" party in an acrobatic crossing of the canyon towards the alliance with who, till yesterday, was "the enemy" Berlusconi.

One could even suspect that Berlusconi promised to use his "occult" powers to solve that little family problem of Mr. Mastella, so itchy to Mrs. Sandra, in change of a Government breakdown. And maybe silently the big face of our hero will be seen in the next government on Berlusconi's side.

I finish this post quoting Phaedrus, exactly like Mastella ends up the text of his resignment: "The humbles suffer when the powerfuls fight each other", noticing how, in this case, the demonstration of power is exactly in the blackmail of the resignment. Upon this point of view the meaning of the quotation looks really like an offense to all the (humble) Italians.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ristorante El Barba

From Ponte di Legno, the highway towards Bolzano climbs to the Tonale Pass, which marks the border between Lumbardy and Trentino.
Certainly very enchanting the snowy mountain landscape, during winter, also if overworked by plenty of tourists (mostly from Milan) here for their yearly ski holiday weeks, even if, atleast apparently, they look more busy to show off their fashionable overalls, their expensive ski equipments, and their huge SUV's with all those freaky accessories. Anyway...

The Trentine mountainside, in my opinion, is more picturesque than the Lumbard one (few miles can make the difference). The cableways in Lumbardy are for sure very practical, but from an aesthetic point of view they ruin a little the landscape. The buildings theirselves, in Trentino, are more typical of the environment: stone houses with very sloping roofs, frescos on the walls often show the type of the businesses (brewery, wine bars, hotels...).
Down at the valley floor, just some other miles on the highway and we reach the town of Malè, in the Sole valley, surrounded by the countrysides cultivated with apples and vineyards.
As it always happens, the centre of the village is the square of the Church, surrounded, besides the by Church itself, by the most fancy shops. In particular here we can find the restaurant El Barba.

Linzner torte con Trentino Vin Santo DOC
photo by Rowena
The cookings is refined, the menu vary upon the season and uses genuine products, infact the origin of the main ingredients is reported. Often the vegetables are grown in the garden of the family, while the cheeses and the cured meats come from the malghe (mountain farms) of the Sole and Non valleys, as it happens for the meats and the other offered products.
El Barba has the title of the "Osteria Tipica Trentina" certification, that requires severe checks on strict rules:
- The wine menu must offer atleast 30 labels from the region.
- Grappas, dessert wines and Champagnes must be "Trentino DOC" certified
- Cheeses, cured meats, milk, honey, lake fishes must come from Trentino region.
- Typical products as apples and berries must be present on the menu.
- The furnishing must be consonant to the Trentine traditions.
- The staff must be able to satisfy the any question about the origin and tradition of the dishes.

We had:
- The tris di canederli (three tastings of canederli, a typical gnocchi of this area, offered in the three most common versions), really extraordinary.
- The ravioli di castagne al ragu' di lepre e broccolo romano (chesnut ravioli in hare meat and Roman broccoli ragu), very savoury.
- The costicine d'agnello in crosta di erbe con cipolle alla rustica (lamb chops in a coat of herbs with country style onions). Wonderful the contrast between the sweet of the lamb made precious by the unusual mixture of herbs, and the bitter of the half cooked onions with a liver sauce.
- The scelta di bresaole, speck e lardo della Val Rendena con cavolini di Bruxelles e mele (selection of bresaolas, specks and lards from Rendena valley with Brussels sprouts and apples). Very good the cured meats, in their simplicity, and the combination with the intense bitter of the sprouts, made gentle by the sweetness of the Trentine apples hits the mark.
- The Linzner torte with Trentino Vin Santo DOC.
- Coffee and grappa of Teroldego.
As a wine we had a bottle of Pinot Nero DOC Cantina La Vis. Not bad, even if a little young and not well bodied as i usually like.

Wonderful dinner for 74 euros.

Ristorante El Barba
piazza S. Maria Assunta, 2
38027 Malè (Tn)
Closed on thursdays, never in summer and around Christmas, closed for holidays in November.
Dogs allowed.
Suggested by Ristoranti Veronelli, Ristoranti d'Italia.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Jorge Luis Borges
Imagine a library, made of several rooms identical each other.
Every room is an hexagon. On five of the six walls there are five shelves, each one of those contains exactly 32 books, apparently not organized under any order. So, the total is of 5*5*32 = 800 books every room.
In the middle of the hexagon there is a big mouth for air circulation, bordered with a parapet, that makes the room look more like a balcony. At the lower and higher floor there are rooms identical to this.
In the sixth wall there are the accesses: one door for the bathroom, one for a room where you can rest, one passageway that bring to a room exactly equal at the same floor and one spiral stairway that turn around the room and allows to change level.
Which one of the six is the side of the accesses is potentially different each floor. If for example in one room the access is the western wall, at the upper floor it could be the one at east.
People that live in this library did never see the level ground nor the last floor or the most eastern or western room. Several philosophies has developed for this fact. Some believe in an infinity of rooms, others instead assume a starting point and an end, anyway all focused to the solution of the problem about what is outside the library. It is obvious infact that from the library one cannot go out. The inhabitants of the library infact get birth, grow, get old and die in the library.
The details on the life in the library can be omitted. Just as example, the first questions i asked myself, reading the book, were:
- where do they find food and water to drink? - in the story there is no mention about this problem.
- where do they throw the trash (and the dead people)? - for this it looks like they use the air well. The book describes the high number of suicides, for example, of people that throw theirselves in the deep after the parapet. It's not clear anyway how it is possible that there is not a huge flow of dead bodies and trash coming from the upper floors. Maybe this flow has not been described because not really nice to see.

Also the books, as it is for the library rooms, have a fixed format. Every volume is made exactly of 410 pages, each one of which contains 40 lines, each one made of 40 charactrs. A book, so, can be considered as a sequence of 40*40*410 (=656000) characters. On the spine of the book cover there are some writings, but, atleast by apparence, unrelated to the context of the book itself.

Finally, also the alphabet used for the things written in the book is strictly determined: the available characters are infact 25, including the blank space. Why exactly 25? Well, i imagine that Borges, since he's from Argentina, considered the Spanish alphabet, with which he could write any word, supposing to write numbers in words.

It's clear that a sequence of letters and blanks is equivalent to a sequence of words. And a sequence of words is a story that can be contained in a book in that format. I thought that the limited length of the book doesn't affect the possibility to contain one entire story, because if the story was shorter that 656000 letters, one could imagine the last pages filled with blanks, if it was longer further volumes could be assumed to contain the continuation.

Such a format is enough to contain any story that has ever been written or will ever been written in the future. But it is also up to represent sequences of words without a meaning, as in "aslkhjgop owi lkj fkjhd apoig poi pkj asdlhj glkfj". With no meaning or with a meaning in a different existing language, or in some language that does not exist yet, or that existed in the past. Or a summary of typing error on a sentence with a real meaning.
If the library would contain once all the possible books in this format, it should contain 25656000 of them... I spare you the calculations, the result is a little less than 4.5*10917048, which, in words, is "450 billions of billions o billions..." with the word "billions" repeated 101894 times.
Dividing for the number (800) of the books per room, we obtain the number of the needed rooms in the library, which is clearly a number dreadfully big too. so much that, if compared to the capability of a human, it looks practically infinite.

It is evident that, having such a number of books available, the probability to run exactly into that one that someone is looking for is practically zero. But not only! Practically zero is also just the probability to run into a book that has any meaning, or simply that contains some meaningful sentences hidden in a motley collection of apparently random characters.
Life in the library is all turned to find a sense of it, which is to find a meaning in books, to give a semanthics, or atleast a syntax to a grammatical sequence.

Some tendencies of thought were born in the Library. Particularily fascinating i found the one of those people that refuse the alienation of the books, and throw, as a demonstration act, big amount of them in the well down the parapet. Someone asserts that it is a sacrilege, because it can happen that a book with some meaning is among the books destroyed in that way, but others don't worry too much, because they assert that for any destroyed meaningful book, there are, left in the library, other billions and billions of books that differ only for few letters, as if there was some typing error that do not jeopardize the meaning.
Another interesting philosophy is the one that believes the existence of different rooms or books, that do not foolow the defined rules.
There's infact who spends the entire life looking for a catalog, which is a particular book that explains eventual rules of organization of the other books, and helps them to find any other significant book.
Or that there's a room, instead of hexagonal, circular, instead of books lined up next to each other on the shelters, it contained one only huge book, leaned to the only circular wall. Such a book would have a circular spine but no cover. It would contain the meaning of the Library, but it would be impossible to take it out from the shelter in order to consult it.

This is somehow the resumé, stuffed with interpretations of mine, of "The Library Of Babel", one of the 14 short stories (8 in the first part, 6 in the second), that form the book Ficciones.
It's the one i liked better, for the unreality and simplicity of the paradox, but also for the concrete description of the human anguish, always in a search of a meaning, just like us, real men and women in a real but sometimes incomprehensible world, in the perpetual search of a meaning, whichever it would be, that give a sense to our being in the world.

I found the reading of these stories easy enough, fluent and intriguing, even if, reading somebody else's comments, it assumes a deep knowledge (that i don't have) of the work of some philosophers.

Thanks to charlesblake for the picture i stole

Friday, January 11, 2008

Enoteca Il Covo

A couple of days ago we went, with the excuse to celebrate my birthday, to spend a night at Enoteca Il Covo. Strange excuse indeed, since my birthday was gone already from few days. Well, any excuse is good, for us, since we are very fond to that place.
It is a restaurant, where the cooking is not elaborate, but genuine and always tasty. The menu, different day by day and written on a blackboard well exposed next to the entrance, never misses a good soup, particularily welcome in the cold winter days, pleasant surprise in this type of restaurant.
We chose the "cuori ripieni", a type of ravioli shaped like hearts (cuori), stuffed with ricotta, dressed with mozzarella, Pachino tomatoes, eggplants.
To this plate we followed a board of cured meats of the area, which included a couple of slices for any type of meat: lard, coppa, speck, prosciutto, bresaola.
Obviously the real appeal of this wine-bar is the wine. The wine menu is really large, and it includes also a lot of my favorite labels.
This time we managed to contain ourselves having glasses of wine, instead of draining one entire bottle, as it usually happens.

Excellent the discovery of a wine that i didn't know: the Passo Doble Masi Tupugnato y. 2006, a wine produced in Argentina by the Venetian company Masi, from Malbec grapes with a percentage of parcially dried Corvina rasins.
The very dark red color, almost violet, announce a bodied wine, and the scent does not delude, revealing not too violently the time spent in barrique. To the taste is full-bodied and strong, just a little sour. I could find a taste of liquorice and plum.
A little lower, in my opinion, was the Petit Verdot Casale Del Giglio IGT. It is a wine in purity from Petit Vertot grapes, original from France, but grown in the province of Latina.

As a first tasting we had one glass of Passo Doble and one of Petit Verdot, for the second tasting we adjusted our aim and we had two Passo Doble.

Wonderful dinner, for 37 euros.

It happened some times to be the only customers of this wine bar. In these occasions the host loves to chat. When we asked him if we could signal the restaurant for a mention by SlowFood, he answered that he doesn't have any ambition to enlarge too much the business. In his view, if somebody happens to enter the place for the first time and he is satisfied, he will be welcome whenever he comes back, and he's happy enough.
To preserve this philosophy what i can do is to suggest you all not to go ;-)

Il Covo
Enoteca Con Cucina
Via C. Cavour, 28
23875 Osnago (Lc)
Closed on tuesdays, long holidays in summer.
Dogs welcome.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Trattoria Da Giusy

Climbing from Ponte di Legno towards Tonale Pass, there is soon the turn into the road to Gavia Pass, and after few kilometers the turn to Localita' Pezzo, and here, after some hairpin bends uphill, you arrive to the center of the village, where the restaurant Da Giusy is well signaled.
The environment is very familiar, a young man and a girl wait at the table, children of Mrs. Giusy, who works in the kitchen. The place looks more like an alpine refuge than a restaurant, infact they serve really simple traditional courses, with full and sincere tastes. The typical cooking exalts the flavors of this area, the portions are very generous.
My wife and I were satisfied by a plate of gnocchetti "Buongustaio" (kind of pasta) with vegetables and pancetta, an orzotto (risotto made out of barleycorn instead of rice) with porcini mashrooms: not bad indeed, a wonderful horse steak, huge and very tasty, with spinach, and a simple fresh salad. Water and half a liter of Valtellina Superiore loose red wine washed down the meal, ending up with a good expresso coffee. All this for 40.75 euros. It was not possible to go out without honoring the offer to taste the digestive, choosen among a large set of bottles of homemade liqueurs (excellent the Genepy), "And if the police stops you..." says the waiter at my concern about the alcoholic rate in my breath, "...tell them that you had dinner at Giusy's, and they won't give you any ticket!"

Trattoria Da Giusy
Via Ercavallo, 39
Localita' Pezzo
25056, Ponte di Legno (Bs).
Dogs not allowed.
Suggested by SlowFood.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy new year!

Here i am to say happy new year to everybody, after some days missing.

Around Christmas, we spent some days between Adamello park and Stelvio park, with some time spent to Trentino too, visiting Christmas markets, hikings, restaurants and nights spent in the warmth next to the crackling fireplace.
We found wonderful weather, even if very cold (enough to find, at the arrival, the water pipes clogged with ice untill the day after - fortunately the heater plant was well working!).
We spent Xmas Eve at home. Since in Italy it's custom to eat fish, we honored the tradition with a wonderful bagna caoda cooked by the wifey. For who doesn't know, it is a sauce made out of anchovies, garlic and olive oil, presented boiling in special bowls under which a candle is burning. The sauce is collected soaking vegetables (row or steamed). Although technically it is a fish course, the strong taste of bagna caoda draw an enough full-bodied red wine. We matched it with a Nero d'Avola Rapitalà.
We spent also Christmas dinner at home, and also in that occasion R. gave vent to her gastronomical art, cooking a wonderful polenta with gorgonzola cheese, simple and country, but savoury and well matching the mountain environment. Matching with a good Chianti.