What's so bad about Friday the 13th? Well, what's so unlucky about the number 13? It's largely a modern, Western superstition, merging suspicion about Fridays and the number 13, which once concocted, felt ancient. Some give credit to the Thirteen Club, formed in 1881 or 1882, who flaunted so-called cursed actions, breaking glasses with abandon. Meanwhile, Martes Trece, or Tuesday the 13th is bad luck in Spanish speaking countries, and it's an ominous date for Greek history as Constantinople fell on the specific date in 1204, while Friday the 17th is a national day of sfortuna, or bad luck, in Italy. [more inside]
How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained.
Isabella Rossellini's daughter Elettra has a witty, attractive food/recipe blog where she shares a customizable pasta dish her grandfather, the iconic director Roberto Rossellini, used to make.
"Ancora Tu" is an Italian phrase roughly translating to "You Again". It's also the name of a classic 1976 pop song by Lucio Battisti and Mogol. [more inside]
The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
Ettore Sottsass was an industrial designer who was born in Innsbruck, Austria. Famous for his My Valentine typewriter design and his geometric enamel designs. [more inside]
Suspended in Void - a lovely collection of Italian ex votos depicting people who survived falls under the watchful eye of the Virgin Mary. Previously: a larger collection of ex votos from various cultures. (Via Heading East)
Enzo Jannacci, a father of Italian rock and roll, jazz musician, actor, writer, comedian, and doctor had a 50+ year career in Italy. He died yesterday of cancer at the age of 77. His biggest hit song, 1968's Ho Vista un Re (I Saw a King), written by the 1997 Nobel Prize winner for Literature Dario Fo and Eugenio Esposito, was banned on RAI TV and radio, due to its subversive lyrics. Jannacci performed and worked until illness forced his retirement in 2011, though still beloved by Italians of all ages.
GlamourFilter: Opening Night at La Scala. Pictures from La Scala's opening nights, dating through the fifties and sixties. (Main story here, slideshow here, those links in Italian, but easy enough to figure out for non-speakers.) Pictures of Callas, Toscanini, Princess Grace, Dick and Liz, and many more, all looking impossibly fab and glamourous. (Via the always informative and entertaining Opera Chic.)
Bar Portraits — Dignified gentlemen sit for their portraits in bars and cafes across Italy. Contrast that with The Waste Land, a series of intimate portraits of young intoxicated people, photographed during or after parties, festivals, and raves. Both are portrait projects of Piero Martinello. [more inside]
The Geometry of Pasta. If you click on a shape, on most of them, it tells you a bit of history and recipe suggestions. l Pasta shape names l Recipes l Farfalle (butterflies/bow-ties) with Prosciutto and cream animation. The geography of pasta l The origins of pasta. Glossary. More pasta shapes. [more inside]
For Sale: Rural Italian countryside, Priced to MOVE! A landslide (mud flow?) splits a hillside apart in the southern Italian town of Maierato.
Sung in incoherent pseudo-English, Adriano Celentano's Prisencolinensinainciusol (1973) could be thought of as an early example of rap.
This is just too charming and endearingly goofy to miss: Renato Carosone's Tu Vuo' Fa' L'Americano (You're Acting All American). See also: O Sarracino, Torero and Maruzella.
"I've hidden myself and covered myself for too long. Now I want to show myself fearlessly, even though I know my body arouses repugnance. I want to recover because I love life and the riches of the universe. I want to show young people how dangerous this illness is." French Comedienne Isabelle Caro, 27, an anorexic who weighs just 68 pounds, was displayed on Milan billboards (NSFW) for fashion designer Nolita as the city celebrated fashion week. The prevalence of eating disorders within the fashion industry have only recently been addressed officially, however Georgio Armani has complained that since Caro isn't a model herself it proves "even people who take no notice of fashion get anorexic."
Alberto Sordi, one of the greatest italian actor of all times, died today. Just wanted to let all the italians around the world without .it TV access know. He'll be so incredibly missed.