Friday, November 27, 2015

Josephine Pullare Terranova

Josephine Pullare Terranova (April 21 1889 - July 16, 1981)was born in San Stefano, Sicily but immigrated to New York City with her widowed mother.  After years of sexual abuse at the hands of her aunt and uncle, she stabbed them to death and was brought to trial on double murder chargesl. 

But the trial itself took an absurd turn when she was put through a battery of tests to see if she was sane enough to stand trial for murder.  The experts shot electricity through her body, jabbed needles into her cheeks, hit her ankles with steel and dropped rocks on her toes.  She pleaded with them to let her return to the Tombs.  She was steadfast in declaring she was neither crazy nor afraid.  Many New Yorkers were horrified at what the young teenage girl was made to endure.

The jury acquitted her in what was widely regarded as an act of jury nullification. She later moved west and finally settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, allegedly with the financial assistance of William Randolph Hearst.

The case was a major and sensational news story at the time, leading to a widespread public debate on the proper role of psychiatric expertise in judicial proceedings.  It was largely forgotten until the appearance of a 2004 article in the Western New England Law Review by Brown University Professor Jacob M. Appel.

Here is what the original article in The New York Times on February 24th, 1096 reported right after the crime took place:


Friday, November 20, 2015

Italian Etiquette

When meeting people for the first time it is appropriate to wait to be introduced. You will generally be introduced to the oldest person first followed by the women.

The exchange of business cards is a common practice when first meeting someone. Status is important in the Italian culture and it is common to list any titles and/or education degrees you hold on your business cards.

When greeting someone a handshake accompanied by a "Pleased to meet you" is appropriate. When departing be sure to shake everyone's hand, a general group wave as is often done in the United States is not looked on favorably.

An "air kiss" is an appropriate greeting once you have established a relationship with someone.

Italians stand much closer to one another than Americans do and it is common for men to walk down the street arm and arm and also women to walk down the street arm and arm.
Intense direct eye contact is common, looking away is a sign of disinterest and/or that you are behaving rude.

Food, wine, soccer (the national pastime), politics (if you know what you are talking about), music, philosophy and current events.
Inquiring about private family matters, personal income, stereotypes, World War II and Vatican politics. Also the common American question "what do you do?" is considered rude and too personal.

Moments of silence are rare in Italy and repeated interruptions signify interest.
Whistling and winking at women is meant as a compliment and is not used in a degrading way.  If a woman is interested she will acknowledge the whistlers with eye contact, if she is not she will ignore them.

Italians often gesture with their hands and one does not converse with their hands in their pockets. Italians place great importance on maintaining a "Bella Figura" (Beautiful Figure/ Image) and slouching and leaning against things is just not done.

Lines do not exist in Italy, do not be surprised if someone just walks up to the counter and is served before you, despite the fact that you were next and have been waiting in "line" for the past 20 minutes.

The evening "passeggiata" is a common occurrence in Italy. Strolling the streets, seeing who is out and catching up with friends is a nightly occurrence in Italy.

Customer service is not as "in your face" as it is in the United States. Generally a salesclerk will ignore you until eye contact is made signaling service is required.

The easiest way to catch a taxi cab is at a taxi stand.

On public transportation it is customary for the younger to give up their seats to the older and men to give up their seats to women.

The tip is generally already included in the price at a restaurant. A standard tip for a taxi driver is 10 percent. Bellmen usually receive 1 Euro per bag.

In general Italians dress much more formally than Americans. Italians value "quality" in their clothing and are much more likely to own 2 very nice expensive suits than 6 decent cheaper suits. Black and muted colors are common in combination with brighter colored accessories.

Italian women tend to wear more makeup than American women and also wear nylons all year round.

Breakfast is generally from 8 to 8:30 AM

A standard Italian breakfast is coffee (espresso is generally served after dinner) with a croissant or a couple of cookies.

Lunch is generally served from 1 to 3 PM
In the south lunch is the biggest and longest meal of the day, in the North it is often the biggest meal of the day but during the business week it does not last as long as it does on the weekend. A typical lunch includes soup, bread and olive oil, a main meal and/or soup, salad and a desert of fruit. Wine and sparkling mineral water usually accompanies the meal.

Dinner is generally served from 8 to 10 PM
If the main meal of the day was lunch, then dinner is often a light affair taken at home. If however it was not a typical dinner is quite elaborate. Formal Italian meals consist of: antipasto (such as proscuitto, bruschetta, or fruit), soup, pasta, main dish (usually meat), salad, cheese, desert, fruit and an espresso. Wine is also commonly taken with dinner.

The Italians do not switch their knife and fork as people do in the States. The fork remains in the left hand and the knife in the right hand.

Placing your utensils down on your plate signifies to wait staff that you are finished.

When not using your utensils your hands should be kept visible above the table.

Dishes are passed to the left.

To get a waiters attention you should make contact, waving your hand or calling out is considered to be rude.

Often times in an informal restaurant you will be seated at a table with a stranger, if this is the case conversation is not expected.

In general the person who does the inviting also does the paying, although the guest is expected to protest. When a woman is seated at a table with men the men (despite a woman's protest) will always pick up the bill.

The further south you go the less importance is placed on being on time. For social events being a half an hour to an hour late is common. When people are late resist the American temptation to request the reason. Lateness is generally because a person was involved in obligations that involved superiors, family or old friends (and it would have been rude to cut it short).

(Article Source - Joanna Lehmann, Glamour Getaways LLC,

The World Hidden Below Rome

It is a well known fact that in Rome, undiscovered treasures and artefacts may lie a mere 30 feet below the surface. Therefore, building an underground subway in the city of Rome is no easy feat. The dilemma is how to build without disturbing any antiquities that may lie buried and undiscovered below its spectacular roads and streets.

Compared to other European capitals, Rome's subway is far less developed. For years, Rome’s 2.8 million citizens relied solely on two scant subway lines that fell short of meeting the city’s transportation needs. The two lines don’t even connect and they do not come near to the historical city centre. Being one of the oldest cities in the world, the construction of a subway poses many difficulties. Rome is built upon a labyrinth of tunnels, catacombs, vaults, and ancient sewer systems.

During the construction of the first two subway lines in the 1950’s, each excavation exposed archaeological remains and the construction had to be stopped to allow the local archaeologists to check their significance. Alternate routes had to be thought-out and determined if the discovery proved valuable to the history of the Romans.

After years of funding shortfalls and decades of debate, work began on a third subway line. Now that the third subway line is under construction, it has been marked as an "archaeological survey" from the very beginning and great care is being taken. This new line will run through the very heart of the ancient city. It will be 24 kilometres (15 miles) in length and 25 to 30 metres (80 to 100 feet) below ground.

Finally, after many centuries, archaeologists are working together with construction workers to excavate beneath Rome's central Piazza Venezia, only a few hundred yards from the Roman Forum.

Almost immediately, excavation revealed some spectacular finds. Just below the surface, excavators discovered building remnants from the renaissance that were torn down in the late 19th century.

They dug one layer deeper and this exposed Via Flamina, a medieval road that once traversed the city. And one layer below that, they discovered a herringbone pavement from the 8th century.

Beneath the Piazza Venezia and near the ancient Forum, workers discovered a sixth-century copper factory. The early factory consisted of small ovens used to work on copper alloys. Small copper ingots discovered at the scene were sent for analysis.

Also discovered were the foundations of a 16th century Renaissance palace, a Roman tavern, and a medieval kitchen complete with pots and pans used to heat sauce.

Even though 38 active digs now line the subway construction, most of the digs have not reached the earth strata that date back to Roman times, where plenty of surprises may yet await discovery.

With every new discovery, officials must decide whether to remove, destroy, or preserve the artefacts and/or site within the subway’s structure.

Officials deemed a Roman tavern from the Middle Ages acceptable for destruction, but they eliminated an entire subway stop near the Pantheon from after workers found the base of an imperial Roman public building. This will force tourists and citizens alike to walk further to reach the new, relocated subway stop.

Further along the tunnels, workers found a "looter's hole." During the Middle Ages, builders would tie themselves to a rope and drop down into a well-like shaft to roam the underground to collect bricks, rock, or marble from earlier centuries to use for new construction.

There isn't an inch of Rome that doesn't have some artefacts below the street. In 300 A.D., one-and-a-half million people inhabited Rome. If they were to bring to light everything they and subsequent generations owned and built, the streets of Rome would all have to be eliminated and the entire city preserved as an archaeological dig.

Like the Roman ingenuity of ancient times, Romans today have found a way to preserve the old while creating the new.