Sunday, January 27, 2008

Table Of Contents : Mimi Speaks Blog

There are many people who love to read blogs, but just don't have the time to waste, or are in the mood to go through it's entire contents trying to find something that may be of interest to them. Usually when people approach a blog, they like to go quickly from one thing to the next. As for actually reading the text, there is little evidence of that unless the subject matter should catch their eye, then it becomes worthwhile.

Since my blog was started in 2007, there have been postings of 201 tid-bits of information, which talk about history, life situations, goals and success. So my dear reader, for your benefit, I am making every attempt to improve the navigation to this treasure trove of information as quickly as possible. For this purpose I have created a table of contents divided by categories, for easy accessing. However if there is something that may catch your eye, I suggest you find yourself a comfortable chair, and while you're at it, grab a steaming hot cup of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese and you'll be all set to settle down for a while. So happy reading.


(A. ) Getting To Know Mimi (B.) N.Y.C. History (C.) East Harlem
(D.) Spanish Harlem (E.) Black Harlem (F.) New York State

Table of Contents (3)
(G.) Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls

Table of Contents (4)
(H.) Jewish Knowledge (I) Self-Improvement (J) Historical Facts On England & United States

Table of Contents (5)
(K) Miscellaneous (L) Timetables (M) Ethnic Groups (N) Legal Talk
(O) Entertainment: Backward Glances (P) Immigration

Table of Contents (6)
(Q) Women__Bio Sketches, Feminine Fancies, Recipes, Kitchen Talk.
(R) Worship

Table of Contents (7)
(S) A Little Taste of History



Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? (4)

In establishing choices whether they be good or bad they inevitably will lead to changes in your life. For some individuals making changes may come easy, while for others it is extremely difficult. Some may feel threatened by the change and resist by being constantly uncooperative, and negative in their opinions and participation, while some others, who surrender to change, feel they are a pawn in the hands of fate with no will of their own. The person of a positive mental attitude, who is in charge of himself or herself does not view change as a threat but as an opportunity to expand his or her horizons.These individuals of PMA are flexible and have self-direction. They know what their choice is about, weighing all the pros and cons related to it, deciding which will result in a better return for them, and then take the plunge by moving forward with a burning desire to win or perish. They are not hindered by self imposed limitations. They have learned the secret of uncovering the hidden talents that are within them, and developing them to its fullest.

So stop feeling upset, worried and miserable. Let go of the habit of being indecisive, which you have harbored all your life.To establish peace of mind, focus on having a positive attitude toward life, as well as developing confidence in your ability to make correct and definite decisions in any situation. Be a person of self-direction. When one changes the belief about one's self, then the outward experiences will be changed also. As I mentioned before, wanting to do something and not take action on it is self-defeating.

Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? Which do you prefer.?

Robert F. Bennett
"Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself."

Goodbye for now........until the next time..............when "Mimi Speaks."

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Author of Post: Miriam Medina. I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please do not copy. You can provide a link to it if you like.

Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? (3)

The constant complaining of negative conditions which we bring upon ourselves through wrong choices, eventually more of these unhappy conditions will continue. These individuals who make wrong choices, find themselves railing at life, because they live by them. They lack self-direction and are like a boat without a paddle, going nowhere.. Indecisive people are generally easily influenced by the opinion of others. By living your life according to the opinions of others, will not allow you to express your own desires and successfully accomplish whatever you want to achieve. The world loves a decisive person. Those who make decisions promptly and definitely know what they want, usually get it.

I am a person who loves challenges and learning new things. Every time I decide to get into something that I feel is worthwhile and important to me, I have always been faced with opposition, to discourage me from my intent, whether it is from members of my family, friends or acquaintances. My greatest field of opposition was against my previous career, which I will relate to at a later date. As the creator and the website administrator of, I have had to deal with negative attitudes who were not pleased with what I was doing. Not allowing their opinions to deter me from my intent, I decided to also start a Blog as an informal way of the public getting to know me, and having the freedom of writing and sharing my thoughts which would benefit my readers. The first thing that a family member said was, "Why are you doing a blog?" Don't you have enough on your plate with running a website? Between work, researching and setting up, you want to write also?" Aren't you taking on too much at your age?" No! These were my choices, and I have no regrets, because at the time when I made my choice, I knew it was the right choice. If and when I do decide to stop being a website administrator or a blogger, again it will be "my choice" and not due to anyone else's influence. If I had allowed myself to be swayed by the opinion of others, you my dear reader today would not have been able to know me on an informal level and I wouldn't be here discussing the subject matter of "Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? So when one is determined to accomplish their goals, one will always find a way of balancing health and personal issues, as well as responsibilities.

To be continued: Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? (4)

Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? (2)

Decision making can at times, be mentally exhausting. People who are indecisive as the saying goes "grow grass under their feet." They are called procrastinators which is the opposite of being a decisive person. Because of their insecurities, they are in constant turmoil. It takes them forever to make a decision as to their choice, holding out constantly, looking for even better possibilities, which may never come. In the meantime, they are letting wonderful opportunities slip by. From simple to complicated choices, they are dominated by fear. They lack self-confidence. Fear of failure, fear of being ridiculed by others and fear of what others may think of them. The longer it takes for them to make up their minds, the more fearful that person will become of his or her ability to deal with it. Laments such as: "Oh my, what do I do?" I just can't make up my mind!" “I don't know if I should invest in this company or not!" "I don't know if I should change jobs or stay where I am?" Indecision creates an unsettled condition in your mind and body. As long as you are an indecisive person, you are helpless and won't be able to move in any direction with complete assurance, unless you were guaranteed that the step you will take in making changes is safe and secure.

If and when these individuals do make their choice, they continue to be harassed with anxiety on whether or not it was the right choice. No matter what they decide to choose, they will always find a reason why that choice was wrong, thus subjecting themselves to unnecessary stress, bemoaning what might have been. Expressions such as: "It's just my luck, that this should have happened, I knew I shouldn't have made that choice," " What a bum he turned out to be, I thought he was going to take care of me, but it turned out to be the opposite, I should never have married him," " I hate my job, I knew I should not have taken it, " " I should have gone to college when I had the chance instead of getting married, now with three kids, its too late," " I don't know why I agreed to buy this house, its too much for me to handle and I don't even like where we live," " I hate this dress, it cost so much, and it looks terrible on me, I don't know why I picked it," "Why did I choose this car, what a lemon, it has been nothing but trouble since I got it," " I don't know why I got into this business, I haven't been able to make any money yet, I'm already in over my head ," so on and so forth.

To be continued: Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? (3)

Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? (1)

"You are the person who has to decide. Whether you'll do it or toss it aside; You are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you'll lead or will linger behind. Whether you'll try for the goal that's afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are." Edgar A. Guest
Everyday we are faced with making choices. It is part of our existence and at times can be downright maddening. There are choices which we make automatically, without even thinking about them, while there are others that need to be given some significant thought before reaching a definite decision. Some of those choices are what we eat, what we wear, where we should go, what products to buy, whether we should or should not change residences, whom we should marry, which career we should follow, whether we should or should not have surgery, what job to take, what home to buy, where to invest our money, which college to go to and the list goes on. Even teen-agers are constantly faced with tough choices to make, such as: whether or not they should experiment with drugs, use alcohol, what friends to hang out with, if they should or should not start smoking, drop out of high school, who to date etc.

Being indecisive or a person of decision is a habit which usually begins when you are young, escalating into becoming permanent following you throughout your educational life as well as into adulthood. Many adults today are in unhappy job positions accepting the wages that they earn because they were indecisive which resulted in their making a wrong choice or lacking the definiteness of purpose.

Indecision is defined as: "vacillating, hesitant, and wavering. Therefore an indecisive person is one who is 1) Not decisive, not bringing about a definite conclusion, solution, etc. 2) Incapable of making decisions.

To be continued: Making Choices: Turmoil or Tranquility? (2)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Italian Immigrant Experience (8)

Most of the Italian immigrants settled in the cities, establishing their own communities, where they could be free to speak their own language, eat their own ethnic foods, practice their customs and religion as if back in their homeland, without any hindrance. These communities were designated as "Little Italy". The early Italian immigrants were not welcomed in America; they would be verbally abused by name calling such as "wop," "guinea," and "dago." The Immigrants were constantly subjected to abuse, because the Americans would accuse them of taking away their jobs, by willing to work for much less than they would. Often stereotyped and discriminated against, the Italian immigrant suffered verbal and physical abuse because they were "different." Several of these numerous incidents can be found in the following: Injustice to Italian Laborers in the United States and The Wartime Violations of Italian American Civil Liberties Act.

"Sons of Italy did much to soften the humiliating status of "wops" in the cities. They offered a large measure of psychological compensation through the Italian-American program of keeping alive a love for Italy, retaining the Italian language alongside of English, and in stressing Columbus Day as a symbol of solidarity between America and Italy." (5)

Despite such discouragement, Italians have made major contributions to the economic strength of America and to a richer cultural diversity, in the field of arts, music, education, language, and cuisine. Many have climbed the political ladder, most prominently Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, both sons of Italian immigrants. Rudolph Giuliani is currently running as a candidate for the office of President of the United States. An amazing accomplishment for the Italian-American people.

For more information on the Italian community, a visual look at how the Italian Immigrant lived as well as to read this article in its entirety please visit the Italian Community in the Ethnic section of

Goodbye for now..............until the next time............when "Mimi Speaks."

Please leave your comments on this article. Also if you would like to contribute any information feel free to contact me at:

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (4)

Come stai? Molto bene. Bon giorno. Ciao. Arrivederci. Every Italian from Italy knows these words and every Italian-American should. Here are some words and phrases that are a little Italian, a little American, and a little slang , that we hear throughout Little Italy neighborhood and East Harlem, New York..

Ciao_ when a person arrives or leaves.
Mama Mia_ anytime emotion is needed in any given situation.
Mannaggia _(may evil have him)
Oofah_ (a sigh when you are bored, exasperated or annoyed)
He uses a "moppeen " (moppina=from mop, towel) to wipe his hands in the cuchina.(Kitchen)
He or she gets "agita " (state of agitation that comes from an upset stomach) from the gravy. .
He will shkeevats meatballs unless they are homemade from the famiglia.

Always foonah(sink or dunk) your bread in the pot of gravy (sauce) or you will be considered a real coogootz (blockhead).

A crazy diavlo can give you the malokya (evil eye), but that red horn (contra malokya) will protect you if you use it right.

Don't forget to always say per favore and grazia and prego.(You're welcome)

If you are feeling mooshadda or stounad or mezzo-morto, always head to Nonna's and she will fix you up with a little homemade manicott', cavadell', or calamar ', or some ricotta cheesecake.

Mangia some zeppoles, canolis, torrone, struffoli, shfoolyadell', pignoli cookies, or a little nutella on pannetone. Delizioso! I think I will fix myself a sangweech of cabagol' with some proshoot and mozarell' or maybe just a hot slice of peetza .

So salud if you have any italian blood in you and you understood anything written here!

If you don't get any of this, then Fugheddaboudit! "CAPEESH?

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The Italian Immigrant Experience (7)

Italian immigrants tended to do whatever they had to do, accepting the jobs that other Americans didn't want to do, just so they could support themselves. Many of the Italian immigrants found work in street cleaning as well as public construction work. A large number went into the peddler business, selling fruit and vegetables, as well as working as waiters in restaurants and hotels. According to the report of the Italian consul, most of the fruit stands in 1892 were owned by Italians in New York. Also the thriving business of fruits and wines were imported by the Sicilians. However there were many Italians that were not as fortunate to find steady work that returned back to their native Italy discouraged and with empty pockets. . These Italian immigrants, tricked by the stories told to them in Europe about plentiful work and big wages, in America, were induced to leave their native land, only to find suffering and hunger as a result of the deception told by the steamship agents. A reporter from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle gives the following description in his article "Italian Immigration" dated August 9, 1888.

"Three hundred and fifty disappointed Italians who came to this country with the expectation of obtaining steady work at high wages, left for home.Tricked on both sides of the water, it does not take them long to find out that America is by no means the labor paradise they expected to find it."

Another report is also given in the article "Coming Here To Suffer" dated January 24, 1900.

"The old fable that the streets in America are paved with gold, which has lured many an immigrant here only to endure cold and hunger, is being repeated in a new form and is likely to throw upon our town an army of ignorant foreigners this summer, for whom there is no possibility of finding work. The new bait is not golden paved streets, but the prospect of work on the rapid transit tunnel. "

Despite their lives being affected by hardships and difficulties, the southern Italians were lighthearted and generous. The celebration of saints' feast days, with their processions, music, and fireworks, was a custom the immigrants continued to follow in the United States. In New York City the Italians even now celebrate The Feast of Mount Carmel and the Giglio Feasts, especially in East Harlem and Little Italy.

To be continued: The Italian Immigrant Experience (8)

The Italian Immigrant Experience (6)

Immigrants had to live in damp smelly cellars or attics, or up to six or 10 people, men, woman and children packed into crowded single rooms where "filth for so many years reigned undisturbed and pestilence wiping out hundreds of lives annually." The tenement houses in the lower part of Manhattan and other areas were overcrowded, lacking drainage and sufficient ventilation.

As you entered the overcrowded tenement buildings, you were greeted with a nauseating stench emanating from unwashed bodies, rags, old bottles, stale cooking odors and accumulating garbage heaps in the rooms. Decaying grease adhering to waste-pipes from kitchen sinks added its putrid odor to the foul emanations. These tenement buildings were dangerous firetraps, as well as a breeding place for murderous rodents that would kill babies in their cribs. The poor did not have the luxury of water, especially if they lived on the upper level. Water had to be carted from the fire hydrant in the street and carted upstairs.The Italian immigrants would come to the dumps to search for rags. They would bring their food with them, squatting down in the filth to eat their lunch.

Many immigrants themselves would convert their apartments into sweatshops, where amid the unsanitary conditions they would manufacture garments, flowers and cigars. "At home, the Italian women tended to age prematurely and many were victims of tuberculosis or pneumonia. They overworked themselves to support their large broods, took in garment jobs and rarely saw the sun as they had done in Italy. (4) Everyone had to do their share, even the children, who worked long hours. Sometimes these children were forced by their parents to earn their own livelihood. How many great men amassed great wealth from the blood, sweat and tears of these poor immigrants?

For a more descriptive view of the hardships and living conditions that these poor immigrants had to live through in order to survive, please visit the Photo Gallery of Early New York City Tenement Life in the NYC Main Directory at

To be continued: The Italian Immigrant Experience (7)

The Italian Immigrant Experience (5)

Many of the immigrants arrived penniless, having exhausted their savings on the journey; those few with a meager savings soon fell prey to the waterfront sharper.

"All immigrants want to see New York even if bound for the West, and these "swindlers" would load them into the wagons, haul them five or six blocks uptown and tell them it was New York and dump them out after collecting a dollar a head." (3)

The newly arrived unlettered immigrants at the landing depot, unable to speak English, as well as ignorant of the ways of their new world , became easy prey for the professional con men. Frauds of all kinds were perpetrated upon these poor "greenhorns." Con men better known as "sharper or swindlers" would wait for the opportune moment, then sweet talk these immigrants in their native tongue, convincing them that they were fellow countrymen who wanted to help them get settled in America. The con artist could get them a job and find them a place to live, he said. This way, he discovered how much money they had. The immigrants would respond to the friendly faces by bearing their souls to the "sharper," confidences that eventually left them to face a life of poverty and extreme hardships.

Canal Street to Fourteenth Street was filled with houses of ill-repute known as brothels, , engendering infections that endangered the health and lives of all classes of people. The young immigrant girls were especially targeted by the houses of ill-repute and dance house keepers, searching for fresh young blood whom they enticed with promises of profitable employment. These often innocent girls would believe the cunning words, their naivete rewarded by their being drugged and forced to lead lives of shame.

The young male immigrants often sought out their countrymen--already labor agents or owners of businesses--hoping that they could get them a factory job, or possibly help them start their own peddler business. For entertainment, the single immigrant would seek the social life of the saloon. Here the young men were often lured into gambling away their money.

To be continued: The Italian Immigrant Experience (6)


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Italian Immigrant Experience (4)

As the mass of immigrants approached the Statue Of Liberty in the New York Harbor, smiles spread across their wretched lifeless faces and they raised their voices in unison "America." "America!" For the newcomers the American Dream was finally at hand. Suddenly the atmosphere aboard the vessel became electrified. The immigrants -whatever their nationality or religion-- embraced each other, hugging and kissing as they danced with joy. Gone were the saddened faces, heavy hearts and feelings of regret. Tears flowed in abundance, while many fell to their knees kissing the floor of the vessel. Throughout the entire deck, hands raised to the heavens could be seen, as prayers of gratitude were uttered in various tongues, for their safe arrival. For the first time, in that single miraculous moment, the mass of immigrants became of one mind, soul and spirit. Whatever awaited them, it had to be better than what they had left behind................

Before the immigrants could depart the ship, a health officer came aboard to examine the vessel's bill of health. The officer had to ensure that passengers and crew were not infected with a contagious disease . Many of the immigrants , upon arriving at quarantine, were so covered with vermin that they were placed in baths of water and literally scrubbed from head to foot. Some lucky immigrants had friends and relatives waiting for them. What an emotional moment for the newly arrived immigrants to see familiar faces once again! Laughing, hugging, and crying: these relatives, who had arrived previously in America, had worked for years scrimping and saving their money to send to their families back in the old country, to pay for their passage to America.

One of the first procedures at Castle Garden and Ellis Island that the immigrant had to confront was the examination by the medical doctor. The second test was to determine mental deficiency where those immigrants who showed no signs of mental or physical deficiencies were asked questions by the immigration inspectors in the native tongue of the immigrant.The Italians who didn't have papers had tags hung on them with the letters W.O.P. (without papers)

To be continued: The Italian Immigrant Experience (5)


The Italian Immigrant Experience (3)

"Labor agents, the notorious 'padroni,' enriched themselves at the expense of the "immigrants." The padroni [the loan sharks or flesh peddlers] hired gangs of workmen, charged a heavy commission for the service, and advanced passage money for the journey from Italy, also at a fancy price." (2) The padroni hooked up with railroad companies, factories, farmlands etc., providing work for the gangs of immigrants while charging an exorbitant commission for supplying the labor-power here in the United States.

Without further delay, the masses would pack their meager belongings, household goods and families into beast driven carts. They arrived at ports of departure throughout Europe, including Le Havre, Bremen, Hamburg, Genoa, Leghorn, Naples, Messina, Catania, Palermo, and Venice.

The vessels finally began arriving at the European ports of departures to pick up their human cargo. The emigrants were already irritable, their children hungry and crying. They had waited for days after their arrival at the wharf. The steamship agents had booked as many steerage passengers as they could squeeze on deck, or in the bottom of the ship, in order to make the trip financially worthwhile. These shipping companies made large profits by carrying "human cargo" to the United States. The emigrants on deck without protection and mercy were subjected to stormy cold weather conditions and the dampness of the sea. The days turned into weeks. Water was limited. The hungry emigrants in their desperation would push and shove their way to the vessel's kitchen, knocking down whoever got in their way, grabbing whatever they could to feed themselves and their children. The lucky might find raw potatoes, oats and rice, but they lacked a way to cook such food. Furthermore, the crew members beat the foraging immigrants without mercy if they caught them.

Everywhere there was confusion and disorder. Mothers saw their children starving before their eyes. The filth and the stench of unbathed bodies were overpowering. Diarrhea was prominent among the passengers. Their few personal belongings were often stolen.

Starvation, dampness and filth became the breeding ground for Cholera and death. The bodies were weighed down and tossed into the sea like animals. If they wanted to survive, the emigrants had to stay focused on one thing: "The American Dream."

To be continued: The Italian Immigrant Experience (4)


The Italian Immigrant Experience (2)

Everyone was looking for a piece of the action as America expanded. Steamship companies, railroad companies, state immigration bureaus, as well as industrial firms and private enterprises, turned to workers in Europe. Ruthless businessmen hired unscrupulous agents to work on commission. They were sent to Europe with a collection of enticing pamphlets, advertisements, drawings and pictures. "Remember promise them anything, just get them over here. There's big bucks in it for you."

The commissioned agents, the "Smooth Operators," exploited the vulnerability of the masses. These operators promised wealth that would prove an illusion. But to the oppressed people of Europe, the hope of economic betterment for themselves and their children was the promise of a life they had long dreamed of. The smooth operator convinced the downtrodden that land was cheap, that jobs were plentiful and that some day they could return to their home country as wealthy land owners.

Between 1881 and 1917 four million Italians , mostly males, entered the United States. Many intended to return to their homeland after making enough money to establish a higher standard of living in Italy for themselves and their families. The industrialization of Northern Italy, which established a higher standard of living, slowed the emigration from this area. In contrast, the people from Sicily and the southern provinces struggled economically at the end of the 19th century. The land was not looked after properly; little was done to make the soil productive. Parasites destroyed most of the vineyards in southern Italy. The Sicilians did not have the opportunity to climb any economic ladder. Instead, they were reduced to sharecroppers, and they were obligated to stay until they paid off their debts.

To be continued: The Italian Immigrant Experience (3)


The Italian Immigrant Experience(1)

The Italian Immigrant Experience is my narration. I am the author of this essay. I describe how the Italian immigrants left their places of birth in pursuit of the "American Dream," which symbolized for them democracy, equality, liberty, justice and most of all, material well-being. A description of their struggles and despair of living in horrendous conditions of tenement living amid the crime, filth and disease, offers the reader a personal glimpse of immigrant living during the 1800s into the early 1900s. I also mention their final triumph overcoming obstacles of discrimination, illiteracy and poverty giving place to a new image of productive and successful American citizens.

"Between 1881 and 1917 about four million Italians arrived. By 1910, the Italian-born population of the United States was 1,343,070. The Italian peasant was the poorest in Europe. In 1905, 323,000 Italians were ill of malaria and thousands of them died. There were also periodic earthquakes that wiped out entire towns especially in Calabria. During the years 1906, 1907, 1913 and 1914, the Italian emigrants to the United States would exceed approximately 250,000 a year." (1)

The gold rush to California attracted immigrants from every part of the world. . Much of America's workforce twas on the east coast, and before long the workers left the factories and industries to seek their fortunes out west.

To be continued:
The Italian Immigrant Experience (2)


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (3)

The first thing I saw when I sat down at my computer this morning were several post-ems of "I love you" with a copy of my 7 year old grandson's computer picture showing his jack-o-lantern smile, which he pasted over the weekend. That certainly brightened up my face as well as my day. He is always doing that, leaving little notes for me to see. I love when he comes over. He is so funny, especially when he lets out his hearty laugh. Its very contagious.

Laughter is defined as "an audible expression or appearance of merriment or amusement or an inward feeling of joy and pleasure ."

Psychologist Steve Sultanoff, PhD, who is president of the American Association for Therapeutic Humor states in his interview for WebMD, "research shows that distressing emotions lead to heart disease. It is shown that people who are “chronically angry and hostile have a greater likelihood for heart attack, people who “live in anxious, stressed out lifestyles have greater blockages of their coronary arteries”, and people who are “chronically depressed have a two times greater chance of heart disease.” WebMD 2000

" A good laugh loosens muscles, lowers blood pressure, and may lower levels of hormones that create stress and weaken immunity. When you laugh, your body moves blood to your heart and lungs, boosting your energy level and making you feel better instantly. It also aids communication and creates a sense of closeness between you and the people you’re laughing with." WebMD 2007 (turn your speakers on. There is an ad before the video)

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” Bill Cosby

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