Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Brusciano, Italy News/Events: English (7)

Sociologist and Journalist, Head of Press Office in Brusciano, Italy

"Work has begun in the restructuring of the municipal sports field and construction of the roundabout in Via De Ruggiero."

After the commencement of the work of the restyling of XI Settembre Plaza, approval for the launching of two more yards was given by the Town council led by the Mayor of Brusciano Dr. Angelo Antonio Romano, and in the Department of Public Works, by engineer Angelo Maione. The first location mentioned is the Municipal Sports Field, whose work involves a total costs of approximately 400,000 Euros. The intervention, in respect of all that prescribed by CONI, regards the completion of the fencing, the adjustment in the changing rooms, maintenance of the stand, the removal of architectural barriers, toilets for spectators, exterior parking and security during the various sporting events.

The second site opened in recent days with the construction of a roundabout in Via Guido De Ruggiero, located at the service road between the junction of Strada San Sebastiano Martire and Matilde Serao. This project had a total expenditure of approximately 81,000 Euros, which was paid from the funds of the municipal budget.

The Mayor, Dr. Angelo Antonio Romano, said that "the renovated sports centre in Via De Ruggiero will be the starting point to build the city of sport. While work on the roundabout of Via De Ruggiero will improve the traffic flow, we are also creating a functional grassy area for children and adult's quiet enjoyment during their leisure time. After so many governmental and legal ordeals, this public space is back. Finally, the Bruscianesi have succeeded in getting what they have been waiting for a long time.

The Councilor for Sports and Entertainment, Architect Francesco Maione, has declared: "We wish as soon as possible to give back to the Citizen and the Associations this important sporting and social center, the renewed Town stadium, destined to increase in general practice of the sport and not only that of football."

The Councilor of Public Works, Engineer Angelo Maione, underlines that "the peculiarity of the Sports Field of Brusciano is that it offers a layer of synthetic grass of the latest generation and allows competitions and training in full safety and comfortable play. It not only serves the basin of use of the local teams of sports clubs it also draws athletes from various parts of the Campania region. This in turn, will create twinnings and joint actions of spreading the sport."

In a few days, the Public Works Sector will be available to other sites that will lead to an overall improvement of the urban environment and an increase in the quality of Brusciano's city life.
Translation of this article into English by Miriam Medina Associate Member of the American Translators Association. To contact:

The date of this press release was : September 25, 2009

Dr.Antonio Castaldo Head of Press Office in Brusciano, Italy. Tel. 081.5218249 e-mail:


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are You Living A Life That Is Worth Living? Part III

By Miriam B. Medina

This is part three of a three-part series examining how many people have been negatively affected by the current economic downturn. Part one examined the difficulties associated with living through an economic crisis. Part two explored ways to find inner peace to survive and move on, identifying and addressing The Stumbling Block of Fear and The Stumbling Block of Indecision that can hinder the search for peace and happiness. In this article we will address the final Stumbling block.

3. The Stumbling Block of the Scarcity Mentality

I can't believe that someone in this day and age would reject the idea of wanting to be prosperous. However, this is true. There are people who look at money as evil and see the rich as corrupt. They feel virtuous when they resent others who have more than they do, which makes them think what I termed in the above mentioned a Scarcity Mentality. By coveting what another person possesses, whether it's their lifestyle, their careers, their homes, their talents, their successes or their family life, they are impoverishing themselves with a continual consciousness of lack. They do not wish successful people well because they are consumed with jealousy. These individuals are so comfortable in their Scarcity Mentality that they only see themselves as poor. They are Martyrs to some Poverty Consciousness. This habit of resenting those who are rich or better off than they are limits them from expanding beyond the constraints of their own self, thus closing the door to new horizons and the possibility of wonderfully experiencing the same. How a person responds to the success of other people will demonstrate their state of mind. Maybe they think that the other person's considerable luck diminishes their own?

Nonetheless, there are individuals that feel life has not fallen in their favor, that they are victims of fate, accepting their lives living in poverty as their destiny. So in comparing their financial status with someone else's, that person's perception of prosperity is to blame and sponge off the successful person instead of working towards self-improvement. In other words, they try to get something for nothing, which makes them fit the description of a freeloader or moocher.

Sad to say, there are those who spend their lives anxiously and purposely waiting for a family member or relative to die to become rich in order to experience the easy life that they have always envied. The irony of this is that sometimes the individual who is supposed to die outlives the person who is waiting for their inheritance.

Let's not forget the individuals who scrimped and saved all their lives, depriving themselves of all the ordinary and happy pleasures of life in order to have a nest egg set aside. They look forward to a pleasant living in Florida, Hawaii or just spending their time traveling around the world enjoying their retirement. Sometimes it just doesn't happen as planned. However, since no one knows what the future holds or has any control over it, the possibilities of being incapacitated mentally or physically could occur. It can leave them to continue living in a nursing home, with the long-term care wiping out all of their savings which they accumulated over the years.

Then we have those people who hate to pay bills or real estate taxes, putting it off as long as possible, especially in these tough economic times. It bothers them to see their bank accounts dwindle, so when they reach for their check books, it is done with considerable reluctance.

The "Scarcity Mentality" was strongly practiced by my mama. My parents got married during the Great Depression. Poverty reigned in their home. In the years that followed the family increased, yet our lives remained the same, we lived in poverty even though the economy was better. There was never enough for us to eat. Sometimes our neighbor across the hall would give us her stale three-day old buns that she was going to throw out. We lived in a two bedroom apartment in East Harlem, New York, quite small for 9 people, my parents and us seven kids, of which I was the youngest. Even though, Papa worked as a refinisher in a furniture store, his earnings were meager. This made mama tighter fisted than ever. Frustrated with so many kids and having to stretch the dollar, she became a firm believer in the recycling of clothing. It was practiced all the time during our childhood years. Make due and mend was her argument when it came to the clothes and shoes that my brothers had worn. These clothes were passed down from one to the other. In any case, since the older ones were taller, the shorter ones would roll their "new" pants up at the waist. As for my sister and I, there was such a significant age difference that I couldn't wear her dresses. Sometimes I would end up wearing my brother Daniel's pants and shirt, since he was the youngest of the five boys and he was a little shrimp like me.

Mama was so conditioned to being thrifty, she would make us wear the worst and save our best clothes for Easter, Christmas and Sunday mass. Papa was a sociable person and of a generous nature. Papa would often invite his friends from the neighborhood to our tiny, crowded apartment, and have them stay for a meal. Mama would hit the roof each time. Her fiery personality seemed to overshadow Papa's, as she would vocalize her anger. "With planks between the chairs and nine mouths to feed, there is just not enough space or food for free-loaders," she would say. Mama's fear of poverty kept her from enjoying the things in life and from interacting with the people of the neighborhood. She was always afraid that there would never be enough food, drink, clothing or even money. The amazing thing about this was that after Papa's funeral, we never saw hide nor hair of these friends from the neighborhood again. I think they were afraid that mama would ask for a hand out, or they would have the burden of a widow and seven children thrust upon their hands.

Mama remained in that "Scarcity Mentality" for the rest of her life, even though she didn't have to stay that way. It hurt me so to see her do that. Arguing with mama was useless, since she was so set in her ways. I imagine after going through such terrible times during the Great Depression, it must have been trying for her to break old habits.

Taking That Step

To be able to enjoy a life that is worth living, one has to get rid of the Scarcity Mentality. We should give thanks for everything that we have. Instead of wasting our energies lamenting about what we are missing or what we once had, we need to pause and take inventory of all the things that we have been blessed with over the years. There are so many things, which have benefited us and enjoyed; such as a beautiful house in the suburbs, a marvelous high-rise apartment, close friends and family, a career, clothes, furniture, appliances, public transportation, the Internet, and even the latest in modern technology. Let's not forget to appreciate the person that we are. The heart of the matter is that we are in excellent health, possessing a strong body that can meet the demands of the long day. We also need to be thankful for the opportunity to express ourselves through our creativeness, but most of all, we have to be thankful that we live in America. How I love America, a nation among all nations, wherein we all enjoy his or her rights and the freedom of choice. We are truly blessed. Hey, you know what; life isn't so bad is it? When we learn to appreciate what we have we are much happier. Life takes on a new meaning with a certain degree of rosiness we even feel prosperous. "Prosperous?" You got it right. When you are satisfied with what you have and are grateful for it, you begin to develop a positive mental attitude, which will, in the course of time, draw that prosperity to you which will allow you to live a life that is worth living.

So my dear readers, get out of the dismal rut that you are in, convert all your setbacks into opportunities, reinforce your values and live in the most positive way that you can, because this current economic downturn will eventually pass. Remember, in order to be prosperous, you have to want to be prosperous. Expect and accept only the best in your life. Start with the creativeness that you have and move forward from there. If you are willing to give up your old way of thinking, giving a new, conscious instruction to your subconscious mind, then you will begin to see improvement in your outer experiences. Good luck and best of success. Feel happy about your life at last!

To contact:

Are You Living A Life That Is Worth Living? Part II (b)

By Miriam B. Medina

Taking That Step

Life gives back to us exactly what we believe we can achieve. Moreover, what we are able to accept for ourselves in our own thoughts, as well. No more no less. Remaining in a negative frame of mind will keep you in a powerless state, unable to achieve anything, especially in the area of assuming and maintaining a positive attitude. Every wrong impression that we consider in our minds that are fueled by fear will mirror similar happenings in our life. In order to protect ourselves from the increasing impact of erroneous emotional reactions, we must acquire the ability to manage our feelings. The constant complaining about adverse conditions which we bring, upon ourselves through fear will continue to bring negative outcomes. Having a positive approach to life does not happen overnight, it is a step by step, day by day, continual process that brings about great achievements. It means having a mind-training regimented program in which we replace negative, destructive thoughts with a constructive way of thinking. You don't have to force it or push it, just walk at your own pace, and you will see the difference.

Remaining positive dispels fear and worry. Negative and positive thinking cannot occupy the same space at the same time. You know this is impossible, because one or the other must prevail. Take for example, a snowball. It is small it fits into the palm of your hand. If this snowball rolls down a snow-covered hill, it will collect more and more snow until it develops into an avalanche. That is how fear is. The more we cultivate fear, this fear will evolve into other fears. This will result in destroying our health, producing nervous tension as well as digestive problems, and most of all, it will interfere with finding a feasible solution to the problem at hand.

2. The Stumbling Block of Indecision

This is a critical factor that would hinder any one from living a life that is worth living. For some people making changes may seem easy, while for others, it is extremely difficult. All our wishes and desires can become a reality if we keep them forever before us, without putting obstacles in our way with excuses, of "ifs" and "buts". Indecision creates an unstable condition in a person's mind and body, if people are always asking themselves: "I'm not sure if I should or I shouldn't do this, etc?" On the other hand, saying "this is terrible I just can't make up my mind," they will never get pass first base.

As long as these people are undecided, they are weak and won't be able to move in any direction with full assurance, unless they are guaranteed that the initiative they will take is safe and secure. In the meantime, they are letting tremendous opportunities slip by. If and when these individuals do make a choice, they indulge in fear as to whether or not it was the right decision. No matter what they decide, they will always find a reason as to why that decision was erroneous, subjecting themselves to unnecessary physical and psychological pressure, bemoaning what might have been.

Taking That Step

People who possess a positive mental attitude trust whatever decisions they make, weighing all the pros and cons related to it, considering the consequences and deciding which will result in a better return for them. These individuals of a positive mental attitude are not hindered by self-imposed limitations or fear. They are flexible and have self-direction. Once they make up their mind, they don't fluctuate but take the plunge by moving forward developing their talents to the fullest. The challenge of starting again has forced many individuals to make decisions to the purpose of uprooting their families, leaving behind what is familiar and convenient to them. Because they felt it was the right decision, they were willing to make the sacrifice in search of something entirely new and unknown because they knew that the end-results would be worth it.
In part three of this series, we will examine the final stumbling block that can be turned into a stepping stone that you can use to build a life worth living.

To be continued: Part III (a)

To contact:

Are You Living A Life That Is Worth Living? Part II (a)

By Miriam B. Medina

This is part two of a three-part series examining how many lives have been changed by this recent economic crisis. Part one examined the difficulties associated with living through an economic crisis and the negativity such trauma often causes. In this article, we will explore ways to find inner peace to survive and move on.

To establish peace of mind, we must have a positive mental attitude toward life. One also needs to prepare some problem solving strategy. This plan should be as accurate as possible in order to help you determine your course of action regarding the issue of your worry. However, if, the plan does not successfully perform, then you need to replace it with a new plan. You keep repeating the process until you feel certain that you have found a plan that works. Preparing ahead of time creates confidence in your ability to handle any situation. One thing we can learn from is an ant hill. You probably have seen the ants rushing around in all various directions, moving in and out of the ant hill, bringing in tiny pieces of this and that, seeds and other things, scavenging for food. They all seem to be doing something, don't they? Each ant has his own work to achieve, storing its provisions in summer and gathering its food in the harvest.

Right here is the place where people connect with failure, because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail. There is no waiting for the time to be right, because the time will never be "just right." Make quick and conclusive decisions with all that concerns you. Conserve the energy that you are wasting on worrying. By channeling your energy into practical ways that will help you, it will help you to arrive at workable solutions in dealing with your situation at hand. Like the ants, one needs to plan ahead. Life seems chaotic, but if you have a comprehensive plan, you can always pull things together and survive.

Each new day brings unlimited opportunities. The extent to which we can live a life that is worth living depends on the daily choices we make and in the use of those opportunities. Opportunities can be utilized to our advantage as stepping-stones, helping us to live our lives with meaning, or we can reject them, placing them as stumbling blocks in our path. It's easier to criticize life and blame fate than to live it and create taking advantage of your own opportunities. In this article, I would like to reflect on how these two ways of approach can help or hinder you from living that dream life. In the positive sense, one will find personal growth and fulfillment, while in the negative sense, there is discouragement and failure to obtain. Successful people do not fear failure because they never expect to fail. Although they may be surrounded by skeptics, they do not deviate from the image that they have created for themselves.

Listed below are a few stumbling blocks that can be turned into stepping-stones that will help you to live a life that is worth living.

1. The Stumbling Block of Fear

One of the greatest enemies in life will always be fear. We live in a fear riddled society. The fear of war exists in the mind of the masses, fear of violence running rampart across our nation exists, fear for the financial future of our nation is palpable, and on a personal level, there is fear of failure. Even the people who are considered rich live in fear of losing all that they have. It's remarkably easy to get locked into the present situation and paralyzed by fear, which in turn will freeze whatever potential a person might have. Their whole perspective is limited because they can't think big enough to get past today, or big enough to see where they can go or what they could be a part of. In plain words, they lack the importance of creative visualization. Fear produces resistance. Whenever a problem arises, our first reaction is to introduce all the reasons why it can't be solved. Even when new ideas are presented to us, we automatically exclude them without considering all the options. We become our own worst enemy because of fear. Life is a mirror, and whatever image we show is reflected back to us. So if, you have fear of failure and negative thoughts, you will certainly not produce success.

Are You Living A Life That Is Worth Living? Part I

By Miriam B. Medina

This is the first part of a three-part series examining how the quality of life has been affected for many people by this recent economic meltdown. Part one examines the difficulties associated with the ramifications of an economic crisis. The current economic situation that exists today in the United States and around the globe has most of us caught up in a daily state of anxiety and panic. Money is scarce and credit is much harder to come by which means most of us are afflicted with the worry bug. These worries constantly follow us everywhere we go. No matter how hard we try, there is no way to get around it. We see our payroll or unemployment checks dwindling faster than usual. Gas prices are sky rocketing, real estate taxes are increasing, rent and mortgage obligations are getting more difficult to keep up with. There are increased heating expenses, food prices are rising, tuition payments are weighing us down and so on and so forth In short, our wallets and bank accounts have been crushed by the current economic downturn. It is a time when people are seeking employment, being fired, or are simply trying to hold on to the jobs they already have. Retired seniors living on social security benefits and fixed pensions are having a hard time coping with the increased cost of living. Not to mention the unexpected issues and calamities that interrupts the normal flow of our daily life.

We're all gasping for breath and worrying as we continue to struggle with ballooning expenses, trying to support ourselves and our families. The broad overall picture looks pretty bleak. Apprehension has been clouding everyone's thoughts. The more one dwells on the difficulties that are occurring, the more they are amplified.

These are times filled with enormous challenges for many people, where the loss or reduction of income has forced them to make drastic changes to their lifestyles. Many believe they are living a life that is, in their opinion, not worth living. Considering that most of us are creatures of habit, we become comfortable with what is familiar to us. After being accustomed to a lifestyle marked by material comforts, personal freedom and wasteful spending, we are suddenly shoved into one that is financially inadequate controlled and oppressive, a life that does not promote a positive attitude or give any reason to start over. The American Dream has been paralyzed, leaving many angry and worried, not wanting to continue to pursue their fabled slice of Americana. Not being able to keep up with the Joneses becomes a humiliating experience, a terrible blow to inflated egos.

These individuals are constantly lamenting about what once was and what they once possessed. Their life is filled with worries and anxieties, where blame-shifting tends to accelerate an already tensed atmosphere. In a house where there is aggression and frequent verbal confrontations, no one benefits from a peaceful existence.

We all know that the constant tension that we subject our body to is dangerous. Our minds and bodies are inseparable, and both will eventually pay the price, causing considerable damage to our health and our quality of life. Worry causes stress.

Stress increases our blood pressure and intensifies the risk of heart attack and the possibility of having a stroke which can kill you. Positive minded Individuals find a high-stress life exciting and challenging because they have the resilience to bounce back from stress. Negative minded people are particularly vulnerable to stress because of their poor coping skills. The slightest problem crushes their self-esteem and confidence in their ability to deal with it.

What happens to each and every one of us does matter, but, more importantly, how we recognize and respond to it says everything about us. Misfortunes that are suddenly thrust upon us can trigger emotions that have the ability to revolutionize the way we live and relate to others. One emotion is fear, which is a steady position or attitude of fright, dread, or alarmed concern, an uneasy feeling that something may happen contrary to one's desires. Then there is anxiety, which is a worrying, emotional state that is characterized by fear and concern for the future. Lastly, hysteria sets in, which is an abnormal excitement, wild emotionalism, or better said, a frenzy.

Still, we cannot change what has happened, but we can decide on how we should respond in order to live a life that is worth living or one that is not.

No matter how painful your life may seem, one has to handle it in a positive, constructive way. By changing the negative attitude to a positive attitude, you will create a new state of existence, which is called "Peace of Mind." All men and women want to live in this state of calmness, living without turmoil, agitation and free from worry.

When a person does not have peace of mind, it is because that individual is experiencing an internal conflict. Conflict creates confusion; it is the total opposite of Peace of Mind. In dealing with worries and stress, we need to be poised, which is being balanced, or better yet, unruffled. When you are, poised you are in agreement with life, ceasing opposition to circumstances, ideas or other people. Being able to detect the actual source of anxiety will help you to have better control of the situation. Then you can take the necessary steps to deal with what is troubling you. Not one of us is a victim of fate. True, there are circumstances that are totally out of our control, but others are of our own making. When we release the tensions and anxieties, we will find inner peace in dealing with life. In part two of this three-part series, we will explore ways to find inner peace.

To be continued: Are You Living A Life That Is Worth Living Part II (a)

To contact:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Romancing the Age: A Sexual Revolution(2)

By Miriam B. Medina

(Continued from previous page)

In the later part of the 19th century, same-sex relationships flourished. Casual romantic liaisons existed between unmarried women, especially among female college students.

The 20th century erupted with a forceful roar, pulverizing previous sex standards and patterns, with respect to American courtship norms, while introducing a modern understanding of sexual freedom and the nature of life among women and young people. America's social scene was changing at a rapid pace, especially in the 1920's. It was a remarkable, dramatic era in all aspects. The economy was in an upswing after World War I; there was uncontrollable wasteful spending and massive profiteering. The automobile was one of the leading consumer products of the 1920's. It was a decade distinguished by creative people and their famous works, and their dangerous. Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Etc., they all lived large and fast and wrote sorrowful, poignant tales, so true to life. Gangsterism was dominant, with its fast cars, machine guns, prostitution, and gambling, bootleg booze and corrupt officials. It was a decade granting full woman suffrage in all states of the U.S.

It was also the start of the Harlem Renaissance.

Most importantly, it was the decade of the revolutionary Flapper girl, throwing off her chains of restriction, demanding sexual and personal liberation. She was the original free spirit, the modern woman, who smoked in public, lived on her own, voted, drank booze with the boys, danced, and bobbed her hair. She also wore cosmetics, painted her lips bright red, and went to wild petting parties where she was sexually promiscuous. The Flapper defied all the rules of acceptable feminine behavior, God bless her. She rebelled against corsets by flattening her chest with strips of cloth, giving herself a boyish look.

Courtship or dating began to change with the 1920s. Kissing and fondling were no longer preliminaries to marriage, but indulgent for fun and pleasure. By the 1920s, girls were known to say "they were going all the way, and men were already calling condoms rubbers. "There was little regard for parental consent. Necking and petting were major factors in the courtship or dating trend.

Necking involved, passionate caresses to the neck, lips and ears, leaving visible red marks, called "hickies." Petting involved other sexual sensitive areas of the body, although fully clothed. The romanticism of courtship was now replaced by the act of instant gratification. Dating eventually would lead to substantial intimacies for some couples. So while nice boys and girls were courting, others were having sex.

The 40's and 50's exhibited a greater aspect of sexual intimacy. After World War II, there were many job opportunities resulting from economic prosperity. This allowed the men to earn and spend more. So when a man asked a girl out on a date, he would end up paying for the entertainment, refreshments and transportation. Naturally the more he spent on his date, the more he expected as a return on his investment, so he treated her like a commodity. With the 60's came the accessibility of the birth control pill, sexual changes, and the Stonewall Police Riot in 1969. This was not only the true turning point for the gay rights movement, but, was the emergence of a new concept of gay identity known as: "Gay Pride versus the closet."

Thus the sexual revolution began. Women stood up for their rights. Minorities stood up for their rights. Gays stood up for their rights. Peaceful protesters were killed at Universities. It was awkward, but people stood up for their rights.

It's funny adolescence is awkward, but that's where you discover your sexuality. Nonetheless, the protests in the 60's were awkward. Perhaps that was America discovering its sexuality; feeling its oats after 200 years.

And here we sit now, waiting for some great ideal, the American Dream maybe, to show up and buy us a drink for our efforts.

But maybe the American Dream is a deadbeat, or it's Santa Clause... Or maybe it's not some thing that's going to save us from ourselves.

Maybe it's us, waiting at the bar, expecting some great payoff for a sexual revolution begun nearly 300 years ago, a revolution that isn't finished, that's waiting for you and I to bring it home.

You know what; I think this round is on me.

Now it's your turn,

Let's make this an America we can all enjoy.

Oh, and tip the bartender, he's kept us happy for over 234 years!

Miriam B. Medina is an Expert Author at Platinum Level at

Romancing the Age: A Sexual Revolution

By Miriam B. Medina

Do you remember the first time you went on a date or experienced your first passionate kiss? Did you appreciate the pleasurable and romantic aspect of it?

While today's provocative presentation of sensuous love-making in the media leaves little to the imagination, it is amusing to learn how the early days of courtship were displayed in the New World and how they evolved in Modern America.

During colonial times, courtship and marriage added a touch of romance to the wilderness. For example, a young, robust man in his early twenties, after spending an enormous amount of time in the wilderness, might amass a small fortune from the sale of his furs. Satisfied with his venture, he returned to his village, ready to buy land, and find a fledgling maiden with whom he might settle down. This was not difficult, since the village was small and the inhabitants that lived there were either related or closely acquainted. With money in hand, the young man promised a secure future for someone's daughter.

As the young man walked about the village, his eyes swept over the sun warmed land he wished to purchase. Suddenly a young maiden, whom he had not seen before, emerged from one of the nearby houses, distracting him. He was instantly smitten by her, by her tall, slender figure and ravishing beauty. As much as he resisted, his eyes kept wandering back to her. She sensed the strength of his gaze, turned her head and their eyes locked.

There he stood in front of her, displaying a bright, friendly smile, wavy brown hair just at his shoulders and that muscular physique. She found him to be irresistible, which made her heart begin to pound, her cheeks flushed to a rosy color. The young swain determined to win her affection and make her his wife, approached the young maiden, proclaiming his love and his intentions with her.

Although parental authoritarianism existed during the colonial days, when it came to falling in love, the young maidens would exert considerable independence. She liked what she saw, and was just as determined as he was. She asked him to meet her parents. This was an English custom that prevailed throughout the colonies, which the approval of the parents should be obtained before the courtship would continue. The continuation of Courtship led to marriage and children.

Since the houses were small in the village, the fireplace and kitchen seemed to be the nucleus of family life. The pride of the house would be the dominant four-posted family bedstead. At the fireplace, where everyone would gather to feel its warmth, especially in the winter, the master of the house would smoke his pipe, tell stories, or read from the old Bible. Although it was alleged that couples in courtship would have the benefit of a six-foot long wooden tube, called a "courting stick," so they could whisper sweet nothings to each other under the careful observation of the parents, "bundling" was the rage of those times. It was an English custom practiced in Colonial America during the 1600's, rampant all along the Atlantic coast. The practice of this custom was also used by the Dutch, and would be limited to wintertime.

Bundling allowed the courting couples to get into bed together, fully clothed, except for their shoes. A quilt or blanket would be tied over the girl's legs. A bundling board would be placed between the courting couple as a precautionary measure by the careful parents. This allowed the couple to have their privacy, they could engage in a dialogue, friendly kissing, and fondling one another in the warmth and safe confines of the girl's family home, always under the mother's watchful eyes, ensuring that no sexual intercourse would take place. Because it was so cold in the small colonial houses, this was the only way the couple could keep warm, and at the same time, have some sort of privacy, even though the girl's family would also be in the same room, clustered around the fireplace.

The Victorian Era (1837-1901) was a period of true passion, and offered striking expressions of love. The moonlight walks and whispered words of affection revealed a romantic love which was an essential element for marital success. Courting began to adopt a more precise and formal nature, especially amongst influential society.

Most of the courting would take place in the girl's home, under the eye of her watchful parents. Although having a chaperon was not widely practiced in the United States, at the end of the nineteenth century, notable aristocratic families demanded it, therefore, couples were never allowed to be alone with each other without the presence of a companion until their engagement. The chaperon, acting the part of the mother, accompanied her young lady everywhere, going with her to all the balls, dinners, and especially to the theater parties. All in her efforts to protect the naive girl from the dangers of being sexually exploited.

After the Civil War, the presence of a chaperon began to decline, and the young 19th century couples were able to enjoy their moments of intimacy without supervision. This was acceptable in the northern part of America, but not so in the South. Marriage was the ultimate goal for the young ladies of high society in the South. The gentlemen viewed marriage as a business deal, a commodity to be gained, which he would use to his fullest benefit. In order to ensure that the marriage would be a worthwhile investment for both, bank accounts and familial lineages were to be presented as a preliminary requirement to courtship approval. Few of these marriages ever started with love, and as the years went by, many of the couples would become quite fond of each other, which sometimes resulted in a strong bond, almost as powerful as love.

To be continued: Romancing the Era (2)

To contact

Relaxing Melodies To Instill Peacefulness (1)

To contact:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brusciano, Italy News/Events: English (8)

Sociologist and Journalist, Head of Press Office in Brusciano, Italy

"By Brusciano on pilgrimage to Medjugorje with the Parish Community S. Maria delle Grazie, led by parish priest Fr Michael Lombardi."

Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Medjugorje in former Yugoslavia, today Bosnia and Herzegovina, by bus from the start of Wednesday 30 September to return Monday, October 5th, 2009, involves 300 pilgrims from the Diocese of Nola, including the Community Parish Santa Maria delle Grazie of Brusciano led by parish priest, Fr Michael Lombardi.

Among the many believers, men, women, young and old, families and groups of friends, there are also the municipal councilors of Brusciano, Nicola Di Maio, Executive Officer for Social Policy and Giuseppe Cristiani, President of the IV Committee Council , which with their families have joined this pilgrimage and the path of faith in recent years that the Community is reviving the parish community of Don Michael Lombardi, thanks to the support and encouragement of the Bishop of Nola, Bishop Benjamin De Palma, often present at Brusciano in the meetings of special Pastoral and Interparrocchial suggestions.

A powerful mark, the Bishop Depalma, had left it in the Community, all during the pastoral visit concluded in the City Council on December 20 of last year, to the presence of the Mayor Dr. Angelo Antonio Roman, and of the President of Council Antonio Di Palma, Counselors and municipal council representatives and many local civic and religious associations accompanied by the Diocesan Delegate for Ecumenism and Dean, Don Giovani Lo Sapio.

And now the Pilgrimage led by Don Michael Lombardi, who despite his advanced age still continues to be a dragger of souls. Among these Nicola Di Maio and Giuseppe Cristiani who have claimed to "participate in the pilgrimage to Medjugorje primarily as faithfuls. And yet we also want to draw from this experience greater spiritual strength and inspiration to fuel our responsibility to act, believers and political representatives, in the City Council and the work of local administrators for the common good.

And on this actual theme, the sociologist Antonio Castaldo has recalled the recent appeal, from Prague, from Pope Benedict XI, addressed to heads of state, judges, entrepreneurs, journalists, judges, trade unionists to economists, to teachers and security operators, managers of public affairs: "We now need people who are credible and consistent, ready to spread in all spheres of society those Christian principles to which their action is inspired."

Date of this Press Release was: 9/29/09

Responsible for this press release: Antonio Castaldo Tel. 081.5218249 e-mails:

Brusciano, Italy News/Events: English (10)

Sociologist and Journalist, Head of Press Office in Brusciano, Italy

"From our land a young artist has participated with success in the festival of pictoral arts "Muralespanso 2009" at Diamante in Calabria."

From the 16th to the 23rd of last September the event "Muralespanso 2009" was held with a broad participation of artists and audience in Diamante, in the province of Cosenza. From this ancient town, where a consistent large summer tourist flow, greets the Tyrrhenian Sea since 1981, the murals of the historical Center, are promoted by the then Mayor Evasio Pascale and the Master Nani Mazzetti. Now in enlarging its demonstration to the whole city with new artistic realities it has also found a place for one young man in our area, Felice Minichino....

From the large group of artisans and artists that gravitate around the creative forge of the "Associazione Giglio della Gioventù di Brusciano has emerged Felice Minichino 19 years old, of Mariglianella, a graduate from the State Art Academy in Naples, with a study on "L'Urlo" by Norwegian Evard Munch (Loten 1863-Ekely 1944).

The young artist, that emerged in Calabria with the mural, "Summary of Experience," came to congratulate the President of the Municipal Council of Brusciano, Antonio Di Palma, and Counselor, Nicola Di Maio, Delegate to Social Politics. Felice Minichino, son of the art, as told to journalist Antonio Castaldo, feels more drawn to sculpture, example of his father Luigi originally from Castello of Cisterna, but it was noted for his figurative mark.

"I was present at the event following my teacher at the "Liceo Statale di Napoli, prof. Gabriele Castaldo, as his assistant-begins Minichino-in the Demonstration Muralespanso 2009 and during the preparatory activities the curator , teacher Gabriele Marino, approached me, who appreciating my creative engagement has invited me to participate directly with one of my original work. Three days time and I managed to create and implement my first pictorial creature on display that now you can see, not far from the police station at Diamante. For this-concludes Felice Minichino- I thank my professor, the curator of the exhibition, the Assessor to the Battista Maulicino Culture, the Mayor and the "Città di Diamante" for the returned welcome."

In the event that aims to revive Diamante as the "City of Murals" where thirty artists in figurative arts and visual poetries attended, including the debut of successful Felice Minichino that the inner province of Naples has brought his "Summary of Experience." Gabriele Marino, of Neapolitan origin and Diamantese by adoption, ex-teacher of artistic Lyceums in "Pictorial Disciplines," that has been also a founder and the responsible person of the "Group Study Proposal 66", in quality of curator and co-ordinator of "Muralespanso" aiming to make Diamante a great gallery of contemporary art in the open.

Date of this Press Release was: 9/30/09

Responsible for this press release: Anthony Castaldo Tel. 081.5218249 e-mails:

Brusciano, Italy News/Events: English (11)

Sociologist and Journalist, Head of Press Office in Brusciano, Italy

Brusciano pays homage to the archaeological site of Starza Regina to Somma Vesuviana.

A free instructive visit with the perspicacious guide of Amelia Di Matteo, Rosaria Aliperta, Marianna Coppola, Bianca Piccolo and others among the volunteers of the "Pro Loco Somma" coordinated by the president, Franco Mosca. After about 1200 visits in the first weekend, we should give the public another opportunity: Saturday October 3rd, from hours 16 to 18 and Sunday October 4th, hours 9-13 in the morning and hours 16-18 in the afternoon. On Sunday the President of the City Council of Brusciano has marked on the agenda his visit, together with the Journalist Antonio Castaldo, because "the common history and culture, traditions and customs, with the neighboring Somma, it spurs to the further sharing and promotional engagement of these treasures of mankind and to identify others even to Brusciano."

To Somma Vesuviana, locality Starza della Regina, in the course of farm work during the 30s of last century, rose the walls of a large building dating from the early Imperial Rome, which hosted the lives of ancient inhabitants until the eruption of Vesuvius in 472 A.D. which submerged it almost completely. The attention to the place was led by the pharmacist of somma Vesuviana Alberto Angrisani friend of the Epigraph Matteo Della Corte, director of the excavations of Pompeii. It has been hypothesized that this home was that of the last days of life of the Emperor Octavian Augustus (Rome 63 BC-14 AD Nola.) Tacito (Annales-Liber I-5) says that Tiberius came to Augustus and died at Nola, "spirantem adhuc Augustum apud urbem Nolam an exanimem repperit." In the light of new data and findings, nevertheless this hypothesis is denied. But still the fascination of the ancient site remains.

Since 2002, with permission of the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural activities and with the general supervision of the Archaeological Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of the Provinces of Naples and Caserta, the excavation is being carried out by the University of Tokyo, who should return to light the entire complex, from the current 800 to about 9000 square meters. Japanese archaeologists led by Masanori Aoyagi with the support of Antonio De Simone of the Suor Orsola Benincasa University.

Till now they have been freed from the invasive mass monolithic columns, Corinthian capitals, walls with bas-relief, walls with polychrome stucco, niches and two apses with frescoes. As there are stretches of paved floor and "powdered terracotta,", at this level they insisted in dolia for the oil and cisterns for the wine with a channel of supply. Two statues of Dionysus with a panther cub in her arms and a peplofora, woman in greek attire, are now in Japan where the exhibition "The Legacy of the Roman Empire" in Tokyo was opened September 18 with the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, on official visit.

To return to our home, Brusciano, the nearby site of Starza Regina di somma mobilizes recollections and reflections, renewed attention and sensitivity to the local archaeological heritage. The sociologist and journalist Antonio Castaldo indicates a site that is extracted from the reading of the study, of 20 years ago, made by Bruscianese Gennario Terracciano, entitled " De Pagi Bruxiani et situ et originibus. In that work, presented of the unforgettable professor Rocco Romano, printed with the Normatipo of Brusciano and published in 1988, on page 55, we read of a testimony, made by a person that is still alive, who recalled that in the 60s during the work on the highway, dall' ipogeo of a sand quarry to Brusciano one was entering a great ancient villa. Everything was then filled with materials to landfill.

Date of this press release 10/2/09

Responsible for this press release: Anthony Castaldo Tel. 081.5218249 e-mails:

Terms and Processes Used in the Interpretation of Music: Letters P-S



A term in music. In passing from one chord to another, an intervening note, not belonging to either chord, may be used to assist the progression. Such a note is called a passing note or note of transition. They differ from suspensions in not being prepared and in always entering upon the unaccented beat.


Any part of a musical instrument acted on by the feet. The pianoforte, the harp, and the organ are furnished with pedals, which, however, serve an entirely different purpose in each instrument. In the pianoforte their object is to effect a change in the quality or intensity of the sound; the damper pedal prolongs the sound after the finger is lifted from the key, and the shifting or una corda pedal softens the tone. The pedals of the harp are the means by which the chromatic changes of intonation are effected. In the organ the pedals are keys put in action by the feet. The division of the organ which is connected with the foot-keys is called the pedal organ, and contains the largest pipes. The introduction of pedals in the organ has been attributed to various men, among them a German of the name of Bernhard, who lived in the fifteenth century. Pedals known as combination pedals are also used in the organ by which certain fixed combinations of stops may be utilized. Recent improvements in organ-building have made possible the choice of such combinations by the performer, who before commencing to play arranges the combinations he wishes to use, to act on the swell and on the stops.


The name given, in music, to the simple motives containing in themselves no satisfactory musical idea, which enter into the composition of every melody containing a perfect musical idea, e.g. The phrase most usually consists of two measures; in compound time it may be comprised in one measure, and an extended phrase is one which contains three measures. In the more simple and regular forms of musical composition, two phrases unite to form a section, ending in a cadence, and a perfect musical idea is formed of two such sections terminating, the first with the dominant, the second with the tonic harmony.


The proper rendering of musical phrases. A musical composition is analogous to a literary one, the sentences being replaced by phrases; upon their correct interpretation depends the intelligible presentation of the whole piece. One of the most important elements of phrasing is accent, the general principles of which will be found under RHYTHM; but in no case must an accent be so insisted upon as to break the unity of the musical phrase. On the contrary, the ordinary accent is often postponed or anticipated in order to emphasize the general effect of the phrase. For the same reason, especially in rapid passages, accents are often added; while in quick movements accents are sometimes omitted so as to give an impression of unity to a number of separate bars. Two common faults in phrasing are breaking up a group of notes which together form a musical sentence, and running together two distinct sentences. In instrumental work, especially, there is a tendency to make a break at the end of a bar; but in reality a sentence always ends on the accented division of a bar, the bar-stroke having absolutely no relation to phrasing. In vocal music the musical accents correspond with those of the text and the phrases are, as a rule, dependent upon the lines or word sentences. Vocal phrasing, therefore, is obviously much simpler than instrumental. The signs most commonly used to indicate phrasing are the dash; the curved line, denoting legato; and the slur; but the interpretation of any composition is to a great extent a matter of personal appreciation and discrimination. For some helpful suggestions on the subject, consult: Ehrenfechter, Delivery in the Art of Pianoforte Playing (London, 1897); Goodrich, Theory of Interpretation (Philadelphia, 1899); Goodrich, Theory of Interpretation (Philadelphia, 1899); Lussy, Traite de l'expression musicale (6th ed., Paris, 1892).



In music, an eighth note. Its measure is equal to half a crotchet, one-fourth of a minim, or one-eighth of a semibreve.



In music, the compass of a voice or instrument; specifically, a series of tones produced by the same mechanism and having the same quality. Generally considered, there are three registers in the female voice and two in the male voice. Those notes which proceed naturally and freely from the voice constitute the so-called chest-register. The head-register embraces those notes which are produced by a somewhat strained contraction of the glottis, while the falsetto register is that midway between the two.


In music, an interval of silence occurring in the course of a movement between one sound and another. With the use of measurable music, rests began to be represented by regular fixed signs. For rests of a number of bars, it is now usual to draw one or two oblique lines across the staff, and write on them in figures the number of measures during which the voice or instrument is to be silent. A rest, like a note, may be prolonged by one or more dots.



A piece of mechanism applied to instruments of the trumpet and trombone family, for lengthening and shortening the sounding tube. The term slide signifies a diatonic series of two or more tones, either ascending or descending, one of which is to be accented and the others played as grace-notes.


A stringed musical instrument with a keyboard, smaller and weaker than the harpsichord, and, like it, one of the precursors of the pianoforte. The general outline of the instrument nearly resembled that of a harp laid in a horizontal position, with the keys occupying the position of the sounding-board. The oldest extant specimen is dated 1490.


The strings of musical instruments are made either from silk, from the entrails of sheep, or from metal. Formerly the metal strings were made of brass or copper, but now they are generally made of steel (for the pianoforte). For the string-instruments (violin, guitar) gut strings are generally used. The thinner the string the higher is the pitch. Excessive thickness for the lower strings is avoided by winding them with thin copper or silver wire. Recently strings, especially those which are over-spun, have been manufactured from silk. For the violin the highest or E string is also sometimes made of silk, but its tone quality is inferior to that of a gut string. The silk strings are chiefly used by violinists for the purpose of practicing in warm weather, when the moisture of the fingers causes the gut strings to snap in a short time.


In music, a set of pipes in an organ, forming a separate department, which are capable of being increased or diminished in intensity of sound by the action of a pedal, or by a series of shades or shutters overlapping each other like Venetian window-blinds, within which the pipes in question are enclosed. The first recorded swell organ was made in 1712 by Jordan, and in 1763 Shudi introduced the so-called Venetia swell, but the compass of all the early swells was very incomplete.


In music, the joining together of two similar notes by means of a tie, so that the accent intended to fall on the second (strong beat) comes on the first (weak beat). The effect produced is that of contra-tempo. The effect of syncopation can also be produced by merely shifting the accent by means of sf marks (Eroica Symphony, Scherzo). The North American Indians made extensive use of syncopation, and in this were followed by the Southern negroes. In fact, the music of nearly every savage or semi-civilized nation shows traces of syncopated rhythm.

To contact: or

Terms and Processes Used in the Interpretation of Music: Letters M-N



The process of changing from one key to another within the same composition. In a movement of even the smallest dimensions monotony would result if the composer should confine himself strictly to one key. There are two kinds of modulations, passing and final. Passing modulation introduces chords belonging to other keys only incidentally and soon returns to the original key.But when a piece modulates so that the original key is abandoned and a new key takes its place, the modulation is final. In the sonata-form (see SONATA) the first development of the principal subject confines itself only to passing modulations. A final modulation occurs at the entrance of the secondary subject (generally to the dominant key). The second or development section is concerned entirely with passing modulation. But even here the choice of keys is not arbitrary. However, no rules can be given; the artistic and aesthetic instinct of the composer is the sole guide. According to the theory of the present day, all modulation is regarded in its relation to the principal key of the piece, and in a wider sense, all keys are but steps within the unlimited domain of tonality. Older composers are very sparing and careful in the use of modulation, but those of the nineteenth century (especially Wagner, Schumann, Chopin) practically removed all barriers. The means of modulation are various and cannot be discussed in an article like the present. The most frequent expedient is the different interpretations put upon the same chord. Thus the chord c,e,g may be conceived as tonic of C, dominant of F, sub-dominant of G, etc., and consequently can be used to modulate at once to those keys. In modern music the chord of the diminished seventh plays an important part in modulation. Thus C#, e, g,bb leads into D minor; the same chord conceived as e, g, bb,db into F minor; as g, bb, db, fb to A flat minor; as a#, c#, e, g into B minor, etc. The principal works on modulation are: Draseke, Anweisung zum kunstgerechten Modulieren (Freienwalde, 1876); Riemann, Harmonie und Modulationslehre (Leipzig, 1900); Jadassohn, Die Kunst zu modulieren (Leipzig, 1890).


The keyboard of an organ played by the hands, in contradistinction to the pedal, played by the feet. The number of manuals varies from two to four according to the size of the organ. In older French organs even five manuals are found. The names of the different manuals are: (1) Great organ; (2) choir-manual; (3) swell-manual; (4) solo-manual; (5) echo-manual. Each manual really is a separate organ in itself, having its own set of pipes and stops. By means of couplers any or all of the manuals can be connected, so that by striking a note on one manual the same note sounds on all the other manuals that are coupled. The usual compass of manuals is four octaves and a fifth, C-g.


A small machine for indicating the correct time or speed at which a musical composition should be played. It was invented in 1816, and consists of a pendulum, actuated by clockwork, which swings in front of a graduated scale. To the upper part of the pendulum-rod is attached a movable weight which can be set at any figure indicated by the scale. The figure 60 means that when the weight is set there the pendulum swings 60 times a minute. Thus it beats exact seconds. When set at 120 it beats half seconds. The metronome indication appears always at the beginning of a composition. M.M. (Malzel's metronome, from its reputed inventor, Malzel) By means of the metronome the composer is enabled to give the minutest directions in respect to the tempo, for the old terms allegro, andante, presto, etc., can only serve as approximate indications, leaving much to the temperament of the individual performer. The metronome is of the greatest value and is much used today in training beginners to play strictly in time.


A musical term denoting a division of a cyclical composition. As early as the sixteenth century a number of dances were loosely joined together, the only rule followed being that all should be in the same key, and that the tempo (fast, slow) should alternate. This gave rise to the suite, but the modern symphony or sonata was developed from the old overture, which consisted of three parts, a fast one followed by a slow one with the first part repeated. Gradually the three parts were separated and became distinct movements. In the sonata the first movement is always written in a particular form called sonata-form. The different movements are in different (but related) keys. The first and last are always in the same key, which is therefore spoken of as the key of the cyclical composition. When the first movement is in the minor, the last is generally in the relative major. Each movement has its own themes. Occasionally, however, a composer introduces in a later movement (generally the finale) a theme from a former movement. The number of movements depends upon the character of the composition. In works written in sonata-form the usual number is three for sonatas and four for symphonies. In suites the number varies from four to eight.


A branch of musical training of very recent date. The instructor sings or plays short musical selections or phrases which the pupil is required to fix in musical notation on paper. The object of musical dictation is not only to train the ear, but chiefly to develop the power of quickly grasping and fixing musical ideas. The beginning is made of course with simple melodies progressing in simple intervals. Gradually melodies with more difficult intervals are introduced. The next step is to melodies with a simple harmonic basis. A class for musical dictation was established at the Conservatory in Paris in 1871. Some of the German conservatories soon followed (Hamburg, Dresden, Karlsrube, etc.). An elaborate treatise on the subject was published by A. Lavignac, Cours complet de dictee musicale (Paris, 1882). Smaller works are: Gotze, Musikalische Schreibubungen (Breslau, 1882); and Musical Dictation (London, 1886) by Dr. Ritter (in Novellos series of Music Primers).



In Gregorian music, melodic ornaments, especially series of notes sung to one syllable. Also characters in a peculiar system of musical notation which was in use from the eighth or ninth to the eleventh century. The oldest preserved manuscript written in this notation is the Anti-phonary of Saint Gall (ninth century). No staff was used. The notes were represented by a system of dots and hooks and their respective pitch by the height at which they were placed above the syllables of the text. The rising and falling of the voice was marked by a corresponding higher or lower position of the signs. In order to obviate the difficulty of determining the exact pitch of the various tones, a red line was drawn horizontally across the parchment (tenth century), and the signs were written above and below this line. Any sign upon the line denoted F. Before another century a second line was drawn above the red one. This was yellow and the note upon it was C. But in the plainer manuscripts the distinction of color was soon abandoned, and two black lines were drawn with the letters F and C placed at the beginning. In the course of time these letters underwent a series of conventional modifications, until they finally assumed the shape in which they are used today as clef-signatures. The G clef, which was added later, underwent a similar change.

To contact: or

Terms and Processes Used in the Interpretation of Music: Letters E-K



In music, the method of clearly presenting the emotional and intellectual characteristics of a work. There are a few broad rules which are generally accepted as being at the basis of expression. A crescendo movement is usually accompanied by an intensification, a diminuendo by a slight drawing back: a musical phrase is played with increasing fervor to its climax, and from that point is diminished to its end; any striking melody or rhythm in a passage should be emphasized; a modulation to a new key is accompanied by a crescendo. It is interesting to note that passages of increasing intensity generally have rising melodies, while those which show a decrease have falling. There are a number of works on the theory and practice of expression, among them; Lussy, Traite de l'expression musicale (Paris, 1873, translated into English London, 1885; into German, Leipzig, 1886); Klauwell, Der Vortag in der Musik (Berlin, 1883); Riemann, Musikalische Dynamik und Agogik (Hamburg, 1884); Christiani, Das Verstandnis im Klavierspiel (Leipsiz, 1886); Haweis, Music and Morals (London, 1871).


In stringed musical instruments, the thin strip of wood glued upon the neck, above which the strings are stretched and on which the player presses his finger when shortening the strings. At its lower end the finger-board projects over the sounding-board of all instruments played with the bow, but in other varieties, as in the guitar, it is glued down on both neck and sounding-board. In some stringed instruments plucked with the fingers the finger-board is divided by frets to enable the player more readily to find the correct pitch. See KEYBOARD.


In music, the method of applying the fingers to the keys, holes, strings, etc., of musical instruments. The simplest fingering is upon the brass wind-instruments, whose keys are so few that they can be manipulated by one hand without change of position. The woodwind instruments come next in order of difficulty, various functions being assigned to each finger, and sometimes the same key being pressed by different fingers. For the fingering of stringed instruments, such as the violin, see POSITION. The most complicated fingering, however, is on instruments having keyboards. The method of notation for fingering used at present on the pianoforte in which the thumb is marked X and the fingers 1, 2, 3, 4 (English) ; or the thumb 1, and the fingers 2, 3, 4, 5 (German), is the outcome of a long series of experiments, prominent among the reformers being Liszt, Tausig, and Bulow. Consult: Whittingham, Companion to All Instruction Books for Keyed Instruments (London); Reinagle, A Few Words on Pianoforte Playing, with Rules for Fingering (London, 1854); Cramer, Studies for the Pianoforte (New York, 1828). See also articles on the various instruments.



A keyed musical instrument, formerly in extensive use, but now little known. In shape it was exactly like a grand pianoforte, to which its internal arrangements were also similar. The sound from the strings was produced by a small piece of crow-quill, or a piece of hard leather, which projected out of a slip of wood, called the jack, that stood upright between the strings, and was pushed upward by the key till the quill, or leather, twitched the string , causing a brilliant but somewhat harsh sound, deficient of any means of modification in respect to loudness or softness. Specimens of the harpsichord, although now becoming quite rare, are still to be found in good preservation, but rather as articles of virtue or curiosity than as useful musical instruments. Many Italian and Dutch harpsichords were highly ornamented by the most eminent artists with valuable oil paintings on the inside of the lid. The date of the invention of the harpsichord is uncertain. Before the fifteenth century there is no trace of its existence. It was introduced into England early in the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century Kirkman, and later Broadwood and Schudi, were the famous makers in London. After the invention of the pianoforte the harpsichord and all instruments of the same kind, such as the spinet, were in time entirely superseded. The harpsichord shown in the accompanying illustration was presented to Nelly Custis by George Washington. It was made in London, is eight feet long, three and a half feet wide, and has two banks of 120 keys.



In music, the production of tone either by an instrument or by the voice. It is of no importance in keyed instruments like the piano or organ, as the performer can only strike the proper key and is powerless if the isntrument is not in tune. But the matter of intonation is of utmost importance in the voice and all string and wind instruments. Only a person having a finely trained ear is able to produce proper intonation. Hence we speak of pure and false intonation.



A keyboard for the pianoforte invented by Paul von Janko in 1882. This was introduced to the English public in 1888, and in New York in October, 1890. The Janko keyboard consists of six rows or banks of keys, placed in a semicircle and presenting a fan-like appearance. Each note has three different keys, one lower than the other and attached to a key-lever, so that each key may be struck in three different rows. Six parallel rows of whole-tone intervals are thus produced. The keyboard slants, the keys are rounded on both sides, and the sharps and flats are distinguished by black bands. A freer use of the fingers is claimed than with the accepted keyboard. By reason of the many rows, the hand can maintain its natural position with the long fingers on the upper notes and the shorter ones on the lower. All scales and chords have uniform fingering, the relative position being the same in all keys, and the only necessary change is to raise or lower the entire hand. The octave is brought within the stretch of the sixth on the ordinary keyboard, and half tones bay be played legato with one finger. The new keyboard can be adapted to any pianoforte, grand, upright, or square, without harm to the instrument. Chromatic scales in thirds, sixths and octaves can be executed with as much facility as the ordinary scale on the ordinary pianoforte, because one performer can produce effects that now are obtainable only in four-hand playing.



A frame containing a set of keys, placed in the front part of the pianoforte or organ. The word is also applied to the keys, or digitals, taken collectively. The natural keys are of wood covered with white ivory, and the raised keys, touched to produce sharps and flats, are blocks of ebony or other hard black wood. The influence of the keyboard upon the development of modern music is important. The earliest keyboard of which we have record was that of the jydraulic or water organ, a Greek invention of the second century. In this the keys, eighteen in number, were all level. Strange to say, the principle oof the balanced key, which had to be rediscovered in the seventeenth century, was then well known. Our modern chromatic keyboard was in use as early as 1361, though the keys were so large that they had to be struck with the fist. Their width was, however, gradually lessened, and in the spinet made by Pasi, of Modena, in 1490 (the earliest instrument of this class), and in the organ of Saint Blaise at Brunswick (1499), the compass was approximately that of our present keyboard. In most of the early instruments the natural notes are black and the sharps and flats white. Several attempts have been made to reform the keyboard. The principal objection to all rearrangements is the fact that there is a mass of beautiful music, written for the modern pianoforte, which could not be adapted to an improved instrument.

To contact: or

Red Hook: Reflections on History Article #3 (a)

John J. Burkard, Red Hook historian Brooklyn, New York

"History Uncovered"

When I was a lad, (I'm now 75) quite some time ago, I remembered a bronze plaque that adorned the wall of the Todd Shipyards building in Red Hook Brooklyn. This historic treasure proclaimed an event that transpired August 27, 1776 and marked the end of Red Hook Lane an old Indian trail used by the American Colonists. The marker had been missing for over 50 years, and mentioned the heroic soldiers stationed at a redoubt type of entrenchment called Fort Defiance, located at the end of this Red Hook Lane.

It went on to speak about these brave soldiers and how on that fateful day they did turn their cannons upon a British man-o-war vessel attempting entrance to the East River. But their assault, coupled with the elements of weather forced this frigate the HMS Roebuck to turn back to the anchored British fleet off Gravesend Bay. It was under the command of Lord Viceroy Admiral Howe, whose brother General Howe led the land based British troops, and history tells us, "the failure of this ship to gain access to the waterway was a major turning point in the Battle Of Brooklyn".

As a result, George Washington was able two days later to evacuate His entire Army successfully to the shores of Manhattan. Had the Roebuck gained access, they would have effectfully cut off this withdrawal by surrounding the American Army on all sides of the field of battle, and the results would have been catastrophic.

I attended grade school in Red Hook, and I have lived in the neighborhood all my life, so it seemed only natural when I retired 14 years ago I should set out on a quest to locate this historic marker that, as a youngster I admired and proudly looked upon and, cherished, the story of how important Red Hook was, to bring a sense of pride and joy to my neighborhood.

You see, I've always wondered why this neighborhood history, so critical to the birth of our nation was never taught in our local schools, certainly not when I attended, there was two public schools, and one parochial school. History not taught by the teachers, not listed in the history books, never was it spoke of, not a soul would relate this story to the children, that Red Hook Brooklyn could indeed be considered responsible for allowing the American Army to withdraw and regroup, and go on to defeat the British Army. It could be safely said that the happenings I speak about did indeed contributed to the birth of our Nation.

I have learned a great deal in my 14 years as a history buff, some pleasant, some not so pleasant. For instance, I found that many historians interpret the facts to conform to their own versions of the events. I learned also, some neighborhoods have been overlooked, to give recognition to others. and It is my wish in future writings to this site to explain and give examples of this deliberate but obvious omission.

Why was Red Hook neglected? why did not those responsible impart to the neighborhood school children that needed sense of pride? the ability to be proud of their community and its importance in the role of the making of America.

I will close on a happy note, this summer August 27th on the 229th anniversary of this historic moment, a new plaque will be unveiled in a beautiful newly constructed waterfront park and garden at the foot of Conover Street in Red Hook. This will be like a dream come true for myself, the achievement of my intended goal to bring deserved recognition to my neighborhood.

John J. Burkard, Red Hook Area Historic Researcher

Struggle for Freedom: The Impact of Women's Movements in the United States Part III (b))

By Miriam B. Medina

(Continue from Page: 1)

With the failing economy of the Great Depression during the 1930's, unemployed hostile men began to complain that women were taking away their jobs, though these women were forced to work at a reduced income. Consequently, the married women were laid off from jobs that were relevant to them and not for men, resulting in more unemployment.

The emergence of World War II caused many transformations within the American work force, as well as for women themselves. President Roosevelt issued a directive for production in 1942, ordering 60,000 planes, 45,000 tanks, 20,000 antiaircraft guns and 8,000,000 deadweight tons of merchant shipping. This was merely the tip of the iceberg. New factories, shipyards, and defense plants, were being built. Wartime production created millions of new jobs. Women joined the workforce, replacing the men that enlisted or that were drafted into the war. Rosie the Riveter represented women laboring in manufacturing. The number of female factory workers doubled during the war. Opportunities to work in the federal government were available to the women, which many accepted. After the war, the men demanded their jobs back. Some of the women were ready to leave, and happily returned to their normal family life, which was disrupted by the war. Others were reluctant to accept unemployment. It was also a time when the government established a policy of "equal pay for equal employment", a major breakthrough for women.

The 50s provoked cultural prejudices when the presence of Gays and Lesbians were becoming apparent. Many of them were barred from federal, state and local government positions. A Lesbian organization by the name of Daughters of Bilitis, whose founders were Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, was established in 1955 in San Francisco.

Once the right to vote was granted, feminism was placed on the back burner over a barely visible flame until the modern Women's Liberation Movement of the 60's turned the heat up to full blast once again. This newer version of the Women's Liberation Movement was provoked by female college students who marched, picketed and demonstrated themselves as equals with the male students in militant Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam groups, but they did not perceive themselves as treated like equals.

Where society has always placed males as preeminent beings, women, whether heterosexual or Lesbian, have seen themselves differently. Nonetheless, apart from the male ideas of how a woman should look, feel, act or behave, a woman still must fight against the boldness of female oppression according to her own philosophy towards male/female relationships. Privileges and compensations given to heterosexual women are denied to Lesbians because they challenge male dominance. Thus, Lesbians are treated unfairly by the heterosexual people as inferior and are labeled as outcasts.

In order to survive, amongst a bigoted society, many Lesbians have availed themselves of the infamous "closet" to hide their gay identity, thus avoiding public ridicule and humiliation as well as rejection from family and friends. Then they decided to fight back in 1969 during the Stonewall Riot, which occurred at Greenwich Village in Manhattan, New York. Stonewall was the turning point for the gay rights movement, marking the beginning of a new concept of gay identity: Gay Pride versus gays in the closet. It was a travesty. Many homosexuals were tired of being pushed around. They decided to cooperate in many cases and fight for the rights that America owed them. By 1973, there were at least 70 gay and lesbian organizations that existed in the United States, organizing to fight for common rights they deserved but were not afforded. Today these unions number by the thousands.

During the 1970's, in protest of being merely sex symbols for men, women publicly burned their bras at a woman's rights rally, refusing to wear cosmetics and girdles as a way of proclaiming their right. The Equal Rights Amendment which was passed by Congress in 1972 forbade discrimination against women.

However, since then, through all the twists and turns that define women's history in the United States, women have come a long way in asserting their rights to freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and have resisted persecution in their struggle for economic independence. In seeking to remain independent, women have progressed remarkably in their endeavor to cause dramatic changes to their role in society. They have established different degrees of freedom and have fought through the years to create new forms of Legislation, demanding their rights be written into law.

Thus, we continue to struggle with our "Fight for Freedom", adding greater milestones to the voluminous pages of United States history and to the hallowed history of the Women's Liberation Movement. Where there is unity there is strength. So until, we meet again, I wish all of you the best of luck in your pursuits and much success. Freedom is not biased it belongs to us all. Sometimes, we just have to remind society of that fact.

Miriam B. Medina is an Expert Author at Platinum Level with

To contact: or

Struggle for Freedom: The Impact of Women's Movements in the United States Part III (a))

By Miriam B. Medina

This is the conclusive part of a three-part series examining the history of feminist movements in the United States and the impact of that movement on American society. The first part examined the early history of women's place in society. Part two examined the 19th century up until the formation of the first Women's Rights associations and ended discussing the first widespread use of birth control, a pivotal tool in the struggle to transform women from being viewed as birthing machines. This article begins with the evolution of birth control devices in the 20th century.

A wide range of contraceptive devices and methods were tried. Some of the methods included abstaining from sex as much as possible, a bad idea because it often failed. Then there was the early withdrawal process. The withdrawal way during intercourse, which required a lot of control from the man, robbed the partners of much ecstasy, and with the rhythm method there could be a problem with the timing of ovulation. Then there were sponges, the use of douches and even condoms. The purpose of the rubber condom was both for birth control and to serve as a protective measure against sexually transmitted diseases. The diaphragm came about in the 1880's, which I think this was the most favored form of birth control until the 1950's. The 1960's brought the famous: "The Pill". The pill was followed by the "IUD", which I believe appeared around the 1920's, but it was in 1966 that it became a public phenomena. Not all were effective at preventing pregnancies. Many women would then resort to self-abortion, ingesting some potion made out of herbal medicine, or jumping down stairs, taking hot baths or performing strenuous lifting methods. Many of these women died, hemorrhaging from a miscarriage. Those who could afford it would go to an unscrupulous abortionist in New York City where there existed at least 200 of them in the 1870's. Even among the World of Society, I'm sure; there were secrets that have been brushed under the rug over the years.

On August 26, 1920, a constitutional amendment was adopted when Tennessee finally ratified it, granting full woman suffrage in all of the United States.

America's social scene was changing at a rapid pace, especially in the 1920's. It was a remarkable, dramatic era in all aspects. The economy was experiencing an upswing after World War I, which brought about many jobs that employed married women. These women worked for lesser wage than the men received. Nonetheless, most importantly, it was the decade of the appearance of the revolutionary Flapper girl, who joyously threw off chains of societal restriction, demanding sexual and personal freedom. She was the original free spirit, the modern woman. She smoked in public, a taboo, lived on her own, voted, drank booze with the boys, danced, and bobbed her hair. She also wore cosmetics, painted her lips bright red, and went to wild petting parties where she was sexually promiscuous. She was the first real example of the modern woman, one who could do anything that the men could. The Flapper defied all the rules of acceptable feminine behavior.

In 1921, the Lucy Stone League was founded. This organization, its members named the "Lucy Stoners" after the abolitionist and national woman's rights leader Lucy Stone, recommended that married women keep their maiden names, simply using the Mrs as a title. For example, Mrs. Lucy Stone. Lucy Stone did this with the consent of her husband, Henry Brown Blackwell.

To be continued: Part III (b)

To contact:

Struggle for Freedom: The Impact of Women's Movements in the United States Part II (c))

By Miriam B. Medina

After the Civil War, industry began to grow as new cities were being built. This in turn provided better paying jobs to men. For women, jobs like telephone operators, stenographers, clerks, teachers and nurses were all becoming available.

The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), which was the largest women's association of the 19th century, was founded in 1874. It addressed the issues of men's alcoholism and its detrimental effect upon the family. Their primary concern focused on the saloons because that was where men spent most of their time, where they spent their wages on alcohol, gambled away their livelihood and where prostitution flourished. It was a man's world. In the saloon, the man would always find a warm welcome, It was their hide away from the whinny complaints of their wives and where they could avoid endless domestic issues. These dedicated WCTU women would aggravate the saloons, urging the saloon keepers to lock their doors. The more they were pushed aside, the more they would fight back. They were relentless in their efforts, which eventually resulted in 3000 saloons being closed.

The National Woman's Suffrage Association, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as President, was formed in 1869. The American Women's Suffrage Association, with Henry Ward Beecher as President, was also established the same year. Their goal was to ensure women's suffrage. In 1890, the two groups merged into the "National American Women's Suffrage Association" with Susan B. Anthony as President. She was assisted by Carrie Chapman Catt. In 1920, the National League of Women Voters was established. This replaced the National American Woman's Suffrage Association. The Women's Rights Movement continued to gain momentum as the "newly liberated woman "began emerging around the 1890's. They proudly wore full-cut men's trousers, argued over women's rights openly in public places, and competed in strenuous sporting events. So what do you think about that? These women were real jocks involved in all sports and could handle smoking too.

A leading woman's revolution took place in 1916, as women were liberated from simply acting as reproduction machines. At the time, many women were going through with unwanted pregnancies, and many others had died as a result of self-abortion. Margaret Sanger, a maternity nurse in lower Manhattan, New York, aware of the trauma, decided to open the first birth-control clinic. Margaret Sanger also formed the National Birth Control League in 1917, which became the Planned Parenthood Federation in 1942. At the end of the war, a ruling from the Federal Court allowed condoms to be legally advertised and sold for the prevention of disease, although there were still a few state laws that were against condoms as a birth control device. In part three of this three-part series, I'll conclude with the recent history and impact of the feminist movement in America, and how birth control and organized effort helped advance women with the equality that they always deserved.

To be continued: Part III (a)

To contact:

Struggle for Freedom: The Impact of Women's Movements in the United States Part II (b))

By Miriam B. Medina

Women throughout the centuries have been perceived as inferior to men. This has frustrated and enraged them in regards to the lack of control they have had over their own destinies.

As a result of women vocalizing their displeasure over the way they were being treated and their overwhelming lack of rights, the first Women's Rights convention was held at Seneca Falls, New York. This took place on July 19-20, 1848, with the sole purpose of addressing Women's rights and issues. It was organized by Quaker leader and abolitionist Lucretia Mott and abolitionist lecturer Elizabeth Cady Stanton. There were at least 260 women that attended the meeting demanding political, social and economic justice for women, which was quite revolutionary for the 19th century. A Declaration of Rights and Sentiments fashioned after the Declaration of Independence was prepared by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It mentioned all the injustices that women had suffered for years.

Some of the highlights from that declaration included:

That women as well as men are created equal and that women have the right to own property in their own name.

The right, to work at any trade or profession of their choosing.

The right to an education and the right to vote.

The Seneca Falls Convention marked the inauguration of the Women's Rights Movement in America. Women were no longer going to be suppressed or remain silent, be treated as a commodity, or as a slave. The buck was stopping there. Enough was enough.

Prior to 1848 and other "Married Women's Property Acts" that were passed, when a woman married, she would lose the right to control property that was hers prior to the marriage. She wasn't able to acquire property during the marriage either. Married woman during that time were not able to make any contracts, transfer assets or even sell property, bring suit, maintain or control her own wages or collect any rents. Although Mississippi adopted the first married women's property act in 1839, the state of New York passed a much better known law in 1848.

With the passing of the 1893 Married Women's Property Act, this slow course of action was finally brought to fruition. As a result, married women now fully had legalized control over possessions of every kind. Possessions that they had owned at marriage or which they received after marriage, either by inheritance or which they had earned.

To be continued: Part II (c)

To contact: