Happy Thanksgiving

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Today is perhaps the very best holiday we have in the USA as it is celebrated by all the American citizens, regardless of our creed or color. We have been enjoying the get together with our close family members since we immigrated to this country in 1982 (that far in time already?) In this picture you can see my two lovely kids Noël Marie and Gian Luca in a family meal we had in our Miami Beach apartment four years ago.

Unfortunately due to the stringent Public Health requirements of the pandemic, we will not be meeting to celebrate around a family dinner tonight; we preferred to avoid travelling this time. However, we will communicate via WhatsApp later and share our “virtual meal” with happiness. Countless American families will have similar constraints, including our elect President Joe Biden.

We can still rejoice in the fact that we are experiencing the American Dream. E pluribus unum.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Muchas gracias querido Diez

Queridos lectores y colegas blogeros:

Buenos dias. Lamentablemente acabamos de enterarnos que Diego Armando Maradona, el gran astro del fútbol, acaba de fallecer de un paro cardio-respiratorio en Buenos Aires, Argentina. Es y será un gran ídolo de Argentina y otras partes del mundo, como Napoli en Italia.

Nos vamos a acordar siempre de las grandes alegrías que nos dió en la cancha como este decisivo gol contra Inglaterra en el Mundial de México 1986. La tan famosa “mano de Dios” que nos ha hecho reír a todos, incluso a los mismos ingleses que se habían enojado tanto ese dia.

Con todos sus defectos y errores, Maradona constituye una parte indisoluble de nuestras vidas. Sentimos profundamente su fallecimiento y le expresamos un sentido pésame a su familia.

Que Dios Todopoderoso lo tenga en su gloria!

Que están pensando? Por favor dÍgannos.

No me dejen solo.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Today the United Nations, the European Union and other large international organizations are hosting events for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Sadly it is still a major Public Health and societal threat that involves almost all communities. This terrible scourge must be eradicated from our civic, labor and personal spaces.

Unfortunately the forced Social Isolation and extensive economic aftermath provoked by the pandemic has only worsened the living conditions of countless women living with serial abusers. Because most of the cases of violence against women involve familiar perpetrators like partners. Our dear father Mario always admonished us: “Whomever hits a woman is a coward.” Ever since then we have lived with that motto seared in our minds in all circumstances and social settings.

Let us help in this worldwide campaign by developing more civic conscience in the younger generations that must clearly understand that there is never a justification for that barbarism. And let us demand that the laws and regulations of our countries pursue and punish abusers. Moreover, the subliminal violent messages of the “popular culture” must be firmly denounced.

Note. This picture was taken from Wikimedia Images.  https://commons.wikimedia.org

No more violence against Women.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Our chimichurri is simply delicious

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. We knew that you wanted to know how the chimichurri, that we meticulously had prepared yesterday, finally came out. Proudly, we say it’s simply delicious. Here it is, folks.

As you can see, the mixture has considerably thickened overnight in the fridge. We had to try it.

We will make that utmost sacrifice of enjoying this beef burger with a lot of chimichurri on top.

Bon apétit!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Pastaciutta alla Pasqualino Settebellezze

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good evening. It was time to prepare dinner and we had little time before hungry stomachs would start demanding some comfort at home. So we took advantage of the left-over Dotta Pellegrina sauce that we invented last week (please see the blog) and we boiled some rottini. As we had some cooked chorizo, we added it to the sauce to spice it up. Here is our concoction.

Of course we added a little ball of burrata cheese in the middle to make it super-duper cheesy.

After we melt the burrata cheese, this is how the dish is going to look like. Does it suit you?

Recently we saw Lina Wertmüller’s Pasqualino Settebellezze again, to enjoy the great acting of Giancarlo Gianinni in the role of an Italian prisoner of war that has to court a disgusting Nazi commander to survive in a concentration camp. It is a tragi-comic story with a sour ending.

Vedete qui la pastaciutta alla Pasqualino Settebellezze. Andiamo tutti subito a mangiare.

Buon appetito!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

How to prepare the Hibernian-inspired Chimichurri

In June 2015, Mel Healy, a fellow writer and blogger, posted an article stating that the legendary chimichurri sauce that we so assiduously prepare in Argentina and Uruguay, was the original concoction of an Irish adventurer that joined the liberation movement against Spain’s rule there. Amongst the  brave hearts from Eire that enthusiastically joined the fight, there was a lad called Jimmy McCurry who joined the forces of General Manual Belgrano and his Northern Army.

Mel wrote: “One evening, as Jimmy and the General and the rest of the lads were putting up their tents and updating their social media…General Belgrano took young Jimmy aside and said (I’m paraphrasing here), ‘Hey Chimmi, we’re getting a bit pissed off with all this Fray Bentos muck from Uruguay. Is there any Irish nosh ye can rustle up for us tonight for a change?” It seems that Jimmy went back to his tent and mix a few ingredients to create a novel sauce for the general.

In Europe there has been a millenary tradition of “green sauces” for meats, one of them being the famous salsa verde of Spain or the sauce vert of France, which makes that anecdote plausible.

Today we will prepare our version of the chimichurri, for which we assembled the following items.

We prefer to use extra virgin olive oil (instead of the regular one) white wine vinegar, plenty of orégano (harvested in the hills of Córdoba, Argentina) parsley, tarragon, garlic and red pepper. We like to add a touch of honey at the end to counter the acidity and protect our stomachs. First of all, start by meticulously slicing and dicing the red pepper and the garlic cloves. On the move.

Once you have that step completed, put everything in a bowl and stash it somewhere safe.

That lone chorizo is anxiously watching our cooking and cheering us up all along the process. First of all, line up all the ingredients on your cutting board. Like a general aligning the troops.

We will show you what condiments we use (start in the center and move counter-clockwise). They are black pepper, moringa, sweet curry, tarragon, parsley, and orégano, bien sûr.

 

Prepare four measures of olive oil for each measure of white wine vinegar. 4 X 1. Precisely. Once the troops are all aligned, the infantry must make the first move. On to the blender-mixer.

 

Put everything together in the fabulous blender-mixer that my kids gave me for my birthday.

After the veggies went down, we dump the liquids, slowly, carefully (don’t make a mess like we do) If we add a cup of warm water (we said warm, not hot) the mixing will be greatly facilitated.

When everything (except the honey) has been loaded up, it is time to strike. Stay with moi!

Stir carefully, checking the consistency of the mix. When you feel it is ready, put the honey. Once you feel it is ready, set up the small containers to pour the mix and get it ready for the fridge.

As you can see we did this video on our own, on the spur of the moment, without any help. What really matters is that the final product was a deliciously healthy achievement. Voilà.  Pour in a special container and place it at least 24 hours in the fridge. It will come out much, much better.

Please remember to put it in fridge and if you happen to try this recipe, let us know how you did.

The loyal birra is keeping watch of the chimichurri sauce in our humble fridge. Vamo’ arriba !

Buen provecho!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Good morning and Happy Sunday

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning and Happy Sunday. Today we decided to prepare the famous chimichurri sauce from scratch and we are already assembling the right elements for that task. Here they are.

The lone chorizo is waiting for the delicious sauce to impregnate all its corners. Feeling hungry?

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Marche un Choripán completo

Queridos lectores y colegas blogeros:

Buenos dias. Hoy nos despertamos con un día muy nublado y sumamemte triste en Miami. Todavía tirados en la querida catrera, nos pusimos a pensar: que podríamos hacer rápido para levantarnos un poco el espíritu? Nada mejor que prepararnos un buen choripán para desayunar.

Lo cocinamos en nuestro Nuwave air fryer y salió bien tostadito y crocantito. Agregamos un poco de lechuga, tomate y cebolla picada al pancito para hacerlo mas apetecible. Que les parece?

Para completar nuestro acto tan decadente agregamos un poco de ensalada rusa. Pecaminoso!

El plato ya está servido. Los invito a participar en este despelote total de desayuno. A morfar!

Buen provecho!

Sigamos distantes. Sigamos seguros. Sigamos bellos.

Que les parece? Por favor dígannos.

No me dejen solo.

 

 

 

Symbology in Tarot – Major Arcana part IV

In this article we will discuss the two cards associated with the healing power of Love and the human willpower .

VI – The Lovers

This card shows a naked woman and a man standing before the Angel Raphael who is the representation of the healing power of God Almighty in Abrahamic tradition. Surrounded by the lush vegetation of the Garden of Eden, they are threatened by the sibylline enticement of the Devil in the form of a serpent attached to an apple tree. The twelve flames of the burning tree represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. The man—the Conscious mind—is watching the woman—the Subconscious mind—who is in turn watching the Angel—the Super Conscious. It resumes the progression from purely physical needs through the emotional concerns towards the spirituality. Women are the pulleys transmitting our physical energies towards the attainment of our spiritual goals, surpassing our limitations.

Note – This image depicting The Archangel Israfil was made in Egypt or Syria in the late 14th-early 15th century.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arabic-manuscript.jpg

In most Abrahamic religions, (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) Saint Raphael is associated with healing in various forms. In the Gospel of John, he is the angel that is stirring the waters at the pool of Bethesda. In the Babylonian Talmud, he is one of the three angels that appeared to Abraham in the oak grove at Hebron, charged with healing him after his circumcision. In Islam, he is depicted with a trumpet because he will be responsible for blowing it atop the mosque in Jerusalem to announce the Resurrection. He heals our spirits from the manifold frustrations of Life.

Upright Lovers – This scene conveys the unique serenity and safety that a genuinely loving relationship, based on mutual affection and respect, confers to the partners. It is usually ascribed to sexual companions, but it can also refer to other members of our family and close friends. Being totally naked, they are not afraid to expose their innermost feelings and concerns to the other partner, eschewing hypocritical shame. In a labor or professional context, it might mean that you have to “come clean” with  your deeply held beliefs in challenging situations that put your honesty to the test. Your circumstantial choices must be aligned with your moral and ethical upbringing.

Reverse Lovers – This scene gives us the idea that something is wrong in your life. It could be that you are not being completely honest and sincere with your partner. In that case, you must sit down for an extensive discussion of possible remedies. If it refers to a labor or professional situation, it might mean that you must mend your ways by following the precepts of your teachers and avoiding the “easy way out.” The apparition of this card means that you must eventually make the rightful choice. Moreover, the coupling of two individuals will create a higher form of association.

VII – The Chariot

This card shows a courageous warrior of Antiquity riding his chariot into battle, which he does by the sheer power of his will and not by holding any reins. His attire shows several alchemical symbols like the crescent moon (the future) and a square (the willpower) In the front of his chariot, there is a representation of an eagle, which embodies human reason in the symbology of alchemy. Above his head there is a constellation of stars connecting him to The Divine and in front of him lie two sphinxes pulling in opposite directions. However, exercising strong voluntarism, he manages to steady the course right in the middle. Behind him, stands the natural flow of Life, represented by a tumultuous river that never stops and cannot be controlled by men.

Note – This image of an alchemist working in his laboratory besides a big vase with a painting of both an eagle (symbol of human reason) and the Ouroboros (a serpent or dragon eating its own tail) appears in the 15th century Swiss alchemical treatise called the Aurora Consurgens. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aurora_consurgens_zurich_044_f-21v-44_dragon-pot.jpg

Alchemy is an extremely ancient branch of natural philosophy that dates back to Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Greco-Roman world; the name derives from the Latin term alchymia. Alchemists tried to transform the physical and spiritual realities with esoteric techniques that were wrapped with Hermetic principles related to magic, mythology and religion. For example one of their methods was the chrysopoeia, i.e. the transformation of “base metals” like lead into “noble metals” like gold. After the translation of Medieval Islamic treaties on science in the 12th century, the European alchemy started to play an important role in the development of modern laboratory techniques and the experimental method, which are still being used in our times.

The blossoming of the basic scientific methodology in the 17the century eclipsed the Alchemy, which was considered as a charlatan’s endeavor tainted with magic. But the seminal studies of Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist, of our collective unconscious brought the symbology of Alchemy back to the fore. Jung dared to tackle its complex, dark significance in his book Psychology and Alchemy.  Marie-Louise Franz was a Swiss disciple of Jung and in her book An Introduction to the Symbolism of Alchemy and Psychology, she said: “in (his book) Dr. Jung has, as it were, introduced alchemy into psychology , first by publishing a series of the dreams of a natural scientist which contain a great amount of alchemical symbolism, and then by quoting from old texts, whereby he hoped to show how important and modern this material is, and how much it has to say to modern man. He himself discovered alchemy absolutely empirically. He once told me that he frequently came across certain motifs in his patients’ dreams and then one day he started to look at old books on alchemy and noticed a connection.”

Jung believed that our Unconscious is not an ethereal fabrication of our personal and collective minds but rather a physical entity that has a powerful characteristic:

The Unconscious is Matter that knows itself

Marie-Louise Franz said: “the alchemists, in observing and experiencing their symbols and in their written description, worked without any conscious religious or scientific program, so that their conclusions are spontaneous, uncorrected impressions of the unconscious with very little conscious interference, in contrast to other symbolic material which had always been revised.”

Upright Chariot – When this card appears, it is a clear signal that you must use all your willpower to steady the course of action and avoid being swayed sideways by obstacles and persons that would stand in your way to success in any kind of realm. On a personal or public level, you must move forward with focused determination. This is not a time for the meek or the doubtful. You must make that valiant first step. If it refers to an event in you recent past, it might mean that your spiritual strength has helped you surmount all those seemingly impossible obstacles with panache.

Downright Chariot – When this card appears, it is an unequivocal sign that you must stop and stand down in whatever major project or task that you might have started. Perhaps you must re-evaluate your course of action by studying all the parameters that had prodded you to take it in the first place. Even though you might successfully achieve your goals, they might turn out to be a “bad choice” for you and other persons. At the personal level, it might mean that you must sit down with your friend or romantic partner to discuss some past events or decisions that affected you greatly. While the Upright Chariot is a road sign that says: “Full speed ahead”, the Reverse version is another sign that says: “Stop”, in big bold red letters with a white background.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aurora_consurgens_zurich_044_f-21v-44_dragon-pot.jpg

Emergency Use authorizations for Covid-19 vaccine candidates

We are all extremely tired of the devastating health, economic and psychological consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic produced by the SARS-CoV2 virus. For the past few months, several scientific groups have been actively working in the design and preparation of vaccine candidates that will be both safe and efficacious. Recently we got very auspicious news from the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine we had already discussed in a previous article.

On November 19, an article in The New York Times informed us that: “the drug maker Pfizer announced on Monday that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19…The company said that the analysis found that the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease among trial volunteers who had no evidence of prior coronavirus infection. If the results hold up, that level of protection would put it on par with highly effective childhood vaccines such as measles.”

Buoyed by these highly encouraging results, the companies are already talking about getting an emergency approval with the corresponding regulatory authorities. We have already discussed in another article how the deep public distrust of vaccination could undermine the generalized acceptance and eventual efficacy of a vaccine to cut the transmission chain of the virus in public and private spaces. A big challenge.

Do we have any recent scientific experience about provisional authorizations? Yes. In a comment published in The Lancet, Maxwell J. Smith et al.—after discussing the dubious validity of the Russian and Chinese vaccines that have not met the stringent regulatory controls of the Phase III clinical trials—said: “So why have the actions of Russia and China drawn such criticism? And how can other national regulatory authorities ensure that future emergency use authorizations for Covid-19 vaccines are issued in a way that is scientifically and ethically sound? Experience for emergency use authorizations for investigational Ebola virus vaccines in Guinea and Democratic of the Congo (DRC) can elucidate key lessons that can guide ethical emergency use authorizations for Covid-19 vaccines.”

In 2016, the regulatory authorities of Guinea granted a temporary authorization for an expanded access to the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVsV) vaccine that expresses the glycoprotein of Zaire Ebola Virus (ZEBOV) which induced and immunogenic response in the affected patients. Using a World Health Organization (WHO) protocol for scientific research ethics, the vaccine was approved for the individuals exposed to the Ebola-infected patients in a national vaccination drive. In the beginning of 2017, two other Ebola vaccines that were in Phase III of clinical  trials, but that were not yet licensed, were also approved for expanded access. In 2019 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved these vaccines and in 2020 the European Commission followed suit, approving their medical use.

The authors state that there are two major differences in the regulatory requirements for the emergency approval of the Ebola and Covid-19 vaccines. First of all, the emergency authorization of the Ebola vaccines was done in an extremely transparent way. “The 2013-2016 outbreaks of Ebola virus disease in West Africa prompted WHO to develop an Emergency Use Assessment and Listing (EUAL) procedure to expedite the availability of vaccines.” This was meant as a guiding manual to engage the public discussion with representative institutions, media influencers and the general public about the unavoidable trade-offs in times of extreme social danger. Would the Guinean public be willing to accept “a little bit certainty” regarding the safety parameters for the concrete possibility of accessing a life-saving tool for millions of them, including children?  These authors stated that: “it is unclear whether these Covid-19 vaccines meet WHO manufacturing quality norms and standards, including whether the benefits outweigh the foreseeable risks.”

The second key difference is the disgusting chauvinism that “has infected” the larger public discussion of the many vaccine candidates, with most developed nations with the critical capacity to conduct clinical trials and to mass manufacture the product, fighting to be “the first one” to get the product to their citizenry and insisting of having early access to a vaccine before giving it to other less endowed countries. This resembles a “war with other means” and History has taught us that the first casualty in any kind of war is always the same: Truth. This geopolitical tug of war will compromise the access of poor citizens to the vaccines, with risks for us all. Moreover, can we really trust any product if we suspect that there are dark political interests behind its emergency use authorization? Talk of fear of The Deep State

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.