–“Doctor…I never had so many fab orgasms—not going back to same old.”
Wanda X. is a lovely middle-aged entrepreneur that had the misfortune of being surprised by the “staying at home” order in a business trip to a distant state. Fortunately, she had an old friend from college that gladly welcomed her to bunk. Unlike her, she has been single and childless, which gave her a lot of sexual leeway.
One of the little perks of her friend’s lifestyle is to unabashedly recur to the use of a dildo whenever she had the irrepressible urge for satisfaction of her sexual needs. Reluctant at first to try it, Wanda X. eventually relented, after a month of seclusion. Slowly she learnt how to practice with a sexual toy in a responsible, adult way. When she would be able to return to her home, she will sit down to chat with her partner. She will tell him that she finally had it enough of her culturally-assigned role of a passive giver of love and that she demands the urgent addition of a more fun dual role of receiver too. Holy mackerel!
The emotional toss-up of the Social Isolation will shake up many conventional couples.
One of the most disregarded aspects of the mandatory Social Isolation that we have been enduring for more than one month already is its serious emotional toll on us. Like the young women and men that went into isolation in a Florentine villa in the Decameron, those coming out of this seclusion will not be the same ones that went in. At the civic level, there will be multiple changes in our societies, especially for labor opportunities.
The economic analysts are predicting that, besides the contraction of consumer spending due to loss of jobs, there will be a two-speed labor market. On one hand there will be persons that can work at a distance and with little physical contact. But on the other hand, there will be those that will be dangerously exposed to contagion. This will bring a generalized angry mood in the street like we have never witnessed before. No longer will we be able to count on the help of a smiling barista at our Starbucks; she might be too worried about being infected while mulling about her son’s day care. After her shift is over, she might be too stressed out to even consider going out with her girlfriends.
I‘m a single Mom working long shifts with hardly any toilet breaks for the barely minimum to pull my kids and I a few inches away from the always menacing edge of the poverty pit.
And you expect me to smile? About what? Com’ on. Grab your latte and move on, Buster.
Next customer in line!
The same anxiety and depression that pervades the working environment will be translated in a creeping loss of libido and eroticism in many blue collars’ bedrooms. Those lucky enough to have a privileged spot in the New World order will be less amenable to servile attitudes in loving, especially because many will be women.
The ladies will demand equal rights with their partners, which is a positive outcome. The manly partners that are out of a job will have to stay home to take care of the kids. And if they want to keep their women happy, they would have to learn how to cook nice meals. And be more attentive to their “little details”, including listening to them and bringing them flowers regularly (a bouquet once per month will not break the family budget)
Only with the combined effort of all the genres, will we be able to cross this junction.
Good morning. Today in almost all the countries of the planet we are celebrating the International Day of the Workers to honor all those that are toiling daily for society.
In these times of widespread Social Distancing and Lock-down to flatten the curve of the pandemic spread, there are millions of workers of all genres that show up daily in their posts to carry out their socially responsible tasks – first responders, police forces, medical personnel, supermarket and warehouse employees, cattle growers, dairy farmers, fishermen, postal and cable operators, social communicators, administrative personnel.
Thanks to their generous sacrifice we are able to bear this forced isolation in our homes.
On April 16, 2020, the unique Chilean writer Luis Sepúlveda passed away in a hospital of Oviedo, Spain, as a result of a Coronavirus infection he had contracted while he was attending a literary meeting in Portugal; he was the first known case in that region.
His literary and social activism spanned many decades, starting as a Communist militant that worked in the government of President Salvador Allende; in the repressive aftermath of the military coup of Pinochet he was jailed and after two and half years of prison he was granted house arrest thorough the benevolent auspices of the German branch of Amnesty. He escaped his home and joined the director of the Alliance Française of Valparaiso to create a drama group, the very first focus of resistance against the dictatorship. Arrested yet again, his prison sentence was commuted for seven years in exile.
He was supposed to end up in Sweden to teach Spanish literature but he absconded from his flight in an airport stop-over in Montevideo, Uruguay, and trekked to Quito, Ecuador, where local writers sheltered him; he created another drama group in the local Alliance Française. He joined an UNESCO expedition to study the customs of the Shuar Indians, living six months in the jungle: there he renounced Marxism-Leninism for good as he understood that this ideology could not apply to mostly impoverished, illiterate, rural inhabitants. As we say In Spanish: “era muy parco” (he was very sparing with his words)
In 1988 he won the Tigre Juan Award for his novel El viejo que leía las novelas deamor and in 2009 he won the Premio Primavera de Novela for his novel La sombrade lo que fuimos. Contrary to other famous Latin American writers that excelled in the flourish of nicely sounding adjectives and smart names to deploy in their lines, he was more interested in conveying the greatest number of details with the fewer number of words, a literary technique akin to the very best of Ernest Hemingway. Thus he shared the paucity of words of the Native Americans who have always considered themselves more attuned to Nature’s rhythms and avoided verbosity. In fact, when the Europeans came to the American continent, they wrongly assumed that, because natives spoke few words, they were somehow mentally deficient.
In a future article of our section Foreign Book Review we will review and comment one of his novels. In the meantime we offer you a simple descriptive phrase from it:
“Le hablan a la selva y sólo la lluvia les responde”
(They talk to the forest and only the rain responds)
Today is Easter Sunday, one of the holiest days for us Christians, and we would like to wish a happy celebration to you and your families. We should be happy that the miracle of resurrection brought back Jesus Christ from the sacrifice he made for us at the cross. This picture of our family was taken last year in Saint Patrick’s church in Miami Beach.
Tragically this year’s Holy Week coincides with the worst ravages of a pandemic that has attacked all the nations of our planet. We might be asking ourselves the following:
Why has God abandoned us like this?
God Almighty has never let go of our hands, as she/she/sie is firmly leading us out of it.
We must continue to heed the advice of the sanitary authorities and avoid assemblies. Considering that God is everywhere, we can pray in the safety of our homes this time.
Tonight, on Wednesday April 8th 2012, when the first star appears in the sky, the FirstSeder of Passover will occur and the Jewish people will celebrate their massive escape from their indenture to the Pharaoh in Egypt and their arrival in the Promised Land. For a whole week they will not eat any food with chametz (leaven) in honor of their ancestors who, skedaddling from their homes in a hurry to join the exodus, could not wait for their bread to properly leaven and took it unusually flat to use it as sustenance.
This picture shows our dear son Gian Luca when he visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem last year thanks to a marvelous group trip organized by Birthright Israel , with the company of outstanding youngsters. He was (and still is) assiduously praying for all of us, which we certainly need in these terrible times.
May God Almighty have mercy on all of us and lead us through this worldwide ordeal.
Good morning to you all. For the past few days we have been pondering whether to go ahead with the publication of our new book “Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague” or not, considering the dire social circumstances and the stoppage of publishing venues.
After much discussion with our family and our publishing house, we finally decided to go ahead, in spite of the difficult logistic and community challenges that move implies. We believe that people forcibly cloistered at home due to the social distancing (like we presently are too) must have a varied choice of reading material in their residences.
This is a transcription of If Only One, our essay’s first page that we recently completed.
“If only one person reads this book…we would feel very satisfied.
If only one person gets the message…our mission would be done.
If only one man treats women better…the effort was not for naught.
If only one woman gets respect…our misdeeds might be redeemed.
If only one person is distracted from the Horror…we would be happy.
We were about to deliver the final edited version of this book manuscript for its publication when the Coronavirus pandemic brutally arrived in the United States.
Initially shocked like the rest of the population, we went into strict social isolation. However, as a practicing physician, we had to continue our duties as best we could.
In the relative safety of our desk, we pondered whether we should publish it or not. We know that there has been a complete shutdown of most publishing initiatives.
But people cloistered in their homes deserve the possibility of substantive reading. Terrified by the darkness swirling around, they might like this little piece of light.
Emulating the heroic example of, we should garner our moral strength. Dismissing any commercial considerations, we will go ahead with its publication.
In one of the poor quarters of Napule—where many of our relatives had lived in the past—a neighbor lowered, with a little rope, a big basket with a sign from the balcony: inside passers-by could leave any food item they wanted to donate for others to pick it up.
Chi può, metta…Chi non può, prenda
Whomever can, put…Whomever cannot, take
We are lowering our most humble basket to offer you our latest writings
We sincerely hope that it might distract you, temporarily at the very least.
And, prodding you to ponder about the daily plight of our devoted women,
engage you in the civic fight for their equality of rights in our societies.
The world coming out of this terrible calamity must be better than this one”
“L’Historia si può veramente definire una guerra illustre contro il Tempo, perché togliendoli di mano gl’anni suoi prigionieri, anzi già fatti cadaveri, li richiama in vita, li passa in rassegna, e li schiera di nuovo in battaglia.” [i]
With those prophetic words, Alessando Manzone introduced his seminal novel titled The Betrothal in the early part of the 19th century; it is considered the first—and for many still the most important—literary work in the modern Italian Language. This novel was set in Northern Italy—where the brunt of the Coronavirus infestation is underway in the Italian peninsula—in 1628, during the Bourbon occupation of Italy. The central theme is the love story of Lucia and Renzo and their unwavering faith in the redeeming value of strong emotional bonding; after many, varied vicissitudes (spoiler alert) they eventually marry at the end. In fact our dear Pope Francis has recommended the novel to the couples that were entertaining the idea of marriage.
Lucia and Renzo were a couple living in a small Lombard village that were planning their wedding for November 8, 1628. On the eve of that ceremony the parish priest was cornered by two goons sent by Don Rodrigo—a powerful padrone padrinowho covets the affection of Lucia—that ordered him to suspend it. Fearful of them, the priest does suspend it and recommends that the two lovers should leave the village. Agnese, Renzo’s mother, warned the couple not to return home and escorted them to a monastery; the friar gave a letter of introduction for a Milanese friar to Renzo and another one to the two women for a monastery in Monza. They fled right away.
When Renzo arrived in Milano, the city was in turmoil due to a grave famine, which was aggravated by the end of the Thirty Years War as German Armies engaged in a devastating looting campaign across the peninsula. In 1630 a plague ravaged Northern Italy and three chapters of the book are dedicated to that human drama. Eventually Renzo can return to his village and meet again for his beloved bride. This love story is surrounded by the social and political mayhem of the times, especially the deep hatred of the local population against the invading armies and their puppets.
In this novel and similar ones that put a quasi-biblical catastrophe like a pandemic in their plots, the same question arises again and again: Is this God’s punishment? We must unequivocally answer that this and other pandemics were not provoked by divine intervention as a form of brutal punishment for our sins (real and imaginary) They were provoked by the ignorance and arrogance of humans in their interactions with Nature. This pandemic in particular was provoked by the negligence of Chinese officials.
In Ancient Times, the population of Central China could afford the ingestion and/or use of some abhorrent creatures like rats, serpents, bats, pangolins, etc.; if they contracted any of these diseases, the contagion was limited to their geographic area. There was not a ready access to all the points of the planet with aerial connections. And let us talk clearly: life was extremely cheap for the peasant masses at the time.
When you encroach in the natural habitat of wild animals and you put them in cages in a market located in an extremely dense city with superb connections to the World, you have to consider the real possibility that there could be a Public Health threat. Any of those isolated agents will readily jump from one animal to the other in close proximity and eventually attack the human handlers that so carelessly caged them. This human tragedy has been produced by the sheer stupidity of human traffickers and the irresponsible supervision of the sanitary authorities in the city of Wuhan.
Will the government of Premier Xi finally close down these “live animals” markets? The Chinese leadership should not pander to the superstitious beliefs of hinterland people—who use material from these creatures for amulets and the like—and do the right thing for the millions of innocent citizens that are living with proper sanitary standards.
As Italian citizens, we are very grateful for the generous sanitary help that the Chinese government has given us to combat the grave epidemic in Lombardy. Unlike the rest of Europe—that has largely ignored the Italian plight—the Chinese have sent, not only protective materials, but also Public Health experts and medical personnel in the past few days. Moreover they are sharing their epidemiological data with other governments, including the American one and its many specialized agencies. Thank you very much.
In these terrible times we must snatch our dear dead ancestors from the jaws of Time and “resuscitate them” so we can recruit them in our fight against this deadly enemy. We must listen to their experiences and how they managed to survive those terrible plagues. Strict social distancing and meticulous personal hygiene are of paramount importance.
The featured image of this article is a reproduction of the tableau La Peste by the Uruguayan painter Juan Manuel Blanes; it depicts a scene of the Yellow Fever of 1871 in the city of Buenos Aires. A police report of that time stated that the victim was an Italian woman called Ana Brisitiani that lived in a large tenement in the Balcarce street of the city center. The two depicted gentlemen that enter her room were Dr. Roque Perez, a lawyer, and Dr. Manuel Argerich, a physician. They found her long dead with her baby at her side, trying to get a response. A few weeks later these two Good Samaritans would fall victim to the plague too. In only ten months, 10% of the city population (16,000 people) died of Yellow Fever. After that pandemic, the Argentine authorities decided to modernize the city by building an efficient waste disposal system for all quarters.
That is the crux of the matter. The native ruling classes (the landed gentry, the business owners and the politicians) had found out that their relative distance from the city center (they lived mostly in the then southern suburb of Montserrat) had not spared them from the disease. Then and now the only way to protect us from this kind of Public Health tragedy is to benefit everybody in the process of modern public infrastructure. This must ring especially true for countries with a great rich-poor disparity like Brazil and India that should invest more heavily to pull more millions of people out of misery.
We salute all our Health Care professionals and First Responders that are fulfilling their great duty to take care of the population, especially in the hard-stricken Italy and USA.
Gli ringraziamo per vostro sacrificio, Thank you very much for your sacrifice.
[i] “History can really be defined as an enlightened war against Time, snatching from its hands all those that were taken prisoner, in fact corpses already, to reclaim them for life, pass them in review and then send them in formation to the battlefield.”
 Alessandro Manzoni, I promessi sposi, 1840, Edita da guidaebook.com, 2010.
 In the Italian language “padrone” refers to an authoritarian boss and “padrino” to a godfather for the christening ceremony. Of course the latter has been extended to the chief and mastermind of a Cosa Nostra organization.
Good morning and Happy Sunday to you all. Last Friday we had to visit a US Postal Service office in Miami to send some documents and we were promptly, kindly taken care of by Ms. Tee, the lovely lady you are seeing in the feature image of this article. She is one of the thousands of Federal and State workers that keep this nation going.
We would like to thank the millions of similar state employees worldwide that have reported to their duties in spite of all the mayhem swirling around them, including the dire “social distancing” that forbids one of the most basic human functions: touching. Moreover many grieving relatives of gravely infected persons have not even had the opportunity to say the ultimate adieu to them, another strong cultural feature of us.
Without these brave men and women, there could not be a functioning society for us.