Tuesday, April 21, 2009


My father Rocco is a paradox. He will have you laughing hysterically and at the same time asking yourself what is this crazy guy saying? Half the time even my mom doesn't understand him. That is probably why they have been together for so long. Why is he incomprehensible to most? He does have an accent, which is a mystery since he has been living in the US since he was twelve years old. He mumbles. And its not quite clear if he is talking to you or talking to himself. He is not of this world, he lives on planet Rocco. But, it doesn't matter, its all about the delivery. Stay tuned for the cooking show. 

I made a very interesting discovery as an adult with the help of internet technology in the form of email. Over email, Rocco is an entirely different creature. Eloquent, engaging, and he surprisingly makes a lot of intelligible sense. There's no reason why he shouldn't; he is super educated, can discuss physics with Stephen Hawkings, who will be left perplexed, and he knows English grammar better than most English professors. And yes, he is still funny!

Here are some recent correspondence I had with Rocco:

A comment:

"My love, I'm glad you do not have my appearence. But, my stomach, ha, that is something else. 
In Sicilian I say "un mortu di fami" when I see a poor slob. Unfurtunately, I say that to all those who go on diets. A diet is not a word in my lexicon. Another Sicilian expression that appears in other Italian languages is MANGIA E FATTI GROSSI or EAT AND GET FAT. Che bella vita."

After asking Rocco to remember some other funny Sicilian/Italian phrases about food:

"Well, well....
1)  In Sicily we have the concept of a MAN OF THE STOMACH: OMU DI PANZA [in Italian Uomo di pancia] to describe a person who likes to eat well.
2)  We also had the concept that being fat is a sign of well being. So telling a person that he or she is, well, rather plump was a compliment. A husband who had a plump wife showed the world that he could afford to feed her well. The phrase: BEDDA E CHIETTA [In Italian: e' bella grassa] was a very nice complement that these days could give you a slap in the face or worse. 
3) LA TAVULA E' TRAZZERA, [Italian: la tavola e' un sentiero.] That means that A TABLE IS LIKE A ROAD where people get on and off so it is always in use and should always be ready for a meal.

I will try to come up with some more



Here's another:


Yes, there is the expression: PANZA E PRESENZA  [Italian: pancia e presenza.] This refers to a person who is invited and brings nothing to the host. He only brings his stomach."


1 comment:

Rocco said...

What compliments, and that photo, I am left speechless...maybe not..I have never been left speechless..or maybe when each one of you was born and that miracle did indeed left me rather stunned. It was taken by your beauty and innocence and wondered what the world had planned for you. Enough sentimentality.
The blog is great and I will try to do my best to help.
Now the piece about talking physics with Hawkins, who unfortunately is presently very ill, is rather hyperbolic. But as you know we men are, perhaps, even more vane than women; so I will accept the compliment.
Ora, andiamo a cena.