By Mary Anna Violi | @MaryAnnaVioli

This weekend I had planned to hunker down and to read my new book before sending it off to the graphic artist. The book has been read for narrative structure and content by a journalist, read again by me applying the suggested corrections, and then turned over to a copy editor, whose ideas I incorporated into my book, and then I read it again. Today I had earmarked for another read-through.

Yet I find myself unable to focus. I have read comments regarding my blog post, Backlash, and I am trying to respond to those who commented on the various social media outlets. I thank you all, for as a writer laboring alone over her work, I often wonder if anyone cares. Over the past few days, the answer echoed a resounding “Yes”! I am grateful.

Last night on Saturday Night Live, affectionately called SNL, I listened to Kate McKinnon sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, and I watched Dave Chappelle’s monologue. The song that has reverberated in my head throughout the past week is David Bowie’s “Heroes”, a triumphant call to overcoming adversity. Bowie composed the song as he looked out from his recording studio at the Berlin Wall.

I Love Lucy, Leave It To Beaver, The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, and Make Room For Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show (It changed names in 1961), to name a few, all constructed worlds where problems could be solved through family in a heart-warming manner. That’s what the Post-World War II and Korean War world wanted. After all, Americans had weathered the Stock Market Crash of 1929, The Great Depression of the 1930’s, followed by World War II in the 1940’s. People were exhausted, and their choice of television programs reflected the longed for tranquility. Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnez) in I Love Lucy. Desi Arnez was born and raised in Cuba. The character of Danny Thomas’ Uncle Tonoose (Hans Conried) in Make Room For Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show, was supposed to be Lebanese. In reality, Danny Thomas himself was Lebanese, not Hans Conried. I related to the language and cultural situations that arose throughout these programs due to the immigrants on both sides of my family.

During the Vietnam War, the Feminist Movement, and Civil Rights era, the 1970’s grew edgier, along with its television shows: MASH, Maude, All In The Family, and Sanford and Son, comedies tinged with pathos. Characters were vocal about their differences, and the humor could be biting in nature, but those reflected the zeitgeist of the times.

While I know full-well no candidate is perfect, and that, yes, there were missteps in Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I honestly thought voters would not cast their votes for a really big lying, pussy-grabbing lout, tax-avoiding sloth, xenophobic wretch, inarticulate bottom-feeder who even cheated students out of his failed university (for which he is soon to be prosecuted, unless he settles with the students for big bucks). Now his voters are demanding he save their jobs, note Carrier employees in Indianapolis, IN, and bring back companies that now are overseas. I wouldn’t count on his own tie company and his daughter’s clothing/shoe business returning Stateside anytime soon. How naïve can people be? Pretty damn naïve, I surmised.

Yes, I have been restless this week. I listened to California Senator-Elect Kamala Harris, who is both an African-American and an Indian-American. With her six years of experience as California’s Attorney General, she will be a force in the U.S. Senate. For now, I have sought comfort in her speech.

Ciao for now.


Fowl Views

I feel certain my father is laughing uncontrollably as he rolls over in his grave.  When I peered at the webpage, I howled with laughter. The cause of this jocular reaction was Williams-Sonoma.  For years I have been fan of its emporium.  Happily I leaf through its catalogues of innovative kitchen and house wares. However, in perusing its web page, I was caught up short by what I saw:  chicken coops.||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-

My father always maintained a dozen hens, plus one rooster, that resided in a white ranch-style chicken coop my grandfather built.  Inside the coop, stood a wall of metal chicken cubbies in which “the girls”could roost and lay their eggs in private.  Fresh hay filled each cubby for the comfort of the laying hens.  Family photographs verify that Daddy preferred the snowy white Leghorn, though in later years he often had Rhode Island Reds.  The Leghorn roosters, particularly impressive as they strutted with their lipstick red cowls, cock-a-doodle-doo-d without fail at sunrise    Most Italians living in the countryside  around my hometown kept chickens.  The chickens served a two-fold purpose:  they provided fresh eggs, and later, served up as dinner.  Our chickens had much space in which to scratch and run since the fenced in chicken park was within our one-acre cyclone-fenced orchard.

Today high-priced chicken coops are for sale.  I admit these coops look nice and likely accommodate two to three chickens.  The price tag on these is hilarious because the Italians I knew built their own coops at little cost.  However, in this day of eco-friendly, organic food, yet another Italian staple has been appropriated.  It was bad enough when the upper-middle class “discovered” biscotti, which Italians had been baking for millennia.  Of course, these yuppie-doodles mispronounced the Italian biscotti [they say “bis-cah-ti”, instead of “bis-cote-ti”].  In their self-aggrandizing world, maybe they pronounce, “chicken coop” as “chicken copa”, as if Ricky Ricardo were playing a gig amongst the fowl.

I am clucking with laughter.

Ciao for now.