Friday, February 8, 2008


Magrasso (magra/skinny + grasso/fat in Italian/English) is relative obesity. Laura's been riding our 16 pound Fica the pussy cat's tail to lose at least 2 while at the same time pressuring me to gain at least 5 to what she considers an emaciated 125 pound frame, whereas in the scheme of things isn't it me who outclasses Fica 6 times over in universal gluttony? Not to be confused with skinny fat which can manifest anywhere from the muscless theigh of a geisha to the cheese doodle and root beer raised man boobs of the frail computer wiz. Peakolo (English "peak" + Italian "piccolo" for "small"), however, is a related concept referring to when tall things are small. A baby giraffe is peakolo. And yes, I call my girlfriend "baby" and my cat "signora".

-- Chris Leo, Kiernan Moriarty

Mal Dente , the opposite of pasta al dente, refers to overcooked pasta the Italians call "scotto". Certain dialects also use Al Dante, who it is said served his pasta so mushy it could have only been forgotten in the Inferno. Non dente is cooked the same way as "mal dente", but translating literally to "no teeth required" it's a neccessary staple at nursing homes and nurseries and carries none of the scathing Italians seethe when put in the presence of pasta "mal dente." Whether non Dante is a synoym or antonym depends solely on the waiter's inflection into the service window and the word's deflection off of klanging pots. Stu dente is pasta barely cooked at all by an over zealous foreign student just trying to "when in Rome" it but failing. Folk etymologists have the spicy pasta "arrabbiata" (literally, "angry pasta") following the same path as pasta stu dente. The story goes that Saracen Arabs being the first to teach Italians how to dry their pasta were blamed when those not put in the loop that dried pasta must be cooked longer than pasta fresca became arrabbiato at the crunchy pasta these Arab swindlers sold them. Though it may be true that "Arab" comes from the same rep Proto-Indo-European root as "rape", "rage", and "rabid", history has the Saracens raising a lot less rowdiness in Southern Italy than the other colonizers it's been raft with through the centuries. I mean, the same Saracens not only gave us gelato, but their Arab ancestor Ernest Hamwi is even solely credited with popularizing the ice cream cone at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, which brings us to Pasta fondente, literally "melting pasta", the most delicious pasta of all. Made of white chocolate penne rigate and conditioned with a confectioners cherry coulet, it can only be found in the Ticino province of Switzerland. Pusta and puzza (which also means "stinky" in Italian) are overarching compromises that a small but saintly collection of Italians have agreed to call pasta and pizza served in America, i.e. "It's really, it's just that it is neither pasta nor pizza. If we gave them new names I could enjoy them more free of sin. How about..." The difficulty thereafter is in convincing this same group that American words don't require the same vowel agreement Italian words do. If we fail at this linguistic battle, "pizza pies" become "puzza poos" and the Saracen falafel shack across the street starts to tug at my shoes.

-- Amy Leo, Chris Leo

Malpensa is a nightmare in the form of a daydream. Though “male” (“bad” in Italian) + “pensa” (“to think” in Italian) translates literally to a “bad idea”, it didn’t stop anyone from naming the largest airport serving metropolitan Milan “Malpensa”. It did however prevent someone from considering that an airport located 45 minutes outside of town by bus or shuttle trains (to then get to connecting trains) that don’t run late could inconvenience commuters. Perhaps it was modelled on it’s sister situation, Kennedy International Airport in New York City. This city within a city is not only located over 25 miles from Manhattan, but also requires two trains with two separate tolls to pay on the endless journey to and fro. In Doric Scottish, “ken” is “to know”, “ne” is “no”, and (phonetically) eeday is an “idea”, which like Malpensa, translates to “no known idea.” Don’t fall asleep on the train to the plane though, you might miss your flight! Instead, stare out the window, grind your teeth, and daydream about terrible terrible things.

-- Chris Leo

Marriage, marage, merrage, mirage, whatever, etc, are desceltic words that mar (from the Proto-Indo-European mers for “trouble, confuse”) themselves as soon as the promise (originally the Latin “promittere” for “to send forth” as if move away from itself) is pledged (from the French “pleige” for “hostage”). The preacher prophecies the paradoxes almost as soon as he opens his big fat mouth with “for better or for worse.” When something is as open as the mare (sea) to Mars (god of war) why signify it at all? A stud is a male horse used for breeding, but comes from the Germanic “stute” which in fact was a mare; not unlike how “marry” came from the Latin “maritus” for “husband” even though that word has its origins in the Proto-Indo-Europen "meri" which was a “young wife”, and “husband” has its roots in Old Norse “husbondi” or “house bound”, an idea more closely linked these days with the unfortunate state of wives than with the men out in the fields. “Matrimony” comes from the Latin “matrem” (mother) + “monium” (action) and like our Mary with the virgin birth, says nothing of the men, unless we’re to assume the “action” part was a Roman way of agreeing with the homeboys: “men go woof woof”. “Wedlock” perhaps paints the imploding picture clearest. “Wed” is Old English for “marriage”, but the "lock" isn’t what it used to be. “Lac”, like the Latin “monium”, was just a suffix to signify action. Over time, as the couple built their house, added extensions, posted their fence, and put gates on the top of stairways so the baby wouldn’t tumble down, the acting “lac” became one very walled in “lock”.

At least we have “merry” from the Proto Germanic “murgijaz” for “short lasting”. Enjoy your merrage while it lasts spouses (from the Latin “spondere” for “bound” – and when they say bound, a word that is its own antonym, they mean “in sickness or in health” that either definition applies).

-- Chris Leo

Medimorphosis. I finally escaped from the kids and found myself at an excellent aperitivo hour with well-balanced plates. This is my time, out right after work. There were pizzettes rather than pizzas and the focaccia was cut into small pieces. There were salads abutting meats, or tuna to be precise. There were crudités in bowls next to hard grain mini rolls. People rarely nursed more than a glass or two of negroni or opaque long-legged wine through the mingling. Someone turned thirty again and my god, that table is one caging succubus. There were Burberry scarves. Yes there were sweaters. Yes there were slacks of every ambiguous cut. Yes there was black to hide the fat but with tomorrows impending workday it still lacked attraction. Ooh, a movie in bed after underneath my fluffy down comforter, a joint, and a flurry of wild web searches and contentness shall be mine indeed. Joy? Well no, but contentness and comfort yes. There are still Saturday nights and the mystery of what might happen after Sunday's brunch left for joy.

median + morphosis = "medium form", a graduation into gray

-- Chris Leo

Il Moondo, the world of nightlife. Never use this. Keep it just between us.

-- Chris Leo

Multifascisted governments work well for all the wrong reasons: impasses. They’ve abolished the death penalty because too many voters despise their idiosyncratic neighbors to such an extent that, in the event that let’s say one day it should happen that they hack the neighbor to a pulp, they need an assurance that the courts will go as light on their own sentencing as they did with that Arab who raped the pristine Catholic girl with his eyes, no? They stand for freedom of speech because White Pride Day feels like a second Halloween and, even though the Spics better start speaking English now or leave, Mexican Appreciation Day does bring with it cheap margaritas and drinking legally on the streets. And getting back to wetbacks, well the respectable and humanitarian citizens of this multifascisted state are also against building that wall along the border with Mexico…because who else can we turn to for such cheap labor, aye? Degos, wops, niggers, honkies, chinks, kikes, and those left out because they aren't even considerable! I’ll stand up for you if you stand up for me, pigs!

multifaceted + fascists = America, awesome, and very possibly an internal debate turned public

-- Chris Leo

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