Monday, February 20, 2023

The Split Personality of Italian Words Starting with Para – Block, Prevent, Stop or Alongside

Graphic showing some Italian words starting with the prefix para and falling into two different categories of meaning.
Graphic showing some Italian words starting with the prefix para and falling into two different categories of meaning.

It started when our Italian friends’ three year old decided I should read a Cars book to him, in Italian. And while I protested, he insisted. No sooner did I start on page one than I ran into the word paraurti. First, I could barely pronounce it and then I couldn’t figure out what it was. We both started laughing.

For the rest of the weekend, the three year old kept repeating to me “paraurti paraurti paraurti” in a sing-song perfect Italian accent (that I’ll never achieve)! Paraurti are bumpers or fenders.

Well, that incident got me thinking about Italian words that start with para and what’s up with them. In this post, I show there are two broad classes of para words. Para by itself is the third person singular form of the verb parare – to block or parry. Besides that, we can turn to Treccani para – 1 definition. It roughly says: “Para is the first element of numerous compound words, generally indicating objects that serve to repair, to protect from what is indicated by the second element.” Examples of these words are shown below in MEANING 1 and include paraurti. It's fairly easy to understand how these words work.

There is a second family of para-words described by the Treccani para – 2 definition. It is a more complicated definition roughly summed up as: “The para prefix of many compound words derived from Greek or formed modernly, mean both spatial proximity (with the significance of the Greek preposition it derives from) and similarity, affinity or even secondary relationship, deviation, alteration, contrast, and similar. Examples of these words are shown below in MEANING 2. These words tend to have cognates in English, for example, paralegal (paralegale) and paramilitary (paramilitare). (In science and medical terms, the para in this MEANING 2 sense is very nuanced and we don’t cover that here.)


Protection against something (the second word of the compound word). Riparo, oltre.

parabraccio / parabracci – armguard, protection of the arm

parabrezza / parabrezza – windshield, protection again the wind

paracadute / paracaduti – a parachute, protection against falling straight out of the sky

paradenti / paradenti – a mouthguard, protection for teeth

parafango / parafanghi – mudguard, protection against mud

parafulmine / parafulmini – lightening rod, protection against lightening

paraluce / paraluci – lens hood, protection again light

paralume / paralumi – lampshade, protection against light (lume)

paraneve / paranevi – snow guard, protection against snow (usually found on the edge of a roof)

paraolio / paraolio – oil seal, protection against leaking oil

parapioggia / parapioggia – umbrella or rain cover, protection against rain

paraschizzi / paraschizzi – backspash or splashguard, protection against splashes (schizzi)

parasole / parasole – sunshade or canopy, protection against the sun

paraspiffero / paraspifferi – a door sausage (draft stopper), protection against drafts (spifferi)

paraspigolo / paraspigoli – corner or edge guard, protection for edges

paraspruzzi / paraspruzzi – mud flap or splashguard, protection against sprays or splashes (spruzzi)

paraurti / paraurti – bumper or fender, protection against bumps or collisions (urti)

paravalanghe / paravalanghe – avalanche barriers, protection against avalanches

paravento / paraventi – screen or windscreen, protection against wind


Closeness to something or being alongside something. Vicinanza, vicino, di fianco.

parabuddista / parabuddisti/e - who or what that is close to Buddhism

parafarmacia / parafarmacia – Para pharmacy, similar to a traditional pharmacy but dealing in non-prescription items

parafarmaco / parafarmaci – non-prescription or over the counter health products

parainfluenzale / parainfluenzali – disease caused by viruses that resemble the influenza virus

paraintellettuale / paraintellettuale – who or what that imitates intellectuals

paramedico / paramedica/ci/che – paramedic or first responder, not a doctor or physician but can work alongside them

paralegale / paralegali – a paralegal, not a lawyer but typically works alongside them

paramilitare / paramilitari – organized like an army but not official or legal

paranormale / paranormali – supernatural, beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding

parapsicologico / parapsicologica/ci/che - the field of study concerned with paranormal psychological phenomena

parascolastico / parascolastica/chi/che - extracurricular activities, alongside but outside of school activities

parasubordinato / parasubordinata/i/e - consultant, collaboration, not a fixed position

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Valentine’s Day and I Broke Up with Google AdSense

Examples from desktop and mobile of our site perverted by Google Ads
Examples of desktop and mobile blog site perverted by Google AdSense. The ads have nothing to do with the content, which gets pushed down the page.

We tried an experiment with Google AdSense on our blogger site: It didn't go as planned. We are breaking up with Google AdSense. It's not been a good relationship.

What was our goal with enabling ads?
  • Recuperate a little money for things like SSL certificates.
  • Cover some of our cloud service expenses.
  • We were hoping to make $2 day.

What was the result?
  • After almost one year, we made < $40. (That’s less than 10 cents a day.)
  • We turned an okay looking web site into a very ugly looking web site. Specifically:
    • If ads showed up, they were just horrible and not at all targeted to the content.
    • Many times (on older posts?), nothing showed up and just lots of white space pushing the “content” way down the page.
    • Admittedly, we didn’t experiment that much with where to put ads and took the advice of the AdSense site.
  • We spent a lot of time trying to satisfy the AdSense “system”. It took weeks to get approval.
  • We are glad we tried, but it was a failure.
  • We ended up making less than 10 cents a day at a severe cost to the usability of the site.

What went wrong?
  • Our biggest mistake was basing our estimations on blogger stats. You must use the Google Search Console to calculate your real visitors per day. Doh!
  • Our blog has low but consistent traffic; it's not a good candidate for ads.
  • We are not promoting our blog in any way, on any other media. So, we are not actively driving traffic to it. We are not the types to do that.
  • Our expectation that ads would be minimal, and we had a niche following so ads would be very targeted both turned out to be wrong! Your site/blog has to have large numbers of visitors first and foremost.
How else could we make $40 a year?
  • We can save this amount of money doing small things around the house; reduce gas and water usage for example.
  • We could put a buy me a coffee link or donation link on the site.
  • We can work extra at our "day" jobs.
  • We can eat out one less time per year.
  • We can look for loose change on our friends' couches.

The most annoying thing about this Google AdSense experiment?

  • The user experience. Is there no other way to make tasteful ads and not make pages so ugly?
  • We hate seeing ads because we use my own blog daily to look up stuff and it killed us to see it so littered with ads. And, I hate the idea of what viewers (and we have a consistent few daily) think of us for having ads.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Album covers with birds on them – 238 birds on the cover!

238 album covers featuring birds
238 album covers featuring birds

Our last post Music album covers with birds on them featured 140 album covers. That was about a year and a half ago and since then we’ve been slowly accumulating more covers. When we research music we hear, and when we find a bird-themed cover, we add it to our list.

We pause at 238 because the composite-mosaic-album-covers is a rectangle of 14 by 17 covers. The color and pattern are somewhat pleasing.

Here are the covers that went into the composite image (errors in names are our own):  

A Flock of Seagulls - The Best Of 

A Grave with No Name - Feathers Wet Under the Moon 

About Tess - Beautiful 

Afghan Whigs - Unbreakable 

Aimer - Black Bird 

Akita, Gustafsson,  O'Rourke – One Bird Two Bird 

Alda - Alda 

Alex G - God Save the Animals 

Alexisonfire ‎– Old CrowsYoung Cardinals 

Alphataurus - Alphataurus 

AlvinLucier - Bird and Person Dyning 

American Eagle - American Eagle 

Ancients - Heart of Oak 

Andrew Bird - Are You Serious 

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha 

Angel Olsen, Steve Gunn - Live at Pickathon 

Ani DiFranco - Canon 

Aquila - Aquila 

Arooj Aftab - Bird Under Water 

Ash Black Bufflo - Andasol 

Asia - Alpha 

Athlete - Black Swan 

Atomic Rooster Atomic Rooster 

Bangers - Bird 

Baroness - A Horse Called Golgotha 

Bart Crow Band – Brewster Street Live 

Bert Jansch - Avocet 

Bert Jansch - Sweet Sweet Music 

Bert Jansch - The Black Swan 

Biblio - Oakmoss 

Big Business - The Beast You Are 

Big Country - The Seer 

Bjork - Vespertine 

Blackfoot - Marauder 

Blank Banshee - Gaia 

Brian Borcherdt - Coyotes 

Brokeback - Look at the Bird 

Bruno Pernadas - Those Who Throw Objects at the Crocodiles 

Brunori Sas Cip! 

Budgie - Budgie 

Budgie - The Best Of 

Budgie - The Definitive Anthology 

Budgie - You're All Living in Cuckooland 

Carl Broemel - All Birds Say 

Carmen McRae - Birds of Feather 

Charles Mingus - Blue Bird 

Chicago - Chicago VIII 

Chick Corea - Return to Forever 

Christopher Cross - A Night with Christopher Cross 

Christopher Cross - Another Page 

Christopher Cross - Christopher Cross 

Claude Fontaine - Claude Fontaine 

Clifton Chenier - Bayour Blues 

Cosmos Sheldrake - Galapagos 

Cosmos Sheldrake - Pelicans We Like 

Cosmos Sheldrake - Wake Up Calls 

Crooked Fingers - Crooked Fingers 

Cymande - Arrival 

Cymande - Cymande 

Cymande - Promised Heights 

Cymande - Second Time Round 

Daniel Robinson - Littler Birds 

David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock 

Deadsoul Tribe - A Murder of Crows 

Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism 

Deftones - Diamond Eyes 

Deftones - Gore 

Deodato - Frist Cucko 

Depeche Mode - Speak and Spell 

Dif Juz - Out of the Trees 

Doldrums - Secret Life of Machines 

Donald Byrd - Free Form 

Doomtree - False Hopes 

Earlimart - Everyone Down Here 

Elvis Costello - Secret Profane and Sugarcane 

Emerson Lake and Palmer - Ermerson Lake and Palmer 

Erland Cooper - Solan Goose 

Europe - Wings of Tomorrow 

Fabrique - Birds Cry 

Faith No More - Angel Dust 

Fields - Fields 

Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird Of Good Omen 

Floorplan - Paradise 

Flora Purim - Open Your Eyes You Can Fly 

Flume - Escape - Palaces 

Gary McFarland - America the Beautiful 

Genius of Time - Peace Bird EP 

Grace Cummings - Storm Queen 

Graham Parker - The real Macaw 

Grand Magus - Sword Songs 

Great Lake Swimmers - Onigiara 

Grice - One Thousand Birds 

Gryphon - Gryphon 

Guster - Keep It Together 

Hadouk Trio ‎– Shamanimal 

Half An Orange, Disero & Josh Bogert – Sit Like A Flamingo 

Hatebeak - Caninus - Bird Seeds of Vengeance - Wolfpig 

Herbie Hancock - Mr. Hands 

Hoelderlin - Rare Birds 

Homer - Homer 

Ian Anderson - Secret Language of Birds 

Imagine Dragons - Smoke and Mirrors 

Inti-illimani - leyenda 

Janitor Joe - Big Metal Birds 

Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit ‎– Here We Rest 

Jeff Beck - Emotion and Commotion 

Jeff Hanson - Madam Owl 

Jets to Brazil - Four Cornered Night 

Jim Guthrie - Now, More Than Ever 

Jimmy Buffett – Songs You Know By Heart - Jimmy Buffett's Greatest Hit(s) 

John Zorn - The Mockingbird 

Johnny Griffin - A Blowing Season 

Judas Priest - Screaming for Vengeance 

Julia Holter - Maria 

Jump, Little Children - Sparrow 

Kansas - Song for America 

Kate Bush - Never For Ever 

King Kurt - Big Cock 

Kishi Bashi - Omoiyari 

Lancer - Lancer 

Lee Curtiss - Watergate 08 

Leonard Cohen - The Future 

Lindstrom & Prins Thomas – Turkish Delight 

Little Feat - Down on the Farm 

Los Lobos - Good Morning Aztlan 

Low Roar - Low Roar 

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Last of a Dyin' Breed 

Macondo - Macondo 

Magnus Granberg - Come Down to Earth Where Sorrow Dwelleth 

Maharadja Sweets - Somethings Been Lost 

Marble Sounds - Nice is Good 

Marissa Nadler - Songs_III-_Bird_on_the_Water 

Mazzy Star - Among My Swan 

Melvins - Stoner Witch 

Message to Bears - Folding Leaves 

Midnight Oil - Bird Noises 

Mike Oldfield - The Complete 

Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling 

Monopoly Star Searchers - Make Mine, Macaw 

Morrison Kincannon – To See One Eagle Fly 

Neal Halstead - Palindrome Hunches 

Neil Cavanagh - Short Flight to a Distant Star 

Old Crow Medicine Show - Best Of 

Opeth - Socrceress 

Original Soundtrack - The Flight of the Condor 

Our Lady Peace - Naveed 

Patti Smith Group - Wave 

Paul Gonsalves - Humming bird 

Pavement - Watery Domestic 

Pernice Brothers - The World Won't End 

Peter Frampton - Winds of Change 

Peter Josef - I Rise with the Birds 

Philanthrope & PsalmTrees – Birds Of A Feather Volume One 

Portastatic - Slow Note from a Sinking Ship 

Procol Harum - Exotic Birds and Fruit 

Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksilver 

Radical Face - Ghost 

Rain Parade - Beyond the Sunset 

Rampage - Wings of the Eagle 

Rare Bird - Rare Bird 

Rascals - See 

Raven - Raven 

Real Friends - Composure 

Relient K - The Bird and thew Bee Sides 

Respighi, Neville Marriner, The Academy Of St. Martin-in-the-Fields ‎– The Birds - Three Botticelli Pictures 

Robert Rich - What We Left Behind 

Robert Wyatt - Shleep 

Roger Lion - Roger Lion 

Rosemary Hardman - Firebird 

Rosie Hardman - Eagle Over Blue Mountain 

Rush - Fly by Night 

Ryo Fukui - Mellow Dream 

Sangre De Muerdago - Sangre De Muerdago 

Santana - Greatest Hits 

Sarah Jarosz - World on the Ground 

Saxon - Thunderbolt 

Saxon - Wheels of Steel 

Seculos Apaixonados 

Shakatak - Night Birds 

Shannon Lay, Steven Gunn - Clay Pigeons 

Shearwater - Palo Santo 

Shearwater - Rook 

Shinedown ‎– The Sound Of Madness 

Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires 

Songs - Ohia  - Magnolia Electric Company 

Songs - Ohia - Glen Hansard - Fade Street  A Caution To The Birds 

Sparklehorse - Good Morning Spider 

Spread Eagle - Spread Eagle 

Spyro Gyra - Carnaval 

Stackridge - Stackridge 

Steve Earle and the Dukes - Guy 

Steve Von Till – As The Crow Flies 

Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna 

Strawberry Path - When the Raven Has Come to the Earth 

Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans 

Sunburned Hand of the Main - Earth Do Eagle Do 

Susumu Yokota - Sakura 

Svartanatt – Starry Eagle Eye 

Talk Talk - Asides Besides 

Talk Talk - Laughing Stock 

Talk Talk - The Very Best Of 

Tedeschi Trucks Band - Let Me Get By 

Terri Hron - Bird on a Wire II - Flocking Patterns 

The Black Crowes - Live 

The Bluetones - Expecting to Fly 

The Cakekitchen - Stories for Late at  Night 

The Cinematic Orchestra – Les Ailes Pourpres Le Mystère Des Flamants 

The Coasters - Hungry 

The Cranberries ‎– You & Me 

The Eagles - On the Border 

The Flamingos ‎– Requestfully Yours 

The Fools - Psycho Chicken 

The Inner Banks - The Inner Banks 

The Lovetones - Medidations 

The Low Anthem - What the Crow Brings 

The Mauskovic Dance Band - Down in the Basement EP 

The Mission - Carved in Sand 

The Monsters - Birds Eat Martians 

The Parlor Mob - And You Were a Crow 

The Pete Jolly Trio and Friends - Little Bird 

The Silos - The Silos 

The Stranglers - The Raven 

The Walkabouts - Scavenger 

Thornato - Bennu 

Timothy B. Schmit - Leap of Faith 

Tony Williams - The Joy of Flying 

Tornato - Bennu 

Train - Save Me, San Francisco 

Troyka - Ornithophobia 

Twenty One Pilots - Trench 

Ulaan Passerine - Byzantium Crow 

Various Artists - Funky Chicken 

Various Artists - Imagination Anthem 

Various Artists - Sweetheart 2005 

Various – Dead And Dreaming An Indie Tribute To Counting Crows 

WASP - Still Not Black Enough 

Waylon Jennings - The Eagle 


Wilco - Sky Blue Sky 

Will Hoge - Blackbird on a Lonely Wire 

William Doyle - Great Spans of Muddy Time 

Yardbirds - Birdland 

Yardbirds - Live Yardbirds 

Yes - Yesshows 

Italian Words Ending With -azione and Easier Alternatives for Speaking and Writing

Word cloud of Italian words ending in -azione with alternatives for saying the same thing.
Word cloud of Italian words ending in -azione with alternatives for saying the same thing. Created with

When we speak Italian, we have some fancy words (“10-dollar words”) always on hand from English. We’re talking about words in English that end in “-ation” and translate to words in Italian that end in “-azione”. Examples include elevation in English and elevazione in Italian, and stimulation in English and stimolazione in Italian.

While it’s easy to use a similar word (cognate) in Italian, and you’ll be understood, it’s sometimes overkill for speaking and writing. We’re trying to train ourselves to us the simpler words when we can.

To that end, here are 30 common “-azione” words with a simpler word that can be used instead, and which is usually what we mean. Of course, we are giving limited definitions and alternatives. Take these as rules of thumb and a place to start your own list.

Italian -azione word – easier word to use

Aberrazione – anomalia, anormalità, errore
Abitazione – casa, appartamento
Accumulazione – accumulo
Accomodazione – alloggio, hotel, soggiorno
Approvazione – consenso, appoggio, sostegno, assenso

Approssimazione – stima, stima grossolana
Autorizzazione – permesso
Coltivazione – coltura, agricoltura
Complicazione – problema, difficoltà, ostacolo
Connotazione – significato, carattere, connotato, qualità, sfumatura

Devastazione – disastro, rovina, danni, distruzione
Disperazione – sconforto, angoscia, mancanza di speranza
Elevazione – altezza, quota
Esasperazione – irritazione, sdegno, rabbia
Esclamazione – urlo, grido, strillo

Falsificazione – falso, frode, truffa, broglio
Inclinazione – (fig) tendenza, gusto, preferenza; (lit) pendenza, abbassamento
Inaugurazione – apertura, avvio, inizio, ceremonia
Ispirazione – spunto, estro, afflato
Istigazione – spinta, impulso

Liberazione – indipendenza, libertà
Motivazione – motivo, stimolo, spinta, ragione
Osservazione – commento, nota, ricerca, indagine, esame
Preoccupazione – timore, ansia, apprensione, angoscia
Respirazione – fiato, respiro

Soddisfazione – gradimento, piacere, gioia, gradimento
Stimolazione – stimolo, spinta, impulso, sprone
Trasformazione – cambiamento, mutamento, modifica
Trasportazione – trasporto, spostamento, mezzo
Votazione – voto, elezione, suffragio