Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Travelmarx Spring 2024 Playlist – Anti-Rage Time

36 album covers for Travelmarx Spring 2024 Playlist - Anti-Rage Time

Our Spring Spotify playlist (link) is dedicated to “anti-rage”. We’ve seen too many stories in the news dealing with rage (justified or not) and wondered if there was an opposite term. There doesn’t seem to be and when I asked my friendly AI chat bot it said: ““anti-rage” is not commonly used or recognized in the English language. The concept of ‘anti-rage’ could potentially refer to a state of calmness, tranquility, or peace, which would be the opposite of rage.” We like that.

The playlist has 36 tracks released between 1966 to 2023. Out of shear laziness, we arrange the tracks in chronological order.

1966 Astrud Gilberto – “Berimbau”
1976 Lou Reed – “Charley's Girl”
2004 Jake Fior – “For Lovers”
2007 Lonely Drifter Karen – “The Owl Moans Low”
2008 Neko Case – “At Last”
2008 Sophie Hunger – “Shape”

2009 Matias Aguayo – “Rollerskate”
2009 Neko Case – “Magpie to the Morning”
2011 John Stammers – “Idle I’m”
2012 John Maus – “The Law (2003)”
2012 Lawrence of Arabia – “The Listening Times”
2012 Soko – “I Just Want to Make It New with You”

2013 The Magnetic North – “Betty Corrigall”
2014 Liz Green – “River Runs Deep”
2015 Hindi Zahra – “Can We Dance?”
2015 Papooz – “Ulysses and the Sea”
2015 Vashti Bunyan – “Train Song”
2016 case/lang/veirs – “Greens of June”

2016 Papooz – “Ann Wants to Dance”
2016 Ultimate Painting – “Lead the Way”
2016 Waldeck – “Una volta”
2016 Weval – “You Made It (Part 1)”
2017 Gabriel Garzón-Montano – Fruitflies
2021 Aaron Frazer – If I Got It (Your Love Brought It)

2021 trentemøller, Tricky – “No One Quite Like You”
2022 Alela Diane – “Paloma"
2022 Danielle Ponder – “So Long”
2022 Kendra Morris – “Dry"
2022 Maxwell Farrington – “I Had It All”
2022 Nev Cottee – “The Ring”

2022 Panamá 77 – “Patria"
2023 Barry Can’t Swim – “Deadbeat Gospel”
2023 Jon Kennedy – “Monsters”
2023 Loverman – “Differences Aside”
2023 The Clientele – “Blue Over Blue”
2023 The Leisure Society, Brian Eno – “Brave Are the Waves”

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Giogo Alto Glacier (Hochjochferner) – Light and Shadow

Ghiacciaio di Giogo Alto - Shadow and Light Ghiacciaio di Giogo Alto - on chairlift with Giogo Alto on the left
Ghiacciaio di Giogo Alto - Shadow and Light

We visited the Giogo Alto Glacier (in Italian Ghiacciaio del Giogo Alto, in German Hochjochferner) recently on a ski trip to Val Senales. We stayed two nights in Maso Corto at 2,000 m (6,562 ft) - which is at the head of Val Senales, and one night in Rifugio Bella Vista (Gasthof / Schutzhaus Schöne Aussicht) at 2,845 m (9,334 feet), above Maso Corto.

Skiing on the glacier was beautiful, with few people. The play of light - especially with fog and passing clouds was otherworldly. But we were racked with a bit of guilt. Should we be skiing on this retreating glacier?

To reach Rifugio Bella Vista you go up the Hintereis ski lift (loc) and instead of going all the way down the ski run, you hang a right. The position of the rifugio seemed odd at first. Later, while waiting for dinner at the rifugio we looked at the old photos of the glacier and how it has retreated over the years and then it became clear. At one time, the rifugio sat at the edge of the glacier, which has now retreated almost a kilometer away. In winter of course, you can’t perceive this because everything is covered in snow – at least for now. We would like to return in the summer and get a view of this glacier, like we did with the Presena Glacier (see Presena Glacier – A summer visit to the covered glacier). We heard that like Presena, the Giogo Alto Glacier is covered in the summer though we couldn’t confirm it ourselves.

Summer skiing on the Giogo Alto glacier was stopped in 2013.

Nearby the glacier is the site where Ötzi was found. Ötzi the Iceman is the natural mummy of a man who lived between 3350 and 3105 BC and whose remains were discovered on 19 September 1991. The name of the mountain range Ötztal Alps (Alpi Venoste in Italian) lends its name to the mummy, which can be seen in a museum dedicated to him in Bolzano. We first learned of Ötzi in 2008 on a visit to Bolzano. (See The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeological – Ötzi’s Home.)

A room in Rifugio Bella Vista Rifugio Bella Vista in a foggy white-out conditions Grawand Hotel - sits above the glacier
Left: A room in Rifugio Bella Vista.
Center: Rifugio Bella Vista in winter fog, sitting on the hill.
Right: Nearby by Grawand Hotel, the highest situated hotel in Europe.

Arriving at the top of the Grawand cable car and entering on to the top of the Giogo Alto Glacier Ghiacciaio di Giogo Alto - chairlifts to Grawand Hotel Ghiacciaio di Giogo Alto - skiing down
Left: Arriving at top of the glacier from the cable car originating in Maso Corto. 1 km vertical distance.
Center: Chairlifts that run up the side of the glacier with Grawand Hotel at the top.
Right: Skiing down the glacier in fog. Austrian border is just a few meters away.

Chamois stew with potatoes and onions - Rifugio Bella Vista Lunch Rifugio Bella Vista dinner Rifugio Bella Vista strudel
Left: Lunch at Rifugio Bella Vista, a chamois stew.
Center: Dinner at Rifugio Bella Vista.
Right: Always strudel is to be had.

In the valley at Maso Corto - a monument celebrating the building of the ski infrastructure
Maso Corto sculpture dedicated to those who built ski infrastructure?

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Tavola or Tavolo – Reflection on Missed Years of Language Learning

Front cover of Il Grande Libro pre ScolareIl Grande Libro pre Scolare with TavolaIl Grande Libro pre Scolare with Tavolo
Il Grande Libro pre Scolare - Vado in Prima cover and two sample page showing "tavola" and "tavolo".


We spent a long weekend with our friends and their 4-year-old who is just starting to read in Italian. To encourage him, his parents surround him with books and games to help. One book I picked up was called “Il Grande Libro pre Scolare”. I couldn’t resist flipping through it and seeing if I could get through some of the puzzles and games. In the section with pictures and words (broken into syllables), I saw an image of a table set for eating and just an empty table, demonstrating the words tavola and tavolo, respectively.

At that point, it kind of hit me how as an adult we struggle to learn languages because of the “missed” years of learning that this 4-year-old is getting with books like this. I’ve struggled countless times to remember is it tavola (with an A) or tavolo (with an O)? They both mean table, but which one you use depends on context. Seeing the set table for tavola and the “un-set” or plain table for tavolo is a great visual cue that I didn’t think about until seeing this book.

Mini lesson

In Italian, both tavolo and tavola can be translated as "table" in English, but they are used in different contexts.

Tavola (feminine, plural: tavole) is used when referring to a table that is set for a meal. For example, "Bambini, a tavola! La polenta è pronta!" translates to "Kids, (come) to the table! The polenta is ready!" - this is Bergamo after all. "Tavola" can also refer to a plank, board, chart, figure, or panel. “Tavola” is also used to refer to a snowboard because a “board” or “wooden plank” is called a “tavola”.

Tavolo (masculine, plural: tavoli) is the generic word for table, referring to the piece of furniture found in homes and offices. For example, a big table is called "un grande tavolo" and a small table is called "un piccolo tavolo" or "tavolino", literally “little table” or a really big table "tavolone". "Tavolo" is also used when reserving a table at a restaurant or referring to table service.

So, the difference between "tavola" and "tavolo" lies in the context in which they are used. While both words can mean "table", "tavolo" is used more generally, while "tavola" is used specifically for a table set for a meal or a plank of wood. 


Tavola usage

____ a tavola OR tavola  a ____
  • tutti a tavola!
  • mettersi a tavola
  • posti a tavola
  • tavola a vela

____ da tavola OR tavola da ____
    • vino/olive/uva da tavola
    • biancheria da tavola
    • trionfo da tavola
    • tavola da surf
    • tavola da stiro

    La tavola OR tavola _____
      • la buona tavola
      • prepare la tavola
      • Tavola rotonda
      • tavola calda
      • tavola periodica
      • tavola pitagorica

      ____ in tavola:
      • mettere/cambiare le carte in tavola
      • portare in tavola

      Tavolo usage

      Il tavolo OR tavolo ____
      • sotto il tavolo
      • prendere il tavolo
      • tavolo operatorio
      • tavolo negoziale
      • tavolo verde

      ____ da tavolo OR tavolo da ____
      • apparecchi da tavolo
      • tennis da tavolo
      • lampada da tavolo
      • gioco da tavolo
      • tavolo da pranzo
      • tavolo da ping-pong
      • tavolo da gioco
      • tavolo da disegno
      • tavolo da surf

      tavolo di ____:
      • Tavolo di lavoro
      • giro di tavolo
      • tavolo di comando

      Monday, March 4, 2024

      Nouns derived from IRE and ERE verbs

      two cuddly creatures walking side by side, one wears the nametag written as scoprire and the other wears the nametag written scoperta, behind them is an Italian flag
      Scoprire and scoperta walking side-by-side.

      In the post One Hundred (and More) Common Italian Nouns Derived from Verbs : Confusion Over Masculine and Feminine, we covered ARE verbs and concluded that approximately 80% of the time nouns derived from these verbs were masculine. Examples: il cancello => cancellare, il raggio => raggiare. 20% were feminine. Examples: la ricerca => ricercare, la sfida => sfidare. This is just a rule of thumb we came up with! We are not language experts.

      Well, the idea of masculine / feminine came back around the other day when I went to send a message in Italian and hesitated with scoperta or scoperto. (It’s scoperata and the associated verb is scoprire.) I went to the blog post above and realized we didn’t say much about IRE or ERE verbs. This post delves into those verbs.

      Side note: It was pointed out to me that these Italian language posts are my way of building an inference engine that I can run in my head to apply rules to understand the language and make choices real time. Compare that to our Italian 4-year-old friend: he is using a large language model, learning the language by patterns and sounds. I think he’ll come out ahead in the end.
      In that ARE post, we wrote “Verbs ending in -ERE and -IRE and their related nouns derive from the past participle usually. For example, la discesa from discendere and la promessa from promettere.” However, as the lists below show, it’s not so easy and maybe not as common as we thought. The Italian language (or any language for that matter) will let us off that easily with its exceptions. The main take-aways:

      1. Yes, some nouns derived from -ERE and -IRE verbs are feminine (ending in A), but there seems to be just as many exceptions: nouns that are derived from past participle but are masculine, or nouns not derived from past participle. Many –ERE and –IRE verbs have no (obvious) derived noun.
      2. If you are really stuck, throw an IMENTO or URA suffix on the end of the verb root and hope for the best.


      Nouns derived from or at least related to the past participle and that are feminine (or can be)

      battere => la battuta
      correre => la corsa (il corso means something different)
      difendere => la difesa
      discendere => la discesa
      disdire => la disdetta
      dormire => la dormita
      fallire => il/la fallito/a
      favorire => il/la favorito/a
      ferire => la ferita (“the wound, il/la ferito/a for “the wounded”)
      maldire => il/la maledetto/a
      muovere => la mossa
      offrire => l'offerta
      prendere => la presa
      pretendere => la pretesa
      promettee => la promessa
      pungere => la punta
      richiedere => la richiesta
      ripetere => la ripetuta
      risalire => la risalita
      rispondere => la risposta
      rivolgere => la rivolta
      salire => la salita
      scegliere => la scelta
      scomparire => la scomparsa
      scoprire => la scoperta
      spendere => la spesa
      spingere => la spinta
      spremere => la spremuta
      stringere => la stretta (il stretto means “strait” or “channel”)
      tingere => la tinta
      uccidere => il/la ucciso/a

      * Nouns derived from past particle that are masculine
      † Nouns not derived from past participle

      accedere => accesso* (not acceduto)
      applaudire => applauso* (not applaudito)
      aprire => aperatura† (not l’aperta)
      bollire => bollito*
      chiudere => chiusura† (chiusa means “sluice”)
      colpire => colpo*
      contribuire => contributo* (not contribuito, with an I)
      dibattere => dibattito† (not dibattuto/a)
      divertire => divertimento
      finire => fine, termine, arrivo, etc. † (but also il finito)
      friggere => fritto* (masculine, not fritta)
      fugire => fuggitivo/a† (not fuggito/a)
      intuire => intuito*
      mentire => bugia, menzogna† (not mentito)
      riaprire => riaperatura† (not riaperta)
      ridere => riso* (masculine, not risa but risata)
      risvegliere => risveglio (not risvegliato)
      seguire => seguito* (masculine, not seguita)
      seppellire => seppellimento† (not seppellito/a)
      soridere => sorriso* (masculine, not sorrisa)
      sostituire => il/la sostituto/a (not sostituito/a with I)
      starnutare => starnuto† (not starnutito)
      succedere => successo*
      suggerire => suggerimento† (not suggerito/a)
      temere => paura, terrore† (not temo/a)
      tossire => tosse† (not tossito/a)
      tradire => tradimento† (not tradito/a)
      trasferire => trasferimento† (not trasferito/a)
      vestire => vestito*
      vivere => vivo*

      Sunday, March 3, 2024

      Ironman doing the dishes – Learning English with AI Image generation

      35 images created with prompts in Microsoft Image Designer

      We were babysitting our friend’s 4 year old (4.5 to be exact). He’s Italian and is learning English. Currently, he has good basic command of English. So, we decided to work with words and concepts in Microsoft Designer – Image Creator.

      Our little ward is in his “Ironman” phase so various prompts involve Ironman. We encouraged him to find interesting pairings of words, like what’s something Ironman is never pictured doing. One answer: the dishes.

      Of the two images Designer created, he typically liked one of the two images better and we saved that.

      Sometimes both were visually interesting, so we saved both. It was interesting asking why he liked one image over the other – in English. Certain things in the image would stick out to him and be the criteria for selection. They were usually aspects of the image that our adult brains weren’t considering. (And yes, don't look too closely at the faces or placement eyes on these images. They are weird.)

      The prompts:

      a cat astronaut that is chasing space mice
      a cat astronaut that is flying in space
      a chair like a rainbow
      a computer hat
      a computer on the head of a person
      a cookie tree
      a house on a plant
      a house rainbow
      a house with arms and legs and a head that is walking down the street
      a house with legs, arms that is walking down the street
      a person walking the roof where the roof has tiles
      a person with rainbow colored skin
      a rainbow squirrel
      a skyscraper made of plants
      a tree growing in a house
      a tree growing through a house
      a tree on the roof of a house
      a zebra on a house
      an astronaut flying inside a house who is being chased by a cat
      an astronaut flying inside a house being chased by a cat
      baby ironman in diapers in a crib
      cookie snow
      ironman disco dancing in the sky
      Ironman doing the dishes
      Ironman made of candy
      Ironman made of plants
      Ironman rainbow
      Ironman skiing on a house
      Ironman with the flag of Italy and a cow
      Ironman with the flag of Italy