Friday, June 28, 2013

Moon Lore

Folklore About the Moon

The moon has lit the paths of many night travelers for centuries.  It is the closest heavenly body to earth and has fascinated us all with its multiple cycles.  Many cultures believe that the moon’s cycles can predict the future.  Whether the moon is crescent or full, there is folklore behind it.

Lunatic comes from the world luna and it is believed that people’s behavior becomes the most strange during a full moon.  Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, was inspired by this idea that people’s personalities change when there is a full moon in the sky.   Some cultures believe that they can predict the weather based on the moons cycles.  British legend says that if Christmas falls on the day of a dark moon, the following season’s harvest will be bountiful.  On the other hand, a waning moon means that the harvest will fail.

Here are more examples of moon folklore:

-A halo around the moon means bad weather is on its way
-In Chinese cultures, the night of the full moon is when offerings are made to the ancestors
-The waxing phases of the moon are believed to be a sign of fertility
-A blue moon symbolizes loneliness & despair
Let us know if you have any of your own moon lore to share. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Café Italiana

 The Italian’s trademark has and will always be coffee. It was introduced to the Italians in the 1600’s, and after gaining the approval of Pope Clement VIII; it became embraced by the culture. One of the reasons that coffee houses have thrived  throughout the generations is the freedom and artistic expression they provided. In the olden days they symbolized “freedom without fear” and represented safe havens for many artists and writers to gather together to express new ideas.

A famous example is Caffe Greco in Rome. This cafe is located by the historic Spanish Steps. Jonathon Wolfgang von Goethe, a brilliant artist, writer and politician, influenced the interior atmosphere of this place. In addition to Goethe’s influence, Caffe Grecco was also home to numerous artists and writers like, “Wagner, Mendelssohn, Stendhal, Liszt and Casanova.” ( Something that they all had in common was a desire to make social and political waves.

Today, the Italians have mastered 111 carefully crafted brews. The notorious Italian espresso-style coffee has become something of a phenomenon.  It showcases the brewers’ expressiveness through the more complicated brewing process. It is the most popular coffee beverage in Italy and also the strongest.

In not only Italy, but around the world espressos have become loved for the rich bittersweet brew.  They have involved into a much different concept in America today, but the classic Italian café that serves espressos and provides a welcoming and social environment is still alive and flourishing across the Atlantic in the heart of Italian culture.

To enjoy the music many people associated with Italian cafes, make plans to enjoy Dolce Sera – A Night of Musical Sweets and more at Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma.
Doors Open: 6:30 p.m. , Concert: 7 p.m.
Cinnabar Theater,
3333 Petaluma Blvd. North  Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma
$20 includes desserts and coffee.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Eating Japanese Style

By Paige McReynolds

Everyone loves teriyaki food. Okay, maybe not everyone but it has definitely become one of the most popular dishes served at a Japanese restaurant in the western culture (California Rolls are popular for those who are a little more daring). But did you know that traditional Japanese teriyaki isn’t served with chicken, pork, or beef? Normally, it’s served with seafood such as marlin, salmon, tuna, and squid. So this got me thinking: what other Japanese traditions are we breaking?
            Well for starters, every Japanese-style meal is served with chopsticks (and I don’t think they serve the beginner kind with paper and rubber bands!). Japanese food is soft enough to be picked up and even cut with chopsticks so the only time Japanese need the basic fork, knife, and spoon is when they are eating western food (imagine that). Even soup is served with chopsticks; you eat the ingredients with the chopsticks then slurp your soup. Yes, you heard me correctly, sluuurrrppppppp your soup. It is actually normal in Japanese culture as it signifies a delicious meal and compliments the chef. However, do not put your chopsticks erect from a bowl of rice! Uh oh, how many times have you done that? This is how rice is given to the dead and is not accepted at the dinner table. Instead, place your chopsticks on their designated tray or horizontally across your bowl to signify you’re finished eating.
            I think this one would get most Americans in trouble: before the extreme takeover of fast food, you were not allowed to eat in front of someone who was not eating. It was considered rude to walk down the street and “flaunt your food” to people who were less fortunate. In 8th century Japan, anyone who was caught drinking while standing up was required by law to commit suicide. While this law obviously isn’t in effect anymore, and people are allowed to eat on the streets, some still consider the act to be looked down upon.
             If you love learning about Japanese culture and food just as much as we do, be sure to attend the 59th Annual Enmanji Temple BBQ and Bazaar. This family-friendly event attracts thousand every years and provides a whirl of colorful entertainment along with authentic Japanese cuisine that is sure to please the whole family.

Paige is an intern with Karen Pierce Gonzalez Public Relations. A senior at Sonoma State University she has plans one day of being a communications specialist who can crank out copy just as easily as she can use chopsticks.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Folklore: Scorpious & Orion

The night skies are filled with folktales. The stars we see on a clear night are reminders of past myths and legends that have been told for centuries. From Orion’s Belt to the Big Dipper folklore is alive in the sky.  Many different cultures tell stories about the stars.  In Greek folklore, the legend of Orion and Scorpious is portrayed through the nightscape.

The Greek constellation Scorpious is shaped like a scorpion by the stars. The bright star Antares starts the scorpion’s tail, the scorpion's deadliest spot on his body. Scorpious is located in the night sky right behind the constellation Orion. Orion is most easily spotted by looking for his belt.  Orion’s Belt is made up of three stars - Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka -  lined up in a straight line.  Greek mythology says that the earth goddess, Gaia, placed the scorpion in the night sky as a reward for killing Orion.

Orion was the son of a poor shepherd called Hyrieus. Hyrieus' one desire was to have a son.  When the Greek gods came to call upon Hyrieus, he was kind, feeding them his last remaining cow.  Because of his kindness, the gods gave him a son. Orion became the best hunter in the land and was hired by the king to kill the deadly beasts that threatened his kingdom. Gaia was not pleased with this notion so she sent Scorpious to kill Orion. The gods placed Orion in the sky to honor his gallant efforts. Gaia was so pleased with Scorpious that she also placed him in the stars to forever chase Orion.
Folklore celebrates what we believe about the world and its mysteries, which include the heavens.  

Here are a few more star-related folktales:
-Iroquois legend of the BigDipper
-The legend of the Pegasus constellation

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Back to the Italian Classics

Everyone has there own view of the classics. However, when the opening strings of this song ensue and you find yourself transported to an intimate Italian restaurant where you can almost taste the fresh bread and breath in the smell of delicious red wine, it is simply indisputable that Mambo Italiano is one of them.
Mambo Italiano was written by Bob Merrill and recorded by Rosemary Clooney in the heart of the 1950’s. He wrote this song on the piece of a napkin in New York.  He was working on a deadline and the Italian restaurant he found himself in became the inspiration for his new hit. Merrill used the wall-pay-phone to dictate the melody, rhythm and lyrics to the pianist (an apprentice of Mitch Miller) in the recording studio. Shortly after, it became a hit.
In 1955, it reached number ten on the charts in the United States and number one on the UK Singles Chart. Soon after, it started to become featured in films. In the 1988 film Married to the Mob, a new version of the song was featured while the opening credits rolled. Following in 2004, the British Comedy School for Seduction used it during their closing credits.  It also had its part it many touring productions including “Tony & Tina’s Wedding”.
There have been numerous remixes of the song including one by Shaft in 2000, which reached number twelve on the UK Singles Chart. Additionally, artists such as Dean Martin and Bette Midler have recorded one-time versions.
Two years ago with her release of the album Born this Way, even Lady Gaga sampled the melody of this composition in her song Americano.
A second song that captured the hearts of many around the world was Al di la to Malafemmena. Composed by the famous Italian artist Totò, or more commonly know as Antonio de Curtis, this song became an anthem to Italy.  It was written in 1951, and is currently still being covered by some of the most renowned artists including Jerry Vale and Andrea Bocelli.
A brief flashback into the lives of these songs and the artists that made them timeless will be at the heart of the upcoming concert Dolce Sera (Sweet Summer Evening). The café-style evening features Zighi Baci’s popular renditions of Italian melodies.
Don't forget to enter  Zighi Baci's Rome, Paris, Hollywood CD giveaway! 
July 7th Concert Details: Doors Open: 6:30 p.m. , Concert: 7 p.m.
Cinnabar Theater,
3333 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, CA
$20 includes desserts and coffee.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Ocean: A Sea of Life

June 8 is World Oceans Day, a day when people around the globe come together to celebrate our ocean and take action to protect it. The ocean not only makes our world livable, it provides us with food, water, commerce, recreation, and medicine. The ocean has suffered some serious blows lately: 90% of the big fish in the sea are gone, the gyres are filled with more plastic than previously estimated, the Deepwater Horizon disaster dumped 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and coastal dead zones from agricultural runoff are worse than ever.

The ocean has definitely seen rough times lately, and World Oceans Day is a good opportunity to rally and start turning things around.
Most Americans say they support a healthy ocean—after all, the beach is one of our all-time favorite vacation spots. But how do we as a whole feel about protecting the ocean?  The Ocean Project’s ongoing survey confirms that Americans care about healthy oceans; and has further insight on what Americans think and feel about ocean conservation.

We don’t realize the ocean is in danger
Most of us think that the ocean is healthy and “too vast” for individual action to have an impact. In fact, according to the World Ocean Day organization, Americans believe that ocean waters bordering the US are significantly less imperiled than are “foreign” waters.

The children are indeed our future
Young people were the most knowledgeable about environmental & ocean issues, and parents look to them for guidance when making green household decision-making. They also were overwhelmingly more likely to believe that the actions of individuals can make a difference!

There are hundreds of events being held all over the world, find one near you and celebrate. You can also organize an event yourself. Go to for ideas, free materials, and event listing.