18th Century Venice: Sewage

A little piece of Venetian history, for those who love that city.

Make sure you read the linked article, but not at breakfast perhaps.

Thank you Robin.

Robin Saikia

Zompini’s engraving shows a workman, the Cura gatoli, deferentially greeting two immaculately-dressed toffs. The image is very much à clef, as only a Venetian would immediately grasp how disgusting the job really was. In the accompanying rhyme the workman describes his task in Venetian dialect. “Co xe l’Alba per tute le Contrae / I gatoli curemo dal sporchezzo; / E se mantien le strade ben netae.” My translation: “At dawn we trudge round all the lanes / Unblocking all the filthy drains / And keep the streets clean for our pains.” The word gatoli means not only drains for rainwater but also the labyrinth of conduits channeling human waste out of buildings and into the canals. It was critical to keep these in good order at all times, and the draincleaner’s job was as important as that of the canal dredgers mentioned in a previous post…

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Just another mystery travel photo

This tranquil scene is from a place in Italy I hadn’t visited before. The city I stayed in seemed relatively industrial, but that might have been down to my choice of the area I chose to rent an apartment. But, it was close to the train station which allowed me to explore further afield, and I did discover some interesting historical places in this city.

Something strange is going on with my newly refurbished laptop. Some of you might see the previous paragraph all in capital letters. I swear I did not type it that way; I am NOT hollering at you!


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Yay! A shopping list

Now, this lady knows how to give me a warm fuzzy! (How many of you remember that term?) And now I know what schmaltz is.

Thank you, Gretchen, for doing the right thing when you spotted this list.

Hello, I always love to see what you post, so when I saw this in the cart at my Jewel market, I brought it home. The first item should be ‘Swiffers’. And not sure if that’s ‘beets’ or ‘beer’. Lastly, I shop there all the time but no idea where to find schmaltz. Best wishes from Chicago. — Gretchen

Can someone give us the recipe for matzo balls? 


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Happy Birthday, Minx

My cat, Minx, adopted me about 7 and 1/2 years ago. When I took her to the vet for “the” operation, he estimated her age and then set her birthdate as 14 February.

So, Happy Birthday to my special Valentine. ❤



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Mad Hatter’s hat?

So, you were presented with this elegant chapeau, and it didn’t  take long for you clever folks to zero in on Venice, Italy as the location.

The photo was taken during Carnevale, about 7 years ago. While not clearly obvious as a Carnevale item, the hat could have been easily employed as an accessory to  a few costumes. Aside from the Mad Hatter, do you have other suggestions?


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Mystery travel photo. I don’t know what number!

A very groovy window display, for an important event on the calendar in this city.


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Sunday funnies

Good old BoB never fails to amuse me!

bluebird of bitterness

An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert and came upon a casket containing a mummy. After examining it, he called the curator of a prestigious museum.

“I’ve just found a 3,000 year old mummy,” said the archaeologist. “It’s a man who died of heart failure.”

“Bring it in,” said the curator. “We’ll check it out.”

A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were exactly right about the mummy’s age and cause of death,” he said. “How in the world did you know?”

“Easy,” the archaeologist replied. “He was holding a piece of papyrus that said ‘10,000 shekels on Goliath.’”

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A very varied list

Thank you to Yvette for taking the time to find, photograph and send this list to me. It’s certainly not a grocery list, but lots of interesting, different things to find and purchase.

It looks like some bike rides are being planned, and the doggie will be going along with them, for a bit of exercise. Is that harness for the dog, or some other purpose?


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Up the river

Thank you to dear old BoB for this groaner!

bluebird of bitterness

An anthropologist wanted to study the members of a remote jungle tribe. He hired a native guide with a canoe to take him to his destination and serve as interpreter.

As they travelled up the river, they heard drums in the distance. The anthropologist asked his guide, “What do those drums mean?”

The guide replied, “Drums okay. Drums not bad. But very bad when they stop.”

As they traveled the drums grew louder. The anthropologist became nervous, but the guide repeated, “Drums okay. Drums not bad. But when drums stop, then very bad.”

On they travelled, the anthropologist growing more apprehensive by the minute. Then suddenly the drums stopped. Panic stricken, the anthropologist said to the guide, “The drums stopped! What now?”

The guide crouched down, covered his head with his hands and said, “Guitar solo.”

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Answer to travel photo #5

The photo was taken on the lovely island of Torcello which is in the lagoon north of Venice. Once heavily populated, it now has very few inhabitants. It does have an interesting history The forgotten Venice   and the  ancient Cathedral of Torcello among its attractions.

The photo shows the containers that are used twice a year to provide the soft shelled delicacy know as moeche. These containers, known as vieri, used to be made of wicker. Now they consist of wooden planks, spaced so the water can circulate to keep the little crabs alive when the containers are lowered into the  shallow waters of the lagoon. 

I have eaten them once. Then I found out how they are prepared, and never had them again. Poor moeche



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