Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Race and ethnicity have been on my mind a lot lately. And it’s not just because of the recent tragedy, but largely because I had a DNA test done to identify my genetic heritage. Most of it came as no surprise.  The largest percentage was Italy/Greece (36%).  The second largest was Western Europe (33%) and then was Great Britain (16%), Ireland (5%). The only thing that surprised me a little was European Jewish (3%) and Scandinavian (4%).  The other interesting bit was Caucasus (2%).

Anyone who knows me, knows from my physical appearance, my phenotype, to use a word from my long ago biology days, that I am Celtic. Scots/Irish. Burly, red hair, fair skin, typical Celtic body type. But, by any measure of my genotype I’m all European and Mediterranean. And while I’m Caucasian, I’ve only got 2% from the region that racial group takes it’s name from.

In the discussions surrounding two events in the news, there’s been a a lot of talk about the nature of race, and two standards for determining “blackness” have been prominent in what I’ve been reading. The first was that you were black if one ancestor of your fifth generation grandparents was black. Five generations gets you to 32 ancestors in that generation. So by that standard, 1/32 of your genome could be “black” and you would be considered black. The other stricter standard they have talked about is “one drop”. Which says that no matter how far you go back if you have a black person in your family tree you are black.

It astounds me that people could be so ignorant. Of course all these “rules” came into existence largely before people understood the nature of genetics. They did not know, and probably would not believe that we all are descendants of people who came from Africa. If you want to follow the one drop standard we are all black.  So let’s just put that one aside for the moment because it’s ridiculous on the face of it.

The other standard means that if you have 3% of a minority in you as a white person you’re really not white, you’re not pure. That standard is pretty much a joke too, because I think if you look few if any of the people you know in America are solely from one genetic heritage. How many German’s don’t have Scandinavian mixed in, or Italian, Or French, or Spanish? How many caucasians have more than a few percentages of genetic material from the Caucasus region?

I can trace my ancestry back on my maternal grandfather’s side to the people who came to the US in the 1600s. Eight Generations,  but that just starts the journey.

What makes someone, “White” or “Black” or “Asian”. No matter what set of criteria you come up with, I am certain I can find someone who meets your criteria but is obviously not the race you think you are describing.

Racial purity is a myth. And one we are certainly better off discarding sooner rather than later. It appeals to our innate human need to separate the world into Us and Them. If that’s what you want to do, i understand that need, but there are far better proxies for that then skin color, or facial features, or drops of blood.

If you doubt me, get your own genetic test, there are plenty of places that have them. and are both well known. Investigate your background and see if you’re surprised.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

This week I got notice from Peter Farina, who runs Italy Mondo.  It seems our application for Italian citizenship have been approved, and we now have Citizen Recognition forms. While we’re not at the end of the process, we’re in the home stretch. I expect by January that my dad and I should both have our Italian Passports.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

This mornings amusing moment while buying coffee… 


Mom to her daughter who took my $2. “I was just checking to see if you gave him the right amount”

Me to earnest 5 year old. “Say Mom, I know what I’m doing.”

Daughter to Mom in somewhat stern voice: “Mom, he knows what he’s doing!”

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

When I was a kid, the choice for pizza in my home town was big round cheese New York style pizza with lots of cheese and sauce and it was yummy, but it was plain simple comfort food. Now, people have found the beauty of Neapolitan style wood fired pizza.  This pizza is very different but oh so yummy. It’s more of an artisan style pie, usually made in a size that feeds one or two people. The quality of the pie is much higher, the flavor much more intense and the pallet much more complex. It’s like the difference between drinking the wine’s of youth and those we cherish now.

I highly recommend you try a wood fired pizza, and if you’re in the Danbury Ct area, and you get a chance try Victoria’s Wood Fired Pizza, a quality product and a great opportunity to sample something really special

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

The thing is that sometimes you want URLS that look “pretty”. They don’t have dates or other odd ball urls that really are there to make the programmer happy. You want a URL that is SEO friendly. This post is part of the work I’m doing to generate enough new content to examine how wordpress generates it’s URLs, and then try to get mine to be pretty also.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

I had some problems previously with my blog. Strange things where happening, and I’m not sure what caused them. Because of these problems, I had to bring down the last site rather hurriedly. So this is my new blog, with a theme based on bootstrap. I’ll be porting over the content from my previous blog over time and slowly bringing new content to you as time permits. Thanks for looking in at the new blog and stay with me. Things are going to get much better.