#128: Uncle Ravioli

128.1  Dear Stolf: Saw this on the net…long way to go for the wrong answer, wouldn’t you say? Hee hee… from Dilly in Noshburg, VA

riddle 1

128.2   Dear Dilly: You really ought not to laugh…everybody makes mistakes…shoot, I make them all the time, altho I like to think I am pretty good about correcting them promptly and being up front about it. But the ironic part of this is, this tortuously drawn-out procedure did result in the right answer…they simply copied it down wrong!

riddle 2

128.3  Now I do bristle sometimes when somebody calls something “The”…as here, “The Riddle”…as if there’s something that distinguishes this from every other riddle, and a thousand years from now people will still be talking about it…right. And this ties in with what I said a while back, about having no use for these “cousin charts.” I find them needlessly obtuse…but to each his own…and after all, it did get the job done. Me, I did this in my head, without charts or even scratch paper.

128.4   How in the world? OK…I thought to myself as follows:

Your great grandmother’s uncle’s son is her 1st cousin.
     That uncle’s grandson is your grandmother’s 2nd cousin.
          Your grandmother’s 2nd cousin is your mother’s 2nd cousin once removed…
               and YOUR 2nd cousin twice removed. Done and done.

Yeah, but not everyone can do that. BS! Of course you can…just takes a little practice…you just have to start with knowing what you’re talking about, is all. A chart like this is what they call “rote”…figuring something out without understanding what you’re doing. It’s fine to start, but why not be smart and understand it? Trust me, it feels good!

128.5  Then again, I do believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s an outline of how it would go…
chart 446 rid

128.6  Dear Stolf: I noticed there’s a lady around claiming to be the 3rd generation of Chef Boyardee chefs…real deal or no?…   from Knock Knock Vermacelini, Parma NH

noyardee 1

128.7  Dear Knock x2: Yeah, I even saw where she was called Chef GIRLardee…yikes! Now it’s always been a precarious proposition to claim you’re a famous relative when you’re not…even more so in today’s litigious climate…but this here is completely kosher, if that’s the word. Here’s what I found…

chart 447 boy

128.8  Yes, the chef was a real person…they chose to spell Boiardi phonetically as Boy-Ar-Dee…’mericans tending to bobble when confronted by triple vowels. Ricardo Paulo was the first to come over from The Boot in 1913, got a job as maitre d’ at the Plaza Hotel in NYC. He was known simply as Paul, altho for some reason I’ve yet to uncover, Uncle Wiki…and the sites that copy from it…call him Lorenzo. His next brother Ettore, Americanized to Hector, came the following year…if I read the Ellis Island manifest correctly, by himself…or at least with no family members…at age 16. He joined his older brother as a chef.

boyardi 2

128.9  Did quite well, eventually opened a restaurant in Cleveland, after a stopover in West Virginia, where he catered Woodrow Wilson’s second marriage. Sold jars of his sauces, then conceived the idea of spaghet’ in a can. Moved the operation to Milton, PA. That iron statue above is in neither place however, but in Omaha…home of ConAgra, current owner of the brand. And sure, I’m a huge Chef Boy-Ar-Dee fan and proud of it…BTW, that’s the old school spelling…currently they dispense with the dashes…Boyardee. The above ad from 1969 pretty much sums up my feelings about it…you think it’s slop? More for me then. I like to mix 2 different kinds into a gooey orange mess, then smother it with grated cheese and maybe some crushed red pepper if I’m feeling frisky.

128.10  Now Anna Marie Boiardi is the granddaughter of the youngest brother, Mario…all 3 formed the company together, altho Hector is the man on the can. And I have to chuckle at the difficulty the media has in trying to, um, spit it out…

boyardi 3

128.11  A is typical…yes, she’s Mario’s granddaughter…but also Mario’s brother Hector’s niece? Actually, that would be possible if they followed the Old World custom of an uncle marrying a niece, and if Mario had a daughter Paul could have married, which he didn’t. No, they meant grand niece. B reiterates the mistake, and introduces an exciting new concept: that of being several different relations to a group of people…collectively, as it were. Hmmm…didn’t see that coming.

128.12  Finally, C gets it exactly right…I wish they’d used “grand” instead of “great,” but their heart’s in the right place. D is really neat…now she’s the granddaughter of 3 brothers…and even with rampant interbreeding, that’s just not possible…one brother could be a step-grandpa, OK…but fugetaboutit. Still, that part about how she was born and raised in Italy…wasn’t Mario supposed to be over here? E solves the mystery…her mother Angela was Italian, met and wed Mario when he was visiting his homeland…and I’ve since found out that they lived in Italy until Anna was 6, then moved stateside…she’s around 40 now. But yeah…real deal all the way…cent’anni!

128.13  Dear Stolf: Doesn’t this prove that somebody besides you can be right? Just curious…   from Rogers Hammerstein, Fujiyama, Norway


128.14  Dear Rogers: Absolutely it does…and I’m fine with that. I welcome it, applaud it, commend it. Sure, I highlight goofs I find on the net as illustrations of how not to go wrong. Obviously a lot of people have a handle on what’s right, but there’s nothing to gain really from them…except to thank them…who else helped me learn all this stuff, nez pah?!

128.15  With this particular question, I might go bit further on that second sentence, where it says that your cousin’s spouse’s nephew is “no relation” to you. That nephew is of course no relation to your cousin either…at least not a blood relation…a nephew “by marriage” to some extent, but different people and families look on these matters in different ways. Me, I wouldn’t have considered anyone to be your cousin’s nephew in the first place if that nephew were not a blood relative of your cousin, and hence your blood relative as well.

128.16  But the point is well taken that if you have a pair of 1st cousins, and each has a child, one is a son and one is a nephew as each of those cousins looks at it…but from your point of view, both are your 1st cousins once removed. This is the principle of interchangeability…and it also gets into what I call “Conan Relations”…like saying “my uncle’s brother”…when it would be more natural…and more meaningful…to say either “my uncle” (my other uncle) or “my father.” Because automatically, your cousin’s nephew is, like this answer says, the son of another of your cousins. For more on Conan relations, see here #66.

128.17  On a final note, the question itself is kind of funny…speaking informally, a lot of people are your cousins besides your “actual” numbered cousins…by which I mean 1st, 2nd, 3rd cousins etc. “Cousins” properly describes people of YOUR GENERATION and nobody else. All the other “cousins” are removed, meaning they are cousins to somebody in your direct line…your parent’s cousins, your grandparent’s cousins, your son’s cousins, etc. Genealogy needs to be specific…but in everyday conversation, people often simplify…as Aunt Bee does on The Andy Griffith Show, calling both Andy and Andy’s son Opie her “nephews”…when actually they are her 1C 1R and 1C 2R respectively. But notice how illogical it sounded above when Anna Boiardi was the granddaughter of one brother and the niece of another brother.

128.18  There are very few cases in our kinship system where it is true to say “My X’s Y is also my Y.”  In fact, it’s never completely true, since “My X’s Y” might refer to YOU! My sister’s brother? Could be my brother, but could also be me. It is sometimes true with siblings, half-siblings, and cousins…but outside of interbreeding, it’s never true with your parents, your children, your uncles/aunts, and your nephews/nieces.

128.19  The rule for cousins that’s easy to remember…if you say “my Ath cousin’s Bth cousin,” then that cousin to you is always whichever number is greater, A or B. Thus your 1st cousin’s 2nd cousin is your 2nd cousin…and your 2nd cousin’s 1st cousin is also your 2nd cousin…in this context, a sibling is a cousin of degree 0. If A and B are the same number, then the answer could be any number equal to or less than A, including yourself. For example, your 2nd cousin’s 2nd cousin could be your 2nd cousin, your 1st cousin, your sibling, or yourself. Yup, any rope can be untangled…and the more you do it, the better you get at it. More Q’s and A’s in 7…

wicked ballsy

Just a thought…



Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s