"Acqua alle funi!". It's Italian for "water to the ropes", and it's
taken from a story about taking a courageous stand and speaking up
when everyone else is afraid. It's a tale rather similar to The
Emperor's New Clothes, but this one is true.
It happened in the Sixteenth Century in Rome, when Pope Sixtus the
Fifth decided to have an enormous obelisk moved to a new location
in St. Peter's Square, under the direction of architect Domenico
Fontana. A worker named Bresca di Bordighera exhibited a great deal
of courage and perhaps saved many lives. His descendants are still
We learned of this story while visiting Fermilab in Batavia, Ill.,
just outside Chicago. Founded in 1967, Fermilab (named after Nobel
Prize winning Italian physicist Enrico Fermi) is a huge research
complex dedicated to studying the composition of matter with the
aid of "particle accelerators", which smash subatomic particles so
scientists can get a look at their innards.
Fermilab occupies 10 square miles formerly occupied by farms, and
by the defunct village of Weston. Some of the barns and other
buildings have been preserved to use for storage and social
Also in Chicagoland, we visited Ahlgrim Acres, a funeral home in
Palatine. Wait a minute? Why on earth would we go to a funeral
home? Why, to play miniature golf, of course. No joking; for the
past 42 years, the basement of this establishment has featured a
9-hole miniature golf course, as well as shuffleboard, ping pong,
pinball and other amusements. All open to the public, free of
charge! And it's a very challenging and fun golf course, designed
in a haunted house motif, complete with spooky sound effects.
Dennis (Domenico Fontana), Zephyr (Bresca) and Pope Kimberly the
First and Last.