Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Allegra and Albano Degano

Ivano "Mio Caro Amico"
Just wanted to share a little something with you. The photo above is of my parents Albano and Allegra during their 58th wedding anniversary celebrations on 26Feb2010. My Father Albano is 86 and my Mother Allegra 82. This joyeous event was celebrated just a few weekends ago.
Well my Father has not been doing well these past few months and yesterday after many weeks of demands and pushing the doctors I finally received some not so great news. My father will require surgery to repair a bad heart valve. He has been steadily retaining water since Christmas in his stomach and legs ... the medical team took a few weeks to determine what the root cause was. Well yesterday we were told. My father is presently in Hospital and somewhat resting. He hates the food. He asked my last night to bring some Proscuitto and some wine!! I said sure thing here you are weeks away from major surgery on your heart and you want Proscuitto and wine!! Typical Furlan !!
Any way I said to my Dad sempre avanti ... We carry on no matter what. This operation is necessary and it will be done and you will be back on your feet. My father is a tough person he still drives and is in good health otherwise. Now the big task is the preparation for surgery and most importantly the post surgery.

Ciao e Sempre Avanti



Saturday, March 20, 2010



IVANO SAYS: I received the below e-mail from Camille Brent, Jim Aligo's daughter, regarding her father along with a remembrance by retired San Jose Police Officer Jaime Saldivar. After leaving the San Francisco Police Department, circa 1970, Jim Aligo joined the San Jose Police Department.
Hi all. I discontinued the virtual memorials (or I thought I did) some time ago. This entry just popped up today. Since I cancelled the service I'm not sure if it will post when I approve it for entry so I thought I'd forward it on. It's a long post about dad but brought laughter and tears at the same time. But it's so dad! Enjoy the memory. -Camille

I was a rookie officer in the early months of 1976 and spent one week with Jim as my FTO as he was filling in for my regular FTO. I knew who he was by name, but I sure as hell didn't know who he was. After I loaded up the car before shift, he came out . " You got everything you need kid"? "Yes." I said. " Lemme see your soft hat". So I gave him my brand knew, crisp soft hat. He turned it over and over in his hands and said," lemme fix it for ya". He then reached into the hat and pulled out the plastic forming coil and threw it in the garbage can. As I watched in disbelief, he walked towards the front of the car and placed my hat right in front of the tire. He started the car and drove forward and backward over the hat a few times all the while being careful to miss the hat piece. He then picked up my hat and with great care and masking tape rolled over his hand, he cleaned it and formed it into a shape closely similar to his own that was placed atop his head. " Here," he said handing it back to me," that's a real policeman's hat now". Not uttering a word I took it back. " You don't mind if I drive do ya?" " No, I don't mind." I replied. " Let's see if we can pinch a crook tonight." " Sure," I again replied. Wow! What the hell else is he going to do to me tonight? I excitedly thought.
Later on that night we were cruising on one of the main streets with nothing and nobody in front of us. Jim was mostly silent during the shift . His silence was only broken by the occassional cough, piss break or his one or two questions regarding my personal history or upbringing. I never thought he was mean and I didn't feel intimidated by his demeanor. On the contrary, I felt comfortable and somewhat at ease, something not usually felt as a recruit being evaluated. My attention was brought back to the emptiness of the streets ahead of us as Jim calmly broke the silence. " Hey kid, you wanna make a pinch?" "Yea! sure... " My head rapidly pivoted side to side trying to see what the hell I missed. He smoothly tapped the brakes which slowed us to about 25mph and a car on my right passed us gradually. Now I'm still wondering who or what he is talking about. " Do you know how to use the radio?" he asked. I said I did and he told me to use it on the car that just passed us. So we stopped the car according to all the academy proper protocal. Jim got out, put on his hat and calmly walked up to the drivers side. I was also out of the car and was keeping a nervous eye on the two males in the car ahead of us. Halfway up to the car Jim pulled out his revolver and held it alongside of his leg, keeping it there as he was talking to the driver. I had seen this before with other officers so it didn't surprise me to much. What did surprise me was when he pointed the gun at the men and told them to put their hands up which they did. Now he was very calm and speaking softly so my brain became even more confused. Keeping the gun trained on both of them he told the passenger to get out and " talk to that kid back there", motioning towards me. I was fumbling with my gun at this time and the passenger did what he was told. I searched this guy when Jim told me to hook him up. My mind was racing and heart was ready to burst. " What is going on!!!!!" I thought. Keeping his gun trained on the driver, Jim told him also to " go talk to that kid over there." Now I did the same thing to the driver. Jim was still standing by the drivers door of the crook car and asked if I had them both. I said I did. He then holstered his revolver and started looking inside the car without actually going in. He then hesitated for a second, bent down reaching under the drivers seat. He then pulled out a loaded 1911 pistol with the biggest shit-eatin-grin on his face. My jaw dropped. I was stunned. After we booked the guys I stopped him and looked him straight in the eyes. " How in the hell did you know that was there?????" I demanded. He just grinned with his teeth clenched and gave me a husky laugh. " Aw, you'll figure it out" and walked away as he kept laughing.
The next night, he did the same identical thing with two hippie girls in a VW bug. He pulled a pound a marijuana out of that one. When that bug drove in front of us and he turned again to me and uttered those words, " hey kid, you wanna make a pinch?" I couldn't believe it. Again after the booking I asked how did he know. He told me the same thing that I will figure it out.
My friend Jim was one of , if not the best policeman I have ever known. Over the years I learned much from watching him as he never really told how he did something. Maybe he really didn't know himself or if he did he couldn't explain it. But his sixth sense was uncanny and his ability and methods were passed on through me to my recruits as well. I am very proud and honored to have known him and to have been his friend. I think of him often and am grateful for the experience of learning from this man. I was saddened when I was notified of his passing and funeral service long after it was held. I wanted to be there to bid my friend goodbye. To his children I hope that this gives you a little insight as to how your father impacted guys like me. He always ruled by the adage " good people get a break, bad guys go to jail." He is a great street cop; I think that is all he ever wanted to be. About a week before he retired, I heard him go out on a foot patrol at a pool hall. I rolled up to say hi and see what he was doing. He showed me a picture of a burglar and got a line that the guy frequents this pool hall. A week before he retires, at his age, and he is still looking for crooks. Amazing.
God, take care of my friend in heaven, because he sure spent his time in hell.
Jaime Saldivar #1805 SJPD ( Ret)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


(Ivano says: We have quite a few comments to this article. Here's a tip. To view the "Polenta" article along with all the comments "clicca" on the title of the article above. The comments will appear at the end of the "Polenta Story". )





IVANO SAYS: Last week, Donna Maurillo's column in the Santa Cruz Sentinel
had a few suggestion on how to shorten the time to prepare polenta. In this week's column she published some of the responses she received. Very interesting.

Donna Maurillo: Column on quick-and-easy polenta stirs up quite a response
By Donna Maurillo
Posted: 03/03/2010 08:02:12 AM PST

Last week’s column about polenta generated much more response than I’d anticipated. A lot of you must love polenta, and you have your own favorite ways for preparing it in a snap — or at least without much stirring. Here are a few comments. Gail Levy says, “I’ve been making cold water polenta for years, and it has never failed. Stir the grain into cold stock or water, then stir as it comes to the boil. Add more boiling liquid as needed and stir in the butter at the last — perfect lump free creamy polenta in under 30 minutes.”

Ivano Franco Comelli wrote, “Making polenta the traditional way was almost a ritual — no additives or shortcuts please.

Imagine my chagrin when I received a photo from my cousins in Italy making polenta in a large electric cake mixer.

Nobody has any scruples anymore.”

To that, Richard Smith of Aptos wrote, “I don’t need any stinking scruples! Is there any way my bread machine can make polenta? Now that sounds cool.”

A reader with the screen name Polenta Casserole Junkie said, “I whisk in two cups of polenta to four cups boiling water, turn the heat down low, and I only stir it twice in 15 minutes of cooking.

I turn off the flame and let it sit for five more minutes. I do not cover it with a lid. It is always great.”

Ken Clark, an impressive 99 years old and still cooking, says, “Have you
ever cooked polenta in the microwave?

In a Pyrex large bowl, mix polenta with three times as much water. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook for 5 minutes. Add sour cream, butter and cheese, stir well. If too thick, add some milk. If not hot enough, just microwave for 1 or 2 minutes more.

No splatters from the hot stuff.”

Keith and Barb, no last name, wrote, “Another way to make polenta without stirring is to start with cold water.

Add pinch of salt and two tablespoons butter to cold water. Stir in polenta.

Turn on low heat and bring to a slow boil. Stir occasionally. Polenta is cooked shortly after coming to a boil. Add cheese before removing from the stove.”

Marianne Plastina says, “In an ovenproof pot, add salt to 5 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil on the stove. Melt butter in a skillet and stir in 1 cup polenta to coat, toasting it slightly.

Whisk toasted polenta into the boiling water.

Place the pot in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Whisk until smooth.”


Whenever people ask what my favorite restaurant is, I have the same response. My mother’s dining room table. There’s just nothing like the food you can get at home.

A few days ago, I was having an alarm system installed in my home, and Saul the installation guy was talking about the fine Mexican food his mother and grandmother could make. “No matter what restaurant I go to in Watsonville,” he said, “it just isn’t the same.”

We thought maybe it was the ingredients.

But no. Restaurants can access the same ingredients your family can find — and sometimes even better.

Or maybe we just happen to like the cooking we’ve grown accustomed to as children. But I think the real secret is the love that goes into it. You just can’t get Mom’s love at a restaurant.


If there’s one thing that annoys party organizers more than anything, it’s the increasing lack of responses from invited guests. The season is coming up for graduations, weddings and other milestones.

Please remember to respond to your invitations, and do it before the requested time.

Your host and hostess are depending on an accurate count to ensure enough seating and refreshments. And please do not ask if you can bring a guest of your own. Many party budgets are limited, especially in this economy.

IVANO SAYS (CONT'D): Sempre Avanti, Donna and keep stirring the pot.