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One-pot cooking

I don’t often do one-pot cooking. But, when I do, I wonder why I don’t do more one-pot cooking. I have a certain bias, I suppose, toward at least three things on the plate and lots of dirty dishes.

Earlier today I came across this recipe at the Washington Post. I went downstairs and made it immediately. It’s another way for me to use the little pumpkins I grow each year. I’ve written about these pumpkins many times in the past, for example, here. Their proper name is Long Island Cheese Squash. Not only are they the best pumpkins I’ve ever had, they keep all winter and then some. I save seeds for next year’s crop. Anyone who sees my little pumpkins asks for seeds, and now many of my neighbors grow them. They’re bound to be very nutritious. They’re rich with pumpkin oil, as you will if you roast them. You can order seeds from Baker Creek, if they haven’t run out. The demand for seeds has been so high that Baker Creek stopped taking orders for a while in January to catch up on shipping.

As always with recipes, substitute, substitute, substitute. I used pinto beans instead of black beans, and brown rice instead of white rice. I didn’t have a ripe avocado for garnish. But undersalting the pot a bit and applying soy sauce and sour cream at the table worked great. Next time I make this, I think I’ll use pearled barley instead of rice.

I’ve written in the past about how good the Washington Post’s food department has become, good enough to rival the New York Times’ food department. The link to the recipe may be behind a paywall if you’ve used up your ration of free articles for the month. But, even if you subscribe to only one newspaper, the Washington Post would be a good choice.

The temperature at noon today was 45F, and, yes, I had lunch on the deck.

Understanding 5G

Source: Apple

A great many articles have been written about 5G. Few of those articles are technical enough to help you understand the arguments over 5G safety. In addition, few of those articles are technical enough to help you understand which 5G cell phone is right for you, and which 5G cellular provider (such as Verizon or T-Mobile) is right for you. So, at the risk of boring you, let’s get just a little technical.


First of all, the notion that 5G causes Covid-19, or that 5G involves some kind of new hazard that warrants banning it, is silly in the extreme.

Remember when microwave ovens came on the market? Many people were afraid of them. Now just about everybody has one, and nobody worries about them. Those who tried to promote fear of microwave ovens back then used the same scare word that 5G paranoiacs use now. That word is radiation. If you come across an article about 5G that uses the word radiation, then that article is probably propaganda.

Radiation is all around us. Our bodies themselves at this very moment are producing radiation, mostly in the form of heat. Without the radiation from the sun, there could be no life. We have been immersed in radio waves for more than 100 years. Yes: Life depends on some forms of radiation, and other forms of radiation are dangerous. The difference is in the frequency of the radiation and its intensity.

As far as I can tell, 5G is said to be dangerous because 5G uses frequencies higher than 4G (4G is also called LTE). It is true that 5G uses somewhat higher frequencies. But those frequencies are still (obviously) in the radio spectrum. The properties of different frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum (of which the radio spectrum is a small part) have been understood for a long time. There is new technology and somewhat higher radio frequencies in 5G, but there is no new science.

Some easy physics

Only one point of physics needs to be understood. That is that electromagnetic emissions of higher frequencies contain more energy than emissions of lower frequencies. A reasonable analogy, I believe, would be a comparison with a spinning flywheel. A wheel spinning fast contains more energy (in the form of angular momentum) than a wheel spinning slowly. Electromagnetic emissions become dangerous to the human body when they contain enough energy to cause either chemical or molecular changes in body tissues. Here we must consider the concept of ionizing versus non-ionizing radiation. The entire radio spectrum including 5G is non-ionizing radiation. When the body is exposed to energy in the radio spectrum, heat is produced. It is not dangerous unless it’s intense enough to cause burns. We’re talking here about an ordinary burn of the same type you’d get if you spilled hot coffee.

Ionizing radiation is much more powerful. Intense radiation at ionizing frequencies will knock electrons out of an atom’s shell. (An atom with the wrong number of electrons is called an ion.) When electromagnetic energy is energetic enough to start altering atoms and chemical molecules, then our cells and our DNA are in danger. If you look at the chart below of the electromagnetic spectrum, you’ll see that the entire radio spectrum (which of course includes 5G) is in a frequency band lower than your microwave oven. And your microwave oven, in spite of its higher frequencies, still produces only heat, because its emissions are not energetic enough to cause ionization.

Life on earth has always been exposed to ionizing radiation in the form of ultraviolet light from the sun and gamma rays from outer space. At low levels, the body can repair molecular damage faster than the damage is done. The problem is when ionizing radiation causes cellular damage faster than the body can repair it. The three factors that determine the degree of danger are, how intense was the source of ionizing radiation, how close were you to it, and how long were you exposed. Tanning beds are far more dangerous than microwave ovens. And medical X-rays are deemed safe as long as the exposure is low and the body’s cells have time to do repairs between exposures.

But that’s enough about ionizing radiation, because 5G emissions — in fact, no radio emissions — are energetic enough to cause any reaction in the body other than hot-coffee heat.

How is 5G different from 4G?

The difference between 5G and 4G that concerns us here is how 5G uses the radio spectrum. Now we need to talk about bands of radio spectrum.

Like 4G, 5G uses multiple ranges of radio frequencies. In fact they use the same frequencies except that 5G uses some higher frequencies, up to 39Ghz. Frequencies that high have advantages as well as disadvantages. The advantage is that there is a hugh amount of bandwidth at those frequencies, so 5G speeds can be faster than 4G. The disadvantage is that frequencies as high as 39Ghz don’t propagate well. Their range is limited, and they don’t penetrate walls as well as lower frequencies. Thus 5G cellular towers that use those higher frequencies must be much closer together.

But 5G works just as well at lower frequencies. The lowest frequencies used by 5G are in the range of 650Mhz to 850Mhz. That’s much, much lower. I call it “low band.” Radio waves at those lower frequencies propagate much better over longer distances, as well as around and through obstacles. Those are the frequencies that were used by broadcast television, until the FCC reallocated frequencies to move broadcast television off those frequencies and reassign the frequencies for cellular communication.

Now you can see why 5G benefits both city people and rural people, and why where you live should factor into your choice of which 5G service provider you want to use.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile

Verizon and T-Mobile took different strategies with 5G. At FCC auctions for 5G spectrum, Verizon’s strategy was to buy licensing for the higher frequencies. T-Mobile, on the other hand, bought as much of the old broadcast television spectrum as it could get its hands on. T-Mobile bought Sprint mainly to acquire Sprint’s spectrum. Keeping in mind that all 5G providers have a range of spectrum, Verizon’s spectrum is on the whole more beneficial to those who live in cities. T-Mobile’s spectrum is on the whole more beneficial to those who live in rural areas. That’s why Verizon’s CEO joined Tim Cook at Apple’s iPhone 12 rollout and boasted that Verizon will have the bandwidth to feed a stadium full of cell phone users. T-Mobile’s advantage for rural users is not yet widely understood, partly because T-Mobile is still in the process of upgrading its rural towers to support low band 5G.

I should mention here that no individual or corporation owns radio spectrum, though we speak of it that way sometimes. In all countries, radio spectrum is seen as a publicly owned natural resource to be managed for the public good. So corporations don’t buy spectrum, they buy a license to use that spectrum. And all licenses have a start date and a termination date and thus must be relinquished or renewed.


You’ll often hear the word latency in discussions of 5G. Latency refers to the time it takes — the delay — in getting data from one place to another. The latency is lower for 5G. Most people won’t notice any difference. Gamers will. And low latency is a requirement for any device that is being controlled from a distance or that needs to exchange data very fast — self-driving cars, for instance.

Phased arrays

The concept of phased arrays is very exciting for nerds like me, but it’s not something that needs to be understood to make decisions about 5G phones or 5G service providers. So this section is for extra credit.

Cell phones are just radios. All radios require antennas for receiving and transmitting. The size (or really, the length) of an antenna is directly proportional to the frequency that you want to use it on. The lower the frequency, the longer the antenna. A shortwave radio antenna may need to be a hundred feet long or longer. An antenna for 39Ghz would be less than a third of an inch long, or about 7mm. A half wavelength antenna would be only 3.5mm long. With antennas that small, it’s possible to design some very good antennas that will fit inside of cell phones.

Some antennas emit their signals equally in all directions. They’re omnidirectional antennas. Some antennas — directional antennas — can concentrate their signals into a beam. The television antennas that used to be seen on everyone’s chimneys (some people still have them!) are directional antennas. Technically, they’re Yagi antennas. They manipulate the phase of a radio signal inside an antenna so that the antenna focuses its sensitivity in a particular direction. That’s why those chimney antennas often had rotors. Let’s not get too deep into what the phase is. It has to do with the sine wave pattern of alternating current. All radio waves are sine waves.

It’s also possible to make directional antennas that have no moving parts. The antenna’s beam is directed not by rotating a single antenna but by having multiple antennas (four, typically) arranged in a square and using an electronic circuit to alter the phase of the signal to or from each antenna. The antenna can then be steered by turning a dial, or a computer can steer the antenna.

Some newer cell phones will indeed use tiny phased array antennas inside the cell phone. It’s easy to see how cellular communication can be improved if the cellular tower can steer a signal toward wherever the phone is, and if the phone can steer its signal toward wherever the tower is. This is practical, though, only at the highest frequencies used by 5G, where the antennas are small enough to fit inside a cell phone.

Understanding your phone’s (and carrier’s) specs

As you can see, to make a good choice in buying a phone or in choosing a cellular carrier involves understanding enough about 5G to know which phone, or which carrier, is best for you. In general, Verizon is a better choice if you will use your phone mostly in the city, and T-Mobile is a better choice if you will use your phone mostly in a rural area. I’m familiar only with U.S. carriers, so those who live outside the U.S. will have some research to do.

If you dig a bit, you’ll be able to find a phone’s specifications. Here, for example, are Apple’s frequency band specifications for my iPhone 12 Pro Max. (See here for other countries.)

Note that the iPhone 12 supports 5G frequencies all the way from the lowest (600Mhz, band n71) to the highest (39Ghz, n260). So an iPhone 12 should work well for you on 5G no matter where you live or who your cell service provider is.

Some information is hard to get, though

Though your phone’s capabilities can easily be determined, and though we know in general what 5G strategy the different cell service providers are pursuing, what we don’t know is what kind of 5G equipment is installed and operating at particular locations or on particular towers. Also, cell service providers are rapidly installing new 5G equipment, so the situation is changing. The only way to really figure out what’s best for you is to take a particular phone to a particular place and see what kind of service you get. If you want to be a nerd about it, you can get your phone to tell you what band it’s on. I won’t go into that here because it’s too complicated, but I’ll describe my own case.

Two months ago, I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile, because it was easy to see that T-Mobile is better for me because I live in the sticks. The nearest cellular tower is over two miles away. With Verizon, I could get only slow data. The 4G signal was so weak that an iPhone 11 would often fall back to 3G — pathetically slow, though Verizon 4G was almost as slow. It’s 12 miles from me to the nearest tower with 5G. I can’t receive a 5G signal here yet. But switching to T-Mobile was a major improvement for me because the nearest T-Mobile towers use band 71 (600Mhz) for 4G LTE. With an iPhone 12 on T-Mobile, I can now hold a 4G signal and get data speeds that would seem slow to city people but that are a godsend to country folk — around 8Mbps down. In short, I switched to T-Mobile to get a frequency band that Verizon does not have here — band 71 in the old broadcast television spectrum. My hope is that T-Mobile will soon light up 5G on the 600Mhz band, which should give me some — though probably not dramatic — improvement. Those super-high 5G data speeds are possible only at the higher frequencies.

Caveat emptor

As you can see, making choices in 5G phones and 5G carriers can be complicated. It’s a given that people who work in cell phone stores will give inaccurate and misleading information, not least because they don’t understand what they’re selling. For some people (for example, if you live in New York City), decisions may be easy. But for those of us who live in the sticks, there is no choice but to get some understanding of 5G, to know where your towers are, and to drive around from tower to tower testing phones. I have an extra class amateur radio license, and I’ve been playing with radios and antennas for years. The applicable theories — not to mention the safety rules when you’re around radio-frequency currents — are familiar to me. For those without that kind of experience, the best strategy probably is to read, to always be skeptical of what you’re told (especially from people who work in cell phone stores), and to compare notes with your neighbors who may be using different kinds of phones on different carriers.

Source: Wikipedia


Ancient Astronomy and Celestial Divination. Edited by N.M. Swerdlow. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1999. 378 pages.

Babylonia: A Very Short Introduction. Trevor Bryce. Oxford University Press, 2016. 142 pages.

I confess that I don’t find the history of Babylonia very interesting. But I think there’s a reason for that. It’s that we don’t know enough about Babylonia to satisfy my historical curiosity, much of which is about imagining what it might have been like to live in that time and place.

What I find most interesting about Babylonia is how scientific they were. They were pretty darn good at mathematics. Their base 60 math, for example, is still with us today, because we divide circles into 360 degrees, and we divide minutes into 60 seconds and hours into 60 minutes. And Babylonian philosophy probably set the stage for Greek philosophy.

Most of what we know about Babylonia has to do with kings, dynasties, and wars with Babylonia’s neighbors. Yawn. Archeology has revealed surprisingly little, partly because one city was built on top of another, and the water table now stands above the level of the oldest ruins. We have some literature, such as the Gilgamesh epic. But I personally find the Gilgamesh story too old and too remote to mean much today.

So, to my lights, the most interesting part of the history of Babylonia is its astronomy. The earliest astronomy though, should really be regarded as astrology. Its chief purpose was divination to guide the decisions of kings. In the last centuries of Babylonia, though (around 500 B.C.) the study of the stars became truly mathematical and scientific. And astrology became more democratic, so that ordinary people, and not just kings, could have their astrological fortunes told.

Most of what we know about Babylonia comes to us in the form of clay tablets, of which there are a great many. Scribes used a wooden stylus to make marks on wet clay tablets. The tablets were baked. The tablets were regarded as valuable, so over the centuries many of them were preserved.

I have not done a search for historical novels set in Babylonia. But, if I did, I think the most interesting characters would be the astronomers. They constantly watched the sky, day and night. They were supported by the kings, so their observatories must have been nice places — towers, I would hope. And because there was a constant dialogue between the astronomers (or astrologers) and the kings, palace intrigue could help drive the plot.

By the way, this is the first book I have read in Oxford’s series of Very Short Introductions. There are hundreds of titles. I’ll be checking out more those titles in the future. As for the MIT book on ancient astronomy, it’s very technical, and most of the astronomy goes way over my head. However, I enjoy reading books that I don’t fully understand, because there is always something to be learned.

The English Game

“The English Game” is the most recent production from Julian Fellowes, who brought us “Downton Abbey.” It was produced by Netflix, premiered last March, and is available for streaming.

The game is football, which we Americans call soccer. The themes, as with “Downton Abbey,” are class conflict, class reconciliation, and social change. The story begins in England in 1879. Football, developed at places such as Eton College, is regarded as a gentleman’s sport, but football also holds a great appeal to the working class. Two professional Scottish footballers are hired by an English mill owner to play for the mill town’s team. In episode 1, the mill town team first encounters a gentleman’s team in a quarter-finals game at Eton. Class-based unfairness starts up the plot.

Some of the situations are a touch melodramatic, and the series certainly doesn’t have the glamour and appeal of “Downton Abbey.” The cast, though, is excellent. The reward for watching it comes not so much from the plot as from the character development. It’s always a good sign when the cast, characters, and dialogue are good enough for the camera to fill the frame with the characters’ faces.

I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to properly understand Glasgow accents, though. I’m not the only one. There are many funny YouTube videos about understanding Scottish accents. Strangely enough, I do understand the Scottish MP is this video:

The return of sanity and decency

Though it happened only yesterday, volumes already have been written about the violent desecration of the U.S. Capitol. All sane and decent Americans understand what it means, so there is hardly anything that I can add. But I am reminding myself that, in spite of the obscenity of what we witnessed yesterday, and in spite of the rage that we still feel, we have won. Congress went back into session and certified the election. In Georgia, two Democrats were elected to the U.S. Senate. The fascist Republican Party, come Jan. 20, will be out of power.

If any doubt remained about what the Republican Party has become, or what Donald Trump is, yesterday’s events erased that doubt. It will be years before we really understand what has happened. Investigations can now begin, including congressional investigations and criminal investigations. Republicans now have little power to obstruct or corrupt those investigations, or to conduct sham investigations of their own. Many books will be written, both by those who will add to the truth and those who will try to rewrite history with their lies. History will get it right, even if a frighteningly large percentage of the American population, from their self-made hell on the trash heap of history, invent and believe an alternative history in which the very worst of us are great.

One of the immediate difficulties for many of us is figuring out how to deal with the people around us who voted for Trump, those who are unable to recognize what the Republican Party has become, and those who continue to believe in a future in which a repugnant minority of people who have lost all claim to decency can return to dominating, bullying, insulting, and baiting the rest of us as they work to destroy the American democracy and kick down the people they hate. They were unable to complete that work. The institutions of American democracy withstood the attack. The Southern state of Georgia just sent a Jew and a black man to the U.S. Senate. Given four more years, the dismantling of our institutions and the rule of law would have been completed. Some of them won’t give up. Already there is a competition, as Trump goes down, to lead the fascist movement in America. That competition, of all places, is largely in the U.S. Senate.

For now, though, I’m going to try to stop gritting my teeth, savor the fact that a free and fair election has removed the fascists from power, and wait to see what happens as sanity and decency return to American government. What happened yesterday was not really a threat. It was instead a kind of theater, a ghastly public display of infantile bitterness at the fact of their defeat. The world saw what they are in pornographic scenes that will blacken American history forever, scenes that shock the civilized world and that children do not understand. We all knew that Trump would smash furniture on the way out, though we didn’t foresee just how literal that would be.

Those who supported this deserve our ongoing contempt. They deserve to be shunned. They deserve much worse, actually. And yet the everyday activities of life must go on. What next? Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Life in Squares

I would have to watch this BBC mini-series at least twice to have any hope of following it. Those who have recently read up on the members of the Bloomsbury Group, or who have recently read a biography of Virginia Woolf, might be able to keep up a bit better. Still, it’s great fun to watch, because the performances are so good and the post-Victorian naughtiness is so delicious. This three-part series was produced by the BBC in 2015. It’s available for streaming from Amazon Prime Video.

Back in the mid-1970s, I read Quentin Bell’s biography of Virginia Woolf. That was enough Virginia Woolf to last me a lifetime. I have never been able to finish one of her novels. I find them dull, and I just can’t get the point of them or figure out why they were worth writing. Shortly after I finished reading the Bell biography, a friend asked me what I thought about it. As I recall, I said, “Their lives were much more interesting than their literature.” This BBC mini-series is evidence of that.

In my opinion, for what little it’s worth, of the members of the Bloomsbury Group, I think it was E.M. Forster who matters the most. We must be careful not to give the Bloomsbury Group too much credit, either as writers, rebels, or philosophers. Oscar Wilde was way ahead of them, as were 19th Century heretics such as Charles Fourier or the American writers and theologians who clustered around Harvard University and Concord, Massachusetts.

But the members of the Bloomsbury Group certainly led interesting lives. And I have the greatest respect for them for the progress they made in rebellion against Victorian norms, in the odd ways available only to the upper-crust English who went to Oxford or Cambridge. Today, people such as Stephen Fry have carried this work forward. Fry, I believe, is one of our greatest living intellectuals. I doubt whether any member of the Bloomsbury Group could have claimed such a status in their lifetimes.

According to Wikipedia, the title, “Life in Squares,” comes from a comment made by Dorothy Parker. She said that the members of the Bloomsbury Group “lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles.” And yes, I would argue that Dorothy Parker, in her sassy American way, out-achieved all of them.

Series like this always make me wonder why the United Kingdom, five times smaller than the U.S., produces ten times as many superb actors and actresses. “Life in Squares” shows off quite a few of those actors and actresses. Fans of James Norton in “Grantchester” will want to watch this.

Fire, smoke, food, and drink

Pie from roasted pumpkin, baked in an iron skillet with fire and smoke

Since it was the week before Christmas, I splurged on a Scotch that cost twice as much as what I usually pay. When I first tasted it, I was a bit shocked at how smoky the Scotch was. I usually prefer a less smoky Scotch. But by the third time I got into it (in three evenings, I confess), I found that I liked it, and the smoky flavor no longer seemed to dominate the other tastes of Scotch.

I am by no means a connoisseur of Scotch, though no doubt I’m more experienced with Scotch than most Americans. Having toured the distillery at Oban, I knew about how barley is malted and dried before fermentation. But, after tasting The Balvenie Scotch, I Googled to try to better understand why some Scotches are much smokier than others. I came across this article at Whisky Advocate — Science Can Explain Why You Like Smoky Whisky—Or Not. The article includes this interesting statement:

“… [U]ntil relatively recently in our ancestral timeline—within the last 200 years—all cooked food would have tasted of smoke.”

That got my attention, because it certainly seems to be true. It follows that, particularly for those of us who are interested in what antique cookery — even Iron Age cookery — might have been like, smoke is something that must be kept in mind.

As I looked around the kitchen for a bold experiment with smoke, I settled on one of my little pumpkins. The usual name for the little pumpkins is “Long Island cheese squash.” You can buy seeds from heirloom seed companies such as Baker Creek. A friend gave me my seeds, though, and I have been growing little pumpkins for about five years now, with seeds that I save over to the next year. My first thought was to make pumpkin soup, and I will, later. But I quickly changed my mind to pumpkin pie, because it’s almost Christmas.

One of my dreams is to have an outdoor range and oven, built of brick and fired with wood. For now the best I can do is to use my propane grill, which is on the deck and convenient to the kitchen. I threw in little chips of apple wood to create smoke. (Note to the abbey groundskeeping department: when fruit trees have to be trimmed or cut, save the wood for making smoke.)

One might suppose that a pumpkin pie with so much exposure to smoke and so much brown roastedness might taste like ashes. But that wasn’t true at all. The pumpkin flavor remained dominant, followed by cinnamon (of which I used only half a teaspoon), followed by smoke. It turned out to be an excellent pie, with the smoke acting as a kind of umami. It was no surprise that the pie went well with Scotch.

I hesitate to confess this because it makes me sound like an American bumpkin, but peat smoke to me smells a lot like coal smoke. (In fact, peat would turn into lignite coal if left in the ground.) I’d probably be able to tell the difference in a smoke-smelling test. But the connotations of peat and coal are worlds apart. One speaks of moor and bog, rock and gull, wind, and sea, and water. The other speaks of industry, trains, mines and black dust. I suppose I need to retrain my nose. Lacking access to either peat smoke or coal smoke here in the Appalachian woodlands, I will be obliged to turn to Scotch to train my nose for the scent of peat smoke.

Here in the Appalachian woodlands, we do not lack for smoke. We have many smoke flavors to choose from. If my dream of an outdoor range and oven ever comes true, then I think there ought to be a special woodpile just for flavor — hickory, persimmon, apple, pear, pecan. Even pine might have its uses.

Lapwing: a Glasgow Christmas

The Herald of Scotland has a story today about two schoolteachers whose Christmas song is climbing on the charts. The video is shot in Glasgow.

The Herald writes: “‘It’s really hard for the grandparents,’ said physics teacher Mr. Kwant, who has two young children. ‘Not getting to see their grandkids is a big thing, and I almost sing it from their perspective.'”

Industrial art

Click here for high-resolution version.

From the moment I took these guys out of their boxes, I was eager to shoot their portraits. Justrite has been in business for 115 years. You can buy Justrite oil cans as antiques, including, of course, on eBay. The new cans seem to be even better made than the vintage cans. Even the old ones remain useful, and so they retain their value.

Most gasoline containers sold into the consumer market these days are made of plastic. Having been through two house fires in my life (though they had nothing to do with gasoline), I don’t trust plastic for flammable liquids. My gasoline can is a 5-gallon metal safety can that I’ve had for years, though it wasn’t made by Justrite. I needed new safety cans for lamp oil and for mixed fuel for the chain saw. These Justrite cans are expensive, but I can write that off to safety — and aesthetics.

The design is very steampunk. If there aren’t Justrite oil cans in museums of modern and industrial art, there ought to be. My guess is that, because they’re so expensive, not many homeowners buy them. What keeps Justrite Manufacturing prosperous, I’m sure, is that these cans meet international standards for the safe storage of flammable liquids. They’re mostly sold to industry.

I regret that I have to fill these cans with flammable fluids and send them to the shed. They’d work so well for serving coffee and iced tea.


I came across this video on Facebook. A friend posted it with the comment, “Give it a listen. You will be surprised.”

These two look like such amateurs — even hicks — that I expected my ears to hurt. But I was surprised.

I am repeatedly astonished at the musical sophistication of which children are capable. What is required, though, is that musically sophisticated adults communicate to children what music (not to mention Italian) should sound like. If children are exposed to that, then they seem to acquire music as readily as they acquire language. And watch out! The language they hear is the language they will acquire.

This girl has the voice of an angel.

Quando sono solo
Sogno all’orizzonte
E mancan le parole
Sì lo so che non c’è luce
In una stanza quando manca il sole
Se non ci sei tu con me, con me
Su le finestre
Mostra a tutti il mio cuore
Che hai acceso
Chiudi dentro me
La luce che
Hai incontrato per strada

Time to say goodbye
Paesi che non ho mai
Veduto e vissuto con te
Adesso si li vivrò
Con te partirò
Su navi per mari
Che, io lo so
No, no, non esistono più
It’s time to say goodbye

I cannot find any good English translations. I’ll keep looking, or have a go at it myself.