Which is pretty much why this picture of the Mayor of Sierra Madre, torn from the front page of a recent issue of the nearly newsless Looney Views News, jumped right out at me. Because, at least in this picture, it does look like The Mayor is giving somebody "the horns." Or, having now appeared on the front page of our adjudicated weekly paper, perhaps it is nearly everyone in the city that got them. Crowd horning, as it were.
A blog that refers to itself as Mozzarella Mamma explains what is actually at stake here. This from an article titled "What does it mean to 'have horns' in Italy?" (link):
Its earliest use can be seen in India, as a gesture very commonly used by Gautama Buddha as Karana Mudra which is synonymous with expulsion of demons and removal of obstacles like sickness or negative thoughts. The same usage can be seen in Italy and Mediterranean culture as well where, when confronted with unfortunate events, or simply when these events are mentioned, the sign of the horns may be given to ward off bad luck. It is also used traditionally to counter or ward off the "evil eye" (malocchio). With fingers down, it is a common apotropaic gesture, by which superstitious people seek protection in unlucky situations (It is a more Mediterranean equivalent of knocking on wood).
Thus, for example, the President of the Italian Republic, Giovanni Leone, shocked the country when, while in Naples during an outbreak of cholera, he shook the hands of patients with one hand while with the other behind his back he made the corna. This act was well documented by the journalists and photographers who were right behind him, a fact that had escaped President Leone's mind in that moment.
In Peru one says contra (against). In the Dominican Republic the expression is zafa, said against curses known as fukú. All of these gestures are meant to conjure supernatural protection.
If this is actually the case here, we can only surmise what manner of evil Mayor Harabedian was attempting to ward off at our 4th of July parade. So we won't.
All of that said, it must also be noted here that sign language for "I love you" is also "the horns." How this can be I am not sure. It does seem to fly in the face of ancient traditions. Maybe the intent in this instance is ironic? It certainly does seem to be quite an appropriation.
The Tattler will follow up on this important story if and when more information becomes available to us.
In today's Pasadena Star News:
Saving flushed fire hydrant water too expensive, Sierra Madre officials say - The city recently mandated 30 percent water conservation, yet it frequently runs fire hydrant water into the gutter because city workers determined that recycling yellow-orange water that’s provided to most residents would be too expensive.
Bruce Inman, director of public works, said Sierra Madre has always flushed out its water system because of health department requirements. But it increased the hydrant flushing frequency in October because adulterated water was coming out of faucets and taps throughout the city. Workers are trying to clear loose rust and particles from pipes by forcing large amounts of water through more often.
Click here for the rest.