"Come va bella?" Welcome to another mixed up issue of fun under the Sicilian sun, "Only In Italy!"
I receive all your emails so no problem! I love the newsletter - it makes me laugh alot. I'm English living in Italy so it also provides a valuable cultural insight for me. Look forward to the next one! Best wishes, Oonagh
Grazie Oonagh! (How is your name pronounced, oooo -- nag?
If you're reading our newsletter for cultural insight then you're funnier than Caligula ever was.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - February 4, 2009 - Italy is to create the first national database of people who are obese or overweight, the Higher Health Institute (ISS) said Wednesday.
Over 300 doctors and nurses will be stationed in 50 supermarkets across the country between February and June to offer heavier shoppers medical check-ups, tests and lifestyle advice. In return, test results will be entered into a database and the ISS will contact shoppers in the future to monitor their state of health.
The ISS hopes to collect information from around 10,000 people who are overweight or obese during the project.
More than one in three Italians are overweight and around four million are obese, according to statistics institute ISTAT."Buon Giorno!" When do we eat?
Obesity is certainly a problem in Italy although, we will never admit it. Putting down a fork for a moment of reflection is too much to ask for.
If asked, "Ciao, do you realize you're overweight?", we'll look you straight in the eye, smile and lie. Instead of a nose growing, a stomach will. It's like Pinocchio going berserk.
However, to some Italians, their idea of losing weight is:
Italians think that losing weight is one of the most difficult things for people to do.
What?! Che cosa?! Controlling what you eat?! Stop that!
Stopping the consumption of sausage, polenta, pizza, mozzarella and prosciutto is not!
"Palle!" How traumatizing! Our fat cousin, Francesco, got so upset he had to go eat tomato sauce.
Rome - February 5, 2009 - Hopes that upcoming government incentives will jump start the automobile market in Italy were slightly diminished Thursday by a poll which found that 56.5% of Italians are driving less and 75% have no intention of changing cars. On the bright side, the report found 82.2% of Italians considered owning a car as something indispensable and only 1.5% have given up owning one because of the economic situation.
Among the Italians who are driving less, 85.3% said this was in order to save money on fuel and maintenance, while 13.2% claimed it was for the environment.
Out of the 25% of Italians ready to buy a new car only 19.7% said they would opt for a more economic one, while 50.9% said they would stay in the same price range as their previous vehicle, 26.1% were ready to spend a little more and 3.4% said money would be no object.
The incentives the government is expected to adopt to boost car sales include a 1,000-euro subsidy for a 'greener' (Euro 4 or 5) car in place of a more polluting (Euro 0-2) vehicle.
New car buyers would also be exempted from road tax for three years and a current 1,500-euro government contribution for changing to cars powered by gas, electricity or hydrogen would rise to 2,000 euros.
"Faccia di culo", 70 euros (90 USD) to fill up a tank?! I'll buy a fuel efficient mule instead.
People who say Italians do not know how to drive are measuring us by the wrong scale. We have a very controlled recklessness to our driving and we now do what is necessary to save money on gas and maintenance.
Rules of the Italian Road:
"Look at this testa di minchia kissing my bumper!" Italians drivers are much more comfortable driving much closer than is typical in America. 'A centimeter is as good as a kilometer,' is a motto we love and we couldn't care less of getting that close. If you know to expect this and do not panic by slowing down, or worse, touching your brakes, you will be fine. After all, this reduces air resistance and increases mileage.
"These cornuti keep cutting me off!" When driving in Italy, your responsibility is to those in front of you and those to your side. Rear-view mirrors are solely used for checking our good looks. If there is an opening in front of you, it is your obligation to fill it, or we will fill it for you. After all, the more we cut off the faster we arrive to our destination and the more money saved on gas.
"Look! Stop signs and traffic lights are useless to these coglioni!" Time and mileage are of the essence for the Italian driver. We do not have money for brake maintenance nor the patience and will to downshift gears. Besides, it is irresponsible to go through an uncontrolled, blind intersection quickly without at least a look or a small toot on the horn.
"There is no place to park, cazzo!" You would be quite surprised at how difficult it is to find parking in downtown Italy. The sidewalk parking space is savored and rarely abandoned. After all, it helps to avoid wasting gas driving around the neighborhood for 30 minutes in search of unoccupied sidewalk space.
Rome - February 4, 2009 - Four executives of Google begin trial Tuesday in Milan on criminal charges of defamation and privacy violation in regard to a video posted on Google's Italian site.
The case involves a three-minute cell phone video, posted in 2006 to Google Video, in which four youths in Turin tease a boy with Down syndrome. After an Italian advocacy group complained that the video was objectionable, Google quickly removed it from the site. Prosecutors argue that the video should not have been published at all.
The four executives charged were not involved directly in handling video from Italy. They include David Drummond, Google's senior vice president and chief legal officer; George Reyes, its former chief financial officer; and Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, according to a Google spokesman. The fourth executive worked at Google Video in London, the spokesman said, declining to identify him.
It is rare for Internet company executives to face personal criminal charges and possibly jail time for the actions of their companies.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time an individual has been criminally charged for violation of data protection laws that occurred by the company he or she works for," said Trevor Hughes, the executive director of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, which wrote about the case in its newsletter Monday. "This suggests that privacy is going to be more of a battleground."
If the court holds that Google should have prevented the publication of the video simply because the subject didn't authorize it, it could have very broad implications. In Europe, the subject of a photograph or video typically has the right to say how the image is used. But so far, charges haven't been brought against user-generated content sites for hosting pictures posted without permission of the subjects.
In a statement, Google said the prosecution is misdirected:
As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. We feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It’s akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What's more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.
"Scassacazzo", the sympathy letters from China are pouring in!
This sort of cockiness is yet more evidence of the daily acts of lunacy of the Italian state. One would think the justice system would be hard at work on finding the responsible for leaving 1 million tons of garbage in the streets of Naples and its province. By the way, did you know if you Google 'garbage in Italy' you'll get over 2.4 million search results? But that's neither here nor there.
However, the government comedy team should be impartial. Seeing that the video was shown on a Windows machine, Bill Gates should also be brought up on charges. What about the Intel processors used? Drag the Intel executives into court! (Need to find the Chinese monitor and speaker manufacturers as well.)
How silly. How stupid.
"Porca puttana", if someone spray paints, "I love you Mussolini" on your building, is the building owner liable?
If one of our goats is having a bad day and produces runny milk, who do we get satisfaction from?