"Mi sono congelate le palle..." Proverb: "Everyone loves justice in the affairs of others! "Only In Italy!"
What happened to us? Don't ask. You'll get a saner excuse from the Captain of the Costa Concordia.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Naples - February 24, 2012 - A veteran Italian television news anchor with a passion for the blues released an album on Friday in which he riffs on his assignments from the Iraq war to the Madrid train bombs to protests in Iran.
Neapolitan Sandro Petrone, a former folk singer in the 1970s who now works for public television channel RAI 2, has filled his album "Last Call: Notes from a Correspondent" with blues, swing and ballads looking back at his career.
"I want to see the world from the mountains of North Tehran, I want to cry blood on the tracks of Atocha, I want to spit sand on the streets of Nassiriyah before the time comes," he sings in one number entitled "Coming Home Blues".
The 12 songs contain extracts from reports and letters by the correspondent from various parts of the world, including Brazil, Iran, Iraq and Liberia.
Petrone returned to music "to express more clearly what he wants to say about lands in tumult, about men and women in tumult, about himself in tumult," said his website filled with pictures of the crooner performing.
"Maybe journalism is more powerful but the art of music can finally reach some hearts," the note said. "When he left music and Naples to be a correspondent and not a singer, the music stayed with him as a companion."
Eh, no offense but we can't stand Napolitano records...which should be of no surprise to any of our readers. (No, sorry. We did not soul search during our extra long hiatus.)
We always get these Napolitano CDs as cheap presents (or as a goof) and we have to constantly throw them out. In fact, my hand hurts from constantly throwing these CDs out.
And, "minchia", why do all Napolitani songs sound exactly alike? We don't know why they put pauses between the songs. It should just be one giant song about Mamma, misery and death.
However, in all fairness, "Last Call: Notes from a Correspondent" must be a brilliant compilation of hits. It had to be produced by the Napolitano, George Martin. Unfortunately, we won't be able to find the time to buy and critique the songs (not even at gun point).
"Petrone returned to music "to express more clearly what he wants to say about lands in tumult, about men and women in tumult, about himself in tumult..." Hmmm...sounds like he is referring to Iran, Iraq and Naples. We've heard about plenty of tourists in tumult after visiting the third land in particular.
And what a coincidence. Foreign correspondents from these countries felt the same way when they came to do a news piece on Naples. One of them had to be inspired to write a blues record too.
"Last Time: That This Correspondent Visits Naples"
"I want to see the world from the mountains of garbage..."
Rome - February 24, 2012 - Crisis-hit Italy on Friday adopted a draft bill to scrap a controversial tax exemption for Catholic Church property in a move that could raise an extra 600 million Euros ($808M USD) a year.
The law now allows businesses operating out of Church property such as hotels and restaurants not to pay property tax as long as the building also has some religious function, such as a chapel or an adjoining monastery.
The government promised this month to remove the exemption following an outcry among many Italians who are already hard pressed by an austerity drive that has raised taxes and slashed budgets to avoid bankruptcy.
Property that is exclusively for non-commercial use such as churches will continue to be exempt from tax.
The European Commission had opened an investigation into the loophole in 2010 on suspicion of anti-competitive behavior.
The Italian Catholic Church considered separate from the Vatican state, which has sovereignty owns around 100,000 properties worth 9.0 billion euros including churches, schools, universities and hospitals.
It also owns properties mainly aimed at tourists such as the French restaurant "Eau Vive" and the four-star hotel "Ponte Sisto" in Rome.
This is dedicated to any of you who work hard for a living.
That's "location, location, location, 'Fanculo" for you!
In many parts of Italy, a child's first confession is now celebrated and the Church cashes in. Parents film the kid as he walks to the confessional and have a feast afterwards to celebrate his acquittal. All that's missing is his standing on a table and reciting the confessed sins to the invited guests.
As if that wasn't bad enough, parents have transformed a childís 1st communion into a costly mini matrimony (with 300 ungrateful relatives and friends invited).
French restaurant "Eau Vive": Fine French cuisine prepared and served by a lay sisterhood of missionary Christians from five continents who dress in traditional costumes.
The Holy menu click to take a look:
Pumpkin soup: 6 Euros ($8 USD)
Would you believe they offer no discounts or an after-dinner drink on the house for ex-altar boys or customers who suffered physical and psychological beatings as students in Catholic schools?
Reggio Emilia - February 24, 2012 - The Mafia used to be strictly a business of Italyís south, but today organized crime has reached the north, Italyís economic engine, and is thriving, investing its illegally-made millions there.
But unlike in the south, where the Mafia has a thorough and sometimes violent control over society, its influence in northern regions is mainly economic and often hidden.
"When they show up here, they look clean," says Enrico Bini, the president of the town of Reggio Emiliaís Chamber of Commerce and one of the first and most outspoken public critics of organized crime in Emilia-Romagna. "Itís tricky. Companies sometimes don't know whom they are making deals with."
"There was a defensive ideology around here," says journalist Sara Di Antonio, who wrote a book about the Mafiaís presence in the north. "People believed that our community, for cultural and historic reasons, had to be healthy."
Public officials and politicians were no exception. "They said that everything was under control, although there were many signs that things weren't quite right," Ms. Di Antonio says.
According to a 2008 report by the Italian parliament, the Mafia "colonization" of Emilia-Romagna started in the 1980s, when a large number of mobsters from the south were sentenced to forced residence in the region for up to five years. The measure, first introduced in the 1960s, was intended to disrupt crime by uprooting suspected members of organized crime groups from their local networks.
Instead, the "forced residence" approach allowed mafia members to work themselves into the rich northern and central regions. There they were joined by affiliates who remained at large and gradually created a new sphere of influence.
Since the 1980s, the crime syndicates have strengthened their presence and diversified their activities. Today, the 'Ndrangheta and the Camorra, the two main groups, operate all across the region.
Sos Impresa, an anti-Mafia organization, said in a recent report that charging illegally high interest rates is another common strategy organized crime uses in the north. Mafiosos lend money at extremely high rates to companies in distress and otherwise unable to get loans, with the ultimate goal of taking control over them and further infiltrating the local business sector.
Northern Italians have often claimed to be too honest to be targeted by organized crime, refusing to face reality, says Annalisa Duri, a local coordinator with the anti-Mafia organization LIBERA. But the Mafia thrives when people stick their heads in the sand, she says, agreeing to profitable business deals with individuals with questionable connections, for example.
"Itís everyoneís responsibility," Duri said. "We need to realize not just that the Mafia exists but that itís affected by our daily actions."
"Che roba!" Can you believe this horse's petunia?
"...a large number of mobsters from the south were sentenced to forced residence in the region for up to five years." "Figlio di una mignotta", can you believe this reasoning? It makes just as much sense as going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Dear readers, what do you do with a chicken weasel that wreaks havoc in your chicken shed? Exactly! You don't arrest it, ship it to another part of the country far away from his weasel buddies...and place it near another chicken shed.
"Northern Italians have often claimed to be too honest to be targeted by organized crime, refusing to face reality..." Aww...aren't the idiots cute? When a Northern Italian sees a mobster digging up the yard, he/she has to face the reality that he is burying another Northern Italian and not planting tomato plants.
You see, many many years ago, if a Southern Italian had seen a Mafia victim laying on the ground helpless it would have been a such a rare occurrence that our reaction would have been: "Oh mio Dio! This Southerner needs help, let me assist!"
Fast forward to today. If you see a body laying on the ground, you wouldn't step over it...you would run over it just to make sure it wouldn't get up to attack you.
Oh, Northern Italians! We know you're repulsed by us but take our advice anyway: