"A believable lie is better than a stupid fact." (A very useful proverb that has kept many Italian marriages sane and intact.)
"Buon giorno" and thanks for all the great positive and not-so-positive feedback. We'll take as it is.
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Rome - March 29, 2012 - Rome's costumed gladiators and centurions are about to be driven away from the Colosseum, the city announced Thursday.
"Because they're illegal," said councilor for commerce Davide Bordoni.
Starting Friday, the city is launching a task force to keep the impersonators in leather tunics and armor from asking money from tourists for posing for pictures.
The crackdown was ordered by Archeology Superintendent Maria Rosa Barbera, who also ordered licensed vendors to distance themselves from the monument during the Easter season.
The centurions and gladiators are still allowed to work elsewhere in Rome such as along the road leading up to the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain or in the Renaissance Piazza Navona where they are a mainstay.
While the performers say they only ask for small tips, police say they can take home as much as 200 Euros ($260 USD) per day, income for which they allegedly never pay taxes.
Over the years, the city has gone back and forth on enforcing its policy against the fake warriors.
In 2003, 25 performers protested for months and even scaled the Colosseum when the city refused to authorize work permits in the area.
The spat ended when the council decided they could return to the ancient site, agreeing that their trade was "akin to that of traditional traveling minstrels".
"Per favore", who are the cops kidding?
These so-called "Gladiators" are to be avoided!
To the unsuspecting tourist (and your pinhead traveling companions), they are like Disney characters you see at Disneyland who invite you to take a photograph with them. But this is where the similarities end. These are not nice people. They are ruthless men who look like they should be doing ads for liquor...hard liquor.
They never discuss money until after the photograph, and depending on how much of a pinhead they think you are. If they hear, "Oh, babe, we have got to get an Instagram shot with him", in any language, be ready to shell out 50 Euros for that shot with your own camera.
"In 2003, 25 performers protested for months and even scaled the Colosseum when the city refused to authorize work permits in the area." How do you obtain a work permit for legally shaking down tourists while dressed like someone who skins varmints? How silly. How stupid.
These are individuals who should have been forced to come down from the Colosseum by bow and arrow.
"While the performers say they only ask for small tips, police say they can take home as much as 200 Euros ($260 USD) per day, income for which they allegedly never pay taxes." "Si", it always starts with a small tip. Sounds like that gas attendant who pumps your gas, cleans your windshield, gets that small tip...and takes it a bit further.
"Check the oil? How about I check that oil for you, Signore?"
"Porco cazzo, no! Did I say you could check the oil, you grandissimo figlio di puttana?
"Besides, I know you're going to lie to me!"
Rome - March 30, 2012 - The head of an experiment that appeared to show subatomic particles traveling faster than the speed of light has resigned from his job.
Antonio Ereditato oversaw results that appeared to challenge Einstein's theory that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light.
Reports said some members of his group, called Opera, had wanted him to resign.
Earlier in March, a repeat experiment found that the particles, known as neutrinos, did not exceed light speed.
When the results from the Opera group at the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy were first published last year, they shocked the world, threatening to overturn a century of physics as well as relativity theory - which holds the speed of light to be the Universe's absolute speed limit.
The experiment involved measuring the time it took for neutrinos to travel the 730 km (450 miles) from Cern laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland to the lab in Italy.
Speaking at the time, Professor Ereditato added "words of caution" because of the "potentially great impact on physics" of the result.
"We tried to find all possible explanations for this," he said.
"We wanted to find a mistake, trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects. And we didn't."
"When you don't find anything, then you say 'well, now I'm forced to go out and ask the community to scrutinize this'."
Despite the call for caution, the results caused controversy within the world of physics. If the findings had been confirmed, they would have disproved Albert Einstein's 1905 Special Theory of Relativity.
Earlier this month, a test run by a different group at the same Italian laboratory recorded neutrinos traveling at precisely light speed.
Sandro Centro, co-spokesman for the Icarus collaboration, said that he was not surprised by the result.
"In fact I was a little skeptical since the beginning," he told a national newspaper.
"Now we are 100% sure that the speed of light is the speed of neutrinos."
So far, Professor Ereditato has not commented on his decision to step down from his post.
"Eh, Signore e Signori, andate tutti a 'fanculo!" I'm out of here...
That's something quite rare. You never see an Italian professor quit (excuse us, give up an overpaid salary) before rigor mortis sets in. Antonio quit faster than the speed of light.
"We wanted to find a mistake, trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects. And we didn't." "Mamma mia," his poor wife. You can imagine the extraordinary love scenes in their bedroom.
Antonio reminds us of the typical academic and public employee who spends a third of his day glued to the photocopier copying away. He wants documented proof that he existed and has to make sure that all the paperwork is in order. His dream is to show up on Judgement Day with a huge pile of documents and state his case one sheet at a time.
Come on, Antonio! Be a man like Galileo Galilei. He threw in Pope Urban VIII's face the fact that the sun (not the Vatican) was at the center of the universe and the Earth revolves around it. Yes, he was sentenced to house arrest for life in the Inquisition, but one shouldn't look at the negative aspects (we're trying to build Antonio's self confidence here. If he doesn't believe in himself, nobody will).
Stand up for what you believe.
Frosinone - March 30, 2012 - A man who clocked in as a city council worker every day only to go to a secret job as a mechanic has been cited for aggravated fraud and may face up to five years in jail, police said Friday.
The man was caught by police who trailed him from his official job near the city south of Rome every day to the garage he ran under the cover of relatives.
How to find a Italian city employee.
1) "Buon Giorno" and have a great day!
2) If you're looking to find a city employee, you should at least know what department the employee works in. If not, there might be phone numbers available for assistance and guidance.
Please have patience if you cannot comprehend the person you are speaking with. Chances are they are not enthusiastic, or fluent in your language...or they are marble-mouthed because they are munching on food. If you listen carefully, you can hear tiny chunks of food flying out of his/her mouth and into the little holes of the receiver.
3) Keep in mind that most Italian city officials keep their employee list confidential. They're not going to readily expose it due to the fact that some of these employees are relatives, friends, lovers or whores. However, with a few phone calls and networking with the sixth or seventh employee down on the food chain, you might have some luck in tracking down the office where the city employee could be located.
4) When you present yourself at the office, do not be disappointed if the city employee is not available. Previous engagements, people skills, or adaptability could be one of the many factors for his/her absence. What is important is you tried your best, you found the office and that you did not disturb the dust in there...that fine coating.
5) Try again next week. "Ciao!"