Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only In Italy is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news sources in Italy.
Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.
 
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April 2004
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"Help Wanted: Unfunny Air Traffic Controllers"

(04/06/04)

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"Buona Pasqua!" Happy Easter and welcome to another airline issue of "Only In Italy!"

Here at "Only In Italy", it is our pleasure and obligation to give you helpful advice and tips on traveling and how to fit in with the Italian culture. So far, we've advised you when is the best time to drink coffee and what to expect when driving in Italy.

Well, now we're going to give you another very useful traveling tip that you won't find in any travel book; not even in the Michelin guide books!

Before you book your next flight to Italy, make sure you call your destination airport in Italy and ask these 3 very important questions:

1.) Does the ground control radar work?
2.) Do the air traffic controllers know what a "tobago" is?
3.) How much of your work day is spent on humor than watching plane traffic?

If you need further help with these 3 very important questions, please read today's first article. It could save your life!

Your (Italian) parliament isn't so bad; I once heard Israel described as a place where you could win a seat in parliament if you represent nothing more that four fishermen and a box of lox! Allen

Thanks for the letter, Allen! By the way, can you please let us know if there are any unemployed fishermen in Israel, who haven't won seats in their Parliament, that are looking for work? We need air traffic controllers in Milan. We'll even find work for the lox!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


Air Traffic Controllers Do Stand Up Comedy as 118 Die

Milan - April 6, 2004 - A tape of air traffic controllers laughing and joking only seconds after a jet crashed, killing 118 people caused outrage when it was aired on Italian TV.

It was recorded after a runway collision between a packed Scandinavian Airlines MD 80 jet and a private Cessna plane in thick fog.

The five-minute tape begins with a concerned ground controller calling the airport control tower.

Ground controller: "We've just heard a series of bangs like an engine."

Control tower: "We all heard it too but we don't know what it was."

Ground controller: "It was like a engine misfiring."

Control tower: "No, it was like someone banging the head of our shift controller against a window. You know that sort of hollow echo sound you get? Anyway, nothing to worry about."

Laughing can be heard in the background as air traffic controllers unwittingly joke, not knowing that the Scandinavian jet had just ploughed into a warehouse for passenger luggage.

The tragedy happened in October 2001 as thick fog shrouded Milan's Linate airport, where it also later emerged that life-saving ground control radar was not working.

The tape continues.

Control tower: "We can't find the Scandinavian, with the fog and no radar, another plane says they saw a streak of fire but, for us, it should have taken off."

Ground controller: "I'm not sure where it is, if it's on the runway or if it's crashed."

Ground controller: "I think the Scandinavian has crashed into the tobago (luggage warehouse)."

Control tower: "Can someone tell me what the tobago is?"

Ground controller: "It's where the luggage is loaded and unloaded."

Control tower: "Oh my God." In the ensuing chaos it took 25 minutes for firefighters to reach the scene of the crash by which time the Scandinavian jet - which was loaded with fuel - was a burning shell.

Last night Alessandra Borgonovi, whose husband died in the tragedy, said: "This is unbelievable. I don't know what to say. From the tape you can tell no one has any idea what has just happened, they don't know anything."

Last month prosecutors in Milan demanded eight-year jail sentences for three officials at Linate and a verdict is expected on 16 April.

"Porca Puttana!" What a shame! What an absolute shame!

This is what happens when you place super-recommended, unqualified, peckerhead Italians in charge of very responsible jobs in Italy. I wish I was 2 people right now so I could hate them twice as much.

Pasquale ground controller: "We've just heard a series of bangs like an engine."

Control tower: "We all heard it too but we don't know what it was."

Pasquale ground controller: "It was like a engine misfiring."

Control tower: "No, it was like someone banging the head of our shift controller against a window. You know that sort of hollow echo sound you get? Anyway, nothing to worry about."

Pasquale ground controller: "I see...Control tower, are you still there?"

Control tower: "Yes, now what's the problem?"

Pasquale ground controller: "Do you have a small mirror handy?"

Control tower: "As a matter of fact I do."

Pasquale ground controller: "Take the mirror, place it at an angle close to your ear and look in carefully."

Control tower: "Okay, hold on...(pause 20 seconds) I'm doing it but I don't see anything."

Pasquale ground controller: ...

Control tower: "Ground control...are you still there?"

Linate Airport in Milan, Italy (+39 02 7010 2191): This is the number for the "Airport District General Management". Feel free to call the incredibly brilliant managers and ask them if they now know what a "tobago" is.


Mystery Over Dead Poet's Head

Padova - April 7, 2004 - Italian scientists have disappointed generations of love poets and uncovered what could be a crime mystery dating back hundreds of years.

Tests have shown that the head of one of Italy's most-highly revered writers, the renaissance poet Francesco Petrarch, isn't his.

The finding has put a damper on plans to mark the 700th anniversary of his birth this year.

Petrarch is the man who fine-tuned the poetic form known as the sonnet for centuries since the poem of choice for love-sick poets everywhere.

His sonnets to the mysterious Laura, who he first spotted at church on Good Friday in the year 1327, have encouraged generations of literary detectives keen to identify the woman who inspired them.

But now, it seems, another type of detective work may be needed.

Researchers have been studying the body found in Petrarch's tomb at the small town where he died outside Padua in northern Italy in 1374.

Portrait

The body seems to match Petrarch's own description. But the head doesn't.

In fact, it looks more like a woman's, according to anatomists from Padua University. Worse: the DNA of the head does not match that of the body.

All of which raises the distinct possibility that at some point grave robbers helped themselves to the skull. Quite when and how given that the slab covering it weighs two tons remains a mystery.

The scientists had hoped to use the skull to come up with a life-like portrait of the poet in time for the 700th anniversary of his birth, in July.

Instead, perhaps, they will be indulging in feelings of "what if" just as keenly as Petrarch did over his unrequited love for Laura.

Hmmm...what can you really do if you had the skull of a famous poet?

Show it off to the neighbors?
Use it as a bookend or paperweight?
Sell it on EBay?
Practice Hamlet?

It had to be stolen by a very strong but lousy poet who probably needed it for inspiration. You can bet Petrarch isn't too happy about this. 

 

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Largest Bean Stew in the World Dedicated to Tex Willer

Pavia - March 6, 2004 - It all happened at Sannazzaro, province of Pavia; the town that created a dish of Guinness record in honor for a grand hero of comic books, Tex Willer.

A total of 224 kilograms (493 pounds) of beans with tomato sauce, onions, garlic, carrots, celery and even paprika were cooked; all favorite ingredients of Tex Willer. Even pigskin was added to the stew.

After an hour and a half of simmering, the bean stew was finally distributed among the present fans.

"Che puzza!" That's some honor.

Whatever happened to the traditional statue in the center square or naming a street in the person's honor?

You honor a great comic book writer by cooking up a "Guinness Book of World Records" bean stew? I'll bet all the fans who ate the 493 pounds of bean stew broke another Guinness record 3-4 hours later!

It's just our Italian putrid way of saying, "Thanks Tex!"

 

Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
 
 
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