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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May 2004
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"Religious Views & Mr. Roger's Neighborhood"   


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"Buon Giorno!" Welcome to the only newsletter that would promote "sheep shaving" for the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, "Only In Italy!"

Yes, dear subscribers, we're back and filled with enough vengeance, spirit and humor to tackle the biggest and most infectious disease to strike this beautiful country since the plague...IGNORANCE!

Dear Only In Italy,

Hey! Where have you gone? I've been watching my e-mail everyday waiting for your newsletter to show up. I hope your strong and admirable courage in writing openly about the Mafia has not put you in danger.

--> No! No danger with the Mafia because we're coming to you straight from the 'lion's den'...Sicily!

I was just in Italy and Sicily in May and June. This was my second trip and I love being there. I shopped in some of the stores in the little towns in Sicily. People were just so wonderful to us, even though our Italian "sucks" as they say here in the USA. In one store the owner insisted on giving us a small gift in exchange for having bought things from her. I was so touched by that. The owner drove us to some of the little towns in the area. In the town where we were given the gifts, there is a lot of poverty, according to her. She told us that what we spent that day probably was more than the shop owner usually would make in a month.

--> Hmmm...Don't forget that poor little shop owner probably didn't give you a receipt (required by Italian law), declares 1500 US Dollars annually in taxes, doesn't pay personal income tax, owns two nice homes and two cars.

I read your article about the water and thought of my sister, who washes clothes every day and for no good reason puts them through two rinse cycles. How wasteful that is and in comparison the people in Sicily literally have to beg for water. I plan to print out this newsletter and take it home to my sister to read on my next visit.

--> Shhhh! Don't you dare tell anyone in Sicily that washing machines in the USA are equipped with rinse cycles! Do you want to cause an international scene? In fact, the few Sicilians that do have the rinse cycle option in their machines are shunned from society.

I will be back in January, and I will be sure to spend my Euros in the little towns and villages of Sicily. I just wish the Mafia wasn't extracting what little the people might have. Things aren't perfect here, but they are better in some ways I guess. Nothing and no where is as beautiful as Italy.

--> Hmmm...A winter vacation in Sicily; you are very daring! Make sure you go on a diet before coming because all Sicilians do in the winter time is sit home, eat 'Panettone', drink, play Italian cards and wait for death to come knocking.

Please don't stop your newsletter. You keep me informed and entertained, and now of course, I will look for more articles on the Mafia. It may help me to avoid inadvertently "helping" them in ways I don't realize. Stay safe and stay true to your high standards and ethics...but throw a few "slang words and phrases in there at times....that is such fun to read!! I used a few of your choice words and phrases while I was there. By the way, coming back to the States and hearing English instead of Italian is such a bummer, as we say. Ciao! Ciao! Rita

Thanks for the letter, Rita! We've got a lot of catching up to do so let's get started!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

Naples Man Arrested For Trying to Extract a Devil From Wife's Stomach

Naples - June 15, 2004 - A man of 45 years old, Antonio Crispino, was arrested for attempted murder because he wanted to cut open his wife with scissors and a knife to take the devil out of her body. It happened yesterday (but the information on the case was made public only this morning by the carabinieri) in Cardito, a small town in the province of Naples.

The man attacked the woman, who was lying on a bed, and started screaming attracting the attention of his son who was sleeping in another room. When the carabinieri arrived, the man also flung himself against them. Once arrested he also attempted to kick down the window of the police car which accompanied him to prison.

Crispino, who has committed some small crimes previously, now has to answer to a charge of attempted murder of his wife and a carabiniere.

"Maria Santa!" I guess that old Neapolitan proverb is true: "If you visit Naples, you'll die!" If so, then everyone, lock yourselves in your hotel rooms the next time you visit the enchanted city.

What drives a Naples man to this behavior?
The cheap wine?
The mounting garbage in the streets?
Listening to too much bad "Nino D'Angelo" music?

Naples has proven Darwinís theory wrong. "Evolution stopped for a pizza with extra anchovies."


Italians Claim to See Mysterious Vision of Famous Monk's Face in Statue

Genova - June 18, 2004 - Thousands of faithful and curious Italians have visited a statue of Christ after a woman said she saw the face of mystic monk Padre Pio appear on the bronze figure in the northwestern city of Genoa.

"The Cardinal of Genoa came to see it last night and he agreed that there was a face but said that further investigations were needed," Mauro Boccaccio, spokesman for the regional government of Liguria, said Friday.

Boccaccio said a woman was first to notice the face appear Wednesday when she came to view the Christ of the Deep, a bronze figure of Christ that artist Guido Galletti designed in the 1950s to be submersed under the sea.

Padre Pio was said to have the power to be in two places at once and to display the stigmata, bleeding wounds in the hands and feet similar to those of Christ. He died in 1968 and was made a saint in 2002. Some eight million pilgrims visit the town where he is buried each year.

The Christ of the Deep statue has been undergoing restoration work for the past eight months and is due to be returned to the sea on June 26.

"It's an icon for thousands of divers from Italy and from abroad, both believers and others," Boccaccio said.

Authorities were still planning to return it to the sea near the town of Portofino, though investigations into the vision could delay that, he added.

More than 5,000 people came to see the statue, which still appears to show a face, Thursday alone.

"They're still lining up today," Boccaccio said.

"Per favore!" Isn't religion wonderful?

We realize that many people today base their entire existence on blind faith towards their favorite religion and we respect it. But one cannot interrupt the daily routine of life to stop and ask brightly lit objects why everything in their lives is going to hell!

What if a Sicilian farmer one day claims to see the face of Mussolini on one of his cows. What are Sicilians supposed to do? Accuse the cow of being a fascist, shoot it and then hang it upside down in a piazza for all to see? Of course not. It's just a cow with a funny looking face on its hide.

Hmmm...If you had to pray to this statue, what would you say?

"Dear Lord, Please tell me why has Italy fished this wonderful statue out of the ocean, spent 8 months restoring it only to have it thrown back in the water?"


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Forbidden Creams Finally Arrive in Italy

Rome - June 23, 2004 - Illegal market in cosmetics in Europe and Asia. Used by some immigrants to find work. Dermatologist says these methods are dangerous

You could call it the Michael Jackson syndrome. After all, it is driven by the same motive, a desire to be accepted. Or if you prefer, not accepting yourself. It happens in Asia, Africa, France and now it is happening in Italy. Women decide to lighten their skin to look prettier, younger and less "different". In some cases, they do it to find work more easily, or a flat to rent, or a job with a family as a domestic, an old person's companion or a baby sitter. In the Philippines, one woman in two uses lightening creams on her face. In Malaysia, the figure is four in ten, and in Taiwan it is almost as high.

In Paris last January, 15,000 packages of hydroquinone, the skin-depigmenting agent banned for cosmetic use by the European Union because it is carcinogenic (it can be used pharmacologically in limited quantities). One thousand boxes were confiscated the other day at the port of Voltri. They came from West Africa and were destined for the markets of Genoa and Milan. Dermatologist Fabio Rinaldi, who until a few months ago headed the functional unit for dermatology at Milan's Polyclinic, is well aware of the phenomenon. He says, "Often, people try to do it themselves using hydrogen peroxide and citrus fruit like lemons. These methods are potentially more dangerous than the chemicals because when the melanocyte, the melanin-producing cell, is stimulated, there is a risk that it may degenerate and develop into a melanoma. On the few occasions when I have had to deal with such cases in surgery, I realized that the patient's main anxiety was not the visible facial blotches, but the more intimate problem of an inability to accept oneself and the color of one's own skin".

Could it be that for many, the real problem is survival? Maria Jose Mendes Evora, former chair of the association of women from Cape Verde in Italy (there are almost 7,000), says frostily, "There are still too many small ads in the papers from people looking for a domestic or old person's companion that finish with 'provided you are not black'". I worked as a home help for 22 years, earning a social science degree in the meantime, and now I have a job in a company. I never dreamed of changing my skin color. I'm proud to be black. But I would like to send a firm message to those Italian ladies who judge a person by their skin color, not their abilities. I don't justify women who lighten their skin. I try to understand them. They want to survive".

It might be sufficient to create more reception facilities to put those arriving from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Africa, India or Central America in touch with each other. It would make them feel stronger, more united and more attractive together. This proposal comes from psychotherapist Maria Rita Parsi, who does not deny that racism has "increased. The tension in the Middle East makes us look with suspicion on anyone who has a slightly more olive complexion than is normal in Europe". Dr. Parsi refuses to offer any justification. "It is as if they wanted to eliminate their past, as well as their skin color. But that is not the way to eliminate the anger and pain that cause the problems. Sadly, we find them in our homes. It looks to me like the Michael Jackson syndrome - a hugely talented person whose lack of identity led him to self-destruction".

"Porca Miseria!" Look at what society is being reduced to.

Now if we can only find a legal method to help another three poor races who have experienced the same horrid problems of being shunned away from Italian society; the Calabrese, Neapolitans and Sicilians.

These are three people that experience their own Italian "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood":

"Itís a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
A beautiful day in the neighborhood.
Everybodyís from the north!
There are no Sicilians, Calabrese or Neapolitans."

"Today we're going to learn what not to do: We don't rent out apartments to southerners."
"Can you say, no vacancy?"
"Yes, you can."

"Remember one thing; just because someone is different than you is no reason to be nice to them."
"Can you say, outcasts?"

"Yes, you can."


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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