"Minchia, che caldo!" The "National Journal of Baccala" is proud to present you another stupid issue of "Only In Italy!"
Generally enjoy your newsletters EXCEPT for the CONTINUALLY snide remarks about Naples and Napoletane. The article in question is no exception. Criminal police exist EVERYWHERE in Italy and the world. Rita De R.
Thanks for the letter, Rita.
Please don't be angry with us. We don't know why but there's something about Naples that mesmerizes us. We don't know if it's the controlled chaos, incoherent dialect, or bad music. To you it may be "See Naples and die". To us it's "2010: A Naples Odyssey".
By the way, Naples somehow found its way in our news again today.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Palermo - August 2, 2010 - Sicily, which is chronically plagued by waste disposal problems, lags behind Italy's other 19 regions for separating refuse for recycling, according to a report from national statistics bureau Istat released on Monday.
Only 6.7% of waste in Sicily is separated for recycling today, an increase of only six percentage points over the past 13 years compared to an average increase of 30.4% for all of Italy and 14.7% for the south and the island regions.
According to Istat, the most virtuous region in the south for separating waste was Sardinia, which separates 34.5% of its trash, up 33 percentage points from 1996, followed by Abruzzo (26.1%), Campania (25.9%), Basilicata (21,5%), Puglia (15.6%) and Calabria 15%.
A national average of 52.7% of trash produced in Italy ends up in the dump without being separated, down from 64.8% in 2002, while in Sicily this rate jumps to 88.9%, lifting the average for the south and the island regions to 76%.
Since 2002 Calabria has been able to halve the amount of unseparated waste which ends up in its dump sites, from 89.6% to 48.3%.
The main reason why Sicilians are having a real hard time with recycling is that life in Sicily has been very hard. We've been betrayed by past and present circus governments and exploited by the Mafia. By the way, we're also suspicious of outsiders:
Human being who drifts into Sicily: "Buon giorno. Nice to meet you. How are you?"
Landfills used to be our primary waste solution but, unfortunately, 85 percent have been shut down for they have already reached maximum capacity. We could wait for the next major landslide to come along and cover the hillsides of garbage but that would be difficult to predict.
Luckily, we can always count on the young group of Sicilian Yahoos in each little town who try to set an example to show that they can better themselves by seeking new ways to be more ecological and beautify their town.
The fun usually begins when they try to convince someone like a large suntanned Sicilian with a body completely covered by hair, in front of his home with that look on his face, waiting for his wife on the balcony to lower the bags of unseparated garbage on a cord which he will dutifully toss in the containers.
Pisa - August 02, 2010 - Italy has chosen a full-figured woman as a new beauty queen, weighing in at a hefty 170 kilos (374 lbs).
Forget those pencil-thin model types. Italy has chosen a full-figured woman as new beauty queen, proud of her ample body weighing in at a hefty 170 kilos.
Angela Scognamiglio said she was 'very moved' when she was named on Saturday night as the new 'Miss Chubby' at the complex-free contest held in the Tuscany village of Forcoli, near the city of Pisa.
'I am very moved, I feel as if I've won the lottery,' the 33-year-old from Naples said after beating out 30 other contestants for the title.
As in all past 20 editions of the pageant, there is only one condition for entry: you have to weigh more than 100 kilograms.
Contestants paraded before an audience of 2500 at a local hotel on Saturday night, wearing gowns, or for those who cared to show more, undergarments. Some even dared a little glamour striptease. But the crucial moment in the contest was the weigh-in, stepping onto a huge red scale where everyone could see the result with the roundest beauty clinching the title.
No big prize for the winner, just a huge cake to share around, and perhaps for all the contestants a boost in self-esteem in contrast to the mockery many obese face.
'When we get on a bus, people nudge each other and whisper, making fun of us, and it's the same on the beach,' said redheaded Marilena Amato.
'We are the victims of severe discrimination, it's as if we are second class citizens,' said another contestant, Antonia Bartolo, a 37-year-old nurse from the Milan region.
The contest is also about 'entertainment, a chance to get to know people who face the same problems I do,' she added. The contest's founder, Gianfranco Lazzereschi, says the event showcases other types of beauty in women.
'It is a showcase for full figures,' he said, flanked by two contestants, 'Why can't these two women show off? Why is it necessary to follow the dictates of what's beautiful?'
The full-figure pageant, says the founder, is a way to send a different message about beauty.
"Porca miseria", how can you hold heavyweight beauty pageant for people who should have abandoned vanity at 120 kilos (264 lbs)?
Si...yes, we are aware that we should make a statement such as, genuine beauty is the celebration of women of all sizes and that beauty is for everyone. Or all women are beautiful, and the more this message goes out, the better, blah, blah, blah...enough.
Look, this pageant was as inappropriate as the contestants' weights; singing praises for roundness, chubbiness, baked lasagna with extra layers and Tiramisu (the article doesn't mention lasagna but you too can use your imagination).
"'I am very moved, I feel as if I've won the lottery,' the 33-year-old from Naples said after beating out 30 other contestants for the title." Ah! Naples! That's where she received her winning ticket. The causes of obesity are complex by nature. This is because it is caused by Naples genetics, Naples psychological factors, Naples life style factors, Naples family environment, Naples attitudes...and eating habits in Naples.
"When we get on a bus, people nudge each other and whisper, making fun of us, and it's the same on the beach."
A short list of those nudges and whispers:
Rome - July 31, 2010 - Not content with trying to restrict the newspapers he doesn't control, Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is now attempting to interfere with the freedom of bloggers and the users of social networking sites.
His government wants to extend a provision within its proposed media and wiretapping law, which requires newspapers or anyone responsible for informative websites to publish corrections by requiring Italians who post on the net to rectify incorrect facts by publishing corrections within 48 hours of receiving a complaint.
Any failure to abide by the law would result in a fine on the offending author or publisher of up to 25,000 Euros ($32,000 USD). It also requires bloggers to register with a legal authority.
The planned law has already provoked an outcry among journalists. It spawned the video, "no alla legge bavaglio" (No to the gag law). And it also prompted a "black-out" by the Italian press on 8 July organized by the press union, FNSI.
One of its members, Olivier Basille, said: "This is not just an attempt to gag bloggers and actually all journalists, but more widely it is about stopping the investigation of corruption and organized crime."
FACT: Italy has one of the lowest levels of press freedom in Europe. A 2009 report by Freedom House classified Italy as "partly free", one of only two countries in western Europe (the second being Turkey), also ranking it behind most former communist states of eastern Europe.
FACT: As with all the other media of Italy, the Italian television industry is widely considered both inside and outside the country to be overtly politicized. According to a December 2008 poll, only 24% of Italians trust television news programs compared unfavorably to the British rate of 38%.
FACT: It's also worth mentioning Italy put an embargo on foreign bookmakers over the Internet (in violation of EU market rules) by mandating certain edits to DNS host files of Italian ISPs.
"Figli di puttane", let's lay it on the line. Italy's ruling class is struggling to stop picking fleas off themselves while trying to keep pace with the Internet revolution. Their political culture is far removed from new technology. They're not even focused yet on which hand to use to turn on a computer let alone use the Internet to their advantage.
But this is not the concern of the Prime Minister of Pepperoni, Berlusconi, and his government who are trying to push through new measures that would give the state control over online video content and force anyone who regularly uploads videos to obtain a license from the Ministry of Communications.
"Mamma mia", we're just imagining the insanity we're going to go through to obtain a license from a Ministry filled with washed-up escorts and models who aren't capable of communicating, just so we can upload a video of our Uncle Pino's broken kitchen sink which he did not throw away...because he uses it to grow basil. (Yes, video coming soon to our "Only In Italy" YouTube channel).