"Ciao a tutti!" Welcome to the only newsletter written by journalists who believe Italy needs the labor unions to protect the rights of the manhole cover inspectors of Palermo, "Only In Italy!"
To the Editor:
Really now...is this language necessary? It cheapens your newsletter and escalates the impression many people still have regarding Italians. It is offensive and unnecessary. The Italian language is so beautiful. There must be someone on your staff who can express a thought without sounding like an uneducated peasant who just arrived in America.
Or, maybe not...?
You very rarely see or hear other nationalities printing vulgarities directed to themselves, and especially using e-mail for all the world to see in an instant! Unless, of course those are the readers your 'Only In Italy Newsletter" wish to attract. Please try to clean up your act. In all sincerity, Jo
You're absolutely correct, Jo!
The Italian language is beautiful...our editor isn't. He was an uneducated peasant who came down from the mountains of Corleone, took a bath, discovered electricity, bought a used PC Pentium 1 with Windows 98, and started this ridiculous newsletter. The "figlio di puttana" thinks he's running the Sicilian "Daily Bugle."
Please help us.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - August 12, 2010 - Religious transplant patients have a greater chance of survival than those who don't believe in God, the results of an Italian study published on Thursday suggest.
The research by the Clinical Physiology Institute of the Pisa National Research Council (IFC-CNR) drew its conclusions after studying 179 liver transplant patients over a four-year period.
There was a marked difference in the survival rate between the deeply religious and those without faith, the research found. Four years after their operation, 93.5% of the faithful were still alive, compared to just 79.5% of non-believers. In other words, the mortality rate was three times higher among those who didn't believe in God - 20.5% compared to 6.6%.
"This is a statistically significant difference," explained study leader psychologist Franco Bonaguidi.
"It reduces the likelihood of a false positive to 2.6%, considerably lower than the conventional threshold of 5%".
The findings were based on a lengthy questionnaire about beliefs, controlled for a series of other factors including the age of recipient and donor, gender, education and employment, the nature of the disease and the type of transplant. Faith clearly made a difference, the team concluded, but the findings also indicated that simply paying lip service to religion was not sufficient in itself.
"The relevant factor is actively seeking the help of God, which is not about following a denominational faith," said Bonaguidi.
"Instead it is about an intimate side of people's personalities, which leads them to approach a serious disease as a chance to reconsider their own existence and values, and reassess its spiritual and transcendent elements".
The Italian study is not the first to find a link between faith and health but it is the first to focus specifically on transplant recovery rates. Suggested explanations for this effect have focused both on physical and psychological benefits.
In terms of the physical, religious precepts often promote healthy lifestyles, for example discouraging tobacco, alcohol, sexual promiscuity and excessive meat consumption.
From a psychological viewpoint, suggestions have included a sense of purpose and structure, and close support networks.
"Mamma mia!" Oh, shhh...listen very carefully. Those are the sounds of thousands of wine bottles uncorking in Italy and Italians toasting their good and bad health to God.
It's true that Catholics (including everyone on this ridiculous news staff) see organ and tissue donation as an act of charity and love. And it's hard to believe that transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to that Vatican. Who would have guessed?
However, this is a bit far fetched. You see, it's true some Italians are deeply religious but we simply think they worship their own big heads. We're forced to worship a religious group called "Sicilians stuck being Sicilians". But that's neither here nor there.
"...religious precepts often promote healthy lifestyles, for example discouraging tobacco, alcohol, sexual promiscuity and excessive meat consumption." "Ma che roba!" What a festival of ignorance. We know a few individuals who smoke a pack a day, swig half a bottle of homemade wine at lunch, have sex with anything that breathes and know twenty ways to prepare lamb. And these are the same people you'll always find at every Sunday Mass with that angelic look on their ugly mugs.
We have a "half relative" (half means we care about one side of the family. The other side can jump off a cliff as far as we're concerned) who has a strong faith in God and who happens to have survived a cornea transplant. After his eye was repaired, he took a good look at his wife and dumped her.
He strongly believes in God but he couldn't believe what he was married to.
Rome - August 12, 2010 - A Rome postman who ditched all the mail he was told to deliver on his last day of work before his vacation may not be able to get away after all, officials said on Friday.
Police were alerted by a number of phone calls from passers-by who noticed the mailman toss all the mail into a large trash can near Rome's Fiumicino airport.
They recovered the letters and had them delivered. Then they tracked down the man and 'delivered' their own summons.
The postman apparently got the idea after his boss told him that he could call it a day as soon as he handed out all the mail.
Italy's postmen: Find 11 reasons to do anything except deliver the mail.
1) Buy fresh bread,
Italy's post offices: Many tourists have had lengthy discussions on the inefficiency and sluggishness of our sensational post offices. Quite frankly, it's unnecessary chatter. We've learned to just lean back and enjoy it.
You enter one and immediately grab a ticket for the desired service...which we've always maintained should carry a warning sign stating, "la calma è la virtu dei forti" (the calm is the virtue of the strong). You then sit down and wait for your number to appear on a stupid flashing screen.
Now, the main problem with the post offices is not that there aren't enough windows but that few of them are ever open. On a typical day, only one "postal window" will be open, together with a couple of "financial windows". Then there's the "teaser" window which doesn't specify what service it's for. Someone will appear for a minute, pretend to work, disappear, return after 5-7 minutes, take care of one customer, then disappear again. The cycle repeats every half hour.
Italy's postal services (mailing a letter): Trying to obtain a proof of postage is the same as asking where is the best place to hunt for truffles in the deep forests of Le Marche.
Venice - August 13, 2010 - Venice's first ever female gondolier trainee passed her final exam this week and her name was added to an official list of those allowed to practice this age-old profession.
Mother-of-two Giorgia Boscolo, 24, took courses for a year and completed an apprenticeship before taking the exam. She can now ask for a 'full' gondolier's license and in the meantime can 'substitute' her future colleagues.
Boscolo's achievement was hailed by Aldo Rosso, the former head of the city's gondola agency, who said "I'm so happy for Giorgia and in a little way share her joy because it was under my presidency that the first woman was admitted to the gondolier's course".
In June 2009 Boscolo passed the entry exam to a special course introduced by the city council in 2007. A month later, under the watchful eye of a licensed male gondolier, she ferried Venice residents and tourists from the San Toma jetty wearing the traditional white-and-blue striped shirt, black trousers and, as the gondoliers' code requires, matching shoes as well as non-regulation gold nail polish.
Boscolo says he inherited her passion for navigating Venice's canals from her gondolier father, Dante, when she was seven.
"I've always loved gondolas and, unlike my three sisters, I preferred to punt with my father instead of going out with my friends," she said after passing her entrance exam.
She dismissed concerns from male gondoliers that she wasn't strong enough to handle the 11-metre-long, 500kg boats, saying "childbirth is much more difficult".
Before the establishment of a 'school' for gondoliers, the profession was passed down from father to son.
Two other women enrolled on the course failed to match Boscolo. Neither Alessandra Taddei, a local woman who belongs to the Venetian rowing club, nor German-American Alexandra Hai, who has fought a 12-year battle for the right to become a gondolier, passed the test.
Even before the official course was launched in 2007, Hai had taken the gondoliers' test four times, steering her boat along canals and performing tricky maneuvers. But each time she failed, saying that examiners were "overly strict". She has accused the 425-strong association of Venetian gondoliers of deliberately keeping her out because of her sex, but the association has refuted this claim fiercely, saying she simply isn't good enough.
Hai, 43, did however win a small victory when a court upheld her right to ferry hotel guests about in a gondola even though she has no licence. She is employed by a Venetian hotel to offer precisely this service.
There are 40 places on the gondolier course, which lasts six months.
It includes 400 hours of instruction in using the distinctive single oar that is used to propel a gondola through the water. Students must learn how to steer the banana-shaped boats from the back and the front. They also have to take English courses, study sailing law and demonstrate perfect knowledge of Venice's canals and landmarks.
It's the typical image of a vacation in Venice: Two lovers, snuggling in a gondola, whispering sweet nothings to each other while sipping Prosecco as they pass beneath the famous bridges during one of the most crappy, disappointing, money wasting excursions in the history of European travel.
"Ti amo, Fabio..."
Then comes along Signora Giorgia Boscolo who will attempt to change the tarnished image. And why not? The smelly canals of Venice need a woman's touch.
The aspiring female gondolier had to pass a first rowing test and attend a series of courses of at least one foreign language, and Venetian history and art.
Same naive tourist from previous articles: Oh, what's the name of that famous Venetian merchant?
She eventually also had to pass another rowing test, this time much more important and difficult: Rowing alone astern, as a regular gondolier must do. And this test doesn't take you up the middle of the Grand Canal, but through the small side canals around all sorts of diabolical corners. If the wind is gusting and you're going with the tide, it gets even better.
Giorgia: "Hey, ragazzi! It was tough but I made it. I'm so happy!"
At that point, the successful aspirant had to serve a sort of apprenticeship with a licensed gondolier for at least six months. Then she qualified as a substitute, and will continue as a substitute for whichever gondolier needs someone to stand in for him for whatever reason until a license becomes available.
Giorgia: "Giuseppe, you've got a fever, your eyes are red and you're coughing all over the lagoon. I'll stand in for you."