"Ma che giornata della minchia!" Welcome to another issue of pure psychological egoism, "Only In Italy!"
Ciao! I'm an Italian-American woman who lived in Italy for several years before moving to London where I live now. Sometimes I miss this country that I love very much - the times I think of pizza, piazzas, beautiful weather, gelato, monuments, beautiful art... Sometimes I even think about going back - but then thankfully something happens, like reading your most recent newsletter. Then I remember NOT the Italy that a tourist experiences, but the Italy I would be faced with as a woman if I were living and working there!
Thank you so much for reminding me that although Italy is beautiful and wonderful, I would never want to work there...Congratulations on your brilliant work, I love your newsletters! Complimenti! Caterina
Thanks for the heart filled letter, Caterina. We're proud of you. You're one of those people who lived in Italy and was able to wake up from the "Twilight Zone" and leave (not an easy task).
Seriously, however, we have to agree that Italy is truly a beautiful country in most aspects. So, we have an incredibly high unemployment rate among young Italians...big deal. How would old Italians respond to this? "Well, as long as you have your health..."
Sure, blah-blah-blah, thanks! "Vaffanculo!" Where's my weekly allowance, nonno?
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - September 17, 2010 - Italian police seized a computer, CD-ROMs, notes, overseas phone numbers and letters to a Palermo woman from the cell of ex-Mafia head Giovanni Brusca Friday.
The material was confiscated in a probe against the mafioso-turned-informant for money laundering and attempted extortion.
For the moment Brusca will not be moved from Rome's Rebibbia prison, police said, unless he is ejected from the witness protection system.
Prosecutors are interrogating the former Cosa Nostra kingpin on a suspected secret money hoard.
For those who are keeping tabs on members of our Mafia, Giovanni Brusca, nicknamed "Il Maiale" (the pig) is known for his disheveled appearance, huge appetites, and for having more food caught in his teeth than his victims would eat the entire day. The cuddly "maiale" once testified that he had killed "between 100 and 200" people (give or take 10-20 people) with his own hands. When you choke people, after your 22nd victim all the necks appear the same.
Brusca killed an 11-year-old son of a rival boss who'd turned state's evidence, dissolving the body in a vat of acid. But his most devastating moment came in 1992 when he pressed the button that triggered the explosives under a Sicilian highway that killed crusading magistrate Giovanni Falcone, Falcone's wife and five bodyguards.
Beginning in 2004, Brusca was allowed out of prison for one week every forty-five days to see his family, a reward for his good behavior as well as becoming a so-called informant and co-operating with Italian authorities. Unfortunately, these authorities had trouble understanding that the relatives of his many victims were angry at such a soft treatment for a dangerous killer...and that the meaning of "serving time" does not mean surfing the web from your jail cell.
"Porca vacca", it's jail! You're supposed to boss around a Mafia boss, inhibit his freedoms, and hassle him! Whose incredibly brilliant idea was it to give a pig a PC and CD-roms?
Brusca (on Facebook): "Figlio di puttana", I swear on my kids, if you don't take care of that situation I'll bury you next to the artichokes in my Farmville."
What aggravation. This is man whose every cavity should be searched for hidden pen drives and be beaten with a modem every time he gets online.
Rome - September 16, 2010 - New standing-up seats touted as a way of packing more passengers into planes have been made in Italy.
Prototypes of the seats, which allow travelers to lean back and squat on a saddle in an almost-vertical harnessed recliner, have been made by Aviointeriors, an aeronautical fittings company based in Latina south of Rome.
The company will present the 'SkyRider' seats, whose concept was first aired in what was taken as a joke by Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary, at a plane interiors expo in California next week.
"We are extremely confident that this concept will have great appeal for airlines for economic reasons," said the firm's general manager, Dominique Menoud.
He said several companies in the United States and elsewhere, including Ryanair and a Chinese low-cost carrier, Spring Airlines, had voiced an interest. Ryanair has pioneered cost-cutting moves such as charging for meals and O'Leary has even floated the possibility of making passengers pay for toilet visits.
But Aviointeriors says it came with the idea on its own.
"For flights up to three hours this would be extremely comfortable seating," Menoud said. The proposed seats were splashed across the front page of British newspaper The Daily Express Thursday which said "They'll turn planes into cattle trucks".
"The experience is like riding a horse (turbulence included)," said the Express, which noted that the SkyRiders will let airlines shave 20 cm off aisle widths.
Carry-on bags can be hung from hooks on the side of the SkyRiders.
The prototype has also been criticized because it appears to be designed for people of average build. People who are shorter or taller are allegedly forced into stress positions, resulting in "a torment worse than economy passengers suffer," the Express said.
Airlines analyst Paul Charles, a former Virgin Atlantic executive, was quoted as saying: "The passengers aren't ready and the industry isn't either.
"They aren't comfortable, not even for an hour's flight".
At the start of the summer Ryanair said it wanted to introduce the stand-up seats on short-haul flights within the next two years, for just four euros.
British flight safety officials said the proposed seats wouldn't pass safety tests.
"Oh, porca l'oca," we apologize to all frequent flyers for this. This is not one of our finest inventions. Maybe the design team at Aviointeriors needs more to do (might we be so bold as to suggest looking for jobs?).
We would like to take this opportunity to submit some of our flying ideas that we would like to see end up on the drawing boards at Aviointeriors:
- Tranquillizing the passengers and loading them on with fork lift trucks,
How about a double-armed catapult that could hurl passengers from one major city to the next?
Milan - September 16, 2010 - A Milan University lab is testing so-called anti-hangover drinks to see if they really counteract the effect of having too much to drink.
"They are no scientific studies capable of gauging the inhibitory action of these products," said a team from ESAE, a unit of Milan university.
"We aim to see if the supplements in these so-called 'energy drinks' effectively lower the level of alcohol in the blood".
ESAE said it was launching a scheme to pool its data with other European alcohol research agencies.
The study will also look at the positive effects of wine as a natural anti-oxidant slowing the ageing process, said Mara Rossoni of Milan University's Vegetable Production department.
Research leader Antonio Cesare Sparacino said he hoped the study would have "a great impact" on public policy regarding youth binge-drinking, which is becoming an increasing problem in Italy, and might encourage youngsters to return to the healthier drinking habits of their parents and grandparents.
"Finalmente", help from the Milanese for Southern Italians who start drinking half past yesterday.
"The study will also look at the positive effects of wine as a natural anti-oxidant slowing the ageing process." Hmmm...it could slow the aging process but it doesn't mean drinking 87 glasses of wine a day is going to give Sicilian farmers a skin as smooth as a baby's bottom.
By the way, there's is no such thing as a "healthy drinking habit". And our parents and grandparents were not exactly the best examples to take seriously. Ever have a couple of glasses of Sicilian homemade wine?
"Vaffanculo, get out of my way! Your generation doesn't know a thing. That there is gold in my cantina!"
Will there be any help for grappa drinkers? "Porca vacca", that's strong! Itís the only liquor that will make you feel sick to your stomach while you're still in the bar. You go home and pray for daylight to come as soon as possible.
How about help for counteracting the effect of cheese? We had one Italian cousin complain that after a night of drinking and puking, he had puke go up his nose. "Cacchio", no matter how many times he washed his mouth out he still smelled like Gorgonzola cheese.