"Buon Giorno e Bentornati!" Welcome to the only newsletter that serves up humor with a pinch of irreverence and extra marinara sauce, "Only In Italy!"
Ciao to all our lovely and faithful subscribers. It's great to be back! Hope you have all enjoyed your summer vacations and holidays.
We must state life in Italy has been quite interesting these past couple of months thanks to a fat, stressed out, iconoclastic and funny comedian by the name of Beppe Grillo.
Beppe Grillo is the man behind "Vaffanculo Day", which attracted 300,000 people on September 8 to sign a petition supporting a common goal: purging Italy of its corrupt political class, which in Grillo's view includes political parties, most government institutions and the media.
Italians lined up in more than 200 cities and towns to sign the petition for Grillo's "Clean Up Parliament" proposal that, if it were brought before Parliament and adopted, would throw out candidates convicted of crimes from seeking public office, limit politicians to just two terms and introduce the direct election of legislators.
"The idea of "Vaffanculo Day" was to give a voice to those who don't have a voice," said Grillo.
And this voice was certainly heard from the politicians in Rome who just love to "poop plenty" about their politics. The Italians made it clear; we can only take so much "poop"!
On a different "poop", our site, "Only In Italy", will soon be transformed into a user-friendly blog so that all our lovely subscribers and non will be able to get that additional quick fix of humor from the insightful, informative and wacky comments our subscribers will leave behind.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Venice - September 28, 2007 - An elderly Italian wheelchair user has been told to register his vehicle as a car and get a licence plate so he can use it on the street.
Pietro Matiz, an 81-year-old paraplegic, was stopped by traffic police for driving too fast along Venice's famed Lido.
"They said I was endangering pedestrians because my chair goes at nine km per hour when it should have a top speed of six," Matiz told reporters.
"I feel like I'm under house arrest now I can't use it".
"The situation is all the more absurd because the law on these new wheelchairs came out in 2005 and they haven't done a thing even though they knew it would cause problems".
"I phoned a handicap helpline and they said the transport ministry had to talk to the health ministry before anything could be done".
"In the meantime I'm stuck in the house with my allegedly souped-up chair in the garage"."Troppo veloce?! Prendimi un bicchiere d'acqua, impiegato statale!" "Too fast?! Get me a glass of water, you civil servant!"
It's no secret that Venice is notoriously inaccessible to the handicapped, particularly, to those in wheelchairs:
- Avoid "Piazza San Marco" at high tide otherwise, you'll risk drowning.
- Have to get to the other side of the lagoon? Try hailing down a gondola in a wheelchair.
- Avoid the sharp turns otherwise, you'll wind up in a canal.
- The maintenance on wheelchairs is overwhelming. Rust and short circuits are the main problems caused by the constant Venice floods.
And now, you run the risk of being clocked on radar from the compassionate Polizia. How silly! How stupid!
Next time, why not impound the wheelchair and make him crawl down to the station?
It's a good thing Pietro is not quadriplegic. He can give a backhand to the face next time he's pulled over for doing 3 km over the handicapped speed limit.
Rome - September 30, 2007 - A convent in southern Italy is being shut down after a quarrel among its last three remaining nuns ended in blows, reporters said Sunday.
Sisters Annamaria and Gianbattista, reportedly upset about their mother superior's authoritarian ways, scratched her in the face and threw her to the ground at Santa Clara convent near Bari in an incident in July that was kept quiet until now.
Archbishop Giovanni Battista Pichierri tried to reconcile the nuns but finally decided in late August that they had "clearly lost their religious vocation" and asked the Vatican for permission to close the convent.
Sisters Annamaria and Gianbattista moved to another convent, but Sister Liliana barricaded herself inside, refusing to leave, the reports said, adding that she suspected Battista Pichierri of planning to cede the convent to another community.
Liliana has been at the convent since its founding in 1963."Va a cagare, Suor Liliana!"
When will nuns learn that violence is not the answer.
We have to agree with the Archbishop. The sisters had clearly lost their religious vocation along with their holy marbles. But it must be written somewhere in the Bible that these grape stompers are supposed to be role models for the Catholic Church and Italian society.
Maybe there was no fresh air in the convent and the sisters became dizzy from the candle fumes and strayed too far from the chosen path.
Scratches to the face? We do not agree with this sort of punishment exhibited on poor Suor Liliana. After all, if you have ever attended Catholic schools as a youngster, the requisite brutality by certain specially trained nuns will bring back fond memories.
Paddling on the backside: Some paddles were even drilled with holes for better aerodynamics and stinging.
Kneeling for the entire school day: When JFK was assassinated, the nuns had blamed the students and so we were forced to kneel on the floor for the rest of the day... as if we knew who the second gunman was on the Grassy Knoll.
To the front of the class, arms out, holding textbooks: By the end of the school year, we had forearms bigger than "Popeye".
Milan - September 25, 2007 - Italian researchers say they are on the verge of unveiling the fragment of DNA that causes migraines and other debilitating headaches, the world's fifth biggest neurological problem.
Lorenzo Pinessi of Turin's Le Molinette research hospital said his team's work to be unveiled here Wednesday at the annual conference of the Italian Society for Headache Studies was "unprecedented".
Working with US scientists who provided advanced DNA test equipment not available in Turin, Pinessi said the Turin researchers had examined several possible candidates and were now poised to unveil the gene that not only causes migraines but transmits them from one generation to the next.
He said he could not yet reveal its identity because the research work was only in the process of being prepared. But a paper would be proposed to the journal Nature "within two months".
"The gene we are homing in on is found on a single chromosome," Pinessi said. "We will probably be able to prove for the first time the existence of a gene site linked to migraine".
Pinessi said this could have a "most remarkable" implication for treating the potentially disabling condition, which affects millions of people worldwide.
"We're still just groping blindly when it comes to treating migraines. This discovery could lead us out of the darkness".
"La testa mi fa male, porca puttana!"
According to the Italian Society for Headache Studies, migraine attacks may be triggered by:
- Allergic reactions (due to meddling Italian mother-in-laws who think its normal to think and talk aloud),
- Bright lights, loud noises, and certain odors or perfumes (Naples),
- Physical or emotional stress (from lunch every single Sunday afternoon with 50 of your closest and most annoying relatives),
- Changes in sleep patterns (what your spouse learned from his/her lover),
- Smoking or exposure to smoke (from your Uncle who will go so far as to put his ashes in your shirt pocket),
- Skipping meals (due to overcooked tomato sauce and one day old bread),
- Alcohol or caffeine (from your seventh espresso of the day),
- Foods containing tyramine like red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans (and there goes half the Italian diet).