"Siete tutti belli" Welcome to the most interesting newsletter in the history of mozzarella and electricity, "Only In Italy!"
"Your writers are so funny! I love reading your take on the news from my past home. I lived and worked in Italy for the US Navy a total of 5 years (a year and a half in a suburb of Bella Napoli).
For most Italian men, calcio is more sacred than the church. I'm surprised the government has the nerve to impose any sanctions. Witness the level of corruption that has been part of Serie A teams as of late. Thanks for making my day. Larry W.
Thanks Larry! Is the war over in Naples? What is the guerrilla warfare in the streets like?
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - March 24, 2010 - Silvio Berlusconi is never at his best when the sometimes adoring Italian public turn against him. With opinion polls showing his party faces a whitewash in this weekend's regional elections, and his approval ratings at an all-time low of 44 per cent, he lashed out this week at Mercedes Bresso, who is standing as regional president for Piedmont.
"You know why Bresso is always in a bad mood?" the 73-year-old prime minister told a rally in Turin on Tuesday night. "Because in the morning when she gets up, she looks at herself in the mirror to put her make-up on and sees herself. And so her day is already ruined."
Quite why the bizarrely perma-tanned PM, who everyone knows has undergone plastic surgery and at least one hair transplant in the past, thinks he can get away with this sort of personal attack remains a mystery. Earlier this month, he tried the same thing on a partially bald Italian journalist, saying: "Your day is already ruined when you look in the mirror to comb your hair."
Bresso, who is standing as regional president for Piedmont in northern Italy, answered Berlusconi's jibe by saying it was in poor taste for two reasons. "One, I am always happy and you will find it hard to see a picture of me not smiling.
"Secondly, when it comes to make-up all I can say is that I use a lot less than Berlusconi. I am younger and much better preserved and I haven't had a facelift."
Piedmont is just one of the regions expected to be lost this weekend by Berlusconi's People of Freedom party - and it could go, not to the center-left represented by Bresso, but to the far-right anti-immigration and racist Northern League party.
Wow! What class! What flair! What a "faccia di culo!"
Yes, little Silvio has had a long history of both objectifying and ridiculing women and is getting as inappropriate as the designer asbestos implanted on his scalp but it doesn't appear that the chuckle-faced hump who wears shoe-lifts will let up. Therefore, we cannot see any wrong if Signora Bresso would have concentrated her political campaign around his mysterious head.
Examples: - "I know many of my fellow citizens right now are thinking, "How can Silvio run a country if he can't run his own head?"
- "As another pint-sized megalomaniac (Napoleon) once said, "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." But his hair follicles look like they need crutches."
- "Take a good look at the brown smudge on the top of his head. Many including the Pope are asking, "Minchia, what the hell is it?" Flammable spray, paste, olive pesto, gel, foundation, boot-polish, brown make up pencil, or all of the above?
Whatever it is, even magicians seem to be of the opinion that if his transplant had worked better he wouldn't need to resort to magical cosmetic tricks.
Andrea Boattini, who broke the 150-year-old Italian record for comet spotting with seven in 2008, said he spotted the new body in the early hours of the night while he was scanning all the Near Earth Objects (NEOs) currently visible.
"It's quite large, at least 10-15 km in diameter, but you'll only be able to see it with fairly powerful telescopes because it's so far from the Sun," said Boattini, 40, who works at the Mount Bigelow Observatory in Arizona on a NASA program to identify objects that could potentially pose a threat to the Earth.
The comet, in the Ursa Major (Big Dipper) constellation, is now "a little closer than Jupiter, more than 500 million km from Earth," he said.
But it will be a rare visitor to the Solar System, he said.
"This is probably going to be its first and last trip near the Sun. It's come a long way, after spending some 4.5 billion years, or the entire life span of the Solar System, in the Oort Cloud".
The comet, like the astronomer's previous 11, has been named after him, C/2010 F1 (Boattini). As well as his 12 comets, Boattini has 170 asteroids under his belt and recently burnished his reputation further by finding the closest of those rocks to the Sun.
What a "cacasenno"! Sorry ladies. He's not available.
Do we need more scrumptious Italian dishes? No.
Most of us don't comprehend the fact that...we need pictures of outer space! More black background with lots of stars.
"As well as his 12 comets, Boattini has 170 asteroids under his belt..." This is a man who must pace himself like a Sicilian slug. Someone should tell Andrea about the Berlin Wall.
"...he spotted the new body in the early hours of the night while he was scanning all the Near Earth Objects (NEOs) currently visible." The next time Andrea gets the urge to scan NEOs, he should say to himself, "I should be scanning the cantina to see which wine barrels need flushing out."
Last week, in an unrelated case, one of Italy's highest courts issued a ruling that states calling someone gay can be an insult if It's done with the intention to denigrate. The ruling sparked a debate among the country’s homosexual community: Will the decision, which aimed to protect gay rights, hurt not help?
"It risks reinforcing the idea that if you call somebody gay, they should feel offended," said Aurelio Mancuso," one of the country’s leading activists on the issue. "For us to be called gay is to be serene and comfortable."
The case concerned a letter written by a policeman, named in the court documents as Dante S., to a colleague, Luciano T., in 2002. The two men had a long-standing rivalry and were competing to become the chief of police. In addition to describing his competitor as "gay," Dante noted that Luciano had gone on a mountain holiday in the company of a sailor and accused him of having been expelled from a sports club frequented by young men.
In Italy, insulting somebody is a fineable offense, and Luciano took his rival to court, sparking a long process that concluded on March 17. Though Dante insisted he had not meant to be judgmental, the court found otherwise and ordered him to pay Luciano 400 euros ($540), plus 4,000 euros ($5,400) in fines and court fees.
Generally, the decision has been warmly received by a homosexual community frustrated by a lack of progress in gay rights when compared with other European countries.
"The fact that the word is neutral doesn't mean it can't be used to offend," said Paolo Patane, president of Arcigay, Italy’s leading homosexual advocacy group. "If the intention is to hurt, to humiliate, and in doing so I add actions or other words, then It's an offense."
In October, the Italian parliament rejected a law that would have made violence against homosexuals a hate crime.
"It's not because the word ‘gay’ itself caused the injury, but it was the context that caused the offense," said Franco Grillini, a politician and director of gaynews.it, a news site. "A stick by itself isn't offensive. But if I hit you with it, it hurts."
"It's the association between being gay and being a pedophile that’s unacceptable," said Patane.
But others, like Mancuso, see the court’s decisions as reflecting a larger discomfort in Italy's predominantly Catholic society.
"I'd like to understand why being called gay is so offensive in this country," Mancuso said.
After the verdict was announced, Luciano’s lawyer, Michele Brunetti, took pains to point out his client wasn't homosexual. "Certainly, he goes on vacation with male friends and he’s never been married," he told a local daily paper. "But I never had the impression that he had those tendencies."
According to University of Bologna sociologist Luca Pietrantoni, gay rights in Italy remain behind other European countries. Homosexuals are much less likely to be open about their sexual preference, especially in the work place.
As is often the case in Italy, when it comes to homosexuality, people are generally tolerant in the public sphere (the country elected the first transgendered parliamentarian in Europe) but conservative at home.
"Gay people aren't totally rejected by their families," said Pietrantoni. "There’s a kind of negotiations of don't ask don't tell."
According to a 2006 poll, 31 percent of Italians favored of gay marriage, compared to 42 percent in the Europe Union as a whole. Only 24 percent of Italians agreed that homosexuals should be allowed to adopt, compared to 31 percent in the EU.
The word "gay" is considered shameful, said Pietrantoni. Politicians tend to use synonyms: "different," "those people." When Bologna hosted a Gay Pride parade in 2008, the permit forbid the demonstrators from entering the city center or passing in front of churches.
"There’s a culture of avoidance," said Pietrantoni. "As if gay identity is embarrassing, shameful."
"Politicians tend to use synonyms: "different," "those people." "Cacchio", what a coincidence. When Italians refer to their politicians, they tend to use synonyms such as "meaningless critters" and "witless invertebrates".
Many may not know that some of Italy's greatest and most admired Italian artists (Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and Caravaggio) were homosexual. Even 'opera' is fixed in the Italian culture and in large part in the gay community.
And you can't overlook the adorableness of the Italians themselves, especially men. Italian men truly know how to cut "una bella figura" (great appearance) especially when they're swishing around in their tailored designer clothes. The ancient sidewalks and streets of Rome you see have lasted for so long because Italian men float over them. "Mamma mia", they're all light in the feet!
Speaking of Rome, it's also interesting to know most Italian gays love the Easter holidays the most because that’s when they show most of the gladiator movies...but that's a different topic we won't dive into.
Another factor to consider is that Italy's culture is a family-oriented society where the male-macho ethic runs strong. Under these conditions it's a pain in the ass (pardon the expression) for gays to come out; many prefer instead to keep quiet and lead a double life.
Since our cousin, Claudio, turned gay, our grandmother has had a tough time accepting the reality. At church services and receptions she refers to him as her granddaughter.