"Weh!" Welcome to the only Italian newsletter who believe Italy needs another political party to protect the interests of retired communist lifeguards and jellyfish, "Only In Italy!"
Peppino, I thought Italians were smart people, or at least they pretend to be smart, I mean, they demand it!
The solution to get rid of all that garbage before it also spreads like a virus north where I live, il stupidi solution is so close to Naples, all they have to do is dumb it all in Monte Vesuvius...
Gee what's so difficult about that! That way, all save taxes, bumb-offs and politicians can go about their profession like they always have. Vincenzo
Grazie for the feedback, Vincenzo.
Your comments are more entertaining than the festival of San Gennaro. And it's going to take more than the miracle of his blood liquefying to stop us from chuckling.
However; it would be a worthwhile idea to have the garbage dumped (or dumbed) into Mount Vesuvius. After all, we could risk the spread of a virus north to where you live, south where we live, to the east towards Albania and west towards Spain.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Naples - June 13, 2008 - An Italian crook begged to go back to jail after telling wardens life behind bars was better than living with his wife again.
Prison bosses had freed Luigi Folliero, 45, to serve the second year of his two-year sentence for theft under house arrest.
But after just two days at home he fled back to Ponte San Leonardo jail, near Naples, and pleaded to go back in his old cell because he could not stand being at home with his wife.
He told wardens: "She never stops moaning and nagging.""Oh cazzo, non c'Ť lo faccio piý!"
Most Italian women nag because it is in their sick nature to do so. They grew up watching incredibly sympathetic mothers, aunts and grandmothers around them doing it and were taught that it was the best way to handle incompetent Italian men and their occasional inability to function on a normal human level.
Sometimes Italian women nag over some seemingly insignificant and stupid thing in order to work their way onto larger unimportant issues. She knows that it is going to force you to climb the wall and plans on using that anger later to bring up whatever it is that is really bothering her.
Luigi doesn't understand that the sad truth is you have to work on a relationship.
When Luigi met his girl and tried to get her into bed, that wasn't hard work. It was fun!
Then he got married and 5 to 6 years into it...
"Oh, mio Dio! We have to go see a counselor!"
"VAFFANCULO, WHAT IS THIS!?"
Most married Italian men scream at others not to get married, but they don't listen.
"But my wife is different..."
And then you have Luigi telling other prison inmates, "There is no difference..."
A marriage is a large tomato field and we all have tomato presses.
Milan - June 11, 2008 - It seems there are one or two confirmed shirkers in normally industrious Milan. Yesterday ATM, the Milan transport enterprise, which is wholly owned by the municipal authority, started dismissal procedures against nine work-shy operatives.
It has to be said that the nine were not short of imagination. One was in charge of a workshop at a tram and bus garage, which he had converted for his own ends. The windows were darkened to keep out prying eyes and inside, his colleagues were busy making dog kennels.
In another case, an office worker left one building to deliver documents to the head office. Since the papers failed to arrive, search parties were sent out and the man was found tucked away in a bar, completely drunk. This anthology of sub-prime productivity continues with stories of workers disappearing for months at a time without so much as a doctorís note.
ATM prefers not to comment. Instead, transport enterprise chair and CEO Elio Catania made an early-morning (6:30 am) visit to the garages. Backing up the enterprise's top executive is the Milan municipal authority. "The dismissal procedures initiated at ATM show that our subsidiary is rigorously, correctly, pursuing the objectives of efficiency and productivity", boasted deputy mayor and National Alliance (NA) senator, Riccardo De Corato.
"Municipal authorities that have loss-making public transport companies should take a leaf out of our book", Mr De Corato went on. "It is no coincidence that in 2007, ATM make a 2.8 million-euro profit".
Currently, employees of the Milan transport enterprise take fourteen days' sick leave each year, which is the precise average for workers in the sector as a whole.
"The striking thing is not the nine dismissal procedures but the fact that this behavior has been tolerated for years by the enterprise's management. You can't make dog kennels at the workplace without attracting managers' attention", says amazed employment law expert, Michele Tiraboschi.
The union is careful not to contest ATM's actions over individual cases.
"The enterprise is right to punish unlawful behavior. Individual workers will have their say before the tribunal. The crucial thing is that intervention should be equally robust at all levels", requests Nino Cortorillo, general secretary of the Lombardy FILT, the CGIL-affiliated transport union.
"It's a storm in a teacup", says Roberto Rossi, general secretary of the Lombardy FIT-CISL union.
"ATM dismisses about thirty-five workers every year. Where's the news?"
At the same time, the unions spring to the defense of Milan's tram, bus and metro drivers.
"We're talking about an enterprise that clocks up nearly two million hours' overtime every year", says the CGILís Nino Cortorillo.
"Enough to justify hiring another thousand workers. Does it sound like these workers are afraid of hard graft? Perhaps this is not so much a crack-down on shirkers as a witch hunt".
The Milan transport enterprise employs 8,670 people, of whom 5,235 drive trams, buses and metro trains. It has ambitious plans in the pipeline. A feasibility study regarding the possible merger of Milanís ATM with GTT, its sister company in Turin, will be ready before the end of summer. If the respective boards give the thumbs up, the new company will begin operations next January.
Meanwhile, dismissal procedures are a long way from over. In compliance with the 1934 royal decree that disciplines the sector, approval for the dismissals will have to come from an internal disciplinary committee made up of three union representatives, three company nominees and one independent member.
In the end, the number of people fired may well be much lower than nine.
"Porca di quella puttana, where's the bus?"
Italy is now one of the most expensive and bizarre places in the world to run a business (especially if one also takes into account the country's mesmerizing byzantine bureaucracy, personified by an army of highly-paid arrogant notary publics, and the poor telecommunication infrastructure, personified by millions of Italians who have never sent nor received an email).
In the meantime, Italy has raised a class of professional non-working jackasses who manage to get a salary from the incredibly befuddled government without working: an impressive percentage of the population does not work but receives money from the government (early retirements, unemployment benefits, handicap and stupidity insurance).
Believe it or not, a 40 hour week is considered standard in Italy. Italian employees do not receive a gross salary out of which they would pay taxes: employers already deduct state taxes out of all paychecks.
Salaries are always paid not weekly but in more than 12 installments, usually in 13 or 14 installments or sometimes even in 16 installments over the year. If salaries are paid in 13 installments, employees may receive two paychecks in December, if they are paid in 14 installments, they may receive an additional paycheck in June and December.
Workers receive a minimum of 4 weeks of undeserved paid holidays, although many receive up to 6 weeks.
Usually, employees are granted two vacation days per month, amounting to 24 holidays per year. And the kick in the "coglioni" is, if employees do not use all of their vacation days by the end of the year, they may carry them over to the following year. Companies may decide to cancel part of their employees' yearly vacation, but in that case they would have to pay their employees dearly for those days in addition to an overtime salary.
Finally, there are also a further 10 days of public holiday, with additional half day holidays and feast days for local patron saints.
Those who do work have a dream and that's to retire as soon as they get offered a so-called deal: Italian pensions are among the most generous in the world (especially if they have reached the aristocratic and utopian level of "dirigente" (manager), which entitles one to a monthly payment many times higher than the monthly payment of an ordinary person).
Face it! Italians are not going to change.
They may change the government, but any new government will be governing over the same Italians, and therefore will simply do more of the same:
- More salary increases,
Rome - June 11, 2008 - First they vote, then, with a sleight of hand and some nimble finger-work, they also vote on behalf of one or more colleagues absent from parliament. But the tune may be about to change for Italy's political "pianists" - the name given to parliamentarians who, surreptitiously, express more than the single, personal vote allowed.
"It's a real disgrace that has to stop," said Gianfranco Fini, the speaker of the lower house Chamber of Deputies who is spearheading a change in the way parliamentary votes are registered.
The electronic voting system currently in place in the Chamber of Deputies and in the upper house Senate, is simple enough to operate.
And, as offenders caught on television have often shown, quite easy to trick.
Each parliamentarian's bench is fitted with a console containing three buttons - green for a "yes" vote, red for "no" and white for an abstention.
Cheating parliamentarians register their vote by pressing one of the buttons on their own console and then press those on the empty benches next to them.
"It amounts to committing fraud with aggravating circumstances," said Antonio Di Pietro, a former magistrate and leader of the center-left opposition Italy of Values party.
As Di Pietro pointed out in a parliament debate on the issue this week, absentee parliamentarians, and the political parties they represent, get to benefit twice from the scam.
Votes get to count despite the failure to personally register them, and absentee parliamentarians by virtue of having "voted" are marked as present in official records, entitling them to receive the daily parliamentary attendance allowance.
In Italy, where parliamentarians are the best paid in Europe - earning around 16,000 euros (24,000 dollars) a month - this daily allowance amounts to 250 euros (389 dollars).
Past measures to curb the cheating have had little success.
These including forcing "pianists" caught in the act to forfeit their own attendance allowance and to expel them for at least one parliament session.
Fini has now proposed installing a new electronic console that would require each parliamentarian to register their personal vote by pushing not one, but two buttons.
These would be set a distance apart so as to force the voter to use both hands and leave none free to vote on behalf of someone else.
Parliament, including the pianists, will first have to vote and approve Fini's proposal, before it can become law.
Cazzo, what a shame though. Now, they won't be able to vote and pick their nose at the same time.
We'll bet you never realized there were so many talented politicians in that parliament where the smell of corruption in the air is so thick when you leave, it gives you the urge to brush your teeth.
Another way to keep these disgusting hands still is to install miniature versions of the "Bocca della Verita" (Mouth of Truth) on every Parliament seat. Each time the smelly and corrupt fingers of a politician reaches into the console of an empty seat it would bite them off, spit them out and then ask if he would like to confirm his vote.
It's not to say that Italians in general are not also musically talented. Most of us who don't earn a Parliament salary of $24,000 a month sing/whistle a wonderful daily tune we know by heart called, "I Woke Up and Went To Work".