Friday, March 31, 2006

The New Conspiracy Theory and others...

Well no one responded to my last blog. So I’m going to write about what I feel like writing about, again…
I think the Chinese really know what they are doing, more than people think. I don’t think my friends in America see enough about China in the news. There are many stores here in Brindisi and throughout Europe that have Chinese goods. Big deal you say, but in these stores there are only Chinese people working. They have the whole loop in their control. It would be like the US sending Americans over to work every McDonalds around the world. The money would all stay in Americans hands. They may not be the best jobs but think of the numbers. Then there is the Chinese Channel I mentioned in the earlier blog. This is new on my TV and funny thing is that it’s 90% in English. I watched some of it and it’s mainly Chinese propaganda. Things like, “The children of China are working throughout the world for the betterment of the Mother Country”. I even watched it long enough to learn some Chinese like “gou ran” which means “hard to”. It would be gou ran believe that I could learn Chinese while being in Italy. Also you should have seen in the news that Russia is building TWO natural gas pipelines directly to China and they are going to start working on a third for oil. I’m afraid America’s days as THE economic force is numbered. I also heard in the news that for the first time since 1934 Americans borrowed more than they earned. Hopefully the raise in interest rates will help some people to see the value in saving.
The other topic is the traffic lately. They closed my street just down the road from my place. Now the road was in terrible shape so it needs the work. I was a little worried how I would get to work. Turns out they fixed this for me. They changed one of the one-way streets nearby to the opposite direction. Now this is odd because I remember when I first moved here that this particular street had markings that made it look like it was one way the opposite direction. It always scared me to turn on to it because I thought I was going the wrong way. Soooo with this change I think this road has changed directions twice in about the last 3 years alone. It looks “permanent” because they have changed all the signs so they are facing the other way and they added a traffic light. Now I know why people drive the wrong way on streets and why maps don’t tell you if a road is one way. They have had police directing the traffic every morning this week just to reassure people they are going the right way.
The other topic I mentioned was, chef leaving South Park, which is a real shame. Isaac Hayes was ok with making fun of every other religion and every other race on the planet but not Scientology.
Also I mentioned the US was crushed by Germany but I have since learned that most of the US’s good players were playing with their club teams the other day. I was wondering why I didn’t know anyone on the team except for Keller the goalie. So our hopes are still alive.That’s all I have for now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Wow so much to talk about. Maybe I should do a poll about my next topic. It could be:

1. My new conspiracy theory on the Chinese. Why? Because I have new channel on my TV. The Chinese Channel!! In Southern Italy!
2. The traffic in Brindisi and the joys of closing roads and driving the wrong way.
3. Chef leaving South Park
4. The USA getting pummeled by Germany 4-1 and how Italy pummeled Germany 4-1. What could this mean for the World Cup?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Permits, yeah for paperwork!!

I mentioned just two weeks ago how upset I was with the Italian paperwork system. I’m still upset but today I have my renewed permesso di soggiorno. What paperwork did I fill out? What has changed? Nothing. My friend talked to his friend and now I have the permesso. It turns out that he has this discussion every time with the Questura. They can’t seem to grasp that I am still working for my American company. I do not work for the Italian company here; therefore there is no contract between them and me, personally. The contract is between the companies and somehow that makes things better, for me at least. Their company pays my company and my company sent me. Therefore my company is still responsible for me in all matters. I think the difference is paying taxes, health insurance all that stuff. The contract is between companies so the government knows to ask my American company about taxes, etc. If the contract was between me and an Italian company then the government would be all over me and the Italian company to make sure I pay taxes and etc. So all is good for the last 6 months that I’m supposed to be here. I believe I’ll be here longer but I don’t know how long, so please don’t ask. I’m getting so sick of that question….
Oh, by the way, I went to the Questura and took a ticket number (A055) and the sign said they were on A017. They were on A021 when I left about an hour later. Also the office was due to close in 30 minutes AND 3 people came in after me and left before me, so much for taking a number. You have to have a “friend” or hire a very beautiful woman to go with you to the Questura. It’s that simple.Also about the Zeppole, at least one Giuseppe brought in Zeppole to work on Monday. So I had a total of 4 of them, 2 baked and 2 fried.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Nello, get outta there!!!

Is Nello trying to tell me how to end all the hair in the apartment? A quick wash and no more hair. In his defense that is part of his bed in the washing machine so he had a good reason to go in. Posted by Picasa


The Zeppole. This is the pastry for San Giuseppe. I had the name competely wrong in my previous post. The top is a little smashed from the walk home but it was GOOOD. I found out on Sunday there is also a fried version of the Zeppole (the one in the picture is baked) and sometimes they come with a candied cherry on top. Posted by Picasa

Frig Fun

In case you are doubting if I'm still documenting everything about this trip. A picture of my frig this afternoon. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 17, 2006

Saint who?

Today is March 17, so big deal. Well it IS a big deal but in many different ways. To many it’s St Patrick’s Day but in Italy that’s no big deal and I don’t think they even know. No one knew last night at the bar. Sometimes I’m amazed at how little Europeans know about their neighbors. I know St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest are popular in America because we have so many immigrants but still I expect a little more news to cross borders here in a few hundred years. So today is not important to Italians except….
It’s Friday the 17th!!!!!! Seventeen is bad luck in Italy and Friday the 17th is like Friday the 13th to us. I think I’ve written about this before. But there is good news. Sunday is San Giuseppe’s Day. This is very simple and basic festival. If you are named Giuseppe, one of the most popular male names in Italian, you are supposed to buy a little pastry called a “Suppina” for friends and family. These pastries are only made this time of year for this festival. I plan to buy one tomorrow and get a picture of it for the blog. So I guess the Friday the 17th is unlucky because then San Giuseppe falls on a Sunday so none of the Giuseppes at work will have to bring in the Suppinas. Festival and holidays in Italy do not get moved to the nearest Monday or Friday like in America except for Good Friday and Pasquetta (the Monday after Easter) but those holidays revolve around Easter, which is always Sunday so…

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

When TV is fun....

What a night for TV, last night. It was a rainy and cold night (cold for here) so I sat down to watch some TV before dinner. I watched my favorite game show “L’eredita” (Inheritance) and you can imagine my surprise when someone I work with and that I played soccer with is staring back at me. Fabio was on the show. I almost fell out of the chair. The program starts with 6 contests all with 10,000 euro and every round one is eliminated by asking questions (one round true and false, other multiple choices etc) and one of the remaining contests inherits the 10,000 euro of the person they eliminate. So I’m cheering him on and they get to the round “Scossa” (the jolt) where they go from 3 to 2. Unfortunately he was eliminated in this round and won nothing, well maybe “a play at home” version of the game. This is probably the reason he didn’t advertise that he was on the program and I know at least two people emailed him about the question he missed this morning. It was something about animals that are mentioned in the Bible. I could never make it on an Italian game show, too many questions about the Bible.The other fun thing on TV was THE BIG DEBATE. Berlusconi vs. Prodi in their first of 2 TV debates before the election. I knew it would be entertaining for me, well for a while. I noticed they were sitting down at desks probably because Berlusconi is much shorter. Other than that it was pretty similar to an American debate. There were time limits on the questions and answers but they kept going over their allotted time. Then there were differences like they seemed to go back and forth several times on the same question. It was like there was a rebuttal for a rebuttal; I was saying, “Move on”! Berlusconi would keep saying Italy is better off now than 5 years ago. Prodi kept pointing out mistakes that were made. In the end the papers declared Prodi the winner of the debate. I can’t believe it but Bush’s friend Berlusconi may not get re-elected. Did I mention in Italy election day is actually 2 days, Sunday and Monday?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bad Day

I’m having a bad day. I went down to the Questura to get the renewal of my Permesso di Soggiorno. This is the permit to live in Italy. It’s a pretty important document that is ALWAYS a pain in the…. I don’t know how other people live in this country legally. The only reason I can get this done is because someone here at work used to work in the Police so he knows someone who knows someone. This comes in handy because when I go down to the Questura they know me, and they give my paperwork a fair look, rather promptly. I take a number like everyone else but I’ve never had to wait long enough for my number to come up. From what I’ve seen I’m not sure my number would ever come out. They move very slowly and they are only open from 9:00 AM until 12:00 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. How do they get through the crowd in waiting area? There is always a lot of people waiting and no one ever seems to leave, at least with what they were trying to get. Well I had turned in my paperwork a few weeks ago and my inspector friend said everything was fine. I returned today; because this is date they told me to return on, to simply pick up my completed Permesso. Not only is it not done, which wasn’t really a surprise, but also there are two other forms I need to fill out to get it done. I’ve been here for over 2 years and I’ve never done these other forms. I’ve never even HEARD of them!!!! Also these forms are not new. She gave me one of them and it looks like it was printed in 1970 and I have to laugh because I see one of the blanks is “Numero, Permesso di Soggiorno:________”, which I don’t have because I need to fill out this form to get it!!! I know this is going to be fun. This country WILL drive you mad one way or another. I know it’s not easy to emigrate into the USA but…..

Monday, March 06, 2006

Rain, Rain, e piu pioggia

Well it’s raining again this morning. Somehow we managed a great dry weekend in March. It’s good and bad. People are already saying that this rain should make for another good year of wine in the area. Last year was also a good year because of a wet spring. It was so good in fact I remember reading that farmers didn’t harvest some of their grapes because it wasn’t worth making into wine. The market was flooded with wine… ok perhaps not one of my best attempts at humor recently.
I feel I should take the photo of me with the cow hat down. Looking back I do look pretty stupid in it. It didn’t seem like a bad idea when everyone was doing it! Anyway Nello loves to attack the hat so at least I have a new toy for him. I had another HUGE Italian Sunday lunch. It’s now Monday afternoon and I haven’t had anything to eat since that meal yesterday. We went out to Antonella’s family home in the country. I went out early with Marco and Antonella so I was able to help them set up for when everyone else arrived. We threw the disc around before eating and Paolo showed an amazing ability to throw the Frisbee from the start. I’ll need him if I am going to start an Ultimate team here. If I can get “tall Marco” we already have the seeds for a good team. I also learned a new card game after the meal, Burraco. It’s hard to explain but not that hard to play. Federica and I beat Valiero and Paolo in my first full game. I don’t count the first game, which was one-on-one with Valiero, because there was one rule I didn’t understand and I had to learn the hard way. Although, in that game I wasn’t getting the cards so I probably would have lost anyway. So I had a pretty typical weekend. Saturday I did errands and managed to get some bills paid and shopping done and then Sunday was nothing but relaxing, talking, eating, and playing some cards.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cow Hat!!!

Why do I have an orange cow on my head? It's carnevale! Posted by Picasa

Steel Works

The other part of the festival were Medieval displays like this. Posted by Picasa

Political humor, parade style

Another float about gas prices. You would be amazed how these floats moved. It was very funny to watch. The camel even had smoke come out of his cigar! The characters are all cartoon like for the kids but relate more to the parents in actual meaning. Posted by Picasa

The Little Professor

This float has Romano Prodi as Harry Potter. Mr. Prodi is going against Burlesconi in the election next month. Prodi is called "The Professor" because of his education. He is also leading in the polls, but being "the smart one" didn't get Kerry elected so we'll see what happens next month. I'm not sure what the big purple snake represents. The Dobby characters are again the poor Italian people. So Prodi is like Harry Potter when he freed Dobby from his evil master. Posted by Picasa

Crushed Donkey

Finally some pictures. This is from the Carnevale parade in Putignano last weekend. The float has a donkey (representing the Italian people) being squeezed by high gas prices. The blue thing to the right is "BluDiesel" a type of gas here. Posted by Picasa