Friday, August 19, 2011

GOING POTTY

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What a day Thursday was for those whacky news stories that can only, it seems, happen in Italy.  For those of you who may have missed them, I'll summarise them here:

The first giggle was over the tale of a somewhat optimistic Viterbo [Lazio] police officer who was arrested by his own colleagues for growing no less than 17 cannabis plants in his barracks.  [The carabinieri are military in Italy.]  Maybe he had been relying on a law, passed by the Italian Supreme Court in June, under which we are each allowed to grow one cannabis plant, for personal use, on our own balcony or terrace.  I don't suppose even a barracks has 17 balconies and one has to admit that the unfortunate officer was - well, pushing it.

Basilica di San Salvatore al Monte, Firenze
Image:  Wikimedia Commons

No sooner had I stopped laughing at that than news came through of a group of monks in Florence who, having had two precious Bibles stolen from their Basilica, were praying for the thief to be punished ..... by an attack of diarrhea.  I wonder how long he'll stay on the run?

More seriously a survey of the five largest EU countries reported yesterday that Italian housewives are the most unhappy in Europe:  the economic downturn has worsened their situation and it is harder than ever for them to find adequate child care - assuming, that is, that they can find employment in the first place. In addition, 95% of Italian men have never so much as emptied a washing machine - we do not know whether they have ever loaded one but the odds are not brilliant - 70% have never used an oven and most do not help at all in the house or with bringing up children.  Half of the women interviewed said they regretted getting married and most, sadly, regretted having had children.  The antics of the Prime Minister, who is deemed to be setting a bad example to a generation of men who hardly need his encouragement,  were the last straw for many of the women.


Ruth Orkin: An American Girl in Italy - 1951

Then, late last night, came a surprising and delightful item of news:  Ninalee Craig,  the American Girl in Italy of the famous and iconic Ruth Orkin photograph at last spoke publically about the circumstances in which the picture was taken and how she felt about it.  It seems I was wrong when I wrote about the photograph here, which just goes to show what can happen when you judge one era from the viewpoint of another, but I am pleased to know that Ninalee was happy on that long-ago day and it was nice to end the evening on a positive note.

14 comments:

Patricia said...

Looks like you news gives you much entertainment. I have always liked that photograph...it never "felt' harassing nor threatening to me...just appreciation of beauty.

Gledwood said...

I thought Italian men just pretended to be sexist. I didn't realize it ran that deep!

Strange they're praying for diarrhoea. I remember bringing a copy of Prediction magazine to school in the 6th form. In the small ads were witches and warlocks offering to put a spell on somebody for you. We were going to chip in and get the headmaster an attack of diarrhoea in assembley. He already had verbal diarrhoea so real diarrhoea can't have been too much of a stretch for the evil spirits of the undead ~ surely?

Are Italians really allowed to grow the Evil Weed? What about poppy plantations? I'd imagine opium would grow really well in Southern Europe; that hot dry climate seems to be where poppies do best. I'd have such fun slitting the pods, collecting the opium. I've always wanted to be a heroin chemist. I was thinking of writing to the Burmese Military Junta to get work experience in one of their heroin labs along the Thai border. Wouldn't that be exciting! I couldn't take Simi with me else she might get stir-fried by the local peasantry. You know what folks are like out there. Burmese heroin is pure white with pretty Chinese characters on the bales. I could help the international drugs cartels with their package design! Also as a native English speaker I could arrange multi-tonne deliveries to the interational markets.

I would so love to work at the Burmese end of the international narcotics trade. You know how much I enjoy tonal languages and a good stir-fry (dog-free preferably).

Hey do you remember those rumours from the 1970s that Chinese takeaways were serving up people's cats? And that the "chicken" in their chicken fry rice was actually stir-fried CROW!!

I've even heard tales of RAT being on the menu. I once got really ill after eating a takeaway, but that was a Turkish donner kebab. What with all that festering the elephant leg does in front of that heater I'm not surprised somebody eventually gets poorly off it... know what I mean?

Sean Jeating said...

What I do not like about the photograph: It is designed.

Had I cojones would I need not stealing a book to grow some plants. And: I'd not have married 100 percent of Italian men.

Saretta said...

Fun! Except the part about Italian men...

Metal Man said...

If I'd told you ten years ago that one day you'd be blogging about cannabis, the runs and tweeting with hand puppets you'd have accused me of being insane........ Oh, almost forgot, when you grow your own cannabis plant ( purely for medical purposes ) make sure it's a female. The males are a waste of space.... Funny how nature and humanity have these little links.....

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Patricia. It was nice to be able to laugh at thr news for a change. I'd always been puzzled by the photo. Hi, Gleds. Yes, very deep though I do know one self-declared "new man" here. I know another who helps round the house, helps with kids, etc., but will not be seen in the supermarket! Yes, it's true about the cannabis growing. Simi says she'll stay here, thanks all the same. Hi,Sean. Always nice to hear from you. I do like the photo but I did find it disturbing. Hi, Saretta. Yes, a shame, that. Hi, MetalMan. Ten years ago I'd have said, "What's a blog?"! Yes, funny that....

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

You sent me to google to find out what a cannabis plant was...I've lived a sheltered life. Marijuana I've heard of, but didn't realize cannabis was another name for it.

I just find it kind of strange that she's the only woman in the picture. That corner must have been a male hang out.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Betty. Well, in that era Italian girls were hardly let out of the house and even then, not alone. I did giggle at your "sheltered life" comment.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Viterbo even and I did not pick up on it, shame on me, thanks for the stories :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, LindyLouMac. Glad you enjoyed them.

Rowena... said...

1. I didn't know that about 1 plant per balcony. I need to get a hold of seeds...subito.

2. If their prayers were answered that would certainly do the trick.

3. You reap what you sow. If italian mothers didn't micro-manage so much and fuss over every single detail about their kids, life would be simpler. The sad thing is that this kind of thinking is ingrained in them from the get-go. Teaching kids responsibility at a young age (I had my son running the washing machine before he was 8) is the best thing you can do for them.

Ellee Seymour said...

Our English men sound angels compared to the Italians. This is a great selection of eclectic news.

Winchester whisperer said...

I love that photo - I'd missed your earlier post about it

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Rowena. If you find some, please tell me where! I agree on the Italian mothers. Thanks, Ellee. It's always puzzled me, WW.

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