Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Did You Know...

Ketchup here is manufactured by McDonald’s. It has big multicolored letters and is clearly marketed only to children, the only Italians gauche enough to want ketchup. Also, there is now a McDonald’s just across the square from the Pantheon. Literally, you look at the Pantheon, turn around, and look at McDonald’s. That might be considered an ethnic slur.

The BBC now warns you if there is flash photography during a story, presumably to prevent epileptic fits.

Batman still isn’t here yet. I thought it was a worldwide premiere, people. Please don’t make me watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Then again, it must be magic for America Ferrara to get into Alexis Bledel’s jeans.

[Editor’s Note: Batman just arrived. At the one theater showing in English: “THERE IS SOME PROBLEM WITH AIR CONDITIONED. IT DOESN’T WORK.”]

Incredible blackberry jam costs only $2, but a tiny jar of peanut butter is a whopping $9. Now if only I could find decent bread. My toaster has you put the bread into metal inserts with plastic butterfly handles, so you don’t burn yourself pulling out the toast. Nice innovation, Italy.

All foreign TV in Italy is dubbed, badly dubbed at that. (An oxymoron, I know.) I don’t get Euro Sport either. I’m really getting worried about feeding my obsessed Olympic fanaticism.

The Italian Senate passed a law that any crimes committed by illegal immigrants will carry an additional one-third penalty. Today Berlusconi is walking around Naples picking up trash from the street and pontificating about the mafia.

Speaking of the mafia, apparently a bigwig was picked up here this week, part of the feud between the two big Mafia families in Naples. The feud was caused – if my translation is correct – by “an egg-throwing incident at a festival in 1991.”

The meteorologists on Italian news are all uniformed military officers.

Another visiting professor had similar problems with Ms. Candy Aquamatic 3. (Thanks Daryl). Now she has postings from other visitors pleading for help. Call your priest.

Swiss and French keyboards have different letter layouts. About 8 of the letters are different, just enough to cause chaos and confusion. Also at the top, the numbers are above the symbols. Italian keyboards are only different for the symbols.

The most popular t-shirt on American tourists here, especially teenagers, has the word Hollister on it. I have no idea what Hollister is. If you know the answer, please post in the comments, it is driving me nuts.


At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Trish said...

(Hollister is a clothing brand/store, similar to American Eagle/Abercrombie/etc. I think just about every mall in America has one now.) I lived in France for a year during college and traveled around quite a bit. Your posts take me back!

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Mike said...

oh, that's the problem -- I hate the mall! Thanks.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Bill Barrett said...

I was just in a Hollister this past weekend! Not to buy anything, but at least you can look at pretty boy posters while you're killing time waiting for your relatives to finish up at the mall. It's got a totally rad California surfer theme, dude, and they have TVs which show Venice Beach and other CA beaches in a live feed so you know it's got to be cool. Everything there goes with the Zak Efron piecey "push it to the front" haircut, which I saw on so many kids (and done so poorly almost every time!). Trippy.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Bill Barrett said...

And hey, there's another non-McDonald's ketchup! It's right there in your picture - Danubia! I love how they have to explain - in words or pictures - that ketchup is made with tomatoes.

At 8:24 PM, Blogger Mike said...

well, it's um, the biggest ketchup. dammit, I guess I have to edit that.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

Hate the mall?

Two words: Orange Julius

At 12:37 PM, Blogger StefanoC said...

re: meteorologists

The first weather forecast programs in Italian television (back when there was only ONE network) were presented by an Air Force officer (col. Bernacca), due to the fact that the only organization that issued meteorological forecasts in Italy was the Italian Air Force.

The tradition continued with a long list of officers even in the following years, on almost all networks.

Note that originally these officers wore civilian clothes, only recently they started to be uniformed. Perhaps it lends some extra credibility...

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

No American Big Texas Pizza in Italy?

At 9:27 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Thanks Stefano, very interesting! No Big Texas Pizza, Cindy, although I was surprised that they did have it in the store. I couldn't bear to buy it though, considering you could buy fresh pizza on any street.


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