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Monday, October 31, 2005

What Cabbage Do You Want ? and other Italian curses translated into English

Often times words in Italian do not translate into English and visa versa, especially the curse words.

Imagine going to work one day and seeing your co-worker solve a problem and saying 'What butt !'

You'll likely be shown the door with a nice sexual discrimination lawsuit soon to follow in the mail.
Here is a list of some of our faves.

  1. What cabbage do you want ? Sounds like you are in the vegetable aisle of a supermarket instead of mad.

  2. I don't care a saw. Do you care a hammer and nails ?

  3. Don't break my boxes ! Something you might expect an upset Federal Express employee to say

  4. Pig misery. What about goldfish in those tiny fishbowls ? They look miserable too.

  5. And for the terrible blasphemers... Pig God. Don't say it in front of a church. In Italy they'll throw you in jail, in the US they'll throw you in a padded cell.

  6. And for the really terrible blasphemers... Madonna dog. Even if you like the early songs sung by Madonna

Halloween in Italy

20 years ago in Italy Halloween in Italy did not exist. Over the years it has inched its way into Italian society, but in a slightly different form.
Today many stores sell Halloween costumes, decorations and candy in little 'snack size' bags, but Halloween is seen as more of a party theme than a holiday in itself.
If you happen to see children in costumes on the streets it is much more likely that they are going to or coming from a party rather than going door to door and trick or treating.

Happy Halloween! :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

They Serve Pasta Dishes in Italy ?????

A few weeks ago the sister and brother-in-law of my American friend came to Italy.
They were on a whirlwind visit to Italy.4 cities in 4 days. They live in Southern California. I lived there for 14 years. In fact, I even worked across the street from my friend's sister for a while. (I didn't know my friend at that time though) I wanted to meet her sister and brother-in-law, and they wanted to meet me too, but they were short on time. I did finally meet them at a restaurant in the train station for a few minutes before their train to Rome departed.

I asked my friend's brother-in.law, 'How do you like Italy so far?. And he responded 'Italy is OK, but I hate the food. Every time I go into a restaurant it is always pasta, pasta, pasta. What's with the pasta? There is just too much of it. I am so sick of it now!!'

OK, anybody who goes to Italy and is surprised to see many pasta dishes on menus of restaurants is, in my humble opinion, an Idiot (note the capital I).

The fact that the said person only reads through one half of a menu before deciding that pasta is the only food that the restaurant serves secures the fact that they are indeed an Idiot (with a capital I).

In Italy meals are divided into 2 courses, The first one is called a first course (primo piatto) This consists of pasta or rice dishes.
The second course (secondo piatto) consists of meat, usually beef or fish or poultry.
Therefore for a person to walk into a restaurant and decide that only pasta dishes are seved , that person is just not reading the entire menu. Only half.

The only restaurant that I have ever even seen that serves only pasta is in fact one that exists in California. All the restaurants in Italy, while serving a lot more pasta dishes then restaurants in the US, serve a balanced menu with many different selections.

Look and use your noodle before judging !

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Solicitors

In the US you will often find on buildings and stores a sign that says 'No Soliciting' In Italy you won't, or if you do, it won't be enforced.

Saturday I decided to grab a sandwich at a bar. I chose one, paid, and then sat myself down at a table.
5 minutes later a solicitor, a seller of stuff I didn't want entered the bar and proceeded to ask all the clients eating what they bought at the bars tables if they wanted to buy his expensive stuff.
They all shook their heads 'No' and he moved on.

Then he gets to my table. I don't know what it is about me but ALL Non-Americans seem to be able to pick me out in a crowd as being American (what they think of as a rich tourist).
They see me as a human bank. Anyway, this life-form in the shape of a man asks me if I wanted to buy his stuff.
I said 'No thank you'. Not leaving a supposedly rich American tourist target alone, he then proceeded to beg me for money 'I'm hungry. I have no money. I have 3 kids. Help me.'
I felt bad for him, maybe it was true. I then saw that he had a package of 6 travel-size tissue packets with him. 'How much are the tissues ?' I asked, thinkining that maybe I will buy something from him after all.
'10 Euros' he replied.
Thinking that was a little expensive for tissues, I said 'No thank you'.
He insisted. He put them on the table. He cut the price down to 8 Euros. Then 6. The whole time I was protesting 'No' 'That's too much' ,' No thank you,', 'No' , and 'Please let me eat'.
The whole time the other clients at the 2 other tables occupied were staring at the scene we were causing.
So were at least 2 of the baristi behind the counter, yet even though I PAID 2.50 for my sandwich and 1 Euro for my water, no one came to rescue me and/or throw this guy out.
Finally I got up, took my sandwich and water and walked away, leaving him, the other customers and baristi that were watching, and that bar behind.
In the United States, sign or no sign, that aggressive selling/panhandling of paying customers is simply not allowed. I am not asking that stores in Italy become like those in the US, but show some respect for paying customers. Don't allow soliciting.

Friday, October 28, 2005

My observations on Southern Italians versus Northern Italians

I don't want to sound like a tourist brochure, but, well, I will anyway.
Last month I had a student in my class who is from Naples, Italy. He told me that espresso coffee was invented there and tastes better.
'Sure!' I thought to myself.' Same water as here, same machines as here, coffee beans are grown in Columbia anyway, not Naples. What is this guy trying to prove?'
Then he said 'Pizza was invented there too. It is also better.'
'O.K.' I replied. Then, being the English teacher I am, changed the subject to verb tenses.

Last week I went to visit Naples, and I must say that every word that came from my students mouth are true.
The food in Naples is AWESOME.
The pizza is great, the coffee is great, the sweets are great, fried appetizers. I could go on.
If you haven't been there yet, go. Eat. Oh, you can also visit Mt. Vesuvius or tourist stuff if you want.

OK, I have only been in Southern Italy for 3 days as compared to 3 years in Northern Italy, so I am hardly an expert on Italian social behavior, but I noticed several differences.

One was in a restaurant. We ate dinner and dessert and then paid our bill to leave, and the waiter bought (or just brought) us 2 coffees that we hadn't paid for.
Truthfully we did leave a tip after the meal that would more than cover the price of 2 coffees, but the money we used as a tip was a tip for the service already provided, not future coffees.
In Northern Italy you get what you pay for and nothing more. A tip is a tip for what was, not what will be.
Another difference was inside a bar. I ordered a coffee. Was given a coffee. Then 2 minutes later the barista gave me a glass of what is called 'caffe freddo' and said 'try this.' For free !

Never would happen up north !
I won't go as far to say 'service with a smile' as often happens in the US, but it was a welcome change.
The people in Southern Italy just seem friendlier, from the clerk at the hotel to strangers who we asked for directions.

Was it false friendliness, just for getting a tip ?
Anyway, Buzzurro says, 'Better false friendliness than true rudeness'. The Southern Italians seem to grasp this more so than their Northern counterparts.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Supermarket

Today I went to one of my favorite places in Italy, the supermarket (SARCASM).
I made sure that I arrived at a time when the normally packed store is nearly empty.
In fact as soon as I walked inside it was quiet and there were hardly any people around.
Unfortunately though that also included workers.
Out of 9 cash registers, only one was open, and the line of customers waiting at it was huge.
Still, not to be discouraged, I did my shopping and then 30 minutes later took my place on this mega-galactic line.
You would think that having such a long line of customers waiting for service the cashier might want to hurry up a bit, but no, this is Italy.
They don't hurry up for anybody. The cashier felt it was her right to have a personal discussion with one of the clients.
Never mind the fact that everyone else's frozen food was melting.
Never mind the fact that the 2 children were whining and complaining and the mother (or grandmother) could do nothing to calm them down.
Never mind the fact that the husband of the older couple behind me complained (loudly) that his feet hurt.
Next time I'll do my shopping when the market is crazy busy with people, but at least the employees work.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Were Bloggers 'Crying Wolf' in Oklahoma ?

No. I don't think so.

This relates to the story of the 21 year old Joel Hinrichs, the University of Oklahoma Engineering Student who on October 1 blew himself up within 100 yards of a football stadium attended by 85,000 people.

When the story came out it was largely ignored by the MSM, or just treated like a routine suicide. It was not, however, a routine suicide. A few days before blowing himself up, Joel Hinrich tried to purchase a large amount of amonium nitrate from a store that sells fertiliser. He failed, and constructed a homemade bomb using TATP, which is often used by Palestinian suicide bombers. He did not commit suicide in his own house, he not only chose a public place, but one nearby a football stadium with a game in progress, which there are rumors, true or not, that he tried to enter but did not when the guards asked to search his bag. He also had more explosives in his room.

A lot of blog writers (for example LGF, Michelle Malkin) noted the lack of interest by the MSM, and questioned the 'suicide'. They asked 'Was this a Jihadist terrorist bombing gone bad?' And there were several posts on this subject.

I just read yesterday that Cathy Young accused these bloggers of' crying wolf.' I don't think that is a fair judgement.

Some obvious questions arise. This is not a 'routine suicide', done by the more traditional methods in traditional places. If it is a suicide it is an abnormal one and the MSM and police should look into it, especially in this day and age of terrorism. It is the responsible thing to do. If his suicide was indeed a suicide I have sympathy for all his family and friends. If his suicide justso happens to be more than just a 'routine suicide' I have sympathy for us all. I don't think that asking questions such as 'Is it.' Or it isn't' are wrong. The MSM should do this. If they don't, it is up to the blogger community to.

Italian Shopping Carts

I've been writing a lot of posts lately about what DOESN'T work or what I don't like in Italy, so here is a post dedicated to one thing that I do like.. the shopping carts.

The shopping carts used in the supermarkets are bigger then they are in the US, so that can be a plus if you eat a lot, but that is not why I like them.
I like them because you have to rent them for either 1 or 2 euros in order to use them.
When you are done shopping you can put them back in the rack that they came from and get all your money back.
I like this system because too many times while in the US (where 99.9 percent of the supermarkets have free shopping carts) my parked car has been hit by loose shopping carts who get tossed about with the wind.
The majority being of course, when my car was new.
In Italy the carts are not free and everybody who uses them wants to get back their money, so no one leaves them out loose, to be at the whim of the wind.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Soft boiled egg with asparagus on toast for breakfast


What I'd like to taste, not necessarily for breakfast. The recipe is here.

Getting a first class flight upgrade for free

Some suggestions on how to get your economy class flight upgraded for free: useful especially on long international flights.
Here (thanks to him/her/it/whatever).

Post Office

After reading another bloggers experience at the Post Office (which was naturally a negative one) I decided to post one of my own.

Nobody likes going to the Post Office in Italy. It is a punishment, but a necessary one.
Today I had to pay one bill. I am used to the US where to pay a bill you write a check, slide it into the enclosed envelope, attach a stamp and drop it in the mailbox. Easy.

In Italy though, nothing is easy. Bills are paid in person, usually at the Post Office for a transaction fee of 1 Euro. I walked into the Post Office. It was almost empty. Almost, meaning 20 or so people. I have never seen it completely empty, except when it is closed of course.

I took a number from the number machine out front, looked at the numbers above each of the open windows. I only had 24 people in front of me.. as I mentioned before, the building was almost empty. A wait in a line of 24 people is like a walk in a park. There usually are more people waiting. Italy is a country of long lines.

I thought maybe in 15 minutes I would be done but 15 minutes later I wasn't much closer to the 'jackpot' of an open window.

I noticed that out of the 4 available windows, only 3 were in operation. I saw in the back of the room there was an employee engaged in a conversation with another. I don't mean to interrupt an interesting conversation, but she obviously had some free time on her hands, why didn't she go to an available window I though ?

Finally after 20 more people came into the Post Office and she decided to go to the empty window and the line moved much quicker.
I was finished in 30 minutes. Record time.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Bad Customer Service-continued

Today my friend and I had lunch together at a little restaurant near where she works. The menu with prices was on the placemats that the waiter/owner put in front of us. I ordered a 5 Euro pizza, and she ordered a 5 Euro pizza and a 2 Euro coca cola.
The food and our conversation were really enjoyable, but finally the time came to ask for our bills so we could leave. The owner brought my bill. It was 5 Euro as expected. He also brought my friend's bill. It was 8 Euros. After studying it for a few seconds, she asked the owner ' Why is the bill 8 Euros? The menu says the pizza costs 5 and the coca cola costs 2 Euros. That should be 7 Euros total.'
And he replied 'Well, I served you a medium glass of coca cola. That is 3 Euros. 3 for the coca cola and 5 for the pizza is 8.'
To which she replied 'Why is a glass of coca cola 3 Euros ? It only says on the menu a coca cola is 2 Euros. It doesn't even say anything about sizes or glasses. There is only the one price of 2 Euros mentioned.'
To which he replied 'There was a misunderstanding. 2 Euros is for a can of coca cola. 3 Euros is for the medium glass, which I served you.'
She said 'This wasn't a misunderstanding. I didn't want a 3 Euro soda, I wanted a 2 Euro soda, which is on the menu.'
To which he said 'You pay for what you are served, and you were served a 3 Euro coca cola!'
So what did my friend do ? She PAID.
If it was me I would have made more of a fuss. I mean you cannot advertise one price and then charge another. In the US this would be illegal. Bait and switch. A crime. I've never even heard of a restaurant doing business like that. Talk about a fast way to lose customers. And over 1 lousy Euro too. The 2 of us will never go back there again.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Customer Service (or lack of it). Post number 999,999

It never amazes me how little customer service in Italy there is. It never amazes me how rude store clerks can be to customers too.

I have been given the evil eye in restaurants because I asked to pay my bill while my waitress was engaged in a deep conversation with another and I was just interrupting them.
I have found a bug in my salad and offered a spoon to get it out. (no new salads or refunds offered).

There is no end to the bad customer service I have either received or see others receive.

Today I went into a bar for lunch that I have been frquenting all week since I work nearby.

In Italy most of the bars have a glass counter where you can see what they have to serve, be it pastries, sandwiches or plates of pasta. I spotted a plate of tortellini in what looked like a whitish sauce, but since there is never a menu stating what the food items for sale that day in this particular place, I asked the person behind the counter what kind of tortellini they were.
Tortellini are usually filled with a cheese and another ingredient such as spinach, which I eat, and prosciutto ham which I do not, so I thought that asking was a good idea,certainly not a rude one.

Following is a transcript of my conversation with that 'person' behind the counter:

Me: 'What kind of Tortellini are those?'
Clerk: 'Tortellini.'
Me. 'Yes. I can see that. What is inside the tortellini?'
Clerk :'I don't know. My son made them.' And she made no effort to find him to answer my question.
Me : (NOT BEING SATISFIED BY THIS ANSWER. I don'r care WHO made them, I just wanted to know what was inside them) 'Could you please ask him what is inside them?
Clerk: 'Oh. OH, OK.' She replied, as if she was doing me some great big favor by finding out the answer to my question. She then turned and lumbered off at a snail's pace towards the kitchen where her son was.

I mean, who is making the profit off of who? There are other restaurants in the area , Ms. Lady behind the Bar, including the one I will probably go to tomorrow.
If you don't want to solve the problem by having a menu nearby, at least be prepared to answer these 'stupid' questions such as 'What is that food item'. Not everybody has X-ray vision and can see through tortellini to find out the filling on their own, ya know.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, she came back from the kitchen. She looks at me and says:
'The tortellini are filled with spinach and ricotta and with a walnut sauce. Would you like some parmesan cheese on them?' assuming that I'll order them.
In 30 seconds her son came out of the kitchen and slammed the plate of tortellini on my table. It seems that they took my request for asking what is inside the tortellini as a definite order for the tortellini.
What if my story was reversed and I liked prosciutto ham and not spinach and refused ? What would happen then ?

To end my story, I was very hungry, so I ate them. They tasted good-even if the rest of the service at the bar wasn't.

UPDATE:

Today I went to another restaurant for lunch. This is how that conversation went:

Clerk: 'Are you ready to order?'
Me: 'Yes. I'll have some ribollita.'
Clerk ' One portion?'
Me 'Yes'
Clerk 'For here or to go?'
Me 'For here.'
The clerk puts the ribollita in a container and then puts it on a tray with a napkin. He sees that I have a bottle of water with me and asks 'Would you like a cup?'
Me 'No Thanks.'
And then I take my food to a counter and eat.
Afterwards the clerk says to me 'That will be 3 Euros and 10 cents'.
I pay him and he gives me a receipt.

Perhaps to the reader who does not reside in Italy this encounter does not speak of any great customer service, but to me who has been living in Italy for 3 years with such low expectations it was like finding a diamond in the rough.

Tomorrow I'm going to this restaurant for sure! (see how customer service can work in Italy ?)

Friday, October 07, 2005

What is Tocvil ?

...sottotitolo, a proposito del dibattito sulle epurazioni in Tocqueville.

Il fattaccio, a questo punto, dovrebbe essere noto e stranoto. Comunque, e' tutto spiegato nei blog di Dacia Valent, Rolli, Andrea Mancia, Alberto Puliafito, Wind Rose Hotel.
In sintesi, i post dei toc villani sono selezionati, perche' facciano bella mostra di se' in TV (inteso come Tocqueville), da aggregatori umani.
In TV, esiste un (sotto ?)insieme di questi selezionatori che mette ai voti l'ammissione o meno di nuovi blog, e, quello che colpisce di piu', l'eventuale espulsione di blog da TV stessa.

Che dire ? Se Andrea Mancia fosse il proprietario di TV, sarebbe suo diritto decidere chi puo' entrare e chi deve uscire da essa. Se non sta bene a un blogger essere aggregato ben bene dal proprietario unico, signore e badrone di TV, uscire da TV o non entrare nemmeno sono due opzioni possibili. Nel qual caso, non ti obbligherebbe il dottore ad aderire a TV. E Mancia non sarebbe obbligato, da parte sua, ad accogliere chiunque purche' blog-dotato.

Il problema e' che Mancia non e' il proprietario unico di TV, almeno credo...

Domanda: di chi e' Tocqueville ?

Dal foglietto informativo di Tocvil leggiamo:

La redazione di TocqueVille si riserva insindacabilmente la scelta dei post da aggregare e il diritto di negare o revocare l'iscrizione.

Ma la redazione di TV chi e' ? Andrea Mancia e poi ? Come si diventa aggregatore ? Probabilmente per una sorta di cooptazione. Su invito di chi, di un altro aggregatore ? Solo di Mancia ?

La mancanza di chiarezza e di trasparenza costituisce una fonte di problemi.

Chiarezza, ad esempio, sulla ragione sociale di TV, altrimenti Alberto Puliafito, che non mi sembra esattamente un fesso in base a come scrive, non sarebbe incorso nell'equivoco di essere "sgradito".

Trasparenza su questi "dietro le quinte".

I toc villani sarebbero ciascuno di pari importanza, eppure un gruppo non ben definito di toc villani e' in grado, tramite votazione, di cacciare un toc villano.

In quanto toc villano, avrei gradito alcune informazioni in piu' su questioni non da poco quali il processo di espulsione di altri toc villani. Non mi sembrano cazzatine, scusate il francesismo.

Sebbene sia toc villano, nessuno e' venuto da me, a bussare alla mia casella di posta elettronica, toc toc, toc villano, chiedendomi che ne pensassi di espellere Noantri.

TV e' una comunita' ? E' un servizio ? E' un'associazione politica ?

Se TV fosse un servizio, erogato a titolo gratuito (grazie al cielo), questi sarebbero i suoi terms of service, a cui si dovrebbero adeguare i suoi fruitori, pena la sospensione del servizio.

Il servizio a cui avrei aderito sarebbe l'avere alcuni dei miei post sparati sulla home page di tocvil, scelti a insindacabile giudizio... eccetera eccetera.

I fruitori fruirebbero a titolo gratuito, la fornitura del servizio avverrebbe su base volontaristica, gli epuratori aggregatori aggregherebbero aggratis.

In realta', TV non e' un servizio (o non e' solo un servizio), si differenzia da un servizio ed e' invece una comunita', per il dialogo che avviene giornalmente tra i suoi appartenenti.

E allora, essendo TV una comunita', come fa un gruppo interno a TV ad avere il diritto di espellere un blogger, senza interpellare nessuno al di fuori di loro stessi ?

Questo gruppo si deve essere costituito, almeno in prima convocazione, dietro invito di Mancia, in quanto detentore delle chiavi di TV.

Cio' e' evidente. Se io e un altro blogger iscritto a TV ci mettiamo a discutere di chi dovrebbe essere allontanato da TV, cio' non ha nessuna influenza sulla sua permanenza o meno in TV, poiche', ad esempio, noi non siamo detentori delle password del sistema informatico di TV che permette di eliminare un blog dalla lista.

Quindi, il diritto ad espellere gli proviene, direttamente o indirettamente, da Mancia stesso, il realizzatore di TV.

Mi sembra evidente che ci sia una carente comunicazione riguardante il funzionamento interno di TV, e in generale una carente comunicazione da TV verso i suoi appartenenti. E' evidente che un sottogruppo (o sopragruppo ?) di blogger in TV prenda parte al processo decisionale, sviluppato attraverso un dibattito; da questo dibattito e da quelle decisioni sono tagliati fuori gli altri, che in certi casi, le subiscono. E' evidente che, in molti casi, leggendo quanto aggrega TV in questi giorni, i miei concittadini toc villani sono soddisfatti di questo stato di cose, o, detto in altri termini, gli sta bene cosi'.

Ed e' probabile che chi non sia di stretta osservanza neocon in politica estera, e pro-casa della liberta' in politica interna, o, detto in altri termini, chi non segua la linea, le linee toc villane, rischi il cartellino giallo o rosso.

Cosa c'entra tutto questo col liberalismo ? Boh.

Mi piacerebbe essere smentito, ma sono pessimista al riguardo.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Rosh HaShanah

L'Shana Tova to all readers !

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Paying Bills in Italy

Some time ago my friend told me that he received a bill from a public utility that was 500 Euros more than it should have been. He called the call center of that certain utility to complain. The person at the call center looked at his bill and agreed with him. She apologized for overcharging him 500. Then she told him to pay the bill.

The ENTIRE bill.

And she warned him not to pay late because there are late fees too. She told him that his account would be credited the 500 Euros.

My friend asked her if the amount could simply be taken off the bill, after all, 500 Euros is a lot of money. Not all people have an extra 500 Euros lying around to pay a bill. The call center representative said 'No, this is our policy. YOU pay. We reimborse you by crediting your account.'

What she did NOT say was that this public utility was going to put his 500 Euros in the bank and get the interest off it. The interest for 500 Euros for 7 months or however long it takes to spend 500 on one of their bills is probably less then pennies, but if you consider they probably use this tactic with a lot of their other customers it adds up.

Comments on this Blog

Comments are welcome on this blog IF they are not offensive. I read lots of other posts on other blogs and some posts I agree with and some I don't. I have NEVER left an offensive comment though, like one of the visitors to my blog recently did. Criticise ideas, not people.

Here are some of my comments for Scarlett:

You say you are a good Christian, but have you ever read that part in the Bible about 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' ? I don't think so, otherwise you wouldn't have written your hate-filled comments on my blog.

I don't slander you because your family came to the US in the 1700s so why do you slander mine because they immigrated to the United States 2 centuries later ?

As far as speaking the English language goes, we both went to schools and had the same opportunites to pick up an English grammar book and study it. I can see from your comments that I have mastered the spelling aspects more than you, regardless of the fact that my family ties to the European continent are more recent than yours. If you insist on using such hateful language, maybe you should learn to spell it correctly.

If you are suggesting that I am less American than you, you are wrong. I was born in the US and my heart, 100 percent of it, belongs there. Perhaps judging from your comments you should move to Iran or Saudi Arabia. You write like you think you would be more happy in those countries, but to be honest within seconds of opening your mouth there you would be thrown in jail, tortured and maybe killed. Those countries that you praise do not allow the same freedoms of different opinions that are allowed in the USA.

I am sorry in the Nazi regimes in Europe only succeeded in killing 6 million of us Jews. We as a people will be around to spit on your grave.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Mideast Peace Solution

Buzzurro and I were talking today about the political beliefs of our mutual friends.

I said "Gianni is a Communist. I guess he is against Israel, huh ?"

And Buzzurro answered "I don't know. I asked him once if he believes that Israel has the right to exist and he responded "It's there".

That to me is the solution right there to the Palestinian /Israeli problem. "It is there". 100 percent of Palestinians don't have to turn into Israeli lovers, or visa versa, but they need to know that the other side exists and is not going away. A little Realpolitik please ! There should be a 2 state solution because that's what is living on that piece of land now. 2 kinds people who each want their own state. Neither is going away.

The Palestinians need to stop demanding their one Palestinian state solution as THE solution. Israel is not going anywhere. They need to come to the realization that instead of sacrificing their children as suicide bombers and firing rockets which only bring Israeli retaliation, that it is better to suck it up, work on their internal problems or other matters and just accept that Israel occupies a space on the map. They don't have to be friends, just neighbors. After all, not all borders between 2 different states are friendly. Just look at the Turks and Greeks on Cyprus.

Is Venice Worth Saving ?

The mayor of Venice is opposing Mose -- the barriers designed to prevent the flooding of Venice -- because it will cause environmental damage.

Just who is he the mayor of? The fish who swim in the lagoon, or the people of Venice?

According to the article:

But it wasn't until 1966, when a super high-tide swamped the city, destroying the homes of some 5,000 people, that Venice's elders decided to take action.

I would hate to be one of those 5,000 people hearing the mayor choosing environmental concerns over their homes.