Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are North Americans becoming more like Italians?

Is the U.S. (and also Canada) becoming a wee bit more like Italy? From a November 14th, 2011 article by Roger Cohen in the New York Times, “Generation Boomerang”:

“Silvio Berlusconi recently waved away Italy’s financial crisis as a big fuss about nothing.

“Restaurants are full”, he said, and, “it’s difficult to reserve a seat on the plane”, and holiday resorts are “fully booked”.

The Italian prime minister, who has pledged to resign as the nation’s financial crisis deepened, squeezes in his governing between dalliances and has earned a deserved reputation as one of the world’s least serious leaders. But having been in Italy in the past few weeks, I can confirm he has a point. Perhaps nobody wants Italy’s bonds, but they sure want its beaches and bella figura. There’s no mistaking a rich country when you see one.

Italy’s oldest and surest insurance policy is, of course, the family. Jobs may be scarce and times tough, but Mamma is always there. Italian children leave home at an average age of 28 (my note: and even older too!!!!). The Supreme Court ruled a few years back that a father could not cut off financial support to his college-educated daughter of 26 because young people were having a hard time finding jobs.

Americans used to laugh at this Italian penchant for staying home, which extends to some degree across all of Mediterranean Europe…. Nobody’s laughing any longer. The boomerang trend in the U.S.—young people who leave home only to return—is growing as jobs prove harder to find. The share of men aged 25 to 34 living with their parents has jumped to 18.6%, the highest level since at least 1960, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. America is going the Italian route….

Whatever Italy’s faults, it is a nation of hidden solidarities. The weave in the Italian tapestry is dense; the American tapestry is frayed. Perhaps we will now get a generation of Americans who, forced to stay at home until they are 30, are also thereby obliged to learn something of trade-offs, respect, communication and sharing—and with them a country of a little less “I” and a little more “We”....

I don’t think jobs are coming back in a hurry and I don’t think the power shift in the world—away from the U.S. and toward emergent powers—is going to slow down. Family can be a dampener of hardship and frustration. It certainly is in Italy, a nation that adapted a long time ago to the loss of its imperium. In the place of its legions it found fellowship. America could do worse.

An old joke asks why it’s obvious that Jesus Christ was Italian. Answer: Because he lived at home until he was 30, always hung out with the same 12 dudes, believed his mother was a virgin. And his mother thought he was God. Now that Americans are living at home until they are 30, expect the miracles to commence”.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ciao Silvio, and may you finally "rest in peace"!

Ciao, ciao caro Silvio! May you (and ALL of us!) finally rest in peace!!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

"Should I Stay Or Should I Go"?

Poor Silvio, one of the more recent depictions of him in "The Economist", dressed like a clown and with a topless woman on his tie!

I wonder if he's thinking of The Clash's other famous song (after "London Calling") right now, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go"? The small fellow in the bottom right and who's dressed like a fireman is instead Mario Draghi who is trying to save the Euro while Silvio is trying to sink it with his economic policies!

The other pic, at least for Italian readers, needs no translation!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Poor us....

When Obama won the presidential elections, Berlusconi referred to him as “that tanned fellow”!

From a recent La Repubblica article (my translation):
“The last example came out of Washington the other day when Obama was thanking those countries which helped liberate Libya from Ghedaffi. Heading the list were naturally the French and the British but he managed to name all of them, including Norway, Denmark and the Arab League. The only country he didn’t mention was ours, even though Italy has supplied the airbases, military commands and the navy to the mission in Libya. But it’s been quite some time now that Italy has been confined to a “leper’s hospital”. And we all know who we can blame for that”.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Italy’s own version of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”!

Yes, the Italian version of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, that is “Conquest”, “War”, “Famine” and “Death”.

That good’ol Berlusconi, ALL rolled into one!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Great advertisement!

The Ecomomist comes out once per week. That (should) mean that in one year there are 52 issues, right? So you'd think that in order to advertise their fine magazine on the iPad, iPhone and what-not (on the 2nd last page), they'd use a variety of covers, even say those dedicated to climate change problems or the world economic crisis, right?

Instead which cover have they used for their August 6th-12th, 2011 edition? The one with poor Silvio! Not THE greatest way to pay respect to a country's leader, right?

Monday, September 12, 2011

It was 22 years ago today….

Yes, 22 years ago today on September 12, 1989 I landed in Rome to go work at the U.S. Embassy. After those 30 years spent in Canada I decided to make the big jump over the big Atlantic Ocean.

My analysis of these 22 years so far? Well, as I’ve been saying now for several years: I’m MORE than happy to be living in Europe, a wee bit less than living in the so-called Bel Paese, especially with the current leader, Berlusconi.

THE great thing about living in the “Old Europe” (as Donald Rumsfeld once called us here) is that I can in one hour’s time drive up to Austria, then I can be in 30 minutes in Slovenia and then with a mere two-hour flight I can be on a beautiful island in Greece, such as Samos where we recently went for our holidays. In Canada, where did I go in the same amount of time from Winnipeg? To the border with North Dakota! Oh boy, in terms of “culture”, what fun, eh?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oh Silvio!

Never a dull moment in Italy with Silvio!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Yes, the zany art of Venice's Biennale, 2011 edition!

Yes, they've got it all in Venice: gondola traffic jams, fiberglass beached whales, naked (and live!) Venetian porn actresses, upside-down 52 ton American tanks that are used as a training device (outside of the U.S. pavilion) and some of the word’s zaniest art for the 54th international Biennale art exhibit which kicked off the other day in the magnificent and always magical city of Venice (your correspondent has been going there for only the last 45 years and still remains completely stunned and captivated by its unique beauty)!

Nearly 100 different countries exhibited some of their finest works of art (!!!). This year's Golden Lion award went to the German pavillion. To paraphrase the great John Cleese in Monty Python’s epic “Live At The Hollywood Bowl” movie: “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like”!