Pray for Syria

Someone once said that democracies are the best choice to guarantee peace and stability, because freely elected public officials couldn’t possibly go against the Will of the People. And people in general do want peace. I bought it then. But now we are facing a dire reality: they start wars without reason, against everybody’s interests. Voters don’t matter anyway. And even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to understand the issues and make an informed choice, so it’s moot. Let’s go then. Merrily going with the flow. (Whatever nowadays passes as) political leaders are always eager to ride the last wave of inevitable, recommended and proper (but ultimately woefully…

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A morsel sized tale of animal mania

Basset Hound pendant

A telling episode re: animalism, the epidemic of people obsessing about the well-being of animals (especially pets) and treating them like humans. Yesterday at the beach. There comes a corpulent woman, I’d say weighing more than 300 pounds, firmly holding in her hand a leash carrying a small dog, about 4 pounds or so. I said she was carrying it because the rat-dog was literally hanging from her hand, suspended like a salami in a butcher shop. I know, I know. It’s neither polite nor acceptable to comment on other people’s weight issues (plus I’m overweight too!), but in this case she contrasted splendidly with her pedigree doggie. A sort…

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White trash. When life gives you no excuses.

Today I had a conversation with a semi-pro panhandler. It all started in a desert and sun soaked Via Di San Martino, a steep sloping street in Genoa, my hometown. This guy oddly decided to ask me, a complete stranger he just ran into, for advice about good places for begging. An interesting man in his own way. 50 years old, he lost his job more than a couple of years ago, meanwhile relatives that could lend him a hand passed away. He talks a lot; it’s hard to tell where his real life story fades into a more endearing, conveniently altered version. He insists that he’s looking for a…

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Those dreaded Catholics, reproducing like rabbits…

rabbits

A conversation I couldn’t help but overhear this morning. I was providing technical support to an office that will remain unidentifiable for obvious reasons. Two women who work there, chatting freely in front of me (not minding my presence). Topic of conversation: a kindergarten year-end performance. The younger one is describing a detail she felt indignant about. She got to notice it, she elaborates, because she has no daughters. (?) The girls attending her son’s class were all wearing miniskirts for the occasion. Or better: short denim skirts, ostensibly following some instruction from the teachers. But there was also this tiny lady donning a long pleated skirt. This woman insists…

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Brace up, teddy bear

On the very day of the unexpected announcement by Pope Benedict of his retirement, I glance outside my window: a white blanket of snow shrouds the entire landscape. In a way this recalls me of what I read from of the early Church, who described life in Christian Palestine. He wrote with admiration about how the mother land of Jesus seemed to have been preserved in perfect peace and quiet, receiving a special gift of Grace: even nature, exemplified by small birds tweeting on trees, displayed a serene harmony…   I’m the kind of guy who wanted to get (or maybe design) a Ratzinger t-shirt before last conclave even began.…

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The Old Establishment Crank beat the Fresh Populist: does it matter?

Renzi and Bersani

A guy beat another guy in a Primary: big deal! Here’s a quick recap to understand some aspects of Italian politics; we can use what follows as a starting point, departing from there to get into more general stuff. In Italy the Partito Democratico (the most important party, founded in 2007) tried to mimic the US Democratic Party even in the choice of the name. It’s actually the inheritor, through a complicated series of transformations, of the defunct PCI (Italian Communist Party). Many things changed through the last 2 decades, but a strong sense of partisan commitment and a political apparatus that takes no prisoners are still a mainstay, a…

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Are you an evil genius? Help us clean up politics!

Spin Doctored by Versionz

Reading Italian job ads sometimes morphs into discovering a treasure trove of curious animals. If you ever contemplated the possibility of becoming a mystery shopper, you know what I mean. It’s not entirely unexpected to find a job posting containing a mistake in the title itself; it’s a little more puzzling to find, as it happens, an ad regularly posted week after week since 2005, still displaying the same original grammar mistake, in full sight… But I digress. A few days ago I stumbled upon an ad for a position of “political consultant”. What could this be? After perusing the website of the advertiser, Polo Tecnico, I got the answer:…

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Good Friday

at the airport

Always a perceivably special day. Maybe the key to my living it as something special is contrast, for the very reason that we are surrounded by people who ignore it: to them it’s just a day like another. God is dead, no Eucharist is celebrated today. The church remains empty, after the triumph of flowers and candles that surrounded the Most Blessed Sacrament since Thursday. The Via Crucis rite had an attendance of 7, including the priest’s striped cat who sneaked in. Come on, I’m not that old, when I was a child I remember my village as a place where the principal religious holidays were a big community event.…

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The Kiwi!

flying kiwi bird

Since I was a child I used to jokingly act as a fan of New Zealand, a boot-shaped nation right at the antipodes of my boot-shaped Italy, so a video titled “Kiwi!” is already very enticing to me. But here’s a lot more than just a video about a kiwi. Watch this wee delicious animation, realized by a student, and you can understand how nowadays, if you have a brilliant idea, you just add talent and sweat and you can come up with an international success, without the need to be part of the right circle, supported by the right guys. Nor you need to be bothered by the latest…

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Afrika, the nonviolent game (oh, poor animals)

Lioness attacking a zebra

A note about animal lovers, starting with an interview with Phil Harrison, the bald president of the Sony game development branch. He says that the upcoming PS3 video game Afrika will be something like a virtual photographic safari (zzzzz), so no big caliber rifles for us: “It’s not about killing and it’s not about running around the environment shooting elephants and hippopotamuses — that would be awful.” Aww, sure! Poor savannah animals! I’m wondering what Harrison is going to say the day they launch the next Grand Theft Auto… :D Apparently in the virtual world a drug dealer roaming around town, stealing cars and killing old wives is ok, while…

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Discovering who we are (Section: Humans)

nature, barb wire

One of the most easily misunderstood expressions: “human nature”. If you didn’t live under a rock in the last 25 years, you know there’s a new (old) deity in town: Mother Nature. Therefore it’s normal that, with this obsession for ecologism besieging our minds since school age, when we catch a phrase containing “nature”, our vision turns green. But human nature is something else. It’s how we are made. What we really are, inside, as human beings. It’s our psychology that is at stake. We must explore our inner self to avoid self-deception. Just to pick up a random example: it’s pointless to put forward a social experiment like the…

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What really matters (Section: God)

Destination God

How did we develop our vision about life? “This is what really matters!” is a phrase I used often jokingly, for instance during the traditional Christmas Night Risiko (board game) with friends, when I and Mario (truly a character, but not the Nintendo one) let the dice decide who will have the privilege to use the red plastic army… then who cares about winning, the important thing is – i say to myself- being the Red! My “over thirty” generation has a natural sense of humor, a perception of the disjunction, breaking traditional schemes: so the player fakes a disproportionate interest in trivial things, precisely because he can taste the…

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