Friday, January 22, 2010


I sit alone as a flood of memories parades through my head.

I am remembering the black and white photos from when we were kids. I can picture the one of you standing beside your father smirking as he is holding up a Topo Gigio doll with its head turned backwards, so it ‘s erect tail looks like something else.

We were both the youngest sons of our parents, only a few months apart in age. On the one hand, this produced an unspoken rivalry. On the other hand, we were friends and playmates. Though you were one grade ahead of me, we went through much of life together: catechism classes, first communion, etc. Our families were always together, whether at work in the mushroom houses or spending leisurely evenings socializing at home.

I vividly remember when your family would come over. Instead of knocking, your father would call out “Permesso!” in a loud voice as he walked through our front door without a moment’s hesitation. At other times he would simply yell out my dad’s name in the Genovese dialect, “Menegu!”, and my dad would yell back “Avanti!” Our parents would gather around the table for coffee or dessert, together with Uncle Joe and Aunt Josephine and others, having a grand old time talking about who-knows-what while we played together. Though sometimes we fought, we were best of buddies.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Orgasmic Outrage

I recently saw a YouTube link by an Italian commentator named Marco Paolini. For all I know, Paolini and I are political polar opposites, but he makes an interesting and colorful observation about the Italian body politic:

For us Italians, indignation lasts about as long as an orgasm. And then you get sleepy.
Paolini was lamenting how initial outrage over an injustice or disaster is usually followed by forgetfulness and indifference. He was referring specifically to an incident that occurred thirty years ago but is still an unsolved mystery: On June 27, 1980, Flight 870 en route from Bologna to Palermo suddenly disappeared from radar screens and was later found to have crashed into the deep waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea near the island of Ustica, killing all 81 people on board.