Archive for the Daily Life Category

Poste Italiene and sand grains

Posted in Daily Life, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Jul 16, 2008 by Cicero

Anyone who lives in Italy will stumble on sand grains. Here, daily life is unnecessarily made complicated, due to the widespread apathy and laziness. Things that are simple and achievable in most part to the world, in Italy are complex endeavors.

Just another day I mailed a package to my home country. To make things clearer, I was not sending any special merchandise, neither my home country is in another planet. I was just sending a medium-sized package with books, documents and photos to Latin America.

Naively, I went to the agency of Poste Italiene, at the small comune where I live. After waiting in a line, I had to follow a complex procedure just to give the package to the post office guy. As the post office is also a bank, there were security doors and some other stuff. I guess it is easier to enter a nuclear plant, but rules are rules anyway, and I am quite polite and patient. Well, after weighting the package, the guy told me that he would be out for lunch within 5 minutes and that amount of time would not be enough to process the package. Then he gave me some forms and asked me to come back later in the afternoon. I was astonished: that was the first case of preemptive lunch time that I have ever seen. In fact, that’s a clear example of the Italian laziness.

As I have stamina, I went to the second post office agency. After making me to wait in a line, they told me that their weighing machine was damaged, and there was no way to send the package. By the way, they also said the weighing machine was out of order since the previous week. That’s a typical example of the Italian apathy.

Full of energy I went to another post office agency, the third, and I was successful, finally.

Well it was a success, but it was not easy. I mean, it is normal to face some bureaucracy, when one mails a package to another country. But in Italy things are always prolix. So, after once again waiting in a long line:

  • I had to fill-up three forms, in of them I have to mention how many photos I was sending;
  • Post office people made copies of my id and social security (tessera sanitaria) card;

There are inevitable security measures, which all of us have to accept, mostly in the present times, but that was just bureaucracy. More than that, people at the post office did not even verified the package contents. And, if I were just a tourist, with no tessera sanitaria? Would I not be allowed to send mail? Their only concern was with the forms. That’s a true example of Italian taste for bureaucracy.

The bottom line: all this process took me about two and half hours. To mail a package at the post office. That is a true history.

As an Italian friend said to me. In Italia c’é sempre qualcosa che no funziona. O é la biliancia o la testa de qualcuno. (In Italy there is always something which does not work. Either the weighting machine, either the head of someone).

Il dottore, an Italian way to waste knowledge

Posted in Daily Life, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , on Jul 09, 2008 by Cicero

In Italy, every pharmacy has a quite special character: il dottore (the doctor). This is usually the business proprietary, who holds a Pharmacy degree. This guy is generally an important figure in the local society, mainly in the small cities.

You might expect it would be nice to have such a highly educated professional to help you at each pharmacy. Well, that would be the case if we were not in Italy, where nothing happens as planned.

I mean, this highly educated person, does only three not so highly complex tasks:

  • Read medical prescriptions in order to identify medicine names;
  • Look for medicine names at boxes placed in alphabetical order;
  • Receive money and give exchange;

This is a typical Italian waste of resources. It mandatory to have a Pharmacy graduated at each Pharmacy doing basic activities, no matter how much their knowledge is needed elsewhere. A clerk would be enough, perhaps with some specific training, but not a degree in Pharmacy.

And now it is clear why there is no big Italian pharmaceutical company. Italy considers more important to place Pharmacy graduated to look for names in boxes, than to use those experts to make drug research. Does it make any sense?

Italian pharmacies: the fairy tale capitalism

Posted in Daily Life, Economics, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Jul 04, 2008 by Cicero

Pharmacies are one of the most globalized entities in the world. I mean, a drugstore always works more or less in the same way: you go there and get the medicines necessary to improve your health. Of course, there are some variations, but the overall model is like this.

As you might expect, things are a bit different in Italy. Here, although there are pharmacies, they have an old fashioned way. A number of Italian idiosyncrasies produces an atmosphere of the fifties.

First of all, the drug market is state controlled, with tabled drug prices, and no price competition among pharmacies.

Additionally, the pharmacies have the monopoly to sell drugs, even the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. That is, to get something simple as a Tylenol (which is called here Tachipirina) you have to go to a pharmacy. No chance to find it at a supermarket!

And all pharmacies are family-owned businesses. No drugstore chains and no competition, my friend. It is simply forbidden to establish a drugstore chain in Italy. Every pharmacy belongs to a family and attends to a particular region.

As a result, Italian pharmacies form a fairy tale capitalism: controlled prices, regional monopolies, family-owned businesses and no competition. That is the real Italy. An unreal country.

Emilio Fede: TV anchorman or opera diva?

Posted in Daily Life, Stupidity, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on Jun 21, 2008 by Cicero

Although counted as a developed country, Italy is still not capable to have a minimally acceptable TV. There are life shows, many from the Endemol lineage. There are journals, all of them superficial and amazingly primitive (they read news from piece of papers, instead of electronic panels!). There are talk shows, better classified as a bunch of complainers unable to do anything but to blame the government, either local or European.

Perhaps the only good exception is Striscia la Notizia, which presents a satirical view of the Italian life.

But even considering the low level of the Italian TV journalism, TG4 from Rete 4 is something beyond the curve. That piece of junk is presented and directed by the infamous Emilio Fede, a completely biased journalist and psychologically disturbed human being. To prove what I am stating, no one better than Emilio Fede himself. Observe his performance while presenting the TG4, look how stable he is, how gentle and professional.

This video was compiled by Stricia la Notizia. It is a combination of images which were in fact transmitted to others which were smuggled by Rete 4 employees. This is obviously their revenge for being continuously offended by Emilio Fede. By the way, every time you hear a beep, Emilio is swearing. And every time you see Fuori Onda, that image was not publicly transmitted.

Is Emilio Fede the Italian version of Tom Brokaw?

Genuine Italian pizza? Maybe not

Posted in Daily Life, Paradoxes with tags , , , , , , , , , on Jun 16, 2008 by Cicero

Anyone concedes, when one talks about food, Italy has an edge. I mean, there are Italian restaurants almost anywhere in the world and Italian food became part of daily diet in many countries. Pasta and pizza bring Italy into mind instantaneously. One can argue that pasta was in fact invented by Chinese, but pizza is a real Italian champion and the pizzas here are very good indeed.

But as usual, in Italy there is always a glitch, even when pizza is the subject. I mean, in a great portion of Italian pizzerias, the pizzaiolo is from a foreign country, mostly from Egypt! Yes… That’s true… Egyptian pizzaioli are the real working horses behind Italian pizzas. And the Italians blame immigrants…

In its way towards the misery, Italy is even losing its cooking heritage.

Cigars and cartoons in Italy

Posted in Daily Life, Paradoxes, Stupidity, TV with tags , , , , , , , , on Jun 07, 2008 by Cicero

If you have children, you a concerned person. I mean, you are concerned with your child happiness, health, school, friends and many more. One of my top concerns is what my daughter sees when she watches TV. I do my best to avoid her contact with violence, pornography, racism and drug usage. That’s a real challenge, in any country in the world. But here in Italy, as always, things are harder…

Just another day, my daughter was watching TV, in particular, a cartoon called Marcelino Pane e Vino, at RAI Gulp, a state controlled TV channel, dedicated to children. Suddenly, my daughter asked: “daddy, why is everybody smoking?” Of course I came to check the TV, and she was right: in a room, every cartoon character was smoking a cigar! Of course I tried to minimize the fact, saying to my daughter that those were only bad people (in fact they were the vilans). But from time to time, my daughter remember those guys smoking, like as asking for an logical explanation for such nonsense.

But if you ask any Italian, they say here is a First World country. Here one can buy cigarettes only at special places. Here, there is also a fine if one smokes nearby a child. Here, each cigarette pack is full of warnings about how deadly is to smoke. But here, in Italy, your child can also see cartoon characters smoking on a children TV channel.

That’s a true story, and it shows how stupidity is disseminated in Italy. My three years daughter is more capable to evaluate cartoon quality than RAI executives.

Italian police: choose your flavor

Posted in Daily Life, Paradoxes with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Jun 07, 2008 by Cicero

To a foreigner it is hard to understand how police works in Italy. There are five branches of national police, all of them uniformed and armed. Sometimes it seems we live under martial law, such a number of uniformed people on the streets.

Here you can find:

  • Polizia di Stato: federal police, mostly uniformed and always armed.
  • Carabinieri: military police, in uniform and with guns,directly involved into civil policing duties.
  • Guardia di Finanza: customs police, uniformed and armed, normally involved into white collar crimes. Imagine people from IRS with guns. You got it!
  • Polizia Penitenziaria: police used at the prisons (!!!)
  • Corpo Forestale dello Stato: national forest police (!!!)

Besides those national organizations, there are Polizia Provinciale (state police, somehow), Polizia Regionale (another kind of state police) and Polizia Locale (city police).

Each of those organization has its particular uniform and colors. And each police officer is allowed to ask for your ID anytime he wants to. So, there is always an oppressive atmosphere in Italy, strengthened after the recent elections, when Lega Nord, a fascist party, won most part of the power in Italy.

So, in Italy, if you are a foreigner, you are a potential target to an offensive treatment. If you are not from EU, it is even worse. If you are black, be prepared to be treated without any respect. Seems like a fascist or racist country? Maybe sounds funny. But living here you can feel the fascism rebirth.

Just for curiosity sake, the image below show how a Carabinieri uniform is similar to a SS Nazi uniform. It is amazing how the cap is almost identical. Fascist Italy again?

Carabinieri uniform versus SS one