Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Breaking News!

You may remember that, in July, Italy won the football Word Cup. No? Best defense ever? Materazzi? Headbutt? 意大利万岁? Anybody?

Anyways, I was in Rome that night, I borrowed a friend's camera, and I took some pictures on the street. I gave the camera back, and he told me he would email me the pictures "in a few days." I got the pictures today, which is what he meant. I suppose anybody who has sent me a paper to referee, only to be assured I would send the review "in a few days," is now nodding knowingly.

I did not know how the settings of the camera worked, it was night, we were never able to stop the car (except in traffic), so the pictures are dark and shaky, then the battery run out just when we got to the center, plus I ran out of gas, I had a flat tire, I didn't have enough money for cab fare, my tux didn't come back from the cleaners, an old friend came in from out of town, someone stole my car, there was an earthquake, a terrible flood, LOCUSTS!

Having dispensed with the excuses, in the interest of timely dissemination here are some of the pictures.

We start driving from Monte Sacro, a neighborhood in the North-East of the city, about 5 miles away from the center. It's less than two hours since the game is over, and a newspaper kiosk is selling day-after newspapers with chronicles of the game.

In this much time they wrote the articles, printed the papers, and got them all over the city, which is, of course, completely gridlocked. This shows that when something is really important, Italians can be efficient. (No, I don't know why there is advertising for Newsweek in a Monte Sacro newspaper kiosk.)

After more than an hour, we get to the Muro Torto, the wide road (with tunnels) that runs along historical walls and goes toward Piazza del Popolo.

Almost all the traffic is, of course, in the direction toward the center, which is where we are trying to go.

This gentleman has "W la fica" writeen on his chest. (Sorry, no translation.)

Since the traffic is not moving, one guy has the time to get out of his car and climb on top of a truck.

Then there is the group of guys running around in tighty whiteys.

This guy, instead, is jumping up and down on a Mercedes S-series. Note that he removed his shoes, so there is not risk of damaging the car.

The friend behind him, instead, his standing on the windshield. The Germans sure know how to make sturdy cars.

Then there is the Zidane coffin.

The lady in the red car is not showing a lot of enthusiasm. Seven people have fit into this small Citroen cabrio.

Note again the serious lady in the red car, and the fact that nobody is driving the Citroen. Carrying open alchoolic beverages in a car is actually legally in Italy. Driving this way, however, is allowed only on special occasions.

This is a Fiat 500, the car on which I learned how to drive. (No, I am not that old, it was a used car!)

This is the closest I got to taking a picture of Piazza del Popolo.

Catenaccio (heavy chain - the kind used to lock a gate) is the term used to define Italy's defense.


  1. Anonymous Anonymous
    12/28/2006 12:17:00 AM

    this is a C-class, not an S-class ;)

  2. Anonymous Anonymous
    12/28/2006 03:43:00 AM

    I saw SO many Cinquecentos when I was in Italy. Seriously, that thing is like the Honda Civic of Italy.

  3. Anonymous Anonymous
    12/28/2006 07:14:00 PM


    They say, blog is a way to advertise one's research interest.

    I'd say it's for the eye-balls,too.

    But if it is as hilarious as this, bring it on, Luca!
    You are certainly serving the public some good.

    B.T.W., no need to explain about the Fiat 500, everyone knows you are that forever-21.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous
    1/02/2007 07:33:00 AM

    We all remember that
    france went to the final
    and didnot win. But we
    (at least I)
    forgot who actually won.

  5. Blogger KWRegan
    1/11/2007 01:22:00 PM

    Has anyone figured out exactly what Materazzi said (in Italian) to provoke Zidane?

    I wonder if this is possible by piecing together what various lip-readers estimated and then minimizing some kind of distributional distance to an Italian dictionary plus relevant local dialect and color. See, this is kind-of a complexity-theory question after all! Plus filtering it to be consistent with what both players have said about the incident---I think the set defined by that intersection is nonempty!


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