World Cup Madness

So, yesterday I was watching the England vs. Italy match but for some reason I was watching it on Italian TV. Now, I really don’t know much Italian besides what I can order in a restaurant, but that’s what I was doing.

In reality, it kinda added to the the experience, being an international event and all that. And let’s be truthful, if I heard the play-by-play on British TV, I probably would have understand the commentary about the same (Really chaps, you call what you speak English?).

While watching the telecast, it occurred to me that the frequent “downtime” in a soccer match (i.e., those minutes in between attacks on the goal and writhing around on the field with some faux injury) gives sportscasters ample time to talk about other things. Interestingly, the Italian commentators spoke with the same frenetic pace during those in between moments as they did when a shot on-goal was imminent.

As I said previously, I speak very little Italian so I cannot say for sure what the announcers were chatting about during these moments. I imagined that one of them was relating to the other the particulars of a recent family vacation. I will reprint the translation here, but to achieve the proper effect, read it aloud as quickly as you can, with increased pacing and pitch until you arrive at the end in an almost orgasmic frenzy…

"Yes Gianni the famiglia and I did go to Tuscany this past week we stayed in one of those villas belonging to the network and I nearly ate my weight in salami and cheese and the kids were acting all like brats saying ‘Papa we don’t want any more salami we want gelato’ so we drove all over the countryside looking for a friggin’ Gelato stand and after 2 hours we finally saw one in the distance and the kids began screaming in my ears and we pulled in hoping it would be open on a Sunday but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! "

Programming Idea

I’ve developed a show that’s the exact opposite of The Voice. Attractive contestants come out while the celebrity judges stare directly at them.

Then the contestants begin singing really poorly and the celebrity judges’ chairs swivel around while the judges put their fingers in their ears.

I don’t know what happens next but the show will be called “The Price Is Right” or something cool like that.

Neighborhood Confidential

I live in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The neighborhood has become a lot more integrated of late, with a large number of Asian and Russian families moving in. However, in some places it is still an Italian enclave, and at times, can appear like an outtake of Goodfellas.

Today, I was dispatched by my wife and her friend to buy them a prosciutto and mozzarella (or “mutz” in the local parlance) sandwich on Italian bread. I entered a local delicatessen (or salumeria, for you traditionalists) and placed my order, which was nicknamed “The Frank Sinatra” on the large menu that hung over the counter.

After the sandwich was prepared, I took it to the register to pay. A short, stout middle-aged man (OK, let’s call him Vinnie) stood behind the register. The sandwich was $13 dollars (I know it’s expensive, but hey, it’s fresh mutz) but I only had 12. I did have a credit card, but the minimum for charging food was $15.

I looked at Vinnie sheepishly. I asked if he could make an exception on the minimum for credit card orders and he just waved me off and took the cash I had. I headed home with the sandwich feeling guilty. And a little worried.

When I got home, I gave my wife and her friend their food, asked for a dollar and headed back to the delicatessen. I went up to the register and handed Vinnie the bill. He didn’t seem shocked that I had returned. In fact, he appeared as if he expected it.

I left the delicatessen feeling more than a little relieved. I know it’s not right to perpetuate stereotypes, but I couldn’t risk winding up on someone else’s sandwich under a layer of fresh mutz.

The Dead Zone

A couple of blocks from my house, on the far end of 13th Avenue, is a corner store location.

In the past couple of years, it has been a restaurant, a wedding video company, another restaurant and, yes, another restaurant. And yet, a month or 2 after opening, each establishment would close, ostensibly because it didn’t make any money. To be truthful, my neighborhood does not need another restaurant, wedding video company or even another restaurant.

Well, I was walking past the location today and I noticed that a new establishment was opening soon.

It’s going to be a small business development office. I think we need one of those.