Friday, December 28, 2012

Mario Monti Uses Twitter

Article first published as Mario Monti Uses Twitter on Technorati. 


Mario Monti has been the Italian PM just for one year in a Technocratic Cabinet. While he was approaching the end of his government, he met center-right European leaders; «The European People's Party (EPP) is with Super Mario. All EPP leaders have expressed "strong support for Mario Monti," said Luxembourg Prime Minister and Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker»

Mario Monti and Twitter
He didn’t wait too long to give us his own opinion about the future of Italy. Using his brand new account on twitter @SenatoreMonti, on December 25th at the 11:31pm he posted this phrase: «Together we have saved Italy from disaster. Now politics is due for renewal. Complaining does not help, you must work. "Let's go" in politics!».

Mario Monti used the phrase “Let’s go in politics!”, in opposition to another one-The “Take the field” phrase, which Silvio Berlusconi used in 1994 during his speech on television, where he stated his intention to start a new party.

Twitter and Italian political parties
In Italy there is only one politician that really uses Twitter and Facebook. He is a comedian: Beppe Grillo, who has more than 700.000 followers. The success of Beppe Grillo and his 5 Stars Movement, which is the second Italian party according to currently polls, has been based on social media. They didn't want to agree to a compromise with old media, like television network, as most of them are owned or controlled by Silvio Berlusconi. Why Does Monti Use Twitter?
Probably, the reasons are the same for Beppe Grillo’s movement: Avoid the medium influenced by his main competitor, Silvio Berlusconi, and build a direct link with the voters. Although, I think there is another reason for Mario Monti to use Twitter - trying to conquer the vote of the young Italian people.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Teatro alla Scala of Milan opens 2013 with Wagner's Lohengrin

Article first published as Teatro alla Scala of Milan opens 2013 with Wagner's Lohengrin on Technorati.

The Opera House of Milan, Teatro alla Scala
Why Teatro alla Scala is so important for Milan

I’ve always has been a big fan of Teatro Alla Scala of Milan, better know as “La Scala”. I grow up in a family of melomaniac people, mainly my mother, and I’ve been for several years a season ticket holder of La Scala symphony orchestra concerts. Anyway, it was a big surprise when I went to Brussels in December 2004, and I found a freepress newspaper in the subway with, in the front page, a picture of La Scala, announcing the premier.

Richard Wagner or Giuseppe Verdi?
Every year, the night of December 7th, there is the first production, in Italian “La prima”, because of the Richard Wagner’s bicentenary of the birth, the 2013 first production will be the Lohengrin. But 2013 will be the Giuseppe Verdi’s bicentenary of the birth, so why did they choose to perform the German composer instead of an Italian one?

Armando Torno wrote on Corriere della Sera, that in the 1873, when Lohengrin debuted at La Scala, the show «was marred by accidents, controversy of any kind, and the masterpiece of the composer Nibelungen was booed at various times» and about the 2013 perform Torno adds «an orchestral told us: "It's like they opened the season in Bayreuth Wagner with (a Giuseppe Verdi) opera.» Nonethless, this 2012 for Italian people has been a tough year where most of the economical sacrifice came from Europe Union leaded by Germany.

Stephane Lissner
According to Stephane Lissner, governor of the theater La Scala, «The choice of Wagner is 'a demonstration of maturity,' because Wagner belongs to the history of La Scala». In this interesting video, Nick Reveles explains why performing a Wagner opera is very important: «It’s extremley difficult to cast a Wagner opera these days. It’s not that there are no Wagner singers anymore. It’s the fact that getting the whole cast filled with singers who have similar qualities, good qualities hopefully, and getting them at the same place, in the same time is notoriusly difficult.» Only the most important Opera theater of the world, La Scala of Milan, can afford such effort.

La Scala and the city of Milan 
Wagner a strisce
All the city of Milan joins the theater for this important event. In fact, the Milan museum of comic "Wow", a place you shouldn't miss when you visit Milan, is currently open an exhibition of Wagnerian imagery called "Wagner a Strisce" ( Starting from Liebig cards with characters from Wagner's from late nineteenth century until the animated film "Siegfried", created by the young Alice and Alex still in preparation in France. And more. The exhibition shows re are the Disney parodies, the animated version of "The Valkyrie" with Bugs Bunny, and the Japanese anime with Captain Harlock immersed in the music of Wagner's Ring.

Hackers against La Scala Website 
“La Prima” of December 7th is so much important for the world of opera, that the website of La Scala has been attacked. Two Russian hackers blocked the site of the opera house in Milan, preventing customers to reserve a place, to drive traffic to another site, where theyn resold the tickets with an increase of up to 700 %.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Being Mario Balotelli

Article first published as Being Mario Balotelli on Technorati. 

Who is Mario Balotelli, the player behind the winner of Italy against Germany

Eventually, Italians must thank Mario Balotelli; with two goals of Manchester City's striker Mario Balotelli, Italian soccer team defeated the Germans and will face Spain in Kiev for the final match Sunday.

Mario Balotelli is one the greatest player of his generation. Even the French newspaper Libération admitted that in a quiz on its website called “Do you know Mario Balotelli?” (“Connaissez-vous Mario Balotelli, le footballeur le plus fou de sa génération?”)
An Envy Nation
In Italy the most played game is the envy, badly. Before the beginning of the Euro 2012 adventure Mario has been subject of several criticism, mainly for his behavior off the pitch.
But who really care about his behavior off the pitch?
Rightly he reacted, as James Horncastle wrote on his website, when he scored his first goal against the Republic of Ireland «he got up off the floor and didn’t celebrate as usual (and he) chose to vent the frustration that had obviously been raging within. Before he could say anything he might regret, however, defender Leonardo Bonucci showed the presence of mind to place a hand over his teammate’s mouth and avoid a diplomatic incident.»
Why Always Me?

The newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport published a cartoon of Mario Balotelli by drawer Valerio Marini as King Kong right the day of the match against England.

As reported on Guardian «It led to a number of complaints from readers prompting the newspaper to apologise.»

The Nutella Treatment

During press conference before the game with German team, Mario Balotelli approached Italian always-very-judgemental journalists saying «I’ve never had problems off the pitch, not even when I didn’t score. I didn’t have as some journalist put it ‘my arse in the nutella’.»
In this occasion, Balotelli answered to an Italian journalist that put the Italian player as a symbol of a generation of Italian young people.

In the spotlight
Mario Balotelli and Joe Hart
England goalkeeper and Manchester City team-mate Joe Hart used honest words for Mario Balotelli, before the match against England: «Mario accepts, with the way he is, that sometimes he's going to bring attention to himself. (…) People can keep writing. Even when some things were made up, he wasn't bothered. Things like that just kind of slide off him.»

An Unconscious Player

Mario Balotelli he is a great player because he is an instinctive guy. The Balotelli’s way to play soccer match and living life reminds me the «Wu Wei Gung Fu, a fighting art founded by Bruce Lee that expressed his ultimate philosophy: "Learn technique. Practice technique. Forget technique." »

Indeed Mario Balotelli acts unconsciously and on instinct alone. The body and limbs perform what they are assigned to do all by themselves with absolutely no interference from the mind. The movements become automatic and divorced from all consciousness.»

For the first time in my life, this article deserved the front page of Technorati.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Costa Crociere ship runs aground near island of Giglio, in Italy

Article first published as Costa Crociere Ship Runs Aground Near Island of Giglio, in Italy on Technorati.

The last night, the Costa Cruises "Concordia" ship hit a rock a few meters from the island of Giglio. The hole of 70 meters along the hull made ​​it to incline. Two of the three passengers confirmed dead are French, France 24 reported, while the third is a Peruvian person.

«Most people reached land by lifeboats but some swam to shore. At least 50 people have not yet been accounted for, Italian officials say, but they caution that the passenger list may not be fully up to date.» BBC reported.

«Passengers were initially told that the ship had shuddered to a halt for electrical reasons. (...) for 45 minutes they were told there was a simple "technical problem" before being advised to put on life jackets and head for lifeboats.» Deutsche Welle reported.

The ship sank had already had other accidents
The Costa Concordia before the tragedy on the Island of Giglio had a series of accidents. On May 4, 2010, a Russian tourist of 33 years falls into the sea from the deck of the ship, probably a suicide. Six months after a mobile crane at the port of Savona crashes on the ship. Luckily the crane caused neither damage or injuries.

In November 22, 2008 the ship had an incident at the port of Palermo; because of strong winds, the ship had a collision against the Sicilian port of the dock. The impact was tough, it created a massive rift between the forward and the right side of ship, and one of the bow doors were destroyed. Fortunately no injuries were recorded.

The ship was inaugurated September 2005, when it had an unfortunate baptism; the bottle of champagne, with which they christened the new boat, did not break the hull of the ship that will sail the sea. A bad presage, according to maritime tradition.

Acquired by Carnival Corporation, an American-British company, and the world's largest cruise ship operator, in 2000, Costa Cruises is now one of eleven brands operated by Carnival Corporation & PLC and accounts for approximately 16% of its revenue.

Sources: Il Fatto Quotidiano - photo - wikipedia

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Italian is the real winner of the Ballon D'or

Lionel MessiArticle first published as An Italian is the Real Winner of the Ballon D'or on Technorati.

Lionel Messi won his third Ballon D’or in a row. He is the greatest soccer or football player of our time, probably the All-Time best player. After Messi, his teammate Xavi and Portuguese player of Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo.

Something new under the sky of the football
The football world is facing unprecedent problems concerning fixes matches, that's why FIFA "announced a series of new measures to combat match-fixing. In order to clamp down on match-fixing, which is linked to illegal betting." Chris Eaton, FIFA's head of security, says that "between 400 and 500 billion euros ($500bn and $630bn) are generated each year by betting on sport — both legal and illegal — with between five and 15 billion euros stemming from fixed matches. (...) It's a huge attraction for organised crime" France24 reported.

The model of Simone Farina
An Simone Farina and Sepp BlatterItalian defender Simone Farina could be the model for young players to follow; he was offered $255,000 (£165,000/€200,000), to help fix a match involving his club Gubbio. Eaton underlines Farina's behavior: "He resisted and rejected a corrupting offer, but more importantly he reported it," Farina was appointed a FIFA fair play ambassador by FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Monday.

"The coach of the Italy national team, (...) has rewarded the defender by inviting him to train with the national team ahead of a training camp next month." ansa reported.

Simone Farina deserves a bigger reward, just like a real debut in a match with his country national team, not just a training camp.

Other sources: - -

Sunday, October 2, 2011

In Italy Online Free Speech Is In Danger

Perhaps, the next time that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton * will look for an example of «threats to the free flow of information» she won't speak about «China, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan».
Perhaps, the next time U.S. Secretary of State will speak about a nation where «bloggers and activists were detained» she won't speak about Egypt.

Perhaps, the next time she will speak about Italy.

Soon or late, Italian parliament will discuss an Executive Order of the Government about wire-tapping that includes a rule headed to any website. According this bill before Italian parliament, anyone who runs a website, any blogger like me too, «will be obliged to arrange for a rectification of any information published online, within 48 hours from the request, although the request is groundless. In the absence of timely correction, the penalty will be a fine up to 12.000 euros.»
This new bill endangers free speech and is a threat to Italian democracy.

But this isn't the first attempt of Italian Government to stifle free speech. In 2010 they intended «make Internet service providers (ISPs), and hosting sites such as Blogspot and YouTube, liable for content in the same way a television station is. In the strictest interpretation of the law, the sites and ISPs would have to monitor all content on their sites, content which is uploaded by millions of individual users (…) Authority for Communications Guarantees president Corrado Calabrò has said that Italy would be unique in the West as imposing Internet restrictions until now only imposed by authoritarian governments.» What you have just read is cable from Wikileaks.

Why all this? again from the Wikileaks' cable: «Advocates of Internet freedom have repeatedly warned us that Italy's traditional elites — on both sides of the political spectrum — are very uncomfortable with the Internet's ability to bypass the traditional media that they control.»
Help Italians blogger to defend free of speech in Italy using the hashtag #leggebavaglio or #noleggebavaglio on twitter.
Photos from and

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Sugarless Planet

Article first published as A Sugarless Planet on Technorati.

Cover of Sugar Blues, Italian edition, from my Flickr gallery
One day of the year 2000, my life changed: in a little shop of organic food and lifestyle healthy habits near Milan I bought a little but wonderful book: Sugar Blues by William Dufty.

The book Sugar Blues
I already knew the author. William Dufty * was an American writer who wrote a sweet Billie Holiday’s biography that I read some years before: Lady Sings the Blues. But for this book Mr Dufty changed the topic: «It's a prime ingredient in countless substances from cereal to soup, from cola to coffee. Consumed at the rate of one hundred pounds for every American every year, it's as addictive as nicotine — and as poisonous. It's sugar.»

Before the book, in the 1960s he met Gloria Swanson * «who introduced him to the macrobiotic culture and convinced him that white sugar was unsafe. (…) Dufty and Swanson were married, she for the sixth time, he for the second time, in 1976. (…) It was, however, the marriage of his devotion to healthy eating, spirituality and writing for which he is best known. Dufty practiced and promoted macrobiotics; a low-fat, high-fiber diet of whole grains, vegetables, sea algae, and seeds, that are prepared in accordance with specific principles, said to synchronize eating habits with the cycles of nature.» HoneyWhite sugar from my Flickr galleryI started my own crusade against white sugar too. Instead of white sugar, I use honey, or maple syrup, or malted barley. I lost about 10 kilos (22 pounds) in 1 year. Eventually, I found the passion for life.

Addicted to sugar
In the blog Brain Blogger, Dr Gibson wrote * that «Many studies have uncovered commonalities between sugar intake and drugs of abuse, but a study in 2007 found that the reward experienced from sweetened food surpasses the reward experienced from cocaine. In this study, rats were allowed to choose either intensely sweetened water or intravenous cocaine. Amazingly, 94% of the rats chose the sweetened drink over cocaine. (...) Both sweeteners and drugs of abuse stimulate dopamine receptors in the brain, which are critical to reward and learning pathways. (...) Humans overconsume refined sugars because they taste good. When given a choice, most people will choose these palatable foods over non-palatable foods due to the rewarding aspects of ingestion. Many people overconsume these substances so much that they lose control over their eating habits and jeopardize a healthy body.»

White sugar from my Flickr gallery
Sugar just like tobacco
In Febraury 2010 Mark Bittman wrote in his article “Is soda the new tobacco?” * on New York Times that in Usa «“A tax on soda was one option considered to help pay for health care reform (the Joint Committee on Taxation calculated that a 3-cent tax on each 12-ounce sugared soda would raise $51.6 billion over a decade), and President Obama told Men’s Health magazine last fall that such a tax is “an idea that we should be exploring. There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda.”» but against this smart idea of a tax on soda there are the producers of sugar-sweetened drinks that «are acting a lot like the tobacco industry of old: marketing heavily to children, claiming their products are healthy or at worst benign, and lobbying to prevent change.»

France Tax on sugary drinks
Even France «has seen a rise in obesity in recent years, especially among children. (...) “It is necessary to put the brakes on the development of obesity, which weakens the health of the people concerned and represents, over the long term, a large cost for the health care system,” the government’s proposal reads. It proposes “to raise the price of sugary drinks, whose unchecked consumption favors weight gain.”»

Coca-Cola «said Thursday it has suspended plans for a €17 million ($24 million) investment in France to protest a tax on sugary sodas that’s part of government efforts aimed at shrinking the country’s huge debts. (…) Coca-Cola is ready to participate in budget austerity efforts, but considers the tax unfair because it targets drinks that are “not harmful to health.” (…) On its website, Coca-Cola’s France operations say obesity is linked to several factors including limited physical activity. “It is not linked to the consumption of a particular product, but depends on the global nutritional balance,” it says.» * The France government «will raise value added tax on sweetened soft drinks by almost four-fold. VAT on soft drinks with added sugar will rise from 5.5% to 19.6% from 1 January 2012, ministers have confirmed. The measure is expected generate additional revenue of EUR120m (US$173m) for France’s social security services. Ministers want to plug a hole in national finances, as well as rising tackle obesity rates.» *

Gloria Swanson died at the age of 84 years old and William Dufty at the age of 86 years old.