Deceptive Geography Insults My Intelligence

I was at the grocery store last week because I needed some lime juice for the “nonalcoholic beverage that can be mentioned online.”

This was on sale, so I bought it:

Let us drink, let us drink.  (Limeade, of course!)

Let us drink, let us drink. (Limeade, of course!)

I love Italy and I love Italian food.  Most people seem to love Italian food and the Mafia. We can talk about the Mafia now because this is obviously Sicilian lime juice and we all know that the Mafia runs all the businesses over there.

And as you can see, the Mafia even imports its lime juice from Peru.  Don’t get me wrong, now.  The juice was excellent and I’ve heard good things about Peru.  I just doubt that the Mafia is unethical enough to deceive consumers with a geographically inaccurate brand name.

Cardinal Sins Insult My Intelligence

Looking for adventure?

Climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica and bring your binoculars. You never know what escapades you’ll discover when you peer into all these windows:

Visit the Vatican and experience sin first-hand.

Visit the Vatican and experience sin first-hand.

I wonder if the ever-so-vigilant Vaticanites complained when those unsightly apartment buildings started blocking people’s view of their churchly treasure… or if they decided to (euphemism alert!) look at the bright side of life.

Relics Insult My Intelligence

People often throw around the word “relic” without giving thought to what they’re saying.  First off, there’s the word’s religious version that refers to the shard of a saint’s bone… among other things.  Then there’s the use of the term to describe something really really old, like this:

When in Rome, roam like the Romans.

One might call this a relic of an ancient civilization.

And then one might refer to an Apple IIe as a technological relic.

And the oldest teacher at your child’s school might be designated a relic as well.

Your dishwasher might also be a relic, though not because of any added respect because of lengthy experience or significance in history.  You probably call it a relic because it’s dead.

And at that point, the word “relic” loses all of its meaning… unless we’re talking about something I own that no longer works properly.  Then it’s a relic because I’m special and, because of that, it’s special too.

Or it would be special if it weren’t broken…

Forgetting the Linguine Insults My Intelligence

Paradise is beautiful.  For instance, there’s this place near Sorrento, Italy:

The only ingredient that's missing is pasta.  Salami would also be acceptable.

The only ingredient that’s missing is pasta. Salami would also be acceptable.

But there’s a story behind all that beauty.  People have to work hard to maintain those pristine beaches and unpolluted waters.  And those workers eat pasta and sausage and salami and all that good stuff that no one cooks up quite like the Italians.

And it’s rare to see photos that take that background action into account.  This one does.  Those waves you hear aren’t the ocean.  They’re the continual flushing of all those portapotties.  Where do you think all that wonderful food ends up?

Memories Insult My Intelligence

It was late.  It was cold.  We were cold and we were too tired to be horny.  We were on the threshold of returning to our hotel and we waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited.

Our home away from home, or so it seemed…

These are the memories that last a lifetime but we almost never think to photograph them.

Frozen Romances Insult My Intelligence

venice

Unfortunately, everyone thinks the sights are beautiful.

Welcome to Venice, home of semi-romantic gondola rides and hordes of tourists.  Unfortunately, those rides aren’t as lovely as you might imagine because those bridges and shores function as streets.  And there’s people on them there streets and they’re all looking at you, or so it seems.

Kissy kissy!

And so you look back at them.  Nothing gets seafaring lovers in the mood quite like watching a bunch of people eating, walking, and carrying their loot around.  Especially when it’s cold.

And it’s even colder on the water… cold enough to make anyone frigid.  Pun intended.

Italian Tripe Insults My Intelligence

English: A restaurant in Treviso, Italy.

Not the same ristorante, but you get the point…  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the tripe picture in my last post, you surely must have known that I’d return to the topic.

When I think of tripe, I think of a dinner I had on my tour of Italy.  The tour company arranged for the group to occupy a little ristorante that would have been really romantic if I had been there with a horny female friend.  The food was excellent and we were all having some great conversations with the people at our tables.

Enter the tour guide.  He asks us to quiet down and listen to the opera singers that will be performing for us.  I’m no opera aficionado, but the singers were reasonably good even if I and most of the the others would have preferred to chat.

And then it finally happened.

The opera singers pulled a CD of themselves from their pockets and started prancing from table to table asking if anyone would like to purchase a copy.  By the time they reached my table, they were looking incredibly annoyed when no one raised their hand.

Moral of the story:  If you’re trying to sell products by associating them with a memorable moment, don’t destroy the moment.  People aren’t always stupid.

Misplaced Priorities Insult My Intelligence

I went on an organized tour of Italy a few years back and some of the other tourists’ behavior appalled me.  I don’t mean the typical misbehavior we usually hear about.  Instead, I’m thinking of a focus on drinking and shopping.  People spent significant money to visit a place many people only dream of seeing and they used most of their time on superficial things.

I took this photo in Assisi.  The tour guide requested that we respect the religious procession coming down the stairs by not aiming our cameras directly at it.  I thought the procession was amazing and wanted to capture it somehow, so I ended up with this:

BC1

Ah, the wonders of Italian engineering.  Although I was attempting to capture a significant part of Italian culture with this picture, it also illustrates the world of tourism in my eyes.  The cheap materialistic car dominates the foreground while the amazing architecture falls to the background, far from where the eyes focus.  Plus, the authentic cultural practice remains off to the side, almost unnoticeable as it exits the frame.

Fleeting Joy Insults My Intelligence

This photo is for the "Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting"  at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/weekly-photo-challenge-fleeting/

This photo is for the “Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting” at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/weekly-photo-challenge-fleeting/

fleeting (adj.): Term used to describe the sense of excitement you feel on a tour when you reach the Shakespearian landmarks in Verona, Italy, only to discover that the most memorable aspect for everyone will be the one worn-down breast on the statue of Juliet that every tourist is seemingly obligated to rub.

You can see how much The color has changed.  Not even Juliet's beauty is immortal.

You can see how much the color has changed. Not even Juliet’s beauty is immortal.

Haagen Dazs Insults My Intelligence

I love Italy.  I spent a few weeks there several years back and, as you might expect, the food was excellent.  My only complaint would be the folks on the tour bus whining about how we were “always” having to eat pasta.  However, on several occasions, I got to have gelato; if you’re ever in Italy, you should do the same.

And lately the TV has been saturated with ads from Haagen Dazs announcing their new gelato product.  Now, when I think of reputable Italian food companies, the first I always think of is Haagen Dazs.  The name just oozes, uh, Scandinavian or Dutch, I suppose.  It’s hard to know because Haagen Dazs is an American company that adopted a faux European name to help it sell ice cream.

That marketing ploy was sensible.  When you look at all the world’s cultures, the ones that obviously have the greatest need for top-notch ice cream are the ones buried under six feet of snow for much of the year.  I know I love a good sundae when there’s a blizzard.  (On the other hand, very few people may realize that it snows in Scandinavia, assuming they can even find the region on a map.)

So what we have is an American ice cream company pretending to be Scandinavian while expecting us to buy Italian gelato from them.  I’m not entirely sure it worked.  My grocery store had it on deep discount recently, so I decided to buy some.  (I actually like some of their regular ice cream flavors.  My arteries don’t like it so much; they’d prefer I drink a gallon of lard.)  Speaking as someone who has had authentic gelato, I can tell you that this product bears no resemblance to the real thing.  However, it is different from regular Haagen Dazs ice cream, mostly in that it’s as hard as a brick and I was afraid of breaking my spoon in it.

In case you weren’t aware, gelato is supposed to be softer.  And if you weren’t aware of this, maybe Haagen Dazs was wise to assume ignorance among consumers.  If people don’t know what the product is supposed to be like, they can’t say it falls short.

In this case, ignorance isn’t bliss. If you want bliss, go to Italy.  If you can’t afford plane tickets, Talenti brand is pretty good and slightly less expensive than a hotel room.

In spite of everything, there is a bright side to all of this (sort of).  No matter how questionable the company’s antics are in this country, at least its American marketing executives aren’t as outlandish as their foreign counterparts.  In Germany, I once saw a Haagen Dazs billboard for a tropical flavor of some sort and they were advertising it as a taste of Africa.  And the image, which took up most of the space, was of a Black person being swirled into a container of ice cream.

Dibs on the calf muscle!