Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Some Observations

How's THAT for a boring title? Oh well. Here's what's on the minds of those in the know around these parts...

1) Soccer superstar (plays for Rome) Francesco Totti and his wife Ilary Blasi welcomed their second child this week. The bambina's name? Chanel Totti. That's right, I said CHANEL. A brand-name baby. What will they think of next? Gucci Totti? Armani Totti? Prada Totti? Their family could easily turn into an entire cat-walking team. Needless to say, the Romans are snickering about the ridiculously tacky turn. However, I've got one thing to say for the Tottis. They are a perfect example of what I would call shameless tackiness. It's like they take pride in it. No embarrassment here, folks. When they were getting married, they posted their wedding registry online so any devoted fans who felt like it could buy them gifts. And I'm thinking, see, why didn't I ask for one of these doo-dads instead of putting just the honeymoon on the registry? Doh! But, see what I'm saying? Pride in tackiness, people. Tacky. It's the new cool.

2) Some women can't reign in their spending when it comes to shoes and clothing, and here in Rome that's an easy thing to go overboard on. But no. For me, it's a big, nerdy inability to resist when it comes to reading material. Today I caved in and bought The New Yorker, recklessly not even inquiring as to the price (which was only listed on the cover as "Foreign: $5.99" -- not helpful). Set me back €9. That's like what, just over $12 USD? Man. I'll have to read one page a day to make it last.

3) I read in the May 11 edition of the commuter paper Metro that there has been a sharp increase in dog and cat abandonment here in Lazio, the state where Rome is located. I am always horrified by this. It happens before every vacation season: people abandon their animals because they go away. Estimates are between 50,000-100,000 abandoned dogs and 300,000 abandoned cats in Rome alone. Four years ago we adopted two abandoned cats at Largo Argentina shelter (the only shelter in the world located where Julius Caesar was assassinated). They are run entirely by volunteers and receive absolutely no support, monetary or otherwise, from the city. When the cats are abandoned to the shelter (lots of people just drop them off there), the staff covers costs to have them vaccinated and spayed or neutered by a wonderful, wonderful veterinarian named Stefano Baldi. If you need a vet in Rome, he is a saint. (via Cisterna 15, Tel. 065896650) You can help the Roman cats by adopting one at a distance or buying something from the cat shop. Stop by and see the cats for yourself.

4) May has been strike central here in Rome. We have seen strikes by just about everyone, from taxi drivers, to public transport workers, air traffic controllers, and even gas station attendants. Gas station attendants?

5) This year's Culture Week (9th annual) started on May 12 and ends May 20. All state-operated museums and archeological sites are free.

6) Had a lovely Canadian college student staying in one of my apartments this week with her parents, and she asked for a recommendation for a place to get her hair done. My Italian hair guru, Alberto, was booked, so I sent her to a place I had only heard about but never been to myself. Noi Salon is, to my knowledge, the only salon in Rome with native English speaking stylists. My guest was very pleased with her cut and color and tells me it's a great place to recommend, so... I pass the tip on to you. I have also heard that that they do manis and pedis.

7) Barbra Streisand tix went on sale in Rome on May 11. Guess she decided to open her world tour here on June 15 and this will be her first-ever live performance in Italy. The nosebleeds are going for €135, and the good seats are €850. That's right folks, the equivalent of about $1,150 USD. OnethousandonehundredfiftyUSdollars.

I'm getting a little verklempt... talk amongst yourselves... I'll give you a topic... Barbra is neither a bar nor a bra ... Discuss.


Anonymous said...

The Totti's are following suit after the Beckam's in unusual names department.

Wow! the tickets for Babs is insane. I hope she has an orchestra backing her vocals.

I'm with you on buying reading material over clothes or shoes. I buy all my clothes at the thrift stores. Would the women of Roman be horrified by this? Do they have second hand clothing stores there filled with Chanel, Gucci and Armani?

Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Sante (super-Totti fan) didn't see a problem with the name. HAHAHA. Of course. Fired.

Also, you haven't heard my Linda Richman (it's pretty good, if I do say so myself)!!

Tamara said...

Totti basically sounds like the Italian version of what Brits call 'chavs.'


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I have heard of a few Chanels stateside. Chanel Totti does not have a nice ring to it. Why are they naming her after a French designer anyway, was Tods or Missoni Totti not available?

There is an up and coming model named Chanel Iman (seriously) she is 16 and was in Vogue this month. Thank god the girl is cute. What were her parents thinking?

Courtney Cox named her kid Coco. Everyone thinks it's after Coco Chanel. Hello, Coco's name is a nickname. Her real name is Gabrielle Chanel.

re: the high price of magazines. I wanted to buy the latest issue of Italian Elle Decor...$18.25! At least Italian Vanity Fair is reasonable, around $5.

Annika said...

I bought Italian Vogue here in Sweden a few months back... €10!

I kind of like the idea of Pucci Totti. Sounds cute.

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Violette: Yep, apparently it's like a 50-something piece orchestra. But, still. And, yes, I love my thrift stores. Loved the horrified look on people's faces after they would enthusiastically compliment an article of my clothing and I'd say, "Hey, thanks. $3.50 at Salvation Army." I am still looking for good thrift shops here, so far, no good.

Ms: Oh, Sante! When will you learn? These Italian boys and their irrational fan behavior. And, your LR impression? Yes, please!

Tamara: Chavs, good new vocab for me, grazie!

NYC: Love it. No, Tods was taken. And I thought Courtney got the name from Cocoa Puffs and just spelled it wrong on the birth certificate? I mean, judging by the intellectual capacity that her husband seems to display... makes you wonder...
And, last thing. I'm thinking, magazine care package, Italian Elle Decor, me to you? I know mags are heavy but even just one, could be fun... maybe I'll surprise you one of these days?

Annika: You can be on the magazine care package list too. Just send me some Swedish meatballs in return. Ok, scratch that. Surprise me.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Shelley,
I'll buy your New Yorker used for half price when you finish it or, in exchange, you can have my Mom's last care package of clippings!

Ms. FoxyRoxy said...

I guess when your rich naming your child CHANEL, sounds normal. I know a dog name

triplecreme said...

Totti's wife is totally tacky! In that photo you can tell she has big fake teeth, and plumped up lips. And he has a reputation for being stupid, right? My roommate subscribes to the New Yorker, anytime you want to trade a stack of New Yorker's for a stack of some trashy Italian gossip mag, let me know!

Julie said...

Hope it doesn't get as bad as Hollywood. I read somewhere they've named kids, Moxie Crimefighter, Apple, Kel-el, and who knows what else.

cheeky said...

I'm having a hard time grasping the whole mentality of "we'll just abandon the animal" if it doesn't fit into our plans; as if it were an inanimate object.
This sort of thing makes me ill. I don't think I will ever understand.
Barbra S. tickets make me want to vomit. Another ridiculous scheme. I don't care how lovely her voice is, who decides to set those prices; more importantly who pays for them? I'd rather spend the money on the Roman cats.

Kataroma said...

Chanel - yuk. Poor kid.

Thrift stores - unfortunately they're just not "done" here. I've also gotten horrified looks when I told people here that my fabulous jacket is from ebay (US - ebay Italia sucks unfortunately). There is some kind of stigma to getting things cheap here.

If you ever need another native English speaking hairstylist in Rome - i have a fabulous Northern English one. He does a great job and is very reasonable. Neil at Concept hair salon on Via Cimarra, Monti.

Elle said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

Babs is here. HERE, in Roma! (Thanks for telling me!)

I don't care if I have to live on bread and water for the next month just to get the cheap seats, I shall do just that!

my melange said...

Babs ain't worth that kinda dough! I'll buy a CD for $20, but that's as far as it goes. I could have a glorious trip to Italy for that kind of money!

jessica said...

At Largo Argentina they can use Vet visits too, if any tourists are vets at home, it'd be nice to pop in. And, if anyone is thinking about adopting, it's easier for someone from america/canada or switzerland to adopt than someone from the E.U. All they need there are mandatory shots, while they need documents and kitty passports to be adopted into another E.U> country. If no adopting, at least go give some lovin' to a kitty for a half hour, it's so worth it.

Delina said...

Chanel?! I wonder what their other kid is called. After seeing Mrs Totti presenting Iene, right up to the end of her pregnancy, I had to give her some credit. She annoys me a little less than before now.

I have been known to splash out on an English magazine. I know you can read online, but sometimes, back to basics is just nice :)

Anonymous said...

It angers me that people discard their pets so easily. There is this amazing woman in the town I use to live that turned her home into a cat sanctuary.

Gibsons - Happy Cat Haven
Contact: Violet Winegarden,
Happy Cat Haven is a private, non-profit shelter for needy animals on the Sunshine Coast and is located in Violet Winegarden's own home in Gibsons. Over 1500 animals help in six years.

Infact, my online nic is a tribute to her!

Buda Baby said...

Tottis... and I thought the Beckhams were bad with the diamond-encrusted sex toy for a birthday present. Why, and B, WHY!?!?

I think I read that Coco Cox is named after Courtney, using the first two letters of her first and last name.

[Displaying shameless interest in the gossip pages here.]

JennDZ said...

Good Grief, what's next. I swear...anyway, Roberto told me about this Roman thing to discard pets while everyone goes to the beach. I mean what the hel*l* is that?! I was so outraged when I heard about it ---and guess what? Still am.

I am sorry, but Babs is just not good enough for that amount of money. That is ridiculous. She better start feeding some starving kids or villages in Africa to warrant those outrageous prices!

Man, Shelley, you sure got me in a tizzy today!

Have a great weekend!

jessica said...

abandoning these animals, how cruel. babs asking for that kind of money....i just hope she gives where it is needed. you think she'll buy a raffle ticket? haha.

African Kelli said...

What is it about tackiness being the new cool? You are so spot on! Victoria Beckham and Britney are the same way. I don't understand where we made the turn from the wealthy wanting to look classy to the wealthy wanting to look trashy, but I really wish we'd turn this car around!
And I think they'd have to pay me a grand to sit through that concert. OY VEY.

springsandwells said...

Oh Fun!!
I just found your blog & I love it. Right on. I lived in Italy off and on for a while, so it's super fun to read about the comings and goings.

The online wedding registry for fans *cracked me up*!!!

:) Amey

springsandwells said...

When I was staying in Padova many years ago, I had some neighbors who worked at the hospital there.

They said that families would drop off their elderly relatives when they went on vacation!!!!!!!!

Pretty gross.

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Great discussion! We have the pro-Babs and no-Babs camps. Elle, if you go you have to post on it!

Jessica, good tips about traveling vets for Largo Argentina. And everyone can adopt by distance, just by sending a contribution.

As for the magazines, I will get in touch with the interested parties. ;-)