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.