Sunday, November 30, 2008

What would Thanksgiving weekend be without some football? Today my friend Neil and I trekked up to Stadio Paolo Rosi, a small stadium on the north side of Rome, to see the Roma Grizzlies take on their bitter crosstown rivals, the Lazio Marines. Having just finished Playing for Pizza, John Grisham's new novel about American football in Italy, I was eager to see the Italian version of the game for myself.

Just a few miles away, the local soccer team, AS Roma, was playing Florence before a capacity crowd at the mammoth Olympic Stadium. The scene at Stadio Paolo Rosi was considerably more relaxed:

The field was only 80 yards long, and the level of play was probably equivalent to that of a small college or even a good high school team. But, without incessant TV timeouts, the game was fast-paced and fun to watch. Lazio opened the scoring with a short run for a touchdown:

Roma appeared to tie the score by returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Unfortunately for Roma fans, the TD was called back because of a penalty (clipping, I believe):

It was getting cold, and we still hadn't had lunch (Stadio Paolo Rosi having no concession stand), so we left at halftime with Lazio leading 12-0 (or 14-0; they never even attempted the extra points, so I'm not sure whether an Italian touchdown is worth six or seven points). In keeping with the American theme of the weekend, we ate at Burger King.

I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed my chicken sandwich very much.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Yet again, the World’s Oldest Person has died.

Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Indiana, passed away on Wednesday. She was 115. Edna had held the title of W.O.P. for more than a year. Presumably she died of natural causes. If she’d died in a parachuting accident, I’d imagine that fact would have been mentioned in her obituary.

So let’s raise a glass to the new W.O.P., Maria de Jesus of Portugal, who was born on September 10, 1893. Quick, who was president then?

Grover Cleveland, of course!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! I am happy to report that we finally have the Internets here at Casa Algeo. (Still working on the cable TV, however.) This has measurably improved my quality of life (and drastically reduced my alcohol consumption, since the only place with free WiFi around here is an Irish pub).

Last weekend, we took an embassy-sponsored trip to Spoleto, a beautiful little Umbrian hill town about two hours north of Rome. Spoleto is most famous for its annual summer music festival, but it’s also known for its superior olive oil. We were able to take a tour of an olive oil factory, which was pretty cool.

First, the olives are cleaned, and all the leaves and stems are removed (for the most part).

Then the olives are crushed. This releases a mixture of water and oil (the latter being contained in the pit). This mixture is then spun in a giant centrifuge, which separates the oil from the water, and – voila! – or, ecco!- you’ve got olive oil!

After we toured the olive oil factory, we went to a farm out in the countryside where we enjoyed a wonderful three-hour lunch. All in all it was a lovely day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Election Night, Excelsior Hotel, Rome, November 5, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sorry I haven't been posting more regularly (or answering my e-mail very much either). After the "miracles" of the previous two weeks (Phillies, Obama), I'd hoped that this week's miracle would be that we finally got Internet at home. Alas, it was too much to hope for. As we are discovering, here in Italy it can take a very long time to get basic services like phone, Internet, etc. hooked up!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Last week, the Phillies won the World Series.

This week, a black man was elected president.

I can’t wait to see what happens next week.