Archive for Calatrava Bridge
I’ve never been keen on New Year’s, nor have I ever felt an urge to celebrate it. My instinct is to hide under the bed until after midnight. But that’s just me.
I can’t do one of those end-of-year reviews, it would wear me out. Living it once was enough. But bits of detritus are still flying off the stern of the Good Ship World as we speed toward the next 12 months, at least as seen from over here. Before they sink (and may it be soon), here are a few:
Mrs. Ex-Berlusconi’s alimony. Veronica Lario is certainly ending the year on a high note. It’s been determined that she will get 36 million euros ($48,000,000) a year in alimony. Or $4 million a month. Berlusconi is trying desperately to get himself re-elected premier of Italy, but I think a settlement of these dimensions makes it hard to take him seriously as a person who has the well-being of his country in his hands. But I think she would make a fantastic prime minister! Secretary of the Treasury! Chief Comptroller! If she ever wants to run for anything, she’s got my vote.
Don Piero Corsi and his opinions on “femminicidio.” The parish priest of the church of San Terenzo in Lerici published a broadside last week concerning the endless series of murders of women in Italy, awkwardly termed “femminicidio.” First of all, I learned that more women meet a violent death in Italy than in any other European country. But he went at the subject from another angle, urging women to take a good long look at themselves to see how far they might be “provoking” such a crime.
I’m not going to translate it for you, but you can imagine the mushroom cloud of outrage that’s bloomed from all sides. He hasn’t published a retraction, but the bishop has put him on what might be termed “administrative leave.” (Spiritual retreat? Re-education camp?). I was following all this with some form of calm until a perfervid feminist wrote a letter to the Gazzettino objecting to the ugliness of the word “femminicidio.” Let me go on record as saying that compared to the act it represents, the word is as the “Hallelujah Chorus” sung by seraphim. Let’s not waste time niggling about terminology — at least he got people talking about something that obviously needs to be talked about.
Divorced fathers sleeping in cars. This isn’t a funny line, it’s another view of the economic crisis as lived over here in the so-called Belpaese where, according to a cliche’ I sometimes hear, “people really know how to live.” There is a disturbing number of men in Padua whose alimony payments have eviscerated their budgets (is one of them Silvio Berlusconi?). By the time they’ve paid the monthly support, they have almost nothing left over. So they are sleeping in their cars under an overpass, banded together for protection. They wash at work and eat at the Mission with the destitute immigrants and alcoholic street people. I feel sorry for everyone, but these fathers have punched a hole in my heart.
Most dangerous items on New Year’s Eve: Homemade fireworks and clams. Tons of bivalves from Tunisia were checked at the port of Salerno and found to be harboring so many contaminants that, to protect the environment as well as people, the clams are being incinerated. The importer has to pay the incineration fee: 10,000 euros. And a fine. Nice. But there are undoubtely plenty of other clams out there waiting for their big moment. Eat beans. Make your own explosives.
Last non-news of 2012 and probably first non-news of 2013: The Calatrava Bridge still has problems. The ACTV continues its extraordinary managerial contortions. I can’t remember the rest, but the list is long.
Now to something beautiful. I do love one thing about New Year’s Eve here, and that is going to the last mass of the year at San Marco, and hearing them chant the Te Deum in Latin — the only time in the year that this occurs. I love it, not because I think it’s a spectacle, but because in spite of everything, we’re supposed to thank God for all His blessings, even the ones we don’t know about, and especially the ones we thought weren’t. The Te Deum does all that.
See you on the other side.
To my subscribers, I send an apology and a sort of correction.
That is, I have just discovered that the YouTube clip of the car driving over the Calatrava bridge, which I referred to in my last post, didn’t come across in the e-mail version that goes to you.
So I’m trying an experiment here, by giving you the link to the post, complete with the aforementioned clip.
You may already have found it yourself on YouTube — evidently skillions of people have done so. But I feel I need to settle this little account with you.
Now, on to the next thing, whatever that may be!
Perhaps word of this stunt has already reached you, but in case you were sleeping (as virtually everyone was when it happened here last night), two high-spirited couples from the mainland decided to pick up their friends in Venice after a night of diversion and liquid refreshment.
So they drove to Venice in the Volkswagen Polo belonging to T.V. (the Gazzettino is excruciatingly discreet), age 22, from Jesolo. When they got to Piazzale Roma, instead of parking and taking some other means of transport (vaporetto, feet) to get to wherever their friends were, the young blood at the wheel decided to drive over the Calatrava Bridge (excuse me, Constitution Bridge) and go get them.
So they did.
This snippet of film was obviously from the security video trained on the bridge, viewed in real time by the police. And they were indeed viewing.
Joining T.V. in this exploit were: A 40-year-old man from Trentino, a region bordering the Veneto but still pretty far from Venice; a 22-year-old girl also from Jesolo, and a 20-year-old girl from Motta di Livenza, which is beyond Jesolo.
I mentioned beverages? They were all from very to extremely drunk. Which might explain how blithely they proceeded, not only driving over the bridge, but proceeding to cross the large area in front of the train station, then down the rather narrow Lista di Spagna till they stopped in front of the Palazzo Labia.
It isn’t explained why this was their destination — at that point they could just as easily have kept going, driving over the Ponte delle Guglie, heading toward San Marco till the first real bridge with real steps stopped them. It’s just a theory. Maybe nothing would have stopped them.
What did, in fact, bring them to a halt were the police and the Carabinieri, whose officers find nothing amusing, ever. They certainly didn’t smile when T.V. threw the car keys into the canal.
So off they trotted to the police station, where all sorts of paperwork awaited them, papers relating to drunkenness and something called ubriachezza molesta, which means roughly “annoying drunkenness.”
The car, which was probably sitting there in the dawning light wondering how the hell it was going to get home without keys or drivers, was loaded onto a boat and taken to the police station (as evidence, I suppose).
Then the firemen got to work examining the bridge, to determine if it also had been traumatized by this little stunt.
And the penalty for the perps? They have been forbidden to set foot (or Firestone) in Venice for three years. That’s it.
Far be it from me to comment on the wisdom of the magistrates. But it doesn’t seem like much of a punishment. I’m still not convinced they even knew they were in Venice at the time.
Well, they know now. And I don’t think the idea of seeing Venice is ever going to appeal to them very much, if it ever did And no more offers to give friends a lift, either. It’s all going to be different from now on. One can hope.