Don't Try This At Home

Italy & Me

By Bob on October 22, 2012 4:08 AM

A couple of weeks ago, I did something I often rarely do in this column: display my complete ignorance to our reader millions of readers. You know what I'm talking about - that column where I told you the 4 things I know about Italy.  


Bob & Pizza-600.jpgWell Internets, I thought you deserved an update.


Charlotte and I just returned from the land of gelato, vino de casa and more ruins than you'll see during an entire season of A&E's Hoarders. It's a beautiful country with warm and friendly people who cannot speak without using their hands. They don't really like talking about WWII, but they can tell you stories about every Pope that ever slipped on the red loafers (the way I heard it, St. Hyginus was funnier than Will Ferrell back in 136 BC).


A little slice of Italian heaven: vino and quattro fromaggio pizza 

Quattro Fromaggi & Vino-400.jpgYeah, I had a boat load of preconceived ideas before we herded into cattle car airlines (American) and flew across the Atlantic. Here's how my beliefs matched up against the reality of 2012 Italy.


Give us a drum roll, Sparky:


Italian Food

I SAID: ...We will eat pizza. A lot of pizza. And it will all be good, because it is Italian Pizza served in the land of its birth. Like Chicken Fried Steak served in its native land, Fort Worth.



I DID eat plenty of pizza. Pizza in outdoor cafés and indoor restaurants. Pizza for lunch. Pizza for dinner. And as the Bible says, "It was GOOD." My 2 favorites were Quattro Fromaggio (4 cheese to you and me) and cheese pizza with thinly-sliced Parma Ham (how many M's are in Yummmmmmmmmm?)









All I was trying to do was export a little culture back to Texas. 

Antipasto lunch in Florence

Florence lunch-600.jpgItalian Drivers

I SAID: ...The traffic will make mid-town Manhattan at rush hour look like a lazy Sunday afternoon in Cranfills Gap.   



They are as BAT SH** CRAZY as they are FEARLESS. I've seen a driver navigate an 8-passenger Mercedes van down ancient streets built for ox cart traffic. And I'm glad Charlotte was asleep when we were making our way down from the mountains of Tuscany. Narrow roads with no shoulder and Charlotte's fear of heights are not a good combo. 


Don't worry, the "real" David is still inside the museum 

Cartoon David-300.jpgItalian Culture

I SAID: We will see lots and lots of statues with nekkid people. They will call it "Art" or the "Italian Renaissance," but what it will be is nekkid people in fountains, paintings, restaurant menus, billboards and T-shirts.



Dude, there were nekkid people everywhere! No, I did not buy a nekkid person T-Shirt as predicted, but I came close to getting a BBQ apron with the full-frontal Michelangelo's David. No way was Charlotte letting me have that in Colleywood or even down at the Ranch.


As I 'splained, all I was trying to do was export a little culture back to Texas. As she 'splained, "nice try, buster."  


Italian Phrases I'll Probably Need


* "I'd like more pizza."

* "Where can I purchase ointment?" (pointing at rash)   

* "Seriously dude, I want more pizza."

* "My wife doesn't have that kind of money. Give the ransom note to Mr. Tyler."

* "Who do you have to kill to get a little more pizza in this place?"


You can check off the pizza phrases - I used them every day. No, I didn't need ointment, or get kidnapped, so these phrases went unused. I learned to ask for "Coke Light" instead of "Diet Coke" (you know we're talking about Charlotte here, right?). When I wasn't drinking vino de casa, I was downing Aperol Spritz (a refreshing, surprisingly dry orange-flavored cocktail with Aperol/Prosecco/Club Soda), Campari & Soda, or of course, Limoncello.


Coke Light & Straw-375.jpgNever come between Charlotte and her Coke Light. 


Would I go back? Hell-to-the-Yeah!


It's hard NOT to like a country where they celebrate ice cream (aka, gelato), wine (vino de casa) and have the prettiest scenery this side of the Texas Hill Country. Yeah, Charlotte and I will be going back.


With the European Union in the shape it's in, somebody's got to buck up their economy.

It might as well be a couple of pizza-loving, wine-drinking, Coke Light-ordering Texans who are still looking for that perfect nekkid person T-Shirt.

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In the Mirror

4 Skin-Kind Finds Under $30

Cleansing Oil 102.jpg

Finding the right skincare routine can be like walking a tightrope. I've gotta have beauty products strong enough to do the job without sending my sometimes sensitive skin over the edge.

That's why I like to play it safe with skin-kind finds like these. They're designed to deliver powerful results with no fear of unpleasant side effects. You can pick up these budget-friendly buys at your local Target, one of my regular haunts. (I shop Friday mornings to miss the crowd.) And now to the end of October, Target is offering special discounts on these and other fan favorites from Neutrogena, Aveeno and RoC. (Check the end of this post for details.)

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Playing Favorites


When Charlotte and I aren't hip-deep in period dramas (Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge) we love a good crime story. Film Noir is my favorite genre (anybody up for Maltese Falcon, Diabolique or Elevator to the Gallows?) so we're always on the lookout for a new movie or series to scratch that itch.

Over the summer we hit the jackpot, by finding two gritty noir-ish series that satisfied our cravings. First we got hooked on the Netflix original series Bloodline. Then, we capped off our summer with the terrific Rectify from The Sundance Channel.

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