Monday, November 12, 2007

I Dieci Ordini? (The Ten Commandments?)

Greetings my friends! You may have heard on the news that in the great country of Italy, a gentleman named Salvatore Lo Piccolo was arrested just outside of Palermo, Sicily, on suspicion of Mafia "activity". The police allege that Lo Piccolo inherited the mantle of former Mafia kingpin Bernardo "The Tractor" Provenzano. Provenzano was on the lam for an incredible 43 years, and Lo Piccolo for 20. Perhaps more interesting, however, is that when Lo Piccolo was arrested, in his stylish brown leather briefcase was a list of ten rules, or commandments, by which all good mobsters should live. Yes, mafiosi are not always smiles and sunshine; they do have their serious side too. And, they are apparently bound by ten commandments which include punctuality, avoiding bars and being nice to their wives. Lo Piccolo reportedly carried these with him everywhere he went.

Why, you may ask, does such a list exist? Isn't the essence of Cosa Nostra, according to The Godfather movies--the most accurate depiction of the Family, according to former mobster Sammy "The Bull" Gravano--that honor and gentlemanly behavior reign supreme, to such an extent that no one need even speak of such things?

Well, it seems that some of the oldtimer mobsters haven't been too happy with the youngsters who are climbing the ranks of the Mafia. And according to Mafia experts, these ten commandments reflect a desire to curb licentious or extravagant behaviour seen by old-style Mafia chieftains as "immoral". It is as if Cosa Nostra bosses want to rein in the flamboyant behaviour of the starry-eyed younger mobsters who have joined the organisation in recent years. For example, Trapani boss Matteo Messina Denaro, a Porsche-driving playboy often seen as a rival to Lo Piccolo, reportedly enjoys a semi-mythical status among newer, more ambitious Mafia initiates. Denaro's flagrant behavior suggests that crime definitely does pay, and this is the sort of exposure that Cosa Nostra definitely does not want. Indeed, Michael Corleone must be rolling over in his grave at such indiscretions.

So my friends, here are the Mafia's ten commandments. Conspicuously absent is the Judeo-Christian commandment of, "Thou shalt not kill." I choose to believe that the dons of Cosa Nostra are working on getting that in there too as an addendum or something. The other possibility is that it is "implied", which is a reasonable assumption. But, either scenario works. For me.


1. No one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it.
2. Never look at the wives of friends.
3. Never be seen with cops.
4. Don't go to pubs and clubs.
5. Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty - even if your wife is about to give birth.
6. Appointments must absolutely be respected.
7. Wives must be treated with respect.
8. When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.
9. Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.
10. People who can't be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn't hold to moral values.


Hard to take issue with, isn't it? In fact, the words "organized" or "crime" aren't even mentioned once. Nothing incriminating there. So eat your hearts out, you crooked, bribe-taking, gin-guzzling, cigar-smoking, day-and-night-philandering, sanctimonious Senate-sub-committee-hearing guys. Or...people...uh...members? Eh, you know what I mean. See, now you got me all bothered.

Thank you for reading! Your comments are welcome, and I will be sure to forward them on to Signori Lo Piccolo and Provenzano.

Ciao amici miei!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Italian Teacher Too Sexy For Religion Classes?

ROME, Sept. 6, 2005 (Blogiorno and Reuters) - Was it her looks or lifestyle that led the Roman Catholic Church to fire an Italian religion teacher this year?

Professor Caterina Bonci, a 38-year-old religion instructor described in Italy's leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, as a "leggy, long-haired blonde," has caused a major sensation, getting axed by the Catholic Church from her position in state-run schools. Bonci said Church authorities in the seaside town of Fano, Italy, decided she was just too attractive and dressed too sexy to teach religion after 14 years on the job.

"They shouldn't treat me like this after 14 years of teaching," Bonci said. "It's pure nastiness."

The headmaster at her former school, Father Alcide Baldelli, has said that some parents and teachers had complained about Bonci because she would "show up in a mini-skirt."

Bonci says she had never worn mini-skirts to work, and had "the right to wear a bikini if I go to the beach, and to wear a skirt the same length as thousands of other women…I am not a nun."

However, The Catholic Church states that it sacked the Professor because she is divorced. Local media quoted Giorgio Paolucci, lawyer for the diocese of Fano, as saying that she was fired because she was divorced and so should not be teaching religion for a Church that does not recognize divorce. According to Paolucci, the version supplied from the woman to the local press is "wrong and misleading".

"The diocese’s motivation is that she lacked suitability for the instruction of the Catholic religion", declared the lawyer.

Aesthetic Qualities Not Desirable?

Bonci said she separated from her husband in 1995, divorced in 2000 and that both events had not affected her job or raised eyebrows from her employers at the time. She said that she has never hidden her divorce from Church authorities, dresses down when teaching and defended her right to dress how she likes in her private life.

“I don’t see what it matters if a teacher is good looking or not as long she is qualified,” she told Reuters by telephone. “In school, I dressed normally. In my private life, I have every right to dress any way I want.” She added, “When a woman is considered too sexy and attractive in a small town it becomes a big thing.”

Media Frenzy

Bonci has been all over the Italian media demanding to go back to her job teaching religion to children in state schools on behalf of the diocese. Even Italy’s Corriere della Sera gave readers a break from pages of stories about scandal at the Bank of Italy and government bickering with the teasing headline: “Teacher in mini-skirt fired by diocese.”

Gawking Fathers

Bonci said reports that fathers accompanied their children to school so they could look at her meant little to her as long as the children came to class.

She added, "I have always been attacked by my female colleagues and by the rest of the staff because of my attractiveness." Bonci continued, "And if you consider that at our parent-teacher meetings it was always the fathers who came to see me, one can see why I have so often been at the center of attention and a target for gossip."

She has now become a minor celebrity on the Adriatic coast and national television talk shows are queuing up to interview her, but she says she wants only one thing.

“I would like my job back. I think it is my right,” she said. “For this job I have sacrificed and have lived a secluded life in order to attain the demanded morality, and this how they repay me".

Your Turn

Blogiorno asks, “What do you think?”

Should divorcee Caterina Bonci be allowed to teach religion? Do you believe she was fired for being too attractive? Can a woman be “sexy” and still professional, or would it be better to forgo that to squelch accusations of impropriety? Should a Christian woman even aspire to be "sexy"?

Leave your comments! Grazie mille!