Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Quiet Few Days in Catania

After a LONG weekend and my inability to work on the blog, we enjoyed a few very slow paced days in Catania.

Monday was highlighted by another very positive meeting with the people at U.S. Navy's Sigonella Naval Air Station.

Possible Game Field

A 100 yard field, a rarity in the IFL which mostly has 90 yard fields, it also has lights and an unheard of SCOREBOARD complete with a clock, down AND distance information, not to mention the actual score of the game.

We are working towards actually playing our last home game vs. the Lazio Marines here.  We are also going to practice here on Wednesday night's before our home games in an effort to raise awareness about the Elephants with the base personnel.  They have a five man sled on the base that I pray we can use at these practices.

The Giuliano Family
Daniella, Alessandro and a VERY proud papa Davide

This picture was taken just before our staff meeting to plan Monday night's practice.  This turned out to be a VERY well attended, spirited and HIGH INTENSITY affair!  The practice not the meeting.

Davide, DO NOT EVER take young Alessandro to this particular circus!

This guard outpost housed lookouts near the entrance to the old Ognina Harbor at the edge of current day Catania. 

A World War II Pillbox near Le Ciminiera

Le Ciminiera was originally a sulphur refinery that has been renovated into a very nice cultural center in Catania.  It houses several museums which were closed today.

La Cininiera's small Museum of Sicily specializes in ancient maps of the island.

The early ones were so far off that it is hard to believe anybody found anything using them.

Marcello Biondi

It seems that every time I get the urge to get on a plane to go back to California due to the frustration of driving and parking in Catania or the lack of attendance by the defensive players at practice, I meet someone like Marcello Biondi.

At the main office to La Ciminiera we asked when the Museum of the World War II Sicily Invasion would re-open from their renovations.  Marcello misunderstood me, thinking I was asking about the Museum of Sicily which was closed for the day.  He just grabbed the keys and took Paul and I on an impromptu private tour of the maps.

He didn't have to do it but he did.  This is what I love about Sicily, the very generous and caring people you run into when they are NOT driving a car in the daily, infuriating Catania Destruction Derby.

Thank you Marcello! 

Ognina Harbor

The home of many ancient traditions of Sicilian fishing and...

The Museo del Mare

Paul has taught me more about the fishing industry and the history of his ancestral home country, Croatia, than any Cuban-American really has the right to know.

He is writing a short history of the San Pedro, California fishing industry.  Paul grew up there and he was the first Petrich who did not become a fisherman by trade in literally hundreds of years.  Since the fishermen in San Pedro were mostly Croatians and Sicilians, he is doing research while he is here on Mediterranean fishing techniques.

What better place this Museum of the Sea.

Paul all atwitter amid Sicilian fishing gear.

With Museo del Mare Staff
Ivana on the left and Lory on the right 

I entered the Museum only to humor Paul in his land based seafaring quest for information not expecting much.

Once again the people of Sicily surprised me and this museum trip turned out to be one of the most fun days I've spent here in two years.

We were the only ones in the museum the whole time we were there.  Ivana was the serious one of our two guides and spoke very good English.

Lory was the very bubbly, high energy, talking like crazy guide who spoke great "Lory", a combination of Italian, Sicilian, English and hand gestures.  Her unique language is similar to the new tongue of "George" which I invented last year at Elephant practices using elements of Italian, Spanish, English and hand gestures as well.  Somehow we communicated and had a GREAT time.

What made it so much fun was the white sheet of paper that Lory is holding in this picture.  It is a room by room description of all of the pieces on display in the museum.  Each article is listed three times, in Italian, in Sicilian and, supposedly, in English.

Their English translations came from feeding the Italian phrases into a computer program that "tries" to translate the phrases into English.  Close but NO CIGAR!

We spent about three hours exchanging ideas about the exhibits and their uses both here and in San Pedro, Paul actually DOES know a lot about his preferred topic.  We also were able to re-write many of the English translations on "The White Paper" into correct English.  It was a very fun cultural exchange!

A Promotion

For my efforts, Lory promoted me to my new post as her Assistant Curator at the Museo del Mare!  This is a HUGE honor for a person who does not actually fish but does eat fish on a regular basis.

Again, Ivana and Lory did not have to be so generous with their time but they were and it made for a delightful morning.

A little more about Lory that was very familiar:

Lory is high energy and outgoing, my Laurie is high energy and out going.

Lory is married, my Laurie is married

Lory has two children, my Laurie has two children.

Lory has cherries as her cell phone image, my Laurie has cherries as her cell phone image.

Lory is fun to be around, my Laurie is fun to be around.

Lory is 36, my Laurie is high energy and outgoing.

Practice Wednesday night saw continued improvement in the area of defensive hustle and explosive potential on offense.  We will again practice three times in less than 24 hours this Friday night and Saturday.

Our season opener at Ancona, on the Adriatic Sea eastern coast of the Italian peninsula, is only ten days away as I write this.  That translates into only six more practices before we tee it up, I hope we'll be ready!


Anonymous said...

George forgot one interesting item about our visit to the"Museo del Mare". By the time we left and signed the guest book, Lori #2 was addressing George as GEORGE CLONY! Hell, if there is a comparison between these two Georges, I should be compared to Paul Newman of Cool Hand Luke days! Laurie #2, did you use the comparison with the two Georges in question before? Paul

Sicilian Gentleman said...

Gentlman pointer:

Lory is 36 yso,my Laurie looks like she is 36 yso.


Laurie said...

I WAS 36.

DPLassen said...

So let me get this straight: the football team doesn't have a blocking sled, but the Navy base does?
Nice to know our tax dollars are buying the essentials.

And will any of your guys know how to USE a blocking sled?

George said...

Paul, if you recall, Lory DID wear glasses that she kept taking off which might explain her confusion on the George Clooney thing.

Sicilian Gentleman...I still have much to learn.

Laurie, 36 was only yesterday wasn't it?

Dave, what's a blocking sled?