Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Magical Day!

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020

Day XXII of the Great Italian Lockdown saw me lawlessly breaking the PRIME DIRECTIVE.

It was my 80th day living in Varese this year and I felt brave enough to venture outside on this overcast afternoon to dump the house trash.


Such are the rewards of life in The Bunker.

Isn't this the absolute truth!

The news on the Coronavirus
front in Sicily is not good

The Coronavirus outbreak in Italy started in the northern region of Lombardia where I reside. Now the southern half of Italy is starting to see the growth of this deadly disease.

Not good.

There was some good news today
courtesy of Federica Nardi

Arguably Varese's finest Gelateria, Dulce Argentina, is now taking on-line orders via WhatsApp for home deliveries.

I told you it was a magical day.

Such a "Presidential" statement by Ike

As for my TV viewing today, I started off in the here and now of Netflix.

It was Season 1, Episode 5

Taking a page from our Commander-in-Chief, I take no responsibility for again watching this dark, Irish detective series.

I blame friend Mike D'Atuono 100% for the psychotic state I'm in after watching each of these 90 minute shows. After all, he is the one who suggested that I watch this series to bolster my spirits during the Lockdown.

Oh, by the way, I was once again embarrassed and mad to be a Roman Catholic after watching this story based on the Church in Ireland.

 In the evening, I watched
this 1939 Classic

It was uplifting.

With Easter now less than two weeks away . . .

. . . this was inevitable

Now, what will I do for kicks tomorrow . . .

Monday, March 30, 2020

Just Another Day in Paradise . . .

Monday, 30 March, 2020

Just another day in The Bunker, Day XXII of the Great Italian Lockdown to be exact.

I followed the Prime Directive on this rarest of rainy days this Winter, I did indeed STAY AT HOME.

How I miss these
kind of happenings . . .

It has now been 27 days since our last Skorpions practice.

And counting . . .

A reminder from WWII England

I guess all of the washing of my
hands could be worse after all

I needed a little bit of Italian cultural humor in the afternoon.

One of our players made me laugh with this . . .

"Only Essential Services Are Open"

Good Bless the Italians

They turned Milano's big exhibition center into a hospital in just ten days.

Finally, some news that could affect our Varese Skorpions' situation.

A Key Cancellation

I mentioned in yesterday's post having been on the American Football International podcast with a panel of coaches and players from all over the world discussing our sport and the Coronavirus' effects on our seasons.

One of the panelists was Barbara Allaria from FIDAF, Italy's American football governing body.

She said that one of the reasons that FIDAF had not yet cancelled the 2020 season was concern for our national teams scheduled to compete in this Summer's two big tournaments, the U19 World Championships and the Flag Football World Championships.

Today, both of those competitions were cancelled forcing FIDAF's hand a bit sooner than they wanted I think.

Then this happened . . .

Federazione Italiana Rugby
A Key break in the Ranks 

Barbara Allaria also mentioned yesterday that at the beginning of all of our various Italian sports being shut down, the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) had called for a meeting.

This meeting consisted of representatives from all of the governing federations of all of the sports in Italy to come up with a plan to deal with the possible re-opening or cancellation of our seasons.

At that meeting, everyone agreed that no individual federation would cancel their season independently. They all agreed to work together through CONI, and have a joint announcement at the proper time somewhere down the road covering every sport's status.

We have as of yet heard nothing from CONI on this matter. 

CONI and all of the federations would be both UNITED and STRONG in their shared responses to the Coronavirus outbreak and its countermeasures.

Today, the Italian Rugby Federation bolted from that agreement and cancelled the rest of their 2019-20 season.

Who will be next?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Esselunga Sunday and a Live Chat on AFI

Sunday, 29 March, 2020

Day XXI of the Great Italian Coronavirus Lockdown would be a full one by current Bunker standards.

It was Sunday which meant that it was time for my weekly trip to the Esselunga Supermarket for "essential" supplies.

But first, I checked out the internet for news of the world.

First up was a photo from India showing how . . .

. . . EVERYBODY is Staying At Home!

Yeah, right,
#45 our Fearless ?!#&^*#%@! Leader

In essence, the world was on the same path as yesterday, nothing new really.

So, I was off to the Esselunga with my face mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, filled out permission to go out form and shopping list packed and ready.

When I arrived at the Esselunga, new entry procedures were in full force.

We all had to go into a single line and
check in with this guard before entering

I was the only person in line when I arrived and then these two men showed up behind me.

As you can see, after three full weeks on lockdown, people here are not panicking.

So what was our guard up to? Simple really.

While our guard is watching, everyone who enters the supermarket MUST first sanitize their hands using that large white bottle next the man with the awesome face mask.

Once your hands are sanitized, everyone MUST then have the guard take their temperature with one of those new high-tech thermometers that just needs to be near your forehead to give a reading.

Happily, my hands were indeed sanitized and my temperature was normal!

In I went!

By the way there was no
shortage of hand sanitizers

Chocolate Easter eggs
are HUGE in Italia!

Ac Milan and InterMilan Eggs
are 33% off right now!

When I got home after a successful shopping day, I received a call from Roger Kelly in Sweden who heads up the American Football International website.

Roger wanted me to join him on an AFI Live chat to discuss what is happening all around the world with our shared sport and the Coronavirus.

I said yes.

4:00 p.m. Central European Time
7:00 a.m. Pacific Time

It sounded like fun . . .

. . . and IT WAS!

The chat lasted for about an hour.

Roger and I were joined by John in New York, Kaleb in Austria, Barbara in Italy, Felipe in Florida, Garrett in Japan and, later on, by Martin in Germany.

Getting a world wide perspective on Coronavirus and American football was interesting and educational.

Barbara who lives in Milan, works with FIDAF, our national federation. She was able to answer a lot of questions about what is going on with our season that, up to this point, FIDAF had kept to themselves.

In a nutshell, FIDAF will make a statement after the government makes their statement this coming Friday, April 3rd.

If the government then says that we can practice again, then we would start playing games at the beginning of May.

Given that we have had over 960 Coronavirus deaths on both  Thursday and Friday this past week, I don't see how the government can say we'll be a go next Friday.

The other possibility under consideration, if the season gets pushed back farther like I think it will, is for DI and DII playing in a soccer style, Italia Cup tournament this year instead of having a championship season.

I think that she alluded to combining both 11-man Divisions into one for this type of tournament with no import players allowed.

If adopted, the tournament format would go on into August she said.

There was no mention of what plans FIDAF has for the nine-man, DIII football season.

We'll soon see, I think, where the 2020 Italian American football campaign is headed.

IF it is headed anywhere.

Stay tuned . . .

A Successful Escape From The Bunker to Support Small Businesses

Saturday, 28 March, 2020

Day XX of the Great Italian Lockdown was a bright, sun shining day just meant to go outside.

So I did.

Be Strong Varese!

Before going outside though, I needed to check out the internet for news from home.

Nothing had changed with our
Fearless Leader

Is Dr. Fauci's drawing bigger
than Mr. Trump's?

Sound advice!

So, here was my plan.

I had downloaded and filled out the proper authorization form stating that I was leaving my domicile for an "essential" shopping spree. Thus armed, I was off in my vehicle to make three stops today.

The first stop was at the Panificio Ducale for a loaf of bread and an extremely "essential" brioche. Rather than drive again, I opted for an exhilarating but short walk from the panificio to the nearby Macelleria di Tonino for some prime cuts of meat.

A short line for the small
Mom & Pop market in the village

I liked the lady in the balcony supervising the line and having a socially distanced discussion with a person in the queue.

I was third in line at
the macelleria

Same guidelines here as at the panificio today, no more than two customers inside at a time.

After my meat purchases, I decided to take to a couple of back streets that were deserted to get back to my car.

A view of the village's old chapel
in the distance

My path looked safe from
crossing paths with others

Is that a mural?

Indeed it was!

And of the Madonna and Child, who in Italia would have guessed?

The same building also had
a dry water fountain too

An extremely well kept home
farther up the strada

The top of the new church
behind the yellow building

An imperious looking building
behind the new church

A parochial school perhaps.

I drove on to my third and final "essential" stop of the day.

I've always liked red leafed
shrubs and trees

My pharmacy

For the nearly three weeks of the Lockdown, I have been trying to buy a good face mask to no avail.

Santa Barbara had graciously given me one of hers at the beginning, the cardboard type used by painters. It was better than nothing but the strap broke on my first trip to the Esselunga Supermarket.

I know that there is some debate as to the effectiveness and need for a good face mask in combating the Coronavirus but I keep seeing doctors and nurses using them. 

Since I would like to err on the side of caution, I stopped to see if the pharmacy's supply of face mask were still "exhausted."


A new supply of face masks had finally arrived but they were not cheap costing 13.50 Euros each, about $15.08 USD.

Knowing neither how much longer the Lockdown and the face mask would last nor when another supply of face masks would arrive, I purchased two of them.

I cut a dashing figure in my face mask if I do say so myself.

The epidemic here in Italia is now starting to really explode in the south of the country.

That of course, concerned me for all of the men and their families that I coached back in 2008 and 2009 when I worked with the Catania Elephants in Sicily.

Be Strong Catania!

Forza Italia

Sunday is my shopping day at the Esselunga Supermarket, FREEDOM!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Another Day of Peace and Tranquility

Friday, 27 March, 2020

Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been 24 days since our last Skorpions Varese American football practice . . .

It will be at least 20 more days before we are allowed to hit the field again.

Day XIX of the Great Italian Lockdown was pretty much like most of the others. I followed the Prime Directive to STAY AT HOME and used my time of solitude and contemplation to continue reading, watching another episode of Jack Taylor on Netflix and keeping in contact with others via the internet.

In news from America's response to the Coronavirus outbreak it was once again confirmed . . .

This person is not a leader

The Coronavirus news from Italia was not good either.

Thursday's deaths and recoveries
in Italia were just about even

AFI had a live podcast today
with several EuroBall coaches
discussing life during the Lockdown

Mike Wood, the Head Coach of the DI Italian Champion Seamen Milano, did a nice job on the podcast discussing what is going on with the virus and football here in Italia.

Even with all of this gloom and doom, a little levity (gallows humor?) helps from time to time.

Enzo Petrillo sent me this photo which I'll translate into English for you.

2019: Loser
2020: Responsible Adult

That pretty much sums up Bunker life for me.

OK, I'll make myself even
MORE alluring to Laurie

Thirty sets of one rep each it is then!

I was shocked to hear today that Milano, one of the world's most important fashion capitals was, in the midst of all of our problems, going ahead with their famed annual Fashion Week starting today.

The Red Carpet was rolled out in
Milano's high fashion Quadrilateral district

The Prada line, seen here, was widely acclaimed for creating this year's most chic, Haute Coutre outfits on any of the famous fashion house runways!

On another front, former Rio Mesa H.S. teachers Ed and Annie Ransom, flew back to California today from Finland with their two children.

Annie had been in Finland on a Fulbright Scholarship and the whole family had been living about an hour or so from Helsinki since January.

Amidst all of our shared Coronavirus issues, they decided that it was finally time to come home yesterday.

They flew from Helsinki to London and then on to Los Angeles. Ed messaged me from London's Heathrow Airport saying that it had been announced that their British Airlines flight to Los Angeles had 220 empty seats.

Social distancing would not be a problem for them on the final leg of the long journey home.

I missed the three Grandkids
a lot today