Tag Archives: humor

Casa di Jill-o

Just when you thought there wasn’t an affordable B&B in the Catania metro region, you read this review of Casa di Jill-o. The house features a modern guest room complete with USA themed cat cover on the bed, wooden slatted shutters for sensory deprivation leading to the best sleep of this year (if not your life), and errant cat hair that the numerous cleanings prior to your arrival did not completely eliminate.

Authentic Afghanistan souvenir.

Dark or bright – your choice!

If this description alone isn’t enough, just think of the box shower that makes you feel tiny! It is completely different from the U.S. propaganda showers designed to make you feel fat all the time. This shower looks incredibly small, and at less than 1 meter diagonal, it IS small! The narrow door openings (which barely let your shoulders and hips fit through at an angle) add to the barriers that help you enjoy feeling really tiny once you are inside and realize you can take an entire shower without banging into the plastic shower box walls…if you are very careful. For those who do touch up against the walls, do not worry, the signora of Casa di Jill-o regularly washes the walls with a light bleach mixture sure to disinfect any nastiness.

Seriously, this is my shower.

Rise up the slightly creaky spiral staircase to the upper level for stunning views of Mt. Etna and the Ionian Sea.

Mt. Etna
November 2012

Ionian Sea (Mediterranean Sea is to the south)
November 2012

The Ionian touches the lips of the Mediterranean a mere 120 kilometers south of Catania, and it enjoys the same shimmering blue waters and warm currents that Italian and French Riviera visitors rave about. You can even go swimming in early November!

Friends, family, lesser-known-acquaintances, don’t hesitate, start looking for airfares now and reach out to Casa di Jill-o to book your next trip to Sicily!


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Never-nudes…there are dozens of us! Dozens!

Late last week, I was telling a colleague about never-nudes, and found it difficult to explain the hilarity of the never-nude, especially since I didn’t try to explain it at all. David Cross has such a unique sense of humor that unless you are familiar with either David Cross or the television series Arrested Development, you may not get it. To be honest, it was a long while before I appreciated David Cross, aka Mr. Show.

Instead of attempting to explain, I directed my colleague to self-educate via a Google image search. As I educated myself this weekend, I came across a delightful collection of documentation and homage to David Cross’s never-nude. Without further ado, here is a collection of never-nude images out there in the blogosphere.

I will start with a poster that shows a scene from the actual show, displaying the denim cut-offs that protect Tobias from being nude.


Continue reading


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The Maki-bear

Like other omnivores, the Maki-bear prowls through deep forests foraging for sustenance.

Total immersion is required by the Maki-bear; he was so focused on his task that this is the only full face shot the photographer was able to obtain.

Finally satisfied with his labors, Maki-bear settles down to enjoy his final blade of we-thought-those-were-chives grass.

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Just Think of Nice Things

“What kind of things?”

Ciao tutti…Saturday was the one-year anniversary of The Cinquecento Project!!!

Like any good recovering Catholic, amidst my celebration a little voice inside my head cautioned me to take a step back. Thus, following work this evening, I dove into the weeds of our finances. Several calculations later, Dave and I have a collaborative view of our financial future. You know, until it changes again!

Despite my bleary eyes, the knots in my shoulders, and my drooping head, I feel upbeat. Hence, that little sadistic voice in my head was silenced by Julie Andrews!

Hope you enjoy some of your favorite things today.

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National Federation of…Affordable Care Cat?

While I was anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision on the Affordable Care Act, I knew that no matter the outcome, this would be an opinion to geek out on just like law school days.

Back then it was more about whether water-boarding is torture (yes) and if John Yoo should be disbarred for ethical absence (what do you think my opinion is?).

Now, I have fewer friends nearby to join the discussion, but I still chat with them via email, skype and facebook, plus my curiosity grew when Chief Justice John Roberts not only penned the opinion (as I expected) but also led the affirming opinion (/”;9’dbapaps – I didn’t see that one coming).

Thus, here I am on Friday afternoon soaking up Sicilian sunshine and digging into the opinion.

20120629-175136.jpg It’s my terrace, and I’ll sunbathe nude if I want to!

Unfortunately, the case title is long, cumbersome, and completely boring. National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al.

Uh, yeaaaaaa, I don’t want to say that a whole bunch of times. I also dislike the commonly used “Obamacare” because it is a misnomer, it is political, and it gives too much credit to one person.

Misnomer because Obama is not actually providing any care and pretty much thousands of people worked for decades to come to a place where this legislation was even plausible.

Political is obvious, I dislike that because despite the acerbic reality of society, this type of move shouldn’t be political at all, it is not only good public policy healthwise, it will also push for innovation and fresh ideas in healthcare industries erected and sustained by crusty wealthy people. The world changes and so should business models and profits. A stagnant nation is a declining nation. Plus, a lot of people say “Obamacare” with a distinct sneer on their face and that just ain’t pretty.

Too much credit to one person – I touched on this in the misnomer section, but it runs deeper than that. Even with all the background legwork by others, some would say, some are already saying and some will say that it was only because of Barack Obama’s unique leadership that the bill was passed. I do not deny the extraordinary role he played, but he is still just one man and we are a nation of the people. I applaud him, I credit his incredible contribution, but I stop short of deifying his name into legislation his way.

After this reflection, I was still without a good shorthand name for the opinion.

Then, I got an email from my law school buddy Mel. She shared this with me:

Catty puns about the affirmation of the Affordable Care Act? That is a trifecta of pleasure!!!

I will think of it as the ACA opinion, or Affordable Care Act opinion out of reverence for its importance; but in my mind, I will be thinking of that “cat a tax” every time.

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Vagina Vagina

While back in Wisconsin, I spent some time hearing delightful stories about little kids discovering their sex organs: one version went like this…”What’s this daddy?” “Uh…ummm…ask Mommy about that…” another version ended with “That’s your vagina.” “Bagina?” (asked incredulously, followed by peals of laughter and multiple mutterings of “bagina”).

Then, there was the awkward laughter that comes from those who are uncomfortable with these stories about discovering sex organs. Proof positive that while we all have sex organs, and we all have to talk about them at some point in our lives, we’re not all exactly comfortable with the specific language.

Despite this reality, I was still shocked to discover the “Vaginagate” scandal.

From the little bits I read about Vaginagate, I discerned that somewhere in Michigan lawmakers wanted to talk about reproductive rights that are at stake in the Michigan legislature. In doing so, the word vagina came up a few times. Then a couple of lawmakers added a touch of humor and the word “vagina” – and some other lawmakers got upset and declared “vagina” a dirty word.


The scientific word to describe a sex organ is now vulgar and offensive?

This is the word that we teach children in school and in homes. This word is now the enemy of some lawmakers? And those lawmakers not only had enough gall to choose this attack against the word and the opposing lawmakers, but they had enough power and persuasion to get agreement to punish the “vagina”-speakers (brings up a whole different image, doesn’t it?).

It boggles my mind. It sounds much more like middle school student council than a state legislature (clearly I’ve never worked in state legislature, you are correct). Regardless of the adolescent antics we associate with politics on most levels, I am completely flabbergasted that people actually voted to punish their colleagues for using the word “vagina.”

I began to wonder whether this would ever happen in Italy. I have no clues as to what cultural response Italians would have to the word vagina, it hasn’t come up with my Sicilian colleagues (after all, I work in Supply Management, and we do not supply vaginas or vagina accessories). Yet, a local ceramic producer valued The Gyne Cologist enough to include an image of one among decorative plaques like this:

This plaque was among a dozen or so profession caricatures available from this ceramic artist; doctor (general practice presumably), lawyer, veterinarian, and mechanic were also among the mix (notably, all were male representations).

In case you were curious, the Italian word for vagina is vagina. Yep, same exact spelling. Spoken a little differently, “vah” “gee” “nah” would be in the ball park of the Italian pronunciation (instead of “vah” “jie” “nah”).

Which brings me to my point. The Michigan lawmakers should have just sung “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” instead of punishing their respected colleagues.

Of course, the lyrics would need a slight modification…

I say “vagina”
and you say “vagina”

Let’s call the whole thing off!


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Happy Women’s Day ~ Buona Festa della Donna

Like most people, I never expected to have mimosas at work. I know what you’re thinking…”Why not?” After all, I arrive at work in the morning, in need of some hair-of-the-dog, and let’s face it, a mimosa surely would loosen me up for the activities I have planned for the day. All I am lacking is the overworked, understaffed and underpaid warm and friendly brunch crew at cafes and restaurants the world over.

However, I really have a thing about not drinking at work. I mean, I have thought about mimosas at work, and I have certainly talked about mimosas (okay, it was actually margaritas) at work. And by “work” – I mean my current job. You can bet I expected mimosas at Dahlia Lounge (off hours – shout out to Brunch shift crew!). Yet, not even the floral arrangements Mo created at Dahlia pulled out of her ass at the last second, from the flower scraps at Pike’s Market could compete with the mimosa arrangement waiting for me at work this morning.

Armando’s Mimosas:

To my complete delight, my colleague Armando presented me this mimosa bouquet in honor of the “Festa della Donna.” This is Italy’s version of International Women’s Day – celebrated in isolated corners of the world the world over on March 8th. (Enough with the delete theme by now? I agree). I was tickled pink to find the tradition alive and well in Sicilia.

A local restaurant offered “Festa della Donna” specials, impromptu florists appeared on roadsides, and the beautiful and aromatic mimosas were everywhere! This website accredits Italian women with tending the growth of the Festa della Donna, though of course other seeds sprouted along the way. April showers bring May flowers, so let’s not quibble over the origins. Instead, let’s focus on the blossoming of this event across the world.

Thank you to all the women who keep the fire in their hearts, bellies, and minds in the face of disproportionate opportunities available in this world (if that phrase turns you off, just take a breath and email me for the stats). Thank you for keeping your grit, for working harder and complaining less, and for continuing to light the path for those who come behind you. Thank you for the women who pursue their dreams, break through cultural barriers, and never stop believing that you can listen to your inner voice and still achieve your goals. And, especially to all the women like me who are still figuring out how to watch your garden grow while keeping the marigolds all in a row – Happy Women’s Day!


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So, so, suck your toe.


(Uno) 1. Work-out – HOLLA! My colleagues kept asking me why I was smiling all day – apparently it was nature’s caffeine putting that grin on my face.

(Due) 2. Pink Lady apples – crunch, crunch, sweet, sour, REPEAT. Yummy.

(Tre) 3. Two more days to reach a few deadlines at work, and I am on pace. That feels great. Tomorrow is going to be tough, I have a bi-weekly update due and I am waiting on submissions, three meetings, and a stack of documents to organize into a massive spreadsheet (using the nomenclature I devised!).

(Quattro) 4. Dreaming of the Amalfi Coast. We are planning a trip there soon.

(Cinque) 5. Did I mention my relief from back pain? It is grand! I am continuing to be very careful and all is going well.


When Grumpy Grumpersons Growled and Glowered

It was a brisk spring morning in Washington, D.C. and I was working as a Senate intern.

Earlier, I had worked-out with a co-intern; we were amiably chatting and laughing as we waited for the elevator to fill for the ride up to the office.

A colleague stepped on and said, “Well, don’t you two look bright-eyed!”

Without missing a beat, I turned and gleefully said, “We worked out; it’s nature’s caffeine!”

Heads turned, eyes narrowed, mouths gaped (I could smell coffee breath); I giggled and held Molly’s eye the rest of the ride.


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Mi espalda…


Sick day theme day…


The little joys in life. Halls brand cough drops come with “A Pep Talk in Every Drop.” It is a clever idea to brighten the day of someone reduced to sucking on forty-five cough drops just to make it through an eight-hour workday. I organized the pep talks into five categories:

(Uno) 1. The ironically peppy. “Be unstoppable!” (cough, cough, cough. Hmmm, I’m not sure they mean unstoppable coughing…). “Power through.” (My phlegm is threatening to power through my mouth the next time I cough). “Elicit a few “wows” today.” (You mean, like, “Wow, I didn’t know a person could cough so much without coughing up a lung or at least a little bit of blood?” – that kind of wow?). “You got it in you.” (That’s the PROBLEM! See my above comment regarding phlegm).

(Due) 2. Questionable. “Inspire envy.” (uh, that one seems a little mean-spirited; no need to compare and judge, I’m trying to heal myself here!)

(Tre) 3. Silly. “Bet on yourself.” (Even a gambling addict on her way to the racetrack wouldn’t take this bet.)

(Quattro) 4. Aggressive. “Put your game face on.” “Let’s hear your battle cry” “March forward” (Are these pep talks geared toward sales on military bases?)

(Cinque) 5. Peppy. “Power through!” “Take charge and mean it.” “Tough is your middle name.” (Finally, pep talks to inspire me to make it through the day.)


“ah, my back!” (English)

“ah, la mia schiena!” (Italian)

“ah, mi espalda” (Spanish)

Today my back went out (maybe all the coughing?). Immediately the memory of a overnight Mexican bus trip came to mind. I was traveling with classmates from a Oaxacan language school for a weekend at the beach in Puerto Escondido. We squeezed onto a crowded bus in Oaxaca. A classmate, Tony, infamously used the bathroom and returned to find an abuelita in his seat. He harassed her until she got up, and mimicked her for days. “Mi espalda! Mi espalda!” she had kept pleading with him. While Tony is a huge ass, I still know how to say “My back!”

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Friday Funnies


Theme Day! Top 5 Funny things I saw this week (some are a little more raunchy than you might be used to here):

Uno (1). Betty White attributed vagina quote. Yep, vagina. Deal with it. Super funny!

Due (2). Witty RV humor (insert appropriate warning here) – you just never know what is coming next!

Tre (3). Super cute kittens!

Quattro (4). The word duty. Tee hee. Even better? Duties. LOL! Yep, I am that juvenile, sometimes.

Cinque (5). Facebook friend ensures the communal treats, which somebody else brought to work, remain untouched with this clever message on the box.


For two days I have lit fires under my own behind mulling the latest political expressions of the Occupy movements: Wall Street to Madison, Seattle, and who-knows-where next. After all that intensity, I need a bit of humor and levity – if only to remind myself to live in balance and try to laugh at least as much as I cry, if not a little more. Today is about finding funny in the ordinary – like giggling at ordinary words that sound like euphemized-fecal matter (yep, I just made up that word, you can do it too, go ahead, try it).

Leave your silly findings in the comments!


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