Category Archives: travel

Barclay’s Stock Plummets 13%: Party Time

Outrageous.

Last night on Italy’s Lake of Como, eighty Barclay’s bankers and clients gathered together in the storied Villa Erba to celebrate with their fiddles as Rome continued burning around them.  And while the paparazzi wary bankers spent two days and 700,000 Euros, the British Prime Minister traveled across Britain to sell his rescue package to hardworking British voters.

The bankers banned the paparazzi, but not the Greco di Tufo wine, ricotta stuffed ravioli, fillet of Brunello, apple pastry and chocolate mousse. Their sacrifice of the evening was to forgo a planned trip to La Scala, ostensibly due to the 13 percent of company value lost that day, but in reality, they wanted to avoid the aggressive paparazzi that would have been free to snap away in front of the legendary opera house.

It wasn’t just a once a year broker-client excursion. Just last week the oblivious bankers enjoyed a week in one of the Cote d’Azur’s finest hotels priced at around three thousand Euros per night.

The fury over the trips has little to do with class envy and everything to do with discretion. Hopefully, these Neros will be awakened to the reality of the global economic inferno, ignited by financial institutions like Barclay’s.

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Clooney, Obama and Veltroni-The Communist Cupola

I just read an interview with George Clooney in Italy’s La Repubblica, a leading Italian newspaper, and about fell out of my chair. In it, he discusses his new movie and a commercial he filmed for an Italian politician, Veltroni, a former communist and foreword writer to the Italian version of Obama’s Audacity of Hope. When I read it, I was surprised, not because he filmed a commercial for a communist, but that he actually said something in Italian considering the fact that he still doesn’t speak it, despite calling Italy “casa mia,” or my home. I know. Amazing. He doesn’t speak the language, he spends less than half the year there, and yet he finds time to film a commercial advocating a candidate, a communist one at that. It’s funny, he advocates a “hands-off” approach when it comes to minding other countries’ affairs, yet he wastes no time violating his own rule.

I was relieved when I looked up the YouTube video of the commie ad. It simply showed his photo along with a quote that read in Italian, “I’m with Obama, I hope that after the many errors, my country will heal. And Italy, it’s my home, and Veltroni (the communist, sorry, reformed communist), he is a good friend.”

If only McCarthy were alive…He’d have a field day with Penn and his admiration for FARC backing Chavez. Oliver Stone, Spielberg, Danny Glover and all of the other thespians that I have neglected to mention who trip over themselves to praise Castro would merit special scrutiny as well.

Clooney? I’m not sure he’s as sinister as he is naïve. And I’m not sure what is more disturbing. Is it loony Clooney, or the fact that we might have the only U.S. Presidential nominee in history that has had a communist pen his introduction?

Clooney supports communist=Clooney is a communist.

Communist supports Obama=Obama is a communist.

Clooney supports Obama=Both are communists.

In my new book, The Absentee Ballot, I discuss how Hollywood affects Europeans’ opinions of the United States. It certainly doesn’t help enhance our image abroad when the most visible Americans are filming spots for communist politicians, while simultaneously indulging in a good dose of self-flagellation.

“Poor Americans” Given Discount…Not So Fast

The title of the Reuters article is condescending and inaccurate. “Hemingway haunt offers discounts to ‘poor Americans,”” was one of the most-viewed articles on Yahoo, and while the story itself is accurate, the tone set by the title makes it seem like snooty Europeans are once again wagging their fingers, singing an Italian na, na, na, na, na and looking down from their high Euro-perch at “poor” Americans.

Here’s the gist of the story: The owner of the legendary Venetian eatery—Harry’s Bar—is concerned by the falling dollar and his conspicuously absent contingent of American tourists. To make dining at Harry’s more financially palatable, Arrigo Cipriani has offered to discount their bill by twenty percent.

In the Reuters piece, he is “is offering a discount to “poor” Americans suffering from a weak dollar and subprime blues.” But I looked in Italy’s major newspapers, and Cipriani was quoted extensively, but he never uttered the word “poor.”

Cipriani from la Corriere della Sera:

«Poiché quest’anno la stagione si prospetta, mettiamola così, un po’ tranquilla, e il dollaro Usa sta andando a precipizio, ho pensato bene di favorire temporaneamente quella fascia di persone che ci apprezza e ci segue da tanti anni»

“Because this year, the season looks like it will be a little smoother, and because the U.S. dollar is falling, I thought to help momentarily those group of people who have appreciated and followed us for many years.”

I don’t know, maybe I missed the point of the Reuters article and felt like it was more condescending than it actually was, and perhaps I’m overreacting a bit. Maybe misrepresenting his quotes and adding words to create headlines isn’t all that big of a deal. But far too often, I’ve seen a European event miraculously transformed as it’s translated.

An embellished quote might not be that big of a big deal, but it represents a naughty temptation which is utilized far too often to slant and mischaracterize a story.