This week is Italy week. From Tuesday, October 22 until Monday, October 28, I’ll post something from my recent trip to Italy.
When I travel, I always make sure to pick a handful of key things I want to see in each destination – those things that, if I missed them, I would look back on and regret not seeing. I make sure to hit those, skip the stuff I don’t really care about, and then make the rest of the trip my own. In Paris, I made a point to really take in the Eiffel Tower. I skipped The Louvre. And then Kristin and I spent an evening eating bread, cheese, and ham on our balcony and polished off three bottles of wine.
In Italy, I wanted to be sure to do the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel and Pompeii. Everything else was more or less up for debate, and thanks to the incredible walkability of Rome, I hit almost everything else anyway.
My favorite part of any trip, however, is all the random shit you find along the way. I definitely try not to take myself too seriously (outside of respecting others when the time calls for it, I suppose), which was to mine and Jamie’s detriment in the Vatican Museums. There is a lot of gorgeous art and mountains of history, but when taken out of context, a lot of the stuff in there is pretty freaking hilarious too.
So, with that in mind, here’s everything else from the trip to Italy that probably won’t make the commemorative photo album. You could also call this: Jon’s Favorite Found Bullshit from Italy. Enjoy!
While in Rome, the collision of new and old surrounds you. They call Rome the Eternal City, and that makes sense. When you walk up to the Pantheon, you notice the building foundation is about two stories down from the street level. Years and years of progress have caused this. Bars that advertise their Wi-Fi availability sit right next ancient relics thousands of years old.
And in the very building where both St. Peter and St. Paul were imprisoned and wrote large portions of the Bible, you now find a nun on the balcony talking on a cell phone.
What’s she talking about? I don’t know, but I like to think it’s her cellular provider trying to upsell her on a plan with more texts and more anytime minutes. Why? I don’t know. Because no matter how in tune with God you are, there’s really no escaping AT&T.
Louis CK does a bit in his latest special (that I watched on the plane) talking about how all fountain makers must be pedophiles because every fountain seems to depict a little boy pissing. And thinking about it now, he’s right, which is horrible. I prefer my water distributor to be a bit more butch.
That’s in Pompeii, and I just like how the stone guy is like, “You need a naked bearded man to help you quench that thirst? Why don’t you turn that little nozzle and see what happens, cupcake?” Oh, and I did. And I wasn’t thirsty anymore. Thanks, naked bearded guy!
I mentioned the frescoes in Pompeii, and one of my favorite things about it (that I read later) was that many of the frescoes contained a great deal of erotic imagery, and that some of the more conservative rulers tried to censor these when they were excavated. See this Wikipedia section for more info. So, in the name of acting more progressively, here’s one of them:
More importantly (and dedicated to my friend Rachel):
And now a pussy:
That’s in the main square of Anacapri, and holy shit was he adorable. Kristin and I are retarded for our cats, so you can imagine my reaction after I got off the chairlift and saw this little dude:
He looks just like Jax when he was a kitten, so like I’m fucking Lenny from Of Mice and Men, I try to get closer for another photo, and instead he turns into our other cat Finnegan:
Just like every great Best Man in history, instead of tending to the groom, I’m taking off after feral cats and trying to take their picture because they remind me of my own. #BestManFail
Need gasoline? Because ERMAHGERD!
One for me. <pours out some malt liquor>
One for my HOMMES.
My name is OTTO!
The temperature in my room is BLOCCATO!
One thing you’ll find, no matter where you go, whether that’s the shitty dive bar in the sketchy part of town that serves Milwaukee’s Best Light on tap and has $2 shots of Jagermeister all day, every day, or whether it’s at the historic and iconic Colosseum in Rome, when you go in the bathroom, there will always, ALWAYS, be a sticker placed there by someone trying to promote some shitty heavy metal band that uses the Cyrillic alphabet.
One thing I wish was everywhere is this laserface motherfucker who tells you where you can and cannot go all throughout Italy:
I enjoyed this so much, I had to zoom in and capture this black-handed, quasi-Robocop, circular mouth screaming, prohibiting cockknocker up close and fucking personal.
Seeing this, you know you’re not supposed to go in there. Although with his hand out like that, all you can think is “STOP!” And it’ll say a lot about you where your brain goes from there:
a)… in the name of love!
b)… collaborate and listen.
d)… or my mom will shoot!
If it’s d), then God help you (me).
I was talking to one of our cab drivers and I complimented his English. He told me that so much of their tourism comes from the US, UK, and Australia, that you’ll never get a good job in Italy if you don’t speak English well. That sign above is a good (and hilarious!) way of getting your message across in any language, but if damn near everyone speaks English (they do – you try to speak Italian to them, and they just look at you and switch to English), why not be explicit about it? Like this sign:
I wondered then, as I wonder now, why “Pasta” and “Pizza” and “Special Salads” are in quotations. Are they reasonable facsimiles of those products? Are they euphemisms? Is it like when one of the Bobs in Office Space says they’re going to do “a little house cleaning”? What does it mean? We never bothered to find out, but, full disclosure, we stopped at this place three times during our trip and had cappuccinos. They were exceptional, and I’m willing to confirm the claim on their sign. Well played, sign. Well played.
When I took these photos of our dinner (some sort of veal sausage with whipped potatoes for me, and an asparagus and parmesan tortellini in a butter sauce for Kristin)…
I am officially a hipster. Great, I’m taking fucking photos of food. But you don’t understand! This was so goddamn good, I want to relive it and eat it with my eyes!
Everyone else: I don’t care what you ate. Take photos of something else.
Okay. How about this, Mr. Imaginary Internet Strawman I Just Made Up:
Yep, that’s a two foot tall angry-looking ceramic chicken available for purchase in some store in Capri. I was pretty drunk when I spotted this thing and I was convinced we could get it home. I’d put it right by the front door so when visitors showed up, they’d know I meant business. Kristin talked me out of it (what a harpy! AMIRITE, FELLAS?!?), but that’s okay, if I can’t have the chicken, I’ll just have to steal these two crazed bastards out of the Vatican:
I WANT THESE THINGS SO BAD. No kids will dare fuck with you come Halloween, and solicitors may think twice about ringing your bell. Especially if you show up to the door wearing a big cloak with a hood, holding something that’s sublimating out of a goblet, whispering an incantation under your breath. Which is how I answer the door anyway, these things might just help.
As long as we’re here, might as well share all the other things I took photos of in the Vatican. Some of these jokes will likely earn me an eternity of fiery damnation, but that’s the price you pay for a few cheap jokes, right? Onward!
I’m not good with the books of the Bible, but I’m pretty sure this tapestry was inspired by the book of Stan Lee:
Thou shalt not steal, so I admit, I stole that joke from Jason. But I also admit that I had a hard time keeping a straight face in this room, and had to muffle my laughter (which, as science tells us, pushed it way down into my body and turned it into a fart two hours later), lest I piss off the proper citizens trying to appreciate this as adults. But seriously, look at this thing:
It probably took someone, like, two years to sew this thing together, and it comes out looking like the Incredible Jesus Hulk imitating the Kool-Aid Man. JESUS SMASH!
The physical fitness of the folks depicted in this room was exceptional and reminded me I need to get my own flabby ass back in the gym. Take this guy for instance:
I like him. He obviously loves to write. He’s approximately 75 years old. And he’s still shredded like he’s slaying fine Florida poon with Ryan Lochte. As an added bonus, beards are back in, so I’ll bet that quill also not only does his day job, but at night keeps a damn fine beer blog. This double IPA has way too heavy a grapefruit note. Crucify me before I ever have to drink it again.
“Orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips.”
And that’s Jesus ordering another round.
What did you do today while naked?
“Me? I didn’t even put any fucking pants on, bro. Then I took my club, and beat the dick out of this pussy ass lion. I’M CRUSHING PUSSY, BRO! Hand me a Michelob Ultra. Also, check out my abs.”
Uh oh. Guess what day it is.
Guess. What. Day. It. Is. Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike… What day is it, Mike? Leslie, guess what day it is…
Woot woot! HUMP DAY! Yeeeaahhh!
And what would the Vatican be without inspirations for Hedonism Bot? Here’s our first contestant:
Oh Fry, congratulations. Your latest performance was as delectable as dipping my bottom over and over again into a bath of the silkiest oils and creams!
And now our second contestant:
I trust the orgy pit has been scraped and buttered…
Yeah, the second one is the winner. Let the games begin!
Or perhaps the Social D concert. Wait, what?
Just like with the goofy metal kids, punk kids live to promote their interests no matter how pointless. I do love the inclusion of the word BONG in this, though. It’s like someone just got done watching the Kevin Smith oeuvre and had that on the brain. I looked around for the Snoochie Boochies tag, but never found it. I’m sure it’s around there somewhere. SNOOGANS.
While in Naples, be sure to take your lady on a lovely cruise.
Just make sure you stay upwind.
While in Rome, if either of you suffers from anxiety, here’s an intersection you might want to avoid:
Yep, that’s essentially the corner of “Coronary and Panic.” Your blood pressure will rise just standing there, so you hope for some help. Thankfully, street art has your back:
Where’s he taking it to? I hope it’s not to this park:
No joke, that is the saddest fucking fountain I have ever seen. Kristin and I were walking around this park, and I started to feel romantic – like I wanted to propose to her all over again – and then I realized we were in a dump. There were homeless people everywhere, and graffiti, and garbage, and it was all sorts of horrible. However, among the graffiti was this piece of advice that I now keep on the lock screen of my iPhone.
That’s always fine advice, and in the spirit of that, I think the following photo might just have to be our Christmas card this year.
I love this photo. It’s framed horribly, it’s got some rubble from the Forum in the background, it’s overcast, and we’re not even looking at the camera properly. We’re looking slightly left, which reminds me of a Mitch Hedberg joke about the photo of her family that sits on top their VCR. This photo is total ridiculousness.
But it’s us. Enjoying our (fucking) selves.
Enjoy your (fucking) self, everyone.