Readers’ wildlife photos

January 7, 2022 • 8:30 am

Send in your wildlife/people/street photos, please.

Today we have a change of pace: a series of signs taken by Athayde Tonhasca.  His captions (place of photograph) are indented, and you can enlarge them by clicking on the picture. I am not sure what many of these mean, as I’m not a polyglot, but I proffer them anyway. If you get the joke or significance for the more arcane photos, please enlighten us in the comments.

Bari, Italy:

Sicily, Italy:

Bologna, Italy:

Locorotondo, Italy:

Frascati, Italy:

Calabria, Italy:

Rome, Italy:

Rome, Italy:

Rome, Italy:


Berlin, Germany:

Berlin, Germany:

Berlin, Germany:

Berlin, Germany:

Berlin, Germany: [JAC: Our family passed by that sign on a tour of East Berlin when I was a child and my father an Army officer stationed in Heidelberg:

Berlin, Germany:

24 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. 1. ‘Not Till Death Us Do Part’ in Bari.

    2. Kangaroo walking is not allowed in this Sicilian national park. In fact, the written bit explains that the prohibition refers to the release exotic animals. Although the kangaroo in the sign seems to be firmly under control…

    3. There’s nothing like food to engage an Italian in conversation despite language barriers. I complimented the pizzaiolo in a Bologna pizzeria, and he generously shared his recipe for pizza dough.

    4. This menu displayed at a restaurant entrance in beautiful Locorotondo suggests Google Translate is a work in progress.

    5. In Frascati, 990 Euros buy you a ‘full funeral’. A ‘partial funeral’ probably involves a short trip to the local recycling centre.

    6. This sign in a Calabrian shop says ‘the ‘Ndrangheta doesn’t enter here’, a manifest of non-compliance to extortion and intimidation. The ‘Ndrangheta is a criminal organisation so ruthless and homicidal that makes the Sicilian Mafia look like misbehaved teenagers. It originated in Calabria, but its tentacles reach all corners of the world. Unfortunately the anti-corruption sign is not very common, as far as I could tell.

    7. Via Appia, the world’s most celebrated road. Six thousand men from Spartacus’ defeated army were crucified along the road from about here, near Rome, all the way to Capua, 200 km away. But the Appian Way is much more than pain and misery: the road is flanked by hundreds of monuments, inscriptions and epitaphs. Nerds like me could spend days exploring the area.

    8. A copy of the poignant epitaph of Claudia, from about 150 BC. Translation: Traveler, what I say is little, stand by and read it through. Here is the not beautiful grave of a beautiful woman. Her parents called her Claudia by name. She loved her husband with her whole heart. She gave birth to two sons, one of which she leaves on earth, the other one she places [sic] below the earth. Her speech was witty, but her gait was dignified. She took care of the household, she made wool. I have spoken. Go on your way.

    9. Most of the surviving written words from the Romans have come from the powerful and educated minority. Graffiti, of which many have been found in Pompeii and elsewhere, allow us a peek into the lives of common men, and perhaps women. This one was possibly produced by a slave who had been made to do a turn at the mill as a punishment (Peck, H.T. 1898. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities). It says: labora aselle quomodo ego laboravit et proderit tibi (carry on working, little ass, as I have worked, and much good may it do you).

    10. Self-promotion in Pompeii: Vitalo bene futues (Vitalo fucks well).

    11. A Berliner Ampelmann (traffic light man), which is one of the few East Germany creations that the unified country wanted to keep.

    12. The little green man is popular with locals and tourists, and you can buy t-shirts, mugs, calendars and other tat from Ampelmann shops all over Berlin.

    13. It must be terrible to go down in history with one’s name associated with treachery. But that’s exactly the fate of Vidkun Quisling, the Prime Minister of Norway under Nazi occupation. According to the OED, ‘quisling’ is ‘a person who helps an enemy that has taken control of his or her country; a collaborator; a traitor’. Quisling was quite chummy with the Germans, and consequently paid the price: he was executed by firing squad after Norway was liberated. This poster is from the Berlin History Museum.

    14. A replica of a Stasi listening station at the excellent DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) Museum in Berlin. This secret police organisation maintained files on approximately 6 million East German citizens – more than one-third of the population. But where’s the sign? The picture of Erich Honecker, East Germany’s ghastly Big Brother. Following Juvenal’s warning quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who guards the guardians?), the General Secretary’s picture was a salutary advice to the spooks on duty – don’t go astray yourselves, or else. A Facebook hipster office and a M. Zuckerberg portrait would be modern updates of this photo.

    15. The famous sign at Checkpoint Charlie, the hot-spot crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. The place isn’t worth a visit: the original US Army booth is long gone, replaced by a shack manned by shabbily dressed ‘American soldiers’ who demand money to be photographed with the tourist mob. You’d be better off reading The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor or Betrayal in Berlin by Steve Vogel – they read like thrillers and transport you to Cold Wall Berlin. Tunnel 29 by Helena Merriman is supposed to be very good, but I haven’t read it.

    16. The front and logo of the Trabant, one of the proletariat’s greatest achievements. The car was affectionately called Trabi and less affectionately ‘the Saxon Porsche’, ‘the running cardboard’ or the ‘plastic bomber’. Metal was in short supply in the GDR, so Trabants were built with hard plastic made of pressed cotton fibres, resins and rags imported from the Soviet Union. It had no tachometer, turn signal, seat belts or fuel gauge, and it took 21 seconds to reach a top speed of 60 mph. Still, East Germans had to wait about ten years to buy one. You can rent a Trabi in Berlin and be grateful for your own rust bucket back at home.

    1. Plus one for Vogel’s Betrayal in Berlin, which I finished just last week. It left me with a feeling of some sympathy (but not much) for George Blake.

      I agree entirely with your comment about the present Checkpoint Charlie tackiness, though the accompanying museum is worth a visit.

      1. Thanks, Geoff. I was so put off by the circus outside that I assumed the museum was bad. I guess I missed a good one.

    2. Excellent! Thanks much, i was just starting to google these – i hope people read the comments.
      Wait – they are your captions which were inadvertently omitted from the post. O tempora!

        1. Many thanks for these😃.Iwasespeciallydelighted by the mistranslatedmenu items which are in fact desserts. ” Truffles” in fact?(mycareer,easement in. the restaurant business and mostly a professional cook skylightS sEafood restaurant in Plymouth(UK) for the best part of twenty years I have commented here previously mostly about matters gastronomic including identifying Guangdong a photograph posted BuRberry about his travels including an explanation(forJerry’s benefit ) of how to order in an Itan restaurant without looking foolish for the record you need town antipasto.( Option al) then a Cuppa ( compulsory,unless you’re unconcerned aboutapearancesps Main courses (Secondi are strictlyoptional depending on your appetite but chosen as part of a full meal then cheese and fruit or dessert ( also according toappetite) if you order as I suggest you will look as if you know what are doing…and thanks to a couple of years in Germany as head chef at an Italian restaurant the details of how that came about are not relevant(must stay on topic( da Roolz) Ispeak workaday/culinary Italian fluently and Iknow Italy quite well I used to go every year to visit friends( my favourite rest doesn’t in the is “Le Tre Galline” in Turin. I’m recommending a visit. Turin is a gracefully attractive city with a splendid museum of Egyptology,and an outstanding food market( one of the finest I’ve visited “La Boqueria” in Barcelona notwithstanding). I hope this post reads clearly( as I was writing the computer kept trying to auto correct the words I wanted to leave in Italian changing ” Le” to” Or” for example which would have render ed the name of the restaurant as gibberish.

        2. Correct ions( Sorry…failed to check thoroughly irritatingly word press attempts to refusepost s unless you enter a url ,I do not have a website….

          1. Failed again😅 after ” identifying “should continue a species of fish from a photograph posted by Jerryin apiece about his travels the bit about ordering an Italian meal should read that you need to order an Antipasto which is optional anthem a Promo which can be any one of a Pasta or. Rice, or asubstantial”Zuppa” e.g. “Tiella Barese” , “Pasta eFagioli” or a! Minestrone or Ribollita ,you may skip the”Secondo which how Italians call what we think of as Amazon course business toughen have cheese it won’t seem like a proper MEal to an Italian so briefly, optional items bracketed the structure of an Italian meal is ( antipasto),Primo,(Secondo),ceese,( Dolce). ,fruit,which may replace the”Dolce”.

    3. “4. This menu displayed at a restaurant entrance in beautiful Locorotondo suggests Google Translate is a work in progress.”

      In French, “un tartuffe” means a hypocrite, a liar, an impostor, someone deceptive. Perhaps Italians also use the name this way, which could explain why “tartufi” (a frozen dessert) was translated as “hypocrite”.

      Tartuffe is the name of the main character from a famous play by Moliere that acts like, as you can guess, a hypocrite.

  2. I passed by that sign too, about 1976 or so, on a school field trip. We didn’t get to see much on the other side of the wall. I mostly remember the gift shop and the crazy exchange rate. At the time it was about DM 2.5 = $1, and though the Ostmark was ‘officially’ set by government fiat to be equal to the DM, the effective exchange rate was more like 10:1, or about 25:1 versus the dollar! I bought lots of stuff at the gift shop.

  3. Not sure “temporary weddings” jibes with the Vatican’s proscription on divorce. Like gibbons or sandhill cranes, Catholics are expected to mate for life. 🙂

    1. Tangentially, some ultraconservative cultures do have a tradition of ‘temporary marriages’ – and also have reverse dowries (the husband pays his father-in-law, rather than the other way around). A one-night temporary marriage with reverse dowry became a legal backdoor for prostitution in some of the most conservative parts of the world.

  4. Regarding the “Ampelmann” in #11 and #12. The word is a compound and a pun. The compound is “Ampel” (traffic light) + “Mann” (man). The pun is that there is an old fashioned toy for toddlers, a hinged wooden figure with a string constructed so when the string is pulled, the figure’s arms and legs stretch sideways. The German for this toy is “Hampelmann.”

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