Tag Archives: 23

The Number 23

30 Jun

A simple bus in Trastevere, after the other night’s soccer match upset against Germany, transforms into The Merkelizer.

Gotta love those Romans. Putting LED bus sign technology to good use.

He who submitted this photo to me (thanks!) tells me that “23” in the numerology of Italian lotto stands for “bucio di culo” ovvero “bbùcio de culo” which, in Roman dialect, is basically like saying you had a stroke of good luck.

If you speak Italian you can have a wealth of etymology, and I quote:

In alcuni dialetti italiani la parola “culo”, oltre ad indicare la regione del fondoschiena, ha il significato di “fortuna, buona sorte”; quindi l’espressione ha il senso di “Che gran fortuna!”. Il dialetto romano, però, spesso enfatizza l’espressione ampliandola a: “Che bbùcio di culo!” (dove “bùcio” corrisponde all’italiano “buco”).
A volte è usato con una valenza negativa: nel giocare a carte o in qualsiasi attività competitiva, gli avversari commenterebbero la vittoria: “Macché bravura, quello è bbùcio de culo!”.
Diversamente da altre espressioni, questa viene anche usata come un comune verbo, “Avere culo”, e debitamente coniugata.
Qualche persona pudica ne usa la forma più “puritana”, “Che bbùcio!”, ma oltre ad essere meno efficace, ciò sposta l’attenzione proprio sul… dettaglio anatomico, risultando magari anche più oscena.

However, here I must humbly note that my guru of etymology (no, I don’t even know what etymology means, but doesn’t it make me sound smart? and if you can grasp the irony of my previous sentence, then you must be my soulmate) is this man. Ask him if he knows the definition of tabarro.

By the way God bless the genius who wrote up this page on expressions in Roman dialect. So fun.

And, if you really want to get into the science of the number 23—and, let’s be honest here, who doesn’t?—then by all means, be my guest.

For example I bet you didn’t know that Julius Caesar was assassinated with 23 stab wounds, did you?

You did?


Well, what about the birthday paradox?

Ah, gotcha there, eh?

Take 23 people in a room, right? At that point, the probability that 2 of them were born on the same day rises to more than 50%.

I know. I’m full of interesting trivia. That’s what happens when it’s like 90 degrees still at 10 pm and you’re at home trying not to melt into a puddle on the floor.