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Italian versus Irish: Stew on this, St. Patrick

The Emerald Isle is no match for the globe-conquering Christopher Columbus and his ship of fools. For years, the two cultures have waged an epic battle for ethnic supremacy in this country. On the one plate, you have some boiled potatoes. On the other, a generous serving of seven-layer lasagna.

No question, Italy wins in cuisine.

Here's my unscientific study of other areas in which Italians do it better than the Irish.

Irish men have a quaint way to get their ladies: They get them drunk on cheap booze, then drag them back to their 1984 Chrysler leBarons. Italians use their sex appeal -- draping gold chains around their necks, unbuttoning the top three shirt buttons to show the Brillo pad of love. Winner: Overweight dude who scores hot young chicks; loser the bearded redhead with freckles who wakes up with his mom's best friend.

The roads in Ireland are only there to cause accidents, as Mathew Broderick could tell you. They're narrow and filled with luscious lamb (am I sensing a theme?). And the drivers are completely ignorant to the rules of the road: Why do they drive on the left side? If two turns are a left, I don't wanna be a right. In Italy, the roads are long and curvaceous, like Sophia Loren, because you never know when that tunnel of amore will come calling. Winner: Overweight dude with a Ferrari driving around a Russian supermodel; loser the young lad driving his date to market -- too bad he didn't see Mathew.

In film, the competition between the two countries is more balanced. In one corner, there's Pierce Brosnan; in the other, Joe Pesci. Pierce is the quintessential man's man: He gets the moms, daughters and Sally Field in Mrs. Doubtfire.And as 007, he's the only man that Italians truly fear, for he is ruthless and cunning with a charm matched by no one. Then again, there is another man who laughs in the face of danger: Joe Pesci. To this contest, Pesci brings his screen presence, his visceral knowledge of disposing of dead bodies and of course, Macaulay Culkin. I'm calling this one a draw.

Italy has a rags-to-riches clothing history, whereas Ireland is all about rags. Italy is the epicenter of everything that that is stylish; since the hanging of famed "world ruler" Mussolini showed that black can be stylish and slimming, Italy has been at the forefront of clothing for men. On St. Patrick's Day, the Irish take a fashion-magazine page from their neighbors, and rock the kilt, which means the wind is beneath their wings and any updraft can cause a case of pneumonia. Winner: Italians, for keeping their crown under wraps.

The clincher: Over a century ago, Colorado became the first state to officially honor Columbus with a holiday. Sadly, St. Patrick's Day still remains amateur hour.


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