I'm baaack! Here's the 411 on Torino

TORINO, Italy -- I'm in Torino. And you're not. That's why it's great to be your man on the street for the 2006 Winter Olympics. It's our first meeting since the Athens Games two years ago, so I figured you might have a few questions.

When is the Opening Ceremony?

The 20th Winter Games begin Friday!

Do you say Turin or Torino?

Italians say Torino, and so does ESPN.

Where is Turin?

Try again.

Where is Torino?

Torino is in the northwest part of Italy.

Where is Italy?

Italy is in southern Europe. Think France, Greece, Spain and you're not far off. This is the ancient land of the Romans, where Latin came from, and I don't mean Ricky Martin.

Is it true that Italian men spend half of their day at the hairdresser?

I doubt it, but I'll find out.

Are Italian women as beautiful as everyone says they are?

Yes, definitely yes. It's their style. Normal-looking women look stunning. And they're not shy. As an exceptionally attractive Alpha-Plus Male myself, I have to fight them off nonstop.

I heard there are still front-row tickets available for men's speedskating after a rumor started that Ron Artest had taken up the sport. Is that true?

Leave Ron alone. Organizers report a late surge in all-around ticket sales, which is not unusual at this stage for the Olympics.

What are your favorite Winter Olympic sports?

This Englishman is hooked on curling. Biathlon's not bad, either.

A friend told me the "T" in FIAT stands for Torino. Is she right?

She sure is. Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino is the full name. We'll visit Fiat's world-famous museum Sunday, if time permits, after the international sex show (all will be revealed).

What's Torino like?

It's got a relaxed feel to it, lovely old buildings, very wide streets, chocolate shops everywhere. You can see it on the faces of locals: They know they've found a winner.

What's the strangest thing about Torino?

Funny you ask. In Saturday's Top Ten Torino, we'll visit the weird and wonderful sights all over town. Mini-preview: The disturbing statue with figures of dead workers sandwiched among rocks is hard to beat.

I'm a proud member of the Italian-American community, fed up with the media's perpetuation of offensive national stereotypes. Where do you stand on this issue?

I believe that labeling an entire group because of the actions of a very small minority is sloppy journalism and intellectually immoral. But I do love "The Sopranos." Seriously, I think Italy and Italians are great. First guy I met when I flew into Milan was a lovely, cuddly, honest taxi driver.

Can you speak Italian?

1 percent Si, 99 percent No. I hope to learn as I go.

Tell us an Italian joke.

What do you call a small Italian dog which barks "Hello" at people? A Ciao-huahua. The jokes get worse Saturday, guys.

Brian Church is a columnist with the Athens News in Greece. He will be contributing to ESPN.com throughout the Olympics.