Nineteen days, one high court decision and thousands of chest-pounding words later, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi more or less admitted today that he had lost Italy’s close national elections.

There was no phone call to his apparent successor, Romano Prodi, nor words like “concede” or “defeat.”

Asked by reporters when he would step down now that a new parliament he does not control is in session, he said simply, “The Cabinet meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday.”

I was expecting Berlusconi to put on more of an outrageous, entertaining show than this. Oh, he’s made some bold declarations, but so far as I know he’s said nothing as crazy as some of the things he was saying during the campaign (”I am the Jesus Christ of Italian politics” has to take the cake for equal parts blasphemy and stupidity). But give Berlusconi credit–he made corrupt, self-serving technocratic government as colourful and memorable as anyone could.