Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ponters Points. Not much on Spain. Nowt, in fact.

Faith: In a podcast on the Jesuits in China yesterday, I learnt that – at least back then – the Catholic Church believed that God had (conveniently) inserted 'intimations of Christianity' in all pagan religions and that these should be built on these to drag unfortunates towards the real truth. Clearly, there's no limit to what the human mind can believe when it wants to. I just wonder why God would bother to go this long way round. Why not make everyone Catholics in the first place? For divine amusement? Hardly, I guess, as S(He) would know the outcome of all missionary efforts. Slaughter included. It's a mystery to me. Though perhaps not a sacred one, like the unfathomable doctrine of the Trinity.

Which reminds me . . . . Christianity then and now: Back in the 12th century, Christians of the West and the East were separated by two things:- 1. Persia, and 2. Doctrinal differences over the nature of God. Was Jesus human or divine? Or both? How many natures/personalities had God? How many persons was God? And were some of these subordinate to others? Who the hell knows - or could know. But, 900 years ago, clever people had precious little else to argue about other than these esoteric issues. And the Western and Eastern Churches went separate ways. The current Pope is cosying up to the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church but no one believes they'll ever sink their differences. Nor, incidentally, that some Protestant Christians will ever accept the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. Nor all of them the doctrine of Transubstantiation. But good luck to them, anyway. Things could be far worse; they could all be crazy, doctrine-sharing Scientologists. BTW - The web page of these nutters says that:- Scientology is not a dogmatic religion in which one is asked to accept anything on faith alone. On the contrary, one discovers for oneself that the principles of Scientology are true by applying its principles and observing or experiencing the results.This is pretty hard to credit when their basic (but clearly insane) belief is that a human is an immortal spiritual being (thetan) that is resident in a physical body. Thetans have all had innumerable past lives, lived in extraterrestrial cultures. But, as I noted above, there's truly no limit to what the human brain can believe when it wants to. Or when it's been indoctrinated from the time it could start to think.

On a lighter note . . . This has been voted the most romantic line in English literature or films: My heart is, and always will be, yours. This guff comes from Sense And Sensibility. It garnered 16% of the vote, beating out contenders from 'Dirty Dancing', 'Titanic', 'Wuthering Heights', 'When Harry Met Sally', 'Notting Hill', 'Ghost', 'Far From The Madding Crowd', 'Love Actually' and 'Pride And Prejudice'. So, well done Ms Austen. I wonder if they included the book which claims to reproduce the erotic bits cut out of your 'Pride and Prejudice?

Finally . . . This guy says he knows who the unnamed British actress is who claimed she'd been sexually assaulted on a mainline train station by a guy who brushed past her in just half a second. I have no idea, of course, whether he's right or wrong. Honest.

Finally, finally . . . Yesterday I added a link to Expat.com to my blog page. But I forgot to add their suggested text to my post:-

Whether you wish to live in Spain or you already settled here, you should have lots of question about your expat project. To help you answer them, Expat.com offers you to get in touch with expats living nearby or on the other side of the world. The website is indeed the largest expat help and support network.

Ask questions, get answers and discover expat life in Spain. Expat.com and its members will help you throughout your expat project. Moreover, the website is totally free!

A range of features is available to help you: discussion forums, jobs and housing sections, guides, interviews, classifieds or agenda of events organized in Spain. You will find all you need for your expat daily life! It’s also a great way to meet people!

Key figures:
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55 551 members in Spain


P. S. So far, they haven't offered to pay me for this! So God knows why I'm doing it. Just Mr. Nice Guy, I guess. Masked by my carapace of churlishness.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Pensamientos desde Galicia

Spanish Politics: Instead of putting the [issues] to the fore, they have decided to spend their time battling egos rather than winning over hearts and minds. This pathetic squabbling is wasting valuable time. The mud-slinging serves no purpose. Actually, this is not an observation on the current political scene here  - though it could be - but one observer's slightly modified comment on the UK organisations which endorse a Brexit. And here is that excellent article.

Spanish Courts: I'm told I might be called as a witness in a civil case. And it's been stressed I'd have to tell the truth. In contrast to the parties themselves, who'll both do what's expected - and legally permitted? - of them and lie. Leaving the judge to toss a coin. Or to favour the pretty one.

Carnaval: We may have had our own pre-Lent celebrations postponed because of bad weather but in places in Spain where it rains less, they've gone ahead as crazily as ever. Here's The Local with a few examples. They don't include the one that involves chucking a a live turkey off a church tower. Nice to see we have some of the craziest in Galicia.

A Heartwarming Story: A HT to my friend David for this article on a Spanish hero of WW2..

Religious Proscriptions: This is one of the silliest responses I've ever heard. But one which says a lot about the impact of odd religious beliefs. It was in a podcast about British men who've become Muslims:-
Would you have fallen in love with and married him if he'd not been a convert to Islam?
No, he would have been a different man.
Surely, he would have been the same man?
No, he would have been able to drink alcohol and eat pork and these are a complete no-no in Islam.

This is someone's view of the top ten countries for the best looking women, ranked her from 10th  down to 1st :-
  • The Netherlands
  • Italy

  • Venezuela
  • Russia
  • Colombia
  • Argentina
  • Denmark
  • Ucrane

  • Brazil

  • Switzerland
I have to say a list which doesn't include Spain and which puts Switzerland first seems dubious to me.

Finally . . . Facebook: I theorised that, if I kept telling FB who and what I didn't want to link to, they'd eventually stop repeatedly suggesting them. Especially as they kept thanking me for helping them tailor their stuff to my (undeclared) interests. This has proven to be useless as it makes not a jot of difference to their practices. And so I've now reverted to ignoring everything. Unless it comes with a foto of a beautiful woman, of course. I say 'undeclared' but they do, of course, get a mountain of info from my posts, my blog and my emails. Or, rather, their dumb computers do. On which they then make stupid proposals. Unless, as I said,  . . . . . .

Monday, February 08, 2016

Thoughts from Ponters.

Spanish Government: After the failure of the right wing PP party, the PSOE socialist party leader is now trying to put a coalition together. Not too successfully it seems, as the relevant parties seem far more intent, Spanish style, on insulting each other than in sinking their differences. This could well be because they some of them see themselves achieving an even better negotiating position after a second election - now widely expected for the end of June, at the earliest. Meanwhile, the country, like Belgium, survives in the absence of a (corrupt) government.

The EU: Two more articles for those interested:-
  • This is a rather tendentious overview from a religious perspective. It goes too far in its anti-German tone but contains at least a couple of truths: The real villains are the elites who designed the euro. . . . The eurozone is fundamentally incompatible with democracy. . . . The elites who designed the euro knew it would lead us here.
  • An excellent article entitled:The EU no longer serves the people: Democracy demands a new beginning. This is by the Greek ex-Finance Minister, a man who, incidentally, has more reason to be anti-German than most. He, too, recognises – who doesn't? - that Brussels disdains democracy and luxuriates in unaccountability. But adds that, in respect of Britain, David Cameron’s hollow compromise will do precisely nothing to address this.
The cartoon below indicates just how much most Brits agree with him, even though (because?) the government is trumpeting a negotiating triumph, ahead of a Brexit referendum. Interestingly, for the first time, the electorate is showing a large majority in favour of this. But there's a way to go yet and lots of British and EU dosh to be spent on dissuading the fools from this perceived folly. They must be quite worried in Brussels right now.

The Latest Spanglish?: Glamur for 'glamour/glamor'.

Bloody Atlantic Weather: Wednesday to Friday were beautifully sunny days here in Pontevedra but Saturday brought gale force winds and rain. The Carnaval events of the day were postponed until next week and I had one side of me drenched to the bone as I walked across the bridge from town midst horizontal precipitation. The other side stayed bone-dry. Ironically.

Finally . . . A treat for aficionados of Tony Hancock. Here's the interview he did in with John Freeman on Face to Face. The actual 3-part interview should be visible to the right of the YouTube screen, after this intro by the lovely Joan Bakewell. At the time, It was remarkable (and, to some, offensive) for its now-obligatory confessional nature. Now, it's remarkable for his lighting up and for the teeth no star of today would sport. Hancock topped himself at the age of only 44 in 1968 and a tribute can be seen here. Drink - and failure in films - had taken his career downhill for a while. As I've noted before, he did much of his famous Blood Donor sketch by reading cue cards, such was his inability to learn his lines. The joy of selectively surfing the internet.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Various Sunday thoughts.

A Spanish Banking ShockThe Supreme Court has ruled that Bankia must refund two retail investors for intentionally misleading them over the state of its finances in the IPO brochure. The floodgates are now wide open for thousands of fresh new claims. As you'll recall, this is one of the 4 huge challenges to Spanish banks identified by Don Quijoñes.

Gender Identity: Things have now reached this pass:-
Cisgendered: Per the OED, this is: The opposite of transgendered, someone who is cisgendered has a gender identity that agrees with their societally recognised sex. In other words, 'normal'.
Mx: A gender-neutral prefix intended for people who don’t identify as Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Miss. Or, as the OED now puts it:- Mx (noun): a title used before a person’s surname or full name by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender or by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female.
Oh, happy days! Can we now look forward to our (predicted) talking pets demanding this treatment?

Constructive Detention: This seems to be a new doctrine. Viz. If, of your own accord, you flee from someone/something (including the rule of law) and lock yourself in a foreign embassy, you are illegally constructively detained and must be compensated for this by who or what you have fled from.The mind does tend to boggle at the questions this raises. Perhaps it only applies in cases where the UN panel sees political machinations behind due process. In which case, they should say so.

The EU: Some nice stuff for those interested in this fine, but troubled, institution:-
Do I detect a growing view that, whether the UK leaves it or not, the EU will be dead within 10-15 years, under what I've always called the weight of its internal incongruities? Possibly earlier if the Brexit does happen.

Finally . . . After reading all that, you'll need a dose of the late George Carlin's humour. Here he is on the the people who should be slaughtered. I couldn't fault him.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Yet more trivia

Spanish Boozing: It's reported that 17% of Spaniards drink 'too much'. Though 25% of them only take a tipple twice a week or less. More here.

Spanish Longevity: Spaniards have the best life expectancy in Europe and until this week boasted a 107 year old chap who attributed his long life to 4 bottles of wine a day. 

So, pick the bones out of those 2 reports.

Only in Spain?: Our pre-Lenten festivities (Carnival/Entroido) began yesterday. These include various prize-winning events and the presentation of awards for one of these will take place at 2am next Saturday morning.

Religious displays in Spain: Despite very low church attendance these days, there's still a lot of these. And they're invariably garish. In 2014 a group of feminists mimicked the standard procession of strangely-garbed penitents bearing aloft some vibrantly painted idol or other. Only in their case it was a large plastic vagina. The suitably outraged the Association of Christian Lawyers, has now brought an action against them for "provoking discrimination, hate and violence." I wonder if I could do the same in respect of the Semana Santa processions, arguing that I suffer the same reactive emotions in their regard. Or do you have to be a Christian to be able to do this?

Worried Spanish Bankers: Yes, apparently these fine survivors of (profiteers from?) La Crisis do suffer from stress-induced insomnia. Here's the ever-estimable Don Quijones on the 4 things that keep them awake at night.

Facebook Innovations: They have an endless list of these, it seems. Today I had Games You Might Enjoy plus the nomination as a possible friend of a certain Luisa Avellaneda. Who appears to be a portal for, inter alia, an on-line prostitution service. Don't all rush to check this out, gentlemen; the site doesn't come up if you search her name. Only some under-dressed young ladies who don't apparently work in a brothel.

Finally . . . There was an English chap on Russia's RT News channel yesterday, supporting everything Moscow is doing around the world. I wasn't too surprised to see this on his CV: Chris Bambery is a leading member of the International Socialist Group. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party until 2011. In 2014 he published "The Second World War: A Marxist History”. So, totally objective. One of those who believes the world has done a disservice to Stalin and who sees Uncle Joe, on balance, as a force for Russia's good. It takes all sorts.

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