Thursday, April 18, 2013

As La Crisis drags on, everyone's getting a little testier by the day. Like the beggar who called me a tight American bastard today, when I declined to contribute to his pension fund.

Which reminds me . . . The gypsy crone who's cursed me several times over the years appeared in Veggie Square yesterday for the first time in many months. I caught sight of her giving a palm reading to a gullible (or charitable) young woman and saw she was tapping her hand vigorously. I thought for a second she was using an iPad app to peer into the future. But, no, just lines in the skin. Happily she didn't offer me insights into the yet-to-be.

Reader Perry has provided this delightful run-through of the life of Mrs Thatcher, ending with the, by now, tired cliché that the Iron Lady should rust in peace. It hails from China and its depiction of her husband as a alcoholic reminded me that Denis had once given me a lift to a lunch we were having to discuss the genetic fingerprinting breakthrough. Did he drink? Yes, he did. And he smoked, in a non-smoking restaurant. But was he an alcoholic? No idea, Milud. But he was certainly entertaining.

The Spanish don't think much of their politicians, whom one observer recently characterised as an 'extractive class'. And there's an awful lot of them to despise. Thanks to the pyramid of national, regional, provincial and local governments, there's reckoned to be one political job holder for every 115 people in Spain, compared with 1 to 325 in France and 1 to 800 in German. And a surprisingly high number of these are entitled to an official car. For a government in search of savings, this would seem to be an obvious area for cuts but I doubt anyone is betting on them. That said, under pressure from Brussels, the government has said it might do something about the high salaries earned throughout the system. So it might just be worth making a punt.

After what many of us would have thought was progress around abortions under the last Socialist administration, the governing PP party - pressured by Guess Who/What – is about to introduce regressive measures. See here for more.

The Local has produced a list of the 10 worst menu translations. I'm not convinced any of them beats my own favourite discovery - Mussels to the seaman's blouse. Based on a decision to pick the wrong option for marinera.

I always wondered . . . Some words that Brits regard as typically American – including diaper, the fall and candy – were originally British but dropped out of use in Britain between the mid 1850s and the early 1900s. 'Trash' is another of these, of course, but it may have fallen out of use earlier, though not before Shakespeare used it.

Talking of words . . . Can this be right? - Amanda Thatcher, a US college student, appeared completely unphased.

Not long after the Spanish king's extra-marital activities became the stuff of headlines, an enterprising ad agency came up with the idea of using the queen's plight (and image) to promote the services of its client. Unfortunately, this was a dating agency for those wanting to indulge in a spot of infidelity. And Sofía, like Victoria before her, was not amused. But now she's won an apology from the agency for 'damaging her honour and dignity.' The king, it seems, has not complained about the use of a foto of him draped in a couple of bikinied bimbos.

Finally . . .

More Mots Justes

[African politician] If the West starts lecturing us on governance, we'll say: 'Berlusconi'.

[Samuel Johnson] No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.

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