Saturday, January 13, 2007

A group of apostates in Spain is fighting a legal battle with the Catholic Church to get their baptism records annulled. This has highlighted the fact the organisation is continuing to lose its faithful. Despite this, the government agreed last year to a large increase in the money it passes to the church, albeit prior to a change which might actually achieve the 30 year-old objective of a cessation of state financing. During this period, most Spaniards have believed the amount going to the church is determined by a box which they can tick on their annual tax submission. But this has been, up to now, a complete sham and the government has simply increased its previous subventions by the rate of inflation. The claim is that this will now begin to happen and that, if the ever-more irreligious Spanish public decides not to tick the box, then the amounts of taxpayers' cash being handed over will automatically reduce. Maybe. Meanwhile, this year – as one paper put it - the church will receive 34 cents for every person in Spain, ‘whether they are a believer, an atheist, a baby or a geriatric, employed or unemployed, a Catholic, a Jew, a Protestant, a Muslim or a Buddhist.’

The on-off [illegal/legal] construction project at the front of my house is currently on again. At least as far as the granite retaining wall is concerned. This is now taking on the configuration and dimensions of a medieval castle. I would have said it’s taking just as long to erect but I suspect the proximity of an Arab horde or two added a sense of urgency to real castles which is clearly lacking in this case. I had hoped to post a picture of the wall but Blogger's system appears not to work. Perhaps later.

I’m still catching a mouse a day in my garage. I am releasing them from the humane trap at ever increasing distances from my house [Madrid next week] but still they come. Either there are hundreds of them there – as evidenced by the droppings – or I have single mouse with incredible homing instincts. To check, I shall now start marking them/it with spray-paint.

Finally, our Basque zealot, Aleksu, has responded – sort of – to my suggestion that he comment on the recent ETA killings in Madrid. Disdaining to defend or at least rationalise these, he merely says the only terrorists in Spain are Franco’s heirs in the PP party and that Winston Churchill was a ‘genocidal maniac’. He then accuses me of lacking a backbone because I choose to moderate the comments of people even dafter than him. My response to this is that, on balance, I’d prefer to be spineless than brainless but I’m not sure he has the capacity to exercise this choice. Despite this, I happily undertake to post everything he cares to write as its amusement value is priceless. If you like black humour.

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