Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It was counter-intuitive to read yesterday that “In 2006, Britain spent ₤497m [then c.€750m] on cosmetic surgery – more than any other European country”. But there you are. It’s in the press so it must be true. No wonder British women look so good . . .

I learned yesterday it’s the law in Spain that you must leave 30cm [1 foot] between you and the next car when you park. I had thought the rule was 2cm in town and at least 2 metres where it’s slightly less difficult to park. In what might be a typical Spanish approach to the application of a law, the police in Pontevedra say they’re now going to fine anyone who leaves less than 20cm. So I guess both men and women will now be asking what 8 inches looks like.

On a more serious note – A columnist in the Voz de Galicia yesterday addressed the story of the Spanish [Basque] fishing boat ransomed by Somali buccaneers. His opening salvo went – “Socialists are famous for the masterful management of information. They know how to establish priorities, to dominate the news agenda, to stress what they want highlighted, to hide what is inconvenient and, as a result, to create opinions which suit the party and the government. The only problem with this [no less when they are responsible for governing] is that they frequently confuse information with propaganda, just like other parties when they govern. And over the last 3 days they have confused it with transparency”. Too much Orwell, I suspect. But surely correct. In this instance, at least.

Returning to frivolity – My use of an alternative word for ‘pirates’ has reminded me of an old joke which featured Bluebeard shouting “Where’s me buccaneers?” and receiving an insolent response from his crew. Which I’ll leave you to guess at. The usual prize for the winner. Though the competition is not open to Scousers.

At first glance, the UK and Spanish papers appear to agree that, offensively, Barcelona were the superior team last night but that Man United were more dangerous. Defensively, there was no contest and, unconstrained by fear, United would surely have scored more than Scholes’ solitary but brilliant goal. As someone wrote – “United weren’t the better team but they had better tactics”. That said, I agree they were “worryingly lax in possession”. Which seems to be the English disease. Why do keepers persist in booting the ball upfield? And, while you’re at it, what on earth is the purpose of life?

After 20 or 30 years, my credit card company and I parted company yesterday, when I took exception to their refusal to waive a late payment fee which arose because of my absence from Spain last month. True, they haven’t made much money from me in all those years, but I guess their willingness to accept my cancellation is a sign of the times. If you’re a credit card company, you really want your customers to live off credit. Assuming your parent bank has got the money to lend them in the first place.

Galicia Facts

I read yesterday that “There are many theories as to why complex cookery did not take off in sub Saharan Africa, away from the Arab-influenced coasts. None are entirely satisfactory but one plausible theory is that cuisines tend to migrate along latitudes, or climatic belts”. Which may well be the best explanation for the absence of spices/sauces in Galician cooking. Other than the bloody ubiquitous paprika, of course.

Events in Scotland are followed closely here in Galicia, as they are in Catalu├▒a and the Basque country. So it’ll be disappointing for our Nationalists to read that – after a year of rule by the Scottish Nationalist party – the populace is even less interested in independence than ever. Only 19% say they want this, maybe because 81% of them are smart enough to smell a rat when the English are insisting they shove off and tax themselves. Not stupid, those Scots. At least not when it comes to money.

Finally, I hope someone enjoyed the Encyc. Brit. link while it was there. I decided this morning it was too intrusive. And distracting from the Google ads which will make me rich . . .


Graeme said...

Someone should tell Gallard├│n about the 30 cm rule for parked cars. A couple of weeks of applying that in Madrid should pay for a few more tunnels. Assuming, of course, that people pay the fine.

Colin said...

I have no experience of the challenge in the capital as I use a garage that raised its price from 17 to 25 euros a day when the new regulations came in about charging by the minute. A shocking way to treat us out-of-towners.

Diego said...

police in Pontevedra say they’re now going to fine anyone who leaves less than 20cm

how will they know who is responsible for the smaller than legal distance? there are two cars involved in this crime, who parked first? who shortened the distance?

Who´s on first?
what´s on second.

Sorry, American humour.

Colin said...

"Who´s on first?
what´s on second."

Nope. Lost on me, I'm afraid.

Presumably a reference to horizontal jogging. Or is that just my mind?

Diego said...

it´s an old sketch by Abott and Costello,

John said...

Speaking of buccaneers: I remember a few years ago the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played in the Super Bowl, and some sportswriter looked up the word "buccaneer" in the dictionary and found out what it was. Outraged, he then asked how law-abiding Americans could support a football team named after murderous pirates. What he missed was that the Bucs were playing the Oakland Raiders, who also use pirate imagery.

I've always thought of "Who's on First" as a sketch that goes on way too long; it's funny until they get up to I Don't Know on third, or so. First, second, third, etc. refer to the defensive positions in baseball, and the joke is that the guy playing first base is named Who, etc. etc.

Abbott and Costello were leftovers from the old vaudeville circuit who survived into the Fifties or so. They were lowest-common-denominator humor even back then.

Colin said...

Thanks, John

I have to say I have personally never but never found A & C the slightest bit funny. Nor Charlie Chaplin, for that matter. Despite the fact I can enjoy Vaudeville/Music Hall at its best.

And thanks to Diego for articulating a question which has occurred to others as well - How to know who committed the parking offence?