Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the (civil!) discussion of Spanish suffix diminutives. The lesson to be drawn is exactly the one I started with – Don’t mess with them. But I have a couple of riders:-
1. Would you believe, the waitress in the café this morning smiled and just said “Un zumito?".
2. The one usage I felt I had understood was añitos. As in “Tiene ella 25 añitos.” I thought it meant she was a young 25. But now I’m sure it doesn’t.
3. I have heard horita here in Galicia. As in “Tienes esperar una horita”. Meaning three hours . . . Plus cafedito.

Anyone who moves in middle class circles here in Spain soon realises a couple of things about it that differentiate it from the same class of people back home. Firstly, every family has a maid, often full time. And, secondly, every family owns at least three properties. In this post, Charles Butler of IBEX Salad explores this latter phenomenon but I wonder whether there isn’t an additional factor. It’s easier - and more sensible - to keep hold of properties you’ve inherited if no one in the family has ever moved more than a few miles from where they were born.

Talking of people who do or don’t move away from their birthplace . . . I’ve now read that there are more than 700,000 Brits in Spain. Or more than three times the official number. This would put us at least equal with the Rumanians, after the Moroccans at 800,000. Time we were allowed to vote in proper elections.

Generally speaking, I’m a fan of Google. But I’ve possibly indicated a degree of consternation that, despite all my effort (and hits which passed 200,000 today), this blog is very rarely cited in Google Alerts for Galicia. So imagine how I felt yesterday to see that Graeme of South of Watford had been cited for the first bloody mention of the place he’s ever made.

Talking to one of my Spanish friends about the mess caused by public works in Pontevedra, I said that it was all thanks to Government investment under the label Plan E. “You mean Plan J”, he replied. “For Jodido”. This project has, of course, further enriched the developers who pocketed squillions during our phoney property boom. So, it was good to read today that many thousands of the labourers working here in Galicia are brought (legally) from nearby Portugal on contracts which involve them working for very long hours for very little pay. It’s almost enough to make a socialist of me.

Finally, I read an article today in which the internet was accused of creating ‘echo chambers of extreme ideas’. Where “neither reason nor persuasion can drive people away from certain kinds of lie”. As it happens, I’d just visited the blogs I follow and noticed that one or two of them are now infected by the Cade virus. This is virulent but weak. And so easily blocked. The funny thing is that, when you do this, it then turns on itself by creating its own blog and inundating this with its own self-important comments. Which are clearly computer generated, as no human could come up with the tripe that ensues. As if this were not enough, it then creates a secondary virus – which it calls Alex – to infest its own comments with thoughts of an even greater tripe-ness. A perpetual tripe chain, if you like. But it’s not all bad news. There’s a major beneficial aspect to the virus. It’s programmed to visit the original target site every few minutes to check whether the writer has referred to it. Which then prompts another round of machine-generated bilge. Meanwhile doing wonders for the target site’s readership numbers.

Because of its habit of folding back into itself by building on its own posts and comments thereon, the virus also goes under the name reintegrista. And herein lies the true genius of the person behind it. The virus is exquisitely time-limited. Eventually it just disappears up its own backside. Could it be unique in its multi-faceted benevolence? Not to mention its idiocy.

Anyway, if you have a half hour to spare, I urge you to visit one of the virus’s home sites and the comments thereto. It should have you in tears within a few minutes. Though you might want to leave things until the automaton makes its knee-jerk response to these mentions of its name here.


Midnight Golfer said...

I heard a Russian saying that Madrid, with its once-middle-class second-homes in and about its outskirts, reminded him of his home country, as a child.

I can't remember what he called it.

Maids. ¡bah!

Anonymous said...

Hi Colin, just two or three things. First, it’s come to my attention that you have been visiting and posting in your unofficial site, under different nicks. Please, you are welcome to use you known identity, no need to inflate your new blog with fictitious personalities. About the “self-important comments” that you mention, that actually applies only to yourself, who have two blogs and a problem of “ego”, as we all know well, don’t we? Mr cade is just the messenger, and he (me) doesn’t want / need any publicity, so don’t kill him. The readership numbers thing: it is very sad to have that quantitative reference to judge a blog. Didn’t you know there are thousands of plonkers and cretins writing every day and read by many? Well, of course you know, since you are one of them. But it’s hardly something to be proud of, is it?
Finally, about the many times you think I log on your official site: it is two per day (check your numbers, you might have a lot of readers, but it is not me). Since I find reading your posts more and more soul destroying, and have real aversion for your self-important and bombastically cocky style, I am just doing it in a very cold and distant manner, as a matter of routine. It doesn’t take me more than two minutes and it shows me what to write about in your unofficial blog. I wish you were writing about Crete, Patagonia, or any faraway country, so I didn’t have to read your unbearable blog, but there’d always be someone’s bullshit to denounce. That thought comforts me.

I hope you understand that this is a personal as you want it to be. Since you take yourself very seriously and don’t want to debate your seedy views on the Galician nation, which you smear with constancy, I have to touch on the personal thing to illustrate my case. So it is up to you whether you disappear up your backside or you keep two blogs, one for the normal rubbish, and the other for the rubbish explained.

(Don't bother to allow this comment in, as it will go in your unofficial tonight's post)

Ferrolano said...

Yes Colin, I followed the link and about wet myself with the dialog. The only person missing was Walter Mitty, but perhaps not!

MikeT said...

I find that Cade site very depressing. I really appreciate your commentary, and am sorry you have to deal with this person. I know you will keep up the good work, and thanks.

Colin Davies said...


Well, that didn't take long.

Yes, I visit your site. It's great for a laugh.

No, I do not post comments there. It's a reflection of your vanity and your stupidity that you believe I do.

Keep up the good work.

And thanks for the opportunity to deal with this canard,

I look forward to tonight's drivel.

Have you written your comments to it in avance?

Have a nice day.

Victor said...

Whats up with this guy (Cade)? Am I missing something here? He seems to have a real axe to grind?

Colin Davies said...

FK (New text acronym. Prize to whoever works it out).

The Comments section here may be of interest


Eamon said...

Had a look at that site and it really is strange. He has some guru who can check on who is posting messages and claims they come from the same person but he doesn't give the proof. What is the big mystery about having different IDs. Is there some law that says a person musn't have more than one ID? He is obviously very nervous who is posting comments on his site and what has he got to hide? I think Victor has got it in one - he has an axe to grind and a chip on his shoulder. Because he can see who Colin is he gets himself all worked up but nobody knows who he or his two supporters ointe and alex are. For some reason they need to hide their identities and who is to say they don't come on here with another identity. Well no one can hide on here because alex can work out who and where they are using an IP address. Well I live on the sixth floor in a large apartment building so I expect someone to knock on my door soon proving that I have left a comment here. I'll have a drink waiting for you.