Sunday, December 19, 2010

Over the years, I’ve occasionally cited advertisements for miracle products here which I suspected weren’t allowed to be promoted – or at least not in the same way – in other countries. So I wasn’t too surprised to read a week or so ago that the government intended tightening up on things in this area. I thought of this today when reading an ad in El País for a wonder cream that will rid you of your abdominal fat while you sleep. Tellingly, this was directed at men.

The decline in sales of holiday homes to foreigners here seems to be every bit as bad as that of sales to Spanish buyers, if not worse. One wonders if Spain is paying the price for all those cases of buyers being treated as gullible suckers by a combination of crooked politicians, lawyers and even notaries.

It’s interesting to note that, against the backcloth of reforms that will extend the working life of most Spaniards until 67, many thousands of employees of the savings banks that are being (forcibly) merged will be allowed to retire at 56. Doubtless on a very decent percentage of their final salary. It doesn’t seem right really. But whoever said life is fair?

Talking of luck . . .  A woman in La Coruña who lit a candle in the hope this would bring her a win on the huge Christmas lottery merely managed to set fire to her flat. I wonder if the insurance company will pay out.

Here’s an nice article on the difficulties of learning English in a Japanese context. According to the  writer – “Japanese language-education is largely a process of decoding words and analyzing syntax. Until this dreary methodology is abandoned, Japanese students will continue to find themselves disheartened and disinterested. . . . It is commonly said that Japanese people are not good at foreign languages. This is patent rubbish. The summit of that fluency mountain is accessible to people of all nationalities.” Which all seems rather familiar in a Spanish context as well. Incidentally, the writer reveals one example of the problems facing students of English – The word ‘momentarily’ means ‘soon’ in American English but ‘briefly’ British English.

Finally . . .  Two or three readers have been kind enough to advise that the show I cited the other night has also appeared in the USA and the UK. Which is something of a relief. By which I mean it’s good to know Spanish TV isn’t unique in sinking to these depths. And presumably wasn’t the first.

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