Thursday, June 23, 2011

 My elder daughter's partner, Jonny, is something of a musician. Apart from the sax and piano, he's recently taken up the bandoneón, an instrument of astonishing complexity. I had thought it was impressive of me to start playing the piano in my sixties but tackling the bandoneón is like typing on four different vertical typewriters, with a blindfold over your eyes. And that's without the complication of the fact the accordian-type feature of this monster means that the little knobs play a different note when it's being squeezed than when it's being extended. Quite why he's inflicted this torture on himself is rather beyond me.

Talking of music . . . Jonny has introduced me to my first purchase of an Apple app - One that provides me with a phenomenal amount of easy-to-use piano chord info. And all for a mere 9 quid. A good example of the benefits the net has brought us. Along with all the porn.

Anyway, the Asian restaurant was still open last night. In fact, there were more customers there than I'd seen on any of my three previous visits. But, then, we do have the European Triathlon Championships in Pontevedra this weekend. Which explained the Bulgarian family at the next table. Whom we got to know when the waiter asked me to tell them how the place worked. I had hoped to use one of the fliers I'd collected to get a 10% discount but I was told this didn't apply in June because of the (false) price reduction. Only at weekends, when the price reduction doesn't operate. Unless you've got a discount voucher. Confused? I certainly was. But, as I said, clever these Chinese. In compensation, we were all given a little gift as we left. Although Jonny's was only a packet of tissues, against the teacup (with lid) which I got.

Greece and the EU:
In The Times yesterday the ex Labour Chancellor of the British Exchequer, Mr Alastair Darling, contributed an article which rehearsed some of the EU mistakes made over the years when politics triumphed over economics but, nonetheless, came down in favour of continuing this process, on the basis of “strong visionary leadership”. And in the continuing absence of this?
The writer of this second article also believes the break-up of the eurozone should be prevented by arranging for “the solvent north to bail out the stricken south on a more or less permanent basis”. Something which he sees as being “progressively forced” on the former anyway. However, his support for this acceptance of “harsh reality” is based on a belief that, firstly, Britain won't have to contribute and that, more importantly, it will be beneficial to the British economy in the longer run. He does, though, accept that the chances of the EU allowing the UK to cherry-pick in this fashion must be “open to question”.

On a hill outside Santiago de Compostela, there's a constellation of buildings (the "City of Culture") which is generally seen as a vanity project initiated by the multi-term President of the Galician Xunta, Manuel Fraga. It's said to be nearing completion but over the years it's been more famous for its apparent white-elephant uselessness, its huge cost overruns and the fraud involved in its construction than for its beauty. However, here's an article from the Wall St. Journal, of all things, which extolls the latter - “Mr. Eisenman's marvelous new architectural landscape is a masterly and vigorous achievement - an enhancement of a region of Spain that deserves to be much better known.” At least the last bit's true.

Spain and Greece . . . The FT today pronounced that “Last week’s spike in the 10-year bond yield is not fully justified; Spain is far ahead of Greece in its state finances and economic culture. But the needed reforms – to address a dysfunctional labour market and poor productivity – have an eerie similarity.” Mmmm. Meanwhile, exports continue to do well.

Finally . . . Two concepts new to me:-
      1. You can become a Mormon saint, even if you lived a couple of centuries ago. A couple of millennia even.                                                                                                                                              
      2.Vajazling. I think it'd be easier if you clicked here.


Midnight Golfer said...

As a Mormon, I too have to admit that the use of the word "saint" perhaps gets a bit confusing.

I'd say, in general the wikipedia article got it right (at least at the time I copied the link)

And, I think a good example of the lax usage of the word, from the New Testament itself, King James Version, shows it was already a confusing word, coming from what I beleive is a Latin root that meant both 'seeking refuge' but also 'holiness'

... Romans 12:12-15

"" 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of SAINTS; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.""

I personally have used the word to mean 'all Christians', all 'Mormons', just the officially beatified Catholic ones, depending on who I'm conversing with.

(practically ironic to use the word catholic, when making a limited list, rather than a global, all-inclusive one.)

There are lists of other Auto-antonyms

Midnight Golfer said...

With regard to the linked page on famous dead Mormons...

1. I wasn't aware the records of temple ordinances were ever made public. (In fact I have reason to doubt the authenticity of any that are published, as if they were official.) Family history records, even for people you may be related to, are not available, as far as I have been able to determine, until 100 years from the confirmed date of the person's death.

2. There are a set of reasons, that work together, for a person to be baptized, just one of which, and perhaps the most purely bureaucratic is to be included in the membership lists of the church, which are supposed to be compiled and maintained in an orderly fashion, on a worldwide scale, now that computers and networking supposedly makes the job so much easier. Of course, we are speaking of the ordinance or baptism, supposedly performed on behalf of a person who has died, and without getting in to the specifics of the purpose of temple ordinances, I'll re-ask the question posed to the Corinthians 15:28-29
""28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

29Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?""

Theoretically, it is possible that in a far enough away future, all people could be officially baptized "saints" whether while they were alive, or after they had died, but always before their own personal resurrection, which, also sooner or later, will happen to every single person who ever lived as a mortal on this planet. (I'm pretty sure that the resurrection of all souls is one of the universal tenets of Christianity, clarified by Jesus Himself, when speaking with the disbelieving Saducees.)

Finally, it should be mentioned that we, as members of the LDS church, have been instructed to not perform proxy ordinances for anyone who is not in our direct line of ancestry, and especially not for famous unrelated people, and duplicate ordinances are also discouraged, for the additional headache it causes for the clerks or clerics, none of which gets paid to do what they do. An all volunteer clergy does make it easier to find embarrassing errors in the system, and if I did believe the data on that website to be true, it would be embarrassing, but not an accepted practice, and thoroughly correctible, both in the paperwork, and of course, in the fact that all humans are endowed with free will since the timeless instance of their creation, and forever, beyond death, and it's up to them as individuals, if they wanted to pay "no nevermind" to what some Mormons do in some temple somewhere.

That being said, we do not use idols, adore or pray to or in the name of any saint or any other word, even, other than in the name of God's only begotten son, Jesus Christ. That's 'mormon' doctrine, in a nutshell.

CafeMark said...

Yes, exports are doing extremely well (much as I hate to admit it, that Ambrose chappy predicted this earlier this year) "Spanish exports rose 18.6 percent in April over the same time last year to 17.34 billion euros ($24.89 billion" . Tourist numbers are doing very well too. I wonder though why it's just the bad news/figures that are constantly emphasized in the press. I have no idea whether Spain can continue to claw its way out of recession, but there does seem to be an anti-Spain agenda out there. Probably pursued by interests who want to buy up assets at cheap prices?

Midnight Golfer said...

Sorry to be so preachy. Feel free to delete any of my comments.

I'm with CafeMark, I've had enough of bad news about Spain. The "Tienda de los Chinos" in my new town just moved into a larger shop. They still won't let me pay with my debit card, but I take it as a good omen.

I did forget to mention the sarcastic and figurative uses of "saint." It's kind of like trying to figure out all the different ways that they use the word 'jew' Well, almost.

CafeMark said...

Colin may be interested in this. Train journeys to madrid to be at least 1 hour quicker from December, with the introduction of the Avant S-121. Not quite the AVE service, but they can still travel at 250 km per hour

Colin said...

Thanks, CM. Interesting-

Pericles said...


My understanding is that AVE trains S/100, S/102, S/103 & S/112 are standard gauge 1435 mm & the Alvia & Avant trains S-120, S-121 & S-130 are able to transfer from standard gauge to the Iberian broad gauge of 1668 mm without stopping.

Julia’s article mentions that work is due to begin on 10th December, building the high speed AVE line to connect together the cities of Galicia. At the same time, an S-121 is provide Avant services between Orense, Santiago & Corunna. She writes that this service is not an authentic AVE service, but can be considered high speed due to maximum velocity up to 250 kph. She then mentions the construction work across the Meseta before the AVE trains can run.

With the start of this new Avant service at the end of this year, journey times between Orense & Corunna will shrink from 2 hours 5 minutes to less than 1 hour.

Julia points out that the Talgo Vll ( Loco hauled?) currently takes 7 hours 48 minutes from Madrid to Corunna; the Talgo (Alvia? ) S-121 will take 6 hours 30 minutes. Train journey times from Madrid to Santiago will be cut from 7 hours to 6 hours.
The following year could see journey times from Corunna, site of the Tower of Hercules, to Madrid in 5 hours & falling again, because of the use of AVE trains, to 2 hours & 50 minutes, by about 2018?

Reading between the lines, in two years the journey between Orense & Madrid will be 4 hours?

Colin said...

Wel, I certainly hope so!

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