Sunday, March 25, 2012

In the café yesterday, I dropped a coin on the floor. As I bent down to pick it up, both my mobile phone and iPod Shuffle fell out of my shirt pocket and clattered across the floor. As I reached to get them, I knocked off the table a mug full of sugar sachets and wooden spatulas. Which also took the opportunity to scatter all over the floor. Since my philosophy (usually) is that the only thing worse than being laughed at is not being laughed at, I turned to the (bemused) café clientele and said "I think they call that a full house". After I'd sat down, I felt I really should have said:- "As you can see, I'm contracted to provide the entertainment". Believe it or believe it not, I did get the chance to say this, after I'd repeated my entire circus act twenty minutes later!

But that was yesterday. Today I was naturally careful at the table and managed to avoid dropping anything. I just knocked a knife off as I stood up to leave.

Ads update: Today the dating sites around my text included two new ones:- One for the police(!) called Uniform Dating and one for the advanced-in-years called Silver Cupid. Is there no limit to the niches in this market?

This morning I listened to a discussion program on the BBC. The issue was whether Muslim jurors should be allowed to wear the niquab. Three veiled Muslim women felt very strongly that they had a right to wear whatever they liked. Somehow, I doubt they'd agree that a women who's a naturalist has a right to perform jury service stark naked. Unhappily, I didn't hear this put to them and the discussion centred merely on whether not they had a right to cover their face and whether this trumped any other argument whatsoever.

The program was impressive in that no one interrupted anyone else. And the adjudicator had no problem in selecting people to speak, largely on the basis of who put his or her hand up. Try as I might, I couldn't imagine this being the case in a Spanish program. Where interruptions and insults are standard fare. I recall one program years ago which introduced microphones which came up out of the desk in front of the participants and sank down again when their time was up. But it didn't work and the innovation was quietly dropped.

Talking of Islam . . . The Sunday Times today had an article on a new book - In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World. The paper suggested this is 'seismic' because it "leaves almost no aspect of the traditional story of Islam intact, as the author charts its rise to global power from the ashes of the Roman and Persian empires." No wonder they asked him is he feared a violent reaction.

As for modern times, according to The Daily Telegraph: "Whatever the politicians may pretend, governments, banks and companies continue to make contingency plans for a Greek exit from the euro. And, arguably, the terms of the latest bailout make one easier." Click here for the fascinating details.

You think you've heard it all but then you pick up El Mundo and read that the Spanish police have arrested pimps who've tattooed bar codes on the back of prostitutes.

Finally . . . Almost 600,000 Spaniards have signed a petition to Parliament urging that bullfighting be given the status of a national cultural asset. If this happens, it'll then be possible - in theory at least - for regional bans such as those in Cataluña to be overturned. I don't see this happening myself. But it might be an effective bar to bans in other regions.

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