In the last day or so, I've speed-read a book called Jesus the Jew. The only reason for starting on it was that I liked the title. Having finished it this evening, I was left incredulous that any company would publish a book with a maximum possible readership of five. Essentially, it's unintelligible to anyone who isn't a biblical scholar with a knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and possibly Ethiopian. By the time I got to the end, I was only to happy to accept the author's (apparent) thesis that Jesus was a prophet, a healer, an exorciser of devils and possibly one or two other things. But that he never called himself Christ, Messiah, Son of God or even Son of Man; that he wan't born of a virgin; and there was no resurrection. Just a Jewish lad who done good, then. But who ended badly.
Casting round for lighter reading in Waterstone's this afternoon - and not finding the paperback edition of Paul Preston's The Spanish Holocaust - I bought a copy of "1000 Years of Annoying the French", which promises to be an altogether more humourful read that Jesus the Jew. Not that there weren't any laughs in the latter. There certainly were. Never more so than when the author ripped into one of the five people in the world who shares his obsessions and tore a strip off him for criticising an earlier book of his. There's no feud like an academic feud.
Other shopping news - I got a new cafetière today. The package leaflet helpfully points out that "Hot water is a hazard to children". Who'd have thought it?
Still on shopping . . . I've been trying hard recently to identify what changes have taken place over 12 years in the Spanish supermarkets I use, to set against the relentless innovation of British supermarkets. I haven't come up with much yet - still no foreign wines, for example - but I'll keep you informed. Perhaps things are different in Madrid and Barcelona.
Another leaflet I read today was in my regular café. It advised they were now getting their coffee from a different supplier - would you believe a New Zealand company? - and that all their baristas had been fully trained in using the equipment. Which possibly took all of ten minutes. I had to look up this word barista and, as I suspected, it simply means 'A person who serves in a coffee bar'. Presumably introduced by Starbucks.
Talking about labels for people - I spent a frustrating 25 minutes today trying to make an appointment at a hospital in Leeds and dealing solely with recorded messages. But It wasn't a complete waste of time, as I learned that receptionists and secretaries are now called 'advisers'. As in "All our advisers are busy at the moment". And that the hospital and I have different concepts of 'soon'.
The eurozone: So there is, after all, a Plan B . . . . "A [German] finance ministry draft shows that Berlin is preparing a fresh bail-out to stabilise the Greek economy and stem EMU-wide contagion after a return to the drachma, should the country reject EU austerity demands." More here.
Finally . . . We all know that the shorthand for Greek exit is Grexit. Well, here are a few more suggestions. You saw them here first:-
GREXISTENTIAL - Relating to the future of Greece
THE GREURO - The disguised drachma.
GREVENTUALLY - When Greece will leave the EMU.
A GREED - A group of Greek politicians.
Other suggestions welcome.