Wednesday, May 30, 2012

There were a couple of articles in today's British press about the 'boomerang kids' - the ones who go away to university but come back home again when unemployment beckons. It seems there's almost 3 million of these now, aged 20 to 34. The advice to mothers is not to pander to them; to offer them a home and not a five star hotel. Tell that to Spanish mothers! In my own case, I left home for the Indian Ocean at 18 and have never boomeranged back. However, this doesn't stop my mother asking me - more than 40 years later - when I'm due 'home'.

Whisper the answer - Is it possible that Princess Kate has a Scouse Brow? Or maybe just well-defined eyebrows.

Here I was yesterday saying there were no particularly odd forenames in Spanish, when along comes the name Bienvenida Buck. Her real name is Bienvenida Perez-Blanco and her soubriquet was/is "The Spanish Firecracker". A lady of some repute it seems. Which seems only appropriate, as her name translates as 'A welcome Buck'.

More trivia - As you'd surely expect, the USA is no. 1 when it comes to McDonalds outlets. But which country is second? Yes, you got that right too - France. With more than 1,200 eateries. A better class of burger, no doubt.

And yet more (etymological) trivia - I came cross the word ycleped today, which can also be written yclept. This, it says here, was the standard past participle of the word clepe, to call. Despite dying out in the north of England about 1200 and in the south a little later, it still appears in modern dictionaries. More interesting (honest) is the fact that the initial y was once the standard way of marking the past participle - yfastened, ypunched, etc. etc. And it was the Old English equivalent of ge- in modern German. And modern Dutch maybe. Well, they say 'modern' but it looks pretty ancient to me.

By the way . . . I put a large glass of water down by my feet when I sat down to write this. Well . . . you know the rest.

All the above meanderings have been aimed at avoiding the question of the day. And every day. Where are we with the Eurozone Crisis today?: The answer appears to be that we may now have our first glimpse of a plan to stop the rot and to provide money to those who need it - most obviously Spain - after prising German fingers off the coffers. Well, their coffers really. Click here for details of a German scheme - known as the European Redemption Pact - which offers a form of "Eurobonds Lite" that can be squared with the German constitution and breaks the political logjam. It is a highly creative way out of the debt crisis, but is not a soft option for Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other states in trouble. In effect, Germany would share its credit card to slash debt costs for Italy, Spain and others. Yet it is the exact opposite of fiscal union. While eurobonds are a federalising catalyst, the fund would be temporary and self-extinguishing. . . The fund is a return to the discipline of Maastricht with sovereign control over budgets. . . . The South would still face the long grind of "internal devaluation" - or wage deflation - breaking societies on the wheel. Yet the Redemption Pact is at least a first step back from Purgatory.

Meanwhile, I realised today why I don't really understand what's going on in the banks and why I don't always get what Charles Butler writes in IBEXSalad. In a letter to one of the papers today, a professor of finance wrote that it takes him all of the first term to get certain concepts across to his students. And, even then, only 60% of them end up with a good understanding. The rest, he claimed, go on to become financial journalists. In other words, the source of my (and your?) knowledge. Or lack of it.

As for Spain's troubled Bankía, as I noted yesterday, it's now agreed the ECB backdoor attempt has been closed off and here's an article which is as good as any on the implications. For those who like their commentaries more graphic, here - courtesy of my friend Dixie - is something special.

And if you want a review of why Spain is where she is now, here's Part 1 of Alfie Mittington's review of the financial follies of the last fifteen years. I would only add that Sr Zapatero was even more stupid than portrayed, as with immense chutzpah he brazenly forecast that Spanish per capita income, after sailing past those of Italy and France, would even be higher than Germany's by 2012. Sic monumentum requiris, circumspice, José Luis.

Finally . . . I'm here to tell you that, even if - like me - you're a touch typist, if you lie virtually prone with your laptop resting against your bent knees, you're going to make a lot of mistakes. And irritate yourself no end. Thus shortening your life, they say.


Azra said...

I read somewhere - some prediction - that we will eventually move into a time where families and extended families will be forced to live together in cluster homes or home-shares for financial reasons.

McDonalds has only become successful in France after making certain changes to their menu to accomodate the French culture. Like using fresh ingredients etc. So a better quality burger it must be. Apparently, prior to this, they were selling an "American burger" and an "American way of life" to their French counterparts and it didn't sit too well with the French. It was the same reason Burger King failed in France (who have now gone back to the drawing board) - they failed to take into consideration the cultures of others. Seems like McD's have learnt their lesson though and are being rewarded for the effort.

Colin said...

I'm not sure I like the idea of family clusters.

The Spanish, of course, already have them. They're called 'towns'. Or pueblos.

Good to hear bout McD and France, Not sure they needed to do anything in Spain.

tim said...

What Eurocrisis according to Sid Lowe nothing could be better with the state of things.... Spain could be the first country in history to do the eurocopa, mundial, eurocopa hatrick and that all started when the Lehman Bros crashed the world economy and the spanish construction industry, back in 2008... see this animation..

tim said...

Le Big Mac, Royal with Cheese, Mayo with French Fries.... This is all in Tarrentino's Pulp Fiction... I don't know the code to make that link work in a blog, sorry.

Colin said...

Enjoyed the footie video and the Tarantino clip. Chips and mayo (better salad cream) are one of my favourites.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

The best story is of course the one that took place at the time of the introduction of McDonalds in france, back in the 80s.

Everything was in place: the restaurants, the menus, the advertisement... And then somebody pointed out to the management that offering a 'Big Mac' was not a good idea, since a 'Mac' in French was a Pimp...

I never learned what they called it in the end. But perhaps somebody knows?


Colin said...

We have a Burger King in Pontevedra too, but no McDonalds. I eat there once a year but have never seen in even half full Contrast the 3 McDonalds in the centre of Leeds, which always seem to be full.