It was reported last year that Madrid and Barcelona were competing to bring "EuroVegas" to their bit of Spain. This was to be a gambling and golfing venture that would bring as many as 250,000 jobs in its wake. Last I heard, it'd run into strong resistance to its demands that tax/money-laundering concessions be given to the investors. And now, it seems, there are also 'financing issues'. Which could mean anything, of course. So nothing will be clear for a while yet. Meanwhile, last week I saw a bit of a TV program on the subject. It was centred on the threat that EuroVegas could bring with it the levels of crime and prostitution for which Las Vegas was said to be famous. In Spain, said the program, the second of these, at least, had been successfully banished (under Franco, I think) from the centre to the periphery of cities. Which is why you'll see at least one garishly pink Club on the edge of every city and town in Spain. Sometimes, indeed on the edge of villages.
Talking of financing issues . . . Courtesy of my friend Dwight, here's an article on the practice of 'dynamic provisioning' indulged in by Spain's banks, with a nod and a wink from the EU. The phoney results it produced probably lay behind President Zapatero's claim that Spain had the world's soundest banking system. But, then, that man was quite capable of making ridiculous statements even without any backing at all. For example "We're richer than Italians this year; next year we'll be richer than the French; and by 2012 we'll even be richer than the Germans." Oh, how we laughed! And are still laughing. All the way to the bank . . .
And talking of banks . . . You'll all recall that the new bank Novacaixa Galicia was formed from a merger between our two big savings banks, Caixa Galicia and Caixa Nova. And those of you who are very on the ball will recall there was (relatively speaking) an uproar when 4 or 5 directors of one or both of these were discovered to have made themselves huge bonus payments just before retiring. Well, the good news to emerge in the last week is that the original board of 320 members has now been reduced to a mere 12. I'll need to check this story as it really is quite hard to imagine any board or committee of that size being expected to function successfully
The news of marital difficulties between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes naturally took me to Wikipedia on Scientology and to the writings of both L Ron Hubbard and the church's current leader - David Miscavige. Frankly, though, I didn't reach the end of the article, as I was doubled up with laughter at the inanity of their beliefs in Xenu, Thetans and the like. It all seemed to prove how easy it must be to set up a religion, to fleece your believers and to obtain tax relief from supposedly lay governments. Though possibly not in France. Worryingly, though, California is said to be awash with adherents. Which must say something about the inhabitants of the USA's most socially advanced state. I do hope I don't suffer some hardship inflicted on me by my inner-Thetan as a result of writing this. Anyway, here's the Wiki page. Enjoy.
Finally . . . Chevrons on the road have always been a problem for me. I've never understood whether I could cross them or not. Local drivers are not afflicted with this uncertainty. They understand perfectly well that they are there to demarcate a parking area. As here.
Small print: There's been a rash of spam messages recently so I will have to look at preventing this. Apologies to anyone who then finds it harder to post a comment.