It seems that artificial intelligence will finally have arrived when a computer can make sense of:-
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
Assuming it speaks English. The task may be easier in other languages.
One of the runners in the weekend's triathlon was called Cerda. This is quite funny as its basic meaning is 'Sow'. However, it also means 'whore'. In this, it's joined by apparently dozens of feminine forms of words which, in the masculine, are innocuous but which in the feminine can mean 'whore'. For example perro/perra. Something very Spanish.
Talking of words . . . The French newspaper, La Liberácion, today carried the headline - Caisse-toi, riche con. This was directed at the multi-millionaire who wants to become Belgian, to avoid taxes. The English version of the last word begins with c and contains an n and is hardly ever seen in print. This might be true of the Spanish equivalent too (coño) but, verbally, you're never far away from it. So weak is the taboo in its respect, you can hear grannies using it as a term of endearment. If you really want to upset someone in Spain, you have to call them cabrón, or billy-goat. Utterly innocuous in English, it acquires its strength in Spanish because, I think, there's the presence of horns and, thus, cuckolding.
What a difficult situation for Sr Rajoy, the Spanish president. Constitutionally averse, as he is, to taking decisions, he's being nut-crackered by the Empress of Europe above him and the would-be Emperor of an independent Cataluña below him. No wonder he's doing an impersonation of Janus. Facing the Catalan president, he pronounced yesterday:- “We're not going to be influenced by a hullabaloo.” And facing Mrs Merkel, he's insisted he won't be rushed into handing over the levers of economic management to a group of apparatchiks in Brussels. As if he has any choice!
Mr Rajoy, by the way, has assured us he's not planning more tax increases and will not raid the pension fund. Given that he's broken many electoral promises in the last year, one would be foolish to believe him.
So, what's the Spanish for hullabaloo, I hear you ask. Well, it's algarabía But what's fascinating is its other meanings. Viz.:-
- The confused noise of several people talking or shouting at the same time
- Arabic, and
Are we to conclude that the Spanish think the Arabs make even more noise than they do? I love the fact that they actually have a word for something that surrounds you here - 'The confused noise of several people talking or shouting at the same time'. Maybe we do too - cacophony. Yes? No?
It's pretty commonplace in Spain to see people staying in place after they've done something which would lead to their resignation elsewhere. Especially when it comes to politicians. However, there was a case recently of a scientist deciding that the bones found in a garden bonfire were not those of two missing children but, rather, those of two dogs. When this finding was reversed, she did do the decent thing and resigned. Though she may have been pushed, of course.
My three magazines arrived all in the same mail yesterday. The Economist was the latest edition, making it ever more likely that the previous two or three issues have simply disappeared into the interstices of the Post Office.
Finally . . . I heard today that you can, in the UK, bury your loved ones yourself. You're not obliged to use anyone's services and the paperwork is minimal. The State actually seeks to help you with your DIY aspirations. Things may be the same here in Spain. Though I rather doubt it.