Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Queer Questions; Provisional Patronage; Petition Postponed; EUstalgia; Brain Boundaries; Statistical Sleights-of-hand; Spanish Assessment; and the Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.

I went for a blood test today and was attended by the guy who's been jabbing me for 12 years now, usually for my annual check-up. Anyway, he greeted me like a long lost brother, dealt as expeditiously as ever with the blood-sucking then, as I got up to go said:-
David.That's not a very common name in Britain, is it?
Yes, I think it's quite common.
You mean among the Jews?
No, I mean among everyone.
It means God or Son of God in Jewish, doesn't it?
Err . . I really don't know. I thought that was Jehova. I'll ask my Jewish sister.
Yes, it does. And so does [indistinct]
OK. I'll ask her about that too.
Your results will be available today.
Thanks. Until next time!
Until next time, my friend.

Watching Pontevedra FC play last Sunday, I noted that their sponsor is the the provincial government. Or, putting it another way, the local taxpayers. One wonders how long this can continue in these increasingly straitened times.

The Spanish president – Sr Rajoy – continues to play Hide the Bailout, not wanting to be humiliated by taking his begging bowl to the ECB before October elections in his home region of Galicia. This strategy has the added advantage of obscuring the fact he'll have to make bigger cuts than those already announced. On the last score, however, he seems to have been upstaged by Brussells, which has publicly confirmed that harsher measures will be demanded. And supervised by a trio of mandarins who'll be taking over the economic management of the country. Which is not that joining the EU was supposed to be about. It was done so as to achieve an endless flow of 'solidarity'. Meaning, of course, someone else's money.

When you look back, every member of the EU was perfectly happy when they were getting what they wanted, simultaneously. Germany, for example, was getting lots of nice exports and profits on banking deals. And Spain was getting lots of bunce, cheap money and real estate profits. It was only after it was all exposed to be a house of cards erected on shifting sands that people began to whinge. And to make harsh demands on others. But 'twas ever thus, I guess.

I listened, with astonishment, today to a chap who, thanks to Asperger's, is an autistic savant. Because, he said, of 'different connections' in his brain he'd been able to publicly recite the number Pi to more than 22,500 decimal places, over more than 5 hours. And to learn Icelandic in a week. I wonder if one day we'll be able to walk into a clinic and choose from a menu of brain re-connections. Meanwhile, one can only admire the potential of the human brain. Even if it does have to be mal-wired to achieve it.

Talking of numbers . . . A week or two back, I saw the eminent feminist, Naomi Wolf, make what I suspected were extraordinary claims about rape in Sweden. This, of course, in support of Julian Assange. Both the incidence of rape and the conviction rate for rape were, she stressed, the highest in Europe. Needless to say, in reality these reflect different definitions of rape and different police treatments of accusations of rape. So, the claims were as valid as the 'true' facts that Canada and Australia have the highest kidnapping rates in the world. A shameful abuse of statistics by an intelligent woman. Blinded by her belief that no information should be private and Assange is a hero for publishing the stuff he did.

Finally . . . A quote from The Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish, by Drew Launay

Overall, the Spanish react to and judge the individual, not the horde, and what matters is whether or not people are amusing.

This, of course, is in keeping with their view that the highest purpose in life is to have fun.


Anonymous said...


I am sure I would find myself an awful lot to disagree with (with) Naomi Wolf. However, it seems to me that on Assange you have already fixed your own views, and anyone who offers a different one has to be wrong. And what the Scandinavians are concerned, it is not really always "progress" what they do although we get it sold to us as such.

The british govn't could change its stance too. I don't buy this view that they have no alternative but to deliver Assange to the Americans (sorry the Swedes). The british govn't and the british law (allow me to be completely cynical) will do whatever they want to do as they have always done.

sp said...

Here's a tasty morsel for the blog.

Colin said...


Yes, I'd seen this during my midday read of El País.

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