Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Spanish cardinal recently selected 8 priests to work as an 'exclusive exorcist squad'. Last week he turned to more terrestrial matters and said the best way to help Spain's troubled royal family was "to pray". "The church always prays for heads of State and the king as well," he added. "I think it's the best form of help we can give them at this moment, both to them as individuals and the institution". "Asked for his response, the Devil said he'd appointed a team of 10 fallen angels who'd easily be able to overwhelm the priests. And he expressed confidence that the world would continue to be, on balance, an evil place and that prayer would be as useless as ever thanks to the spatial reflective screens he'd set up millions of years ago. Asked about the future of the Spanish king, the Devil chuckled and cited him as an excellent example of the futility of past prayers. He followed up by asking why Spain's Cardinals had entered the comedy business. And then departed laughing.

Whilst on matters religious . . . I listened to a discussion on celibacy earlier this week. It may not be widely known but this was only introduced for Catholic priests in the 11th century. But, anyway, the comment that brought me up sharp was that of a priest who viewed celibacy as a 'gift from God'. Some bloody gift. And one which a significant number of priests around the world have thrown back in his face.

Yesterday I gave an hour of English conversation to two of my neighbours, Ester and Ana. There was clearly a misunderstanding between Ana and I as to what time this kicked off but I couldn't swear who got it wrong. The real problem, though, was that Ester's 17 year old daughter, María, felt it necessary to call her 8 times during the lesson. Credit where credit's due, Ester only answered 4 of the calls.

Talking of María . . . It was end-of-term party time last night and, as I sat reading in my garden, I espied her and 3 friends setting out for the evening's festivities. Dressed to slaughter. I was tempted to tell María she'd left her skirt at home but refrained. Just as well, really, as Ester later told me she'd been wearing shorts. With the emphasis on the first 4 letters.

My Anglo-Australian friend, Ian, has come to stay for a week or so, armed with a fancy new hearing aid. He explained it has 3 settings - 'Normal', 'Crowded Room' and 'Television' but lacks the one he really needs this week - 'Spain'. I sympathised, having only just recovered from the raucous wedding I attended a month or so ago.

James Gandolfini: Well, I didn't know who he was but the world's papers seem to have regarded him as the best actor ever to have trodden the boards. El País gave him the longest obit I've ever seen therein - 2 pages. I suspect this is even longer than the Nelson Mandela encomium they've got on file. So I did a bit of research and came up with this article by the estimable Clive James. The outcome? I'm resolved to watch the box-set of The Sopranos which a kind friend left me a few years ago. And which, shamefully, I've never opened.

The EU has rapped Spain over the knuckles for starting the construction of an AVE high-speed train line down south without first carrying out the requisite environmental study. It's not as if this is anything like the first line to be built; there are dozens of them. So, inexperience can't be the excuse for the oversight. I wonder whether funds are dry and the Spanish government would prefer to blame Brussels for non-construction of the line.

Finally . . . Here's another review of the book I mentioned the other day - All is Silence, by Manuel Rivas. The reviewer manages to pull out all the hackneyed adjectives employed by those who don't really know Galicia - misty, damp, Celtic, etc. but this doesn't mean the book isn't worth reading, of course.


SummerInFoz said...

"Galicia - misty, damp, Celtic"

This is a proper description even in summertime for the northern coastline of Galicia, from Ferrol to Ribadeo. The northeast wind is typical of summer and there it blows in from the ocean, bringing in low clouds as the day wears on and even drizzle in the late hours many a summer day.

Anthea said...

Have you never seen "The Sopranos"? Worth looking out for.

Enjoy Manuel Rivas.

James Atkinson said...

I hope you enjoy "The Sopranos", for myself it was a little bit pedestrian. Probably I was expecting a "Goodfellas" or "The Godfather" type of series.
Apparently this was deliberately avoided, in order to convey the banality of evil perhaps? For whatever reason, whilst it was worth watching, it never gripped me, so I only viewed the first series.

Colin said...

@Anthea. No, but have a box set from Michael which I'll now open.

Colin said...

@SummerinFoz: Yes but another reader, from La Coruña, disagree.