Friday, September 20, 2013

Phobias; Fakes; Obama posturing; Spanish eating; Adif's trials; and Bull banning.

Thanks to a typo yesterday, I turned the fear of owls into the fear of mobs. Oclophobia and ochlophobia, respectively. Anyway, while checking this out, I came across the following avian phobic additions. I confess I'm not sure they're all genuine:-
Ornithophobia - Fear of birds
Alektorophobia - Fear of roosters or poultry.
Pavophobia - Fear of peacocks
And my favourite . . .
Anatidaephobia - The fear you're being watched by a duck.

Which reminds me . . . Fake merchandise is nothing new - especially in Portuguese markets and on the internet - but I was rather surprised to learn there were 20 Apple shops in China which, unbeknown to the employees, were entirely phoney, right down to the staff T-shirts. Closer to home, one of my my visitors has told me that Amazon declined to do anything about a company which was selling fake quality perfumes through their site. Caveat emptor, then.

In a fascinating insight into the workings of the White House, a Danish TV company has shown President Obama praising 3 Scandinavian countries for 'punching above its weight' when meeting their respective prime ministers. I seem to recall him uttering the same flattering but meaningless phrase when meeting David Cameron. So much for the UK-US 'special relationship'.

Yesterday brought proof of what I've long suspected - that, even in tough times (vacas flocas), the Spanish are reluctant to cut back on eating well. An outfit call Euro Monitor Inernational has measured the total spent in 100 countries on food at home, dining out, alcohol and tobacco. Spain's 2012 average was €5,160 per person, comprising €2,483 on food at home, €2,148 on restaurant meals and €529 on tobacco and alcohol. This put Spain in an impressive 9th position, with the top 3 spots going to Switzerland, Norway and Australia.

The railtrack company, Adif, implicated in the Santuago crash of a month ago are crying foul and resisting the efforts of the investigating judge to bring several employees (and their files) before him. And they're also denying they had anything to do with the decision not to install the best available security system as the site of the crash. Finally, they're claiming that the (tight) bend can be taken at 140kph, assuming the driver is in control of the train. But not at the 199kph the train was doing just before the crash, when the driver was dealing with a call from the ticket inspector. Adif appear to be trying to get the government in the dock with them, attributing the safety decision to the Minister of Development, but one wonders whether they'll succeed. Meanwhile, it's all nowt to do with them.

Reading Bill Bryson's "A Brief History of Everything" I was amused to come across an American chap called Edward Drinker Cope. Almost as odd was his rival's name of Othniel Charles Marsh.

Finally . . . Here are 3 letters from yesterday's El País on the subject of the bull-lancing 'fiesta' I mentioned yesterday. The Google translations are dire but I don't have time to tart them up. You will surely catch the drift:

What we have to bear in Tordesillas. I would as a tordesillano, animal lover movements perform a strong reflection on how to express their aspirations. The anything goes cannot be an option and, therefore, enough, by many media, to forgive his actions.

I understand they come to manifest. I'm used to constant insult you. In fact , sometimes it's funny, though, of course, do not think me or let my friends and neighbours about sadists and murderers, like it or not the tournament because, despite what is sold in the media communication, in Tordesillas there are people who disagree with the tournament. The difference is that it shows respect. But the last performance has no forgiveness, no logic no ... drop tables with tips to stop the horsemen, besides being dangerous because many people can be injured, is shot to its own objectives, such as defending the rights of animals, as horses may have run great danger , unless you think that the end justifies the means. - Juan Francisco Rodríguez Gómez. Tordesillas, Valladolid.


At this time I suffer to see how is repeated year after year, this exercise of cruelty, which is spearing a bull to death, that perverse enjoyment of pain, represented today by the Tordesillas inhumane Lancers, degrading spectacle brutalizes medieval all somehow involved in it .

They talk about tradition. What is its origin? The first reference appears in 1534, in the Book of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament of St. James of Tordesillas . Those were different times. Public life was governed by the Inquisition.

Fortunately, society evolved and the Holy Office was abolished by the Cortes of Cadiz in 1812. However, it seems that this Castilian town has not evolved, but remains in medieval backwardness, calling "fiesta", " a tourist good " or "tradition." Pablo Iglesias be ashamed of the socialist mayor who promotes it, comparing it to a theatrical performance. Also guilty is the Popular Party, which governs the Community and could ban it. Both should use public money in taxes to create jobs.

I hope this country, famous for fiestas which involve animal abuse, legislate against, without exception, as an offence under the Criminal Code. - Julia Leal de la Rosa. Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid.


For many years the struggles of gladiators in the circus were a tradition in imperial Rome. Bread and circuses, wrestling, blood and death to the delight of the people. How much time had to pass before such atrocities were abolished? Would we accept today? I believe not. By long tradition that could be invoked as a party disgusts accept that which represents the suffering and death of a human being by another. 

We accept, however, smoothed versions of gladiatorial combat and fiesta traditions in which suffering and death fall on all kinds of animals. Traditions are not sacred and should no longer be untouchable, because there are traditions that are true aberrations to which a society with minimal sensitivity should give up. A day will come when we find it incomprehensible that coexist in the same time both as little technical progress and moral progress and that a mobile phone generation could relay to friends the show which is a beautiful animal dripping with blood and dying speared by a mob of gladiators version light amid the excitement of the people. - Enrique Díez Chamber. Segovia.

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