Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Devilish developments; Internet ire; Stealth taxes; Google gobbledygook; & Bludgeoned to death at breakfast.

There seems to have been considerable surprise and shock when white doves released by the Pope and some kids in white were immediately attacked by a seagull and, tellingly, a black crow. But surely these were just the Devil in disguise. An everyday phenomenon in the world of Catholics. And others, of course.

I'm perfectly happy to be given a choice of paper or internet (bank statements) but less happy to be told (Telefónica) that they've unilaterally decided to give me data on the net but will revert to paper if I ask them to. I think I'd be really annoyed to be told that I could only use the internet. And furious if the relevant web page collapsed because of high usage. Well, this is what's happened with the Tax Office(Hacienda) in respect of IVA(VAT) returns. Worse, one reason for the page being down is that the forms are extremely difficult to complete on line, lengthening the time one has to grapple with them. Brave new world. Read more about it here.

There's long been a car park (un parking) below Pontevedra's Alameda and this has recently been joined by a new parking at the town hall end of it. The latter charges higher prices and I see the normal entrance to the old parking has been closed, forcing one to access it through the new facility. Why? Could it be that they're going to raise the prices of the old one to bring them up to those of the new one? Vamos a ver. Will we have riots, if so? I doubt it. They're a placid lot, the Pontevedrans.

Talking of stealth taxes . . . One of the dafter schemes to have emerged to force the people to pay for the commercio-political excesses of the last 10 years has been Madrid's plan to charge people for ambulances. I had visions of both an ATM and a cash till at the entrance. Happily, this has been kicked into touch.

On a wider healthcare front but still in the city of Madrid, plans to privatise the delivery of healthcare there have been abandoned in the fact of huge protests. Even more newsworthy is the fact that the relevant minister has resigned. As this is such a rare event in Spain, one's naturally left wondering whether he fell on his sword or was pushed onto it.

Google translations: I don't know how they cope with other languages but they often produce gibberish from Spanish. The sub-heading for yesterday's El País article was: El rechazo que suscita la reforma del aborto aconseja retirarla, no prolongar su tramitación. Google came up with: "The rejection raises abortion reform withdraw advised not prolong its processing." Be warned.

Finally, but on the same note, . . . A friend of my younger daughter who lives in Madrid kindly sent me a breakfast menu which must rank among the best/worst. The funniest item was a "bludgeon" but I've yet to work out what the Spanish word was. Perhaps barra.

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