Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Russian-flavoured News; Surprising News; Death in Spain; Spanish words; & Scrumptious ears.

Russia's RT TV channel had some gems last night:- 
- Of course, there may be a Crimean application to join Russia but we don't yet know how it will be received.
- We do know no decision has yet been taken - If it is accepted, there'll be a 5 or 6 stage process involving Mr Putin in discussion with members of parliament and others 
- In the East of Ukraine 'activists' from the 'local defence units' have stopped Ukrainian military vehicles from reaching the border with Russia. 
- Why is it that everyone in the West knows about the Crimea desire to leave Ukraine but no one knows that Veneto is planning to secede from Italy?
- President Putin has signed the decree allowing the accession process to begin but there are many legal hurdles to pass before it's a done deal

Russia's RT channel is still banging on this morning about the [ludicrous] equivalence between the Crimea and Veneto. If you don't know anything about this Italian development, here's Russia Today to fill you in. And here's the BBC.

There were 2 big surprises in the news this morning. Firstly, the Big Bang theory has been evidenced (proven, even) by American scientists at the North Pole. And, secondly, Qatar's award of the 2020 World Cup was gained by corruption among FIFA members. Well, one of these was a surprise but the other couldn't be less of one.

I wrote about the Spanish practice of death a couple of weeks ago. One aspect I stressed is that of completing the burial or cremation within 48 hours. A letter in yesterday's El País noted that, after the writer's father had died in a hospital, she and her children were bombarded at 3am at the Reception on what coffin they wanted, what urn for the ashes, what flowers and what time they wanted the velatorio ('funeral wake') the next day. As if this weren't bad enough, they were then hustled with an estimate of €10,000 while still in deep mourning. That's the trouble with false deadlines; they give others the chance to fleece you.

A new Spanish word: - un trolley (trole?). This is a carry-on bag that has wheels and extendible handle. As well as a trolley-bus.

An old Spanish word:- Arena. Or 'sand'. Most obviously for a bullfight. Think of this next time you're in a posh arena.

Talking of Spanish words . . . . An article in El Pais the other day weighed into the practice of archisílabo, or lengthy words formed by adding an English/Latin prefix. As with ultraexclusivo, hiperexclusividad, macrolujo and superpositiva. It's hard not to sympathise with this view, given that many Spanish words already contain at least twice as many syllables as their English equivalents. Actually, I'm sure I've heard supermegaguay, or something similar.

Finally . . . If it's the crunchy cartilage of a pig's ear that catches your fancy, hie thyself over to nearby Lerez this week, where these form the centre of their annual gastronomic fiesta. Vomit bowls provided free.


Gerald Kelly said...

Are there any silk purse stalls at the festival?

Perry said...

Spanglish sign.

Por favor, don't remove the arena from the playa. Grassyarse.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Question: do you have stocks in the West Ukrainian maffia, dear Colin? You sound somewhat biased. Do you really think the people in power in Kiev today are any better than the previous rogue government?


Experienced Alfred

Colin Davies said...

No, I don't. Of course.

All I'm commenting on is the obvious bias of the government controlled Russian news. Who've now shifted to telling us how terrified the East Crimeans are of the fascist Nazi government in Kiev and how they are now demanding referendum of their own. May be they are and maybe they aren't but they possibly don't represent the majority of the relevant population. Unlike with Crimea.

The odds on a second referendum must be shortening by the hour. Legal or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

if Gibraltar held a referendum to join the UK, as opposed to become part of Spain (same thing as with Crimea, which still is part of the Ukraine) wouldn't they be getting the same results as in Crimea (near to 100% in favour)?

Of course they would.

Would you oppose or condemn, Colin Davies, such British imperialism?

Colin Davies said...

Sorry, where is the British imperialism in this scenario?

Gibraltar already is part of Britain.

And the Gibraltarians did have a referendum, I believe, a few years ago. I recall the number was around 99%. Maybe a bit less.

Personally, I believe Gibraltar should return to Spain but not against the wishes of its people.

I also believe this is what the British government wants but the current Spanish government has made it less likely that this will happen.

As for the Crimea, what people object to is the illegal way the wishes of the populace were acceded to. No one doubts that they wanted to return to Russia.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

'The illegal way the wishes of the populace were acceded to…' That's a sweet one. May I point out that, speaking formally, the present government in Kiev, brought in by a revolution to replace a regime which was democratically elected some years ago, is not strictly 'legal' either? Yet where the result is convenient to the EU's Inane Empire, the legality is never questioned, of course...

Before we repeat the mistake we made in the case of the Arab Spring, it might be good not to let our opinion run sheepishly after the equally biased Western Media. Their demagoguery is less martial and more subtle, that is true; but they still bring very biased versions of the facts on the round.


Colin Davies said...

Yes, but I doubt they do it as knowingly as their Russian counterparts. On any Western TV panel show of pundits you will get disagreement, because that's how they're put together. On RT you get 4 guys competing to see who can get further up Putin's arse and who can be more vicious in his/her comments about the West. For a while it's funny but then in become boring in its utter predictability and its hard-to-beat bias. No so much a chat as a lecture from Moscow. Today they're claiming the Ukrainian soldier was killed by a Ukrainian sniper who's an agent provocateur. Well, maybe. Smells of the Reichstag fire to me.

And, yes, the Ukraine government is hardly composed of nice people and came in via a revolution. But, then, so did the Russian and French governments.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

But the best demagoguery is the one you barely notice, of course. And you may say that there is much difference of opinion in the panels of western media, but I have a hard time finding any. It is all the fault of Evil Putin on an imperialist binge. The Kiev government represents the entire nation of the Ukraine, and they are democrats. The snipers are all pro-Russian (but lady Ashton was a little surprised to hear from the Latvian PM that there were some doubts there… Doubts never heard of again, by the by). And there is barely any mention of the past financial practices of the members of the new bunch in Kiev. They are, after all, Our Friends….

Do me a favor, close your eyes, and try to see the whole thing, for just a moment, from the Russian perspective. Not to gain the impression that they are angels (they are not). But to understand why this leads where it leads, and what else we may expect.

CriticAl Mittington

Colin Davies said...


Did you read the page I cited, where Richard North is outspoken in blaming the West, or more accurately the power-mad bureaucrats of Brussells, who've spent the last 10 years talking expansion into the Russian sphere. With no regard, as you say, for the type of people they're talking to. Of course, they're not terribly worried about whether new members are democratic. If they did, they'd have to look at the mote in their own eyes.

One can understand and sympathise with the Russian response without thinking that the invasion of Crimea was legal. Moral, perhaps, but rule of law countries don't operate on the basis of what someone think is moral.

As for hearing and understanding the Russian viewpoint, I get this an hour or two a day from RT, which I suspect you don't get.

Some of the points it make are, indeed, legitimate but the whole tenor of channel is rabidly propagandistic. Do you think they would ever talk about the percentage of Russian wealth held by Putin and his oligarch cronies (I think you said they'd looted the country)? Well, as I type that's what they're doing in respect of the UK, alleging that 5 families own 30% of the country's wealth. And interviewing people in food banks. Can't see anyone getting away with that in Russia.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Alfredo. You have taught a lesson to this western bigot. Spasiva

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Dear Anonymous,

Glad to be of service. But Colin is not really a bigot. If he were, I wouldn't bother arguing with him. At worst, he's a little optimistic in his outlook, still convinced that We in the West Always Mean the Best. Which is of course what most Europeans are being led to believe by the 9 o'clock news…

Yours, ABM

Colin Davies said...

By 'we' I assume you mean everyone apart from the perfidious, double-dealing, cynical Dutch. As Canning(?) once said -
In matters of commerce
The fault of the Dutch
Is giving too little
And taking too much.

Or something like that.

Good job you're (part) English. Wouldn't want to insult you.