Sometimes you hear statements that are so obviously untrue, you wonder whether the people making them just don't give a monkey's proverbial whether or not you believe them. The latest of these comes from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior in respect of an ad warning us to be on the lookout for burglars. This showed the 3 Magi ('Kings') on camels and the ministry was accused of racism. The answer was to deny that the Kings were black and to insist that they were wearing the piece of apparel - the balaclava - that's so associated with criminals. And, even more preposterous, that criminals could disguise themselves as the 3 Magi prior to committing burglary. Click here to make up your own mind. Actually, the last 3 examples of tosh like this I can recall were also associated with allegations of racism - the monkey chant offered to England's black football players; the slurs made about a black player by the then manager of the Spanish football team; and an incident of banana-throwing at a black player. You can't help feeling the perpetrators are laughing behind their hands.
Spain is not quite the relaxed place it was when I came to live here 13 years ago. This is true most obviously in the case of minor motoring offences. True, deaths on the road have halved in that period and, if any of this has resulted from tightening up on driving offences, then this can only be commended. But you do wonder sometimes . . . For example, a driver who'd stopped to help an injured motorcyclist in Valencia was fined for parking illegally. And, when he ripped up the ticket, he was fined again, for littering. Then, in my own case, there's the fine for wearing ear-pieces . . . .
To gain entrance to university, Spanish students have to sit an exam called the Selectividad. Their marks from this, as I understand it, are combined with those from their baccalaureate to give a final score. This used to be out of 10 and to two places of decimals but now appears to be out of 13 and to 3 decimal places. So, to do medicine at the university of Valencia (2nd mention today) you need to achieve a mark of 12.546. It's not so easy now to convert these marks into percentages (the rest of the world?) as while 8/10 is 80%, 12.546/13 is 96.5%. For medicine the range of required marks is quite narrow, ranging from 11.780 to 12.546. In contrast, for law the range is much wider - from 5.000 to 9.958. Quite how the numbers to 3 decimal points are worked out beats me. Probably by a computer, I guess.
I've now had 3 estimates for the repair of my roof - tile replacement essentially. These are €8,500, €5,000 and €2,100. Do you think it's a coincidence that the last one comes from the company which did my neighbours' roofs and which knows that I know what they charged? And that the others are - in modern parlance - taking the piss?
Finally . . . Sorry that there was no link yesterday to the profile of the murdered Spanish politician. It's there now, if you want to scroll down.