Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Pravda's perspectives; Putin's view; Mannerly commenting; Franco's honoured heirs; & Serendipity

Here's a list of the conspiracy theories entertained by the Russians about the Malaysian airline shot down over the Ukraine.

Talking of Russia . . . It's reported that 'A close associate of President Putin said yesterday that the West had miscalculated if it thought sanctions would change Kremlin thinking. “No, this can be ruled out,” he said. “Putin is thinking only about the interest of Russia. There can be no compromise here. And it won’t cross our (businessmen’s) minds to speak out about this subject.”' I bet it won't!

I read the Comments in both English and Spanish newspapers and it's instructive to see how the writers disagree with each other. In the former, it usually takes the form of mild sarcasm or irony. In the latter, it all too quickly descends into abuse and the use of one or more of the colourful ad hominem expressions in which Spanish abounds. Which fits with national stereotypes, I guess.

Pontevedra had the first two of its annual four bullfights this weekend and the local papers carried plenty of fotos this morning. Each carried at least one of Franco's granddaughter, as if she were minor royalty. Why, I wonder. As a descendant of a death-dealing dictator, does she really merit any form of fame or even notoriety? Are Hitler's relatives swanning around Germany cashing in on his name? It could be worse, Franco's daughter appeared on the Spanish version of Celebrity Come Dancing a few years ago. I say 'version' but I mean 'travesty', as the quality of the dancing is not the criterion favoured by the voting public. The emphasis is far more on the 'celebrity' bit. And there's an awful lot of talking. And arguing.

Finally . . . 'Serendipity' is a word much favoured by the pharmaceutical industry, for example when a product you're developing for heart disease turns out to give men 10-hour erections as a side-effect. Allowing you to open up a multi-billion new market segment. Anyway, my own little bit of serendipity is the weed I allowed to grow up the back of my house and which now frames not just the sitting-room window but also one of the bedroom windows, en route to the roof. This week my neighbour, Ester, told me it wasn't a weed but a parthenocissus quinquefolia. Or Virginia creeper to you and me. And to think I nearly pulled it out when it was only a few centimetres long.

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