Saturday, August 16, 2014

Whalish painting; The EU economy; Bureaucrats; Corruption again; & A tremulous internet.

Spain is famous for her artists - Velasquez, El Greco, Dalí and Picasso among them - but, of course, not everyone likes everything. George Orwell observed that "Aldous Huxley notes that people in El Greco's pictures always look as though they are in the bellies of whales, and professes to find something particularly horrible about the idea of being in a 'visceral prison'.

France was, I believe, the first EU country to breach the 3% budget deficit rule. And to get away with it. She was then followed by Germany. Both of these countries are now defying Brussels agin, over its demands for structural reform and austerity measures. These, apparently, are OK for southern states like Portugal, Greece and Spain but not for their northern Europe brethren. The 'little people', I guess. Click here for our Ambrose's overview of the situation in France and Germany. "Eurozone strategy" he avers "is in tatters after economic recovery ground to a halt across the region and France demanded a radical shift in policy, warning that austerity overkill is driving Europe into a depression."

Reading Theodore Dalrymple's So Little Done, I came upon this paragraph. It's part of the confession of a serial murderer who'd worked in the Housing department of a local authority: It was standard practice to lose the first copy of all application forms which a client filled in and then deny all knowledge of ever having received them. This soon sorted out the serious applicants from those who were merely bored and had nothing else to do. The latter gave up after the first attempt. This reminded me of my experience with Pontevedra's car dealers, none of whom followed up on my visits to them, despite taking contact details and noting my requests for information. At the time, I felt this must be due to some sort of screening process. Only if you came back were you really interested.

The latest big corruption case - up to €2bn - centres on an-ex chief of the Andalucian Tax Office. It prompted the thought that the Spanish papers should have a special section - supplement even - for all the corruption cases meandering through the courts. But then I realised this would be 95% of the paper, leaving only the front and back 2 pages for news and sport, respectively. Or 3, if we include all the ads for brothels and the independent hookers.

Finally . . . Thanks to a drug side effect, I have a very slight tremor. This doesn't bother me in in any way except that it's more than enough to cause my hypersensitive laptop's tracking pad to open unwanted pages while I'm reading another. So, God help anyone who's using my internet history to devise 'appropriate' advertising. Here's just one example of an unwanted page. Consciously anyway.

House for Sale in Pontevedra

My neighbours are moving to Madrid and selling their lovely house. Lots of pictures here. Brief description: South west orientation. Completely renovated. In a development with swimming pool, extensive green areas, place for parties, excellent community environment. €395,000.

4 floors
322 sq m constructed, 283 sq m usable
5 double bedrooms
3 bathrooms
Plot of 336 sq m
Terrace of 336 sq m plus
Completely furnished
Excellent condition
5 built-in wardrobes
Lumber room
Covered laundry room
Central heating
Private garden

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