Wednesday, October 22, 2014

That old time religion; First Class achievements; Pharmacists on the take; Spanish favours; & A Farsi farce.

Some people start a religion for money - L Ron Hubbard with Scientology for example. And some do so for sex - Various US Bible bashers, for example. More recently and more locally, we have the case of the founder of the Catholic association of St. Michael the Archangel, near Vigo who's been accused of, inter alia, separating wives from husbands and taking them to his suite of premises for 'purification'. He also solicited large financial donations, of course. The local archbishop has dissociated himself from the association. As well he might. The Catholic Church - the gift which goes on giving.

Forty years ago, fewer than 5% of UK undergraduates achieved a First Class degree. By 1995, this had risen to 12% and by 2011 it was 15%. Last year it reached 17%, more than 3 times the 1975 number. The same creep has occurred with 2:1 degrees. Presumably, British undergrads are getting cleverer and cleverer, as are CSE and A Level students. My research on this was stimulated by reading of a British couple who apparently died of an overdose of prescription drugs in India. He got a First in English at a Manchester Uni and she'd got one at Stockport College. I thought 2 Firsts would be a rare occurrence but it's probably not these days. By the way, the fewest Firsts are given to Law students and the most to students of mathematical sciences.

Talking of prescription drugs . . . There are criminals in all professions, of course, but I'd have thought pharmacists were towards the more honest end. However, Spanish police have just arrested more than a hundred of them for buying products to sell on at a higher price, though not to the public.

I wouldn't want to give the impression I haven't benefitted from the Spanish help-for-friends culture. I've had work done by accountants, lawyers and notaries for which no payment has been sought and all attempts to pay rebutted - simply because I was introduced by a friend. The most common of these non-exchanges is a waiter/barman friend who simply refuses to take both payment or tips from me or my daughters. Unless the bill is large, in which case he simply fails to include some items. I'm not at all sure his boss doesn't know what's going on as this practice is widespread in bars. I've still got enough Anglo-Saxonism left in me to find this embarrassing but, with each passing year, this diminishes. If you're born into the system, though, I imagine you'll never have any problem with it. Like my teacher pupils who thought their friend wasn't cheating when she asked for their help an hour or two before her exam. Horses for courses. What I've called it over the years is a favour-bank system. One which can only really function if the people you deal with don't move away from your home town. Which is much less likely in Anglo-Saxon countries, of course. Where money is, therefore, a more reliable medium of exchange. "How much do I owe you for petrol?" is a question you're unlikely to hear in Spain.

Helping you with your Spanish:-
1. The plural of virus is virus.
2. Sacar de mi cosecha means (says my friend Dwight) 'To use my own work".
4. Lobi is an Anglicism for grupo de presión. Little wonder.
3. The plural of lobi is not lobis but lobbies. It seems.

Finally . . . Filleting a box of memories in my basement yesterday, I found my old Iranian AA card. The one that names me Devil Colin Davies. In English at least.






1 comment:

Barcelona's Singing Organ-Grinder said...

Doesn't it say Devies? So:

A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange Devies,
Nefarior!

Or something. BTW, if you think Catalonia should be allowed to be independent, would you mind dreadfully sending me a cheque for around 500 euros? It's roughly what I think I've contributed to you via the tax system over the last decade, and I'm a bit short this Xmas. Ta!

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