It's hard to believe that a global leader can be so unaware of attitudes outside his own bailiwick as to call Barack Obama 'A tropical monkey'. Especially if he has the worst haircut on the planet. Cue Kim un-Jung. Master of the universe. Well, a sad bit of it, anyway.
Moscow's RT's headline: "Falling oil prices hit US industry". And the entire Russian economy?
Greece continues to be in economic and political turmoil and things could very soon get a hell of a lot worse. With very serious implications for the eurozone and the EU project. I guess it's more likely that some bodge will be concocted to kick the can down the road again. Meanwhile, here and here are a couple of alarmist articles which may or may not be accurate. Who can tell with these things?
Despite being effectively banned, the Uber lift-share business will continue in Spain while a judge's 'precautionary' verdict against the company is being appealed. But will it be hampered by the court's injunction to telecom companies and payment service providers to block Uber? Ya veremos.
Which reminds me1: My Dutch friend, Peter, has asked me to try and illuminate the byzantine Spanish judicial system. Which I'm thinking about.
Which reminds me2: Apart from byzantine, the system is also crumbling. Physically. One judge has gone public with the complaint that years of neglect have led to facilities that are, effectively, Third World. Including the storage of files alongside urinals and on overloaded shelves that have collapsed. Money is promised for next year. Meanwhile justice will be even slower than usual.
After a stellar decline up to 2012, road deaths in Spain have risen in the last 2 years. One reason is said to be a Crisis-driven failure to maintain vehicles. Though in the case of bicycles, the finger has been pointed at the lack of reflectors. As if I didn't know. A lack of rear lights isn't mentioned, raising the suspicion these are considered unnecessary.
After 4 months and possibly 8 visits to the shop, I've finally concluded I was being told, via the increasingly implausible excuses, that the lamps I'd ordered were never going to arrive. And that I was being told to go elsewhere. Rather more quickly, I've decided the same thing may be going on in respect of the replacement keyboard for the one I dropped beer on. This time, though, I've paid a worrying €50 deposit. Needless to say, all explanations are delivered with great charm. Who says the Spanish are never as indirect as the British?
A second book has been written proving that Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) was a native of my barrio, Poio, here in Pontevedra. Specifically, he was the same person as the local hero, Pedro Madrúga, who disappeared when in Alba de Torres in 1486. Pretty conclusive, I'd say.
I get the impression the video I posted yesterday worked extremely slowly and without sound. So, I'm trying again. If anyone gets this OK, please let me know. If not, just enjoy the picture. As it's taken an hour to upload, I'm not optimistic.
Penultimately . . . As I waited to wash my car in one of Spain's many boxes, I wondered why the previous driver had left with his car still pretty soapy. After paying for a couple of different wash options, I realised why - the bloody system was stuck on the initial soap wash. My car looked worse when I left than when I'd arrived.
Finally . . . The latest bit of the 1942 Guide for Yanks to Limeyland.
THE PEOPLE – THEIR CUSTOMS AND MANNERS
THE BEST WAY to get on in Britain is very much the same as the best way to get on in America. The same sort of courtesy and decency and friendliness that go over big in America will go over big in Britain. The British have seen a good many Americans and they like Americans. They will like your frankness as long as it is friendly. They will expect you to be generous. They are not given to back-slapping and they are shy about showing their affections. But once they get to like you they make the best friends in the world.
In "getting along" the first important thing to remember is that the British are like the Americans in many ways – but not in all ways. You will quickly discover differences that seem confusing and even wrong. Like driving on the left side of the road, and having money based on an "impossible" accounting system, and drinking warm beer. But once you get used to that you will realise that they belong to England just as baseball and jazz and coca-cola belong to us.
The British Like Sports. The British of all classes are enthusiastic about sports, both as amateurs and spectators of professional sports. They love to shoot, they love to play games, they ride horses and bet on horse races, they fish. (But be careful where you hunt or fish. Fishing and hunting rights are often private property.)
The great spectator sports are football in the autumn and winter and cricket in the spring and summer. See a "match" in either of these sports whenever you get a chance. You will get a kick out of it – if only for the differences from American sports.
Cricket will strike you as slow compared to American baseball, but it isn't easy to play well. You will probably get more fun out of "village cricket" which corresponds to sandlot baseball than you would out of the big three-day professional matches. The big professional matches are often nothing but a private contest between the bowler (who corresponds to our pitcher) and the batsman (batter) and you have to know the fine points of the game to understand what is going on.
Football in Britain takes two forms. They play soccer, which is known in America; and they also play "rugger," which is a rougher game and closer to American football, but is played without the padded suits and headguards which we use. Rugger requires fifteen on a side, uses a ball slightly bigger than our football, and allows lateral but not forward passing. The English do not handle the ball as cleanly as we do, but they are far more expert with their feet. As in all games, no substitutes are allowed. If a man is injured, his side continues with fourteen players and so on.
You will find that English crowds at football or cricket matches are often more orderly and more polite to the players than American crowds. If a fielder misses a catch at cricket, the crowd will probably take a sympathetic attitude. They will shout "Good try." Even if it looks to you like a bad fumble. In America the crowd would probably shout "Take him out." This contrast should be remembered. It means that you must be careful in the excitement of an English game not to shout out remarks that everyone in America would understand, but which the British might think insulting.
In general more people play games in Britain than in America and they play the game even if they are not good at it. You can always find people who play no better than you and are glad to play with you. They are good sportsmen and are quick to recognise good sportsmanship when they meet it.