Saturday, December 13, 2014

Likeable Spain; Allergens & tapas; Exorcisms; Spanish surnames; & Bessie Smith.

We seem to be in an era of lists. Possibly because it's cheap journalism. But, anyway, here's one I wrote in about 2 minutes: 10 things I love about Spain. I thought of several more immediately after I'd finished it. So there'll be another one along soon:-
1. The Spanish people
2. You're never pressured to finish a meal or even a drink. And you don't pay for it in advance.
3. The pace of life is slower
4. Kids smile and talk to you and their parents don't look at you as if you'e a paedophile
5. Spanish women are very good-looking. The men, too, I guess.
6. The women are still feminine and the men are still un-emasculated
7. Tapas
8. The institution of the menú del día.
9. The wonderfully varied geography
10. The beautiful cities.

The EU has instructed restaurants and take-away places to advise customers about which dishes contain one or more of several food allergens. Britain's 'gold-plating' bureaucrats will leap on this, of course, and implement it to high heaven. But what about Spain's countless tapas bars? Will they all now need to issue new menus? "These fried squid contain sea food", perhaps. Or "These percebes may make you vomit. Just by looking at them."

A Valladolid teenager - suffering depression, panic attacks and anorexia - was taken by her parents for exorcism, the second time they'd done this. She was given 13 sessions and now a court, after a suicide attempt, is to assess whether the exorcism constitutes the criminal offences of habitual psychological violence, blackmail, degrading treatment, serious injuries and incitement to suicide. The implicated priest insists that exorcism merely "involves praying to the Holy Spirit for help in the event the person may be possessed by the devil". He added: “It is often very difficult to see the difference between mental illness and being possessed by the devil. So we always recommend that anyone undergoing exorcism is supported by health professionals." Separately, the Diocese has denied any connection with the radical religious sect, the Militia of Santa María, where the young woman's mother is a member and where she was allegedly incited to flagellate herself to effect a cure. All this in the 21st century

On Sky News there's a reporter called Alastair Bunkle. Now, if he were Spanish, his daughter would have Bunkle as her first surname. And, if she were to marry a Spaniard who had Carr as his first surname, their children's surnames would be Carr Bunkle. Unlikely in the near-term, perhaps, but perfectly feasible before that monkey finishes re-writing the works of Shakespeare.

Finally . . . Here are the lyrics of Bessie Smith's song I've Got What It Takes (But It Breaks My Heart To Give It Away). Am I alone in finding them a tad ambiguous?

Oh, stingy Ginny saved up all her pennies
Straight to the bank she would go
The sharks would have their hands around her
But none could get her dough

Ginny's fellow was a slick high yeller
Sent away to jail one day
He cried for bail then turned real pale
When I heard Ginny say

I've got what it takes
But it breaks my heart to give it away
It's in demand, they want it everyday
I've been saving it up for a long, long time
To give it away would be more than a crime

Your eyes may roll, your teeth may grit
But none of my money will you get
You can look at my bank book
But I'll never let you feel my purse

Lord, I'm one woman
Who believes in safety first, safety first
And if you want my money, here's my plan
I'm saving it up for a real good man.

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