Friday, January 02, 2015

Thieving bankers; Spanish stats; Fun with language; Modern masterpieces? Xmas gifts: & The Guide for Yanks.

The first big corruption headline of the year relates to 5 directors of Caja Madrid (as was) who stand accused of plundering the bank's coffers in order to pay themselves almost €15m they weren't entitled to between 2007 and 2010. As yet, the case doesn't have its own name but it can't be long coming.

I had an unusual experience yesterday - overhearing Spanish folk complaining about slow service in the city's central (i. e. only) post office. Mind you, one of them had been waiting an hour, with only 3 of the 6 desks open. I got off lightly - only half an hour. Plus I had a crossword to do. And a book. Two of life's little essentials here.

Spanish stats: More women over the age of 30 had abortions in the last two years than younger women – 1.328% from age 30 to 34 and 0.892% from 35 to 39, compared to 1.223% of women aged 19 or under Most abortions are carried out in Madrid – 1.462% of the total population of women in the region – followed by Catalunya, at 1.418% and Asturias at 1.362%. I can't imagine why any decimal points were necessary, but three! Specious accuracy?

HT to fuckedtranslation for this wonderful example of the mangling of English. Each time it's played Elvis spins. Is Principe reading it? Or did he actually memorise this garbage?

Talking of language . . . In my final dream before waking this morning, I seem to have invented the Spanish word beanudo. I have no idea what it's meant to mean. Someone was asking someone else whether some departed people fitted this description.

Still on language . . . Glasgow's School of Art now has a modern extension, built opposite the early 20th century masterpiece of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The architect describes his work as a 'complementary contrast'. Which seems to be jargon for 'offensively unlike'. The building bears an uncanny resemblance to Pontevedra's dreadful new exhibiton and museum building. 

But, anyway, here's one informed commentator's review 

I've mentioned the walk my daughter and I had on a local beach the other day. As we set off, we passed a Japanese couple sporting one of those silly selfie sticks. My first sighting. Since then, of course, we've learnt there's now something even dafter - a selfie drone.

Penultimately . . . The owner of one of my 3 regular café-bars has given me and my daughter Xmas gifts of a book each. In Gallego. I can't imagine Spanish customers being happy about this, never mind us.

Finally . . . Another extract from the 1942 Guide for Yanks in Limeyland:-

Do not be offended if Britishers do not pay as full respects to national or regimental colors as Americans do. The British do not treat the flag as such an important symbol as we do. But they pay more frequent respect to their national anthem. In peace or war "God Save the King" (to the same tune as our "America") is played at the conclusion of all public gatherings such as theater performances. The British consider it bad form not to stand at attention, even if it means missing the last bus. If you are in a hurry, leave before the national anthem is played. That's considered alright.

On the whole, British people – whether English, Scottish or Welsh are open and honest. If you are on furlough and puzzled about directions, money or customs, most people will be anxious to help you as long as you speak first and without bluster. The best authority on all problems is the nearest "bobby" (policeman) inn his steel helmet. British police are proud of being able to answer almost any question under the sun. They're not in a hurry and they'll take plenty of time to talk to you.

The British will welcome you as friends and allies. But remember that crossing the ocean doesn't automatically make you a hero. There are housewives in aprons and youngsters in knee pants in Britain who have lived through more high explosives in air raids than many soldiers saw in first class barrages in the last war.

Britain at war

AT HOME in America you were in a country at war. Since your ship left port, however, you have been in a war zone. You will find that all Britain is a war zone and has been since September 1939. All this has meant great changes in the British way of life.

Every light in England is blacked out every night and all night. Every highway sign has come down and barrage balloons have gone up. Grazing land is now ploughed for wheat and flower beds turned into vegetable gardens. Britain's peacetime army of a couple of hundred thousand men has expanded to over two million men. Everything from the biggest factory to the smallest village workshop is turning out something for the war, so that Britain can supply arms for herself, for Libya, India, Russia, and every front. Hundreds of thousands of women have gone to work in factories or joined the many military auxiliary forces. Old-time social distinctions are being forgotten as the sons of factory workers rise to be officers in the forces and the daughters of noblemen get jobs in munitions factories.

But more important than this is the effect of the war itself. The British have been bombed, night after night and month after month. Thousands of them have lost their houses, their possessions, their families. Gasoline, clothes and railroad travel are hard to come by and incomes are cut by taxes to an extent that we Americans have not even approached. One of the things the English always had enough of in the past was soap. Now it is so scarce that girls working in the factories often cannot get the grease off their hands or out of their hair. And food is more strictly rationed than anything else.

The British Came Through. For many months the people of Britain have been doing without things which Americans take for granted. But you will find that shortages, discomforts, blackouts and bombings have not made the British depressed. They have a new cheerfulness and a new determination born out of hard times and tough luck. After going through what they have been through it's only human nature that they should be more determined than ever to win.

1 comment:

Perry said...

The authors of Yanks in Limeyland had a real affection for us in 1942 & they captured our national pysche. Most enjoyable reading. They did not tell untruths about us, nor to their US military. So unlike now.

The globalised CO2 concentration is supposed to be 399-400 parts per million & the levels of highest concentrations (red) are only 2.5 parts per million higher. The green tones are half way between 387 & 402.5 ppm, so if it’s a linear scale the CO2 concentration over the UK is 394.75 ppm, by my reckoning.

What’s the problem? The answer must be statistics, more statistics & damn lies. Bring out the tumbrils. "Allons enfants de la patrie".

Best regards,