Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Those Funny Spanish 6; Spanish democracy? Bombing origins; & New wines.

Those Funny Spanish 6
  • They love their national health service, which is not quite as good as they think it is. But better than the UK's NHS in some respects.
  • They are, in general, averse to planning.
  • They watch all foreign films not in their original language (like the Portuguese) but as dubbed by a Franco-created industry which appears to employ only 2 women to do every female voice from those of fractious kids through to those of expiring nonagenarians.
  • They don't go in for Xmas cards and the like.
  • They spend a small fortune on First Holy Communions, sometimes treating them like weddings and dressing up the girls as brides (of God?) and the boys as admirals.
  • They display more décolletage than in other societies. Especially the women.
  • Although generally informal, their weddings and other events can conform to strict protocols.
  • Sadly, the statistics suggest they mistreat animals more than other European nations. And this doesn't mean throwing donkeys off churches (a myth) or killing bulls. But it does include the hanging of greyhounds when they are past their run-by date.
  • They use the word despiste to cover a wide range of things from absent-mindedness, to a minor slip, through a small mistake to something as serious as accidentally launching a nuclear rocket. Or so it seems to me but I may have exaggerated here.
  • For reasons beyond me, they give more space in their media to the UK than to any other country. Witness an article by Timothy Gorton Ash in yesterday's El País.
  • They hispanicise all foreign forenames, never according anyone their real name. So, the new princess isn't Charlotte Elizabeth bit Carlota Isabel. But at least she got Diana as her 3rd name, thanks to its identical spelling.
  • Despite a high level of general politeness, no one shows much courtesy from the driver's seat of a car.

Well, that's enough for a while. I'll maybe return with more in a week or three.

The Spanish President - and leader of the PP party - has said he wants to increase democracy here in Spain by introducing a second round into elections at regional and local levels. By pure coincidence, this would work against the new parties threatening the long hegemony of the PP and the PSOE parties. As for the new parties, Ciudadanos continues to prosper and make inroads but the 'far-left' Podemos has begun to plateau and has just suffered the departure of one of its founders. This has been over policy, not corruption, so the question arises of whether Podemos is beginning to eat its own children.

It's usually felt that the world's first bombing of civilians took place during the Spanish civi war. In fact, it occurred during the First World War, when eastern cities of the UK were bombed from German dirigibles. In either case, the dubious honour goes to our Teutonic cousins.

Finally . . . Welsh wine. Welsh wine . . . ? Indeed. And prize winning at that. Ancre Hill's 2008 sparkling wine was voted the best in the world in 2012 and you can get Parva Farm’s 2013 Bacchus white in Marks & Spencer. Salud, boyo!

8 comments:

Alfred B. Mittington said...


In fact the first city bombardment in history occurred in 1849 during the First Italian War of Independence, when an Austrian hot air balloon delivered a bomb to the city of Venice.

As for the 'myth' of throwing animals off a church tower, it does not involve a donkey, but jackasses throwing a goat off the spire at the charming little town of Manganeses de la Polvorosa. If you don't believe me, check it out here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfPVgSqrzy0

Colin Davies said...

You can be so tiresome, Alfie. 1. You may be right about the first single bomb but it wasn't the terror bombing I was talking about. 2. I know about the goat(s) but the British press - or the gutter press at least - makes regular reference to flying donkeys. Never goats.

By the way, what's a 'wolfing goat'? One with an appetite only of a wolf? Or one that wolfs down its food? As opposed to a capacity for slowy eating everying it can.

jorge said...

Hola Colin,

Estas despistado. Los españoles no tienen cohetes nucleares.

Saludos,

Jorge
SF Bay Area

Colin Davies said...

Gracias, Jorge. ROFL.

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Let me see… A balloon dropping a bomb in 1849 is not a terror bombing (a term you never mentioned, by the by); but a Zeppelin dropping two bombs in 1915 IS one… Your scholarly criteria are more mysterious than God's ways…!

You were talking of animal abuse, and then stated that the story about donkeys being thrown off a church spire was a myth. I know clarity in writing is an art which the Lord does not grand all of us. But do take it from an old hand: the average reader understand from that sentence that Spaniards do not throw animals off church spires. If you knew about the goats, why not mention them and give your readers a crystal clear picture?

Al

Colin Davies said...

"The best-known German strategic bombing campaign during World War I was that against England. The main campaign started in January 1915 using airships. From then until the end of World War I the German Navy and Army Air Services mounted over 50 bombing raids on the United Kingdom. Airships made about 51 bombing raids on England during the war. These killed 557 and injured another 1,358 people. More than 5,000 bombs were dropped on towns across Britain. 84 airships took part, of which 30 were lost, either shot down or lost in accidents. Aeroplanes carried out 27 raids, dropping 111,935 kg of bombs for the loss of 62 aircraft, resulting in 835 deaths and 1972 injured ."


This is terror bombing, not one effing guy in one effing balloon dropping one effing bomb. The tru precurso to Guerníca.

'crystal clear picture' - that's the last effing thing I want to give my readers!

'old hand' - it's your senile brain I'm worried about, Alfie. Are you taking anything for it other than the hop, the grape and the potato?

Alfred B. Mittington said...

"Airship raids on Great Britain were approved by the Kaiser on 7 January 1915, although he excluded London as a target and further demanded that no attacks be made on historic buildings. The raids were intended to target only military sites on the east coast and around the Thames estuary, but bombing accuracy was poor owing to the height at which the airships flew and navigation was problematic."

Now, just as not every massacre qualifies as a genocide (much as all militants like to pretend otherwise), not every bombing of a civilian area is necessarily a terror bombing.

A terror bombing is a different thing from German intentions as defined above. It is a deliberate, calculated operation whose object is to demoralize the enemy by striking fear and panic into the heart of the civilian population. Such as Guernica (which barely had any strategic or military significance, but a great symbolic value), Rotterdam and Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

Other than that: why begin Terror Bombing with the introduction of air transport? Ever since the invention of canon, such holocausts were performed in times of war, by the good old howitzer and incendiary bombs.

MartiAl Mittington.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

"Airship raids on Great Britain were approved by the Kaiser on 7 January 1915, although he excluded London as a target and further demanded that no attacks be made on historic buildings. The raids were intended to target only military sites on the east coast and around the Thames estuary, but bombing accuracy was poor owing to the height at which the airships flew and navigation was problematic."

Now, just as not every massacre qualifies as a genocide (much as all militants like to pretend otherwise), not every bombing of a civilian area is necessarily a terror bombing.

A terror bombing is a different thing from German intentions as defined above. It is a deliberate, calculated operation whose object is to demoralize the enemy by striking fear and panic into the heart of the civilian population. Such as Guernica (which barely had any strategic or military significance, but a great symbolic value), Rotterdam and Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

Other than that: why begin Terror Bombing with the introduction of air transport? Ever since the invention of canon, such holocausts were performed in times of war, by the good old howitzer and incendiary bombs.

MartiAl Mittington.

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