It seems that, for quite a while, President Putin was terrified Russia was going to win the Eurovision Song Contest. For someone had whispered in his ear that this would mean the world's largest gay gathering taking place in Moscow. What a shame we're not going to see this. And his response.
There was a particularly odd female saint of the 14th century who came under various names both in Britain and elsewhere. Her distinguishing feature was a large beard and she was known in England as Wilgerfortis and as Uncumber. Under the latter monicker she was, understandably, seen as the person to pray to if you had a husband you wanted to get shut of. Here in Spain, she went by the name of Liberada, presumably for similar reasons, and was regularly confused with another saint, called Liberata. What a funny old world it was 'back in the day'.
Someone who certainly isn't a saint in one of the sons of Spain's ex-king's daughters. This young chap goes by the nifty (but ironic) name of Felipe Juan Frolián de Todos los Santos de Marichalar y Borbón and has the reputation of being somewhat up himself. His latest escapade is to try to push into a theme park queue, to dismiss complaints with the boast that he was 4th in line to the throne and to tell an attendant to "Shut up, you fucking Chink." As if the royal family didn't have enough problems.
Which reminds me . . . At the weekend cup final involving Basque and Catalan teams, the huge crowd whistled both the national anthem and the new king. This, of course, is shocking bad manners but nothing more than that. Or not elsewhere at least. Here in Spain, it's taken by some as rather more than that and the government is looking at who to charge with criminal offences. Only a daft right-wing government would do that. But that, of course, is what we've had for 5 years here in Spain.
Talking of daft . . . One commentator has noted that: The Fifa fiasco is not just about football. It is also emblematic of a chronic problem with international bureaucracies of all kinds. The tendency of supranational quangos to become the personal fiefdoms of their presidents or directors-general, and to sink into lethargy or corruption, followed by brazen defiance when challenged, is not unique to Fifa or sport. It is an all too common pattern. Fifa is an extreme example mainly because of the enormous opportunity for bribery involved in granting the right to host a vastly lucrative tournament every four years. The writer goes on to cite the International Olympic Committee Unesco, the World Health Organisation and the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. The problem, he says, is that Companies are answerable to shareholders; even national agencies are answerable to parliaments; both fear the press and the police. International quangos are utterly unaccountable and effectively above the law. Such bodies can ignore the views of national parliaments, dismiss the attention of journalists, scoff at legal challenges, and write their own expense-account rules. Most of the people who serve on such bodies are too principled to let this go to their heads. But not all.
Hat tip to my fellow blogger, Trevor in Barcelona, who sent me this hilarious video of a cyclist coming to grief. The bonus is that I know exactly where it took place in Sefton park in Liverpool, just down from Penny Lane.
Finally . . . I can't recall whether I've mentioned my (growing) irrititation with this 'in' phrase:-