Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mid week pensées

Teaching English to the Spanish: A man on a mission. Good luck to him. One of his problems will be the silly Spanish notion that they are less able than others to learn foreign languages. Possibly true of the pronunciation challenge - only 5 vowel sounds in Spanish – but otherwise quite daft. Just in case you can't be bothered to read the article, here are the main problems he thinks Spaniards have:
  • An obsession with grammar
  • Pronunciation (see above!)
  • Fear of speaking and engaging in the essential conversation. Especially in front of other Spaniards.
  • No clear goals

Some would add 'A tendency to give up when it becomes hard'.

Another Funny Spanish Female name: Covedonga. The site, I think, of a battle in Asturias, where the Reconquista against the Moors began. HT to Jennie for this.

The Don: This comment, from a Trump insider, says it all: What was once his desire to rank second place to send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman has nightmarishly morphed into a charade that is poised to do irreparable damage to the USA. Cry, my beloved country.

  • An immigration 'expert' on RT TV yesterday spoke immaculate RP English, with only the hint of a foreign accent. So, you'd think he'd get the pronunciation of 'bombing' right. But, no. Like a tyro, he pronounced the middle B. Has no Anglo ever been 'rude' enough to correct him?
  • Shrift: This is an old word for 'penance', as in 'short shrift'.
  • Spandrel: I saw this word recently. It means this.

RT TV: Crimea's democratic return to Russia. Says it all really.

  • Facebook: WTF are Related Articles? Why do I get them on my timeline? And why do I still get Memories that I've said a dozen times I don't want to see? Are they determined to force me off FB to Google+?
  • Amazon: You'll all be wondering whether the Spanish branch is back at their desks and whether I've had a follow-up to the 2 messages from the USA last week about the 'free' e-book I was invoiced for. Well, no. In a word. Third message sent to the US of A early today.
  • Gmail message box. I've serendipitously discovered that the way to enlarge this to to simply hit the D key when you want to write a message. Doesn't work after you've hit the Reply button. So you have to insert the sendee's address.
Finally . . . I've belatedly realised that things do wear out after a few decades. Like the cushions inside the cushion-covers. And the rolled-up, rubber slip-mat that my daughters had left in a corner of their bathroom and which had become so frangible, brittle, etc. that it fell to pieces as I picked it up to chuck it out. I guess I'll start to wear out soon.

Which reminds me . . . I've a couple of caminos arranged for this year and here's a card a lovely lady friend sent me this week:-

But, seriously . . . .


Here's an excellent article from the estimable Kevin Myers of The Times on how Europe isn't facing up to realities:-

Fundamentalists laugh as the politically correct West burns

Turkey is the soggy blotting paper that preserves Europe

On my way into the GPO in O’Connell Street last Monday to record a Prime Time programme to discuss the April insurrection in 1916, I passed a fully veiled Muslim woman traipsing modestly behind her strutting husband. Perhaps you have noticed this phenomenon: a sort of eff-you swagger of the slave owner with his hooded chattel, his demeanour loudly proclaiming: “I’m here with my rules in your society, whose rules and culture I disdain and am systematically violating. So what are you cringing kaffirs going to do about it?”

Not coincidentally, war-racked Syria and Egypt both banned the veil because they knew what it symbolises; not just a personal choice but a visible secession from the consensus of civil society. Everywhere without exception that the veil has appeared, other rejections of the rules of civil society have occurred.

At the same time as I was crossing O’Connell Street, in Brussels a group of men were putting the final touches to a bombing operation that the next morning would end more than 30 lives and maim three hundred. They lived in the mini Islamic society of Molenbeek — the innocent-sounding Millstream — which had already seceded from mainstream Belgian life, and where accordingly veils are commonplace. Salah Abdeslam, a veteran of the Paris slaughter in November, was able to move freely here, as was the bomb-maker Najim Laachraoui.

What are we doing obsessing about the details of the past, when the Christian traditions that once made us, and that are in their different ways embodied in either side of the 1916 debate, are being challenged as never before? The so-called barrier preventing Europe from being irreversibly altered is Turkey.

Yes, Turkey, whose borders with Syria are as stout and impermeable as the legendary south Armagh-Louth frontier, and which has been steadily undoing the heroic secular revolution imposed by Ataturk. When I was first in Turkey, more than 30 years ago, not a veil was to be seen. When I was last there, five years ago, veils were everywhere, and — according to westernised women I spoke to — attacks on unveiled women in public were commonplace. Turkey is the soggy piece of blotting paper between us and the transformation of Europe into a caliphate.

Unduly alarmist? Alarmist certainly, but unduly? Hardly, given that most magical dimension known as time. Baghdad, 100 years ago, was more Jewish and Christian than Muslim. Syria was the birthplace of early Christianity, hence the Road to Damascus. Aleppo, the scene of such appalling fighting recently, was a deeply Christian city before the 7th-century conquest by Islamic forces.

The Epistles tell you a lot. The Epistle to the Ephesians was for the people of Ephesus, now a Muslim city. Likewise with the Epistle to the Galatians, of the province of Galatia, whose capital was Ancyra, now Ankara, formerly a seat of Christian scholarship. Colossians lived in Colossae, Anatolia, which is now almost totally Muslim. In other words, once Muslim, always Muslim, or Dar al-islam, forever. Islam is not a tide that recedes voluntarily, especially in post-Ataturk Turkey, our protection against mass migration of alien and immiscible peoples.

Alien? Immiscible? Am I even allowed to use these words any more? In the deranged cosmos of state-funded quangissimos, where defence of native values is regarded as heretical and almost criminal, probably not: lead me out to the flogging post. The fate of Matthew Doyle in the London suburb of Croydon says a lot. Clearly an idiot, he confronted a woman in a veil about the Brussels bombings, which she, quite reasonably, said had nothing to do with her. It’s a measure of this cretin’s utter stupidity that he later boasted about his heroic feat on Twitter. Croydon police went to his home and arrested him on suspicion of “inciting racial hatred” and took him off to the clink.

Even the thickest plod, and that’s pretty thick, must surely know that Islam is not a race, and anyway, who knows what race lurks behind the veil? Isn’t that the point? But then, isn’t politically correct policing also the point? Isn’t that why the English police did nothing while thousands of underage girls were groomed and raped by Muslim men? Not just the bobbies — English feminists have been weirdly silent about the fate of these girls, perhaps because their assailants were of immigrant stock, which presumably makes them almost honorary women.

Beyond the official screen of state-endorsed liberal orthodoxy across Europe, ordinary people don’t like what is happening to their cities, and they don’t trust Turkey to become the self-policing dam that will protect our values. The quid pro quo that Ankara is seeking for this guardianship is that the EU fast-tracks Turkey’s application for membership, so allowing free movement of its people across Europe, from Bothnia to Bosnia, from Bucharest to Ballina.

Turkey’s increasingly feverish embrace of Islam hasn’t protected it: two recent suicide bombings in Ankara by Islamic State have killed about 140 people. Yet Turkey is to be the night watch
on our eastern ramparts. Very comforting. Nearly as comforting as our native cultural defences. The National Women’s Council has posted on its website a lengthy Irish Times article almost lauding the virtues of the burqa/niqab facial coverings, even though these not merely violate our cultural norms, but also reduce women to a protected and autonomous species. I scoured the website looking for a comparable article extolling the advantages of a career as a sex-worker, which after all is another option open to free women, but in vain. Why is an organisation whose founding principle is the achievement of equality between women and men effectively endorsing the wearing of the veil as a lifestyle choice? Or will it now campaign for the right of men to wear the niqab and the burqa also?

You already know how intrinsically absurd this is. Yet the dogmatic implementation of ideas that are intrinsically absurd has been a defining feature of European multicultural policies for the past 50 years. Behold the harvest: 7/7, Bataclan, Maelbeek, Madrid, Lee Rigby, et cetera. What is the EU cure? To hand the keys to our eastern borders to an increasingly Islamic state whose lands were once a heartland of Christianity, and which today cannot even safeguard a peace rally in its own capital. Namely, poacher turned poacher.


Sierra said...

English and the Spanish - brings to mind the welcome sign on the A6 autovía approaching Madrid:

"Buen viage
Nice journey

Colin Davies said...

LOL. But don´t recall seeing this.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

'Tis 'CovAdonga', my dear fellow, not 'CovEdonga'.

And it actually is today quite a nice pilgrimage place, with a waterfall and a chapel in the cave above it, dedicated, how not?, to the Virgin of Covadonga who inspired and enriched the battle fought nearby against the evil Moor… Worth a visit, actually.


Colin Davies said...

Barrel-scraping again, Mr M. What % of the world cares?

Colin Davies said...

And I C&P'd it anyway.

Eamon said...

"Shrift: This is an old word for 'penance', as in 'short shrift'." Don't forget the verb to shrive (confess). As shrive, shrove and shriven. Does Shrove Tuesday ring a bell?

Stories said...

I know a few ladies by the name of Covadonga; they go by Covi

Stories said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred B. Mittington said...

I don't know what C&P'd means. But it sure has nothing to do with correction a typo…

It still says Covedonga…


Colin Davies said...

As I said, WTF cares.

C&P, as everyone knows, means Copy and Paste. Except you apparently.

Perry said...


Evolutionary biology; that way madness lies. ***king spandrels.

Ta ta is defined as a British or informal way of saying goodbye. An example of ta ta is when you wave your baby's hand and have him say "ta ta" to daddy's job at the steelworks".

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