Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ponters Pensées: 28.8.16

Spanish Politics: This article might just give you an understanding about what's going on and why Spaniards might be going to the polls on Xmas Day. 

Bullfighting: I attend the occasional corrida and have been known to defend la fiesta nacional, while accepting that it's cruel. Unless you live in a cave, you'll have seen this video showing the maltreatment of calves in the village of Valmojado, southwest of Madrid. It's suggested this has been doctored but I find this claim hard to understand. Whether it has or it hasn't, it certainly is the sort of thing which gives bullfighting a bad name. The local council - clearly resident in El País de Las Maravillas - has complained that the video has tarnished the good name of Valmojado, its history and traditions. It added that We reiterate our absolute rejection of all types of animal mistreatment but stressed that the spectacle is a legitimate part of the country’s bullfighting culture. As if all this weren't mad enough, the council has said it's seeking legal advice regarding the insults levied at it on the internet. As you do. There's nothing more legalistic than an insulted Spaniard.

The Noisy Spanish: Several years ago - doubtless when I was complaining about just how noisy this country can be - a neighbour scornfully retorted: Where there's no noise there's no life. And then she went on to disparage life in both Britain and (nearby) Portugal, seeing these as dull beyond belief. As she was married to an Englishman, I guess she had experience of both countries on which to base this contemptuous dismissal. I was reminded of this today when reading this El País leader sent to me by my friend, David, who's - topically - just moved from raucous Madrid to sedate Winchester. The article asks which is noisier - a group of sober Spaniards or a group of drunk Brits, as if the UK was full of the latter. Might as well ask whether chalk is better than cheese. Anyway, he's in no doubt that, if there's no noise, you might as well be dead. Which I guess has an element of truth about it. Whatever, there's a slightly improved Google translation at the end of this post. It'll certainly give you the gist.

The World's Most Mysterious Book: A limited number of facsimiles of this is/are about to be published here in Spain, raking in many millions for the enterprising small publisher in Burgos. Impressive.

The Camino to Santiago: As I've said, the numbers doing this continue to grow rapidly. Here's a documentary on it and here's where you can buy it, if the short video inspires you to do so.

Pontevedra's Humidity: My visitors commented yesterday that the heat was much drier than in England, where heat is always uncomfortable. I said it probably wasn't and cited the example of an earlier visitor this summer who thought the humidity was around 25%, when the reality was 60%. Checking yesterday, we discovered that it had varied over the previous 24 hours from 27% to 98% and stood, at 1pm, at 92%. I then checked on Jakarta - where you can't move for sweating - and was astonished to see it was 'only' 94%. The consensus was that Pontevedra benefitted from sea breezes but this is only a guess.

Finally . . . My short-cut bridge: I see it's open again, though the No Entry sign is still standing in all its pointless(?) glory. More anon.


My standby . . . 


The El País Leader:-

The strange friends of silence

Who are noisier: Sober Spaniards or drunken Brits?

Are you one of them? Part of the minority that enjoys a good silence and a good read? If what you claim is your right to a quiet environment, you have know the wrong country. Try to take a train and check it out.

There is an urban legend about a man who sounded the phone and went to the platform to receive the call, but no one has been identified and, in fact, be much doubt that someone had committed such folly. Others say that the story is reversed, someone saw this man talking on the phone on the platform between two carriages, standing, subjected to uncomfortable rattle of the tracks, and between several passengers, pure shame that gave them their state, urged him to get into the car to continue his conversation comfortably with the argument that anyone could disturb his conduct.

But there are many more legends: it is said that on a trip was someone who after enduring an hour's conversation with his seatmate on his intimate partner, politely asked to please end the conversation and the other person replied with a friendly smile saying "by all means, have said it before, I did not mean to disturb". They have also heard stories of people that played on their mobile phones video with those jokes and raucous jokes arriving by whatsapp but headphones to avoid disturbing the neighbor set, but neither has managed to understand what forced these people to act so strangely .

Just imagine. It is said that Spain is so loud that the railway company in the country has had to enable silent carriages, only one cariage, of course, because there are so many people so strange, and it should explicitly say so in booking your ticket to avoid misunderstandings. Some unwary fall into these cars without realizing it or because there are places in the other and, to their surprise, when they make a phone call or receive, even if it is short and does not speak very high, their seatmates look at them severely and even they chide them.

Such a huge intolerance of noise is not acceptable in a country of people known for their sympathy. In fact, when one enters the silent wagon one is received by a music that does not stop until the train starts, proof that the company itself also abhors silence that causes a stopped train.

A traveler who passed through this country said at the end of his journey he had grave doubts about who were noisier: Spanish sober or drunk British. An acute observation that speaks of laxity with which the concept of silence is interpreted. In Spain, silence is not the absence of noise, that would be empty, ie, outer space, where the sound is not transmitted, but simply a brief or attenuated noise that differs from the usual noise. We flee silence, we live in it or with it. We feel uncomfortable. The silencephobe is right: What is life but noise? What is death but silence?


Alfred B. Mittington said...

"There is an urban legend about a man who sounded the phone and went to the platform to receive the call, but no one has been identified and, in fact, be much doubt that someone had committed such folly."

Can we have a translation, please…?

Or an explanation beneath this VERY new classificationality of grammar and lexiconicals, which you and Mr Kamm is promotoring???


Colin Davies said...

Ask Google. I wrote it was their translation, you old idiot.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Is 'Google' plural these days???


Colin Davies said...

Honestly, your basic understanding of English grammar is crap. You can say both 'Google have' and 'Google has'. the former means the people at Google and the latter means the company. Get back to your books and leave the rest of us alone . . .

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Only Her Majesty the Queen can be all at once Plural and Singular…

The rest of us have to chose.

My understanding of Grammar (Basic, English, or Meta-) is considerably better than yours, you Liverputian!


Colin Davies said...

So why all the capitals, you Teutonic throwback?