Sunday, January 07, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia: 7.1.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

  • Yesterday was a national holiday. Nothing happened. So, here's a few references in ABC over the years to George Borrow, El Jorgito.
  • The UK columnist, Rod Liddle, admits this morning that he was about to write an exposé of Fart which would have astonished the world. But . . . The only problem is that I’ve been beaten to it by the excellent journalist Michael Wolff, who has done exactly the same thing and got exactly the same answers. The question for Michael and me is how the Trump team managed, cunningly, to conceal all this from us during his race for the presidency. As the campaign progressed we were all rather impressed by Trump’s sanity and rationality, were we not? His intellectual depth and seriousness. His highfalutin eloquence, sensible hairstyle, measured and mature response to criticism, and, above all, his commitment to women’s equality. How could we have been so gulled, have got it so dreadfully wrong? Wolff's book, claims Liddle, will not shift public opinion one inch.
  • In this he seems to be endorsed by The Guardian, which addresses several surging beliefs/myths here and observes: The more enduring delusion is that Trump is poised to moderate. Republicans predicted he would change once the primaries of 2016 were under way. Then they said he would change once he’d won the party nomination. Or when the presidential election campaign proper began. Or when he’d won the election. Or once he’d taken the oath of office. They were wrong every time. He won’t change. Trump is Trump. The sheer persistence of this delusion points to another one: the hope that Republicans will finally decide enough is enough and do the right thing by ousting this unfit president. Yeah, well. Pigs might fly.
  • So, is he really mad? Well, of course he is. Because:-
  1. No one sane would want to be president of the USA, and
  2. Fart tells us that he is both stable and really smart. A genius, in fact. Could there be greater self-delusion?
But, hang on. Didn't I say only yesterday that it was obvious to some of us more than a year ago that Fart didn't really want to become president and was in the game for commercial reasons??? Maybe I have to re-think this. Meanwhile, here's the BBC on the issue.

The UK
  • A sensible comment on the NHS: A grown-up conversation about healthcare needs a long run-up and a grown-up opposition. It may even need a royal commission involving all the former Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative health ministers who privately agree on almost everything, while their parties fill the media pretending otherwise. Such as the oft-repeated claim last week from Mrs May and her ministers that some organisation has recently judged the NHS to be the best national health service in the world. Which someone pointed out really meant the cheapest in terms of percentage of GDP. In line with this comment from a former chief inspector of hospitals I read this morning: The cheapest way to look after a patient is to diagnose them the day before they die.
The Spanish Language
  • I've been known to question the insistence of friends – both foreign and Spanish - that una mentira always means 'a lie'. I believe I've been vindicated by the alternative translations of this headline: Parece mentira que ese hombre y su mujer tengan una hija. This refers to the fact that the Galician couple accused of, respectively, committing a murder and providing a false alibi, have a child. And is rendered into English as something like 'It's hard to believe/unthinkable that this man and his wife have a daughter'. Comments welcome from native speakers.
Social Media
  • When I worked - outside the UK – for a British pharmaceutical company, it was an article of faith that we didn't operate double standards and wouldn't take advantage of laxer local laws. Google, it seems, takes a different approach. And is much richer as a result. Says The Sunday Times this morning: Google is profiting from a practice banned in America in which brokers secretly reap millions of pounds from vulnerable people seeking treatment for addictive diseases in the UK. An undercover investigation by The Sunday Times has found that the internet giant charges the middlemen as much as £200 each time someone accesses their website with a single click on the advertised link at the top of a Google search page. The brokers, known as referral agents, advertise themselves as free advice helplines but are able to afford the exorbitant Google rates because they can receive as much as £20,000 a month commission by referring only one caller to private rehabilitation clinics. Google — which made £59bn from advertising in 2016 — refuses to take ads from referral agents in America where the practice is against the law in several states. But it is not illegal in the UK, and Google has compounded the problem by creating a bidding war between referral agencies who want their ads to appear at the top of the opening page of an internet search. 
  • In 2015, Google became Alphabet and replaced its Don't Be Evil slogan with Do The Right Thing. For the company's bottom line, it would seem.
You Couldn't Make It Up Dept.
  • Quote of the late 1970s: Recalled because of events this last week: The only difference between the the Shah's ministers and the mullahs is the depth of their pockets: From a close Iranian friend, exiled to the UK.
Today's Cartoon

Lovely Spanish comment . . . 


Maria said...

Yes, mentira does mean lie. "Parece mentira" can be literally translated as "It seems a lie". Or, it seems "unreal," "not true." It is used in that sense in Spanish, that something is an untruth, a lie, cannot be true, is the opposite of true. It can be rewritten "Their doings belie that they can have a child." "Parece mentira" is used in the sense that "belie" is used in English, just that each sentence has to be arranged differently to mean the same thing.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Maria.
Es mentira que tu tengas un QI de 150 - You are a liar.
Me parece una mentira que . . . - i think you are a liar?
Or possibly ' I think you are mistaken in your belief that . . ' ?????

Colin Davies said...

It's the last possibility i have always wondered about. 'You are mistaken' rather than 'You are a liar.' Possibly effected by the insertion of '(me) parece'

Maria said...

The construction you mentioned, "me parece una mentira" literally means, " it seems to me a lie." The article changes the meaning slightly from "me parece mentira". In this last instance it has more incredulity, more "it can't be true." "You are mistaken" has an entirely different construction, "estás equivocado." The reflexive "me parece" refers to your own feelings or beliefs. "Me parece que estás equivocado," I think you are mistaken. "Me parece mentira que estés equivocado," it can't be true that you are mistaken.

jan frank said...

Or, as the English say, in their succinct way, "Really?"