Sunday, February 11, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 11.2.18

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.

  • The wages of sin for the Franco family is a fortune of €5-600m, it seems. This has come to light in the reporting of the imprisonment of the 'arrogant' eldest grandson of the dictator, for deliberately driving into a police car.
  • One of the items owned now by Franco's 6 grandchildren is a statue from the famous Pórtico de Gloria of Santiago de Compostela's cathedral. It's hard to understand how they can continue to insist this is their private property and not part of the state's patrimonio. But I guess it's possible the Catholic Church gave it to Franco. It was always very fond of him. And probably still is.
  • More here on the recent arrest of a major Galician drug baron and his international operation based here in little Pontevedra.
  • It's now clear that the new cheap AVE high-speed train (EVA) will be Ryanair-on-wheels. Less, space, no cafetería, and no staff to help you with whatever. But, of course, you will be able to pay to reserve a seat. Priority boarding next?? BTW - It won't actually go into Barcelona but wills stop near the airport.
  • I've given up trying to understand what's happening in Cataluña and what the attitude of the government is towards some form of symbolic president in the form ofSr P.
  • What is clear is that the PP party is on the run. Since the general election in 2016, its voter support has fallen from 33% to 22%, while that for 'centrist' Ciudadanos has surged from 13 to 28%. The 'far left' party, Podemos, has also suffered a significant loss of support. Maybe we'll finally see the end of the hapless Sr Rajoy quite soon. Probably because his only comment about the rampant corruption in his party is that it doesn't exist, so people should stop talking about past events . . .
  • By the way . . . Is Sr Rajoy the President or the Prime Minister of Spain? Well, sort of both. He seems to be both Prime Minister of Spain and the President of the Spanish government. No wonder there's confusion.
  • Will there be constitutional reform? Probably not.
The Spanish Language
  • Two new words:-
  1. Marullero: New to me and one of those Spanish words which seems to have many nuances, depending on the context I guess: Meaning: smooth; glib: wheedling; and cajoling. Maybe also greasy or slimy. Or even arrogant or pushy. It was applied to the grandson of Franco mentioned above. He doesn't come across as a nice chap, appearing to have in his genes a conviction that, like his granddad, he's above the law. BTW . . . I wouldn't be at all surprised if the feminine version of this word mean 'prostitute'. A not uncommon occurrence in Spanish.
  2. Portavoza: New to everyone. The feminine version of portavoz, spokesman. Feathers fluttering all over the dovecote about this neologism.
Nutters Corner
  • Religious Right commentator Bryan Fischer, on the things he says the Obamas put in the White House:  If you’ve got occultic or idolatrous objects in your house that has occult significance. It provides a legal ground for demonic spirits. They will attach themselves to these objects. And then, as long as that object is in the home, those demons, then, have the legal right to be in your home. Personally, I'd welcome the sight of a demon in court demanding that its rights be respected. And possibly suing for damages.
  • If you've read the above article on the drug bust, you'll know that the narco boss has 171 properties here in Pontevedra. As I've said a few times, the retail scene here is beyond my comprehension, the only logical conclusion being that many shops are money-laundering operations. I wondered about this again yesterday when I noted that my ex (Citi)bank office is now a large stationery store, in small street where there already is one of these. And where a second one closed a couple of years ago.
  • I did attend the Carnaval procession last night and was very impressed by several of the floats, by the amount of flesh on show and by the varying ages and sizes of the participants. In truth, I was surprised to see how many people were overweight, and I now find it easier to believe that Spain is suffering an obesity 'epidemic'.
  • The most amusing entry was one featuring city 'characters', such as the hyper-tanned ('ex-pimp') who walks back into the city from a local beach every summer's day, bare-chested and with a huge boom-box on one shoulder. And also the alcoholic/mad beggar who plagues the terrace where I take my daily tiffin, gruffly shouting at everyone in turn: Dáme un pitillo! 'Give me a cigarette!'.
  • One of the worst aspects of dictating letters to a secretary – 'back in the day' – was the possibility that your secretary would regard punctuation as primarily something with which to indicate a pause, rather than part of the syntax of your sentence. So, I was surprised to hear yesterday that this actually was the original purpose of commas, semi-colons, colons and the like. In ascending order of pause-worthiness. Anyway, should you want to know, I got round this problem by dictating the punctuation as well as the words. And then sacking any secretary who ignored me. Not really.
To end

  • Some of the municipal trucks standing ready, at 9pm, to tidy up the streets after the procession, so that this morning they will be pristine again. Impressive.


Perry said...

Ah, dictation!

I joined the NCB on 1st January 1962 as a Clerk Grade 2 Eventually, I was promoted through the ranks to Clerical Officer Grade 2, before I escaped on 31st May 1965. We had a typing pool, overseered by Miss Dragon (nickname), who retired at 60, just before I left. We were forbidden to have any unauthorised interaction with the girls. We used dictation machines. We were trained (required) to voice the punctuation we used, spell all unfamiliar words, eliminate all ums & errs & edit out all gaps in dictation. Otherwise, we would be summoned into her presence & red faced, be made to listen to our mumbled voices & decipher the words. Steep learning curve, to be avoided ASAP.

I spent 3 years in the London & Southern Region Sales Office, handling coal quality & wagon short weight correspondence between the coal factors who purchased the coal & the area offices in S. Wales, E. & W. Midlands & Kent, which liaised with the collieries. Nothing was done by telephone, if it could be done by internal memo or business letter. OTOH, it was great training in precision with the written word that has served me well over the years.

Are you aware of the well deserved celebrity of Jordan B. Peterson?

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Well, once again you got me confused. How do you mean 'voter support' for the PP is 22 % and for Ciudadanos 28? In last week's poll, the PP still came out the biggest party, followed by the PSOE and only then Cuidadanos. Perhaps you ought to check your sources? Or explain what 'support' you mean?

Oh, and incidentally: when you posted this yesterday, it was the 11th of Feb, not the 10th.


Colin Davies said...

Read the article which I believe I cited but can't be arsed to check.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I see I see...

A little hard to believe, if you ask me, but stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile - as I learn from the site El Electoral (which puts both PP and Cds at some 26 %) - the number of votes translates into wildly different numbers of parliamentary seats. As in PP 100, PSOE 95, Cds 85!