Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in SpainSpanish Politics
- Cataluña. Will tough talk work?
- The November elections: The very, very latest . . . . The PSOE will have a lot more seats. But still not enough.
- The Valley of the Fallen: There are now moves afoot to transform the monument into a centre for reconciliation dedicated to the memory of the 500,000 people who died during the 1936-1939 conflict. There’s resistance even to this idea from conservatives, who are determined to bury the past, arguing that it will re-open old wounds. But they’re being disingenuous. Just as a mental health professional will instruct a patient to undergo therapy to address deep-seated trauma, Spain must hold a wide-ranging, all-inclusive debate on the impact the war and the regime had on the country, just like South Africa did over apartheid. Whatever nationalists would like to believe, the truth is that francoism was destined to die along with the dictator. It was a hotchpotch of ideas designed solely by and for Franco, based on a mix of traditional Catholicism, the glorification of Spanish history, and a hatred of communism, jewry, anglo-saxons and masonry. None of this resonates with the aspirations of a modern, 21st century European nation – it’s time to bury this piece of deeply disturbing nostalgia. So much for all the Spanish courageously facing up to their past. Full article here.
- Meanwhile . . . .
- Today is The Day of the Dead, a Spanish invention which has spread around the world somewhat.
- Creepy Spanish Halloween costumes.
- There are kamikaze and kamikazes!
- The December election 1: Will it work? More than half of voters do not believe that a general election will resolve anything on Brexit. A new poll found that 58% of people do not think the stalemate will be broken by electing a new parliament, while only 25% thought it would help to resolve matters. Vamos a ver.
- The December election 2: Richard North: The next 6 weeks are set to be filled with unremitting tedium. This need not be the case, and should not be. But, with the calibre of our politicians and media, we can expect little else.
- In parliament yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn talked of 'our glorious NHS' and complained it was in crisis because of Tories not throwing enough money at it. Can he really be unaware that: 1. The NHS is regarded as a joke in other EU countries with much better systems? And 2. By its very nature, the NHS is condemned to always be in crisis? Seems not.
- Ffart - the very oppodite of presidential.
- My daughter got a call last night, purportedly from her bank, advising that her account had been frozen because of suspicious activity on it. The call was checked this morning and confirmed to be genuine. Meanwhile, I had read this worrying article about what the bastards can do these days to con even the most wary.
- Consensual hallucination, and what happens when it ends.
- Do you trust homeopaths and osteopaths? If so, you won't like the article below.
- Ffart's White House spokesperson: I worked with John Kelly and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of Donald Trump. Well, who wouldn't be?
- American (Irish?) and German and French and Spanish usage: If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of the office. Contrast the simpler British English: If he'd said that . . .
- My (just) 2 year old grandson doesn't use pronouns when he doesn't need them. Want drink or Want more drink, for example. But does say It's over there. It reminded me that many inflected languages, like Spanish, usually don't need to use pronouns, as the inflections give you the info you need. Making it ironic that possibly the most frequent mistake of Spanish speakers is to say He/she go/do/make, etc., etc. You'd think they'd easily remember the one exception re English verbs. But they don't.
- New British teenage slang: Legxit. The challenge of getting your limbs out of skinny jeans.
- Currys/Curries told me my new vacuum cleaner would be delivered on 30 October, by ParcelForce. Who sent me messages telling me where it was at various early hours of that day (yesterday) and assuring me it would arrived some time that day. So I stayed in. But it never arrived. Though it just has. So, what is the point of this (excess?) communication? No doubt I'll soon get the How-Did-We-Do email. Technology gone mad. Or at least wrong.
Homeopaths? They flog woo-woo. Don’t get me started on osteopaths: Deborah Ross
This week Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director, expressed “serious concerns” about homeopathy, claiming that the practice is “fundamentally flawed”. He said that the Society of Homeopaths should no longer be accredited by the Professional Standards Authority because it gives the false impression that treatments are scientifically established when in fact they can pose a “significant danger to human health”. And, let’s face it, a significant danger to your wallet too.
Here’s a good tip should you ever consult a homeopath: even though homeopaths treat illnesses with agents so diluted that the water has only a “memory” of the agent’s “curative powers”, it does not mean you can pay for any treatment with a thread from your pocket on the grounds that it would remember that it must have rubbed up against money at some point. I tried that once and was very quickly shown the door. I also tried to pay with my Nectar card, which I keep in my actual wallet, right up against actual cash, but that was roundly rejected too. Weird, I agree, but there you are.
I consider homeopathy to be a fraud, which isn’t the same as saying that all practitioners are fraudsters. They are mostly sincere and not like, for example, those roofers who say they can see you have tiles missing, madam, and we happen to be working in the area – gosh, how marvellously fortuitous — but, on the other hand, I suppose you could argue that Scientologists, Nazis and Flat-Earthers also hold their beliefs sincerely. So where does that leave us? Perhaps “deluded fantasists” is the better way of putting it, although why they become deluded in the first instance is anyone’s guess. Essentially, I have always thought they justify themselves by invoking Hamlet’s musings: “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Is that about right? Not properly sure. I can only say with confidence that the whole dilution principle has never worked that well for me. Indeed, when I dilute my chicken soup, as I sometimes do to make it last another day — I am a very tight person — it really, really suffers. And I get quite a lot of abuse for it, actually. Bad news sometimes, dilution.
But. We’ve all been there even so. Or, more accurately, since I don’t know about you, I’ve been there even so. Can I tell you about my bad back? No, I thought not. I guessed you wouldn’t be interested. My GP wasn’t interested. My GP basically rolled her eyes, stifled a yawn and said “ibuprofen” and “rest”. (“It’s not that GPs want to be unhelpful,” says a friend who is a GP, “but they don’t have a clue about backs.”) Anyway, to cut a (supremely) long story short, I ended up seeing an osteopath. An osteopath isn’t a homeopath, you could say, but, as with homeopaths, they do offer an alternative when conventional medicine rolls its eyes and yawns in your face and wants to send you on your way. This is a failing of conventional medicine; a failing that allows the alternative brigade to slip in, albeit with our collusion. Hey, I’m in pain here. But who will take me seriously? The osteopath, that’s who.
The osteopath listened. He did not think my back was at all boring, even though deep down I know it probably is. He took notes. He asked questions. He cared that it took me 40 minutes to get out of bed and couldn’t get clothes on or off over my head. He was sympathetic. He appeared concerned. I was validated. And it was just such a relief to be heard. By the time he laid his hands on me for “manipulation” I was smitten, in love, an enthusiast. “Evidence-based science can go hang,” I was thinking. “I’ll take this kind, which is lovely, super, the best kind.”
So that’s what I was thinking until, as I was driving home, my spine suddenly went into spasm. It was like having a baby, but with your back muscles. It was agony. I managed to pull over, just about. I then had to lie across the front seats, with my hazards on, waiting for the spasms to subside. They didn’t. I had to call someone to come to rescue me and ended up in A&E, knowing I had been a fool.
And now I’ll shut up because, homeopathically, the effectiveness of my arguments will become less and less the more I go on about them. Meanwhile, I did try to pay the osteopath with my Waterstones card. But no joy there either, I’m afraid.