24 November 2022: Spanish numbers; European aggrandisement; Ukraine’s plight; The World Cup and God; Key ‘libration points’; & Other stuff

Awake, for morning in the bowl of night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight.

And, lo, has caught the sultan’s turret in a noose of light!

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable

                 – Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’  

Cosas de España/Galiza

The treatment of numbers in Spain is confusingly inconsistent. On the one hand, national and regional stats are usually given to 2 decimal points, but often 3. I’ve long suspected this is aimed at convincing the populace that they’re accurate. On the other hand, exam results aren’t given in percentages but out of 10. Or 14, in the case of the Selectividad these days. And blood pressure results are given as, say, 13/8 or 14/9 rather than in the Anglo style of, say, 134/84 and 135/85. Even though the machines used always give the latter.

Sooo Spanish . . . In the place I take my morning coffee, they have 2 TV’s which are constantly on – usually showing scantily-dressed young women cavorting and singing – but without sound. In contrast, there’s always a sound-track playing Boomer hits. Relatively quietly, thank  god. IGIMSTS.

For reasons set out at the very end of this post, I got a train to Vigo last evening. I wanted to get the last train back, at 9.30, but this was full – possibly because of evening-trippers wanting to get home after seeing Vigo’s famous Xmas lights. Anyway, there’s a new machine-based number-issuing system now, which struck me as rather unnecessary and resulted in (confused)folk milling around outside the ticket office. But then I realised that, as you have to give your destination, it could be useful in giving precedence to people getting trains in the next half hour.


Both Turkey and Hungary chose the wrong side in WW1 and, as a result, suffered loss of territory at the end of it. I’ve mentioned that the president of Turkey is bent on restoring Greater Turkey and is publicly displaying maps which don’t accord with current realities. And now it turns out that the president of Hungary – already non grata in Brussels – is doing the same. Where will it all end?

Russia v Ukraine

See here, if you want to know how things are there right now. In a word: Putin is engaged in total war against the Ukrainian people and, by proxy, an economic war against the western nations. Nothing at all can justify this. And Russia will inevitably pay a high price for it. Eventually.


The end of Macron’s grand European delusion?

The World Cup

It looks very much like the Japanese also had their god playing for them, against the mighty Germany. What a shock result He/She/Ze gave us. Looking at the composition of the English, French and Belgian teams, my conclusion is that Germany and Argentina are suffering because they have no ex-colonies to draw their young talent from.

Seeing a referee yesterday wearing an orange shirt reminded me that I’d read that, in the first ever international match – between England and Scotland – the referee wore a white shirt and tie.

The Way of the World

From “The Power of Geography: Ten Maps that Reveal the Future of Our World”, by Tim Marshall: There are 5 ‘libration’ points near the Earth – places where the gravitational effects of the Earth and Moon cancel each other out, allowing objects stationed there to remain in position without having to use fuel. They are key positions for placing satellites, which could lead to [military-oriented] competition between nations. China already has a ‘defensive’/potentially offensive satellite stationed in one of these, on the far/dark side of the moon. So, no wonder the USA fears China rising more than Russia declining.

Quote of the Day/Social Media

The young, reared on Kardashian Kulture, tend to imagine they identify with Meghan Markle. She’s rich, beautiful and speaks the language of love, glamour and hurt — the language of Instagram. She is a strong woman because she tells you how weak she is. She is resilient because she is fragile. But will their perspective change as they get older? It usually does.

Did You Know?

In addition to the 100+ genders some British kids are being taught about, there’s a brand-new one – eunuch. But I doubt that, if you’re a confused male, you really need to have your orchestra stalls removed. The unkindest cut of all, as Shakespeare didn’t call it.

Finally . . . 

Except for the one time it let through c.100 spam messages in a day, Gmail is very good at stopping such stuff getting into my In box. So, how on earth did this get through . . .?

Finally, Finally . . .

For those interested . . . The Mac saga. The Apple shop in Vigo tells me that I probably need to replace both the motherboard and the battery sold to me in Pontevedra, which they think – as a non-Apple product – has, to use the technical term, fucked up the motherboard. If so, to get my 3 year old Mac working again would cost me at least €1,000, not far short of a new one. I await confirmation of this, giving me time to ponder what to do. For I know from last time that – because of different Apple operating systems – I won’t be able to transfer data from my back-up hard disk to the new laptop using the Apple transfer software. Meanwhile, I plough/plow on with a combination of my old (malfunctioning)Mac, a free-standing screen(with new transformer) and a separate keyboard. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Which is very frustrating. And I’m not famous for having a long fuse . . .

The ‘good news’ is that I got to glance last night at Vigo’s famously OTT Xmas lights while numbing my pain with a glass of Mencia.

Oh, yes . . .The other good news is that an Apple shop in Pontevedra is ‘in process’. Though this could mean anything in Spain. Allegedly, it would be in place now but for Covid. It it had been, I’d only need to have invested €200 in a new battery. Cold comfort that the technician in the Apple shop confirmed the original battery should have lasted a lot longer. Just my bloody luck.

For new readers:-

1. If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.

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