20 December 2022: Advent(?) 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’ 

Energy

The Net Zero goal is floundering, it says here – with particular regard to nuclear fusion and hydrogen. If true, this must be widening the gap between what politicians claim is going to happen and what is feasible. Leaving us wondering when they will get round to being honest, as opposed to making false promises at every COP meeting. And setting unachievable targets for private transport and domestic heating, so as to avoid forfeiting the Green vote.

Covid

“The truth about Covid McCarthyism’

Cosas de España/Galiza

Lenox Napier writes about Spanish tipping here.

Spanish bureaucracy is quite (in)famous. This month, it’s being blamed for two serious delays:-

  1. Shelling out post-Covid largesse from Brussels, and
  2. Delivering benefit payments to those entitled to them, forcing ‘the majority’ to renounce them. Not sure how.

You’d think things could be improved during these very difficult times, but no. Job preservation/expansion is everything to a bureaucrat.

There’s a little street in Pv city’s old quarter that connects 2 squares. I use it a lot and, over, 22 years I think I’ve seen every one of its little 15 shops close and (usually) reopen under another optimist. With the sole exception of the cerería, which has never closed. This is literally a chandlery or wax-chandler’s shop but it actually sells a huge variety of religious items. Including wax candles, of course . . .

Looking into it yesterday – for the first time! – I noted that its layout, with many little shelves – is similar to that of the ferretería (hardware store) in Rúa Real:-

Which is sort of amusing . . .

Reader María – after a bit of Sad Season lay-off – posts here on the midwinter blues.

Seen at the flea-market last Sunday . . .

Does anyone really use fish-knives these days?

France

Possibly harsh: President Macron faces widespread ridicule for his attempts to comfort Les Bleus with hugs, slaps on backs and a speech in the dressing room following the game.

One commentator compared him to the French and English kings of the Middle Ages who tried to cure ailments such as scrofula with “the royal touch”. Another said that, despite his fervent support for the national team, he continued to be viewed by voters as a cynical arriviste seeking to surf on a wave of national emotion. One political correspondent opined: “What is striking with Macron is that he persists in his attempts to capture the collective emotion of the French people without ever managing to do so. He put on a similar performance after the death of Johnny Hallyday.. Such efforts had zero impact on his popularity. For the French, Macron remains a merchant banker who entered into politics like a burglar breaking into a house”. Possibly not quite for all of them-

Russia

Desperate for good news to feed to the populace? . . . Argentina’s triumph at the World Cup has been hailed as a victory for the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine “The majority of the doses of the Sputnik V vaccine that were exported went to Argentina. Today the national team became the world champions. A coincidence? We don’t think so.” Yes, well . . . Not the worst example of Russian propaganda I’ve seen. In fact, Argentina was forced to turn to other vaccines when Russia was unable to provide enough doses to give everyone a 2nd jab.

The World Cup

At least one reader objected to my use of the word ‘negligée’ for the gossamer robe given to Messi during the awards ceremony, seeing this as disrespect towards Arabic culture. This wasn’t my intention, of course, but the accusation got me wondering about marks of respect in different cultures around the world. But, above all, I wondered how Messi had felt about it. Had he been told it would happen? Did he enjoy being honoured in this way? Given how quickly he got shut of the garment, my guess is the answer to both these questions is No. As for other marks of respect . . . My wife and I were once honoured in Iran by being asked to walk between the head and body of a sheep we were about to eat for lunch. This possibly wouldn’t have gone down well on the podium. En passant, another factor in this issue is that the (unwanted?) donning was being done by the egregious Mr Infantino, who possibly wanted to impress the (immensely rich, but evil) Saudis, ahead of awarding them – for whatever reasons – a future World Cup. I suspect this rather coloured my attitude towards that moment in the ceremony.

The Times answers your World Cup questions here.

Here’s a couple not addressed: Is it obscene to pay Mbappé £650,000 a week, or £547m over 3 years? If not, who’s ultimately financing this?

Quote of the Day

Elite consensus opinion is a powerful beast.

English

The ‘World Cup’ of English words. Let’s hear it forflibbertigibbet’. And, of course, for the (non-contender) ‘guttersnipe’.

Finally . . .

To amuse . . . An atheist joke, I guess:-

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.

2. Should you want to, the easiest way to to get my post routinely is to sign up for email subscription. As opposed to using a Bookmark or entering the URL in your browser.