Sunday, June 15, 2003

Damn, it's hot here in Barcelona, well over ninety F. This is unusual. Barcelona summer weather is normally low or mid-eighties by day, high sixties at night. I went down to the roast chicken stand to get Remei and the cats their Sunday chicken, and I thought I was going to die in there, what with the chicken roaster being on full blast. You know what's gross? People bring glass jars to the chicken guy and he fills them up with the chicken juice that's dripped to the bottom of the roaster. Ick.

It's normally pretty tolerable without air-conditioning, which we, along with most people, don't have. It's becoming much more popular these days, though, since affordable A/C units that actually work and can cool a whole apartment are on the market at less than a grand.

My strategy: Ventilation first. In Barcelona it's important that your apartment be oriented toward the sea; you get the breeze off the Mediterranean and sun in the morning. Our place, of course, fulfills that criterion--we're picky about this when finding a place to live.

Then, when at home, relax and take it easy while wearing as little 100% cotton clothing as possible. Are you overheated now? Is your T-shirt one of those 50-50 cotton/polyester things? There might be a connection. Take it off, just to be on the safe side.

Also, get a tall glass. Fill with ice cubes. Add 1/3 cheap rosé wine, 1/3 orange juice, and 1/3 Fanta lemon or 7-up. Take in moderation as needed.

It's fruit season here--I swear I've been eating a pound a day of apricots and cherries, which are at the peak of their season. Strawberries are now in decline but still available. They have these little yellow plums here which aren't much bigger than cherries--those are good.

Now it comes out. Remember the big nude-o photo shoot some joker set up on Montjuic a few days ago? Turns out our city government paid 100,000 euros to this joker Spencer Tunick to get everybody naked and pose them so he could photograph it. All in the Holy Name of Art, of course.

The circus in the Madrid region continues. The PP is calling for new elections. The Socialists are yelling that it's not fair and are accusing everyone of being corrupt. Everyone is pointing out to the Socialists that you can't charge corruption with no evidence, which as of now they don't have any of. The PSOE doesn't want to go to the polls again because they'd get creamed after this most recent enormous political gaffe. They have lost and they have lost badly. Even if they eventually wind up getting to keep the Madrid regional presidency, they are the laughingstocks of the country.

Every time Esperanza Aguirre, the PP candidate, comes on TV, she can barely restrain herself from cracking up. The irony is intense, since the Socialists have always demagogically smeared Aguirre as being stupid--supposedly when Saramago (Jose) won the Nobel Lit prize, she asked "Who is this woman Sara Mago?", which I don't believe because it's far too obviously an urban legend--and Esperanza the Supposedly Stupid is smiling like the cat that swallowed the canary while Zap is really quickly trying to make everyone forget that it was the "traitors' " votes that got him elected as boss of the Socialists.

The other thing is the Socialists did, in the early '90s, exactly the same thing as the PP is being accused of wanting to do now, in the so-called "caso Piñiero". The PP had won by a narrow margin in the Madrid region and two PP representatives turned coat and went over to the PSOE, giving them the presidency. Now the PSOE is accusing the PP of doing exactly what they did--benefitting from the votes of turncoats.

By the way, "to turn coat" in Spanish is "cambiar de chaqueta". I wonder which of the two languages the calque originates in, or whether we both got it from the French. Stands to reason the French would be the ones to invent that particular expression.

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