Sunday, October 29, 2006

Aimless thoughts while listening to Ella Fitzgerald:

Not that much news from Spain. The last stink in the Catalan regional election, which is just around the corner on November 1, is that FC Barcelona club president Joan Laporta, known to be close to CiU, held a meeting and photo-op with CiU candidate Artur Mas. The Socialists started bitching, and Laporta met the next day with PSC candidate Jose Montilla. What still seems strange to me is the attempt to mix a sports team with politics, though I know this happens all the time in Spain.

Convergence looks like the clear winner, and there are rumors that they are actually hoping to score as many as 58 seats (out of a total of 135). The problem, though, is that if the vote comes out according to the surveys, the Tripartite parties will be able to form a majority and Montilla will be the next regional premier.

They held a demonstration in the Canary Islands today calling for a law allowing the islands' government to regulate the number of people living there. That is, they're pissed off about the number of African immigrants washing up on their shores, which the international media is still ignoring. I smell far-right racism all over this one.

Fidel appeared again, though only through government-controlled media; he didn't come out in public. He looked pretty bad; the old bastard is finally going to die one of these days soon. Looks like I was wrong about the Brazilian election; Lula is pretty sure to be reelected. And they've got a real genuine Communist revolution going on in Oaxaca, a place I have actually been to.

The French Intifada continues, and is getting worse; the rioters torched a bus in Marseille with the passengers inside, and one woman was burned over 65% of her body and is in very serious condition. They're trying to kill people now. This has become terrorism. They've crossed the line.

Barcelona crushed Recreativo on Saturday night with no problems, and Recreativo is not an awful team. Ronaldinho was considerably more active and aggressive than he has been lately, and Sylvinho and Belletti seem to be the halfbacks in best form right now. Gudjohnsen is not a center-forward. He would make a better midfielder. Some guy commenting over at La Liga Loca suggested that Barça change from its current 4-3-3 formation to a 4-4-2, since Barça has plenty of good midfielders but is short on forwards right now.

A lineup of Valdes; Belletti, Marquez, Puyol, Sylvinho; Xavi, Edmilson, Gudjohnsen, Deco; Saviola and Ronaldinho might do very well. Iniesta would be your twelfth man, to come out after halftime replacing whichever midfielder is having a mediocre game.

Real Madrid did not look strong against Gimnastic of Tarragona, though they won. Again, Robinho was Real's best player. I cannot believe Capello is not designing his team to get Robinho the ball as often as possible, since he and Van Nistelrooy are about the only players having good seasons for Madrid. Not true: Raul, surprisingly, has been playing quite well.

Surprise teams this year are Sevilla, currently in second place and having a very fine season including a victory over Barça in the European Supercup, and Getafe, which coach Bernd Schuster has turned into a solid midtable club that must be taken seriously. You have to figure that Sevilla is the top candidate for Spain's fourth Champions League slot--Barça, Madrid, and Valencia pretty much have the other three locked up. Getafe has an outside chance at a UEFA Cup slot, which would be excellent coming from a small suburban Madrid club.

The American elections are getting some news coverage over here; most of the stories seem to be using the angle that they will be a referendum on Bush.

I had a ridiculous experience last night; I went down to the Cafe Flanders on Plaza Rovira for a beer, and encountered a fellow American expat whom I will call Dick. This guy is fifty-fiveish, a slob with a round fat face, has no visible means of support, and just rubs me the wrong way with a sort of fake heartiness. I don't see much of him, and I'm just as happy about this. So Dick says, in his booming hearty fake voice, apparently trying to start a conversation, "So when are the next elections in the United States?" I say, "2008," wondering why he doesn't know this himself. "You mean we've got two more years of that shithead?" he replied.

I find it interesting that Dick would just naturally assume that I hate George Bush. Anyway, I said, "Well, I voted for him twice," in a rather friendly manner, and then quickly suggested that we agree to disagree on the subject. Then I bailed and went home.

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