News from these here parts: The Portuguese cops are interrogating Madeleine McCann's mother, and she is apparently going to be charged in the girl's disappearance. If this is true, it's going to be explosive news in England, which has gone all O.J. over this case.
Pavarotti died. As usual, it's a shame he's dead, but I never liked him. I can't stand opera, and I don't believe anyone else really likes it, either. Sort of like abstract art, modern dance, and Swedish movies, it's one of those things people pretend they like in order to seem cultured. Comment: I think it's interesting that opera was most popular among the German-speaking bourgeois about 100 years ago, and look what those people wanted to do with the world. It seems like every bad idea from anti-Semitism to Marxism to Freudianism to Esperanto to modern nationalism comes from the German-speaking bourgeois in the second half of the 19th century. Nietzche, anyone?
Two sea disasters: A Spanish fishing boat sank off Cádiz with eight dead, and a cayuco full of African immigrants sank off Grand Canary with at least ten dead. Free trade with Africa now! Stop the desperation that makes these people risk their lives! Give them a chance to make something of their countries! Down with agricultural subsidies in the EU and US!
TV3 is making a big deal out of a BBC survey taken in 22 countries saying that 65% of those questioned think the US should withdraw its troops from Iraq. Fortunately, surveys don't count. Note to Western European hippies, pinkos, and peaceniks: No, the US government doesn't care what you think, no matter how many pots you bang. Interestingly enough, the three countries where those surveyed did not think the Americans should bail out are all Third World countries under pressure from Muslim neighbors and / or minorities: Kenya, India, and the Philippines.
Comment: There's a Western European media backlash going on right now against India; there have been several documentaries and news reports lately about how it's so awful that 200 million Indians have become middle-class while so many others are still poor. Typical. A Third World country picks itself up by its own bootstraps and earns its own place in the world, and the leftists can't stand it because India isn't doing it their way. Uh, people, everyone can't become middle-class instantly. It's going to take quite a few years, but it's going to happen eventually. And they're all going to speak English.
Some Romanian guy in Valencia set himself on fire in order to protest that he didn't have any money or something. He now has burns over 70% of his body. What a dope--actually, he's probably got severe mental problems, because choosing to set oneself on fire demonstrates that one has poor decision-making skills. Anyway, anybody can get free food and a place to stay in Spain, and it's not that hard to get a job.
The sick joke going around--the guy was wearing a Valencia football jersey when he torched himself--was that he was a frustrated fan fed up with the hijinks going on in the Valencia front office and dressing room. Another football-related comment going around Barcelona is that the Barça has signed so many black players that it looks like an NBA team. That's a little tasteless, as if there should be a quota or something. Barcelona now has seven black players on the first squad: Thuram, Abidal, Touré, Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Henry, and Dos Santos. This is wonderful, not because they're black players but because they're good players. Touré is going to be awesome.
Nationalist wackiness: The Catalan "national" soccer team was going to play the United States in Barcelona on October 14. The Spanish football federation refused to authorize the game on the grounds that regional teams traditionally play at Christmas, which is a pretty dumb reason. So the Generalitat is recommending that the Catalan team play the game anyway, which would be a violation of the (dumb) law. Everyone looks like an idiot, the Spainiacs for not letting the kids play their game, and the Cataloonies, for throwing a tantrum about it. And, get this, if they do play the game without authorization, the players are the ones that get in trouble; they could be fined or suspended by the Spanish federation.
And get this one, too: Barcelona defender Oleguer Presas has been indicted for assault and battery on a police officer. Seems that in 2003 there was some kind of squatter protest in Sabadell, and Oleguer, who is into all that stupid shit, got caught throwing rocks at the cops. I guess they were playing intifada or something. He could get three years in jail. If he's guilty, I hope they lock him up, just like they would do to you or me if we were throwing rocks at cops. That would be hilarious, a Barça player in the slammer.