Monday, January 14, 2008

Very little news from around here, which is most definitely a good thing.

The Spanish Parliament has been dissolved, and the new one will be elected March 9, as we know. It should be a tight election; one hypothesis going around is that the PP wins the most seats but not an absolute majority, and has to depend on CiU to form a government. Zap and the PSOE are still ahead by a couple of points in the polls.

Factors to consider: The PP's voters are more likely to come out, as a general rule, and many PSOE voters in the last election were usual abstainers and so are even less likely to turn out this time. Spain's fairly mild economic problems have struck Zap at exactly the wrong time, since the economy's not predicted to pick up again until April; inflation and tight credit aren't going to help Zap any. However, Rajoy is not popular, and everybody thinks PP henchmen Zaplana and Acebes are dicks. The PP would stomp them if Rato were the candidate, but he isn't.

Balls-up in Buenos Aires: Aerolineas Argentinas, which is owned by the Barcelona travel agency Marsans, has been hit with a strike by its ground crew in BA and hasn't been able to fly since Friday. So the fed-up trans-Atlantic passengers in the secure area, who included at least some Spaniards, rioted, destroying airport facilities and attacking airline staff. Jesus. I understand they're pissed off, but you're not supposed to express your pissed-offitude with violence. These people rioted and should be treated as rioters, but of course the company isn't going to press charges, since they're in enough trouble as it is.

Speaking of assholes: One of my favorite Catalan traditions is Els Tres Tombs, when you go to the church in Sant Andreu on St. Antonio Abad's day (he's the patron saint of domestic animals) to get your animals blessed. This goes back to the old days, of course, when your living standard might depend on the health of your mule. Today you bring your cat, dog, or parakeet; Rosa used to bring her dog every year. They have a parade with horses and carriages and pass out candy to the kids, too.

So a bunch of the bus drivers, who are on an on-again, off-again strike, showed up and disrupted the proceedings on the ground that Mayor Jordi Hereu was there, and so they had to yell at him and annoy everybody else. They should have charged those jerks with the horse carriages; that would have gotten them the hell out of the way, and then the old ladies could turn their poodles loose to chew on the extremities of the wounded.

La Vanguardia is so hard up for news that today's lead story is, "Young families leaving Barcelona." Well, no duh, it's too damn expensive and the apartments are too small. Besides, suburbanization is a worldwide phenomenon, not just one of those un-Continentally Anglo-Saxon trends. The sociologists chalk it up to the Barcelonese not getting married until their mid-30s and then having 1.32 children per woman.

Note: They seem to have Hispanified the Americanism "gentrification" as "elitización," which isn't quite right; in the US, when a city neighborhood is gentrified, it means that middle-class people move in, not that the elite do.

Then the first three pages of the living section are about how traditionally-made bread is better than frozen-dough bread. Well, yeah.

One more: I've never understood why Spanish left-wing artistes, who normally have nothing good to say about anything American, are so quick to jump when offered an American award, no matter how insignificant. And the media has a collective orgasm. Case in point: Javier Bardem, of the notorious far-left Bardem family, just won the Golden Globe for best supporting actor. So who cares? But it's the second story on TV3, of all places, and the Bardems aren't even Catalan.

No comments: