So La Vangua has an article marking the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. No problems here except for a very common Spanish media error: They don't suss that when an American has three names, 99% of the time the second name is what we call a middle name, and not the first surname as it would be in Spanish. So they habitually refer to Martin Luther King as Luther King rather than King, and to James Earl Ray as Earl Ray rather than Ray.
By the way, the Spanish National Health thinks my middle name, Stuart, is my first surname, and so every time I have any business with them I have to make sure they check the files under both names. Also, people from phone companies who call me up trying to sell me their cellular plan always ask for Señor Stuart; I know right off the bat if a caller is "roast leg of insurance salesman," or, like, somebody from the office or the bank.
The "Maradona of the Rambla," who's been doing stunts with a soccer ball and passing the hat among the tourists on the Rambla near Plaza Catalunya for as long as I can remember, is retiring because he's reached 65. He claims the world record for keeping a soccer ball in the air the longest, and he's a well-known local character. Another Barcelona icon saddles up and rides off into the sunset.
The Zap government is definitely not going to send any water from the Segre-Ebro to Barcelona. Now Zap claims he'd never heard about the idea before he read about it in the papers. The Catalan Socialist environment counselor, Francesc Baltasar, looks like a liar: before the election he publicly denied, not once but twice, that the Generalitat was considering an aqueduct to transfer water from the Segre to the Llobregat. Then he got into a moronic semantic argument over the meaning of "transfer water." Turns out now they were considering precisely that the whole time; on November 29 they held a meeting at the environmental ministry in Madrid to discuss what to do about the drought, and decided to hold back any public announcements until after the election. Most likely head to roll: Environment minister Cristina Narbona.
The words "transfer water" are politically loaded, since the PP's goddamn water plan to transfer Ebro water to Valencia, Murcia, and Almeria, was shot down by a Catalan-Aragonese Socialist intransigent opposition to sending any Ebro water anywhere else. Now the PP is in position to embarrass the Socialists with their plan to transfer Ebro water to Barcelona, since the Socialists had argued that any water transfer would create an ecological tragedy.
The forecasters are predicting a rainy spring, which would be a very good thing. There are some dark clouds coming out of the northwest today.
Coverage of the American elections over here centers on the Democratic race. Al Gore has managed to make himself into a figure beloved among the Catalan enviroleft and the rest of the Do-Gooders International, and Obama's proposal to make Al some kind of environmental czar has gone over big here. Chelsea and her difficulties with people asking her about her dad and Monica has also been big news. Obama and Reverend Wrong didn't get nearly as much coverage, and Hillary's Bosnia thing has pretty much blown over. Notice that Spanish coverage focuses on personalities rather than issues, but a lot of American coverage does too.
Updates: The ETA killers of Isaías Carrasco have not been caught yet, and I have heard virtually nothing about the case since the election. I also haven't heard anything recently about the Islamist terrorist cell rounded up in January--remember, the ones who were going to plant bombs in the subway. Zap never got his meeting with Bush at the Bucharest summit, the meeting that the PSOE had made such a big deal about; Spain's still in the freezer as far as the American administration is concerned. And the goddamn bus drivers aren't striking today or next Thursday, but they're going on an indefinite strike starting April 15.
The goddamn Jehovah's Witnesses, who in Barcelona are a bunch of Brits, came around today wanting to leave some literature. I was polite but told them firmly I wasn't interested. What they do is target people with English names; they rang at my doorbell and asked over the intercom if I spoke English. The Mormons, who are a bunch of Americans, don't come around to your house, but they target English-speakers on the city streets. I respect their right to their beliefs, but I also have the right to be left alone.