Saturday, May 24, 2008

From today's El Pais in an article titled "Cuba and a hope named Obama": 'A Cuban academic declared that, differently from other occasions, the American electoral process is being taken very seriously this time in official circles. "In previous elections it didn't matter who won. Now it is different. McCain represents immobility. It would be the same policies as always there, and the same response as always here. But an Obama victory would move the whole political scene,' said this analyst, a member of the Communist party."

Another near-disaster here in Barcelona: Yesterday they were loading a cargo of dimethylamine off a ship in the harbor, and the crane dropped it, so the nasty poisonous inflammable stuff got all over the place and they had to shut down the seafront part of the motorway loop around the city for nine hours. The traffic jam was amazing.

I think one of the problems with Barcelona's infrastructure is that we're living on the edge. The system works OK in normal conditions, but let one thing go wrong--a rainstorm that shorts out the traffic lights, a sinkhole that closes down a commuter rail line, a power cable that comes down atop an electricity substation, a bunch of squatters blocking off the Via Laietana with their latest attempted riot--and the whole thing collapses, making everybody's life impossible and costing innumerable hours of work time, thereby decreasing our productivity and hurting our economy.

So CiU wants €5 billion more in tax money for the Generalitat from the central government. That would be OK if they were going to spend it usefully, but you know what they want it for: to pass out to their own clients in their own political machine. More money for TV3! And the Department of Linguistic Normalization! And their pet newspapers (mostly in provincial towns like Lleida, Girona, Manresa, etc.)! And their own "consultants"! And all the 175,000 civil servants employed by the Generalitat!

The cops have been running an anti-drug operation in the Zona Franca, one of Barcelona's most degraded slums. They've arrested and jailed 48 persons for drug trafficking, and have pressed charges against 373 more for drug dealing and 33 for illegal possession of a weapon. The story only mentions the nationality / ethnicity of two of those jailed, both Spaniards.

So everybody's excited about the Eurovision festival tonight. God help us all. Check out the video of Spain's candidate. El Pais says this whole thing is paid for with taxpayers' money through the Cervantes Institute (whose job is to promote Spanish culture around the world) and TVE, the state-owned (and why we need one I don't know) television network.

Supposedly Barça has bought the French-Malian midfielder Keita from Sevilla for €14 million, and has repurchased the Catalan defender (and product of Barça's youth team) Pique from Manchester United for €5 million.


Anonymous said...

Check out the 1979 biopic of Joseph Pujol "le Petomane"

John said...

Le Petomane was just about the coolest guy ever to live.