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November 9, 2011

You Barcelona Birds

You Barcelona birds don’t know how good you have it.
You give your city two stars
because once a tourist left you a crust that had some mustard on it —
Don’t eat the yellow bread, is that so hard to remember? —
and last February a pigeon bullied you aside.
You ought to come to my city some February.
Is there even a word in Spanish for slush?
Yeah, Boston would grow you a pair,
and then would shrivel them up until they make a high-pitched ting.
How you like them tiny frozen apples?
So why don’t you go back to TripAdvisor and fix your ratings
even if you have to make up a new login.
Try “A_Little_Perspective23”
or “WuzWrongDaFirstTime.”
Stoopid Barcelona birds.

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April 14, 2010

In Barcelona

Light bloggage because my wife and I are in Barcelona for a few days. (Hint: Frequent flyer miles have a lot to do with it.)

I haven’t been here since 1971, when Generalissimo Franco cast his cold chill on the place. The city is as beautiful as ever, and now so lively. Loved our first half day. Looking forward to another two.

Some random observations:

Who was the first person who looked at one of Gaudi’s plans and said, “Yup, I want to spend a lot of money to build one of those”? The blueprints must have had laughinstock written all over them. Very cool, though. What you at first think is sort of silly at seemingly random turnings reveal angles of great beauty. These buildings make you remember how utterly boring most modern architecture is.

We visited a recently unearthed synagogue in the old quarter. Tiny. It’s not an active place of worship, but my wife discretely prayed there. The historical marker on the outside has been covered with a gradffito that – weirdly – only revealed itself in the photo I took: Free Palestine.

Why do street singers/guitarists around the world confine themselves to the 1960s-1970s songbook? Is “Knock Knock Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” really that good? On the other hand, we heard a street guitarist playing classical Spanish music so well that we bought her CD from her: Tita Avendaño.

We’ve seen almost no smokers. I’m beginning to think that Europe consists of two cultures at this point: Smoke-free surface-dwellers and smoking mole people. It’s the only explanation.

We’ve been eating well as veegetarians. We had a very good, simple tapas-like dinner last night in a local place, and right now we’re using the free Net at Ovni, an all you can eat buffet that is listed as vegetarian, although do very small pieces of ham count as vegetarian in Spain?

Anyway, having a great time. Wish you where here.


September 18, 2008

McCain causes flap in Spain

Talking Points Memo has a bunch of posts (latest) about the odd interview McCain gave to Radio Caracol Miami.

You can hear the unedited, original interview here. Or this embedded player (well, iframe) might work in some browsers, albeit not in mine: The first half is one economics. About halfway through, the interviewer asks about Venezuela and Bolivia. In response to a question about taking Latin America more seriously, McCain says: “I know the issues. I know the leaders.” Indeed, he gets them right.

About 3/4 of the way through, the interviewer asks him if he’d invite Zapatero to the White House. She says his full name — José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero — which might have thrown him, since he gives his generic answer about meeting with those who support democracy, and then starts talking about Mexico. It seems pretty clear to me that he didn’t catch the name and didn’t want to alienate the Florida audience by seeming to be thrown by the interviewer’s properly accented pronunciation. He then, unfortunately, gives a response about being willing to meet with friends of democracy, as if that were in doubt about Spain. The interviewer then explicitly says she’s talking about the president of Spain, and McCain repeats his answer. Since that’s a pretty dumb response when talking about an ally, I’m assuming that McCain felt he had dug himself into a hole and didn’t want to crawl out by admitting his error. The price, however, is a needless flap with an ally. [Tags: ]