Friday, 19 February 2016

The Infinite Monkey Cage Theorem

I don't know who first said 'Believe only half of what your eyes see and believe nothing of what your eyes read.' There are a few similar sounding quotes, peppered around the internet, that have rightly or wrongly been attributed to different people. In the world of the internet, something previously written, that is often then attributed to someone. Turns out to have been written sometime before. Often the earlier quotes are only found due to the huge amounts of books that are and have been digitised then placed on-line. But usually the quote is in a different context that makes the original quote less than memorable.



The world of the 'real' author has been invaded by many other 'amateur' authors. Which through varying degrees of skill, have reinvented the (unique quotation) wheel many times over. In something resembling a real world take, on the fabled 'infinite monkey cage.' 

If you are not familiar with the term infinite monkey cage. The infinite monkey cage theorem says that if you take an infinite number of 'monkeys' and an infinite number of 'typewriters'. Which you then place in an infinite sized monkey cage. In an infinite amount of 'time' all of the worlds greatest classics would be rewritten by the monkeys, purely by accidentally hitting the typewriter keys.



The infinite monkey cage theorem is an illustration of the mathematics of probability. However, the public's mind often oversimplifies or confuses important aspects of the different scales of the concepts involved, infinity, probability and time. All of these are in measures beyond average human experience and practical comprehension or comparison.  

However, what the infinite monkey cage theorem fails to acknowledge is during this same infinite time period, additional 'world classics' would also be written. Classics that were new to the world, in languages that are also new and unknown to us. All would be world classics that were previously unpublished in any known or unknown language. There would also be an infinite pile of publishers rejection slips.



Its the uncertainty created in our minds by mathematics, that point to these actual certainties. Take a pack of playing cards. With four suits and thirteen values. Which if shuffled into a purely random order. That order is almost certain to be in a completely random - but unique - order. It is almost certain that the pack of cards has never been in that random but unique order before and it is almost certain for that pack of cards to never be in that random but unique order ever again. Its actually the same outcome – even if you include all the other packs of playing cards in the world. No two packs in the world will ever be randomly shuffled into the same order. However, if you take an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of packs of playing cards..... well you already know the rest!



'Believe only half of what your eyes see and believe nothing of what your eyes read.' Is actually quite an astute observation of the way of the world today. Everything that is written is from a particular standpoint and so naturally contains some personal bias of the author. However, the quotation is most often quoted, when its applied to modern media – such as newspapers and television.



Most people of the opinion that newspapers have recently sold their soul to the devil. Well I would agree to that allegation for any number of British publications. They are no longer editorially free to publish whatever they want. They have been bought by very wealthy people and now only provided carefully screened propaganda to the paying masses. So why does the quotation say, only believe half of what you see. Television in its various forms is now also owned by the wealthy or alternatively it is state controlled by government. One such institution is the BBC which is state controlled by government who hold the budgets.



There is now the start of a trend away from print to digital. As print copies and circulation numbers continue to fall. There is a move to the new on-line, pre-paid subscription service. But the take up has been patchy at best. Some print newspapers who were also into the digital publishing have already dropped their subscriptions. Some print newspapers are making to move to digital only. The next few years are going to be challenging. Its a whole new world, because information now comes from many places and sources and its almost instantaneous. News is a 24/7 fact of life and print copies are almost becoming historical documents by the time they hit the street.



To a point I can understand this because our tastes as a news consumer change. Anyone can be a blogger and any blogger can be a news provider. The grip of the big news corporations is being eroded because every smartphone is connected to the internet. Every smartphone is capable of recording the news as it happens. Every smartphone owner is a reporter on the front line. The internet is becoming in its own way, a micro version of the infinite monkey cage.



Now because of the instantaneous reportage, social media allows for the first time, people pressure to challenge biased and deliberate misreporting of content. Challenging in a way that would have been unbelievable only a few years ago. The digital media tries to get around this obvious shortcoming by allowing reader comments on articles. Yet we all know, comments can be selectively sorted, excluded and surreptitiously attached. The biggest problem for the newspapers moving to digital, is that they are late to the party and in the digital world their content is already lost in the noise.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Mondegreen, Malaporopism, Propaganda and Spin.

I have decided that the Internet is infected with a bad case of Mondegreen. What in heavens name are mondegreens? I hear you say, so if you quieten down for a moment at the back, I'm just about to explain.

Mondegreens are a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of a near homophony. In a way that gives the sentence a whole new meaning. Mondegreens are a sort of aural Malapropism. Instead of saying or writing the wrong word, you hear or see the wrong word. The word mondegreen is generally used for misheard song lyrics, although technically it can apply to any form of song or speech. Am I Right (amiright.com) is a famous music humour site dealing in misheard song lyrics. Mondegreens are funny of course. They also give us insight into the underlying nature of linguistic processing and how our minds make such almost subliminal connections.

A mondegreen is when you write or say something and then someone else accidentally reads or hears it differently. A mondegreen is usually an accidental misread or misheard comment. Lets say that you get pulled over by the police and the copper says - 'I'm going to report you for driving without duke hair and a truncheon!' Confusion ensues, until you realise the truth of what you misheard.

In a strange sort of way with mondegreens - its almost always misread or misheard in exactly the way it was not contextually intended. But with today's music lyrics – there are few if any clues. Because the lyrics are often a jumble of seemingly meaningless rhyming words. We even have an old saying 'reading between the lines' which usually means we are going to put our own interpretation on it. By reading into the message something that's not actually there. Or putting two and two together and coming up with five.

Real mondegreens can be thought of as a form of 'dyslexia of the mouth' or just a simple 'smelling pisstake' (spoonerism) where both are inadvertent and accidental. However, some comediennes have turned a deliberate form of mondegreen, into an art form. Hilda Baker (A lady small in stature but with a no nonsense attitude and a thick northern regional accent) was one such master when she would talk about having an 'hystericalrectomy!' or some other such woman's complaint. With a smattering of throw-a-way (back handed) complements such as 'Cynthia says you are not fit to live in a pig sty – but I put her right and I told her you were!'

There are other comparisons that can be made to mondegreens that are neither inadvertent or accidental. Its a bit like the current crop of so called newspapers – With owner directed editorial direction – which today are lacking in either independence or morality. A typical example is When asked by a reporter 'should Tony Blair stand trial for war crimes?' Jeremy Corbyn answers 'If he has committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who's committed a war crime should be. When asked 'Is he going to be tried for it.' Jeremy Corbyn answers 'I don't know.' When asked 'Could he be tried for it?' Jeremy Corbyn answers 'Possibly.'' The Express headline said 'Tony Blair must face trial for war crimes, says Jeremy Corbyn.

The word for deliberate misreporting of the news is 'Black Propaganda'. The world is full of propaganda. The real exponents of propaganda (usually political) do it in such a way that the propaganda seems to be quite believable and therefore is apparently acceptable. Propaganda is used to create a false illusion. Propaganda is however generally accepted as being a bad thing. There are very few if any newspapers available in the United Kingdom, which have a free from control editorial content. Especially one that is not being dictated by the newspaper owner. White propaganda on the other hand are news items that are deliberately ignored. Stories that should be on and in the news are sometimes not reported (suppressed) by the media. Advertising revenue can also dictate editorial direction. Usually when the main thrust of the suppressed news item. Was aimed at one of the newspapers regular advertisers. So for some big businesses, paying advertising revenue can give you some protection from culpable exposure in the media.

However, there are other comparisons that can be made to various shades of propaganda that are also neither inadvertent or accidental. If propaganda fails, the last bastion of covering up or distorting the truth is Spin. In the Palace of Westminster the political party which is in power tend to employ the services of a team of 'spin doctors' to manipulate political information. There is also the periodic - hide the bad news day – which normally takes place late on a Friday afternoon or when some other cataclysmic event has captured the media's attention. Spin is what Alan Clark MP referred to in the super gun case. He said in court the government was being 'conservative with the actuality'. Clarke was even spinning the word 'lie' into a representation of the word lie as being an almost acceptable untruth. That phrase was engineered to say we are not 'telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth' as the courts should insist. But put in a spun form that was seemingly acceptable to the courts. By this ruse legalese perceptions are then distorted, political and legal wriggle room is thus created. Thus the ultimate culpability is lessened.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Spanish News for the English (8)

The 'Spanish News for the English' 2016 is a tongue in cheek service, in support of European Multiculturalism for English Pensionistas (pensioners) Pensionistas who are considering a different type of winter break. This time as an alternative to the more usual break of an ankle, leg or arm due to the inclement UK weather.



Our campsite was at DEFCON ONE and on high alert on Sunday afternoon. The first caterpillar of this seasons pine processionary moth was spotted. This moth is one of the most destructive species that effects both pines and cedars in southern Europe. After overwintering in what look like small, grey, tennis ball sized hollow nests. The nests are always built on the sunny side of the pine trees. The caterpillars come out on even the coldest evenings to feed on the pine needles. The moth gets its name from the habit of the caterpillar when they leave the nest for the last time. When they play follow my leader all the way down the trunk to ground level. Where they move out in what looks like a 'conga' line, look for a patch of soft earth to burrow into to pupate. 


You may be wondering why this moth is given such attention. The worst part of this part of the moths life cycle is that the caterpillar is armed with what are called 'urticating hairs' which can cause harmful reactions in people as well as dogs and cats. The caterpillar should never be handled as the abundant hairs on their bodies cause extreme irritation to the skin. The larvae can also eject hairs when threatened or stressed. The hairs then irritate any areas of exposed skin. Severe allergic reactions may follow in susceptible individuals.


When the paws and other body parts of a dog come into contact with the hairs, they will become severely irritated. In response, the dog will lick the affected area. In turn, the dog's tongue will become severely irritated. The tongue may become necrotic, and it may be necessary to amputate the tongue to prevent sepsis and spread of necrosis. Severe reactions to the hairs may cause kidney failure in the dog and death may occur. Dog owners should therefore absolutely prevent their dog from wandering in pine woods where pine moths may be present, in order to avoid potentially lethal contact with the caterpillars.


The first group of caterpillars on the ground were treated with a chemical spray to kill them. This was followed by a quick visual search round the other trees in the area. Where we soon found several other nests up in the pines. The next morning a team turned up and after waiting for the air to warm. When all the caterpillars would be back in the nest digesting last nights meal. The branches with the nests attached were removed and instantly incinerated.


Caveat: Due to language difficulties and the unavailability of translation services. There may be one or two small inaccuracies in the news provided.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Photographs (15)

Photo (15)

Throughout the last few years of boat ownership. I have been taking a number of photographs around the canals and rivers system. Obviously the subject would vary depending on where we were and what we were doing.  The photographic images are taken using a Canon 550d DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) which is my camera of choice. I use Coral Paintshop Pro X6 photo editing software for adding the logo and creating a smaller thumbnail image.


There is no particular theme, other than most of my photography is waterways inspired. It's whatever that caught my attention at the time. So I thought I might include a few of my photographs into the blog. I am looking for titles to give to the images, you might like to suggest one of your own.

Here are a couple of sunset photographs from our latest port of arrival. Benidorm!



Benidorm Looking South.



Benidorm 'Old Town'


I take photographs for my own personal pleasure. Whilst I reserve copyright ownership of the photographic image. You are free to use the image for your own purposes as long as the logo is not removed and you give credit to where the photograph came from. The image provided on the blog is a thumbnail of the original photographic image. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

No Bad News.

Today's three words are: Mondegreen, Propaganda and Spin.

I have decided that the Internet is infected with a bad case of mondegreen. What in heavens name are mondegreens? I hear you say.

Mondegreens are a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a whole new meaning. Mondegreens are a sort of aural malapropism. Instead of saying or writing the wrong word, you hear or see the wrong word. The word mondegreen is generally used for misheard song lyrics, although technically it can apply to any speech.

Am I Right (amiright.com) is a famous music humour site dealing in misheard song lyrics. Mondegreens are funny of course. They also give us insight into the underlying nature of linguistic processing and how our minds make such almost subliminal connections.

A mondegreen is when you write or say something and then someone else accidentally reads or hears it completely differently. A mondegreen is usually an accidental misread or misheard comment. Lets say that you get pulled over by the police and the copper says - 'I'm going to report you for driving without duke hair and a truncheon!'

In a strange sort of way with mondegreens - its almost always read or heard in exactly the way you intended it should not be. We even have an old saying 'reading between the lines' which usually means we are going to put our own interpretation on it. Reading into the message something that's not actually there. Or putting two and two together and coming up with five.

Real mondegreens can be thought of as a form of 'dyslexia of the mouth' or just a simple 'smelling pisstake' (spoonerism) where both are inadvertent and accidental. However, some comediennes have turned deliberate mondegreens into an art form. Hilda Baker was one such master when she would talk about having an 'hystericalrectomy!' or some other such woman's complaint. With a smattering of throw-a-way (back handed) complements such as 'Joe says you are not fit to live in a pig sty – but I put him right and I told him you were!'

There are other comparisons that can be made to mondegreens that are neither inadvertent or accidental. Its a bit like the current crop of so called newspapers – With owner directed editorial direction – lacking in either independence or morality.

A typical example is When asked 'should Tony Blair stand trial for war crimes?' Jeremy Corbyn answers 'If he has committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who's committed a war crime should be. When asked 'Is he going to be tried for it.' Jeremy Corbyn answers 'I don't know.' When asked 'Could he be tried for it?' Jeremy Corbyn answers 'Possibly.''

The Express headline said 'Tony Blair must face trial for war crimes, says Jeremy Corbyn. The word for deliberate misreporting of the news is propaganda. The world is full of propaganda. The real exponents of propaganda do it in such a way that it seems to be believable and therefore acceptable. Propaganda is used to create an illusion and generally is accepted abs being a bad thing. There are very few newspapers available in the United Kingdom with a free from control editorial content especially one that is not dictated by the newspaper owner.

However, there are other comparisons that can be made to propaganda and mondegreens that are also neither inadvertent or accidental. In the Palace of Westminster the political party which is in power tend to employ 'spin' doctors to manipulate political information. There is also the periodic - hide the bad news day – which normally takes place late on a Friday afternoon or when some other cataclysmic event has captured the media's attention.

Spin is what Alan Clark MP referred to in court as being 'conservative with the actuality' in other words. In this case, even spinning the word 'lie' into a poor representation of an untruth. That phrase was engineered to say we are not 'telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!' In a form that was acceptable to the courts. But, our perceptions are distorted and political and legal wriggle room is created.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Boat Windows.

Has anyone tried using the plastic windows as used in caravans and mobile homes on a boat?

The units are available in many different shapes and sizes. Available in single or double glazed versions. Either clear, frosted or tinted. Some are fixed shut others can be opened from the inside. They also usually come with an inbuilt fly screen and a roller blind. Making for a neat slim unit.

After seeing one that had withstood a stone about the size of an egg being thrown at it. I was wondering if they were a good option for a boat. There was a scratch mark on the outside, but the 'give' in the window seemed to have absorbed a good deal of the impact. You can even buy self fit, tear off strips, a bit like a tear off visor on a helmet to keep them in pristine condition. I'm told that when a caravan or motor home is placed in storage cling film works just as well.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Spanish News for the English (8)

The 'Spanish News for the English' 2016 is a sometimes tongue in cheek service, in support of European Multiculturalism for English Pensionistas (pensioners) Pensionistas who are considering a different type of winter break. This time as an alternative to the more usual break of an ankle, leg or arm due to the inclement UK weather.



Today its a tale of woe and a reminder to keep your wits about you.

We met up with another couple of Brits who like us are travelling south through France and Spain. The driver regaled me with a story that should be a heads up for others thinking of travelling by motor home through France and Spain. Like us he prefers travelling on the Autopista (Motorway) to munch the miles. For us having the motor home set on cruise control to match the speeds (58mph) of the commercial vehicles, makes for a easy and much more relaxing day of driving. But I digress.

Our motor home acquaintance had checked the route map and noted that there was a section of good coastal road to the south of Barcelona. Which was only passing through a few smaller towns along the way. A road which would allow him to come off the Autopista early (Save a few Euro's in tolls) and to drive through to their overnight destination and also shortening the journey by a few miles. He was stood at some traffic lights in one of the small towns when there was a knock on the side of the vehicle. There were a couple of men stood alongside their vehicle. One of the men said in broken English that the motor home had a flat tyre. (the UK number plates are a give away)

He got out of the vehicle, closely followed by his wife. He went to the near side, which is away from the UK vans side door. Sure enough he had a flat tyre,. The two men seemed to be of eastern European origin as they did not speak much if any Spanish. One of the men engaged them both in conversation. Explaining in broken English that there was a tyre repair centre behind the row of building where they were now parked. On returning to the vehicle they noticed that the cab door was open. His wife discovered that her bag was missing along with an amount of money and a number of important documents. It looked like an opportunist thief had been in the van and helped themselves.

They limped the van off the main road round the corner to the tyre centre. At the repair centre the tyre fitter informed them that the tyre had actually been stabbed through the side wall. Then the penny tumbled, they had been stood in traffic for only a few moments when the 'Flat Tyre' occurred. They then realised that they had been set up and robbed by being distracted by the 'helpful people'. They were feeling a little bit foolish that in a moment, they had been taken in.

We have heard similar stories in the past about other travellers being accosted in various ways This started me thinking about what we can do to make our journey a bit safer. Often when such stories are retold. Mobile homes are travelling or parked up on their own. There is an old saying about their being safety in numbers. Often we see other motor homes heading in the same general direction as ourselves. Now we tend to create a small convoy by tacking on behind. We sometimes meet up with others owners who have stopped for comfort breaks. We always tend to park close to their vehicle. This also gives the impression that the vehicles are in convoy.

Now we have changed our habits even further. We have hidden documents and money in separate places inside the vehicle. When we are driving through towns and coming up to any traffic lights which are at red. I slow down early and creep forward in the hope that the light will change before we arrive. We now only drive with all the vehicle doors locked. If I need to get out for any reason, I lock up the vehicle and take the keys with me every time. Even if its only to pay for fuel in a garage.

This is currently our third trip driving through France and Spain. A few days ago, we were tooted at by a vehicle on the Autopista. The first job is to note the registration number of the other vehicle. You could also take a picture on your mobile phone. We have a forward and rearward video camera which start recording our journey whenever the ignition comes on. We also have a small note book which is kept in the glove compartment. Where we note down things, like amounts of fuel purchased or reg numbers of any odd behaviour by other vehicles.

The passenger in the passing vehicle was indicating that something was wrong at the back. (We carry a couple of cycles on a bike rack at the rear) A quick check through the back and we could see that the cover had come loose at one side and was flapping about. We gave the thumbs up to the passenger, but only slowed our vehicle down. We kept moving, to give the vehicle chance to leave us behind. I checked the mirrors for any other following vehicles. When we were sure that there was no one following behind. We pulled over onto one of the emergency stopping points where there is an emergency phone available. Where I was able to secure the cover in a few moments. Only one of us went out – the other secured the vehicle from the inside.



Caveat: Due to language difficulties and the unavailability of translation services. There may be one or two small inaccuracies in the news provided.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Access to the Internet via your mobile phone

I have a mobile phone which I use in the UK. Its not tied to a particular communications provider. (unlocked) It has an 'all you can eat' data contract with my current provider. For the last couple of years my provider has wanted to get me off this contract. However, I have always refused a new contract which is usually offered with a sweetener in the form of a replacement 'supposedly free' phone. At the time I took out the contract, it was one of the more expensive options. But I got a good deal at the time for my needs. However today, by comparison its quite a cheap option for the unlimited data download.
There is much you can do to improve the number of 'bits you get for your buck'. But first a bit of background to why things have changed and the providers are trying to get everyone off the 'all you can eat' contracts.
The internet set off as something equivalent to the 'wild west' you just dipped a toe in and took your chance. Though it was essentially free. The network providers sold us a connection to the all new digital highway' that was the internet. We paid for the connection which for the last mile was usually over copper wires. Cable companies seemed to be the way to go. It meant digital data to the home. But as it was new infrastructure installation had a cost, it was also slow and expensive to install. Towns and cities where was where the cable laying went on a pace. By chance the cable ran past the front door of a small village where I lived at the time. There was even a subscriber box installed a few yards further up the road. However the cable company (shortly afterwards bought out) were not interested in a one off service provision.
So there was a two tier system. You had to pay for an installed phone line and the data was a separate service option using a modem/router – that you also paid for. As the mobile market was increasingly taken up and people wanted communications in their pocket.
As we became ever more reliant on the mobile phone and many people – myself included, I dropped off the land line modem/router to the home. I now use tethering, between my laptop and the phone. If your communications providers decided that tethering should be a paid for extra. If you know what you are doing – it is relatively easy to get round the restriction - by patching the browser to report (spoof) that it was a mobile phone version of the same browser.
The mobile phone and the commercialisation of the internet is big business today. Take the mobile phone. The contract price provides you with as many texts as you like, as many free phone calls as you like. The money now is made by the amount of internet data you down load. But the data is managed differently You now buy it in gigabyte chunks and you might reasonably expect that you get what you pay for.
Or do you?
The communications service providers make their money not by providing phone calls (Phone calls are so – yesterday) Remember the time when you had an alerter and the short text messages. (once again, its so old-school) Today the money is made by selling you the data in Gigabyte chunks.
Which brings us to a second issue. Who has control over what data you are downloading?
Today, Internet sites make their money by selling advertising. They want to be able to push, stream or pop up stuff on your desk top. This is mostly stuff that you don't want. But you are paying for data that you don't want.
Then there is 'click bait'... This is the real kicker. You see something that you are interested in reading on a web page. You start to read and there are adverts on the same page that you are also downloading. Then the article continues a paragraph at a time on page two, three, four and so on. With even more advertisements on each new page. And so it continues, page after page where the bit you wanted to read is a couple of megabytes – but at the same time you are downloading tens of megabytes of unwanted advertising.
I ask again, who has control over what data you are downloading?
You can take some control back – But only if you can limit in some way the unwanted advertising data. You can cut back the unwanted data that you are currently and often unknowingly paying for. But you have to do a bit of work by doing a bit of reconfiguring of the way you use things.
So one of the first issues is to look through your mobile phone at all the stuff you don't want, use or need. Usually this is stuff that you get prompted to update from time to time. So that you are updating the things you don't even use.
1-If you don't use an application - then you don't need it. Uninstall the application from your phone. It saves space on your phone's internal storage. It can also make your battery last longer. (some sit in the background ticking away using bandwidth and power) Uninstalling unused apps can even speed up your data downloading.
2- Updating applications costs you money, its a data download. Turn off any automatic updates. Configure your phone so that you choose what applications to update. (never, ever choose the update all option) Updated applications often work just as well as the previous version. So don't change what is working for you. Many free applications have – inbuilt sales – often downloading advertising data in the background. Applications updates usually bring - a much wider choice of the stuff you don't want or intend to buy. But you are still paying for the unwanted data download.
3- If you are one of those folk, who must update everything. Go to the pub, have a beer. and use their free wifi option. However, check that you have not ticked the - use both mobile and wifi option - to speed up downloads. Because you will still be paying for a significant amount of the data download that is not delivered to your phone via the wifi link.
4- If you are like me and tether your laptop to your mobile phone. TURN OFF AUTOMATIC WINDOWS UPDATES. I have just reconfigured a Windows 7 laptop for someone. That had downloaded in the background the windows 10 update! As a result the user had lost about 3gb out of a 5gb per month allowance. He did not want to update the laptop. He did not like Windows10 and certainly did not want to pay for the download. But he has now!
5- Got a favourite browser that you use on your tethered laptop (I use Firefox but your taste might vary) Then install a pop-up blocker. This will help to reduce the unwanted data downloads. It will get the annoying adverts off your screen. I prefer Firefox as its easy to use and very configurable for pop-up blockers.
6- Got a favourite application (say Facebook) there are also blockers available for the endless stream of mind numbing adverts. Which are usually based on the content of messages and any posting you make. Send a couple of Facebook messages to yourself about electric kettles and then see what advertisements you get offered.
7- Turn off notifications in the Facebook forums you don't use very often or better still delete the ones you don't use.
8- Got hundreds of friends? Then turn the ones you don't talk with very often into acquaintances. If I have infrequent conversations with people. I down grade them to acquaintance.
9- Or better still – do what I do. Every now and then I have a purge of the acquaintances. Its amazing how often people don't know that you are no longer a friend or acquaintance.
10- Do you just accept Facebook friend requests by default. I don't. I currently have about 60 requests from people waiting, people that I don't know or even vaguely recognise.
11- Never accept a random request without a message explaining why you should be friends.
12- In Facebook groups that you use very rarely, ones where you read through the posts only to find little to inspire you. Leave...

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Spanish News for the English (7)

The 'Spanish News for the English' 2016 is a tongue in cheek service, in support of European Multiculturalism for English Pensionistas (pensioners) Pensionistas who are considering a different type of winter break. This time as an alternative to the more usual break of an ankle, leg or arm due to the inclement UK weather.

Dateline La Palma:

Fiesta 'Los Indianos,' or Festival of the Indians, is a Carnival which sees thousands of the 'Palmeros' all dressed in white take to the streets. In what looks something similar to the 'festival of colours in India. The towns folk seem to be going crazy and chucking talcum powder at each other for hours on end. The fiesta’s name refers to the Canarian migrants who sought a better life in Latin America in the 19th century. Its a throwback to the way they were greeted warmly on their return to the island of La Palma. As for the talcum tossing, it's thought to be linked to the disinfectant powder sprinkled on the travellers to avoid the spread of disease.


Dateline Baza:

The filthy festival which really lives up to its name takes place in the town of Baza every year in September. When locals from the Andalusian village re-enact a medieval dispute with their neighbours from the town of Guadix. They do this by covering their bodies in oil and grease and pelting “intruders” with paint and eggs. The term 'intruders' seems to apply equally to anyone from Guadix, Baza or anywhere else, who just happen to be around at the time.


Dateline Bilbao:
Bilbao is a large city, however it lives up to the wonderful wacky and weird reputation of the Spanish and especially their festivals. The 'Bilboko Aste Nagusia,' or the ‘Big Week’ festival. A special time when Bilbao goes bonkers with the 'Big Week' festival which lasts for the standard maƱana week which is nine days long! This event includes everything from a strong man competition to high profile music concerts and fireworks displays. Our favourite part of the fiesta is however, the Ugly Festival which sees people vying to pull the most revolting face possible. This is another British tradition of face pulling usually framed through a toilet seat. 'Gurning' which seems to have made its way across the Bay of Biscay.

Caveat: Due to language difficulties and the unavailability of translation services. There may be one or two small inaccuracies in the news provided.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Spanish News for the English (6)

The 'Spanish News for the English' 2016 is a tongue in cheek service, in support of European Multiculturalism for English Pensionistas (pensioners) Pensionistas who are considering a different type of winter break. This time as an alternative to the more usual break of an ankle, leg or arm due to the inclement UK weather.



Dateline Spain:



The Spanish have come up with a new roadside Radar system. Built into what looks like a nondescript electrical control box. Not only can they detect the speed of the vehicle. They can also detect if a mobile phone is in use in the vehicle. The system which takes up to 50 photographs a second can also detect if the driver and passengers are wearing seat belts. The images are fed into a computer system which can then from the various images build a 3D image of the vehicle interior. In the first week long test of the new hightec system. 1349 motorists were fined for not wearing a seat belt. 1113 were fined for using a mobile phone. 57 motorcyclists were fined for not wearing a helmet. A further 57 of the new roadside units are to be rolled out over the next few weeks.



Dateline Mojacar:



One of the last remaining Great Train Robbers has passed away in Spain. Gordon Goody aged 87 who is reputed to have masterminded the robbery. Served 12 years and then moved out to Spain on his release. Where he lived a very quiet life running a beach bar called the Kont Tiki.



Dateline Barcelona:



You may or may not have heard of Faith – a three legged pony. Faith was found with a deeply infected leg. The result of which Faith had to have an amputation done. was fitted with a prosthetic front leg in a revolutionary and pioneering bit of veterinary surgery. Unfortunately Faith who had been living in a horse sanctuary had a second infection and had to be put to sleep. Though Faith has now passed away, it was after enjoying a further 5 years of pain free life. But that is not the end of the prosthetic leg – which is currently being adapted to fit a Shetland pony living in France called Iris.



Caveat: Due to language difficulties and the unavailability of translation services. There may be one or two small inaccuracies in the news provided.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Spanish News for the English (5)

The 'Spanish News for the English' 2016 is a tongue in cheek service, in support of European Multiculturalism for English Pensionistas (pensioners) Pensionistas who are considering a different type of winter break. This time as an alternative to the more usual break of an ankle, leg or arm due to the inclement UK weather. Contributing further to the previous two postings on weird and sometimes wonderful Spanish festivals.



Spain is full of festivals celebrating the ‘reconquest’ of Spain. Celebrating the return of Christian rule in the country. Which also brought with it the Spanish inquisition. Spain had undergone a very a long period of Moorish rule.



Dateline Alcoy:



Among the most spectacular of these fiestas is the Festival of the Moors and Christians. Which is held every year in the Alicante town of Alcoy. The fiesta comes around each year in late April. In this colourful event the locals, who seem to have more than the usual enjoyment of the Spanish passion for dressing up. Begin re-enacting the battle of Alcoy. The battle took place in 1276 which saw the town ‘rescued’ from the Moors. This is similar to the Iraqis we rescued who were already living in Iraq.



Dateline Sabucedo:



Today's first remarkable fiesta is called 'The Shearing of the Beasts' which takes place in Sabucedo (Galicia) every July. Not so much the Barber of Seville, this fiesta is a bit more Sweeny Todd. The fiesta is reputed to be more than 400 years old. The festival sees hundreds of wild horses rounded up and driven down from the local mountains. The animals are then herded into a small arena. Where the people of Sabucedo seem to lose the plot and what has been described as bedlam ensues. For not only are the horses wrestled into a position where they get a short back and sides applied to their manes. In something of a throwback to the wild west. The horses also get 'hot' branded rather than the more humane 'freeze branding' technique.



Dateline Las Nieves:



As usual, I have saved the best until last. If you are into Goth or Alice Cooper you will feel very much at home at the Festival of Saint Marta de Ribarteme. (patron saint of the resurrection ) This fiesta held each year in July, has something of the morbid about it. Anyone who has experienced an out of body or near death experience can take part. First you will however, need to bring your own coffin with you. You then get to enjoy being carried around the town of Las Nieves. While this is happening, the population consume lots of red wine and set off fire crackers.

Caveat: Due to language difficulties and the unavailability of translation services. There may be one or two small inaccuracies in the news provided.