November 2006

"Bald, short, fat and ugly male, 53, seeks...

November 30, 2006


...short-sighted woman with tremendous sexual appetite." It's not Valentine's Day just yet, but when it comes, you could buy someone this, which I read about in this article. Something similar here. No Spanish content in this post, but a good joke is good in any language. From her perspective, we have "Woman, 32, needful of the finer things in life, seeks stinking rich bloke, 80 to 100".

Nena Daconte

November 22, 2006

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Best New Artist Award in Spain's prestigious Premio Ondas: Nena Daconte, featuring Mai from Madrid (a former (unsuccessful) Operación Triunfo contestant, no less) and Kim from Barcelona; they're apparently named after this García Márquez character. Gentle, plain, simple, intelligent and often affecting music. Wonderfully original it ain't, but then you can't expect that these days. A couple of their things can be heard here, and look out for their album.


Diccionario esencial

November 20, 2006

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The DRAE has just published a dictionary which I'll be purchasing, and which is probably worth having if you're an advanced student of Spanish. The idea was to purge it of antiquated terms so that we're left with something bang up-to-date, and indeed the dictionary does include, for the first time, the word internet (the RAE is not renowned for its rapid response times to changing realities). Other new entries among the 4,000 included (there are 54,000 entries altogether) include digitalización and bulímico. Every new edition of a dictionary published by the Real Academia comes with its share of scandal, however, and this one is no exception: even though same-sex marriage is now legal in Spain, matrimonio is defined as "unión de un hombre y una mujer". This is because, to paraphrase the president of the RAE, most people still do not think of marriage as same-sex marriage. The dictionary also features an appendix which attacks the unnecessary adoption of foreign terms where Spanish ones will do quite nicely. Such is the case with sponsor (patrocinador) and password (contraseña). But when there is no simple replacement, then the Diccionario recommends the adaption of the word to Spanish orthography, so that bypass becomes baipás, scooter becomes escúter, and piercing (as in pierced ear, etc.) becomes pirsin. What ugly words those last three are.



November 18, 2006

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I can't say I've liked the previous work of Catalan film maker Cesc Gay too much (Hotel Room was OK, but I thought En la ciudad was arch). His new one, though, Ficció, is quiet and satisfying. (Go to the website and listen to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' lovely Are You The One That I've Been Waiting For?) It's a film, set in the lovely Pyrenees, about all the things we can no longer do because we've chosen a different path, about the sacrifices which every life decision brings; this hurts when it's something the old you would have done. It's also about the crucial question of whether betrayal is a matter of thoughts or deeds. It's a very romantic film. The stars, Nick Cave sings, will explode in the sky, but they don't, do they? Which is the kind of thing you realize when you're about to turn 40, as I once did.



November 16, 2006

That exciting body, Spain's National Statistics Institute, has just published a list of the most common names of Spain's residents, as well as lists showing how those names are distributed across Spain. Surprisingly, only 3.15% of women are called María, but the number shoots up to 28.5% if you include nombres compuestos such as María José. Meanwhile, 13.7% of men in Spain (most of whom are Spanish men) have José somewhere in their name. In Ceuta and Melilla, meanwhile, the most common name is Mohamed. And I'm pleased to report that in its article on the subject, El País saw fit to point out the surprising (to me) fact that 0.14% of the residents of Spain have Jonathan as part of their name. Pretty impressive, when you think that Cesár, that most Spanish of names, stands at only 0.19%.


Goya's Bad Luck

November 15, 2006


PdS Blog apologizes for that extended silence.

As anyone with even a passing interest in Spain will be aware, this painting, Goya's Niños del carretón (Children with a Cart) has been carted away by a thief on its way from Toledo, Ohio to the Guggenheim. (It has actually been stolen once before, in 1870). Meanwhile, blog readers might be interested in seeing this film by Milos Forman, who also made one of my (and many people's) favorite films, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. I personally wasn't overimpressed (particularly by Javier Bardem's English), but the visuals are marvelous, and Stellan Skarsgard makes a memorable Goya, even though the film makes no attempt whatever to inquire into the sources of his genius (it is not the biopic the title leads you to expect). For that, you have to read this. So far, Goya's Ghosts doesn't have international distribution, so you may have to wait a while to see it.

*Update*, 20th November 2006: they've found it in New Jersey. And someone is $50,000 richer for giving the FBI the lead they needed.