CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Crazy or Genius?

Over 20 years ago, in 1983, a few days before the Harrods Bombing on December 17th, another bomb had gone off in nearby Kensington.

The New York Times Archives list it as December 14th, but I think it may actually have been on the 13th.

Whatever day it was, I remember the event well and can still picture myself standing in the doorway of our living room, catching the report.

As I watched, I remember having a "compelling thought" that Harrods would be the next target. Harrods in Knightsbridge is not that far from Kensington and is the next "up market" in terms of fashion / class. This could, therefore, be considered a merely logical (if perverse) train of thought.

However, at that same moment, I saw, in my mind's eye, a "flash" of very bright, white light. I know Harrod's building quite well and know that I saw the side of the Harrods building and that this flash emanated from the side of the building there, where there is a side street. Remember, I "saw" this on December 13th.

On December 17th, the bomb, which killed six and injured 75 or more, "Police believe the IRA planted the bomb in a side street near Harrods department store in Knightsbridge." It was at the exact spot I'd "seen" it days earlier.

One of my own friends had been going to go to Harrods on that day and had changed their plans last minute. When I heard about that, afterwards, I shuddered.

You cannot know how much this tormented me over the years.

The guilt of not having been able to save those lives nor prevent those injuries ate at me. Still now, I shake and feel sick at the thought. But who could I have gone to? The authorities would have thought I was completely insane, or that I was one of the terrorists.

As well they might, especially as my own grandmother was brought up in Cork, Southern Ireland, the daughter of a Protestant churchman and who told stories of when the Sien Fein came and took their guns from the farm in the early 1900's.

This has not been the only incidence in my life of such "compelling thoughts", which I can only describe as things that, logic says, I could not KNOW, but which were neither just fleeting ideas: they were very strong feelings that left me no room for doubt.

I'm not a gambler, I had never been into a betting shop and I know Jack about horse racing, but on the morning of the Epsom Derby in 1981, I walked into our local betting shop and put money, to win, on Shergar. I had woken up that morning with a "most compelling thought" that horse was going to win. I think it netted me a quid (pound sterling) and, it is the only time, sadly, it has been over this kind of event.

After the Harrods Bombing, it stopped happening over anything important, for many years. If that means that I suppressed an ability, through fear and guilt, that also seems to suggest that some such ability existed in the first place.

It happens over minor things, like I generally know who is on the phone when it rings, before I pick it up. Sometimes, that could just be logical expectation, but not always. This, I see as nothing more than a "party trick" level amusement, but it happens.

My intuition seems to work on a scary level of almost witch-like uncanny accuracy. My landlady has even asked me, "You're not a which, are you?" (Nah, if I was, I'd be using my abilities for my own gain, not rotting in her uninhabitable house.) My own mother displays this same witchy ability to know things she "can't know".

Is this what they call psychic ability? I do not know. I don't even know if I even believe that even exists. I certainly don't consider myself to be any kind of Doris Stokes. Give me something that can be proven, by scientific means.

On the other hand, I do know what I saw and felt.

That I can't explain how these things can happen, leaves me with a real conundrum.

Am I crazy or psychic?

Either, I have to call my own sanity into question and, believe me, I am not childishly resistant nor immune to doing so, in fact I do so, constantly.

Or there exists the very distinct possibility ...

Sunday, 28 May 2006

La venganza

For those who also speak Spanish, here is a possibly imaginary - though you can certainly imagine getting real satisfaction from carrying it out - way to get revenge on all those telephone solicitors. In this case, the subject was a telesales caller from Telefonica trying to offer a promotion for having an additional phone line installed.

The couple on the receiving end, as well as insisting on all manner of identifying details from the Telefonica employee (just as Telefonica does when you call them); name, phone number, employee number; passing them on to someone else (in this case the wife) who is "responsible for alterations or acquisitions of telephone contracts" - and who eventually "opened an incident" to deal with the decision, I think my favourite bit was "placing the phone in front of a speaker while playing Caribe Mix 2004 on continuous repeat."

All it lacks is a bit of pseudo-automation and some "Press 1 to sell me Plan A", "Press 2 to sell me Plan B" and so forth, down to Press # then 99 to speak to the dog and you'd have a perfect system to deal with all such eventualities.

La venganza

Saturday, 27 May 2006

Why Americans are terrified of learning a second language (satire)

It makes me laugh that they labelled this satire. Not because anyone is too stupid to realize that a lot of it is written with tongue in cheek - very cleverly, I might add and humor is the best way to drive the point home - but, I suppose it had to be, for those whose politically correct retentive orifices choose to find offence in the truth.

They'd complain, with less justification that the "arrogant, ethnocentric backwoods cheeky American goober" who "actually complains about dual-language signage."

The writer, Mike Adams, asks, "How white do you have to be to complain about bilingual signage anyway?" If I may venture an answer: "trash white".

Oops, sorry I got my grammar back to front - the Spanish way around!

The Great American Tourist differs from his British counterpart very little:

The cultural blinders worn by some Americans are astonishing. I once met an overweight American tourist in Europe who said to me, right in the middle of Madrid, "Madrid is nice, but I'm not sure if I like all these foreigners." The dolt. He is the foreigner!


Because the awful thing is that many British still think this way too. They're British! How can they be "foreign"? And they are no better at learning languages either.

It gets embarrassing at times to be constantly praised, by native Spanish speakers, over how good my Spanish is. But, such a rare animal is the English person who can speak the lingo to a reasonable degree, it seems to surprise the hell out of them.

Is it true that, "Londoners try to say as little as possible using the maximum number of words"? I don't know, you'd have to ask my mother (a true Cockney, born within the sound of Bow Bells and dragged up in London's famous East End), IF she ever pauses for breath long enough for me to get a word in edgeways!

Of course the real issues here are xenophobia, insularism and immigration. And it never ceases to amaze me how little Americans know of geography, or even, indeed, their own history. If you are one of those super-white flag-flying all-American patriots, then the chance that you are, in fact, descended from European or, heaven forbid, British stock and yourself an IMMIGRANT, is pretty much a dead cert.

Why Americans are terrified of learning a second language (satire)

Friday, 26 May 2006

Did the Tories Really Vote to Abolish EU Primacy?

Now this is scary. The problem in Britain is that if you don't want Blair's New Labour, you are pretty much left with Hobson's Choice: The Conservative party.

We know they have never been particularly keen on the idea of Britain being in what used to be called the Common Market; the European Union. Now, it would seem that a goodly number of the Conservative party would like to vote Britain out of it. Well, no it's not THAT straightforward, but it is still the thin edge.

Apart from the fact that we really need to be progressing and going in the direction of a stronger Europe, not eroding the union, the country has gone too far down the line in 34 years to step back now. Heaven forbid if they went as far as to pull out. For one, where would that leave all of us British folks living in other EU countries?

Much as I think Blair is bad news, I reckon the alternatives are worse.

Did the Tories Really Vote to Abolish EU Primacy?

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Medical Reports On People Claiming Some (UK) Benefits Are Unreliable Or Inaccurate

Claire Williams, owner of Sleepydust, an excellent website about Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalopathy, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, pointed to the following report in her newsletter today.

Almost 80,000 sick and disabled people a year are being wrongly denied benefits, according to a BBC investigation for Radio Five Live. It has emerged that medical reports on people claiming some benefits are unreliable or inaccurate.

(…) "The investigation found that some handwritten medical reports were altered so that the meaning was completely changed, while in other cases a computer-based medical questionnaire produced misleading or nonsensical information."


One report had 20 alterations which affected the claim. That is not error, that can only be deliberate tampering of the outcome so as to avoid paying out.

It is almost heartening to have it confirmed that this goes on and, even in my native country. My situation is that I have no diagnosis and no benefits, but every symptom of Fibromyalgia and a lot of medical history that appears to back this up as a sensible conclusion to draw. However, I also have evidence to suggest my former employers "persuaded" my GP to declare me fit (to avoid expense) and that my medical records have something unjust and negative written on them, which has basically denied me all further medical attention. Worse, is that my family in the UK were completely unsympathetic, firmly believing that I am not ill, because the "expert doctor" said I was not. They treated my comments as "conspiracy theory", lies, or the ramblings of a madwoman: as things, they estimated, did not go on outside of fiction.

This failure to diagnose, sometimes only because it is difficult to do so with these conditions, but also, this report proves, because "it does not suit the budget", which leads to a lack of support, is for many Fibromyalgia sufferers hardest to bear.

Errors block benefits to disabled - Radio 5, May 21 Via: Sleepydust

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Gazpacho soup for the soul

Borrowing and locally adapting (Gazpacho worked, because it was harder to explain Potaje Canario) from OneManBandwidth's post originally entitled, "Wonton Soup For The Soul: Live the Chinese Dream?", I wanted to comment on the following:

"The United States has, according to Hertz, one of the lowest levels of inter-generational financial mobility in the "first world,", behind most of Europe. Britain is one of the only industrialized countries that may be as bad, or worse, than the U.S.."

Yes, as someone hoping to inherit some of the British "family wealth", I would tend to agree that the situation in Britain is worse. Much worse.

Many UK prices are still, roughly, the same number of pounds there as they are in dollars in the US. With an exchange rate today of 1.867501 (Source: Yahoo), that means stuff is 1.867501 times more expensive in the UK. You might as well say double. It becomes difficult to see how anyone, other than those who won / inherited / made money years ago, can both live and save for the future.

The dollar / pound exchange should have worked out nicely in my favour, however, when I went to the US in 1980, when the exchange rate was 2.42 $/£ and, thus, everything was 2.4 times cheaper, except that there were far more than 2.4 times more things to chose from so I managed to blow all my spending money in my first three days in New York.

Americans would most notice it, when they got to the gas (petrol) pump.

PetrolPrices.com will give you the latest prices, which, as of Tuesday, the price of Unleaded was, on average, 96.3p per litre (Min: 89.9p Max: 106.9p).

BP told the BBC that it would soon top £1 a liter in April.

To be able to make a proper comparison, we need to multiply the figure by 0.038 to arrive at £3.6594 per US gallon. Converting that at 1.867501 $/£ gives us an absolutely scary equivalent price of about $6.83 per US gallon.

Kudos to John Cletheroe for the formula.

According the US Government's figures, the price of Regular Grade (which, I think, is usually a bit more expensive than unleaded, but it was all I could find), Dollars per gallon, including all taxes, as of Monday, 5/22/2006, even in the most expensive state, California, was only $3.255. Heap of a difference, huh?

Whilst I am not going to attempt to compare more apples and oranges, I do know just from prices I have seen around and about that houses in the US seem, in comparison to British equivalents, dirt cheap. Laughingly so in some areas.

So that just brings us to the question of salaries.

IF rates of pay were sufficiently higher in the UK to compensate for pretty much double the costs, well, all things would be equal, wouldn't they?

Don't even dream.

Again, it is difficult to find perfectly like examples to compare, but let's just take this vacancy for a Graduate Operations Manager in Cheshire in the UK. The job is advertised with a starting salary of £21,000 (which converted at 1.867501 gives us an equivalent of $39,217.) This would pay a little more in London.

(I did check several jobs to make sure this was not a particularly low offer and, since I was earning £21,000 in the UK back in 1992, just before I left and with a lowlier title, I have to come to the conclusion that British salaries have slipped and the situation is worse now than it was then. Prices haven't stayed down to keep pace.)

Even in the lowest paid state in the US, Florida, the Median Salary for a General / Operations Manager is quoted at $59,930. That's more than $20,000 a year extra, on top of prices that are roughly half of what your UK counterpart is paying.

The standard of living, even when I last visited the US in 1980, appeared to be WAY above that available in the UK, because "average people" had access to far more choice of goods, services, conveniences ... and had more income.

The old argument, of course, was that you had to foot your own medical bills and pay for medical insurance in the US. Sadly, that one no longer works, because if you want decent treatment, you have to pay for it over this side of the pond too now.

Dare I say it, but Americans have become spoiled.

If Americans can't manage, with so much more disposable income than people in other countries have, then it can only be the fault of bad management.

And rampant consumerism where people have been trained / brainwashed into believing that they NEED all sorts of things that they merely WANT, only because they are available in stores. If they weren't available, OK, you wouldn't have the convenience, but you'd also have money that you could pass on to your kids.

Nevertheless, I am not saying we Brits are any better. My own New York shopping spree proved that, didn't it? :) But there are other social factors.

I doubt attitudes will have changed drastically in the "average Brit in the street". Not even Bush and Sundance being in each other's pockets can change that. In fact they have made it worse. When I last lived in the UK, despite professing a general dislike of their loud, colonial cousins, folks in the UK were green with envy. They wanted every last new fangled gadget they heard was available in the US. Back in those "dark ages", we'd always reckon it would take two years before said item would appear in British shops. We'd drool.

It was bad enough then that this desire would override the basic fact that the British are a nation of poorpers, by comparison, without the necessary resources to back up their dreams.

What happens now we have the internet and 24 hour international shopping, is that the lead time has been reduced to two weeks, because they don't have to wait for something to arrive in the shops any more, they can just pay the shipping and have it whizzed across the Atlantic, stretching the old plastic another 5,000 miles with it.

Bigger eyes and smaller pockets does not make for a happy situation.

So to get back to the Gazpacho/Potaje aspect.

When I first came to the Canary Islands, it did not matter that the best salary available was (and still is) about £400 a month (£4,800 per annum, converting to $8,964.) On the one hand, this was a deliberate personal decision to give up materialistic longings and be cured of my shopaholism addiction. It was a transition from "Riches to Rags", mostly, by choice to find "richness" in other ways. And, funnily enough, it is amazing what you can live without.

Fourteen years ago, the shops here had little more choice than some Russian state stores you may have seen on TV. So much has changed. They even put  labels in English on goods often now - which causes my head to flip because I am expecting Spanish - and we have almost every product you can find in the UK, Germany, the rest of Europe - and even Oreo Cookies thrown in - available.

Prices were then, also laughingly cheap. The Euro changed that. In some things they still are, like cigarettes for 10 Euros (£6.82 / $12.73) per carton of 200 - which have only just gone up from 7 Euros (£4.77 / $8.90), as opposed to British prices that are almost 10 times those rates.

But housing has been flying through the roof lately. And food is only still cheap if you buy local fresh produce or steal out of the fields!

Our gas (petrol) is heavily subsidized, because the Canary Islands are remote. The current price of unleaded is between 80.7 cents (55 pence) and 84.5 cents (57 pence) per liter, depending on grade. Again, applying the formula above, even the lower of the two works out to $3.90 per US gallon. Still ahead of US prices.

Compared to the UK, living is still relatively cheap here, but that gap is narrowing.

Compared to the US, there is not much in it financially, so I predict that the US will not remain behind Europe much longer, but Europe offers other cultural benefits.

Then, I've always had this thought that looking east would be the next step - in terms of a culture and thinking that was not of the typical western consumerism. But with China's fast growing economy, how long will that remain? Is the wisdom of the ancient civilisation strong enough to resist all the decadent temptations?

It's a very tough call, because, on the one hand, why shouldn't all human beings, whether they live in the US, the UK, Spain, China or, for that matter, Africa, all have access to the same food, products, conveniences, hopes, dreams ...

Reality is that they don't.

The bigger reality is the harm all the WANTING is doing to our society.

Sunday, 14 May 2006

Birmingham tops web porn search

"Web surfers in Birmingham are more likely than those in any other city around the globe to search for pornography, according to internet search engine Google.", report the BBC. "Manchester came second, followed by Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. Brentford, in Middlesex, was seventh."

This is amazing data, when you consider that all of those are either British or down in the "former penal colony". It's true, mind you, that the inhabitants of the city of my unfortunate birth have little else to keep them occupied. Bet I could give you names and numbers of many likely perverts searchers too, without needing to resort to using Google's technology!

And those Brummies will be more than proud of their achievement!

Birmingham tops web porn search Via: Metroblogging Birmingham

Family Day Out

What, exactly, do you need to enjoy a happy family day out at The 22nd Palma Canaria Norte Rally that just happens to whiz past the end of your street?

Why, one dog, three cats and a camera, of course!

Yeah, I took the dog, but the other three invited themselves and I saw them, sitting there relaxed, watching, only 10 yards back from a crowd of unknown people, the road, all the screaming rally cars ... I could hardly believe it.

I was almost piddling myself with laughter - I grant them with the intelligence not to come any closer - and realized that I can confidently claim to have the only bloody silly CATS on the planet who chose to watch a rally.

Friday, 12 May 2006

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

Friday, May 12, is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. The theme this year is very appropriate: "But You Don't Look Sick" -- The Invisible Pain of Fibromyalgia.

Unfortunately, that is what so many of us hear... that we don't look sick, we are told to learn to live with it, we are overly emotional, or that aches and pains are just part of growing old... try telling that to a twelve year old that has just been diagnosed after months of being told it was all in his head! Until you walk in our shoes, feel our pain, and the pain of our families as they try to understand and comfort us, you will never fully understand what we live with every day.

The Awareness Day is to promote education and to inform the many people who may have symptoms that have not been diagnosed, that they need to gather information and see that they are seeing the right doctor to help them. It is also to make the public aware that this disease does exist, and that we and our families exist in a world unknown to many others.

Fibromyalgia syndrome is not easily diagnosed, and compounded with chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine headaches, TMJ, carpal tunnel, you have a person who has pain that affects the muscles, ligaments, and tendons all over their body, with known "trigger points", where the pain may be the most intense. Most of us have sleep disorders, numbness and tingling in our hands and feet, and have trouble concentrating (often referred to as fibro-fog) or have short-term memory loss, and experience severe pain that "travels" to other parts of the body, and it is very often adversely affected by weather conditions, sleep patterns, activity levels, and stress.

It is very important that anyone that has fibromyalgia stay active--walk, swim, exercise, and stretch the muscles, ligaments, and tendons involved. We have to get plenty of "restorative" sleep, and avoid stressful situations... we haven't found a way to control the weather yet... it's going to rain somewhere every day. I walk about two miles every day, and stay active out of necessity... I have to work extra jobs, even though I am "retired" from the state.

Since first diagnosed, I made a vow to myself that I may have fibromyalgia, but fibromyalgia will never have me. It has helped me cope, and has given me the incentive to keep on being a responsible, productive parent, wife, daughter, friend, and worker. Please remember that just because I have been able to do this, that I am lucky...not everyone is. Too many of us suffer unbearable pain that is disabling and misunderstood.

Each person is an individual, and each of us with fibromyalgia can probably tell you a different story about how we developed it (mine came from traumatic stress), others will say that theirs may have come from an accident, an operation, physical or mental stress, or they simply developed it over time.... there is really no definitive cause, and there's no cure. Simply put, Fibromyalgia won't kill you, but you will die with it.

An estimated ten million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It doesn't favor anyone... it affects men, women, and children of all ages and races. We live every day, hoping for a cure, praying our families can cope with having to help us if we need them. If you know someone who has this disease, please try to understand they need your support, that you are trying to understand, and most importantly, let them know that you care.

For more information on Fibromyalgia visit http://www.fibrohugs.com

Practical Joke Day

I'm not quite sure when today was designated as Practical Joke Day - nor why, because it is neither April 1st, nor December 28th - by the younger members of my family (that is the ones with fur and hair on), but they seem to be making a jolly fine job of it so far and, it's nearly impossible to get mad with them.

At some time during the night, Mico, who likes to sleep curled round my head, had obviously been bored and had indulged in one of his favorite hobbies - hairdressing. This time, he really went to town, with lots of back-combing. To the point that, today, I look like a cross between the Wicked Witch of the West (which, I suppose, is not wholly inappropriate) and a bloody scarecrow. I'll get round to teasing out the dreadlocks he's given me, or not, later.

Mico also decided that he wasn't going to wait until the alarm went off for me to get up to get his breakfast today either, so when all 9 lbs. of him jumping all over me failed to get him the appropriate result, he jumped on the bedside table instead.

When I opened my eyes, he was still sitting there, trying to look innocent.

But, not only had he managed to hit the right button on the remote to switch on the TV, he'd also managed to select Channel 2 (which is not the last channel I had been watching), which shows kiddies "dibujos animados" (cartoons to you) in the mornings. What was on? Rugrats, taking care of a CAT!

Honestly, I can take a hint!

Later on, when I took Holly for a run up in the fields, she decided that she was going to go off on one of her rambles. She does this from time to time; just disappears into the vast yonder undergrowth to explore and comes back when she feels like it. (Obedience is an optional upgrade with her that I have never been able to afford.)

Actually, she does come, but not when you simply call her or whistle her (unlike the cats, who do). What I have to do is call out "Bye Holly" and start walking towards home. Usually, she's so afraid of missing something or of being "abandoned", that she catches me up, less than half way down the hill.

Not today. She caught me up and overtook me, as I had got back to the bridge at the end of the driveway. I could hear her coming; thundering down the hill at the speed of an express train. She took the curve on two paws. By the time I got back up to the house, she was standing INSIDE the doorway, grinning from ear to ear. If she had been able to say "Beat you!", she damn well would have done, I am sure. All I could do was collapse into a fit of giggles.

And give her a reward, for coming home, of course. Her favorite too: a hunk of yesterday's stale bread. She took it, but didn't eat it, because, while we were out, one of the cats had brought a rabbit in (dead) and laid it out in the spare room. Holly wouldn't eat her bread, because she had to "guard" the rabbit.

Don't ask me, she just guards them and doesn't touch them, dead or alive.

It's the first dead rabbit they'd brought indoors for weeks. Normally, at least some of the cats come with us when I take Holly for walks, but, strangely, none of them had this morning. I should have guessed, they were up to no good.

Once in a century

Whilst it's true that I don't tend to get out much, I'm not trying to infer it is that infrequent, however, very few days are quite like the one I had on Friday. In the morning, I went down to Buenavista del Norte to do my once monthly round of business, but it is getting ever more difficult to distinguish a trip to the bank and some shopping from the old custom of paying visits.

On the way down, I had called in to see, Ana, my next door neighbour - I've seen her twice to chat otherwise since the first of the year - because she now works full time, running the family bar. She was standing outside the bar in La Cuesta as I approached and I wanted to ask a favour anyway.

This makes it very awkward when she insists on giving me coffee on the house, just because I have bothered to go and see her. "Er, not entirely without interest", I assured her as I asked if she would rent me her husband again to spray whatever it is (they aren't saying and I ain't asking) that is the only thing known to man and science that will get rid of the plagues of black centipedes that crawl all over the floors, walls and other surfaces.

Half an hour or more, coffee, chats with Ana, with her daughter and meeting her sister for the first time, I made my way into town and first to the bank.

There I dropped off some stamps for Manolo in the bank. He collects them.

A visit to the newsagent next is always a lengthy one to get caught up on news - not the sort that is printed in the press - and my friend there picked out very nice cards for me for my friend whose baby arrived on May 1st.

Called into the supermarket to get baked beans (it's the only place locally that sells "foreign food") and cat food. I was accosted with "We have Piccalilli and Branston Pickle". Well, you can't refuse, can you? And from there ensued an explanation of how Branston Pickle is nice with a bit of cheese.

Can you imagine a Canarian trying it?

From there to the post office to get stamps for the cards. My friend Crissy works there. She used to do the delivery round in my area for several years, during which we had got to know each other quite well. "Gosh, is it a month since I last saw you?", she exclaimed and there started a long chat with her, the other man who works in the post office and any other customers who came in, one of whom was a lady selling lottery tickets for the charity lottery, ONCE. She had one ticket ending with 57 - the year of my birth - so I bought one of those. Crissy wanted one ending with a 7 too.

When I eventually got out of the post office, I went to the square to have a coffee at the kiosk, then went across to the corner to La Venta also the offices of El Cardón and introduced myself to Janiera, who I had spoken to on the phone. Another fifteen minutes, chatting, collecting information and leaflets and leaving my URL.

Time was flying away from me, is it any wonder?

I needed to get back up the village, pay my debts to the local supermarket and buy a few provisions, before they would close for the siesta. Then home for my own siesta, which I was going to need.

Later in the afternoon, based on the idea that I was probably unlikely to be around for the commemorations for the next centenary, I decided to go to Garachico to see the events surrounding the celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of the volcanic eruption on May 5, 1706, which had destroyed the town and its livelihood.

Little did I think I would be rubbing shoulders with the President of the Canary Islands and other assorted dignitaries. Full report of the entertainment here.

On the way back from Garachico, I picked up a young lad hitching from Buenavista to Teno Alto. I've had to do this myself many times, because the busses are so infrequent and finish so early in the day. To Teno Alto, they are non existent at any time, so I know it is the only way to get around these parts.

The good news: when I got home and checked the lottery numbers, number 7 had come up that day. WOW! That means I've won a whole 2.5 euros.

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Nine Percent of Catholics do not believe in God

According the the publication Muy Interesante, currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary, a survey of its readers, related to the belief in extraterrestrial life, has revealed (to some) surprising observations on the Spanish culture.

Ninety percent of readers do belief in extraterrestrial life and, according to the magazine, those with higher cultural and social levels, i.e. higher education and acquisitive power, are those most likely to do so.

The most surprising data, for the writers of this article, was that nine percent of those who professed to be Catholics, also say they do not believe in God.

To some, this may appear to be the height of ignorance, but say the writers, this is nothing more than a faithful reflection of Spanish society and it's cultural subconscious. It is merely part of the social culture to appear to be Catholic and participate in rituals, such as baptism, weddings and processions.

Personally, having observed this phenomenon for a decade and a half and, having reached similar conclusions, I might have been less surprised if they'd said that 9% believe in extraterrestrials and 90% do not believe God.

el 9% de los "Católicos" no creen en Dios

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