Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Birds, Women, Guns, Bibles and Dogfights.

Four topics today.

1: The Peaceable Kingdom, as my wife calls our set-up here, has a new member, a canary. He is grey-ish and looks more like a sparrow, but he sings like nothing on earth. Provisionally, he is called Bob (for Dylan), but that might change. Camaron (for De la Isla), Jussi (for Bjorling), and Sidney (for Bechet) are contenders. Placido (for Domingo) would be the obvious choice, but we have already given that name to a wild bird who likes to warble in our garden.

2: A couple of days ago now, President Zapatero presented his new cabinet. Out of 17 ministers, nine are women. Just in case George Bush is reading this, that is more than half.
One, a 37 year old, clearly about six months pregnant, is now the Minister of Defence. Another, at 31, is the youngest Minister ever in Spain and possibly the world, for all I know. Apparently, the snide comment in Madrid, is along the lines of, ¨Plenty of women, but no fat ones.¨ Nor, as a columnist for El Pais pointed out, no elderly, disabled, homosexuals, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, or extraterrestrials, either. Call that inclusive?
For readers from the Midwest, (more on there later) I must point out that the writer was being ironic.

All this is excellent, particularly when today´s news featured a couple of elderly men jointly responsible for a good percentage of the planet´s current woes - George Bush and Pope Ratzinger - were no doubt mutually congratulating one another on the mess they are making of things. Bin Laden was absent - more pressing things to do, no doubt. I wonder how much coverage the Spain women story got in the U.S. Must have a look later. Less than the old Pope, I expect.

3: It looks as if Barack has shot himself in the foot with one of the millions of guns the embittered old men in the Midwest own and rejoice in. Not that he was wrong, pointing out that America´s post-industrial towns are populated with embittered gunslingers. The trouble is he was exactly right. And telling the truth is political suicide in the States.
I speak from experience. I lived in Toledo, Ohio, then in Jeanette, Pa., and have known, and drunk - and even worked, with many such folk for nearly twenty years. They are often eaten up with anger and frustration over life. The world beyond means nothing to them. Hillary - or at least her team - almost certainly know Barack is correct. But they can now get all huffy about him insulting the poor ex-working man whose job is now in China, partly thanks to Bill Clinton.
Rifle in one hand, Bible in the other. Salt of the earth, don´t you know (the embittered old men, that is, not Clinton).
It has also been said that Obama´s remarks will give these voters in Pennsylvania the excuse they were looking for not to vote for him. This is balls. They don´t need an excuse. These kind of guys would never have voted for him anyway. They will not be too keen on voting for Hillary, come to that. McCain is their man, if Bush and Cheney are not an option. Rifle in one hand, Bible in the other.

4: Back to sanity.
Rebekah has just come back from walking the dogs. Tim got in a real knife and fork session with one of our neighbor´s dogs, a noted canine thug. Tim sent him scuttling with a bloody face and a torn ear.
Happy days in the Peaceable Kingdom.

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