Mi Bodeguita del Medio

While my blog is named after a restaurant in Havana I hope to someday visit, here you will find musings, rants, political incorrectness, thoughts on Indian Nationalism, strong straight-forward opinions and tid-bits.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Toros de Fuego / Bulls of Fire - an Old “Tradition”

I'm on the mailing list for an organization called Animanaturalis that strives for animal rights. Today I opened my mailbox and saw this image, and as curiosity led me to reading a bit more, I'm going to talk about it in this post. I can’t help but bring out this revolting “festival” that is “celebrated” in Soria and Castilla y Leon. As much as I love Spain, it is ALARMING that such activities continue to be allowed in the so called “developed world.” In this post, I am going to translate what exactly the “Toro de Medinaceli” consists of.

Read the original Spanish version here.

In this "festival," the bulls' horns are installed with metallic artefacts that are screwed on to the ends of the bull’s horns. These artefacts contain inflammable liquid balls so that the bulls horns (and consequently the bull himself) burn like torches for hours on end.

Apart from being completely antinatural, the fire causes panic and horror to all animals, as it is instinctively identified as a sign of danger. Therefore, the bull tries desperately to put off this fire that he carries on his horns. The inflammable liquid that has been applied, ensures that the fire cannot be put off.

Naturally, the consequences of this practice are terrible for the bulls. In first place, logically, the bull is burnt. Although those (retards, psychopaths, insert profanity here ___) who defend this practice argue that this is not true [I’d like to stick a pair of horns on each one of their heads and set fire to them - ooh that would be REAL fun to watch, and to make it even more fun, maybe even tie their hands and legs and watch them try to wriggle around trying to put off the fire - after all, they're not going to get burnt] the bull receives sparks that fly off and burn his head, his face and his eyes. Also, the bull’s horns are a very sensitive area which cause immense pain when burnt.

The bulls (to these retards’ entertainment) try desperately to put off the fire, and find it impossible to do so. While fighting to put the fire off, the bulls can dislocate their necks or even kill themselves due to the violent movements caused by the panic and desperation. The “Toros de Fuego” especially suffer psychological damage, and it is known in some cases for bulls to have committed suicide, throwing themselves against an object or a wall.

Ok, lets talk about Spain for a moment. Yes, there does exist an excellent public health care system. There is excellent infrastructure and Spain is unmatched in terms of Art, Music, and general liveliness. The buzz in the Spanish streets isn't found anywhere else. The street festivals, and local artists, painters, musicians, and even economists and scientists, not to mention sporting personalities.... the list just goes on.

However, in my humble opinion, I still feel that the Spanish Prime Minister is/was giving himself too much credit for considering that the lack of invitation to the G-20 block meeting, where world leaders will hold talks to bring about financial reform, could be due to animosity from Bush's side for Zapatero's withdrawl of Spanish troops from Iraq. Instead, the plain and simple truth is that Spain still has a lot of cleaning up to do in order to really become part of the developed world. There is enough 'black money' here, that could rescue the entire banking system from the liquidity shortage - if only it were declared. Enterprise-wise, good jobs tend to go to those that are "enchufados" or have vaasta or the right contacts. Culturally, too many "festivals" tend to embody the worst torture that one would hope never to see in their living lives.

So my humble message to Mr. Zapatero is, "the problem is not outside Señor Presidente del Gobierno, a lot of the mess lies in your own back-yard."

If you'd like to participate in the manifestation against this festival, here is the contact email informacion@pacma.es and telephone number: 685726737. Buses leave from Barcelona and other major cities.

Thank you PACMA, Animanaturalis, and other organizations who are working so hard, round the clock to help give a voice to these poor animals that don't have a voice in this cruel world.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Elections '08 - a No Brainer

So here we are exactly one week before the US Presidential elections. Next week same time, we will know who the resident of the White House will be for the next four years. I guess seeing the way I see it, the election result should be a no-brainer, an easy win for Obama.

But back in the States, its a tumultuous road to November 4th. On one hand, you have an old man, with archaic ideas, guaranteed to carry on the Bush legacy - and quite popular among the "real America." Real America- what is that? The towns and villages in the heart of the country, with hard-working Christian white folk that listen to country music and go hunting and fishin' on weekends? Is that the "real" America? It may well be. But America is much, much more. America is all-encompassing, the greatest democracy on Earth (I am not American, and I recognize this) where each person has a chance to succeed, they be black, white, yellow, brown or whatever other race, color, or creed. That is what the REAL America is.

My message to all Americans today is: Please vote with your head, your brain. Vote for the best candidate. Don’t allow party affiliation to sway your judgement; at the end of the day each party wishes the best for its members, and McCain is all but best for America. I can already see the disaster that is to come if McCain is elected President. If the world is not already tired and losing respect for the United States, McCain will ensure that it does. I will let this opinion on an article in LJ World (a conservative newspaper) answer his favourite question, reversed: Who is John McCain? Quote:

“More disturbing, exactly which McCain do they (Republicans, those still for McCain) want to elect? The “maverick” who voted with Bush 90 percent of the time? The “deregulator” responsible for virtually no oversight on Wall Street, and charter member of the Keating 5? Or perhaps it is his presidential “judgment” when he picked “Sara Palin, soccer mom” as the only person in the world qualified for president after him. Then again, it could be the old warrior who sings, “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” Senator McCain changes positions on so many issues his behavior would make a chameleon envious.

In the past few desperate weeks, McCain has been erratic, all over the place. McCain believes attacking his opponent, belittling and discrediting him, and name-calling in an unprecedented, odious smear campaign as an excellent reason for Americans to elect him president.”

Those who know me, know that I'm no die-hard liberal either. I am moderate politically, but the whole Iraq invasion was uncalled for, something McCain supported 100%.

Come on Americans; you can’t make the same mistake over and over again. It happened once in 2000. A huge huge let-down (and there are many who still believe that the Bush family had a hand in the exemption of many thousands of discarded votes in primarily Democratic regions in central Florida). The second term Bush re-election was another grave mistake. Now, 2008 is when you have a candidate like no other. Barack Obama is what America needs, and in some ways, what the entire world needs. Only Obama can restore America its glory that has been lost over the last 8 years of more than disastrous Bush leadership. Only he can UNITE the country, rather than divide it on partisan lines (something the McCain-Palin camp have expertise in).

Do you want four more years of continuing Dumb and Dumber policies under McCain – Palin, sure to give America nothing new; instead continuing fear, distress and hate that Bush has implanted? Even Al Qaeda knows that Obama as leader of the US will mean a new direction to its foreign policies, building bridges instead of chopping them. They know the United States will not be hated, as it will be under McCain, and that will lower considerably the number of recruits to their cause. Do Americans want that the Al Qaeda grow stronger? If they don’t then they must open their eyes and see that that is bound to happen under McCain – Palin.

Several prominent Republicans have endorsed Obama openly (many have had to face consequences for their actions, but doing the right thing is priceless): Colin Powell, Joel Haugen, Scott McClellan, William Weld, Arne Carlson, Jim Leach, Lincoln Chafee, Rita Hauser, Ken Adelman, Charles Fried, and thousands of others who’re allowing their conscience to be heard in the election booth. Republicans for Obama.

I left the United States six years ago (2002). After September 11th, Bush’s policies took the wrong course. I lost faith in the US. I now have a reason to believe again. And the reason is Obama. When I step on American soil on November 8th, I want to be in a country that has a President that gives hope to the world.

Come on Americans, listen to the voice inside you. You know whats right. Now, more than ever, it is important for you to DO what is RIGHT. Your country is counting on it. And the world is counting on it. Obama/Biden ‘08

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Indecent exposure: The breach on the beach

The crisis, unstable market, lack of investment, low morale, low liquidity- all of it only to get worse in 2009- here in Europe, directly affects the market I’m working in (M&A). All of this is now causing me to rethink how much longer will I be able to survive here (cos that’s what I’m doing – surviving, on a minimal pay check that just covers my expenses, and leaves me with no saving at month end), as opposed to moving back home (is my Spain dream coming to an end?)

Interestingly, along with thoughts of home, come thoughts of what I left behind (the good - family, friends, samosas, dosas, shisha, limon bin na na, hot weather, disposable income!!......and also the not so good). One of the not so good things is discrimination and lower pay for equal work, something typical of the Middle East. To that effect, here is an article by Bikram Vohra, that comments on the new-rich feeling that many-a-westerner develops - in my words, how they "lose the plot," once they arrive to the region. How many have seen this happen? Oh, and do enjoy the article (I look forward to reading much more stuff by the author, who I believe is the Managing Editor of the Bahrain Tribune.
Indecent exposure: The breach on the beach
Bikram Vohra

The global brouhaha over the Dubai police catching two British citizens inflagrant delicto on a beach seems grossly out of proportion to other burning issues of the day. However, now that the British tabloids have picked up this story and destroyed two lives there seems to be no confidentiality or restraint in using these two for everyone else’s cathartic satisfaction. Gee, we are so clever, we don’t get caught. Not that we don’t behave badly, we are heap smarter.

Contrary to the prevalent belief, it is actually the westerners who suffer from culture shock when they come to these parts. The leap from a council house in Hounslow (does it really exist?) Stratham and Slough to villas and houseboys, housemaids, gardeners, 4 wheel drives and the pretensions to Country Club tally ho imitations with a few nightspots and caviar and blinis and smoked salmon replacing bangers and mash and a bit of bitter pink bubbly thrown in for the bit of bitter gives them the feeling of racist superiority. Add to this hubris the sudden financial liquidity and it is easy to see how they go off the tracks. The fact that Asians, by and large, render space to Caeser with graceless ease because they feel that, like them, their bosses also tend to look up to white people more than they do to coloureds adds to the arrogance.

The residual dregs of imperialism still survive. The system allows for this sort of genial racism and naturally, it occasionally goes sour. White nationalities continue to snuffle at the colonial trough and get more money for the same work and a better lifestyle. Asians and others may resent it and respond with equally vicious racism in reverse but they let it be. So an Indian can be pushed aside by a fellow native attendant at a supermarket in preference to a westerner standing behind, a club can refuse entry to non-white people on flimsy excuses, politeness can trip just a bit in the same divide and upper class Asians don’t make it any easier by slavishly aping western customs and habits. Service staff will be politer to those from the west because a report or complaint from one of them tends to cause heavier ripples than one from Asians.

Ergo, you are so not the better man, Gunga Din.
So, when Michelle Palmer and Vince Accors did the naughty they actually believed in a corner of their minds that they were exempt from the laws. If not that, at least they had the social standing to expect leniency. Sense, if you will, the sentiment behind the words to the policeman: I will sue you.

No Asian would even dream of saying that. Not because he is weak or feeble but because he does not feel that sense of superiority. I remember when I was the editor of a newspaper in the UAE a young cheeky English reporter came to me and said, “Do you know my houseboy and you are from the same country, fancy that.” The public school insolence so nurtured and loved in Britain was palpable.

Nothing changes. Being snide is the replacement for poor education and an absence of grammar. Native English speakers may speak it but they couldn’t for the most part write their way out of a paper bag.

Those apologies after the incident by the foolish twosome only conceals the contempt and derision in which such people hold those who are not of their ilk.

If the British community has rallied round these two it is because most of them are a decent lot, living their lives with grace and dignity and not being snotty about who they are because it is not relevant anymore. And, as is their tradition they are going for the underdog. The spate of letters reflect all points of view but paramount is the fact that this incident should be seen as a symptom of a deeper malaise where young western people are flaunting rules and abusing hospitality of foreign nations where they are guests.

In this case, the company ITP issues letters marking out the rules of social conduct and gives it to each newcomer, so what part of it did they not understand? It is getting a little awkward.
A drunk westerner falls off an uptown skyscraper. Another gets smashed and picks up a fight on his way to Heathrow. Gets arrested. A third is caught with his pants down. All in a week. Pub fights become more common. Being decanted into cabs at night is regular activity and the hedonistic self indulgence might get a brake on it for a while after this show all but will it stop the shenanigans?

I quite doubt it. Don’t take tolerance for weakness. The weakness lies in you, chaps.