Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Thanks to life"

Video: Mercedes Sosa - Gracias a La Vida: surely one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded in the Spanish language (and one of the most well-known songs in Latin America apparently.)

[Lyrics translated into English:]

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me two beams of light, that when opened,
Can perfectly distinguish black from white
And in the sky above, her starry backdrop,
And from within the multitude
The one that I love.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me an ear that, in all of its width
Records— night and day—crickets and canaries,
Hammers and turbines and bricks and storms,
And the tender voice of my beloved.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me sound and the alphabet.
With them the words that I think and declare:
"Mother," "Friend," "Brother" and the light shining.
The route of the soul from which comes love.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me the ability to walk with my tired feet.
With them I have traversed cities and puddles
Valleys and deserts, mountains and plains.
And your house, your street and your patio.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me a heart, that causes my frame to shudder,
When I see the fruit of the human mind,
When I see good, so far from bad,
When I see within the clarity of your eyes...

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me laughter and it gave me longing.
With them I distinguish happiness and pain—
The two materials from which my songs are formed,
And your song, as well, which is the same song.
And everyone's song, which is my very own song.

Thanks to life

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Parents with a fear of rubber

Yes, despite the Pope softening his words on condoms there are still a few parents here in Spain that object to the idea that someone should put a sheath over their penis before sex.

Do these parents believe that it is better for their kids to run the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or an unwanted pregnancy?

The Spanish Ministry of Health is doing the sensible thing and promoting condom use through their ‘yopongocondom.com’ campaign but have been criticised for their efforts by an organisation called The Confederation of Catholic Parents Associations in Spain (CONCAPA).

Considering that a couple of years ago two 19th century (pig gut) condoms were found in a Salamanca library book, contraception is nothing new in Spain.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How to confirm a stereotype

One standard opinion of Spanish people is that they enjoy cruelty to animals. Unfortunately, this is supported by some of the festival activities here.

“In the Basque village of Lekeitio, the celebration of Antzar Eguna (Geese's Day) is honoured with contestants who try to hold onto a dead goose for as long as possible while being jerkily dipped into the ocean on a rope. The winner is the one who decapitates the goose with his bare hands. In earlier times, the geese was alive…


See photo of this “event” here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"I like the fact that there are things I don't like."

These words (from Madrid University of Complutense Philosophy Professor Fernando Savater) are as good a definition of tolerance as you are likely to find anywhere.

YouTube video of him here.

[It's good to be back after a month without internet at home!]