Category Archives: Living la vida española

The Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns, Habituation, and Mourinho

MouMourinho is an interesting character, to say the least. On paper, he is an amazing and talented coach, renowned for his ability to read the game and above all to motivate his players. At the same time, he has a tendency to generate unneeded controversy — often prejudicial to his team’s interests — and to commit acts of true immaturity as when he stuck is finger in Tito Vilanova’s eye during a Real Madrid vs. Barca match.

That said, egged on by the press, it is quite unique how Barca players (and even coaching staff and officials) constantly comment on Mou’s shortcomings every chance they get. So why does Piqué have to criticize Mourinho whenever he has a chance? It seems equally infantile.

But back to my story. Since joining Real Madrid over two seasons ago, Mourinho has consistently made the following two claims: Continue reading


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Filed under Football/Soccer, Living la vida española

Just How Bad is the Spanish Football Press?

As is BadIn Spain, you have a number of daily newspapers that are dedicated to sports alone, and as expected, mainly focusing on football and generally of very poor quality. One of my pet peeves about Spanish football journalism is how these papers will use quotes in headlines that, plain and simple, are not exact quotes, and thus, by definition, not quotes.

As anyone with a minimal level of education should have learned, when words are placed within quotation marks and attributed to a person, those words must be the exact words of the person they are being attributed to, and they should not merely reflect or summarize the meaning of what was said or written. Continue reading

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Filed under Football/Soccer, Living la vida española

What was El Corte Ingles Thinking?

On the subject of racism, a few weeks ago at El Corte Ingles — not only Spain’s biggest and most important department store chain but also one of its most influential companies — I came across the above items on sale.

What was El Corte Ingles thinking? Spaniards need to decorate their homes with slavery nostalgia?

One a similar note, last year while walking down the street I snuck a shot of this idiot’s jean jacket vest. Forget for a second how stupid he looks, but Elvis and the Confederate Flag? Does this guy have any idea what the Confederate Flag symbolizes (and a Southerner can tell me otherwise all he wants; I’ll buy it when Germans can legitimately use the swastika as a symbol of national pride). And how does Elvis and nostalgia for the old slave-dependent glory days of the South go hand in hand on denim?

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Filed under Digressions, Living la vida española

Book Vending Machines


These book vending machines are a nice alternative to the ones that just sell junk food. I have no idea whether they actually make many sales. This one is at the Principe Pio train station in Madrid. There are also a bunch of small libraries in a few of the Madrid metro stations where people can check out books for the commute.

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Filed under Literature, Living la vida española

Sí a la Guerra

During the first two years of the war in Iraq, my neighbor sported a large banner on his balcony that read “No a la Guerra” or “No to War”. Then last January he hung a flag of the pro-Sahrawi (Algerian and Libyan backed) Polisario, in favor of Western Sahara’s independence from Morocco. And over the past few days following the recent disturbances in the region between the Polisario and the Moroccan government, he has decided to once again hang the Polisario flag.

What I find interesting is that a person — not to mention the whole gang of self-righteous Spanish actors — who was so vehemently against one war in an Arab country when the American right claimed to be toppling a human rights abusing dictatorship is now so eager to favor another war in an Arab country, but this time with the difference that it is the Spanish left who gets to denounce a human rights abusing dictatorship. I suppose in retrospect the original slogan should have read “No a Esta Guerra” instead of the moral condemnation of war of in general.

If anything, what we learned from Iraq is that the world becomes a very wicked place when people so confidently and self-righteously believe that they have the truth on their side.


Filed under Essays, Living la vida española

Laayoune Iniya

On November 6, 1975 in what is known as the Green March, 350,00 Moroccans peacefully protested in southern Morocco to demand that the Spanish government handover the Spanish Sahara to Morocco – reinforcing the notion that peaceful resistance is more effective than other alternatives.

Thirty-five years later this week and some sectors of the Spanish press and mainly left-leaning activists still have a strange passion for intervening in the region. As I have mentioned in previous posts – regardless of where one may stand on the independence of Western Sahara – it is strange that the Spanish left would take such an active position in favor of the Algerian and Libyan financed Frente Polisario considering that Spanish intrigue continues to have strong imperialistic overtones for the Moroccan people.

For an example of how the Moroccans see the liberation from Spanish colonialism – done through peaceful protest – as a proud and heroic moment of the triumph of the People against the Imperialists, check out the above video of the song “Laayoune Iniya” from the early 70s by Jil Jilala, a group that pioneered a new generation of grass roots folk musicians widely popular at the time amongst European and American granola hipsters. The song, meaning “Laayoune, my eyes” (a play on words as the city name “Laayoune” is derived from the same root as the word “eyes” and “springs”) became the anthem for the Green March and the liberation of the last remaining vestiges of European colonialism in Morocco.

And yet here they are, the Spanish granola hipsters of today, thirty-five years later, coming off as the Spanish imperialists redux.

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Filed under Essays, Living la vida española

Morcilla de Lengua


On an unrelated note, I know what morcilla is and I know what lengua is. And even though I see the two words together almost every day at lunchtime, I am not quite sure whether I really want to do the math and figure out what morcilla de lengua is.

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Filed under Living la vida española