30 de novembro de 2007

One country, four nations

"Britain is an invented nation".
Peter Scott, Knowledge and Nation, 1990.

Today I was going to write something soft and easy to digest for the weekend, but then I read a news and changed my mind.

In Portugal we really have it easy as far as our national identity is concerned. We have a certain North/South rivalry and we have the discrepancies between a richer urban country and a poorer rural one. But in terms of nationality we all know we are Portuguese. We have a national football team that makes us all suffer or explode of happiness, we have a common History, a common and uniform language (even if we recognise two official languages), we have a homogeneous religious tradition and we have the oldest established borders in the Old World.
Just across our borders there's a state in which, to this very day, several national identities have been forced to coexist in not always a peaceful situation. And in Great Britain things are not better. There's the infamous and endless Irish Question, there's the pride of the Scotts holding firm to their traditions and to the Church of Scotland (a presbyterian Protestant faith), there's Wales and its celtic language that no one understands and there's England the nation that managed to forge, create and rule a country called Great Britain.

This incident happened just now. In Wales, an Irish truck driver was involved in a car accident with a Welsh woman. As usual in these circumstances people say a lot of crazy things in the heat of the moment. As such the truck driver called the lady in question: "You English bitch!". Most offended, the lady prosecuted the lorry driver.

Last Tuesday, the sentence was announced. The truck driver was sentenced to 10 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay the 200 pounds of judicial costs for racist behaviour! The lady was not offended she was called a "bitch", but for having been called "English" when she's in fact Welsh. In a country very uncomfortable about a forced nationality, political correctness comes at a high price.

Just imagine if all alentejanos were offended on account of all the jokes about them! Or if people in Beiras were to prosecute those who make fun of their pronunciation! Or if people called us "saloios"! In fact, we are very lucky that D. Afonso Henriques kicked out the Moors and the Spaniards and made us a country.

28 de novembro de 2007

A rich country indeed!

For the second time this week I am forced to admit that Portugal is a rich country!
First I find out that our Presidency takes in more money than the most glamorous European monarchies and now we all realise that the deal over Cahora Bassa fell short of our best expectations (provided we still had any expectations, of course!).
Therefore, no other evidences are going to prove me that this is not a bountiful country submerged in wealth.
Colonial empires left a toll all over the world and the present is still trying to make amends for a past that is not likely to be forgotten, let alone forgiven, within the very next generations. Cahora Bassa, no matter what might be said today, still represents a reminescence of the colonial power that ruled over Mozambique for centuries (even if Mozambique sought the economic advantages of another, and even greater, colonial power when it joined the Commonwealth of Nations in the 1990s, but that is, to my mind, one of those tremendous historical ironies).
However, Cahora Bassa also represents massive investments of a country in a foreign land, no matter if it was a colony or later a fully-fledged independent state. Portugal invested in human resources, in technology and, last but never the least, in capital. Besides this, it was also the major shareholder of the Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa.
In the meantime, Mozambique has claimed a right in the shares of the company, a right which I entirely understand not only on grounds of a recent history, but also on account of the defrauded economy of the country. What I don't understand is how the Portuguese government lost 80 million Euros in this business just like that.
To my knowledge there are reputed economists in the government, then there are advisors and special study committees, so why did no one see it coming that the dollar lost face value to the Euro? Yes, this process has been announced over the last years and took no one by surprise. Then, part of the money the Portuguese state should receive went to a pardon of the huge international debt Mozambique has (this in itself is another tricky subject: pardon or no pardon to African debts). In a nutshell, it seems to me that we will get something not far from peanuts with the selling of our shares. Right, we still hold 15% of shares, a symbolic connection between Portugal and Cahora Bassa. But, in the end, we lost the dam, we lost the business and probably we lost some face too.
We are a rich nation, 80 million more, 80 million less is certainly not going to make an impact in our finances and in our Treasury.

27 de novembro de 2007

In a Country of "Camones"

Now, here is something worthy of inscription in the log (remember, the diary on the web?). Indeed this is one of those occurences that, had we no blogs, and would go down unnoticed in History as just another incident in the daily routine of a desperate housewife.

As such, good ol' desperate housewife here needed to go shopping and off she went to one of those mega supermarkets, not very happy with a chore that involves choosing apples, sorting out packages of soya milk and facing the ever difficult task of deciding which yoghurt flavours to take. The mood was not exactly the best, I confess, but it was put through harder strains on noticing that Christmas decorations are already there and guess what?, the inscriptions on the decorations of that particular supermarket were all in English!
"Merry Christmas" they said! Not one, not two, but a series of extra large balls with fake mistletoe and fake pine folliage hanging over the heads of clients. What a show!

Last time I checked this was still Portugal (I guess it was because some cordial civil servant was charging me 80 Euros for a document that said I'm really Portuguese). And if this is Portugal, how come they have the decorations in English, for goodness sake?

I know I work, speak, write, think and even dream in English (not my fault I'm a product of multilingualism), but this is still Portugal, not an imperial emporium of English!

Will the folks there in Britain write "Boas Festas" in their Christmas decorations? Or will Americans hang decorations with "Feliz Natal" in Times Square? Just a thought on the daily routine of a desperate housewife...

Besides, what's this compared to the excellent, I'd even say visionary, deal the Portuguese government made out of Cahora Bassa or the forthcoming summit between the EU and African leaders?

26 de novembro de 2007

Le Glamour de la République

We are a rich country!
And just when I had forgotten all about it and was here thinking of how poor and downtrodden the Portuguese population seems to be these days, my cleaning lady refreshed my memory. We are indeed a rich country!
Every week, and most faithfully, my cleaning lady, who obviously thinks I am a very strange creature that needs to be informed of whatever important goes on in the world, leaves me a pile of society magazines on the kitchen table. Every week, and most faithfully, I leave the pile accumulate. When the pile is so huge I am ashamed to have it there for her to see I don't read any of that, I go through the pages of the top layer magazines just to be able to keep pace with her. All of this to say that: first, this news took me by surprise, second, this is probably something everybody (but a dumm blonde with some unspeakable phd) already knew.
And so, in one of those magazines about glittering lives of scandal and much philosophical thinking, I got to know an amasing reality: our Republic is one very glamorous institution!
In Britain, the monarchy costs each Briton 91.5 cents a year. So far so good. The British Monarchy has to attend the needs of representation in the Commonwealth, the Royal Family has many members and it is a centuries-old institution caught up in expensive traditions and rituals. No surprise here.
In Spain, each one of "nuestros hermanos" pays 19 cents a year to keep up the Monarchy. Nothing wrong here. The Spanish monarchs have only recently reasserted the throne and it is a low-profile Monarchy.
In Portugal, each one of us pays 1,58 Euros for the Presidency. Hold it there!
I confess that when I read this I turned on the thinking neuron and tried to get the logic of these figures (numbers that is).
"Ok, we've got to think proportionally. The Spaniards are 50 odd million and we are some thousands short of 10, it's logical we should pay more".
Relieved for having had an intelligent thought I went on reading.
The Spanish government pays the Monarchy 9 million Euros a year. The Portuguese government pays the Presidency 16 million Euros a year. Stop it there again! There's something fishy in here!
How come does the Spanish Monarchy, with all the official commitments of the Royals, survive on a budget of 9 million and our Republic needs almost double of that? Besides, how can a country of 10 million souls, less than a third of the Spanish territory, less diplomatic representation and protagonism and a crisis going on spend 16 million Euros on the Presidency?
Aren't we a rich, glamorous country?
P. S. - Who said we don't learn anything from society magazines?

23 de novembro de 2007

Giving Thanks

"And so during these holiday seasons, we thank our blessings"
President Bush, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Dec. 10, 2004.

Yes, today is Thanksgiving, that most cherished of American holidays (even more than Christmas) celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November to give thanks for whatever Americans think is important and genuinely representative of their way of life: a dettached in suburbia, money in the bank, a Chevy in the garage, picket fences outside the yard, the stars and stripes afloat, oil in Alasca, oranges in Florida and, last, but not in anyway least, Miss Teen South Carolina!
After a tantalising year, I believe Americans are happy they made it just another year! The Clintons have prepared succesion, ethnic minorities are paving the way to the White House with Obama, Giuliani wants some piece of the action, mortgage interest rates went sky high, Schwarzzie had his hands full in California, Dubbya was at his usual best, gas prices rocketed and the fellows in Iraq got their asses kicked on a daily basis. Indeed there's a lot to be thankful for.
We shall see what next year brings in terms of thankfulness. Will Gore end the taboo? What great new Bushisms will there be to mark the President's last year in office? Will the fellows in Iraq still get their butts kicked? I can't hardly wait!
One thing I'm certain... I'm sure gonna miss 'em Bushisms! So, today, of all days, I'm thankful for the joy the Texan Cowboy in the White House has brought the world!

22 de novembro de 2007

Just Barely...

I'm a girl, true (and girls don't know much about football, quite so).

I write in English, it's a fact.

I wasn't born in this country (tough luck, there's nothing I can do about it).

I think, feel, write and speak about the negative things of this country (right 90% of times).

But if there's something I am is patriotic!

I listen to the national anthem (composed by a German, by the way) and I get goose skin all over. It's cathartic. And I proudly say that there's no Marseillese, no God Save the Queen, no Deutschland über alles that sounds as powerful or beautiful as our Portuguesa. That's is why I feel I've been cheated on my feelings.

I watched the game, just as I watch all important games, and I didn't like it one bit. I don't care about strategy, opportunities, luck, technicalities and I couldn't care less. Let experts talk about all that. All I care is that, from my perspective, this was taken light-heartedly.

I'm very happy we've made it to Euro 08 (and even happier that the English didn't - cherry on top of the cake! Sorry for the chauvinism). But we could have made it better. We could have been the best. We could have been grand. And all we were was average.

We're talking about highly-skilled professionals who are princely paid to do what they do, the least we can expect is professionalism. (I should say, the least we can ask of them, is professionalism). And I sure as hell can't tolerate that someone who gets paid to serve our interests (also magnanimously paid) comes with arrogance at us. I do not admit such lack of respect. And besides, just out of politeness at least, there are things we can think and not verbalise, specially when we're public figures or serve national causes.

Everybody can, and should, obviously, be happy we qualified. I just don't like it when people don't give their best. I feel disrespected as a citizen that tries her best each day together with millions of other fellow citizens.

To lose after a good fight is honourable (I remember when we lost against France back in the 80s when Platini still played, don't remember the year, but I was about 10 or so and that was a great, vibrant, exciting game, we really played our best and it was probably the first time I felt what patriotism means). To qualify just because, well... we just barely made it.

21 de novembro de 2007

The Log!

I got to know this one just now and thought I might share it (even if I presume I was the only one that didn't know this basic of basics).

Follow me through my ignorance.
We all have our nice, wonderful, very special blogs that we love so dearly. On my part, I thought that blog was just another tech brand-name, whose meaning only wizz kids knew. Ok, I admit "internet" is an easy and reconisable noun: international network, nothing special about it, but blog?

Here it is then:
Web - no need to explain.
Log - Official record of events during the voyage of a ship or aircraft; regular or systematic of incidents or observations. (It's what we see ship captains doing on movies about pirates and the like).

So: web + log = weblog

And then language is a wonderful mysterious thing and we, the speakers, got "blog"! Fabulastic, isn't it?


Blog - web site on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative; a log (regular record or diary) on the web.

Amasing! I'm sorry, it's the thrill of discovery!

20 de novembro de 2007


I am ashamed today!
I am ashamed that some one hundred of my fellow citizens are demonstrating outside the airport at Figo Maduro as a supportive welcoming committee to President Chávez.
I am ashamed that memory is so short-lived.
It is a right they have: a fair, democratic right, the right of opinion, the right of free-thinking, the right of demonstrating - a right.
And so is my right to speak my mind.
I am ashamed today!

Chain Reaction (a reply to Notas Soltas)

I confess I don't have a thing for chains, but coming this one from the blog pundits...

There's always something wrong with chains and in this case what's wrong is that I'M IN THE KITCHEN!

Grab a book, go to page 161 and write the 5th line. That's the modus operandi, right? So here goes nothing:

"olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon, then massage 1 tablespoon Big Four Paste all over the"

Quoted from Food and Wine Annual Cookbook-Awards Collection, American Express Publishing, 2001, p. 161.

And so, the blonde here, who wanted to look like an intellectual, looks more like a desperate housewife. Lovely!

P.S. - I promise I read serious stuff (Bleak House and Tom Wolfe included! Nice choices, by the way).

19 de novembro de 2007

November Rain

I was going to write about something serious today, but then the rain came... And here I am inclined for a eulogy of the weather... And honestly, I don't even like bad weather that much!

I freeze when it's cold, I get down under the weather (only the English to have an expression like this!) when days are colourless, I feel all sticky when it's foggy, furious beyond measure when it's windy, I've broken and lost so many umbrellas I don't have one anymore, I hate having my boots all wet when it snows and have water coming in my shoes when it rains. The only thing I really like about bad weather is those awful, frightening and monstrous thunderstorms. One or two thunders is not a storm. No, it has to be those crossed storms, lightening and thunder simultaneously. Apocallipse on Earth! That's my groove.

But today the rain came...

I opened the door and everything was gleaming. It had rained during the night, silently, softly. The rain came unannounced, gently, as a visitor. It left its mark on the garden and on the pavement. It left its mark in the air. That sweet and warm smell we only get when the first rain falls. A smell of earth and grass. It smells like the colour brown, for if colours had a scent this would be the one of brown: wet soil, brownish vegetation and dead leaves on the ground.

The rain came...

And I was missing it. I was missing the change of seasons. Like some primeval creature still attached to Nature, the creatures we forget we are in the midst of super-abundant civilization, I was missing it. I was getting exhausted by the frenzy of summer, that wild contagious energy that was still hanging in the air. Now I feel like just sitting still, coming home, getting lazy and let Nature take its course.

In my mind there's a letter Eça de Queirós wrote when he was in Newcastle complaining about that water-impregnated weather of the British Isles: "É o clima, é a horrível hostilidade exterior da Natureza [...] que faz com que esta raça viva sempre dentro de si mesma, e, em lugar de tomar como objecto de contemplação e de inspiração a natureza exterior, tome a sua própria alma". I guess I'm a bit spleenetic today, but departing from the gentle rain I long for some contemplation in the warm, comfortable seclusion of home.

I'm happy the rain came...

Quote: Eça de Queirós, Correspondência, vol. 1, INCM, 1983, p. 92.

15 de novembro de 2007

What if men cry?

I got the idea for this post because of the national campaign "Os Homens Também Choram" promoted by the association Viver e Vencer, an association dealing with victims of breast cancer. The victims are obviously women, but what we tend to forget is that, even though this is a female problem, there are countless men behind these women: their husbands, companions, fathers, sons, brothers, male friends, lovers (let's not be cynical here). One thing in common: they are all suffering!

At long last an association reminds society that it is time to help men that are in pain and do not know how to deal with it. They also need psychological support to face this disease. They also need people that listen to them. They also need to know they are not alone. And yes, what if they cry? Are they less men for that? (I still remember when Dad cried). And they shouldn't be crying alone. They shouldn't be hiding the pain.

Of course that "os homens também choram" is a cliché too much too used. It wouldn't be my choice of words if I was leading this campaign. But it serves its objective. It is there to bring awareness to a problem nobody talks about: men and a female cancer. Breast cancer kills four women each day in Portugal. Every year 1500 women will die from it. Every year there are 4000 new cases of breast cancer. How many men are also affected? How many men are there behind these women?
And do we see men in those flashy campaigns with all the stars hand in hand with the survivors? Are men interviewed because they helped a woman fight cancer? Do you see men going on tv to talk about their experience or to give their messages of hope to other women or men fighting the same war?
I think you are answering for me!

14 de novembro de 2007

It just takes a moment...

There are statistics of all kinds, for all objectives possible, to tell the truth and to justify lies. They are raw or manipulated, they are political or politicised, they're used by dictators and democracy-lovers alike, they are sometimes trusted others discarded. They show and they hide. In the end they are just numbers.

This is an exercise!

If the world had a population of 100 people, the proportions for our own world would be:
Population according to continent
61 Asians, 13 Africans, 12 Europeans, 8 North-Americans, 5 South-Americans, 1 Australasian.
Population according to religious preference
33 Christian (of all creeds), 18 Muslim, 14 Hindu, 6 Budhist, 16 non-religious, 13 other religions
Living standards and conditions
43 have no access to sanitation
18 have no access to fresh water
6 people own 59% of all richness
13 are hungry
14 don't know how to read and write
7 have secondary education
12 have a pc
3 have internet connection
1 adult is HIV positive
9 are disabled
18 live with $1 per day
53 live with $2 per day
If you have a bank account you are one of of the 30 richest in the world
If you have a bed, a closet, a refrigerator and a house you are richer than 75% of the population
Investment in this country of 100 people:
$1.12 trillion in armament
$1oo billion in development

It's just another statistic... So, why does this still surprise me?
(http://www.miniature-earth.com/ - the movie is quite impressive)

13 de novembro de 2007

Spittin' "fres" and "fes"

This is a true story. I think you'll get the point.

Back in the 1980s:

Sis (who was a very precocious blonde) should be about 8 or 9 and was talking enthusiastically of her PE teacher:
"Onofe this, Onofe that, blablabla, Onofe".
"Onofe?! Where did you hear that name? It's O-no-fre!" - said Mum, who was always the correcting kind.
"Mummy dear (this was before the dahh era!), it's O-no-fe, because I heard people say guindastre and I know it is guindaste!
Mum (one of those blondes with answers for everything) paralysed at the brilliance of her daughter (well, I confess I paralysed too to see Mum paralysed)!


As all good blond bimbos I also think that there's nothing better to relieve stress than a nice workout. And so, in one of my regular incursions to the gym, I was met by this overwhelming notice pined up in all four walls of the changing room: "Favor deixar os cacifres abertos. Pel'A Gerência" and the accompanying signature to make the thing official and commanding.
"Cacifres?!" I was in the treadmill and all I could think was "cacifres", I was doing my share of pump ups and my mind revolved around "cacifres", even the pain of abdominals was nothing compared to the pang in my head screaming "cacifres".
When I finished my session I was a determined woman. I was on a rescuing mission and my sanity depended on that. The Portuguese language I was once forced to learn was agonising in those public walls. And so, a bit like George Bush, I went and talked to God!
And God was the head supervisor of the receptionists at the gym.
"Cacifres?! Oh m'am what a mistake! I'll make sure it gets corrected immediately!"
I went home with a relieving sense of accomplishment: I had done the world of words a public good!
Next time I went to the gym I was received by a proud sign all in super bold saying: "Por favor deixar os cacifes abertos", and again signed and stamped with all pomp and circumstance by the management. I crumbled to my feet... I admit I gave up. I had talked to God and God failed me. I couldn't make God correct yet another mistake. Who was I to imply God had erred again?
For reasons not worth mentioning I stopped going to that gym some months later.

This day and age:

Also for reasons not worth mentioning, I returned now to that same gym. Surprise, surprise... my dear sign was waiting for me...

In two years nobody bothered that there's no such thing as "cacifes", either that or Mum's efforts to educate me were in vain. The issue is, we, no, no, let me correct this, some supreme entity is talking about making some linguistic arrangements that, by the looks of it, will have to be legislated. What wonderful thing, coersive legislation to make us speak better when we are still fighting alarming percentages of illiteracy? Aren't priorities a bit inverted? We are talking about linguistic purism when we should be concentrating on the basics. Am I seeing all this wrong?

11 de novembro de 2007

Norman Mailer, Jan. 31, 1923 - Nov. 10, 2007

Norman Mailer was one of those writers that took literature by storm and then went and did the same in the field of journalism, taking it to literary heights. He was there in the 60s when everything happened. He was there with Tom Wolfe and Truman Capote when they all began experimenting a strange mix of literature in journalism, or journalism in literature.
Everybody knows Mailer as the author of The Naked and the Dead (1948) about his experience as a sargeant in the Philippines during WWII. Everybody knows he won, not one, but two Pulitzer Prizes and everybody knows he was a militant activist all throughout his life. He raised his voice against the Vietnam War back in the 60s and in the 80s he was bold enough to say that the Soviet Union was not the Cold War monster everybody thought but a weakening Third World country whose only power was the power of fear.
I, on my part, would like, today, one day after his demise, remember him for his great journalism, a New Journalism (as was baptised by Tom Wolfe) that we now call Literary Journalism. This new journalism that he used in Armies of the Night (1968) and in The Executioner's Song (1979), the first about the Vietnam War, the second about an execution in Utah, is naturally based on in-depth reporting, but it reads like a novel to an extent that we, the readers, no longer can separate fact from fiction. It is real events portrayed under the light of literature.

Mailer deserves his statute, one he won during his long life of controversy, and the one he will get post-mortem. I honour him for the journalist he was. RIP.

9 de novembro de 2007

When Higher means Lower

Yesterday at the opening ceremony of the academic year at Universidade de Lisboa, the Rector, Dr. António Nóvoa (Dr. in an English meaning), made some serious remarks that I'm forced to admit I totally subscribe.

We all know that education costs money. It's a right all citizens have it's true, but it is a very expensive right. And higher education is obviously the costliest. How can we have a high-skilled professional without investment? And then, of course, society expects that the investment made in an individual can be paid up by the amount of skilled work performed by that same individual.

We also know that as far as things go in Portuguese academia the panorama is not that bright. There is chronic lack of investment (I still remember in my student's years that a certain leftist government had a passion for education, but, as in all passion cases, it vanished away quite quickly into a state of married apathic bliss), universities don't have the means to keep the brightest researchers, cases of brain drain are hugely common in Portugal, and the facilities of universities themselves (some exceptions made) are not at all inviting.

And so this government starts investing massively in protocols with some quite reputed foreign universities. Nothing wrong there. I'm all in favour of protocols and besides we live in a globalised world and we can't be left out on our own (the proudly alone situation doesn't benefit anyone). But I have to agree with the Rector of Clássica. There's no money to invest indoors, but it's ok to invest outdoors before our own problems are, at least minimally, dealt with. Ironic, isn't it?

7 de novembro de 2007


Enough is enough!

I'm here minding my own business and the sirens are on again! They've been like this since the weekend. It's another bloody fire! Today when I was driving to work the news on the radio was: "Seis incêndios ainda lavram...", when I was driving back from work, the news awas again: "Fogos nos distritos de xpto...". I am at home and there go the firefighters again. I'm really pissed off!

One of the marvels of English is that there is a name for this. It is called ARSON! In Portuguese I believe we only have the verbal form: "incendiar" or "deitar fogo a". Well in English, ARSON is to deliberately set property on fire with the intention of destroying it. It's a crime, of course. And those who make it are arsonists. In Portuguese we have the "incendiários" and, if language doesn't fail me, there is also "pirómanos", correct me if I'm wrong. Well, the thing is, when are we going to seriously start thinking that these "incendiários" are really a danger to society? And stop thinking that they are just ignorant lumberjacks wanting easy profit or poor illiterate people of low socioeconomic background that we should feel sorry for?

You destroy the forests, you should get justice for it!

Sorry, I'm really furious and not thinking clearly!

6 de novembro de 2007

Before the Winter...

I'm always complaining about this country, always pointing the finger at what I think is wrong, always saying we're ruled by a bunch of morons, that I often forget the wonderful things this country has to offer and that make me realise (to my great surprise, trust me) I'm a first class patriot when I'm abroad and missing the light of Lisbon.
Where else would we find a sky like this in November?
This picture was taken a few minutes ago and the sky is so bright and clear, so deep, it makes us want to get lost in it or just spend hours looking at it and daydreaming (if only we could afford that in our busy lives...).
And where else would we baptise this atmospheric phenomenon of having a few sunny days before Winter strikes as "Verão de S. Martinho"? The English call it Indian Summer, but what is that compared to the poetics in "St. Martin's Summer"? And all the allusions to the miracle performed by the saint in sharing his cloak with a shivering beggar? It had to be here!
By this time of the year, Mum used to tell us the story of St. Martin and the beggar and each year it had new colours, a touch of novelty about it. Winter was coming ferocious and cold, but before that there was the Sun it its remaining glory and then all Nature would fall asleep.
Sometimes it is good to remember the cliché that "all good things in life are for free" and that this blessed sky is ours to the envy of the world.

To Mum. In Memoriam.

3 de novembro de 2007

I could hardly believe it / When I heard the news "yesterday"...

I had to come and write in on the blog!

Yeah, yeah, the intro was taken from an interstelar hit by Michael Bolton (hey, who are you to judge me for liking the man now that he has a nice hair cut?). Music aside, I've been on an abstinence of news for the last month or so and suddenly ("life has new meaning to me" - this is Lionel Richie, ooch it's getting worse!) BANG! I turned in to a news channel at eightish in the evening and there it was this colossal news.

Some smart a... had the amasing idea that cars should have a coloured label indicating that their drivers were: a) red meaning dangerous, b) orange meaning kinda-sorta public menaces or c) green meaning Sunday drivers behaving like choir boys and girls with not a bump in their vehicles. And the smart a... jack said this was "positive discrimination", end of quote.

Just lovely! I guess this is, first and foremost, a question of bad grammar. I mean, you have an adjective plus a noun, right? Now, adjectives qualify nouns, correct? And are meaningless without them, yes? So, if you say "positive", some curious guy's gonna ask: "Positive what"? And you have to answer: "Discrimination"! Get it? It's always... exactly: discrimination. It doesn't work in the USA, how would it work here on the other side of the Atlantic pond?

Second, where would that idea leave me? I was hit once by a tractor in reverse gear at the ultrasonic speed of 3km/h. And the whole ghastly incident, for which I was absolutely guiltless, traumatised the poor tractor driver, who was left crying his lungs out that I should have moved aside (sure, as if I had had the time!). Would I have to carry a red label because I frighten the hell out of tractor drivers? Orange because I'm somewhere in between of turning to be a traffic hazard? Green? And how about yellow? Bimbo blond driving, make way!

Oh, well, thank the Lord for small mercies that this whole ridiculous idea is going nowhere. Allelujah!