Archive for February, 2011

Spanish Burrito: Eating Donkey in Cantabria

February 12, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain

Donkey Frame BreakToday I was invited to participate in an annual event in the Cantabrian mountains, a private donkey eating feast. As I understand it, because their numbers are dwindling, eating donkey is “officially prohibited” in Spain, but apparently it is not very well enforced, and even policemen have taken part in the event in past years. The donkey, I was told, was between one and two years old and was slaughtered humanely a week before the event and the meat was frozen to soften the strong flavors.

The event began as a get together for a local bowling club (a special local style of bowling, not ten-pin), but as the years went by various members stopped going and their numbers waned, so they started inviting friends of the original members. After ten years or so, the original bowling club members make up only a tiny fraction of the attendees. Today there were 34 of us. It was only men, for unspoken reasons. I was invited by my friend, Andrés, and I subsequently invited my father-in-law.

Good Night! Good Morning!

February 12, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Videos

Good Night, Good Morning (screencap)At the moment I am at that fascinating stage of parenting where my child is just starting to use her imagination to act out parts of her daily life as play. One of her favorite acting games of late is to pretend that she’s going to bed in her playhouse, where she lies down and then gets up like it’s morning and time to get up. It has also been a good time to practice her bedtime vocabulary.

Whether from tradition or superstition, Nora’s Spanish family tends to append a “si dios quiere” onto the end of their “see you tomorrow” sentiments, and Nora has picked up on that, although she says it more like “do quiere“. And she pronounces “See you tomorrow” as “See you mononorrow”.


Social Networking Causes

February 10, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Internet

Facebook ExclamationRant alert! I’m really sick and tired of seeing “[Your Name] likes I’m against children getting cancer and dying painful deaths on Causes” on Facebook. Really? You really thought that you needed to share that with me? Thereby implying that if I don’t click “like”, that I am, indeed, in favor of childhood cancer, or domestic violence, or female genital mutilation, or rapists, or serial killers, or autism, or cerebral palsy, or pedophiles, etc. Good freakin’ grief, people! What good does it do to post that you are in favor of a morally unambiguous “cause” on a social network? What? Tell me!

And another thing…while I’m on my high horse…

The Perfect Dirty Joke

February 09, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Spain

DIY Underpants Sewing: PurpleQ: Why do Chinese women have two holes in their underpants?

While you ponder that question, let me explain a bit about where I first heard it. I was on a walk around town with my father-in-law, stopping occasionally in a bar to have a glass of wine. The new Japanese restaurant had just opened, and he said, “Hey, why don’t we try out the Chinese place?” One thing I’ve learned from living in Denmark and Spain is that very ethnically homogenous cultures have a very strong sense of “us vs. them” when it comes to immigrants and foreigners in general. In Spain, anyone from Japan, Laos, Korea or Vietnam is considered “Chinese”. Keep in mind that, in Spain, even white collar workers will refer to a hard day of work as “trabajando como un negro“, i.e. “working like a black man”. There’s not a lot of political correctness in Iberia…yet.


Nora’s First Pigtails

February 03, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Pigtails (crop)Today Nora experienced a new first: pigtails! Nora’s friend, Ana, at the local supermarket has been working more or less ever since Nora came home from the hospital towards gaining her confidence. A fortnight ago, she managed to put a hairpin in Nora’s hair, and today she successfully gave Nora two pigtails, called coletas in Spanish.

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Socialism and Liberal Morals

February 02, 2011 By: erik Category: Politics, Spain

I live in a country where the two dominant parties are The Socialist Workers’ Party and The People’s Party, both of which would be regarded as immorally Communist by half of my countrymen (the third place is The United Left!). With decent unemployment benefits and almost free healthcare to all, even the far right Spanish politicians are to the left of most Democrats in the United States.

By becoming a parent, I have been introduced to a lot of Spain’s socialist help-the-poor policies. Simply by procreating, my wife and I were eligible for 2,500€ “baby check” in government funds, a measure introduced in 2007 (and scrapped in 2011) to try to raise Spain’s birthrate. My region of Cantabria provides additional subsidies for child-bearers.


February 01, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos

Maggie Video  FrameI am very much enjoying how social networking and blogging is allowing me to follow the development of my friends’ kids. Of particular interest is Maggie, the daughter of a high school and college friend of mine who was born eight days before Nora. On the development front, Nora has totally schooled Maggie on hair growth, but Maggie has been ahead of Nora in just about every other category, from crawling to walking to speaking, although I, of course, make bilingual excuses for Nora’s language development. Nora met Maggie last April, shortly after their first birthdays.

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