Adiós Catalonia

It’s been thirty-eight years since I rambled around Ramblas, twice on vacation from Vienna. It’s pretty much the main street of downtown Barcelona, a wide thoroughfare mainly for walking and eating and being seen. A central promenade flanked by two narrow, one-way streets on either side for vehicles like delivery trucks and such, the left one going down the street towards the Christopher Columbus statue, and the right one going up to Plaza Catalunia. All along are cafes and shops of every kind, and on the promenade part are occasional carts selling books, flowers, birds and tourist miscellanea.
This is where I attended a small and short riot one night about 9:00PM – police in vans against marchers armed with Molotov cocktails and Socialist Workers Brigade banners. The marchers came chanting down one of the narrow side-streets and flooded onto the promenade, spreading their banners and making the usual Socialist noise – you could tell by the cadence who they were, but the banners helped. Local Spaniards seeing this scattered and ran down the streets like a flock of birds, ladies pushing baby carriages, men in suits running. The Police showed up to contain the demonstration, driving their trucks straight up onto the walking area. One group furled its banner and went up into a building, to emerge on the roof-deck waving the banner and throwing Molotov cocktails down at the police vans. Four or five flaming missiles in all. I ducked into a shop doorway to observe, and was joined by an excited Swiss guy who exclaimed he had been shot (at) by the Police. He wanted me to check his eye where a fragment of a rubber bullet had ricocheted. He had a minor red mark on his cheek and was basically OK, but insisted, “They can’t do this to me, I’m Swiss!” After the excitement had died down and the people had re-emerged, we went into a bar for a shot of cognac and espresso – an early Spanish precursor to Red Bull and Vodka. It was an exciting night.
And I’ll probably never return.

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Pathways to Artificial Memory #2

Thinking back, the misuse and misdirection of some Education efforts really didn’t have to descend to actual lies – especially about Mathematics. It was more easily done with a Skinner-Box of guinea-pigs who were lead to outright confusion and substitution: SMSG. Teach you a “method” that’s patently illogical, incomprehensible, and idiotic – and when it fails to stick in the minds of its young subjects at least a residue of doubt and mistrust is left behind. Then teach a class in the uses of statistics to mislead, and the final solution is inevitable right on up to the ridiculous meme of, “Everybody creates their own reality.”