"La patria Tía Abuela"
My friend José Luis Rénique has wished me an enjoyable stay in la Madre Patria -- the ¨"mother homeland" -- meaning Spain, of course. José Luis is from Peru, and he and I communicate in Spanish, but it's not my mother tongue. For me Spain is more of an adopted great aunt (tía abuela) than a mother. And I am a sobrino de crianza.

I want to say more about Spain, especially the fortunes of its Socialist Party (very high right now) and its Communists (much lower, but complicated) and how this red province (Almería was the last province to succumb to Franco in 1939) views its combative past. But that will be a future blog.
"Iraqi Freedom"
Walking up the narrow cobblestone calle Sorbas here in Carboneras, the little (pop. 6,000) village in Spain where my compañera & I have been hanging out this month, I was startled to see the slogan "Iraqi Freedom" emblazoned on the black T-shirt of a man who would be central casting's idea of the American soldier. Wow! Was he so proud of that mayhem that he was willing to defy overwhelming Spanish public opinion condemning it?

Actually, of course, we are all for Iraqi freedom -- and the quicker the US gets out of there, the quicker Iraqis may be able to construct it. My suspicion though is that the blond man in the T-shirt thinks that freedom is the same thing as being occupied by foreign troops. That's as crazy an idea as imagining that "democracy" can be imposed by a foreign power, or that "sovereignty" can be limited. But alas, the US has declared itself an outlaw nation, outside the Geneva convention, rules against torture, and the jurisdiction of the world court. Somebody ought to call the cops. Problem is, the US armed forces ARE the cops.
Fe de errata
This correction just in:
Mr. Fox --

You may be interested to know that in your 11/21/03 posting you confused Bob Gottlieb, former editor of The New Yorker, with the literary agent Robert Gottlieb.
They are two different people. Given the quote you mistakenly attribute to Bob Gottlieb, I might suggest that you appear to have unfairly maligned him.

I apologize to both Gottliebs for my confusing them, and thank this correspondent for pointing it out, but I don't see that anybody was maligned. Check for yourself the original blog, in the Archive (left side of this screen), 2003/11/21.