I don't know if things really surprise me or if I just like to act surprised. After a fun dinner with a bunch of students last night here at the apartment, I sat down with Asun in front of the TV to unwind for a few minutes. Antonio Banderas was on some interview program. Off screen the most I'd ever heard him speak was probably ten or fifteen minutes of chitchat at a 'meet and greet' session after one of his performances in the Broadway production "Nine". That was five or six years ago, I think. Anyway, listening to him speak last night, in Spanish of course, talking about Malaga, about politics, Spanish and international, about the US presidential campaign... I thought, man, this guy is sharp. Really sharp and extremely articulate. I knew that he's an intelligent guy, and from conversations with others who are close to him I had some sense of what he must be like, but his appearance last night was fascinating. Such was his sophistication that after about five minutes talking about politics, one of the journalists said, "well, Antonio, I'm not going to ask you about politics because I don't want you to take our jobs away..." Surprise? The Hollywood image of the 'guapo', the latin lover, is just that, an image. He had some pretty insightful comments on a range of different topics. Speaking of TV, it's funny how things work out. In the US about the only TV I watch is baseball, and the occasional movie. It would never occur to me to put on Fox News. But it turns out Fox is the one American news network we get on our lineup here, so I've put it on a few times. Wow! And they complain about the "liberal media"? These guys are completely over the top. Surprise? What's even more irritating are the the constant advertisements framed as news. I don't know if they are so blatant about it on the domestic feed; maybe it's because here they don't cut to the "normal" US product advertising. In any case, a few samples of that were enough for me. A, yes, surprising news source here is the French TV English language channel. I find it better and more sophisticated than the BBC. Who would have guessed that France, source of hysterical complaining about cultural imperialism, the corroding effect of English, etc., would come up with this fanastic news channel. In English! And one more thing: it looks like we're going to have rain for a second day in a row. That's a surprise!

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