Category Archives: Thoughts

World Cup 2006 – Now that we’ve seen all the teams…

This is how I would classify the different teams

Candidates to win the WC: Brazil, Spain, Czech Republic and Germany.

Brazil obviously is everyone’s favorite, although they didn’t have a great game against Croatia. Spain smashed Ukraine and has a very strong team, with very young players on the attack. The Czechs are not a surprise: they’ve been playing really well in the past few years and they are ranked #2 by the FIFA. Germany is a candidate because they are playing home. I think that under different conditions, Germany wouldn’t be a favorite.

Teams that will make it to quarter finals: England, Argentina, Netherlands and Italy.

Everyone knows these are four very strong teams but none had a spectacular first game. But if they improve for the next matches, they are definitely candidates to win the WC.

Teams that will have a very good WC: Ecuador, México, Cote d’Ivoire and Australia

If there is going to be a surprising team this year, it has to come out of this list. These are four very solid and great teams, but not as good as to win the WC.

Big disappointments: Ukraine, Paraguay, USA, France, Sweden

I had a lot of expectations about Ukraine. They were the first European team to qualify to the WC and they didn’t lose a single match during qualifying. And they have Shevchenko one of the best soccer players in the world. However they looked terrible against Spain. They have an easy group with Saudi Arabia and Tunes, so they might recover and make it to the next round.

With Sweden I also had high expectations, especially because of their strong attack with Larson and Ibrahimovic, but they couldn’t win the game against Trinidad & Tobago. I do recognize that T&T played an amazing game but I though that Sweden will be beating them easily.

Finally USA, Paraguay and France played a terrible first game. I don’t think USA has a chance to advance to the next round since they are in one of the toughest groups. Paraguay doesn’t seem to have strong team. They played horrible against England. I think France on the other hand can put it together and make it to the next round, since their group is not too difficult.

Depenalize abortion

Yesterday the Colombian senate decided to de-penalize abortion in one of the following three situations:

  1. The pregnancy occurred because the mother was rapped.
  2. The fetus is malformed
  3. There is risk for the mother to die during the pregnancy.

The Catholic Church in Colombia announced to be against the de-penalization and threat to excommunicate the senators. I think the Catholic Church is pathetic.

I think abortion should be completely de-penalized. A woman is free to decide what to do with her own body. Neither the state nor the church, should tell her what to do.

However the fact that I support de-penalizing abortion doesn’t mean that I support abortion. If I’m ever asked to decide whether a woman should have an abortion or not, I would say no unless there is #3-situation (There is risk for the mother to die during the pregnancy).

This is similar to my position with respect to drugs: I’m pro legalizing drugs but I don’t use drugs and I never will. But everyone should be free to decide whether to have or not an abortion, to consume or not drugs, and that’s a personal decision that nobody should make for you.

Spanish version – Despenalización del aborto
Ayer el senado de la república de Colombia, decidió despenalizar el aborto si sucede una de las siguientes tres situaciones:

  1. La madre quedó embarazada víctima de una violación
  2. El feto sufre malformaciones
  3. La madre corre el riesgo de morir por culpa del embarazo.

La iglesia en Colombia se pronunció en contra de la medida y amenazó con excomulgar a los magistrados. Creo que la iglesia es cada vez más patética.

Mi opinión es que el aborto debería estar despenalizado completamente. Una mujer es dueña de su propio cuerpo y unicamente ella debe poder decidir si se practica o no un aborto. Ni el estado, ni la iglesia tienen porque opinar al respecto.

Sin embargo que yo esté de acuerdo con la despenalización, no implica que esté de acuerdo con el aborto. Si en alguna situación yo estuviera enfrentado a tomar la decisión de abortar o no, por una mujer que se encuentra inhabilitada para tomar la decisión, a menos que fuera el caso 3 (La madre corre el riesgo de morir por culpa del embarazo), no pediría el aborto.

Es un caso parecido a la legalización de las drogas: estoy de acuerdo con la legalización (despenalizar la producción y el consumo) de estas, pero nunca las consumiré. Creo que cada quien tiene derecho a decidir si aborta o no, si consume drogas o no, y es una decisión personal que a nadie debería incumbir.

Four years in Austin at National Instruments

On November 3rd of 2001 I moved to Austin, Texas to start a new stage of my life, to write a new chapter. The 23+ years I spent in Medellín since the day I was born were over. Actually it sounds more dramatic than what actually was: I was very excited with the challenge of working in Austin for National Instruments.

I won’t forget the night I arrived at Austin’s Bergstorm Airport where Diego Reyes, Claudia Lorente and JR Allen were waiting for me. They took me to eat at T.G. Fridays and I think I ordered a hamburguer. The day after was a Sunday and Diego took me to IBM’s campus where we played soccer. That day I met Alejandro del Castillo, Marcos Kirsch and other guys but I don’t remember that afternoon very well. Who would have though that 4 years later I was going to be part of the NI Eagles playing in Austin’s first division?

The day after (monday) I went with Diego, JR and Russell to see a U2 concert at the Frank Erwing center in Austin. It was one of the best concerts ever! (and the one I have payed more money for: $85!). Since that concert I have seen several other bands like Metallica, Chemical Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, Franz Ferndinand, Coldplay, Amigos Invisibles, Café Tacvba (4 times), Control Machete (2 times), Molotov (2 times), Andrea Echeverry, Panda, Jumbo, Plastilina Mosh (2 times), Ely Guerra, Jaguares, El Tri, Carlos Vives, …

Since I moved to Austin, I’ve done some nice trips inside the state of Texas (Big bend park, Houston, Dallas, Forth Worth, San Antonio), inside the USA (New Orleans, New York, Boston, Washington DC and Miami) and trips to México (Monterrey, Puebla, Los Cabos San Lucas and La Paz Baja California). Some of those trips have been weddings: Pilar (Miami), Jerónimo (La Paz) and Alejandro (Puebla).

The list of friends I have made in Austin is very long, but I’ll try to not forget anybody:

Aaron Kennedy
Abner Guzman
Adriana Coronado & Robert & Anabella
Alejandro (Chileno)
Alejandro Asenjo
Alejandro del Castillo
Alejandro Muleiro & Miriam
Alejandro Zepeda & Sayuri Yamanaca & Santiago
Alice Malisia
Allison
Alma Flores
Ana Yepes
Anabel Rodriguez
Anders Meister
André Oliveira
Andrés Marcos
Andrés Salvador
Anette Perez
Angel Ortega
Anna Nogar
Antonio Lie
Arnulfo
Arturo Karakowsky & Debbie
Arturo Quezada
Betty Jacobs
Blazios Valenzuela
Byron Radle
Camilo Coronado
Carlos Guzman
Carlos León
Carlos Marchani
Carlos Martinez
Carlos Wollestein
Christine
Claudia Knez
Claudia Lorente
Cristina
Daniel Domene
Daniel Elizalde
Daniel Klein
Daniel Robbins
Daniela Islas
David Levinson
Dawn Crowder
Dawn H.
Diego Correa
Diego Funes & Roxana
Diego Reyes
Don Filemón
Eddie
Edgar Ceron & Diana
El Saya
Eugenio Bernal
Eva Noyola
Fabiola de la Cueva
Fernando Dominguez
Forrito & Pingorocho
Geoff H.
Gricha Raether
Gustavo Castro & Lucy
Gustavo Valdez
Helga y David
Hugo Andrade
Ingrid & Chantal
Integration Services guys
Jack & Yossi
Javier Olea
Jeremiah Cox
Jerónimo Mota & Daniela
Jorge Quintero
Jose Euclides Correa & Patricia de la Lanza & Diego
JR Allen
Juan Reyes & Sandra Ojeda
Julia Dinolfo & Ron Harrison
Julia Gallego
Juliana Vélez
Justin Britten & Julie
Karen Mustard
Leslie Cochran
Lorena
Los Chicos Mairmaids
Luis Navarro
Manolo
Manuel Lopez
Marcos Kirsch
Maricio Capistran
Maripaz García
Midori
Mike Hall
Miriam Fraga
Moises Kirsch
Nathan Finkelstein
Nestor Ceron & Lyla Amature
Nestor Sanchez
Nik Walch
NI Eagles guys
Nora Tucker
Orly
Paco Nieto
Paula Lorente
Paulina Salmón
Paulo Muleiro
People from ACA
Phil Hindman
Pilar Vélez & David
Rafael Castro
Raffaele Cetrulo
Rajesh Vaidja
Ricardo Vanegas
Sambica
Sammy Pizzo
Sandra
Sari
Sofia T
Sofía de la Lanza
Stephen Osella
Tom Makowski
Tomer Feingold
Vanessa León
Victor Gardado
Victor Lubosbaski
Victor Mieres

Actually this people don’t really know me, but I got the list from Marcos’ address book. 🙂

Ok, I want to write more stuff here but I’m on my way to downtown on saturday night, so I’ll finish this later!

Anyway, cheers for all the good things that Austin had brought and for an equally great future.

Re-election aproved in Colombia

Yesterday the Colombian Constitutional Court has approved the immediate presidential the re-election, which implies that present president Alvaro Uribe Vélez, can be a candidate for the presidential elections of the 2006.

This produces me joy and preoccupation at the same time.

The good thing is that the present president has great acceptance rating in the country. During his mandate he has maintained popularity index around 60-70% being the highest for a Colombian president in many years. He has highest index at the moment in Latin America where there are cases like president Toledo in Peru with a 6%. So I think it is good that a popular president stays in the government. Another reason is that the policies of security of the present government, have managed to reduce the high indexes of criminality, insecurity, drug trafficking and violence that affected the country for many years. The electoral period in Colombia is only 4 years which is insufficient compared with the 40 years that the guerrillas have been around. Thus a period of 8 years can at least be more beneficial.

In general Colombia is better today than for 4 years. People’s confidence in the country is back. Foreign investors are looking back at Colombia. It is not common anymore to see Colombians leaving the country because of the violence. And if we can be better than today in 4 years, wonderful!

The goals for president Uribe, if he gets reelected, must be: total disarmament of armed groups (guerrilla and paramilitary) and eradication of the drug trafficking. If this happens, it is possible to think of electing a more humanist and philanthropic president for the next period. Somebody like Antanas Mokus.

But I also believe that approving re-election is a bad thing. I consider that Colombian democracy is not sufficiently mature to assume the challenges that a re-election implies. Reelect Uribe today is good. But what if Andrés Pastrana or Ernesto Samper has had a chance to be candidates for re-election in their time? What if a bad president has the political and economic machinery necessary to win a re-election? Does this sound familiar to you? (U.S.A.)

I also don’t like the example that Uribe is giving with the whole re-election process. Basically he demonstrated that any president can modify the constitution of the country for his own benefit.

It’s already too late and the re-election has been approved. If it had been up to me I would have done things differently. The president Uribe from the beginning of his mandate should have look for his successor. Somebody who keeps the same line of thought. Somebody with his character and determination. And make sure that Colombians understand that this person would continue the processes and projects initiated in his period. Basically Uribe needed to look for another Uribe different than himself. Worse case if he cannot find another Uribe he could have chosen a puppet as president with him being the puppeteer and publicly recognize it so that people supported his puppet knowing that the president was really him.

But there is nothing to do now. The damage to the constitution is already done so I hope that Uribe gets reelected; that way all this wasn’t done in vain.

Reelección aprobada en Colombia

El día de ayer, la Corte Constitucional Colombiana ha aprobado la reelección presidencial inmediata, lo cual implica que el actual presidente Álvaro Uribe Vélez, puede postularse para las elecciones presidenciales del 2006.

Esta noticia me produce en parte alegría y en parte preocupación.

Lo bueno es que el presidente actual tiene gran aceptación en el país. Durante su mandato ha mantenido índices de popularidad al rededor del 60-70% siendo los más altos para un presidente colombiano en muchos años y siendo los más altos actualmente en Latinoamérica donde hay casos como el presidente Toledo en Perú con un 6%. Así que es bueno que un presidente que es querido por su pueblo, siga en el mandato. Lo otro es que las políticas de seguridad del gobierno actual, han logrado reducir los altos índices de criminalidad, inseguridad, narcotráfico y violencia que por muchos años se han vivido en el país. Sin embargo el período electoral de 4 años con el que cuentan los presidentes, es insuficiente comparado con los 40 años que tienen las guerrillas en existencia. Así al menos un período de 8 años puede ser más provechoso.

En general, Colombia está mejor hoy, que hace 4 años. De nuevo se respira confianza. De nuevo hay interés en el país por parte de los inversionistas extranjeros. Ya no es tan común ver Colombianos huyendo del país por causa de la violencia. Y si dentro de 4 años podemos estar mejor, sería maravilloso.

Las metas del presidente Uribe, si es reelegido, deben ser: desmovilización total de los grupos armados (guerrilla y paramilitares) y erradicación del narcotráfico. Si esto sucede, se puede pensar en elegir un presidente más humanista y filántropo para un próximo periodo. Alguien del corte de Antanas Mokus.

Pero también creo que es malo que la reelección haya sido aprobada. Considero que la democracia Colombiana no está lo suficientemente madura para asumir los retos que implica una reelección. Reelegir a Uribe hoy es bueno. ¿Pero que tal que Andrés Pastrana o Ernesto Samper hubieran podido postularse para la reelección en su tiempo? ¿Qué tal que un presidente malo llegue al poder, y tenga la maquinaria política y económica necesarias para ganar una reelección? ¿Les suena familiar (EEUU)?

Adicionalmente, no me gusta el ejemplo que está dando Uribe con la reelección. Básicamente esta demostrando que cualquier presidente puede modificar la constitución del país en pro de su beneficio.

Ya es demasiado tarde y la reelección ha sido aprobada. Sin embargo yo hubiera hecho las cosas diferentes. El presidente Uribe desde el comienzo de su mandato debió buscar su sucesor. Alguien que conserve su misma línea de pensamiento. Alguien con su mismo carácter y determinación. Y hacerle entender al pueblo colombiano, que esta persona seguiría los mismos procesos y proyectos iniciados en su período. Básicamente Uribe debió buscar otro Uribe, que no fuera él mismo. Y dado el caso de que no existiera otro Uribe en el país, podría haber elegido un títere, para él seguir siendo el titiritero tras bambalinas. Y reconocerlo públicamente para que la gente le diera su apoyo al títere.

En últimas ya no hay nada que hacer. El daño a la constitución ya está hecho, así que solo queda esperar a que Uribe sí sea reelegido, para que todo esto no haya sido en vano.

Paranoia de aquello imposible que tal vez fuere…

Esta joya me la encontré viendo archivos viejos en mi computadora del trabajo…

Paranoia de aquello imposible que tal vez fuere…

No se, todo comenzó como una idea, un hito sin flujo. Los retrazados lo pedían a gritos, sin embargo nadie podía contener la inercia de tanta vanidad. En aquel dia las campañas y aquellos seres inanimados que insinuan sonidos y gritos desmedidos, pensaron que todo seria de una vez por todas diferente. Pero se equivocaban. La maldita metafora seguía inmutable y nada parecía cambiar. Todo seguía inerte, tanto como el primer dia… el día en que todo comenzó a carecer de sentido.

Según el invierno, aquel no podía ser otra cosa que lo que nunca quiso ser. Es decir, todo lo que se había tejido al rededor suyo, no era más que una máscara de su propia emancipación. No era para menos. Estaba loco y no podía ver más allá de sus narices.

De allí que nunca se volvieron a escuchar sus quejidos y lamentos. De allí que prefiere sentarse en esa banca del parque a contemplar atardeceres y basura caminante, en vez de estar en medio de su propio suburbio intelectual. Y no es para menos… y no es para menos.

Abril 16 de un año cualquiera, a las 6 menos cuarto de la tarde…

Y se concluye: Demasiado trabajo y estrés te convierten en un idiota…

100% de acuerdo con la conclusión.

To World Cup or not to World Cup?

The south american qualifiers for the World Cup Germany 2006 are getting hotter. Argentina has already qualified. Brasil and Ecuador are almost qualified. And the battle for 4th and 5th position is between Paraguay, Colombia, Chile and Uruguay. Venezuela still has options while Peru and Bolivia are eliminated now.

Check the standings here.

Colombia wasn’t doing very well, but in the last two games, we beat Peru 5-0 and Ecuador 3-0. Today Colombia is in 5th position and if the qualifiers were done, we would have to play against the winner of Oceania to qualify.

The important matter is that the idea of traveling to Germany in the summer of 2006 is in my mind again. I just hope Colombia makes it to the World Cup.

Don't mess with Texas?

I wanted to write something about the slogan “Don't mess with Texas” for a long time.

To me is a very aggressive and unfriendly slogan. Don't get me wrong. I'm in favor of having campaigns and slogans to prevent littering. But I just think that you have many options to do it, and being aggressive is my last choice.

Why not:

“Make Texas happy… keep it clean!”

I'm not a marketing expert, but you get the idea.

I just think is very sad, that people that come to Texas driving from other state, get a very “warm” welcome with that stupid slogan.

According to the Don't mess with Texas official web site, this is their explanation of the slogan:

“Don't Mess with Texas is the tough-talking litter prevention campaign sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The campaign reminds Texans to keep their trash in the car and off our roads.”

Can't you do nice-talking first? If that doesn't work, then you can do the tough-talking… is just like those preemptive wars… bullshit!