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Barcelona at A Shadow of the Wind
I can’t help but think of the recent terrorist attack at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. What a tragedy. How can someone or a group do something like that? I have very fond memories of Barcelona. The visits I made, the books I read. I remember very well a book whose story takes place in Barcelona. “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. Gee how I like this book, I was introduced to it by my wife. It features mystery, history, crime and even comedy, but mainly it has all to do with Barcelona. I read this book in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Just to give you an idea how much I liked the book. “The Shadow of the Wind” whose story span from the beginning to the end of the last century, shows Barcelona as it was and talks about the Passeig de Gràcia, Avinguda Diagonal, Sagrada Familia, Gaudi, Passeig de Colom, Avinguda del Tibidabo and especially Las Ramblas. The same Avenue in which at least 14 people died and more than 100 were injured, the vast majority tourists who don’t even live in Barcelona and may not even heard of “The Shadow of the Wind”. I can’t imagine how someone could be so devoid of heart and empathy for other human beings to plan and execute an attack like that. Anyway, we’re in a new era where we have to be prepared, where anything can happen. I want to go back to Barcelona. I want to go watch again Barcelona vs Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. I want to visit the Calle del Tibidabo, eat in one of the finest restaurants of Barcelona and above all once again feel this incredible city and demonstrate that we are not afraid of these coward terrorists.
Friend in Arawak
Much has been said on how important it is to have a friends. Real friends, those who do not care how long separated, when they meet is as they always have been together. To paraphrase the great Brazilian poet Vinicius de Morais, friend is an indispensable necessity. As far as I know all cultures recognize the friend, the importance and the need for it. I just bought in Argentina, a history book called “The 10 myths of Argentina history”. That’s because I’m very interested in history, especially history related to Spain and the conquest of America. I haven’t finished reading the book, but in the first few pages the author explains that the Arawak Indians, one of the first groups of the new continent the meet Europeans, spoke a simple language full of poetry. Caught my attention that in Arawak there wasn’t a word for friend. To describe a friend they said “my other heart”. Not even the great Vinicius de Morais could have said something so correct and so full of poetry.
Football soccer transcends wars
Football soccer is the world’s sport and fans of the game can be very passionate. FIFA, the International Federation of Football Association, is a powerful, wealthy body, and in some cases stronger than country governments. Just look at what FIFA has demanded of South Africa and more recently Brazil to “allow” these countries to host the Word Cup. As it happened in South Africa, Brazil is spending an incredible amount of money in stadiums and infrastructure and had to change local laws allowing alcoholic beverages in stadiums, in order to host the 2014 World Cup, because of FIFA marketing agreements with beer companies. But I had no idea that football soccer exceeded wars until I lived in England… [more] While living in England I travelled a lot throughout Europe and to the US and occasionally to South America and Asia. In order to go back and forth to the airport, I regularly used a car service and most of the time the same driver. Let’s call him Mike. I loved to talk to Mike. He was a little strange in his hobbies, though. He liked to watch airplanes or as one would call airplane spotting. Waiting for clients to arrive at airports, Mike used binoculars to look for aircraft registration id which is normally displayed under the wings of large airplanes. First time he told me that I was a little skeptical, but I started to believe when he showed me a thick book that listed registration ids of all airplanes ever built, where he inserted a mark for the airplanes that he had spotted. Most of the entries on the book had marks. Knowing this, I said to Mike: “You like when you spot a plane that you saw before, right?” Mike replied: “Not at all, I want to see new planes, so I can complete the book.” He said that knowing very well that he would never be able to fully complete the book since some aircraft would never land in British airports and Mike, well; he was not the type of person that travelled much to other countries. Mike knew everything about British history: The dynasties, the kings, queens, intrigues and wars. I loved to talk to Mike about that, and I learned a lot from him. However, I will never forget a conversation we had while going to Stanstead airport which was more than one hour away from my house. Mike started to tell me about William, the conqueror also known as William, the bastard, the Norman king that in 1066 conquered England and forced people in England to speak French. In one point of the narrative, Mike said: “We hate the French.” I was not surprised by that statement, since England and France have a long history of battles and wars. It is not a coincidence that the train station in London were trains from France arrive is called Waterloo. This is to remind the arriving French passengers of the famous battle were the Emperor Napoleon was defeated by British and Prussian forces. I knew of the animosity between Britain and France, but since Mike volunteered to say that the British hated the French I decided to know more about the British sentiment, I asked him: “How about the Germans?” He replied without hesitation: “We hate the Germans.” I thought for a second and then said to Mike: “I understand why you feel this way. World war I and II, bombing of London…” He interrupted me: “No, that is not it.” I was surprised and said: “What is it, then?” Mike replied: “Football soccer.” I was even more surprised and asked why. Mike explained that England and Germany played against each other frequently and that Germany ended up winning most of the matches. Because of that the Germans always put the British down which infuriates everybody in England. When he said that, I remembered that several stores in England, including super-markets used to sell all kinds of merchandise with 5×1 marks on them. I knew that the 5×1 meant that in one of the matches, England won against Germany 5 goals to 1. And the entire country is still celebrating that victory. Since Mike mentioned Germany, being a Brazilian, I was curious on how the British felt about another country and asked him: “How about the Argentinians?” He replied immediately: “We hate the Argentinians.” This also did not surprise me and I said: “I understand: the Falkland war.” He said “Not at all, football soccer.” Well, I had to understand this better and asked why. Mike simply said: “The hand of god.” Being a football soccer fan, I knew immediately what he meant. The famous goal scored by Maradona on the 1986 FIFA World Cup against England. Maradona, considered one of the best football soccer players of all time, not very tall but with a large ego, received a high ball cross in the small area near the goal, jumped to hit the ball with his head and raised his hand at the same time. He hit the ball and it went directly to the goal putting Argentina ahead. A lot of people saw and it was proved on pictures and on the videotape that Maradona scored the goal by hitting the ball with his hand, which is not permitted in football soccer, but since the referee did not see the foul, the goal was allowed. At the end of the game, when journalists asked Maradona if he had scored the goal with his hand, he replied: “Only if it was the hand of god.” This now famous statement caused two interpretations: One that the goal was scored by divine intervention and the other is that Maradona considered himself a god, something shared by a lot of Argentines, fans of the player. Everyone forgets that a few minutes after the controversial goal, Maradona scored one of the most incredible goals of his career by dribbling the entire England defense and scoring a goal while falling down, but everybody remembers the hand of god goal, particularly the British that never forgave Maradona and because of that think that most of Argentinian players are cheaters. I was puzzled by all of this and I asked Mike: “So, you are telling me that the wars do not count and your statements about hate is all about football soccer?” He replied without thinking: “That is right; it is all about football soccer.” Wars he complemented after a pause are all forgotten. After thinking for a minute, he added: “But don’t take me wrong, we still hate the French!” What I learned that day is that football soccer transcends wars, except for wars with the French!
Prostate cancer is not funny, but it could be…
I was looking for a house and while inspecting it, I noticed some water damage. I went outside to look for the source of the infiltration when I noticed the next door neighbor. I walked to his driveway, introduced myself and asked him questions about the house I was interested. Community, schools, home owner association, etc. He was very nice. I thought the guy was from India. He was thin and looked to be in good shape. I asked if he practiced yoga. He said no, but he told me that for all his life he was always thin and that he exercised regularly. And then, out of the blue, he confided to me that he had prostate cancer surgery recently and that also contributed to his current weight. What do you do you do in a situation like this? You need to show some sympathy. Right? So, I said: “Hummm…. This can really mess up one’s sex life”. How about that for sympathy? [more] He smiled agreeing, paused for a second thinking on what to say, and told me that his surgery was performed in Canada, was not intrusive and did not damage any nerve. And then with a glare in his eyes he said: “You know, the other day I even saw some movement down there”. I did the logical thing. I gave the guy a high-five. We became instant friends! He went on to clarify that he was originally from Jamaica, immigrated to the US 36 years ago and that he lived in that community since it started more than 10 years ago. He told me all the good and bad about the community and the good and bad about all other neighbors. In general, he told me that the neighbors were nice, except from the one in front of the house I was looking for. He said that the guy was a policeman (it figures), but that he had moved out recently. I asked if the community had kicked the guy out. He said no, he left by himself and that he believed the guy was not with the force any longer. Not sure the house I looked is a good fit for me and my wife, but this Jamaican guy, whom I don’t know the name, would clearly be a great neighbor to have.
Buda & Pest a Tale of Two Cities
Before accepting the invitation to go Hungary to participate in the Figyelö 2012 CIO Forum (read about it on The Practical CIO website), I did not know that Budapest was in reality two cities in one. Buda in one side of the Danube and Pest on the other. Actually Budapest consists of three cities, but nobody talks about the third one Óbuda (literally old Buda), which is located a little further north. Buda and Pest mean oven in two different languages, this is due to the fact that they sit on top of a thin crust of earth above thermal springs. As a result you can find in Budapest thermal baths that date from the Roman time. The Turks also built bath houses in Budapest during their long stay in Hungary. Buda is more than 2,000 years old while Pest was built in the last 200 years. In my short visit, I became fascinated by this beautiful city, its history and the friendly people of Budapest. Hungary, prior to world war I, was three times bigger than it is today and in the late 1800s early 1900s experienced major construction growth. Because of that and due to a law requiring 40% of a building cost to be spent in the façade, all buildings in Budapest, some renovated, some in need of repair, look magnificent. The city has several parks and plazas all filled with huge bronze statues. You can even find a seven foot bronze statue of Ronald Reagan in a charming plaza, named Freedom Square, which probably on purpose, also features one of the few remaining monuments left by the soviets. Budapest was the second city in the world to build a subway. Subway Line one, that goes from the center of the city to the hero’s park, was constructed in 1896 behind London and ahead of Paris for more than 4 years. Hungary was created after the fall of the Roman Empire, by nomadic tribes arriving from Central Asia. History says that seven chieftains of these tribes got together and formed Hungary. Hungarians say that the nomadic tribes are Huns (remember Attila the Hun?) and that is why the country is called Hun-gary. I read however that the tribes were called Magyars and that nobody knows exactly who they were and were they came from. A mystery that makes Budapest and Hungary even more fascinating. Parliament Building Sunday Tango on the street Terror Building Seven Chieftains If you have a chance, visit Budapest. Bring your camera. I am sure you will love it, as I did.
Not Famous? Use a Celebrity Identity…
Read the article posted on The Practical CIO on how anonymous authors are using e-mail and the internet to publish their work borrowing from celebrity author identities…
Unsuspecting Cruise Passengers
Where did I see a painting or watercolor similar to this photo? If you seen it somewhere, let me know. Click on Contact above and send me an e-mail or add a comment below. Download full size image for personal use. Commercial or any other type of use, not allowed: Unsuspecting Cruise Passengers Full Size.jpg (4.60 mb)
Is Brazil Growing… Politically?
Very interesting what is happening politically in Brazil right now. If you are Brazilian or have a Brazilian friend, you probably have received an incredible amount of e-mails related to the presidential election. First round of the election took place early in the month and the second round to selected one of the two final candidates will take place at the end of the month. I do not recall another election where Brazilians are so involved and so extremely divided. What is remarkable is that the two parties disputing the second round are both socialists and not very different in their views, but nevertheless when you look at the e-mails it is like they are in opposite extremes. Situation is so heated that recently one of the presidential candidates while in campaign was hit when someone throw stones at him. Even more remarkable is that the debate tend to focus on president that is departing and the prior president and not so much on the candidates that are disputing the election. I am an optimistic and view what is happening as an indication that Brazil is growing not only economically but also politically. However at the same time, given all the issues of the political process in Brazil I wonder is this is really the case.
Building an Externally Focused IT Team Radio Show
Visit the CIO Talk Radio to listen to Building an Externally Focused IT Team, featured in this week’s show. Sanjou Aul was the show host and guest participants were Merv Tarde, VP, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Interstate Battery of America, Inc and José Carlos Eiras.
CIO Magazine Staff Thumbs Up to The Practical CIO Book
Staff of the CIO Magazine, in it’s May 15 edition recommends The Practical CIO Book.
The Practical CIO Series: Webcasts
Webcasts titled “The Practical CIO Series” sponsored by Resources Global Professionals were broadcasted on the months of March, April and May 2010. Webcasts included the following Practical CIO topics: Successful IT Leadership IT Cost Reduction and IT Cost Effectiveness IT Teaming and Governance If you are interested in one or more of these webcasts, click on the link below and contact:
IT Teaming and IT Governance plus IT Cost Effectiveness and IT Cost Reduction – Tampa, Florida
A seminar on IT Teaming and IT Governance plus IT Cost Reduction and IT Cost Effectiveness will take place in Tampa, Florida on June 9, 2010 with the participation of CIOs and IT Executives from the Florida West Coast.
IT Cost Reduction and IT Cost Effectiveness – Washington, DC
A seminar focused on IT Cost Reduction and IT Cost Effectiveness took place on May 6 in Washington, DC. Participated in the event CIOs and IT executives from private enterprises and also from the public sector.
IT Teaming and IT Governance plus IT Cost Effectiveness and IT Cost Reduction – Dallas, Texas
A seminar on IT Teaming and IT Governance that included IT Cost Reduction and IT Cost Effectiveness was held in Dallas on May 6. 2010. Event was sponsored by Resources Global Dallas office.
IT Teaming and IT Governance – Berlin, Germany
Just returned from an event in Berlin, Germany where I delivered a presentation on IT Teaming and IT Governance to a group of high level IT executives from Europe, Middle-East and Africa. Presentation focused on how to build effective IT teams, implement key IT processes and ensure and enforce IT governance. Material was well received by the group. Even though I lived in Europe for many years, this was my first time in Berlin. I really enjoyed the city and it’s mascot. You can see the Berlin bear everywhere:
Celebration in São Paulo, Brazil
I just visited São Paulo, Brazil where I met good friends to celebrate the publishing of “The Practical CIO”. On March 10 Alzira, Dan and I met for a dinner: Michael and Sandra Moran, Antonio and Lourdes Boccia, Vladimir and Maria Carmen Novais and Aldo Bacarin.
Book Signing Event in Miami
On February 17 I had the pleasure of participating in The Practical CIO book signing and the IT Cost Reduction and Cost Effectiveness seminar in Miami. Event was sponsored by Resources Global Professionals, Terremark, Cisco and St.Thomas University.
The Practical CIO Book Available for Shipment. Download Flyers
As of today, February 1st 2010, The Practical CIO book is being shipped from all on-line bookstores including: Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Books A Million, Borders, Powells and others. Book is also available for shipment from Wiley, the publisher. Amazon is also offering The Practical CIO for immediate download on Kindle format. Download: Wiley Promotional Flyer Download: The Practical CIO Flyer
José Carlos Eiras is a global CIO with extensive experience in industries such as, food, tobacco, automobile, transportation, and distribution and he has worked for businesses on every continent across the globe. As an accomplished technology leader and an agent of change, Eiras is highly regarded for his ability to transform IT technology for Fortune 10 global companies, creating long-term competitive advantages in rapidly changing markets. He was recently Chief Information Officer of DHL Express-US, a division of Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN), the world’s leading logistics and transportation company. He was recruited to DHL Express to drive IT initiatives…