Friday, May 29, 2009

In the news today

Government Layoffs

The Government of Puerto Rico has announced layoffs, almost eight thousand people affected in this first round. I wonder what my father, who was an economist and a career government employee, would say about this. Would he agree that it's necessary to fix the deficit?

The fact that the local government is the largest employer on the island is seen as a civic duty by some, a necessary evil by others. Still others deplore the bloated bureaucracy and look up to Corporate America and their methods for inspiration. It seems the Governor belongs to that camp.

It used to be that once you became a government employee you were pretty much set for life (unless you were a political appointtee). There must be a lot of people in shock right now.

I do not know what to make of it. I remember when I lived on the island and made fun of how big and inefficient government was. There seemed to be no incentive for excellence. It's probably true that the government can continue to function with less people. But to see the government is taking its cues from profit-driven entities and cutting people off faster than you can update a spreadsheet, is unpalatable. On an island where a large part of the population lives below the poverty line and where unemployment runs high, at least government employees had a job to go to, rather than collecting welfare.

Are we sure the solution to the deficit is to layoff people? Has Fortuño's government already cut all the superfluous spend they can? (Somehow I doubt it.) Where are these people going to find jobs? Will they be strongly encouraged to pick up and leave the island, just like in the days of Manos a la Obra?

Roadside Caymans

I guess there are worse things than finding yourself on the street with no job. You could find yourself out on the street next to two hungry 200-lb. Caymans.

Public Suicide

A man committed suicide in the city of Caguas by hanging himself from a water tank, visible from a busy exit at Toll Road PR-52. It's the 127th suicide this year on the island.

Suicide is no laughing matter. I can only imagine the desperation, the extreme emotions that drive a person to take his own life. I wonder why he chose to do it in such a public manner.


Every time my daughter asks me what exactly is it that I do for a living, I breathe deeply before I answer. What exactly do I do? My job is not exactly as clearly defined as being a cop, a teacher, a fireman or a nurse. What the heck do I do for a living?

I finally came up with a definition that is the best I can think of. I am a provider of information. I provide others with information they need to do their jobs and to assess whether they have been doing a good job. That's a simple as it gets.

I sometimes wish I had a more tangible job, something where the results of my hard labor existed in the physical world as opposed to a Powerpoint presentation or an spreadsheet. Is that a middle age cliché?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At the Houston Museum of Natural Science

We went to the museum yesterday, including the Butterfly exhibit. Here are some pics.








Prehistoric Armadillo



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunny sky

Gotta love Texas weather extremes. Looks like we might be able to go to the pool after all.

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There goes my plan to spend a lazy Sunday at the pool...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


You know your part-time telecommuting has gone far too long when you forget you're in your cubicle and start singing out loud while listening to music on your earphones.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Cinco de mayo

It's my sweetie's birthday today.