Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2008 brings all the best for you, your families and those whom you love. Of course, a new year’s celebration would not be complete without the mandatory goals list. I have just three for this year:

  1. Goal 1 – LOOSE WEIGHT! I am the heaviest I have ever been! It is affecting my health and my life and I’m really scared. I WILL work on this one come hell or high water!
  2. Goal 2 – Learn about blogging – I did some blogging a few years ago but then dropped it. Now that I’ve re-taken it, the whole thing has changed so much that I’m having to re-learn everything!
    What is social Networking and how do you do it?
    How to write good, original content that is interesting?
    How to write so that it is a conversation instead of imparting information?
    How do you form a community around your blog?
  3. Goal 3 – Look for opportunities to make more money – own business
    Not an easy thing for me – I’ve never been good at selling or being an entrepreneur but I HAVE to get more than one income stream that I control – It is the only way I see to secure my retirement with any kind of comfort.

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What happened the year you were born? – Blog Your Dash Part II

This is part of the “Blog Your Dash” series that I have been writing.  Below is a list of the other blogs in the series:

If you want to know what happened the year you were born, go to Brainy History and select your birth year.

Here is a short list of the events that happened the year I was born:

  1. 4 Puerto Ricans open fire in U.S. House of Representatives injuring 5 representatives
  2. TV Dinner was 1st put on sale by Swanson and Sons
  3. Robert Oppenheimer accused of being a communist
  4. School desegregation law, Brown vs. Board of education
  5. President Eisenhower put forward a plan for an interstate highway system
  6. Air Force One, 1st U.S. Presidential airplane, christened
  7. Ellis Island, immigration station in New York Harbor, closed
  8. Nobel prize for literature awarded to Ernest Hemingway

Being Puerto Rican, the event that clearly sticks out is the assault on the house of representatives. The plan was, at the same time the assault was taking place on the house of representatives, other members of the group would assault Puerto Rico’s governor mansion and take it over. Unfortunately, the Puerto Rico part of the plan never came to fruition because one of the members ran a red light.

As cliché as it sounds – it is very much true! The members of the group that were going to do the assault in Puerto Rico were moving the weapons by car and it ran a red light. The police stopped them and, upon inspecting the car, found the stash of weapons. Although Puerto Rico is a territory of the United states and anyone born there is a U.S. citizen, this one event threw the local government into a panic and they proceeded to implement one of the strictest (if not the strictest) gun control laws in the nation. To this day, if you want to legally purchase a handgun in Puerto Rico, it requires a license that can take up to three years to obtain. If you want to be able to carry the gun, that is another license that can take another three years to get.

I suppose that a lot of people would have found the decision on ‘Brown vs Board of Education’ a more memorable event but, we never had segregation in Puerto Rico so this just was not an issue for us. The races had been mixing in Latin America since the arrival of the Spaniards 500 years before so, by the year I was born, and to this day, you literally cannot tell what is the race of a Puerto Rican.


It has been a long time since my last post. I was fairly naïve believing that I could have a blogging business quickly; I came up against the reality that blogging every single day is hard! Providing content every day is hard! Making it interesting is very hard! I’m smirking at myself now, I guess that is why they call it “business!” You actually have to work at it, really!

What happened to privacy – Part II

Here are some additional thoughts concerning privacy, you can read the first part “What happened to privacy?” and you can check the blog from Elias Bizannes that inspired my own blogs “Define Privacy – what does it mean to you?

Part of the discussion concerning privacy is not so much what privacy is but, how is it achieved. Before the advent of the electronic age and before the Internet, penetrating the privacy of something or someone required a great deal of effort. Before, to do this, you had go to where the information was.

Back then, you had to be fairly motivated to want to go to where the repository of information was physically located. There was a geographical separation between you and the information you wanted. Once you arrived where the information was, you had to be willing to spend hours, days and even months wading through mounds of documents to get what you wanted.

A great deal of the privacy that we enjoyed was achieved by the sheer physical and mental effort it took to get to the relevant data. What the electronic age has done is to take all that away. There is no longer effort or sacrifice needed to get the information you are looking for.

Parallel to privacy concerns, another thing that is of concern is the veracity of the information you are acquiring or divulging. With the deluge of easy information has come the deluge of false information and outright dis-information. Where before, the repository of information in physical form, whether implicitly or explicitly, gave a measure of weight as to the veracity of the data, today that is being lost by leaps and bounds.

So the questions become, how do we protect ourselves and those whom we care about from invasion of privacy and false information? In an environment where information no longer has a physical shape or a geographical location, in an environment where the information may be completely false, how do we protect ourselves?

One of the things that we are going to have to review and revise is our attitude towards information. Because of how information was gathered and divulged in the past, we have tended to give it a lot of credibility. Consider the newspaper and newscasts of old; whatever Walter Cronkite said was the truth, whatever the New York Times said, was the truth.

We need to develop what I call a “healthy skepticism” towards information today. We need to develop and internalize some level of skepticism about how the information was gathered, by whom it was gathered and how it is being vetted or confirmed. Doing that will go a long way to curb the explosion of “trash” information that is floating all over cyberspace.

Blog Your Dash – My School Years

I found this article (Blog Challenge: Blog Your Dash « Lorelle on WordPress) browsing WordPress and it sounded like a rather interesting challenge. When you go to a cemetery, the headstones usually read “Born date” – “Died date“. The dash “-” is everything that you did between “Born” and “Died.” The challenge is to blog “your dash” or, what have you done with your life?

As I think about it, I’m amazed at how I can organize my life in my mind!

From birth to the 60’s – these are my school years. What I remember of this time was the outrageous clothing, the awesome music and those things that were happening in the mainland. I was raised in the Caribbean so, issues concerning the races were pretty much alien to me. Some events that really stood out and I still remember were:

1. The Cuban missile crisis – Although I was a little kid when this happened, I still remember the sheer terror I saw in the faces of the adults (all of them) around me. At the time, everyone really thought that we were going to go to war, a nuclear war.

2. The Kennedy Assassination – I clearly remember that Sunday afternoon. I was playing on a mound in front of my house when I saw our next-door neighbor run out of her house calling my mother at the top of her lungs. “They killed Kennedy, they killed Kennedy!” she kept saying over and over again. At first it did not register but, by the time I got home and turned on the local TV, I started feeling this sad heavy feeling as if a part of the weight of the world had just been placed on my shoulders.

3. The Prep School – I went to a Jesuit prep school from 7th to 12th grades back in the days of having to wear a tie every single day for six consecutive years. This in a place where the temperature fluctuates between 75 and 95 degrees F (24 to 35 C) and a dry day was 70% humidity. Did I mention, no air conditioning in the classrooms?

4. The Music – These were the years of The Beatles, The Doors, Motown, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Etc. These were the years of music like hasn’t been heard before or since. The kicker for me is that, being Hispanic, I was also enjoying the music and the new sounds in Spanish!

5. The Clothes – The bell bottoms! Those miniskirts! Those micro skirts! The bikinis! The advantages of living in a tropical island in the Caribbean! Nuff’ said !!

6. – 1968 – What a defining year! The TET offensive in Viet Nam, Martin Luther King is assassinated, the riots all over the country (The Watts riots), Robert Kennedy is assassinated, Czechoslovakia is invaded by the Soviet Union, Richard Nixon wins the Presidential Election. By then, I was old enough to understand what was going on and I remember thinking that the whole world had gone out of its mind.

7. 1969 – We land on the Moon! For a space geek like me (Yes, I admit it, I was a trekker), it was an incredible experience. When you think about it, what was even more incredible was that the whole world was watching it on television in real-time.

8. 1972 – Nixon wins the elections by a landslide… Then the real trouble began….

What do you think?What has your “dash” been like?
What about your school / formative years?
Were you a geek or a dweeb in school?
If you were to blog your dash – what would your blog title be?

What happened to privacy? – Part I

With the advent of the Internet, one of the things that seems to be in the process of a very fundamental change is privacy. While you can find many sites that discuss the privacy issues in the Internet age, almost all of them miss a very important point. What is happening in this Internet age is a complete re-definition, from the ground up, of what privacy is.

Elias Bizannes has an interesting article in his web site, Liako.biz, where he gives a definition of privacy that is, at the same time, simple and practical. Here is his definition:

As a whole concept –

“Privacy is an individual’s right to determine what information they would like others to know about themselves; which people are permitted know that information; and the ability to determine when those people can access that information”.

As is usual in cases like these, the devil is in the details. Just how can you implement something like this on a global scale is beyond me. Just what would you be able to do if information that you do not want divulged is flooding the internet and it is coming from another country?

I’ve thought some more about this and you can read it on What happened to privacy – Part II.

What do you think?
What does privacy meant to you?
Do you agree with Elias’ definition?
What things do you do to protect your privacy? 

Our Local Weather

If you have ever lived in north Texas, then you have heard the expression “don’t worry, if you don’t like the weather, wait a couple of days!” Well, normally July is the beginning of the hot and dry season here but, this year it decided to rain every day for two weeks! Some parts of the area made it to national news as the flash floods and general flooding made life miserable for some folks of the area.

Well, the weather has now decided to give us back the sun and heat that we are supposed to have. The only problem is that everything is so saturated with water that being outside for more than five minutes is like having a steam bath! While the temperatures are not extremely hot (90 to 95 F – 32 to 35C) by Texas standards, the humidity just kills you.

It’s strange though, three years of drought or near-drought conditions were wiped out in just a few weeks of rain. As if that were not enough, we had days where the freeway (I-35) was shut down a couple of times due to flooding from one of the local lakes. Together with the rivers and creeks, they are just now beginning to return to their normal levels. In the meantime, it is instant sweat the moment you step out of your home or car.

What do you think?
What has the weather been like in your area?
How difficult has it been dealing with the weather?