Monday, June 02, 2008

No news today. The green line of the metro went down today between 8:30 and 9 AM, thereby screwing up the system during morning rush hour. Meanwhile, a car wreck on the motorway leading into town from the suburbs in the Vallés at around 8:30 AM caused a seven-mile backup. Probably nearly 100,000 people got to work an hour late, costing us that much productivity. When one piece of the puzzle goes down, the entire infrastructure feels it.

Three-quarters of Spanish workers are suffering from workplace stress and feel burned out. Of these, three-quarters claim to be suffering health problems due to said stress. Causes: Not knowing what is expected of them, not being permitted to make decisions, and not feeling secure about their future.

I would add generally distant management that is not able to convince the worker that his and the company's interests are the same. I would also add that small businesses in Spain often try to exploit their workers big-time, I believe more so than in the United States. My wife Remei has only been satisfied with the way management has treated her at one of the small companies she's worked at; I can personally state that small language academies in Spain are generally very badly run.

More boat people: 34 black African illegal immigrants arrived near Almeria today, having crossed the Mediterranean from Morocco. The foreign press didn't notice.

44% of Spanish university students admit having used a cheat sheet on an exam, and 47% admit copying off another student's paper. Now they're trying electronic tricks, using MP3s and the like to store information. I can't claim to be Mr. Ethics and Morality, having fallen short of my own standards many times, but I never cheated on a test. One thing is that I was always good at school, so I never felt like I had to.

In America they take this really seriously. I knew a guy at KU who got expelled from the university for cheating on a chemistry final exam. Not much loss; he was a jerk anyway. Ted Kennedy got kicked out of Harvard for cheating on a Spanish final.

Latin gang fight in Madrid last night: two stabbed, one seriously, and three arrested. At least in Madrid the Latin Kings aren't a "cultural organization."

Heavy rains and flooding in the Basque Country, especially near Bilbao. They've evacuated parts of several towns, including Guecho and Santurce. Some of the highways are closed down, and the trains have been seriously delayed. Nobody's died yet or anything really bad like that. Here in Catalonia the reservoirs are all above 50% of capacity, and several are higher than that.

Barcelona sold Zambrotta to Milan for €9 million and Giovani dos Santos to Tottenham for €8 million. I think they gave up on Giovani too quickly, he's got tremendous talent, but the story is that he picked up a lot of bad habits in Rijkaard's free-and-easy clubhouse.

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