Monday, March 01, 2004

This is kind of interesting for sports fans. Seems that there's going to be an expansion NBA franchise in Charlotte next year, called the Bobcats, since the Hornets skedaddled off to New Orleans. Bernie Bickerstaff, one of their executives, is touring Europe watching basketball games and keeping a blog--well, it's really a diary since he doesn't link to anything. He's in Spain now. Should you want to see how an NBA exec views Europe and European basketball, it's worth a look. It's off, so there's nothing too controversial.

Comment: I think this guy Bickerstaff is fairly typical in his attitudes toward Europe, for a reasonably intelligent American business guy. He prefers to accentuate the positive, he admits he doesn't know much and is willing to learn, and he enjoys the differences between Europe and America without being too critical. I'm going to make a generalization here: American business guys who are successful tend to have pretty open minds. Now, there are a hell of a lot of closed-minded business guys, of course, but not many of those guys manage to adapt when the market changes. Ironically, Americans often get slammed for being ignorant of other places; really, I think that Americans who make it in business are those who are willing to accept, adopt, and adapt the best of other systems.

There, that's a pretty good title for a business book: Accept, Adopt, and Adapt; Making It in the New Globalized Business World. If anybody wants to do the writing, all I want in exchange for the title is the same the agent gets. In cash.

As you undoubtedly know, the Americans and French have sent 450 men into Haiti and Aristide has already left for exile. If this is serious, there are going to be a few hundred guys with guns and machetes from both sides sent to Devil's Island or the Dry Tortugas or somewhere nice like that. There are between 500 and 2200, depending on which Spanish source you're referring to, more American marines either on the way or just off the coast. Now, we don't have UN permission or anything for this (quite justified) military takeover of a Third World country in chaos, but nobody seems to be complaining. Except Jesse Jackson. I do not get the attitude of many American black politicians regarding Haiti.

The Guardia Civil, as you also already know, arrested two vans driving down from France in Cuenca. Each van was driven by one guy; they were both arrested. Turned out they were etarras carrying 536 kilos of explosives in van number two, a huge police haul since ETA isn't known to possess a whole lot of weapons anymore and that loss is a big one. The second van was loaded and ready to go; all the etarras had to do was push the button. It seems that ETA is very weak; they simply don't have enough active terrorists to pull off a whole lot of what they're trying to do. These two guys, for example, were rank amateurs.

Angel Acebes, Minister of Justice, said that Pepelu Carod-Rovira must be happy because the bomb was directed at Madrid rather than Catalonia. Everybody else fired away; Pepelu said Acebes was "miserable" and "shameless", Jose Montilla called him "a liar" and "unscrupulous", Perez Rubalcaba called the whole thing "indecent", and so on. I dunno. Looks to me like Carod got exactly what he wanted out of the Perpignan meeting. You don't have to agree with me. But that's what I think.

We had snow flurries here yesterday; it's been chilly for the past week or so. Yippee skippee. That happens every few years around here.

Well, FC Barcelona is legitimately on a roll, with their sixth consecutive win last night, 2-3 against Deportivo in Riazor. Ronaldinho scored twice and Saviola once. Davids and Cocu are doing very well at funneling enemy attacks into the center of the field where they can be easily stopped by Barca's defense. Youth squadder Oleguer looks like he might have won one of the jobs at central defender, along with Marquez, who is now playing up to snuff. This was another solid win against a good team; Barcelona has beaten, consecutively, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, and Depor, none of which is precisely a pushover. Barca is in fourth place on 46 points, only four behind Depor in third and Valencia in second. Madrid, on 59, is unreachable, of course. Second place is, however, a possibility. Trailing Barca are Athletic Bilbao with 41 and Atletico Madrid with 40.

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