Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Full moon. Dark sky with light wispy clouds over the moon’s face of craters. Tinguely Querer was driving in the middle of the high plains. She heard yaps of coyotes and yowls of something feline. A dark, feral shadow lurked along the edge of the blacktop county road, with gravel shoulder. Was it a chupacabra? Tinguely shivered. Would the chupacabra smell her clammy, perfumed sweat, chase her down, feed on her blood, and to swallow her soul?

The cattle guard rattled as she drove over it to enter a dark, shambling ranch. She hoped it was the Freestoner Ranch. She had been looking for it and wanted to approach Mr. Freestoner to sign him up for an oil and gas lease.

podcast: http://www.beyondutopia.net/podcasts/monkeyspaw.mp3


“Monkey’s Paw or Death Ruby?” asked the man wearing a faded red bandanna, narrow boot-cut Wrangler jeans, a jean jacket, and rodeo belt buckle. He looked like the kind of cowboy you’d never see in a cowboy movie. He was too weather-beaten. His eyes were vaguely feral. His nose was all the way wild, totally coyote.

“If given the choice, and you HAD to make a choice, which would you go with?” he asked. “Monkey’s Paw or Death Ruby?”

“What are they anyway?” asked Tinguely. She had driven 7 hours, non-stop from central Oklahoma, and was in no mood for cryptic, Yoda-like pronouncements from a retro cowboy washed up on the beach-sands of time.

“And, imagine you can’t say no. You can’t refuse to choose.”

“Mr. Freestoner, I have the documents ready for you to execute. You’ll be glad you did this.” She wanted to get it over with. Drive to Amarillo. Get a room at a comfortable discount version of upscale hotels. The idea of lying on a soft mattress at a Hyatt Place or a Marriott Courtyard seemed more important than anything else at this point.

“Ma’am, Mr. Freestoner’s been dead for 10 years.”

“What?” Tinguely was not amused. “How did I miss that? I checked the records myself. I never make mistakes like this.”

“I’d say this was a pretty big one,” said the cowboy unsympathetically. “So. Ma’am. What would you do? Which would you choose?”

“Sir. I think I’d choose the one that would get me away from this place as quickly as possible.” He looked crestfallen. “Sorry. I don’t mean to be rude. I’m just really tired. And, this means I’m going to have to go back and recheck records, reissue leases and drafts.”

“The Monkey’s Paw grants you three wishes, but each one comes with horrific price. You’ll pay. Yes, missy, you’ll pay. But, the Death Ruby’s no bargain. The Death Ruby will make you fabulously wealthy. But, all who touch it, except for the owner, die.”

“That’s easy,” said Tinguely, still annoyed. “I’d go with the Death Ruby. Good secret weapon. I’d be rich. Good way to get rid of the competition. ”

“For having such a sweet face, you sure have some mean thoughts,” said the cowboy.

“You haven’t heard the half of them,” said Tinguely. “Got any coffee around here? It was a long drive, and, to tell the truth, I’m in a bad mood.”

“You don’t say,” said the cowboy. “See you at the bunkhouse.”

“By the way, I’m not sure I quite buy it that the owner of a Death Ruby stays healthy. I would think that everyone would eventually be killed by the thing. Some people more quickly than others.”

“Think what you want,” said the cowboy. “I wouldn’t want to tangle with you, though.”


"Sign up Freestoner. Then, keep going. See if you can get information. We've got a chance to lease Morrell's granddaughter's interest. I'd like to find the location, drill a new well, and test the formations. It will be good for all of us if it works out," said Dad.

"What makes you so sure?" asked Tinguely. Why not leave well enough alone? Something was wrong with the story she had been told. Something was behind the scenes, between the lines.

Tinguely pulled up to the rock and mortar ranchhouse. The clock on her dashboard said 4:40 pm. She took her keys out of the ignition of the Blazer she was driving. The keys felt cold and metallic in her hand.

She walked under a stunted sycamore tree. The ranch house and office were on the edge of a wash, or, as the locals called it, an arroyo. That meant there were a few trees.

Acquiescing to the cowboy’s insistence that she take a look around the ranch, Tinguely attempted to mind her manners. It was not easy.

Cattle shuffled slowly, mesmerized by the wind turbines spinning round and round, silently, slowly, both positive and negative, in direct response to the currents of cold air flowing down from the north in North America's most prominent wind corridor.

“If you’ll pour me a cup of coffee, I’ll work on it while you show me around,” said Tiinguely. She fully expected coffee the consistency of tar and the pH of battery acid. She was pleasantly surprised that it was fresh, tasted like espresso shots with hot water – café Americano.

She was in the middle of a ghost ranch. No one had the courage to admit what it was, but Tinguely Querer knew immediately.

At first, she wondered if the cowboy she was talking to was a phantom. She realized, after he drank boiled “cowboy coffee” with the grounds at the bottom of the mug, unrolled a yellowed newspaper from 1955, then started talking about how people had started buying up all the water rights to the Ogallala Aquifer, that there was really no way of knowing. His language hinted at transporting people from Mexico. He could be an apparition from the past. He could be from right here, right now. He could be a strange living outlier rafted in on a glacier of time. He could be the bones of a memory to be held by someone sometime in the future. Who could know?

“Have to admit, it’s nice to have company for a change,” said the cowboy. “Oh and by the way, my name’s Chance.”

“I’ll bet people called you “Lucky” when you were a kid,” said Tinguely. She realized she needed to sound folksy. Sometimes being down to earth came easily to her. Sometimes, though, it didn’t. At ths times, she seemed stand-offish or detached – something like a process server, paid for putting her emotions in a bucket by the door.

“Nope. I never was,” he said. “That was the cat. Now he was lucky.”

Tinguely smiled. If she could, she’d put her emotions, not in a box or a bucket, but in an air-sick bag. There was something warm about the breeze, although the air was chilly.


“Dad, if you’re going to buy anyone’s mineral rights, or buy the surface so you can lease it out to wind turbine companies, you’re going to have to chum the waters.”

“Throw bloody, cut-up fish into the waters? Draw the sharks?” asked Dad, incredulously. “Why would we want to attract the sharks?”

“Because after they’ve fed, they’ll lead us to the live fish,” said Tinguely.

“Why would we want live fish?”

“Dad,” said Tinguely, suddenly exasperated. “I’m speaking metaphorically.”

“I wouldn’t if I were you.”

“What? Speak metaphorically?”

“Right. Don’t underestimate the ranchers and their families. You’re not giving them any credit for intelligence. More than one city slicker has found this out, much to their dismay. You’re about as city slicker as they come, Tinguely.”

“Dad I don’t know who or what it is that you see when you look at me and talk to me, but I’m telling you, it’s not at all the way I perceive myself. Give me some credit, Dad.”

“Do the people who chum the waters ever get bitten by the sharks they’re trying to trick?”

“No. Never,” said Tinguely, straightfaced. “When you baited a trap, did you ever catch anything you didn’t want?”

“Absolutely.” Dad paused. “I learned a lot from that.”

“Gotta go. The cowboy said he has some apple cobbler for dessert.”

“Thought you were going to spend the night in Amarillo.”

“The air is fresh and clear. Amazing.”

Clicked “end call” on her BlackBerry.


Cattle silhouetted against the setting sun. The clouds were spectacular. An antique windmill used to bring water from the aquifer to the surface rattled and creaked in the wind.

Cattle moved together. They seemed to move toward the water. Then they moved en masse in another direction. They seemed to be moving away from the rays of orange-pink light shooting across the horizon.

Tinguely watched them, fell into a reverie. Then blinked. The cattle. Were they moving? Were they retreating? Tinguely could swear they were shuffling slowly, softly – backwards.


A look down at the coffee cup. A quick rundown of what she had eaten. Mushrooms? No. Brownies? No. “Herbal” tea? No.


There was something about the earth-colored farmhouse and the bright white wind turbines set along the fence line in the direction of prevailing breezes that gave Tinguely pause. A face flickered at one of the windows. Wisps of clouds cast spectres (or shadows) on the smooth prairie cover. Cattle grunted to each other. When the grass waved in the breeze, the clouds seemed to edge backwards, against the direction of the wind.

Tinguely braced herself. There was something here. It was making her uneasy.

The property was located in the shadow of the old XIT Ranch in the Texas Panhandle north and west of Amarillo. From 1885 to 1912, the ranch encompassed more than 3 million acres. There were around 300 windmills. 150,000 head of cattle grazed on the XIT Ranch lands. They were tended to by hundred of cowboys.

Ordinarily, Tinguely would not be anywhere near this part of the Panhandle, but supposedly a deep well had been drilled here during one of the booms, and the drill cuttings streamed oil, with strong odor of gas. The operator, Karlton Morrell, who had also owned a large part of the former XIT Ranch, had run out of money. The well cost a lot more than he had bargained for. But, it would pay off. He just needed to raise money. So, while he set out to raise money to continue drilling and to complete the well, Morrell had done his best to suppress the information. He had hoped to sell his remaining interest in the ranch and to then do the completion.

The poor guy never had the chance. His shiny black Ford pickup was found in a ravine. He was nowhere to be seen. In fact, he was never anywhere to be seen from that day on. He disappeared. Dead, most likely, said Dad. "Quite a shame. Morrell was a good guy. I always liked him."

The sky was the blue of childhood storybooks. The prairie switchgrass was the straw-gold of memory. The roof was the slate gray of long-forgotten dreams.


“Say, Chance, what is it like living in a ranch house that was abandoned a hundred years ago?” asked Tinguely. It was dark. It would be a dangerous drive back to Amarillo, due to mule deer and coyotes. Road hazards.

“Nothing I’d recommend for someone like you,” he said.

“I can handle myself. I’ve done a lot of fieldwork. Had to. Geology degree,” said Tinguely. There was something about this wizened old cowboy that got under her skin.

“That’s why I would not recommend it. If you’ve ever done anything you wish you hadn’t in your life, you’re not going to have an easy time of it around here, once the moon’s up and the wind carries the voices.”

“What voices?”


“That’s nothing.”

“And the whispers. The whispers that come up from inside of you and swirl around your inner ear.”

“Okay, that’s enough for me for tonight.” Tinguely stood up. “Thanks, Chance. I’m heading back to Amarillo.”

“Yup. You are,” he said.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“It’s where you started out, after all. You don’t have much choice in the matter, as far as I can tell.”

“Well, maybe. You’re right. It’s where I had my first job.” She noticed he had a smooth wooden box in his hand. He stood up and made a motion to give her the box.

“Well, Miss Tinguely, please take this with you. It’s a present from the ranch.”

“Wow. It’s beautiful. An antique cigar box?” The gift was so unexpected that Tinguely was taken by surprise. She was touched. The soft sentiment was quickly replaced by suspicion.

“What’s inside? A Monkey’s Paw? A Death Ruby?”

“Heck hek hek.” Chance’s cackle was not exactly a laugh. “Just a souvenir cigar box from old XIT Ranch. Thought you might like it.”

Tinguely accepted it and opened the lid gingerly, half-expected a bat to fly out. The box was empty. Inside, the wood was burned with the XIT brand.

“Thanks, Chance. You’re a nice guy. This was very generous of you.”

“Heck hek hek,” he laughed again. “Here’s a thermos of that coffee you liked so much. Watch out for the mule deer.”

She got back to the vehicle. The time: 11:45 am. Tingely checked her watch. Time: 10:45 pm. In the space of her vehicle, time had run backward. She looked at the second counter. Time was, indeed, going in reverse.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Old XIT Cattle and Social Club

The Old XIT (pronounced “excite”) Cattle and Social Club was meeting in a small town southwest of the small town of Cactus, Texas.

Tinguely Querer looked at the announcement in the local paper and wondered what that the members of the club did for fun. Bingo? Monopoly? Horseshoes behind the barn? Knife throwing? Tarantula hunting?

Podcast: Downloadable mp3 file

She wondered what it would take to join, and if it would be okay to join and attend just one meeting.

It was hard to predict when she would be in the Texas Panhandle and precisely where she’d be. After all, the Panhandle was a large place, the same size as eight Rhode Island’s.


Back home in Oklahoma, she shared her thoughts with her mother.

"I would never join a Cattle and Social Club," said Tinguely. "Out of principle. I don't think that animals that are about to be slaughtered have much in common with people looking for love."

"Oh, you don't, do you?" Tinguely's mother had reappeared after a long absence. Once back in town, she gave Tinguely a call, and they met at the local Starbucks. Mother drank a green tea frappuccino. Tinguely had a non-fat chai latte. Tinguely munched on granola and a whole-grain roll with maple almond butter while Mother feigned maternal concern.

Tinguely was not buying the maternal concern routine. There were too many episodes in the past, too much abandonment – not intentional, but in pursuit of a higher truth. Abandonment of one’s children and pets was not an easy thing to confront, so Mother had learned the art of deflection and rationalization. She also told some whoppers of tall tales.

The latest was when Mother told Tinguely she was on a cruise, when in reality, Mother was at a Christian version of a Hindu Ashram in northeast New Mexico n a retreat with her Bible study group that focused on healing and praise.

When Tinguely learned that part of the retreat involved locking each individual in an isolation chamber, she was horrified. The women stayed for three days and three nights and logged their thoughts, visions, and hallucinations in notebooks with waterproof pages.

All Tinguely could think of was the medieval diarist and mystic, Margery Kempe, who chronicled her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. If one read between the lines, one could see that Margery had to have been an absolute pain to travel with. Her visions tended to portend great calamity and personal discomfort. Mother tended to have similar visions – crashing planes, danger on certain routes, food contamination, evil spirit-infested hotels, and horribly aching feet, riddled with corns, bunions, and blisters.

“Mother.” Awkward pause. “It’s nice to see you.” Tinguely tried to keep her face expressionless. She did not want to give Mother an entrée into her private life, or an opportunity to express opinions about Tinguely’s weight, hair, and clothes.

Mother could be scary-skinny, and she could be the kind of person you’d see on the first row of an Armani style show or in a PRAISE NOW tele-evangelist ministry broadcast. Mother was a true believer.

One would think that being in faith healing circles would give Mother a positive, "I believe in miracles" outlook on life. It did, but it also engendered a deep cynicism about human nature as it existed in its unmediated "fallen" state.

“Don’t you think that they’re just looking for trouble? After all, both end up in the same place. The only difference is in how they grind the flesh, and who consumes whom. That’s why I’m a vegetarian.”

“And why you’ve never remarried,” added Tinguely.

“Well, my point, Tinguely, is this question: Don’t you think the whole endeavor is fraught with a morbid fascination with hopelessness?”

"No, Mother, I don't. I think that the cattle are hanging onto life. All they want to do is breed in hopes of cheating death. That’s not hopeless.”

"I think you're giving those randy steers a lot of credit, dear," said Mother.

"Maybe," said Tinguely. She continued. "But Mother, let's look at the other side. The Social Club side. People looking for love are something else entirely. Renunciation of the individual self. At least that's how South Americans put it. If you renounce your individual sense of self, aren't you essentially obliterating yourself? Your identity?"

"You've put your finger on the slaughterhouse connection, Tinguely," said Mother. "Feedlot cattle. Sad men and women willing to erase themselves if only ... well, if only they can feel love - even if only for a moment."

"Mother. That idea makes me want to weep. It's almost saying that the human condition is worse than that of doomed, soon-to-be-slaughtered cattle. People are willing to "self-slaughter" if they can have a moment -- no matter how fleeting -- where they feel a warm, loving embrace -- an existential acceptance that is, well, unconditional."

"I don't know if I'd go that far. Let's just say that the core "pivot point" of existence -- for cattle -- for human beings -- revolves around sex-death equations followed closely by an 'if I die, you'll love me more, and then you'll take my energy to build a huge, better world" equation. I don't think it's very healthy,

“What’s it like to be in an isolation chamber for three days and three nights?” asked Tinguely, suddenly bold. She never knew Mother to have such insight into the human condition.

“I slept a lot.” said Mother.

Some things would never change.


A couple of weeks later, Tinguely found herself in a small town southwest of the small town of Cactus, Texas, still curious about the XIT Cattle and Social Club.

She went to her first meeting, which was in an old rock and mortar building perched on the side of a steep hill that overlooked a small canyon. They sat on the patio, which was draped with strands of all-white Christmas lights. The air smelled of sage and rain.

“We were going to have square dancing lessons, but our instructor called in sick,” said a woman in her late 20s who was dressed in a gingham prairie dress.

Tinguely thought she looked like a grad student in anthropology or an escapee from an isolationist polygamous cult. Tinguely’s first impression did not lead her astray.

“Hi. I’m Katwell Dantzen. I’m getting a master’s degree in ethnology, and I’m doing my thesis on folk dances. I am really sorry we aren’t having square dancing. I was really looking forward to it,” she said. She extended her hand. “Are you new?”

“Uh. To this, I am,” said Tinguely. “Where are the cattle?”

“The cattle are not actually invited. We just talk cattle when we can’t talk about love,” said a husky man with a kind face. “I’m Roy Anguster.”

“So that means that pretty much all we talk about is cattle. Deworming, growth hormones, antibiotics, putting the weight on quickly and safely,” said another man, leaner, with bushy white hair. He had a slightly less pleasant expression on his face.

Tinguely guessed he was embittered by the constant cattle talk. Love would spice it up a bit. As would square dancing.

“Say, Katwell. Don’t know some moves? You’re getting an advanced degree in this stuff, after all. You even have the costume for it. Even though I’ve never seen a lady wear cowboy boots with a long prairie girl dress,” said Roy.

The white-haired man with the slightly embittered face answered his BlackBerry.

“Hello. Hello? Can you hear me now? Bad signal. What? I’m not anywhere. I am just down here at the Cattle Club.” Katwell was talking to Roy about why she mixed boots with skirts. Tinguely tittered lightly to herself, unable to keep back the chuckles.

The man’s face clouded as he continued to speak on his BlackBerry.

“No one. It’s just the same old Cattle Club. Same as ever. Who am I with? Cattle club. I’ll be okay. Don’t worry about me. Woops. Bad signal. You’re cutting out. I’ll call you when I get in.”

“Your voice sounded really guilty just then,” pointed out Tinguely.

The guy smiled. His face softened and he seemed approachable, suddenly.

“That was my daughter. She doesn’t trust me a lick. Don’t know why that is. She always thinks I’m on the verge of getting corralled by some woman who is up to no good.”

“How do you know that isn’t the case?” asked Tinguely. “Maybe you are.”

She smiled. This was fun.

“She doesn’t know it, but I make myself sound guilty on purpose. It drives her crazy,” he said.

“Kind of serves her right, doesn’t it,” said Tinguely.

“Give a person enough rope and enough time, and they’ll tie themselves the fanciest noose you’ll ever see,” smiled the man. “By the way, I’m Potter.”

“As in Harry Potter?” asked Tinguely.

“Close. Potter Harris,” he said. Tinguely smiled. Images of cattle being levitated, flying on broomsticks, and goose-stepping while mooing in unison along a line of giant wind turbines flooded her mind.

“Looks like the place is shutting down for the evening.” A woman was turning off the Christmas lights, shutting the doors.

“Will you be back next week?” asked Potter.

Roy and Katwell chimed in, “Hope to see you again sometime, Tinguely.”

“Maybe. I never know. I’m always in different places, it seems,” said Tinguely.


“They didn’t talk about love, and they didn’t really even talk about cattle,” said Tinguely to Mother. She was able to get a good signal, so she had called her mother’s home phone. Surprisingly, Mother had picked up.

“Will you go back?” asked Mother.

“They did not really do anything. All they really did was talk about what they might have done, but couldn’t do. That was the square dancing.”

“Sounds like a normal sort of meeting to me. Isn’t that the way people really communicate? They hardly ever get around to being direct and asking for and getting what they really want.”

Tinguely reflected for a moment.

“Who knows what he or she really wants anyway?” she asked Mother.

“Maybe that’s why it’s so much easier to give people what they demand, rather than demanding something yourself,” said Mother. Her voice was starting to break up.

“Too much effort,” said Tinguely. “Well, have to go now, Mother.”

She ended the call, then called to the front desk of the hotel where she was staying to request another set of bath soaps, and then to complain that the wireless Internet signal was low, and that they had given her a handicapped room instead of a normal one. She always ran into or tripped on the fold-down shower seats. They always seemed to have mildew on them. Who designed these things anyway? Who actually thought about thinking from the handicapped person’s point of view?

The woman at the front desk dealt with Tinguely’s complaints with good humor. “Guess you got lucky this time,” she said.

“Yes, if my luck continues to hold, maybe we’ll run out of hot water, or I’ll cut myself shaving my legs,” said Tinguely. How did a person who was partially paralyzed or with mobility problems shave her legs?

Getting access. A handicapped person was basically all about positive self-actualization. They thought about how they could gain access and mobility.

The non-handicapped person’s perspective: Losing access. Losing contact. Losing hope of transformative action.

The XIT Cattle and Social Club held the answers, and Tinguely sensed it. She just wasn’t sure if she had the courage to find out.


Stephen Downes' OL Daily http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.htm

EduCause Review: http://connect.educause.edu/er

IncSub: http://incsub.com/

Tom Beckett's blog: http://willtoexchange.blogspot.com/

Dusie -- http://www.dusie.org/

Rochelle Owens' Early Poems (at light&dustbooks)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bear Trap

Tinguely Querer decided to take a few weeks off between contracts and to play the stock market. Granted, it was in the middle of a bear market of historic proportions, but that did not deter Tinguely.

Her last contract had been to buy mineral interests for elderly people in the Texas Panhandle. Most lived in nursing homes and and appreciated the help. She had been working out of Caprock, Texas, situated between two large wind turbine farms and a feedlot.

Having signed a short-term rental agreement on a house in the town’s newest subdivision, Tinguely decided to stay. It was convenient, and she would be comfortable as she figured out how to profit from panic selling, fear, and raging bears. Plugging in her laptop and G3 card, Tinguely could get high speed Internet and follow the market, even in the most barren patches of the High Plains.

“All the big money was made during bear markets,” said someone on the radio.

Tinguely supposed one could say that about the Black Death, Plague, and tsunamis as well. Someone pries the molars and the gold fillings from skulls and, with a little bit of pluck, start a jewelry shop. When life hands you lemons… get a pair of pliers.

It was a stretch. Tinguely would be the first to admit she knew little or nothing about analyzing market trends and selecting stocks. The work she was doing for her dad and for other clients had to do with oil and gas leasing and environmental evaluations. As the business soared, Tinguely started to feel a firm sense of identity.

Her dad, on the other hand, saw the other side. His friends and old business partners had been gutted by margin calls. Some lost up to $2 billion dollars of net worth in a single day. Now, the companies they had worked so hard to build and own a stake in, would suddenly change. Instead of being a major stockholder, Dad’s friends would be onlookers. The vultures would be in the driver’s seat. Tinguely could tell it bothered Dad.

“Watch yourself, Tinguely. Don’t get too cocky. You haven’t seen what I’ve seen. You’re young. I’m not,” said Dad.

Tinguely listened, but the words did not register. His experience was not hers.

“I don’t feel sorry for them. In fact, I’m glad I did not own stock in their companies. They were narcissistic. When they bought shares in their own companies using borrowed money, what did that really mean, Dad? They hoped to profiteer on insider information. Instead, they devastated lots of people’s portfolios,” she said.

“Easy to gloat until it happens to you.”

“I’m planning to build shareholder value.” Tinguely’s personal boom had made her bold. She could invent herself. After all, she had already done it successfully.

Constructing an identity was on her mind. Now was the time to come up with a company name, or at least a concept name for the types of services she provided.

A bold name for a newly bold woman. The idea made Tinguely laugh. She knew, in her heart of hearts, she had been feeling vulnerable and unsettled since turning 30 a few months ago.

“By the way, Tinguely, can you meet with our client in Amarillo tomorrow?”

“Sure,” said Tinguely.


The drive from Caprock to Amarillo was long and dull, but 24-7 talk radio made it bearable.

FOX NEWS, FAIR AND BALANCED: The market took another apocalyptic plunge today, the Dow sinking 500 points while the President was giving a pep talk about the economy.

Rumors are out there that when the derivative hedges come due, the market will really dive, since derivatives represent – if you believe what the experts are saying -- 16 times the world's GDP. More than one person has already said it. When the derivatives tank, the Illuminati will take off their masks, and the Reptilian Aliens, who have been controlling the Illuminati (and the Freemasons) for the last three centuries will take over.

On the other hand, perhaps Armageddon isn’t just around the corner after all. In the last hour of trading, the market soared and the Dow closed 400 points up

Climbing vines, creepers --
Our steel fences are overwrought:
gold melts, money burns.

(Old Dow Jones haiku, with kireji)


The only trouble her plan was she could not sleep. Between LouLou, her large, noisy parrot, and the next door neighbor’s incessantly barking pugs, Tinguely was a wreck. Yet again, it was 3 am and she was nowhere near being able to sleep. Neither was LouLou.

“Play the ponies.” It was an unwelcome intrusive thought. It made no sense. There weren't any ponies around. Besides, Tinguely didn’t like the idea of horse-racing. Never trust a horse. It knows it can be shot if it breaks a leg.


Tinguely met her neighbor while picking up Diet Coke cans someone thrown onto the front yard.

Her neighbor, Beryllium Markham, had flown in on her own small plane to check out her investments in the windfarms north and south of town. She was a lean woman with chiseled features, somewhere in her mid-50s. Her dark hair was pulled back in a chignon. Her stunning eyes were enhanced by eyeliner and lash-thickening mascara, coupled with smooth, flawless skin. She was prosperous and not very approachable.

Holding a copy of the Wall Street Journal in one hand, Beryllium smoothed her hair with the other. Beryllium explained that over the last several years, she had been also workin as a stock broker who did limited investment banking as well.

“Perhaps you can give me some stock tips,” said Tinguely.

“That sounds like a profoundly bad idea,” said Beryllium. Tinguely decided to take a different approach. She wondered if Beryllium were related to the pioneering female pilot, Beryl Markham.

“Did you ever live in Africa? In Kenya? Fly planes there? Your mom?” asked Tingeley.

“My great aunt. She was Beryl Markham. I’m Beryllium,” said the pilot.

“Nice,” said Tinguely. But, who would name their child Beryllium? Might as well be “Bear.” Beryl was a mineral. Beryl occurred in many forms, including emerald and aquamarine. Beryl was beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate. Beryllium was the key element. The attributes of beryllium included extreme heat resistance.

“I think I’d go with being called Beryl. Doesn’t sound so … uh… technical.”

She was going to add “scary strong,” but decided that was uncalled for. Beryllium was silent. Then she looked at Tinguely. Her eyes glittered unnervingly.

“You can call me whatever you want,” Beryllium paused. “The global economy’s on the ropes right now.”

“Who threw cans on your yard?” asked Tinguely. Instead of Diet Coke, someone had thrown Budweiser beer cans into Beryllium’s driveway. It looked very odd to have ten empty beer cans on a concrete slab.

"I don’t know. Let’s get back to the main question. The best way to make money these days is to do nothing. Book the money you would have lost if you had “followed your gut” as a gain. It’s all paper anyway. But, if you just have to gamble and lose, why not invest in gold?" she said. She paused. Tinguely’s face was puzzled.

“All the talk show radio hosts recommend gold,” said Tinguely.

Beryllium looked stern. “Tinguely, that was a joke."

"Did you know that most of the world's financial dynasties were born in bear markets?" pointed out Tinguely.

"Did you know that most aviation accidents are with small single-engine planes?" asked Beryllium.

"You fly a single-engine plane, right?“ asked Tinguely. "Death wish or desire for speedy straight-line travel?"

"I hate talking in metaphors,” said Beryllium.

Her mouth made a straight line. Beryllium’s point of view was alien to Tinguely, who was a believer in "win-win." Further, for Tinguely, "straight-line travel" was anathema. She preferred to circle around until she had surveyed all the terrain at least a dozen times – close-up, far away, and sideways.

On the other side of Tinguely’s house arose the sound of two pugs barking.

“Anyway, I got my start in crop-dusting,” said Beryllium. Her smooth, dark hair flew away from the tight chignon.

“The chemicals are bad for animals, right? What would happen if, say, a couple of pugs were frisking about a field that was getting sprayed?”

Beryllium ignored Tinguely’s question.

"So you asked if I have a death wish? I always check the weather forecast before filing my flight plan. There’s your answer."

"What is that supposed to mean?" asked Tinguely. She picked up a Diet Coke can and tried crushing it in her hands. She failed. "Who's throwing these things on my lawn? Yesterday, there were two. Today there are four."

"Someone's been throwing the Dallas Morning News on my lawn. I don't want it."

“I’m thinking about buying “distressed stock” that billionaires are having to unload when they get a margin call. I think there are some good deals out there. I read that one guy had to sell his stock that had once been worth $75.00 for $12.64. It’s a good company. Everyone says it will go back up to at least $50 within a year.”

“Vulture,” muttered Beryllium under breath.

Beryllium’s eyes looked hard and glassy as she said it. Not precisely like emerald. They seemed more alive than that. Tinguely thought of the eyes of a gecko or a Komodo dragon. She shuddered.

We all need an oracle. We need a soothsayer we project our own thoughts on so we can have some confidence in ourselves. Some people travel to Delphi. Some people frequent small storefronts with purple neon lights and a tarot deck poster in the window. Others call their old buddy who invariably buys high and sells low, ask him for advice, patiently endure his explanations of his “method,” and then do the opposite. We all need an oracle.

It was another long, sleepless night. Tinguely was trying to read herself to sleep. It had been a fruitless day of trying to figure out which companies were tanking the fastest and hardest, and which billionaire owners might be vulnerable.

LouLou was preening herself and practicing her new phrase: "Wall Street Week: After the Break! Wall Street Week: After the Break!"

Tinguely glanced up from the book of Indian devotional songs to Shiva that she had been reading. Raised a Baptist prohibited from dancing or having carnal thoughts, Tinguely found the idea of a deity who had erotic fantasies about Radha, a mortal cowherdess, to be disturbing, but weirdly irresistible.

She walked over to LouLou’s cage and put a dark towel over it. She cooed to the parrot soothingly.

“LouLou. Lovely LouLou. Help me figure out how to get in on the margin call fire sales,” she said.

LouLou squawked ungraciously. Tinguely changed her voice.

"Come, gentle night, — come, loving black brow'd night. Pay no worship to the garish sun,” mumbled Tinguely. It was a line from Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet.

"After the Break! Wall Street Week!" squawked LouLou.

Tinguely sighed heavily and turned on the television. LouLou was a great companion, but noisy.

It was an infomercial. Tanned, with spiky brown hair, a button-down denim shirt, and khaki pants, a smugly overconfident spokesperson opened the door of his $80,000 sedan.

Infomercials were not her television viewing material of choice. But, since becoming addicted to forensic crime dramas, Tinguely had decided to only allow herself to watch C-SPAN and Infomercials. C-SPAN was airing a rerun of last week's filibuster in anticipation of a vote to tax Medicare benefits.

Tinguely had already emailed her Congressmen to express her approval of the plan.

From her cage near the east window of Tinguely's bedroom, LouLou ruffled her feathers and noisily cracked open an almond with her beak. Next door, the neighbor's Westminster Kennel Club pugs, Jackson Heights and Jillian Lowes, were barking frantically.

Never mind it was 2:30 am.

"Call within the next 15 minutes, and you can be a Registered, Certified DAY TRADER. In 24 hours, you'll be making trades, pouring the foundation of your new mansion. When the time comes and you want to buy your own island, we can help you with that, too."

Tinguely grabbed her purse with her credit cards, pulled out her cell phone and dialed the number. Jackson and Jillian appeared to be in mortal combat with an opossum, which was probably standing on the wooden fence, doing little more than baring its teeth and hissing.

Tinguely flashed on to an inspiration. Pharmaceuticals. The kind people get addicted to. Would that be a good stock to buy with leveraged funds?

Companies that made cheap caskets for all the increased deaths due to people unable to afford proper medical care, nutrition, prenatal care? This seemed like a winner.

In her corner still alert under the dark towel, LouLou cracked more nuts, ruffled her feathers again, and practiced a couple of her favorite sounds and phrases: first, the Friday Noon Tornado Siren Test, and second, Tinguely’s recorded voice on her answering machine greeting.

LouLou’s squawky parrot voice emanated: "Sorry can't answer. Sorry can’t answer."


It was morning and yet again, someone had thrown four empty Diet Coke cans on Tinguely’s lawn. Beryllium was in her own yard, eyeing a soggy Dallas Morning News.

“Knowing there will be junk on the lawn is about the only thing that stays the same these day," commented Tinguely. “Hey, I made some money on Budget Casket stock.”

“How? Surely there weren’t a lot of margin calls with the owners of that stock,” said Beryllium.

“Don’t know. I sold short,” said Tinguely.

“Whatever for? Oh never mind. I got it,” said Beryllium. “Shareholders see the future. Cremations are cheaper, hence no need for a casket – not even a cheap one from Budget Casket.”

“Well, it went down all right.”

Beryllium was changelessly gorgeous, with elegance and grace. Tinguely felt a bit intimidated. She looked down at the crushed cans in her hands.

“I guess I should make some sort of sculpture out of these,” she said, thinking of Jean Tinguely, her namesake. If she truly followed his pattern, they would self destruct in amusing ways. Tinguely didn’t feel capable of doing anything amusing these days.

“That would be environmentally friendly. Not a bad idea,” encouraged Beryllium. “I am very happy with the wind turbine projects. It seems to be a way to take the negative energy and chaos from the environment and turn it into something all of us can use.”

“Humanitarian?” asked Tinguely.

“Absolutely not. With all the changes and chaos in our wind, weather, and population patterns, wind turbines reintroduce order into Nature. They make the wind go in a certain way. They make thinga move together. We can see it. It’s a mechanical choreography of unruly forces of Nature. Heaven knows we need it.”

“You’re the one who has been throwing Diet Coke cans on my lawn!” It was an intrusive thought, articulated because of sleep deprivation.

Beryllium ignored her.


“Dad. I’m thinking about buying stocks. Paterfamilias Bank. Kerr-McGee Forest Products. American Motors. deChatville Mines. Mohawk Mills. Samson Equities. Ford Motor Company.

“Where are you getting these stock tips?” asked Dad. “Some of those companies haven’t been around for 50 years.”

“Where did they go?” asked Tinguely.

“Mergers. Acquisitions. Slow exsanguination in a bear trap.”


“It’s what happens when the market goes down.”

“That seems obvious, Dad. But these are household names.”

“What have you been reading? LOOK Magazine from 1953?”

“Uh. How did you know?”

“Are you getting enough sleep?”

“Will you take LouLou and the next door neighbor’s pugs?”

Tinguely hung up. In the space of a conversation, the pillars of something stable and strong had vaporized. The roof was falling in. The question was, the roof of what?

When everyone else is flying high, fly low.
When everyone else is flying low, fly high.
It’s what bush pilots and WWI Sopwith Camel fighter pilots liked to say. The Sopwith Camel fighters liked to add, “Stay agile, even if your engines sputter and you think you’re cutting out.”


“I’m all for taxing Medicare payments,” said Tinguely. She was explaining her rationale to her dad. Her dad had just turned 72.

“What’s that?” Her dad sound testy. He hated getting into these sorts of conversations with Tinguely on his cell phone during prime time. Nights and weekends were okay. Mid-week at 3 in the afternoon was not.

“Tell me. In a nutshell.”

"If you had to pay taxes on your MRIs, CT-scans, PET-scans, nano-tube imaging diagnostics, exploratory surgeries, exotic animal-skin grafts, and fill-in-the-blank-oscopies, you'd probably think twice before having all that unnecessary stuff done, right?"

Her dad had just returned from his annual checkup with a fistful of orders for tests and labwork. Silence. Her dad did not respond.

"The worst part is, the imaging is so precise these days, they'll always find something. Then they'll do expensive laser surgery, just to avoid a lawsuit later, just in case the anomaly - probably a stray lump of fat -- that the radioactive nano-tubes caused to light up, might turn out to be something serious," said her dad.

"Medicare should pay you NOT to take their tests. You're just another mark," said Tinguely. "Heaven help you if you're living in a government-subsidized nursing home and get a bad set of tests."

"That's right." agreed her dad. "Soylent Green."

Soylent Green was her dad's favorite movie. Perhaps it was not his actual favorite movie, but it was the one he felt best depicted the way we would be living life in the very near future. In it, because of food and resource shortages, when people reached a certain age, they were euthanized. As they entered the chamber that took them to their final reward (being ground up and processed into a uni-food called "soylent green") uniformed waitstaff asked them politely, "What music would you like with your lethal injection?"

"Never let yourself or your kids get snookered into selling all your assets so you'll get "free" state-paid nursing home care," continued Tinguely's dad.

"Yup. Soylent Green."

The movie Tinguely felt most depicted the near future was "A Clockwork Orange," but that was partially she had studied Russian and liked the Russian-inflected Cockney slang, and partially because she half-expected the United States to announce a corporate merger with Russia, with the new capital being Anchorage, servicing 25% of the world's remaining oil reserves, where were conveniently located in the Arctic.

The infomercial caught her attention again. "Bear markets are mansion-makers. Dynasties."


Beryllium Markham was back. The Diet Coke cans had reappeared on the lawn. Beryllium seemed to have ignored the fact that Tinguely thought she was throwing them on her lawn.

Beryllium’s lawn was pristine. There was a dew-sogged Dallas Morning News, though. Tinguely wondered cynically if Beryllium had also thrown newspaper on her own lawn and then soaking it with a water hose.

She must have seen Tinguely picking up Diet Coke cans. Beryllium’s stained-glass door opened. She emerged, looking smooth and rested in slender black pants, a snowy-white long-sleeved blouse with bell sleeves, and slender patent black-leather boots. She wore a garnet necklace and matching earrings. Her fingernail polish had a salamander pattern.

Tinguely was wearing rumpled jeans, a faded Hawaiian t-shirt with silk-screened birds of paradise, and Cole-Haan flats. Her hair was wet.

“Who’s doing this?” asked Tinguely.

“How’s your little stock market business coming along? Pick the flesh off any once-prosperous investors lately?”

“No,” replied Tinguely glumly. “I always find out about them after they’ve already sold their stock due to margin calls and leveraged financing coming due.”

“Well. Isn’t that a shame.” Beryllium held the soggy newspaper disdainfully between thumb and index finger.

“What’s a derivative hedge?” asked Tinguely.

“Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you.”

Tinguely put the four empty Diet Coke cans into a plastic Lowe’s Food Store bag and sighed. If truth were told, she was lonely.

Beryllium parted her lips in her her glittering reptilian smile. Her lips were glossed the color of rubellite tourmaline.

Bears that dance are bears that bite. That was an old gypsy saying. They should know. They had perfected the art of the con where you use a dancing bear instead of a pick-pocketing spider monkey wearing a little jacket and a tiny bellman’s cap. “Dance with the bear!” Women in oversized t-shirts and stretch pants along with teenagers with “soldier boy” saggy pants would give it a try. The moment they jumped back from the suddenly snarling bear, their wallets and purses magically disappeared.

Bears that dance are bears that bite. If you doubt it, go to St. Petersburg. Take a stroll along Nevski Prospekt along the banks of the Neva River.


The next few days were quieter than before.

Beryllium flew off to parts unknown.

Whoever was throwing Diet Coke cans onto Tinguely’s yard decided to give her a break from picking up litter. The pugs barked only at night, and LouLou started sleeping during the day.

Tinguely got in the habit of drifting off to sleep sometime after lunch and awakening as the sun started to sink in the sky. During that time, she had vivid dreams. They were so odd that she remembered every one. She recorded each one in a journal.

The afternoon dreams seemed to have no pattern: thunderstorms with hail containing diamonds, dogs wearing silk booties, mechanical rats, a Humvee bearing a skull and crossbones pirate flag, quartz crystals from Hot Springs, Arkansas, a girl stepping out of a vintage Pepsi-Cola poster and coming alive, a small girl in a pink and green polka-dotted tricycle pedaling in tighter and tighter concentric circles. Finally, a Ring of Fire.

Thinking of the mechanical rats dream, Tinguely bought a contract to deliver a block of Victor Mousetrap stock.

She was not quite sure how buying and selling futures worked. Perhaps because she did not know, she made a tidy profit.

The Pepsi-Cola dream seemed too obvious. So Tinguely bought stock in Antiques Road Show. It zipped up during an afternoon surge, before plunging to a new low. Tinguely got lucky. She sold high.

As her sleep deprivation started to lift, Tinguely started to notice strange things about the transcribed dreams. The fragments of her dreams no longer seemed to correspond to company names, but they were coming together in two- and three-word clusters.

“Maybe it’s an omen, LouLou,” said Tinguely. She had let LouLou out of her cage, and the parrot was now contentedly nuzzling Tinguely’s arm. “Maybe these are stocks I should be buying.”

“Doggie Silk Booties. Diamond Hailstorm. Jolly Roger Humvee. Tricycle Toddler. The Sound of Sunlight.”

Tinguely paused.

“Hmm. I don’t quite get it. Well, with all the IPOs, who knows. Are they the titles of songs to be released? Or movies? Television series? BioPics? Reality TV?”

Tinguely logged into her account on her computer and sold stock with Apple (iTunes) and Disney Studios. She did not actually own stock in either company.

“After the Break! After the Break!” squawked LouLou. She took a few steps across the table, cocked her head and looked at Tinguely. Tinguely smiled.

“Crazy bird. You are too much. Want some dried cranberries?”

In response to the cranberries, LouLou warbled and sounded oddly like a pigeon.

Tinguely wrote word combinations based on her dreams in her journal: “Crystal Rainbow Bracelet. Tiny Teddie. Poodle Bear Winkie. Oz Wonker. Celebrity Daisy. Fight My Fire.” The dream-names were getting weirder and weirder.

Language was self-destructing. Was it amusing? Tinguely gazed on the pile of Diet Coke cans from her front yard. Unexpectedly, tears came to her eyes.

Not only were corporate identities melting, the language itself was encoding itself in a new way. Unleashed from their moorings on Wall Street and their once-solid footprint in the consciousness of the average American consumer, the things that had meaning no longer carried the same meaning. Reification processes once powered by image, advertising, code were now de-reification processes. This was no hard-charging bull market, where identity invented itself every day and then soared heavenward. This was a bear market. Entities and identities disintegrated.

For some people, the experience was weirdly liberating. And yet it could not help but reinforce existential isolation and a sense that discourse’s links to meaning had broken down. Perhaps this time for good.

Tinguely was not sure at all what to do with the information. She checked the stocks she was to deliver. They had plunged with the Dow, which was down 250 points. She purchased Apple (iTunes) and Disney Studios.

She used the stocks she had just purchased to fulfill her commitment to deliver the stocks she had sold earlier in the day (at a higher price). It was a neat profit. Her hands were sweating.

“Dad. I have to learn how to sell short the right way,” said Tinguely.

“Don’t do it. You’ll fry,” said her dad.

“I don’t care. I’ve got two weeks to make a mark. Bucks. It’s going to happen.”

“Keep your powder dry.”

“Okay. So help me figure out what these omens mean. There’s enough in it for all of us if we get it right,” said Tinguely.

“Gambling is addictive, you know.”

“This is not gambling This is getting in touch with cosmic energies,” said Tinguely.

“I think you need to talk to someone. You’ve been spending too much time alone.”

“I’ve got LouLou.”

“Exactly,” said her dad.

Intrusive thoughts: Impulse? Give it up. Don’t fight. Multifarious. Brutal.

Winds and flowers bloom;
The mind: ladybug or plain bug?
Skeleton rosebuds.

Old Dow Jones Haiku

The Russian President, Medvedev, was making a speech.

A sidebar in the screen showed a clutch of Russian billionaires sitting glumly in a club in Stockholm.

A pale, bearded man was talking softly. “I hardly know who I am any more. I just don’t see myself in the same way.”

The television talkshow host spoke.

"These are the oligarchs, and the oligarchs took it on the chin. Margin calls. One guy had to liquidate all of his holdings in an auto parts distributor in Canada. He owned 20 percent. Imagine that. Overnight. Losing 20 percent of a company," the call-in television talkshow host had a reverent voice, tinged with awe.

"How can a margin call do that?" asked a caller.

"Naked shorts." Long pause.

"Naked what? What's that?"

"He sold shares he didn't have. He thought he could cover it by buying cheap. But, the price went up. Now he has to deliver. He has to buy the shares to deliver them. But, he has no money. So he has to sell every single stock he owns."

"Wow. Won't that flood the market? Drive the prices down?" asked the caller.

"Yes. But it won't do as much as naked swap-option derivatives," replied the host.

"What are those?"

"You don't want to know. You don't even want to know."

"Oh. Okay. By the way, doesn't Medved mean "bear" in Russian?" asked the caller.

"Hehe. Yes. Oh. That reminds me -- Ursula, the woman's name, must be derived from the Latin word for bear. Ursa."


The Russian president finished his speech. Putin walked on stage. The people cheered.


Dreams changed. Not so clearly oracular.

Grass fires burned cars in the parking lot at Panera Bread while Tinguely was waiting for her sandwich order.

The barista offered her two free cappuccinos for her patience while waiting for coffee while the restaurant was evacuated.

She was watching old 16mm films of old war movie with WWII veterans. Tinguely was organizing papers in her backpack as the old tape rolled. The projector was noisy. Her paper shuffling was noiser.

She couldn’t find her car in the parking lot.

The more she was in a hurry, the more everything around her slowed: sandwich preparation, evacuating the restaurant, making her way through maze of fire trucks and hot, scorched vehicles to find hers, sorting a pile of papers that grew and grew and grew.

Dow Jones Haiku

(you have to imagine the words, the syllable count, the “pop” of insight and emptiness.)

Conversation with Dad.

Albany, NY cityscape -- a gorgeous sci fi futurescape of equidistant gray block skyscrapers, illuminated at night (fitting, of course, for the brainchild of a member of the Illuminati). Rodan, the beloved pterodactyl from 50’s monster movies screeches and flaps his leathery wings. The “Egg” performing arts center starts to crack open, and a pterodactyl chick’s beak pokes through.

Tinguely’s “Notes to Self”

What looks like greed on the surface is motivated by sadness, loss, loneliness

What looks like harshness (reptilian alien) is often one’s projection of the self they wish they were… (hard, self-reliant, able to fly).

Risk takes you into the world of the unreal.

Omens and oracles – Are they projections? Are they not real? or…
Are the omens and oracles the real thing? And – we are simply the shadow of them? …

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The three dozen or so abandoned, foreclosed houses had turned into moldering ghost-houses, their yards a fetid jungle. Swamp gas clung to storage sheds and half-drained swimming pools.

Tinguely Querer caught a glimpse of something much too shiny and smooth to be a dog, but too large to be a goat, cow, or pony. It slipped through the dark, waxy leaves of an unpruned magnolia tree, with what appeared to be a large, possibly prehensile tail, curling waggishly through the lower limbs.

Podcast: click here

The sound of raspy breathing and tree limbs cracking came from the magnolia. Although Tinguely was intensely curious, she decided not to pursue the animal. It did not seem to be a very good idea. The sounds continued and seemed to ascend the tree. Then, with a crash of branches and leaves, the sound stopped.

Dusk was falling, and the Pinella Pines Subdivision she had been hired to survey was full of abandoned homes, repossessed in the mortgage crisis. The homes were all less than ten years old, but the subdivision had a jungle-y, noir feeling. For every home with lights burning in the dining rooms, and citronella candles burning on the decks or around the pool, five or six had been either vandalized by owners angry over their suddenly unaffordable ballooning ARMS, and another half dozen were simply left behind.


Her cell phone startled her.

“Hey kitty-cat, how are you doing?” It was the voice of a guy Tinguely had met in the office of her latest client.

He had taken to calling Tinguely “Hello Kitty” or simply “Kitty” after he saw the Hello Kitty post-it notes she used to remind herself of dates to enter into her calendar. She had bought them because they were the only post-it notes she could find in the strip mall where she grabbed coffee one afternoon.

Tinguely thought of Hello Kitty backpacks, toasters, and pencil cases she saw in Hello Kitty stores in Osaka. She remembered a photo of a child soldier in Liberia who used a Hello Kitty backpack as a lucky charm. He also wore a cheap blonde chemotherapy wig. It was supposed to bring health.

“Hey, Kitty, Hello Kitty,” said the voice on the phone.

Tinguely smiled.


Then her dad called.

She listened for awhile, not responding. Then,her words came out, blurtedly.

“Dad. I think I had a vision last night. Sabotage. Key bridges and dams. I’ve started to wonder about the bridges and dams here. Commerce, security, fear, death,” Tinguely told her dad. “I don’t believe, but then I do care.”

The connection was bad. She could not hear his reply.

She glanced at the television. Then a USA Today headline caught her eye. A Senate subcommittee had just heard testimony on the impact of infrastructure sabotage across America.
Tinguely’s stomach clenched. Something scritch-scratched against the wall. It was a large gecko. Its tongue flickered, then it ran out the open doorway and into the hall.


After one week without air conditioning in the thick central Florida mangrove heat, a peculiar slimy mold started to coat the carpets, and mildew blackened the grout in the bathrooms. The 2800 block of Periwinkle Way, a cul-de-sac that bordered a small park and a "green belt" area, seemed to be the worst. The former owners had not vandalized their homes, or stripped them of anything they could pawn or install in a parent's home. Instead, they seemed to have left them in haste. In some cases, in mid-meal.

The large bank stuck with the properties was investigating reports of possible environmental damage around the repossessed homes.

The shadowy creature appeared again. Whatever it was definitely had four legs, a tail, and a head. But, what was it? It was much too low to the ground to be a dog. It was not shaped like an alligator. Just as Tinguely caught another glimpse, it dashed back into the shadows between two pale brick ranch-style homes. Something seemed to be scaling the wall, running up the kudzu that had started to overtake the south edge of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom mother-in-law plan ranch.


Headline: Seven-foot Nile Monitor Lizard In Our Town?

Photo Caption: The Nile Monitor is a vicious predator that will eat anything that fits in its mouth.

Question: What were Nile Monitor Lizards doing in Florida? What started out as a cute birthday present, turned into large, smelly reptile that could escape virtually any cage, climb up walls, and scamper out open windows, doors, and cat doors.

The wildlife disappeared. The owners forgot about them. No one thought anything of it.

That is, until they started feeding on neighborhood livestock (dogs, cats, rabbits, songbirds, toddlers).


Tinguely pulled up to the hotel in a rented Ford Mustang. The car was new, with only 8,000 miles on it but was already missing various knobs and part of the dash was brittle as though they had used the low-density polyethylene instead high-density – or, was it the other way around?

Toothless tiger.

Tinguely remembered when the Mustang was a hip, strong muscle car. You have to go back to 1966 for that, she thought. What happened in those 40-something years? That was two generations back.

Uncle Chunk used to brag that he had a Mustang. That was when Tinguely’s father was making his first millions in oil, gas, wheat, and gold. That was when a million dollars was a staggering amount. Now, one would have to earn ten times that, and she would still not be rewarded with the shock and awe that seemed fitting.

Uncle Chunk’s Mustang came from Tinguely’s dad’s largesse. He bought it for him as a graduation gift. It was a classic car, already more than 20 years old in 1987, when Uncle Chunk demonstrated that he, too, could somehow swim the weird and turbulent waters of male self-fashioning.

Nostalgia is cruel.

Tinguely’s graduation gift from dad was a copy of Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, and a collectible “rare book” rated copy of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. Her mom gave her a check for $50. She used it to buy new windshield wiper blades for her rusty old Volkswagen Rabbit, and to go on a three-day carbohydrate binge, eating and drinking nothing but “postres mexicanos” and syrupy hazelnut frappucinos.

Struggling builds character, said Dad.

Tinguely balefully considered her Uncle Chunk.

Perhaps he could set up an offshore banking enterprise on Barbados. Tinguely noted with satisfaction that Chunk’s skin was already getting very leathery from too much subtropical sun. Chunk should avoid the sun. His ancestors (and Tinguely’s, for that matter), hailed from the Pyrenees between France and Spain. They came to trade in mink, beaver, and sometimes wolverine.

Sometimes Tinguely craved hot chocolate and goose liver pate. She assumed it was utterly atavistic. One of these days, her atavism could cause her think of impaling a captor’s head on a stake and anchoring it on an upended pike.

For now, the hide of the moose someone in her family had shot, skinned, and tanned would have to do.

You had to send a message, she said. Otherwise, you’re no longer the hunter. You’re the hunted.


Someone started shipping exotic animals to pet stores in America, even though, in theory, no one in their right mind would want a black mamba, king cobra, Nile Monitor lizard, Komodo dragon, Burmese python, or anaconda in their teen-age son’s bedroom.

Someone started shipping people to the Americas, even though, in theory, no current inhabitant in his or her right mind would want a fur trapper, clear cutter, distributer of smallpox-infected blankets, or wooden stockade builder to settle there, in the current inhabitants’ pristine and nicely-balanced ecosystem.


The Mustang hurrumphed to a stop. Injectors need cleaning? Too much ethanol in the gas blend?

Dusk had turned to night. Tinguely opened the car door and uncoiled her legs. They were tense and a little sore from too many squats at “Pump and Crunch” class.

The air was thick with humidity. For seemingly no reason at all, she felt a surge of aggression. Startled, she sat back in the car, closed the door and breathed deeply. When she felt aggression, it was usually a response to fear. What was out there? All she could hear were her own deliberate exhalations.


Seated in a corner of the outdoor café, Tinguely contemplated the wrought iron gates. The pillars were covered with coiled ivy and vines. It was dark. Tinguely was drinking coffee and slowly eating a cheese quesadilla when she heard the creep and crunch of something moving in the parking lot.

A thin man – a Praying Mantis in a limp t-shirt and gym shorts, spiky gray hair – appeared, then disappeared into the shadows.

Tinguely moved into the shadows so that she would not be detected. Her muscles flexed instinctually. He appeared thin, weak, alone. So alone and vulnerable, he would be an easy catch. For some reason, his presence made Tinguely think of death squads operating in Nicaragua during the 1980s. Appearance deceives. Thin, wiry creatures can be the most ruthless; they even attack when not provoked. Peligro. Danger. Not worth it.

Like the Burmese python she had seen in one abandoned neighborhood, she coiled herself around the chair, flexed herself. She felt the need to approach him. Saliva started to pool in her mouth, her quadriceps tightened with the need to spring and pounce.

She stopped herself just before leaping out the gate and pursuing him. Walking back to her chair, she sank down. In the distance, she saw live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Where were the alligators tonight? Were they in the mangrove swamps, or were they taking over the fountains and personal spas in abandoned neighborhoods? Cicadas buzzed.

She paid her bill and walked outside down a tropical rock garden. Something made her sniff the air, and what she sensed electrified her. Dial soap. Ben Gay.

The Praying Mantis man was nearby. Evidently he was injured. He would absolutely be easy prey.


The newspaper vending machine in the entryway of the hotel displayed the front page of the local newspaper. It featured a picture of a Nile Monitor lizard with a chunk of flesh and what appeared to be poodle fur hanging from its thin lips.

“Seven-Foot Lizard Preys Upon Pets”

With a mouth full of kill, eyes glittering with satisfaction, the lizard looked absolutely at home in Florida.

In the moonlight, Tinguely’s eyes shone.

If she had caught Praying Mantis man, what would she have done with him anyway?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Panhandle Coin and Gun

Passersby walked down the sidewalk in front of the small shop. “Panhandle Coin and Gun” was a clean place, decorated with framed prints of famous gold coins, and taxidermied mule deer, pheasants, and two big jackrabbits.

Podcast: http://www.beyondutopia.net/podcasts/panhandlecoin.mp3

“Where’s your jackalope?” Tinguely smiled. The coin dealer laughed.

“A coyote was the best I could do,” he said. An entire stuffed coyote was perched on a stand on the western wall. A rubber rattlesnake and a spray of creosote adorned the base of the stand. It should have been garish, but was not.

“Coyotes are good. Tricksters are always good. Jackalopes are better, though,” she said. Her hands felt a bit sticky from the SPF 45 skin protection cream she had applied a few moments before. She was trying to protect her skin the best she could.

“That would make quite a trophy,” he said. “Pure fantasy, you know.”

“Sure. Fantasy is what inspires the hunt in the first place,” said Tinguely.

“Let me go into the safe and get what you wanted to see,” said the coin dealer. Tinguely nodded. Her gaze shifted automatically to the television screen.

Two talking heads were utterly fascinated by each other’s insights into the economy.

“It was a classic boom-bust cycle. Most people get in at the tail-end of the boom. So, there are always a lot of late-comers. They were, of course, the major part of the body count. The late-comers lost big. Greed kills.”

“Yes. At that point, there’s nothing to do except to get out the pliers. Pull the gold fillings from the corpses.”

The program went to commercial break. Tinguely focused on the business at hand. She had been commanded by her father to buy gold. The stock market was firmly in bear territory. Bonds were weak. Banks were failing.

“Gold. It’s the only thing that holds up,” her dad said. “It’s the best protection.”

Tinguely did not agree. Gold was the one thing that pushed people over the edge. It was not liquid. You couldn’t eat it. People wanted to steal it. But, she had to do her dad’s bidding. She had agreed to it, after all.

The gold coin dealer was explaining the benefits of the new Canadian Maple Leaf .99999 fine gold coins. Tinguely was not paying attention. All she could think of was the image of a financial planner with pliers in his hand, pulling the fillings from his poor chump client who jumped and landed on the sidewalk several floors down from their posh offices.

The talking head on the left side of the screen smiled sweetly.

“Do you remember Drake Management? The San Francisco-based hedge fund? They lost millions of dollars in one week -- their hedge funds hurt them. They also had traditional fixed income funds.”

The talking head on the right side of the screen looked deeply into the eyes of the left-hand head.

“Oh yes, I do remember that.” Sigh. Inhale, exhale. “It was part of the sub-prime fueled mortgage debacle.”

The coin dealer glanced up at the screen and then looked at Tinguely.

“I don’t know why anyone listens to them. Their “objective” and “fair” recommendations are just on the things that they’ve been paid to promote. I call it an infomercial. It’s not fair and balanced news reporting. I don’t care what they say it is.”

“Investing is a science,” said one talking head.

“Oh yes,” breathed the other. Sigh. Inhale. Exhale.

That was too much for Tinguely. “Investing as a science? Hah! Well, whatever our society calls investing today is not much more than rite, ritual, and mutually gratifying self-delusion. Science seeks truth. Investing is -- well -- it's a kind of truth, but it's fuzzy. ”

“But aren’t you a scientist?” asked the coin dealer. “A geologist?”

“In a manner of speaking. But I wish I knew more about the fuzziness we need to build into our models. It's hard to see people suffer ,” said Tinguely. Her voice was sharp.

“You must have good insights into commodities, then,” said the coin dealer. His voice was smooth, bland.

“How much are the coins? My dad wants to buy a few,” she said. “He is like everyone else. He believes that truth is in the patterns. But where do the patterns come from? If you scratch the surface, they are from someone’s prejudices and beliefs.”

The coin dealer smiled. “Sounds like you had to read Georges Sorel, too.”

Tinguely pictured Sorel sitting on the front bench at a local high school pep rally, thumping and tapping his cane to the marching band and the cheerleaders shouting and jumping.

Strange bedfellows, indeed.

The coin dealer continued: “I remember Sorel – he said science was ‘too much of a conceptual, ideological construction,’ and that it crushes our perception of truth through the ‘stifling oppression of remorselessly tidy rational organization.’”

Sorel said systems always were simply skin stretched tight over belief, faith, and ideology.

Tinguely smiled politely.

“How much are they? My dad’s expecting me to haggle with you a bit. Do you mind?” she asked.

The talking heads were still talking, still reinforcing each other’s prejudices and each other’s rationalizations of the consequences of untrammeled greed.

The coins glittered in the morning light. The voices on the television droned on about predictive models and the science of supply and demand. The multiple working hypotheses were simply variants of dogma.

Frankly, she did not care. She was more interested in tales of the survivors of boom-bust cycles.

The dead coyote smiled. Its canine tooth glinted, the eyes shone dark and black as though to tell her not to bother, not to forget it had been felled by a brass-casinged hollow-point bullet that glittered like gold. Survivors? There weren’t any.

Ask any investor.

Posted by Susan.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Amy Winehouse: Tragic Camp of the Reinvented Bad Girl

Amy Winehouse's exaggerated bouffant, Cleopatra eyes, and her own songs, "I'm No Good," and her remake of "He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss," remind one of all echoes of earlier times. The perception is of women gutted by the male gaze, controlled by Svengali managers and boyfriends. Amy Winehouse's costuming and public persona evoke the tragedy of Anna Nicole Smith and even Dorothy Stratten, the Playboy centerfold murdered by her manager husband. However, the key difference is that instead of being physically dominated and controlled by an ever-present manager/boyfriend/husband, Amy's husband, Blake, languishes away in prison, where he is being held for obstruction of justice. While she claims he is always in her mind, he, by all accounts, is utterly powerless in his role. If he is in reality controlling her, it is only through the idea that she herself holds in her own mind about suffering and subjugation.

In the meantime, each mark on Amy's body offers the communicating public an opportunity to participate in an ongoing and ever-morphing story. The story is about love, about loss, and about heartache. It is also about the way a cut, bruise, needle mark, or blemish can symbolize the chthonic; a subterranean repository of meaning that is not ever quite visible, except in manifestations that bubble to the surface in the form of cuts, bruises, scratches, tracks, and more.

For more discussion, please read the full article here:

Video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5406910453985093449&hl=en

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Virtual Worlds Are the New Poetry

Podcast. Found Quote: Laura (Riding) Jackson renounced, on grounds of linguistic principle, the writing of poetry: she had come to hold that "poetry obstructs general attainment of something better in our linguistic way-of-life than we have."

So. What would that "something better" be?

Video games. Virtual worlds. Poetry gets in the way of video games.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


I do not know a single person who has spent time in virtual worlds who does not secretly wish for a "Through the Looking Glass" experience in which they enter the world, but can't quite figure out how to get back. And why not love it? It has everything you might want --

As for me, well, in the early and mid-1990s, I avoided those types of computer games. I preferred games like Sim City or "serious games" that blended education and training. I did not like the early experiences in virtual worlds. They reminded me of first-person shooter games, but with unfair advantages, since they involved charms and magical processes, and a one-on-one fight to the death with whomever you encountered along the way. No thanks.

My son, Marshall, and all his friends were a different story. In 1997, when he was 13, he started playing Ultima Online, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORG). His persona in that the virtual world game was a skeleton wearing a long gray wig and wearing a wedding dress.

“You’re Miss Havisham?” I asked.

“Whatever,” he said. He was in eighth grade, but they had not yet had to read Dickens’ Great Expectations.

“Why are you a skeleton bride?” I asked him.

“That’s my avatar,” he said.

“What’s an avatar?” I really did not know.

“It is a divine being that has come to earth in physical form for a special purpose.” He clicked on an icon on his computer screen. “Look. Read.”

It was the definition of an avatar, which seemed borrowed directly from the Bhagavad-gita. No wonder this was such heady stuff. Turn yourself into a divine being. Make your being do what you want, until, of course, it is killed in combat with a wilier opponent, or one who has a better controller.

“Glad you like it,” I said, retreating to the kitchen where I poured myself another cup of hazelnut coffee. I then grabbed the book I had been reading, Norman Cohn’s, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages, and settled in for a nice round of reading about true believers and flagellants who thought that they could ward off plague, pestilence and moral turpitude by whipping the first layer of skin from their backs.

Did it work? Ask the Shiite devotees on the festival of Ashoura. My personal feeling is that it does work, but who wants to go through the pain? Mortification of the flesh is so darn uncomfortable. Why break ourselves down when we can be gods and goddesses (at least on a screen)?

At first, I ignored virtual worlds, except for the occasional excursion into it when I couldn’t avoid it for professional purposes. Breakthroughs would occur. I’d go in, customize an avatar for myself, try out the activities available, and the leave feeling rather annoyed. I could not help but wonder if the person behind the avatar I had just spent time inanely chatting up --“Hi, cool boots, where did you find them?” and “Where did you get your skin? Love the tats on your neck” -- was a 13-year-old like my son was when he first started spending 6 hours at a stretch in Ultima Online. I found out later that he had even set up one of my computers as a server for the game.

He was hooked. I was worried. He was not getting enough fresh air and exercise.

When he took up skateboarding, I was thrilled, even though it meant road rash, broken fingers, and a circle of friends that included delinquents and guys who drank liquids from a bottle in a brown paper bag. Yeah. But at least he was getting fresh air and was interacting with real people. That was real life. It was where your heart actually beats, where real liquid actually pumps in your veins.

He had not really lost interest in virtual worlds, but I did not understand how it worked. This was 1997 and he was a part of a nascent trend that involved popularizing social networks via the web. It was far beyond forums, discussion boards, listserves, and the alt.net newsgroups I was still involved in. was setting up complex networks of acquaintances, and relating to them in a fluid, interest-based way. He was learning negotiating skills and leadership. I did not see it, though. I just saw a 13-year-old spending a lot of time eating Pringles and drinking Jones soda.

Strangely, Marshall's heightened interest in the Real World coincided with my own surge of interest -- not in the Real World (too scary) -- but in virtual worlds. I was starting to not just see, but live, the potential. I tried to tell Marshall about it, but he was not interested. Instead, he showed me how high he could "ollie" on his skateboard.

One afternoon, while I trying to decorate an office space in a virtual world, Marshall came into my office.

“Mom. I think I need to see a doctor. I think I cracked my wrist.” Marshall proffered up his swollen wrist. His face was flushed with pain.

“Why is your back bleeding?” I tried to keep the alarm out of my voice.

“Uh, yeah. Well, we were doing some stuff with some whips and chains, and I accidentally hit myself. Justin had a couple of nunchuks, too.”

“What was the purpose of that? What were you trying to accomplish?” I heard my voice rising in alarm.

“Mom. It was fun. Don’t you know anything? They were cool. Justin told me where he got his stuff. I think they sell them at the Medieval Fair,” he said.

Marshall’s wrist was merely sprained. The injuries on his back did not amount to anything more than deep scratches. His face glowed. The twin forces of the need for Mom, and the need to forge an independent identity made his eyes sparkle even as he winced as the nurse applied antibiotic ointment.

“Can we go by Braum’s and get a Butterfinger shake?” he asked.

“You think you should be rewarded for this?” I asked, incredulous. He laughed.

That night, I heard Marshall laughing as he managed his avatar in world. “Hey, Mom. Justin’s here. I recognize him. His avatar is stupid. I’m going to trick him. Watch….”

I watched Marshall maneuver his avatar, all the while avoiding leaning back in his chair, where he might scrape his fresh injuries.

For the first time, I connected to what he was doing.

Poetry is supposed to make you feel immortal, in touch with the gods, filled with “divine afflatus.”

Poetry consists of words that are supposed to function as avatars on the page.

Hah. Good luck.

Reading and thinking are hard work, and sometimes my mind wants to be led by my eyes in a glorious, glittery world of seductive encounters, magical capes and gowns, and enough fairy dust to sprinkle around so that people fall in love with whatever they behold.

The written word has just too many hard edges.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Interview with Veronica Inoue, Learning Review

Welcome to an interview with Veronica Inoue, managing editor and director of Learning Review, the first publication in Spanish dedicated to elearning. The interview appears here in both Spanish and English.

1. What is your name and what is your connection to e-learning?
Soy Verónica Inoue y me desempeño como Directora Editorial de Learning Review, una publicación que aborda los temas de capacitación y desarrollo con nuevas tecnologías, donde se incluye el e-Learning. Learning Review comenzó como una revista latinoamericana y ahora ya tiene una edición completamente exclusiva para España. Además, soy alumna de una Maestría por e-learning y realizo otras actividades a veces como tutora y otras como participante.

I am Verónica Inoue and I’m the Editorial Director of Learning Review, a publication that presents themes of training and development with new technologies, which incluyes e-learning. Learning Review began as a Latin American magazine, and now it has an edition that is completely exclusive for Spain. In addition, I have a master’s degree in elearning, and I am often involved in other activities; sometimes as instructor, and sometimes as participant.

2. How did you first become involved in the topic of e-learning?
Estudié Recursos Humanos en la Universidad y vimos este tema en la cátedra de Capacitación. Dado el interés que me causó este tema (allá por el año 2001), realicé mi tesis en este tema; investigué sobre las implementaciones que se estaban haciendo en distintos ámbitos en Argentina en ese momento.

I studied Human Resources at the university and we say this theme in the department of Training and Development. Given the interest that this topic inspired in me (back in 2001), I decided to do my thesis in this area. I investigated the way that elearning was being implemented in several different areas in Argentina at that moment in time.

3. What is the Learning Review LatinoAmerica, and how did it come into existence?
Learning Review Latinoamérica es una publicación sobre capacitación y desarrollo mediado por tecnologías (e-learning, m-learning, blended learning, educación en mundos virtuales 3D), así como sobre mejora del desempeño humano, gestión del conocimiento y capital intelectual. Produce una revista trimestral en papel para toda Latinoamérica, un newsletter mensual con noticias, eventos y adelantos de la edición en papel, y un sitio web que se actualiza diariamente. (www.learningreview.com).

Learning Review Latin America is a publication that covers technology-mediated training and development (elearning, mobile learning, blended learning, and education in 3D virtual worlds), with the goal of improving human performance, the development of knowledge and intellectual capital.

Learning Review Latinoamérica nació para cubrir la necesidad de información y actualización que demandaban los profesionales de capacitación y desarrollo de las empresas de esta región. Es la primera revista sobre esta temática específicamente, en habla hispana.

4. What is the magazine's primary mission? Who is your target audience? Why?
Our primary mission is to be the partner enables training and development professionals to demonstrate the commercial value of their skills and specialties. We would like to establish a space where training and development professionals find, in a single place, all the information they need to keep current. We also aim to share experiences, trends, research, opinions and news in the training and development sector, that boost one’s knowledge in a continuous and accessible way.

Nuestra misión principal es ser el socio que permita a los profesionales de capacitación y desarrollo rentabilizar las prácticas de su área, así como generar impacto en el negocio.
Establecer un espacio donde los profesionales de capacitación y desarrollo encuentren, en un solo lugar, toda la información para mantenerse actualizados.
Difundir las experiencias, tendencias, investigaciones, opiniones y novedades del sector de capacitación y desarrollo de personas, que permitan crear conocimiento en forma continua y accesible.

Our target audience consists of the following:

Directors of human resources
Training and development managers
Directors of consulting groups that specialize in e-learning, corporate training, continuing education
Leaders of e-learning proejcts
Instructional designers and instructional technologists who work in e-learning projects
Chairs and others responsable for human resources careers and those affiliated with universities that offer e-learning

El target de nuestra audiencia conforma:
· Directores de recursos humanos.
· Gerentes de capacitación y desarrollo.
· Directores de consultoras de e-learning, capacitación corporativa, educación continua.
· Lideres de proyectos de e-learning.
· Diseñadores instruccionales y tecnólogos que trabajen en proyectos de e-learning.
· Responsables de carreras de RRHH y afines de universidades con oferta presencial y por e-learning.

5. What do you see as the most exciting new directions in elearning in Latin America today?
Creo que finalmente está insertándose en la mayoría de las empresas medianas y grandes. Latinoamérica siempre se encuentra uno o dos pasos atrás de las tendencias mundiales que suelen darse inicialmente, en Estados Unidos, Europa, Japón. Entonces, si bien en las grandes empresas el e-learning es un hecho y ya están yendo en busca de integrar el m-learning o los mundos virtuales, en las empresas medianas está iniciándose el proceso de incorporación y de integración a la modalidad presencial de capacitación. Desde muchos gobiernos de países latinoamericanos, se está comenzando a incentivar estas prácticas de e-learning, principalmente desde la incorporación de esta modalidad de aprendizaje a instituciones públicas. De hecho ya hay interesantes casos de e-learning gubernamental en Latinoamérica.

I believe that elearning is finally being incorporated in the majority of mid-sized and large companies. Latin America always seems to find itself a step or two behind global trends that tend to

6. What are some of the main barriers?
Lamentablemente, la conectividad sigue siendo una de las barreras más difíciles de quebrar en esta región. El problema nunca está en las capitales de los países o las grandes urbes, sino en las pequeñas poblaciones más alejadas de los centros urbanos.
También falta mucho más incentivo, capacitación, iniciativas por parte de los distintos ministerios o dependencias del gobierno (los ministerios de educación, de trabajo, deberían generar políticas y ponerlas en práctica para hacer de esto una cuestión de interés nacional).
Y por supuesto, no puedo dejar de mencionar la barrera cultural que en muchos países aún se torna como principal dificultad. En este sentido será fundamental el rol y la posición que tomen las universidades y los colegios; integrar el e-learning en la educación (en todas las etapas) es fundamental para ir rompiendo esta barrera cultural.

Sadly, connectivity continues to be one of the most difficult barriers to overcome in this region. The problem never occurs in the capitals of countries, or in the large cities, but in the small population centers more distant from the urban centers. Also lacking are incentives, training, and initiatives on the part of different ministries or branches of the government (ministries of education and of labor should generate policies and put them in practice in order to make this a question of national interest.)

Of course, I must not fail to mention a cultural barrier that in many countries still presents itself as the principle difficulty. In this sense, the role and the position that the universities and high schools take is absolutely fundamental. It is important to integrate elearning into education (at all stages) because it is vital in order to go forth breaking down cultural barriers.

7. How can more people have access to elearning?
Esta es una pregunta que es sencilla de responder; el problema es poder poner en práctica aquello que decimos (que es lo más difícil en Latinoamérica). El e-learning puede hacerse accesible a más gente si se pueden concretar iniciativas desde distintos frentes: gobierno, empresas privadas, instituciones académicas. Todos estos actores tienen una responsabilidad social; en este caso, hablando sobre e-learning, su responsabilidad es hacer del e-learning algo accesible. ¿Cómo? A través de capacitación online en cibercafés (que están muy difundidos en toda Latinoamérica); integrando esta modalidad en todas las cátedras de las universidades; promoviendo la capacitación online en centros comunitarios (ya sea tengan o no Internet); integrando el e-learning en la escuela (primaria y secundaria) y sobre todo capacitando a los maestros y profesores.

This is a question that's easy to answer, but the problem is having the power to put into practice what we're talking about (which is most difficult in Latin America). E-Learning can be made more accessible to more people if it's possible to firm up initiatives on different fronts: government, private industry, academic institutions. All the parties have a social responsibility; in this case, speaking of e-learning, the responsibility is to make elearning something that is accessible. How? Through online training in cybercafes (which are widely available throughout Latin America); integrating elearning in all university departments; promoting online training in community centers (whether or not they already have Internet); integrating elearning in primary and secondary schools, and above all, training teachers and professors.

8. What would you like to see happen in the future?
Me gustaría ver que en Latinoamérica se aprovechen todas las oportunidades y ventajas que tiene el e-learning y el blended learning, no solo en las grandes empresas sino en todos los sectores.