31 May 2006

More Stray Thoughts

---When someone Googles "special things in puerto rico", where do you think The Jenius would rank? Why thank you! Actually, The Jenius ranks fourth, just behind Taínos, living and diving. I always knew I was a Top 5 Special Attraction in Puerto Rico; now I have proof.

---Less than 24 hours after My posting about the U.S. becoming a police state, the Supreme Court votes 5-4 to limit protection to government whistleblowers, even in justifiable cases. Funny how that topic was #9 on the list and how clamping down on it makes the list even more relevant. I can almost hear the jackboots goose-stepping down Main Street...

---Now that Caguas Mayor "Willie" Miranda Marín has been outed as a potential candidate, his next move is to say "Yes, if..." That's the traditional answer for would-be candidates who haven't (A) raised enough money to run, (B) don't have a finger on the pulse of the electorate and (C) are still many months away from the elections. **NOTE: Before I could post this, Willie pretty much said "Yes, if..." and of course, the bleating retarded sheep in the press went running--running, I tell you!--to tattle on Willie to the jellyfish in La Fortaleza, Aníbal Acebedo Vilá. The jellyfish's response? "It's too early to discuss candidacies at this time." Yeah. Right. (And maybe I should go back to blogging every day...)

---"If you could have either more money or more time, which would you choose?" There's a poll over at Lifehacker that you can give an answer to. My answer? More time. I can always make more money.

---Nine months to The World's Best 10K and I have yet to start training. The reason is simple: I haven't wanted to. Doesn't matter what else I say, it boils down to the simple fact that I haven't wanted to train enough to get started. Time is barely on My side here, as I am probably in the worst shape of My adult life and have never run anything near 10 kilometers at one time. Solution: Raise the stakes. Make it even more imperative to get started. Nothing like some extra pressure to make one react, right?

---Yesterday I took a car to an Inspection Center, a requirement in order to buy the car's local license sticker. known as marbete. The center was a small, cramped, garage/used car sale lot with two cars on sale and two cars in pieces. In the inspection area was a woman talking non-stop on a cell phone, a blue Ford pick-up truck idling away with the probe wand stuck in its tailpipe. On the dark-green screen, a couple of numbers rose and fell as the engine's output was measured.

With a brief pause, the woman took the car's license and propped it on the keyboard. The car I was in idled away, matching the pick-up's rhythm. I strolled around for a few minutes, listening to the woman's almost-constant chatter/whine. One of the cars was a Mazda sports car, electric blue, stick shift. Cool. More strolling. Some silence, then more chattering. I read the required sign that indicates everything to be inspected: lights, horn, wipers, brakes, door and window integrity...

Suddenly: "Here you go." The inspection certification was printed, the sixth in the last series of the day. Eleven dollars. I don't think she ever looked at the car. Standard procedure? Maybe not, but I can assure you non-Puerto Ricans out there that what I've just described is the dream scenario for a large number of My People. Should I have objected or rejected the certification? Puh-lease. I'm a Jenius, not an Ydiot. We all know the inspection is a song-and-dance only, like the doctor's examination to get your driver's license. Stupidly-implemented procedures that should be stringent, but have simply become legal scams.

Unfortunately, it seems that too many things in Puerto Rico have become legal scams, leading to a sense of anarchy. Anarchy can arise from a lack of moral and ethical values or from open contempt of laws. Personally, The Jenius became an anarchist in this case for the second reason. It can be argued that the first reason applies just as well.

Practicality? Depressing? My vote is "both."

The Jenius Has Spoken.

29 May 2006

Stray Thoughts

---Allow Me to point you to a fascinating experiment launched by Toby Bloomberg, the ever-fabulous creator of The Diva Marketing blog. Called Blogger Stories, it gathers anecdotes of how blogging has connected people. Toby generously invited Me to contribute and here it is. I can only shake My head in amazement at how obviously useful this idea is and applaud Toby for making it happen.

---You may have noticed a sort of "spurt" pattern in The Jenius' posts lately: a few days of nothing followed by 2-3 posts landing at once. Well, that's a sign a schedule change is needed, so beginning this week, The Jenius will be a MWF blogger. You're welcome to make up your alternate description of "MWF".

---Local ad-rag Caribbean Business has Caguas Mayor "Willie" Miranda Marín on the front cover under the headline "The Next Governor of Puerto Rico?" Nothing The Jenius didn't bring up 19 days ago...

---The Top 10 Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State. This is NOT a joke, unless you love pro-fascist stances. Look at this article and compare to My oft-repeated post on the U.S. as a fascist country. Statehooders! Beware! Those of you living closer to the murderous moron in the Oval Office can continue chewing your cud while the electrified and bugged barbed wire backed by 50,000 volt cattle prods goes up around your bovine indifference.

---Along political lines, here's a test for you statehooders: it's called The U.S. Constitution Test as used by the Immigration and Naturalization Services. The version used here (hint!) was used until the year 2000, so you assimilation pukes can test your ability to be deemed worthy of citizenship by taking the test. (Yeah, I know, you are already citizens. Big deal. Put your mind where you want the money to come from...) Before you ask, The Jenius scored 99 of...99. Question #31 doesn't apply. According to the murderous moron (who'd score a solid 23 on this test if Dick helped him cheat), questions 38, 76, 77, 78, 84 and 92 should be obliterated. He already took care of #87 with Diebold traitor technology (see #5 of The Top 10 Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State.)

---Kaleb and I watched the Indianapolis 500 this past Sunday. A marvelously thrilling finish as 19-year old rookie driver Marco Andretti was barely nipped at the finish by crafty veteran Sam Hornish, Jr. Kaleb asked Me why Andretti didn't drive "in front of" Hornish (blocking him as he drafted out to slingshot his way to a victory) and I said that would have been very dangerous. Imagine My pleasure when Andretti said the same thing, that he chose to avoid that kind of maneuver because it was decidedly unsafe. A teenager in the greatest race of his life and he shows a level of maturity that's sadly all too rare in older "adults."

---The monkeys are here!! The monkeys are here!! Some twenty years after being accidentally released in Mayagüez, wild monkeys have arrived near San Juan. (Actually, Cataño to be exact, improving its scenery by a factor of 2.) Of course, now that the monkeys are no longer confined to the southwest corner of the Island (where The Jenius lives), now that the monkeys that tear up crops, ruin property and carry deadly diseases are a local problem, now San Juaneros want something done about it. The Jenius is torn between organizing the monkeys into closed-access neighborhood terrorist squads or letting the pea-brained verminous misfits attack The Capitol, shred The Fools to pieces and take over their "jobs." Three immediate advantages: brighter legislators, reduced expenses and quieter debates.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

26 May 2006

Happy Birthday, Kaleb--Age 6


You're 6 today, a little boy with a beaming smile. It hasn't been an easy year for you, what with your parents separating, moving out of the only house you've known, being away from Me when once We were always together and dealing with the realities of school.

Your mom and I have dealt with the stress to the best of Our abilities, often shielding you from the worst moments. At times, We've opened up and told you what We feel and at least in My case, I have always answered your questions honestly. I'm sure your mom has, too, but I can't vouch for anyone else.

You've noticed this. You've noticed how people won't tell you the truth and you've become something of a walking polygraph. You've also noticed how different people can be, and rather than becoming frightened by it, you've become a bit of a scientist, questioning, observing and remembering. Good choices, Kaleb. You'll go far with these new habits.

Despite the tension and changes, you keep growing. You have your moments of sadness and there are times when you face problems that don't have easy solutions. But you keep going, you try something different, or you adjust your attitude so that it no longer bothers you as much. I wish I'd learned all that as early as you did.

You have a sense of time now, of months and years stretching ahead that you can almost visualize. You've gone from accumulating money in a piggy bank to counting it and comparing what you have to what you want. (That your mom and I don't let you buy everything you want is still a sore point with you...) You seek out books as often as you look for toys and you bounce between sports and games as much as I do. Let's hear it for Nature and Nurture!

You still don't quite understand My work, but you ask Me about it and keep track of My activities quite well. I used to introduce you as My "Executive Assistant" when you were 1-2 years old; you're turning into a pretty good one now.

I miss you. I miss spending My days with you. I miss tucking you into bed at night, your sleeping body a soft weight in My arms. I miss the relaxed feeling We always had, being together, knowing that tomorrow was simply a continuation of today, not a disconnect. I see how your face closes down when I start to say goodbye and it tears My heart to think that maybe someday, it could close Me off for good.

You act as if that could never happen and maybe you're right. It's one of the ironies of Life that parents love their children more than children love their parents. It has to be that way, for We brought you into the world, but once in it, you have to eventually make your own path.

You're making progress, Kaleb. You're stepping out on the first bold steps of your own path. We no longer really walk together, but please remember, that because I love you, you need never walk alone.

Happy Birthday, Kaleb. I'm so very happy to be your father.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

25 May 2006

Falling Behind or Catching Up?

Over the weekend, El Nuevo Día published a report on how dreadfully behind the technology curve Puerto Rico is, dropping farther behind in terms of global competitiveness. Nice of them to jump on the bandwagon The Jenius launched some 304 posts ago...

In the report, someone is quoted as saying that "We have lost a generation in Puerto Rico." The reason I don't mention who says it is because I've said the same thing many times and don't need to quote anybody to point out what's painfully obvious. Puerto Rico has thrown away 25 years of its potential progress and may throw away a decade more before We decide that falling farther behind is no longer boricua.

Given the current jellyfish-level of leadership We're burdened with, the constant politicking that upstages any effort of progress and the "Me-first, Me-second and Me-third" attitude that too many Us evince in Our daily lives, the outlook for achieving Our truest potential on the global stage is grim.

And yet, The Jenius and so many other believe We can make a difference. Maybe We're naive, but I'd rather be naive and work for progress than to be "realistic" and become indifferent to the world around Me.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

24 May 2006

Worshipping the Lares Folly

The Jenius got raked--raked I tell you!--over the use of the word "cretins" in a recent post.

Like that's never happened before...

The post, picked up by Global Voices (thank you again, Mr. Ethan Zuckerman) mentiond at one point that those who believe that El Grito de Lares actually meant something are "cretins."

Now The Jenius has already covered that topic, but is willing to revisit it, especially when someone who knows a neighbor of a relative of mine who just happens to be an independentista firebrand ignores the entire post to focus on just one word.

Sigh. I don't know if I'm bored or riddled with ennui at this point.

It is My opinion that people who believe El Grito de Lares was important are cretins. So buzz off. But on the other hand, it is an implicit judgement of someone else's judgement--or opinion--concerning this (non)event, so maybe I should buzz off. Stalemate.

My problem with the independence illusion that something of great importance happened in Lares 137 years ago is that it is both an isolated and ineffectual event on which to base a movement.

--Isolated: This was no dumping of tea in a major harbor to protest unfair taxes or the storming in the capital city of the primary jailhouse to overcome abusive policies; this was basically a ragged mob expressing itself with the lowest possible IQ in the face of zero resistance. Woo-hoo! I can feel the heroism!

--Ineffectual: Movements, both good and bad, suffer early setbacks. But movements move forward, make progress, create ripples that change the course of history's river downstream. What happened in Lares changed nothing, except the vocabulary of independentistas. Hell, "Wayne's World" did that, too, and they are certainly a major historical reference. Not!

Those who commemorate El Grito de Lares as some heroic struggle against oppressive forces in a clarion cry for freedom are the cretins. There was no heroism, no struggle, no cry for freedom aside from acting like a pissy mob that wilted the next day when a handful of soldiers marched in.

To remember that day as an expression of a desire for independence is fine; that's what it was. But if that's all your movement has, the palest shadow of an attempt, then you don't have a movement: what you have is the worship of folly.

And what does The Jenius call people who worship folly?


The Jenius Has Spoken.

23 May 2006

Congratulations, Kaleb!

My son, Kaleb, graduated from kindergarten today. Smiling and handsome in his sky-blue shirt and Navy-blue slacks, he could barely sit still. His first graduation! Last chance to see his classmates before summer! Last chance to see his teachers!

His grades were outstanding: straight "A"s and "Excellents". He also received two medals and 3 Certificates of Merit. And despite the marvelous showing, a tinge of disappointment: Kaleb wasn't chosen as the Honor Student of his class. The honor went to a girl who also excelled in every subject.

And belongs to the church that sponsors the school.

Neither Kaleb, his mom nor I belong to that church. Although Kaleb's mom feels affinity for the denomination, I don't feel anything and never will. I am not against My son receiving their religious indoctrination, but I will not join this or any other church to simply "belong" or "get an advantage."

Kaleb will eventually remember this graduation as the first time he encountered the reality of Our world: excellence might be important, but who you know matters more.

The honor student in his class, in fact, the honor students in ALL 11 classes, were members of the church. Happily, I don't know enough about all the other students to judge if this was fair or not, but I can judge this: of 190 students in the school, 106 are church members. So the "other 84," including Kaleb, are second-rate?

I know that's wrong. Kaleb was never second-rate. His grades were earned and his behavior, a better metric than tests, was exemplary throughout the year. His excellence was recognized, but when it came time to "choose Our best," the school made sure to "choose Our own."

So be it. None of this takes away from Kaleb's efforts, learning and positive experiences. He is simply growing up, making his way into a world that is not fair, not reasonable and swaths the velvet glove of praise around an iron fist of contempt.

However, Kaleb has something The Jenius never had: a natural empathy. Classmates sought him out for pictures (especially the girls; again, unlike his Pater...) and made sure to speak to him before they left. He is popular without acting spoiled. And if I sound like a proud father, you're right.

And as proud as I am of his academic achievements, Kaleb's friendliness and sociability make Me even prouder, for they give him the basis for reaching successes far beyond My own.

Congratulations, Kaleb!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

22 May 2006

12 Financial Tips

It seems that money and banks and credit and retirement and spending and expenses and savings and income and wealth have been on My mind with greater intensity lately. (Must be the divorce...) In any case, this isn't anything new, as regular readers of Gil The Jenius can attest. What's different now is that it has become the lens through which I view everything.

Never fear: The Jenius has not become a money-grubbing Scrooge. What's happened is more a change in levels of perception. Before, money played a small role in deciding future actions or evaluating present ones. Now, money is a primary factor for all present actions and almost decidedly the most important factor for future ones.

Seeing as how I've "caused" the change, it's ludicrous to complain. But I am complaining. Seems as if the fun has gone out of My daily routine because, unlike most people, I don't associate money with fun. (Most of My favorite activities are low-cost or no-cost and for Me, shopping is a chore that ranks with swabbing latrines.) For years I've done mostly what's been interesting to Me; now everything I do is weighed against money, income or expenses and quite frankly, that sucks.

Then again, I no longer have the luxury of an income easily exceeding My expenses and savings. Even with few expenses, My work was geared heavily towards "future investment" and not "present income", so when the revenue stream runs dry, the future better get here fast or changes have to be made.

So, that's the problem: My safety net is cut. No wonder "everything" seems to be about money. (Yes, you just saw a self-therapy session. You still have 40 minutes left on your 50-minute "hour". Have some coffee.) And lo and behold, I find these little pieces of advice tucked into My daily Web-search routine.

From Bankrate, a top-notch website on personal finances, here's 12 Financial Tips for Women.

Say again?

Forget it. Here are the tips that apply to everyone:

12 Smart Moves to Make:

1. Set a financial goal.
2. Train yourself to be financially independent.
3. Buy your own home.
4. Fund your retirement account.
5. Plan for long-term not crisis management.
6. Start investing.
7. Don't fear risk.
8. Don't go it alone.
9. Get emotional support, if you need it.
10. Be more confident in salary negotiations.
11. Venture out of your financial comfort zone.
12. Know that it's never too late.

Read the article for a more comprehensive discussion of each Tip. They are pretty clear and I guess what The Jenius is feeling is a combination of #s 5, 9 and 11.

At least #12 tells Me I'm on the right track...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

19 May 2006

Bank Folly

This won't take long...

Went to the bank to make a deposit. I was seventh in line, at 9:45 A.M. One teller. Eleven bank officers in Brownian motion. One customer waiting for some other service. Bank vault silence.

One teller with little experience. We could tell because she hesitated before every action: looking at a check...confirming the signature...checking the endorsement...punching in the account number...looking at the check again...checking the endorsement against the license...counting out the money...again...with the calculator...one more recount...

Never smiling, tense, glancing up as the line grew from seven to nine to 13. I was now fifth. 9:56 A.M.

At 10:23, a full 38 minutes after I got in line, it was My turn. The deposit process usually takes a minute, with time for a few pleasantries. This one took four minutes. I could have been a mile away. I wanted to be a mile away.

Stamp. StampSTAMP. My yellow deposit slip comes back to Me. 10:27 A.M. I look back and see 15 people waiting in line. As soon as I reach the doubled doors--the kind that make you wait in a glass closet for one to close so you can open the other one--three tellers rush behind the counter and start calling customers.

I took it personally. Of course.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

18 May 2006

Wall This!

Yep. The murderous moron in the White House is supporting the notion of building a wall between the United States of America and the United States of Mexico. A "state-of-the-art" wall, with cameras and thermal sensors and motion detectors and all that crap. Oh, and 6,000 National Guardsmen for that "greenish" tint so necessary in desert climes.

Now, because the world screams "copycat" at the slightest semblance of imitation (see: The Da Vinci Code/Holy Blood, Holy Grail), let's scream "Berlin Wall!" and then build Our own walls before the Tex-Mex brix are placed upright along the frontier.

Here's My list of things in Puerto Rico that need walls all around them:

1) The Capitol Building: wall the Fecal-Filled Fools inside, a la "A Cask of Amontillado." (Welcome to the literary portion of Gil The Jenius!)

2) La Fortaleza: a wall surrounding it so that nobody can get in. Those that try should be shot. (Berlin Wall!)

3) Banco Popular: let them buy their way out, with cash.

4) El Nuevo Día: they can shred the paper and use it more effectively as an absorber of urine, feces, saliva and as kindling to roast their little weinies. And I ain't talking about hot dogs...

5) Every fast-food joint that has a manager whose expression is that of a monkey sucking a lemon.

6) Every store that checks your receipt as you walk out and then pretends "it's for your safety."

7) Every pothole. Talk about saving on gas...

8) Lares. Because a handful of cretins believe something important happened there...

9) Cataño. Because it's there.

10) Nail salons. They stink, the women in them look like hell and they stink. So do the salons.

11) Bars that haven't seen a woman in them since the Reagan Administration. That would wall off some 30% of them right now...and We wall them off with their barflies inside, of course.

12) Every public school.

Oh, wait a minute: We did #12 already...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

17 May 2006


Our jellyfish governor was graded in a survey taken the past week and ended up with a final "Grade Point Average" of 1.56, barely above the minimum for a "C" grade.

Barely average. Yeah, that pretty much sums up Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, resident in La Fortaleza in the way dust bunnies live under My bed.

Barely Average Aníbal, or more accurately, BAA, has flopped time and again and failed to grab the reins of governorship and at least try to steer this rampaging beast in some direction other than up through Our posteriors.

BAA has alienated the leadership of his own party who, with the preternatural instinct of lower life forms, smell his weakness and want no part of it.

BAA has let the opposition walk over, through and on top of him with metronomic regularity. In a country where the Executive branch has the advantage of focus, he has squandered it like a drunken sailor spends money in an Oriental port.

And speaking of spending money like a drunken sailor, BAA has been barely-average in that, too. For though it's true he's spent more than he had to, he didn't spend enough in the right ways. Instead of fortifying his executive base with stronger agencies, he raises his Cabinet's salaries. Instead of putting money into short-term projects that could serve as examples to pressure the outhouse Fools into coming to terms with his budget, BAA spreads the poverty around and makes the fiscal problem worse without showing any evidence that he can actually get something done.

And BAA squandered political coin for he inherited a horrible fiscal carcass, product of decades of abuse, corruption and incompetence culminating in the two terms Pedro Rosselló plundered (equivalent to 26.3 years of theft) and the 2 years on/2 years off of Sila Calderón (equivalent to 11.1 years of incompetence.)

An aside: If The Jenius were a woman, She'd be pissed--pissed, I tell you!--at Calderón's gutless quitting less than halfway through her term. I'm sure Calderón's very early fade-out has closed the door slamdunkshut on the chances for any other woman to become governor of Puerto Rico during the coming decades.

Back to BAA...

No, forget it. I have dust bunnies to remove from under My bed.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

16 May 2006

Ay Bendito

I just ate three chili dogs. Not that I wanted to, but there were three on the table and after I ate the first two, the last one looked lonely.

Ay bendito.

So what I've done is kicked my cholesterol level up another 12 points. It's already over 300 as it is, so this won't help at all.

Ay bendito.

My neighbor, who went to Disney again last year before paying off the loan that paid for the previous year's trip, asked Me earlier today about filing for bankruptcy. Seems she spent about $4,000 last month on her daughter's birthday party.

Ay bendito.

Sweet 16? No. ¿Quinceañero? No. Twelfth birthday. She's planning something BIG for the quinceañero.

Ay bendito.

A recent local crime involved a man who killed his wife, then committed suicide. Happened twice in January. Once in February. Three times in March. Four times in April. Once so far in May.

Ay bendito.

In all but one of those cases, the legal system had already intervened. But the man was able to commit the crime anyway.

Ay bendito.

Public schools reopened, but almost none of them are teaching classes. Grades have been tabulated and recorded and all that's left is to run out the string, a month of class and tests wiped out.

Ay bendito.

The Teacher's Federation is in the midst of electing a new president for a union that helps improve the local educational system EXACTLY as much as Saddam Hussein does.

Ay bendito.

After a plebiscite that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and a resounding vote for unicamerality in Puerto Rico, The Fools have listened carefully to the electorate and have done as much to advance unicamerality here as Saddam Hussein has from his prison cell.

Ay bendito.

Maybe We should toss all Our Fools in with Hussein and throw away the key and even forget where the damn prison is.

Ay bendito.

Today's surveys show that more than 60% of Us are upset with what's happening in Puerto Rico and want major changes made. Maybe the surveys should ask if We want to do it Ourselves or wait for something--or someone--to do it for Us.

Ay bendito.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

15 May 2006

My Mother's Day Gift

8:50 P.M. Saturday night. I arrive at My new house with My mom, My sister and her two boys to celebrate a little housewarming/Mother's Day evening.

The front gate that closes off the house is open.

The door is unlocked.

My laptop is gone.

My laptop. Gone.

The computer I've been using every day for almost three years, the computer that holds all My current work and almost all of My past work since 1997, is gone. Stolen.

And I have no backup for any of it.

A few years ago, My friend James O'Malley, El Gringoqueño, told Me I was insane not to do regular backups. James, I humbly beg to differ: I'm not insane, I'm fucking stupid.

Trying to grasp the situation fully, I look around this suddenly old house. Dollars' worth of spare change on the kitchen counter were still there. The still-jumbled contents of what I own are untouched. A couple of drawers of the empty dresser are pulled out, yawning empty. An empty fan box was taken from the garage area.

My laptop is gone. The dreadful weight of that fact is slamming into Me with every heartbeat. All My work. My files. Almost 5 years of accumulated research that make My daily tasks a routine. Gone. Gone.

My sister seems stunned, a reflection of My own thoughts. But My mom feels what I feel and appears heartbroken, grief-stricken at what she knows is a nearly-unbearable loss for Me.

I try to stay focused. Called the house owner, who lives behind My house. Her son, Jimmy, answers. He tells Me "There's only one suspect, but if you don't see it, you really can't say it." I agree and then call the police. The two officers arrived in 10 minutes and Jimmy appears to help in what he can. All three men agree on who the primary suspect is. He lives next door to Jimmy. Behind Me, about a 30-second walk away. And nobody told Me about him. Until now.

Seems the filthy punk is a drug addict who can't be bothered to move more than a mile away to steal. He's suspected of several thefts, has been caught a few times in the past year, but nobody presses charges. The local "ay bendito" pity mindset keeps this trash on the streets. And it's almost certain he stole My laptop.

The officers do what they can and leave. I can't stay and burden My family with My demeanor, so I leave to buy a different lock for the front gates. Yeah, the horse is gone, but moving is better than sitting.

When I return, My sister tells me the police had questioned the punk. I tell her I saw the police up the road, apparently questioning the punk's known cohort. Although I'm deeply hurt by the theft, I'm trying to deal with the consequences, trying to figure out how I'm going to recover. A business plan due Monday, now half gone. Several large projects, almost all contained in My files. All My recent stories. Novels in progress. My entire article archives, every piece I've written since 2002, including blog posts...more than 1,800 pieces...

It's all gone. If I let Myself think about it too much, I'm afraid it'll wash Me away like a tidal wave, so I stay in the moment as much as possible. But I can't help but feel the gaping void so close at hand.

My mom walks around, her face a mask of pain, as if her heart had been crushed. I let loose a brief outburst of pain and anger, then subside into silence, trying to think of a plan. I'm not searching for the laptop; it's gone. Some filthy subhuman creep stole it, will sell it to some conniving bastard and he will erase everything of Mine on it and go on with his life. Mine has just ground to a glassy, painful halt. All because I act and think like these things won't--don't--happen to Me.

My mom consulted something with My sister, then turned to Me and said "C'mon, let's go look outside for the box." Her theory is that the empty fan box was used to hide the laptop and that once the thief was out of sight of the road, he might have thrown the box away somewhere close. It's worth a try and I have nothing better to do. We grabbed flashlights and head outside. I noticed it was 11:07 P.M.

We searched the vacant lot next door and I followed a footpath from there to the punk's tiny one-room house. I made as much noise as I wanted, hoping he would come out. I turned back after a few minutes and told My mom that if he went that way, he could have reached his house easily and without being seen. And I didn't see a box, anyway.

My mom walked across the house's facade towards a trio of large trash cans lined against a barbed-wire fence. Beyond the cans was an overturned love seat. I'd seen all that when I went out to buy a lock, peering inside the cans briefly.

Now, using the flashlights, We searched inside and around the cans. I overturned the love seat, almost hitting My mom. Nothing underneath. I flipped it back to its upside-down position and stared at the undercovering. It gleamed whitely and had a semi-circular hole at the base, in front of Me. It didn't sag at all. On impulse I yanked the soft undercovering to the right, splitting it down the middle. Nothing. Then I rip the left half off and found My laptop.

I looked at it. I didn't feel joy. I didn't feel relief. "There it is," I said. My mom, several feet away searching the fence came running over. "What? What did you say?" My flashlight shone steadily on the laptop's label. "Is that it? That's it!!" My mom almost screamed. Her voice was cracking.

I kept looking at the laptop. "Mom, please get My cell phone."

She ran off, calling to My sister and the kids. In a minute she was back. The entire time she was gone I stared at the laptop. No feelings, only one thought: if there was a fingerprint on it that wasn't mine, I'd make sure someone went to jail.

My mom, sister and the boys rushed up to Me and while I called the police, they talked and pointed and celebrated. When I hung up, My mom was practically smothering My oldest nephew in a hug. I reached out to her and We embraced. My mom was sobbing and trembling so hard from relief and joy that I felt she would fall if We let go. I held her and held her and held her, content in the moment. As she quieted down, I gave her a kiss on the top of her head and said "Thanks, mom. You found it."

Later My sister told Me that as My mom and I walked out to search, she turned to her boys and said "Grandma has a hunch. I bet she finds the computer."

Indeed, she did. My mom saved the best of Me from the worst of Me, turning a night of despair into a pure triumph of will and imagination. Minutes before Mother's Day, My mom gave Me a gift I cannot hope to match, the same as when she brought Me into the world, the same as when she brought a little girl in the following year.

Thank you, Mom. Thank you for this and so much more. And yes, thanks to you, it was certainly a Happy Mother's Day for all of Us.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

12 May 2006

Chalk A Few Up to The Jenius

I wrote the following to a friend of mine late Thursday afternoon:

Last night (Wednesday night) a 4-member Special Commission recommended a solution to the current local crisis. Making it VERY clear that by "separating the political elements from the economic ones," (chalk one up for Me) the Commission suggested granting a $741 million loan from current funds already at hand (chalk up another) to complete the fiscal year. If approved by the legislators (Aponte is the man on the spot in the outhouse of representatives--another one for Me), the government would reopen full services on Monday, including schools, with employees getting full retroactive pay (another one for Me.)

But. The sales tax was NOT determined, a budget was NOT approved and the so-called fiscal and tax reforms remain exactly where they were 2 months ago, so only a political crisis needed to be solved. (Chalk Me up, baby!) Upshot? Another meeting today (Thursday), the outhouse votes Friday (I guess), We're headed for a sales tax of over 7% (prediction) and the so-called tax reform will leave almost everybody worse off as the tax burden will actually go UP about 5-6% rather than going down 10-15% as The Fools trumpeted for weeks.

Here's the real obscenity: ALL of this could have been solved weeks ago, for NOTHING changed except the bond rating...which was MEANT to be forced into a downgrade. (Give Me that one cuz The Fools won't ever admit it.)

Oh what fun.

Addendum: The Rabid Dog, former governor, fake senator and constant corruption investigation target Pedro Rosselló declared late Thursday that he wouldn't reject the Commission's recommendations.

He's Rabid, but just short of being totally Stupid.

Sound and fury, it's all just sound and fury...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

11 May 2006

Playing Games

As We wait for The Fecal-Faced Fools to finally reach the beginning point again...

The Jenius has been a game fanatic since the age of 3, when He was first introduced to playing cards. Going through the usual staples of middle-class Americana, He played Chutes 'n' Ladders, Operation, Monopoly (still one of My favorites), Scrabble (another big favorite), chess (ditto), Yahtzee, Sorry, Trouble, Easy Money and a host of other games...including The Game of Life, the only game aside from Bingo that The Jenius will not play under any circumstance.

Played poker in college, for several hundred dollars a night. This was waaay before the current poker craze. Also learned to play bridge, but with every other player pushing 50, 60 or even 70 while I tried to nudge 20, that wasn't much fun.

Then I discovered simulations and more complex games, such as role playing systems and "alternate" game systems. The sheer variety was quite appealing to Me and that's when I began to delve into game design and game theory.

Cutting this short: I realized that what makes a game interesting is clarity, balance and end result. Doesn't really matter what the topic is or what the game mechanics are, if the game has these three characteristics, it will be a good game.

--Clarity: Nothing kills a game more than ambiguity in the rules, the fuzziness that comes from not knowing exactly where you are within the game or how a situation needs to be handled. Uncertainty in developing a winning strategy is a good thing; uncertainty in rules leads to arguments.

--Balance: Refers to how the game is played within its structure and what options are available to the players. Games with good balance allow for a variety of strategies and the use of judgement; bad games feel like forced marches through poison ivy.

--End result: If winning or losing the game doesn't seem like a worthy goal, the game stinks. That's exactly the problem with The Game of Life: you drove around, multiplying like a demented rabbit, acquiring stupid stuff until you retired to Happy Homes or somesuch imbecilic place. On the other hand, some video games nowadays want you to kill everybody so you can become a crime lord. That's just as stupid as Happy Huts, Homes or whatever.

This entire buildup is to explain My comment, oft-repeated for years, that "Politics is a game where nobody wins." Based on My definition of what a good game is, politics is obviously a loser.

--Clarity?: Puh-lease. There are swampy sewers under New Orleans that are clearer than ANY political system currently operating in the world.

--Balance?: No game can ever be balanced if the players are allowed to cheat. Politics is so bad that players are encouraged to cheat, expected to cheat and those who aren't cheating openly should be targeted for criminal investigations because they're damn sure cheating in the shadows.

--End result?: Sadly, politics is that odd game where the spectators care more for the end result than the players. And when players don't care about the game, they can only care about what they get out of it. Tell Me if that doesn't perfectly describe what We see in politics every freaking day.

Should politics be considered a game? Maybe, maybe not. But if We are to clear up the whole mess, We can start by considering it as such and clarifying the rules, establishing the basis for a more balanced set of players and develop the idea that the end result of playing politics is extremely important.

And note: of these three general approaches, only the last one is truly viable. We can do it by making damn sure The Fools are under Our constant, careful and conscientious scrutiny.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

10 May 2006

Prediction for 2008

While the outhousers of the local legislature take a much-unneeded vacation, a voluntary one to rub it in for those who have unfairly received involuntary ones, The Jenius aims at the future. Mainly, the local 2008 elections.

Here, more than 29 months before the dread Election Day of 2008, is the cast of lackwit characterless dweebs who will form the pigpen of a ballot:

--Aníbal "I'm a Jellyfish" Acevedo: Current governor, president of the (im)popular (un)democratic party. Has no choice but to run, though he does so with the conviction that he won't win unless (A) all other candidates die and (B) he stuffs the ballot with fraudulent votes. He should ask the murderous moron in the White House for advice in that area.

--Pedro "I'm a Rabid Dog" Rosselló: Current president of the new(ly convicted) (non)progressive party, current fake senator and past governor of the most corrupt administration in Our history (over 30 convictions and counting) and chief butt plug of the outhouse process. He polarizes the electorate, between raving idiots who thinks he's a messiah and raving idiots who think he's an antichrist. Truth is, he is a mess, anti-Puerto Rico and demented to boot.

--Luis "I'm a Jellyfish Larva" Fortuño: Current chief beggar for Puerto Rico in Washington, Luis is in a power struggle with "Rabid Dog," only the mad cur holds almost all the cards and lil ol' Larva here has no teeth. Or strategy. Or presence. Or new ideas. It's like watching a bunny try to ram a Mack truck: after a while, it starts to seem funny.

--Willie "I'm a Wannabe" Miranda: In a surprise to everyone but Me, the current mayor of Caguas will lose to the Jellyfish in a primary...but will run for governor anyway. He will correctly assess that the Jellyfish is too limp to win and he will offer an alternative to a Rabid Dog and a Larva. He will also base his campaign on his admittedly effective transformation of Caguas along high-tech lines. Problem: Willie is not charismatic, not a good impromptu speaker and has a spotty career as an administrator. (Not corruption, but less-than-stellar results.)

Barring someone dealing with the Rabid Dog in the time-honored "bullet to the brain" manner, the campaign will be a 27-month (yes, it will start in July and drag and drag and drag and drag...) smearfest without even the thought of a shadow of a shred of leadership. If someone does bash the Rabid Dog into cowering silence in the lowlands of Virginia [the current candidate is José Aponte, (Out)House of Representatives (Vice) President], the campaign will be less polarized, but more chaotic as three weak voices try to drown each other out.

Who will win? Who cares? And don't give Me any lines about Us "always caring": if We really cared, The Fools wouldn't now be in place to pull this level of crappy shenanigans on Us.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

09 May 2006

Pithy Quotes

Happy Birthday, Diane!

I found this last year...I guess I've been busy. From CareerLab, William S. Frank presents "The World's Best Quotes in 1-10 Words." These are:

"Love." -- The Prophets (Budda, Jesus)

"Know thyself." -- Socrates

"Inches make champions." -- Vince Lombardi

"Nothing gold can stay." -- Robert Frost

"Work is love made visible." -- Kahlil Gibran

"No great thing is created suddenly." -- Epictetus

"Well done is better than well said." -- Benjamin Franklin

"No wind favors he who has no destined port." -- Montaigne

"Sometimes even to live is an act of courage." -- Seneca

"Do first things first, and second things not at all." -- Peter Drucker

All in all, an excellent list. Check out Frank's commentary on each one for some interesting perspectives.

And don't be surprised if The Jenius' list appears here in the near future...

The Jenius Has Quoted.

08 May 2006


When we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something or need something, not that it is a pragmatic necessity for us to have it, but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, then is when we join the fashionable madmen, and then is when the thin whine of hysteria is heard in the land, and then is when we are in bad trouble. --- Joan Didion

It has always raised a flag with Me when someone claims that there is a "moral" reason for something. All too often, the "moral" quotient is entirely subjective and self-serving. Happens in everything from religion to politics, is always insidious and frequently borders on the obscene.

In the middle of the ugliest, most idiotic and most self-serving of all of Puerto Rico's political crises, a few Fools--most notably the governing jellyfish Aníbal Acevedo Vilá and the numbnut chief beggar for Puerto Rico in Washington Luis Fortuño--are proclaiming that achieving a compromised solution now is a "moral necessity."

Do. Tell.

Idiots. Let Me waste My time trying to enlighten you useless bags of raw sewage.

Morality refers to a sense of right and wrong. (I know: you two fecal-filled feebs are screwed already. I suggest you keep pretending you know what I mean and try to keep up, okay?) As such, morality is both constant and consistent. A true morality looks at every situation AND applies itself to each situation in the light of past and future actions.

And no, don't give Me any crap about "situational ethics." That's all bullshit created by moral defectives to excuse their weak intellects and twisted natures. Which is why The Fools eat it up.

In a true morality, doing what is right comes BEFORE correcting a mistake. If one acts morally, corrective actions are never required. But We are not perfect, mistakes happen and even with the fiercest focus on morality, things can go wrong.

That is decidedely NOT your case, jellyfish and numbnut beggar. You now cry out for a solution because it is the "moral" thing to do, but in fact, it isn't moral at all. Let Me remind you, morality is about right or wrong, thus it implies a choice of actions. In the current fabricated, false, faux, fake, foolish, freakish and fantastical crisis you have both helped create (and have vehemently denied as being political in nature, but who believes a jellyfish and a numbnut?) you have NO CHOICE--none, you idiots--except to solve it. You cannot get away with not solving it, so there is no morality here, only the deepest immorality of having done wrong on purpose, for a very long time, in detriment to the nation.

As events in the past three weeks have made clear, this sewage-infested chaos is not about debt, not about bonds (already demoted, but not at rock-bottom yet), not about constitutional powers, not about loans, not about money (the money is there and it always has been), not about budgets and NOT about a sales tax. It is simply a political power struggle played by drooling insane hyenas. (My apologies to hyenas, to the clinically insane....and to drool.) Your partners in inanity--the media--now foster the thin whine of hysteria, which even so is a smarter sound than they usually make. And yes, We are in bad trouble.

Jellyfish, Numbnut Beggar: shut up. You had your chance to avoid this farce, but chose to foster it instead. So shut up. Gather your cronies, the wild dung-splattered pack that howls and cackles in diddling frenzy and do Us a favor: dry up and blow away. And as for your "morals", shove 'em. That way you might actually feel morality for the first time.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

05 May 2006


The Jenius was wrong.

The Jenius was right when He indicated that a sales tax debate was needed. It's come to happen, albeit calling the current legislative outhouse filled with intestinal methane vapors emitted by sub-cretinous vermin a "debate" is to tax lexicography.

The Jenius was right when He indicated that Puerto Rico's bonds would slip a nanometer into junk status because it provides political benefits to both "leading" parties. Makes Me wish We were in Texas where We could claim The Fools were horse thieves and string them up before the the sun set.

The Jenius was right--twice--when He indicated that the current crisis was not economic, but political. Even the sheepdung local media have started picking up on that thread, but with the kind of pitiful focus often seen in hydrocephalic monkeys trying to understand a banana.

Yet The Jenius was wrong when He asked: Will the government run out of money? In My answer, I stated: "...the government employs over 240,000 people: the ones who would not get paid include teachers, policemen, sanitation workers and the agency drones who punch a time-clock. The ones who would get paid would be legislators, department heads and other "higher ranking" Fools. Do you honestly think that The Fools would undermine their entire crapfest by alienating to the nth degree the very backbone of the local consumer economy?"

Obviously, with the shutdown of public schools and the illegitimate issuing of "unsalaried leaves of absence," teachers aren't getting paid, so The Jenius was wrong. In that same post, I predicted strife of "historic proportions" concerning this issue, and on that point, I expect to be proven right.

But what does all this mean? Not much...or everything. For if The Feces-Filled Fools are willing to dump (pun intended) on teachers--the voting block of Puerto Rico--then a correction of historic proportions is needed. There is no reason--none, and I repeat, none--for letting the current batch of sewage known here as The Fools to remain in office past 2008.


None should return. None should be allowed to hold another public office. None, I submit, should be allowed to reproduce, and those who have, should be deported en masse. Whatever the case, the only true correction, the only possible correction We should accept, allow, encourage and act for, is the total replacement of The Fools.

Unrealistic? What's realistic about Our situation now?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

04 May 2006

Write Your Own Future Scenario

You'd think that someone who writes at least a couple of hours a day would be comfortable writing out future scenarios for Himself.

You'd think. Seems that when it comes to writing that kind of "personal future planning," The Jenius is more concerned with writing other things.

So here's the idea in a nutshell, to help you and Me make this a habit: Write out, in as much detail as you can, what your life would be like 5 years from now, if everything went your way.

Sounds pretty simple, right? It is. You don't need anything but paper and pen(cil) and your dreams. Then you add specifics to your dreams until you have a document that frames your ideal future. It doesn't have to be neat, or grammatically correct, or literary. It doesn't need to be shown to anybody. It simply needs to be.

Why is this so important? Because the difference between successful people and the average person can be directly traced--in a majority of cases--to the simple act of writing down goals.

Sounds almost stupidly simple, right? Well, it is simple, but far from stupid. The Jenius could give you several pages of rationale on this, but here are the key points:

1) Just by selecting goals you are greatly increasing your chances of success.

2) Writing them down is a process of focus, a key element in turning dreams into reality.

3) Once written, you can "see" your goals clearly. Try it and you'll...see...what I mean.

4) Written goals preserve focus, especially when read and reread, while letting you be flexible in adapting them to new realities.

5) You gain new perspective and begin to see opportunities that mesh with your goals. In essence, you become more involved with your Life.

6) Rather than being negative, the goal-writing and goal-reviewing process is inherently positive. And positive people are more successful.

Don't just take My word for it. Here's an article that could help you even more, from the Radical Mutual-Improvement blog (a worthy read.)

Five years are going to pass anyway. Whether you make them the best of your Life or simply another five years of it, it is--you know this by now--your choice.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

03 May 2006

That Name Tag Guy

Imagine My surprise when in the middle of some routine car maintenace (yes, Puerto Rico is going into the political dumper, but Life goes on) I get a phone call from none other than Scott Ginsberg, That Name Tag Guy, who has exceeded 2,000 days of constant name tag wearing.

Now, let's get something straight: international celebrities don't call Me every day. Sometimes they get a busy signal.

Scott, whom I met at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) conference back in January, is The Approachability Guy, too. Smart, witty, a polished speaker, creative marketer and thoughtful guide to success, Scott would be on My "Hate List" if he weren't so damn good at what he does.

We chatted for a few minutes and he later sent Me a review copy of his upcoming book on "becoming That Guy." With two successful books under his belt, this one is poised to be his biggest seller yet.

Before I send you off to visit Scott's website, here's the limerick I wrote to congratulate him on his 2,000 days changing the world, one name tag at a time:

There once was a fella named Scott,
Who asked: "Wear a name tag? Why not!"
He slapped one on his vest,
Tattooed one on his chest,
Now I ask "Do the chicks think he's hot?"

Note to all the ladies out there: Yeah, I wrote "chicks". Poetic license only.

Now GO visit Scott's website!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

02 May 2006

Fools, Parasites and Hyenas

Say you have an employee base of 240,000 people that conservative estimates repeatedly assess has an excess of roughly 45,000 people. Let’s call them parasites.

Let that employee base solidify into an unmovable object where standards are lax, productivity is nil, accountability is virtually non-existent and unions form an irrational and self-serving presence. Let’s call that a recipe for greed.

Then have leadership—hahahahaha, I said leadership—feed the morass, for they are simply another subspecies of greedy parasites, until the whole repugnant pus-filled tumor threatens to crush everybody, for it openly requires more sustenance than the smaller, yet greedier parasitic group, is willing to share.

Take that spectacle and turn it into a carnival, a freak show, one where posturing reigns supreme, noxious vapors waft in the guise of policy, insults fly at overtime wages and so-called “summit meetings” are carried out at behavioral and intellectual—hahahahaha, I said intellectual—levels that would shame pre-schoolers.

The legislature—nothing but an overflowing outhouse—argues until 5 in the morning, while many outhousers played computer games, watched videos and ranted on cue. The session ends with no result—of course, because a real crisis calls for a real and immediate solution—and rather than get back to work, the Feces-Filled Fools resume their “work” at 4 in the afternoon…for an hour. They get paid overtime (at double their nation’s highest legislative salaries) and a full day’s pay for simply posturing.

The governor, spineless loser that he is, instead of leading the charge to true reform beginning in July 2005, spends his unapproved budget of $9.6 billion for fiscal 05-06, with only $8.9 billion in hand. Of course he’s some $700 million short. Of course the outhousers hosed him by trying to deny him any measure of progress. But the incompetent jellyfish failed to lead, failed to rally the people before the crisis he knew about and exacerbated became inevitable. Now, instead of leading the people, he can only wait with them.

The Feces-Faced Fools play their political game, for money, by issuing unsalaried leaves of absence or outright firings of some 95,000 government employees, most of them teachers. That unnecesary and uncalled-for action is based on harming those who have traditionally not harmed back, creates a human wave of newly-unemployed State dependents, places a monkey wrench in Our overheated consumer economy, will tip Puerto Rico’s fiscal status into the junk heap and will totally delay any progress the Island may have achieved until after 2008.

The Feces-Fixated Fools don’t care. They want their money now.

The parasitic brood doesn’t care all that much. Some will fall away, to be replaced by many more.

The suddenly-bereft will get their revenge, but not at the voting booths. They will get their revenge by being less competent, less capable, less dedicated and more pro-union than ever before. They have been humiliated for no reason other than political gaming, so they will extract their tons of pus-filled flesh. Glaciers will now advance more than We do.

The masses don’t really care, being clueless and gutless wailing hyenas afraid of the shadows that need to be dispersed for true leadership and change to emerge. But dispersing shadows takes effort, you know? It means I have to think. I don’t want to think! Let’s go shopping instead.

The Feces-Flowing Fools can only f…fleece Us if We allow it. We’ve been allowing it so long The Fools think it’s their right.

It is, so long as We continue to allow it. Take notice: the time to stop the parasitism, the abuse, the feces-flinging foolishness and the wailing indifference is now.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

01 May 2006

Triptych #2

Panel #1: Over the weekend, I got to thinking about...stuff...and I came up with the following list. In the days before iPods, We could call this "My Greatest Hits CD," but unless you're stuck on a spaceship that runs on nuclear power and can only play 18 songs, that ain't gonna work. So correctly putting Myself at the very center of this topic, I'll call this "The Soundtrack of My Life":

1) "The Twelfth of Never" -- Johnny Mathis
2) "It's Not For Me to Say" -- Johnny Mathis
3) "A Certain Smile" -- Johnny Mathis
4) "The Very Thought of You" -- Nat "King" Cole
5) "Autumn Leaves" -- Nat "King" Cole
6) "Unforgettable" -- Nat "King" Cole
7) "Crazy" -- Patsy Cline
8) "Twilight Time" -- The Platters
9) "Remember When" -- The Platters
10) "Blue Bayou" -- Linda Ronstadt
11) "Because of You" -- Tony Bennett
12) "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" -- Tony Bennett
13) Pachelbel's "Canon"
14) "Rhapsody in Blue" -- composed by George Gershwin
15) "Diana" -- Paul Anka
16) "(You Are) My Special Angel" -- Bobby Vinton
17) "Band of Gold" -- Don Cherry
18) "Don't" -- Elvis Presley

Almost all of these songs were created and recorded before The Jenius was born. How they ended up being the soundtrack of The Jenius' life is one of those things We don't talk about it mixed company...

Panel #2: Embarrassing to admit, but Professor Solomon, a.k.a. Mr. Find It, has been the best advisor I've found on the Internet in the past year. Mr. Find It helps you find whatever you've lost and despite My reservations to relying on some self-hyped guy's overinflated sense of his own intelligence, I noticed Mr. Find It delivered time and again. If you lose things frequently, or like Me, only once in a while but HATE it every time it does happen, then check out "Professor" Solomon. (What is it with this "I'm sooo smart" kick some people have?)

Panel #3: From the brilliant Lifehacker blog, an attitude adjustment everyone should make: Don't think like an employee. At the heart of this mindset is the concept of taking responsibility for yourself and your career, living with passion, aiming for excellence and just plain living well. Take a look at the article and go ahead: stop thinking like an employee. You will be more successful and happier.

The Jenius Has Spoken.