April Fools

My case rests. Just take in the first 10. That's all I did, and honestly, I could have fallen for a couple or a few (at least less than 10). My point? We are all susceptible to being fooled. April 1st is a rare gift: you get to know you're a "fool" pretty quick. It's a good exercise in humility, but more precisely: fallibility.

It's the rest of the year that's the problem and it happens in myriad ways. Hey: These people vote. Political implications? My guess? Randomness to the rescue. Thank god for randomness and some bit of foolish "diversity."

The process of making us less foolish generally, is evolutionary, and thus very, very, very long term. But any individual already has the tools available to mitigate the carnage all by himself. This goes to being among the elite. It's a decision and commitment; not a birth sentence.

April Fools: A Point of Order, Randomness and Fat Tails

I dunno, perhaps you're one who thinks it's silly -- a person I can be on any given day. On the other hand, if you've followed along you know my affinity for randomness and being fooled.

Being fooled is the most important aspect, because we really can't do anything about randomness. And why would we want to? What's life without surprises? April Fools is a decent, once per year exercise in demonstrating just how susceptible we all are.

Just this afternoon I caught a blurb on the radio as I was shutting down the car before stepping into the 4th Street Bowl Coffee Shop for their Monday $10.95 ribeye steak lunch special (It's fucking good). I like simple, straightforward, unpretentious cafes; and I'll have to blog about that, one day. The blurb was in reference to some new "government plan" (what else to keep the populace alarmed  and yet confident all at once?) to oversee financial markets. The quote went something like this: "And oversee hedge funds so they don't take too much risk." Let's set aside the fact that a hedge fund is prohibited, by law, from even talking to you or showing the public their returns unless you're an institution or have registered as a "qualified investor," meaning you have a minimum liquid net worth of $1 million.

Jesus, fuck. Now, I'll readily acknowledge that this is mere opium for the unbelievably stupid and ignorant masses, but I had to shake my head.

There is one big fucking reason you're not living in a cave (more precisely: that you exist at all): people who took enormous risks, laying everything on the table. Nine out of ten lost it all (randomness, not necessarily bad ideas always). You live and prosper because one in ten paid off. Stupid, stupid people. You know, the only reason they come up with this is that they think you're stupid enough to gain comfort from it.

I'm convinced they're dead right.

As a final note, let me reiterate that a post like this is written in the general. I.E., in general, people are fucking stupid, or they put on a pretty good act. It's always been that way. So, am I blogging to admonish the stupid fucks? No, not at all. I blog to sharpen the elite. You must know your enemy, and that's not to say that redemption isn't possible. I used to be of the stupids.

(I didn't get to Fat Tails, but I'm done, for now. Later. The Bell Curve is only half the picture.)

Just Get Even

Here's the relevant material and you'll have to check out at least the first three comments.

Oops: Right here.

Later: I changed the title. It was originally "And whereas, the April Fooler gets April Fooled." Also, if after reviewing all things relevant you think it's a good turn of the table, then give me an up nod over at Seth Godin's April Fools 2008 Squidoo.

Whereas, I have been an April Fool a day early

And now I'm going to be a poor sport about it

So some days I feel a little less than elite. Here's why. If you track me via RSS then you likely have a post in there from this morning called "Outsourcing Blogging" that no longer has a post here associated with it. That's because I deleted it. It was a short post calling attention to Tim Ferriss' (The 4-Hour Workweek) announcement that he had outsourced his blogging over the last year. I'm only part way through his book and have only hit & missed his blog over a month or so; so I'm less than familiar with its content over the last year. Of course, in keeping with a good April Fool's project, it's plausible. I'll go further: as such things go, it was very well done. I'm still going to be a poor sport.

In addition to blogging it, I sent an email to one person I do business with and then another email to two people at my own company, because as it turns out, we outsource article writing; here too. We're also in the final stages of transforming our company website into a WordPress blog (more on that later) and will need some writing assistance there, too.

Within only a few minutes of sending those emails and publishing my post, he put up an update to the original, along with a new entry. I left a poor sport comment.

Interesting marketing strategy. Make fools of your customers (my copy of your book is in my Sony eReader, my wife’s in hardback).

In full disclosure, yea, I was fooled. Even blogged about Tim’s creativity and tossed a link this way, so now all my blog readers know what a fool I am too. Luckily I was able to delete within minutes, but that’s too late for the RSS feed.

Thanks, Tim. Thanks a million.

Do you get it? Let me illustrate. There are perhaps a dozen people in my life I can tell to fuck off, and the way in which I do it will let them know whether I'm joking, irritated but-what-the-hell, or they better leave me the fuck alone for a good long while.

There's far more people whom I wouldn't say that to unless I seriously wanted them to be gone from me forever. I'd never say it to a customer unless I explicitly didn't want that business ever again, and even then I'd be taking a big risk treating a customer that way. It's unprofessional. It can snowball.

I think Tim Ferriss somewhat misunderstands his business role which he has purposely melanged with his personal life -- which is fine but must be understood as such. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so. I'm not prepared to fire him, yet. I'll at least finish his book and checking the blog. Question to Kyle: is that loyalty or forbearance?

Later: After reviewing the comments and if you think it was a decent turn of the tables, vote it up on Seth Godin's April Fools 2008 Squidoo.

Being Elite

We; you, are either among the elite, or it's within your grasp. The knowledge available to you via the Internet is simply astounding. There is literally everything you need to fully pursue any course of study you wish and take it as absolutely far as any limiting dynamics to human knowledge might permit, and do it 100% independently.

What does that portend for the future? It's simple. In the future -- and get this because it's important -- the very smartest and knowledgeable people, on earth, will increasingly hold no degrees. Why? Again, simple. Why would the smartest person on earth, bolstered by the now-uncloistered ubiquity of all available human knowledge, keenly aware that he has everything at his disposal via the Internet, stoop to have his inferiors certify his knowledge? And though you may not be the smartest person on earth, you can make yourself pretty smart, you can do it all on your own, and so why do you need the USDA stamp of approval on your rump? Won't other smart people recognize you're smart? Won't stupid dumb asses (or parasitic pricks) look to see if you have been "certified" by some external authority, using it in the former as an excuse, and in the latter, a justification? Why would you want to cater to either?

The reason smart people of old got degrees is because all the knowledge was cloistered within the books of secrets maintained by the "recognized official authorities" and you had to pay them to gain access. The bargain is called a degree.

Ponder the above, because it is crucially important and it implies some serious responsibility on your part. For one, you could get led astray by those in possession of degrees (because they're not so smart -- so they paid). Or, you could miss out on real knowledge because it's not "certified." Try to wrap your mind around the concept of "external authority" and how we're so geared to seek the "automatic knowledge" offered up by others. Imagine a world where "smart" is a function of the obvious, fully accessible and judgeable by: YOU; a member of the elite.

Loyalty: The Bludgeon Of Con Artists and Scammers

I have no like or respect for Governor Bill Richardson but I did take a moment of pleasure at the thought of him delivering the Automatic Liars a good kick in the teeth.

Now Radley has commentary on that most giant of lying pricks, that enormous fuckwad James Carville. But the politics of the thing are peripheral to what really interests me.

I’ve always though the alleged virtue of loyalty is way overrated.

Look, it's even simpler that that. The only reason the concept of loyalty really exists is to con, guilt-trip, or scam someone into signing onto something for which there isn't sufficient reason, value, or desire in it for them to do so on those bases alone.

Loyalty is for stupid suckers, unless of course one is talking about loyalty to truth, honesty, justice, reality, morality. But if you really pay attention, loyalty is most often employed in the attempt to circumvent all of those.

I have never in my life admonished loyalty to anything but reality. I would consider it an effrontery to do so.

Damn; He Beat Her to It

Peggy Noonan has up an absolute must read on Super Hillary! at the WSJ. I'll leave you to the more serious elements, though this would be a good except:

She is concussed. But she is a scrapper, a fighter, and she's doing what she knows how to do: scrap and fight. Only harder. So that she ups the ante every day. She helped Ireland achieve peace. She tried to stop Nafta. She's been a leader for 35 years. She landed in Bosnia under siege and bravely dodged bullets. It was as if she'd watched the movie "Wag the Dog," with its fake footage of a terrified refugee woman running frantically from mortar fire, and found it not a cautionary tale about manipulation and politics, but an inspiration.

And this, quoting an eye witness account.

"Actually Mrs. Clinton was too modest. I was there and saw it all. When Mrs. Clinton got off the plane the tarmac came under mortar and machine gun fire. I was blown off my tank and exposed to enemy fire. Mrs. Clinton without regard to her own safety dragged me to safety, jumped on the tank and opened fire, killing 50 of the enemy." Soon a suicide bomber appeared, but Mrs. Clinton stopped the guards from opening fire. "She talked to the man in his own language and got him [to] surrender. She found that he had suffered terribly as a result of policies of George Bush. She defused the bomb vest herself." Then she turned to his wounds. "She stopped my bleeding and saved my life. Chelsea donated the blood."

(via Dr. Eades)

Later: Oh yea. This may have been what the guy was referring to. Kyle Bennett pointed that out in a comment on a previous post.

Earth Hour 2008: Arnold, CA




Sucker Bait

Will you take it?

It Works

My mail began arriving at Earth Class Mail, today.


Here's how it works. As new mail arrives, it goes through a machine that scans front & back of the envelope. It can read the address, so knows to which account to upload the images (I can view the back of each envelope as well). You should normally be able to tell if it's something you wish to open and simply mark it to be scanned and/or shipped to you. If not, you can have them trash (recycle, of course) or shred. I just marked those three to be scanned and they promise to have it done by tomorrow morning.

Then I'll deal with it, delete the scanned images, and I'm done. Paperless. No stacks of mail, and I can deal with everything anywhere in the world. I hear they're working on being able to deposit checks you receive in the mail for you. That'll be nice if they can swing it.

The only trouble, so far, is that it's a bit arduous to get started. The USPS requires that you fill out a form appointing them as your agent, and to add insult, you must have it notarized. As if I'm not competent to manage my own affairs. I don't need the USPS's protection. I'll take my own chances.