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.

Automatic Liars

I’ve know it about both her and Bill from that 60-Minutes interview way back when that really launched them. I am astounded at the ignorance or plain dishonesty in anyone who still refuses to acknowledge it.

Pots, Kettles, and Split Hairs

The really funny thing about something like this is you could tell it at your average church picnic and people would laugh at what morons those people must be.


Gary Vaynerchuk. I hope he’s right. Since the dawn of civilization, the advantage typically goes to the most dishonest, i.e., politicians, clergy, lawyers, academia, activists, large corporations. Even when progress is made (i.e., Enlightenment), those truths too get co-opted by the manipulative and dishonest in order to perpetuate illusions and parasitically generate a dishonest livelihood. Take a look.

What he’s saying is that the future is going to be owned by the truly honest. Why do you suppose I post in the very direct, devil-may-care, fuck you if you don’t like it manner I do? Simple: fuck you if you don’t like it. I don’t care. I’m not lying about anything and the manner in which I conduct myself here pretty much proves it, as in the sarcastic "why not tell us what you really think."

I’m not interested in popularity, but in fully integrated honesty. Everything, at all times, no matter how brutal.

Fuck anyone who can’t take it. That’s the future. Get used to it.

(link: Greg, again)


Absolutely. Check out the video intro.

(via: Greg)


I had no real intention to blog about this; just something that automatically came to mind at the time. But what the hell. I’m on an afternoon roll.

I’ll make it short. I would not expect you to be aware, but as a young and fresh Navy ensign, one of my collateral duties was the security over eight nuclear weapons on the USS REEVES (CG-24). If you don’t know how the security over nukes works, here’s a brief primer: two-man control. In the U.S., there is never less than two people in the presence of a nuclear weapon at any time.

Both have loaded and un-safed sidearms in readily accessible holsters at all times. Had I ever wanted, I could have created one hell of an international shit storm. So could and can to this very day thousands of others. In a sense, your life hangs on their whim.

Analogy: commercial airliners: two-man control.

An elegant slice of evolution

Stephan, in a comment on his own post:

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for development, as supported by the fact that it's in eggs (fish, reptile and bird) and milk.

Do you understand?

“I’m almost smug”

Last phrase of the article, and it rang a bell. See, Billy? Only "almost." {with a laf}

(my own Time Machine / Time Capsule post)

Fat Extravaganza

On the heals of my breakfast post, I've got more about fat. Here, Peter digs up an article about Dr. Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet that makes some of my escapades seem tame.

On the other hand, we're only talking about now lean and healthful 70 and 80 year olds curing their diabetes, arthritis and other chronic ailments by consuming 250 grams of fat from animal sources per day, which is like five times higher than "recommended" in total fat, ten times higher in saturated fat.

Here's what I know: the more animal fat I eat, to the exclusion of carbs and the reduction of protein to moderate levels, the better I feel. I can easily stay up into the the wee hours without being tired, but I can also go to bed without being tired at 9 pm, go right to sleep, and sleep soundly for ten hours. I haven't slept for ten hours since I was a teenager. And when I rise, a noticeable leanness and firmness all over, as though the very last bits of generalized inflammation have been drained out of me overnight. When I'm not sleeping, it's high and steady energy continuously. No more afternoon malaise. It's a wonderful feeling.

Here's Peter's post. A commenter added this link to a video. Commenter Stephan pointed out this funny bit from the article:

Of course, high-fat diets will give you the benefits of energy and weight loss, but they are just not good for you.

Go figure. You're seeing this sort of thing more and more. The evidence of success in reaching some goal or point can no longer be dismissed or ignored. But we "just know" that fat is bad.

Chili Verde

This morning's breakfast.


Chili Verde, which I made last night, eggs fried over easy in unsalted butter, a bit of potato fried in lard, and a half of a tortilla heated directly on the flame of the gas stove. Not strictly in keeping with my no-to-low carb regime, but I keep it to a real minimum and am still well on my path to regaining control of my own body form.

The recipe for the chili verde is one of the very few that's not of my own creation. It's my 2nd-generation Mexican father-in-law's recipe and I've been cooking it for nearly ten years. It differs from the traditional recipe in that rather than using tomatillos, we use tomatoes. One day I'll try it with the former, but I'm in no rush because this way is so damn good. I have yet to ever prepare it for a single person in all these years who didn't love it.

The recipe:

  • 3-4 lbs. of cheap fatty pork chops with the bones
  • 4-5 large tomatoes; alternatively, a couple cans stewed or diced tomatoes, with or without the spices some of them contain, and one or two fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 5-6 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped finely
  • 6-10 medium jalapeño peppers, depending on the level of heat desired, chopped finely with or without seeds; again, depending on the heat.


The preparation is quite simple. Cut up the pork chops and brown them in a pan. Then take the garlic, onion, and peppers and lightly saute, just a few minutes and certainly not enough for the onion to become translucent (I've made it without this step and I don't know it makes a lot of difference). Place all this in your cooking pot, add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt & pepper if you like, a little water if you need (I never do), bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for a couple of hours or so, until the pork falls off the bones and will easily fall apart.

That's the recipe as it was. I do a couple of things different. I drain a couple of cans of medium black olives and add those. I also cook it low and slow in a crock pot. I prepare in the evening and turn on the pot (low) when I go to bed. Even turning it on at 12 a.m., it should be ready by 6 or 7. If there's any rubbery feel to the pork, it's not done yet.

I took this photo on a plate; however, my favorite way to eat it is in a bowl with two over easy eggs on top, and I eat it with a spoon (normally I'm not having potatoes, tortilla, or beans).

I like to make it pretty hot. This particular one has eight peppers, with seeds. I could stand it a lot hotter, but since we'll consume it over a few days it looses spiciness as it sits in the fridge. So, I like to start out hot. I made a batch over the Christmas holidays up here and I made it seedless. The heat was very substantially reduced, far below my preferences. However, we had family guests and I wanted to take it easy on them. One other note is that when it's done the fat from the pork will make its way to the top and you can easily skim it. I leave it in. It's easy enough for those who don't want to work around it, which simply leaves more very healthful, highly saturated pork fat (lard) for me and the Okinawans.

Try it out. It's really a fantastic recipe and you'll probably end up using it for as long as you cook. Simple. Delicious. Wonderful.

I’m Interested

I’ve had the luxury of a company for some years where I have employees at my disposal to essentially take care of anything and everything having to do with the company. But I’ve never felt comfortable using them to handle personal affairs, for a number of reasons.

Now this: personal outsourcing. I think it’s a great idea and for what it’s worth, I have never bought into the negative hype about customer service out of India, the Philippines, or elsewhere where "them forners" reside. The other day I called one of my mortgage companies to change a mailing address and got on the line with a nice lady in Manila who was nothing but meticulously polite and professional. Yesterday, I switched out my wireless router up here at the cabin from a Linksys to an Apple AirPort Extreme, and realized I had forgotten the PPPoE password and didn’t have it written down. Within a minute or so I was on line with one of AT&T’s tech service reps in India who was, again, meticulously polite and professional. This has been my general experience for some years, and I always ask if they’re overseas. My suggestion to companies: have your support people be up-front about it, rather than carry on implication that you’re trying to hide it. From my own substantial experience in this area, if you make sure your customers know they’re dealing with someone in India or Croatia, or the P.I., or wherever, your customers will soon express a preference for foreigners because those foreigners — again, in my experience — are a cut above in terms of professionalism.

(via: Tim Ferris)