Businesslike

Well, I called Calaveras County Water District this morning to find out their intentions with respect to cutting their lock last Friday morning--when they should've been open for business serving their customers, but weren't. I was straight up with them: "You should have been open for business, I should have gone through the routine for not paying on time, and you should have restored service within a very short time. This was impossible due to your unwarranted closure, I had prior commitments, so I cut your lock." Well, I'm happy to report that they were very businesslike about it. I'd done my research, prior, and turns out they can prosecute under Section 625 of the California Penal Code (misdemeanor offense). Instead, they charged $32 for replacement of the lock, were happy to take a credit card, and were also happy to take an additional $50 so I'd be paid up a coupla months in advance. Sold. Alright then.


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Why I Read Billy Beck

Yea, I know: he's rude, uncivil, abrasive, inflexible, and all that. But he will never, ever, bullshit you or lie to you. Never. Not even a little bit. Not for any reason. I've known the man for 12 years and this is the one thing I know about him with absolute clarity and certainty. He doesn't equivocate. Anyway, he had an entry about liars a couple of days ago that I'd marked and was just waiting for an appropriate segue to present itself. Then, last night I was driving over to Home Depot on an important mission: to get one of these awesome ladders that you may have seen on TV. They have them, but under a different label (Gorilla Ladders). Same ladders, 1/2 the price. Paid $200 instead of $400 for the one that extends up to 19'. I can get it in the front door of our loft, store it completely out of sight in the furnace room, yet replace a light bulb in the tract lighting 18' up on the ceiling (or hang antique Chinese scrolls 15' up, which is what I did last night). After watching the electricians haul up their conventional 20' extension ladders over...


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Useful Idiots

It's a bonus Useful Idiots entry because I have two examples for you today. This is going to be its own category from now on. The idea is that falsehoods, hysteria, injustice, pseudoscience and more are propagated in two ways: one is through state edict and force; the other is via the Useful Idiot Network of everyday people who continually seek out external authorities in every matter of their lives, believe virtually everything they are told by these external authorities, and become activists for "the cause" to varying degree. Nowadays, state force often comes on the scene after the Useful Idiot Network has paved the way by whipping up its series of "problems" where none previously existed or needed to exist. When the state initiates force--from demanding a building permit to locking up peaceful people to stealing our incomes in taxation--it is always evil, all of the time, in any and all degree that it exists. When mysticism, lies, and hysteria are propagated--not by force, but by Useful Idiots--it's evidence that very nearly all of the world's population is utterly and completely stupid; i.e., they can and do believe virtually anything and everything and will perpetuate or acquiesce to virtually...


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As I Was Just Saying

Why is it so difficult to understand that when you give someone the job of locking people up, and then make that the standard of their success and advancement, then that's what you'll get? And, you'll get it where the most important and overriding consideration is whether you can lock them up and whether you can ultimately keep them there. No other facts are really relevant. This is the greatest evil in our entire "civil" society and it is being perpetuated upon us by thugs in blue uniforms, investigators, prosecutors, judges, and good-German juries I was just saying it the other day. I really don't understand this propensity to excuse people who chooses to actively destroy someone else, their property, their livelihood, or their freedom for the express purpose of "doing a job," which is to say, to advance themselves. To me, this is the absolute incarnation of evil. Man created evil. The only sort of evil that exists. And that's not even all of it. I can look the other way when one predator (police) goes after another predator (criminal). It's really just like mobsters and gangsters eating one-another, and there are no important distinctions to make; none whatsoever....


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Holiday Reflections and Roundup

A lot of variety this year. As with last year, we spent the Christmas holiday in our "cabin" in Arnold, CA, where we'll be spending it every year if I have anything to say about it. Dad & mom were there, of course, along with my brother, his wife, and their 3-yr old son, Hunter, who wanted Santa to bring him a "fire fuck." We also enjoyed the company of my dad's sister and her husband. Beatrice and I arrived Thursday evening. The others would not begin arriving until the next afternoon. As I go through my routine to get the heat going, the water heater on, and the water turned on we notice a problem. No water. I go back out the the main and find that the county had shut off the supply and padlocked it. Then I noticed the fresh footprints in the mud. It was raining, so it had been shut off within the last few hours. I don't recall neglecting the $22 monthly water bill, but then again, we just moved, so who knows what got neglected in the shuffle. Bottom line is that if I didn't pay for the service, it's my fault. I...


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The Power of Myth

Reason's Matt Welch, in a very interesting article, essentially explains why the state will never die, although I'm not altogether certain that's what he meant to convey by his article. The state, like religion, never dies. It just changes from one form to another. The essential characteristics for belief in both, however, remain resoundingly the same: "can't live without them." Never mind that religious crusades of one form or another--state or church sponsored--and state conquests--whether secular or religious--have been responsible for more murders than all other forms of death combined, save for natural causes. We are talking in the many hundreds of millions. Now, contrast that with science, agriculture, and industry. Contrast that with arguably the greatest savior of mankind in all of human history (odds are that you have never in your life heard his name; and that should tell you just about all you need to know about the current state of human culture: from top to bottom and wall to wall). But instead, we moronically reject what is right in front of our eyes, choosing instead to believe and trust that "Jesus is coming again," and/or that "The President will save us." Of course, all will be...


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That’s What You Get

Devastating articles such as this one by Reason's Ronald Bailey are what you get when you don't know what the hell you're talking about. I would suggest that you not only read the article, but take time to read the many background citings. Find out just how over-your-head most of you are in even discussing this stuff. Oh, sure, there are tens of millions, if not more, who believe profoundly that "Intelligent Design" is not only true, but is a perfectly valid scientific theory. But most are also ignorant of most of what constitutes science and how it's conducted. High school lab just doesn't give people anywhere near the background needed to understand how bad ID is, as science. This gives us the very odd spectacle of layman believing ID based on [their knowledge of] science and the few "real scientists" who believe it, based on faith, because their faith comes before scientific observation. Personally, my very biggest problem with this "theory" is that it's a profound non-explanation that religionists have the effrontery to call "science." It's an insolent slap in the face of science, the traditions of which are great and important. Science endeavors to actually explain things, not...


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Not the Exclusive Domain

David Friedman, in his new blog, demonstrates how Intelligent Design and much of environmentalism are two sides of the exact same faith-based coin. The real objection is that its supporters are driven by religious, not scientific, motives. Somewhere in the world there must exist someone who was persuaded of its truth by scientific arguments—but looking at those arguments makes it clear that they were generated by people who knew what conclusion they wanted and were doing their best to fudge up reasons to believe it.


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The Things We Learn From Others

One of the greatest things about running a company with employees is that I have such opportunities to learn. I believe I've always been successful in leadership roles, going back to my days in the Navy, principally because I'm always interested in learning. I learn things all the time. Sometimes it's a principle, sometimes a rule, and sometimes just an operational fact; but it all ties in. I just said to someone in an email: This is why sensory perception and reason are primary, which is to say, they supersede and overrule faith. Otherwise, you would obviously be dead. Since sensory perception and reason overrule faith anyway, I have absolutely no need of it. Every exercise of it is a detriment to happiness and success in my life. I loath the human propensity to exercise faith, which I firmly believe is rooted in nothing more than abject laziness. It is one of our greatest vices as human beings. It's anti human-life. Straight from the devil, if you ask me. Let me ask you this: if you have faith, what need do you have of learning anything from anyone? How can it possibly matter? What it is tied to; grounded in?...


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The Culture War: Two Fronts

First of all, it's not a "War on Terror." Terror is simply a tactic in the overall culture war that might be described in the whole as primitivity vs. modernity. But that's not all there is to it. There's a concurrent culture war that I might loosely characterize as post-modernity vs. Americanism. This one isn't being fought on the physical battlefield, yet, but it's being fought nonetheless. Those of us on the right, rational, and honest side of history are really in a two-front war. To sum up the idea, Wal-Mart and the essential Americanism it so righteously symbolizes in so many important ways is so evil as to make Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, and al-Zarqawi palatable by comparison. Thoughts of suburban and rural inhabitants lined up in hoards to load up on all the latest bargains at rock-bottom prices, all without any regard or need whatever for their urban "superiors," makes visions of Middle-Eastern women as chattel more than tolerable. This, folks, is the depth of the depravity we're dealing with: at the intellectual level. It's a hatred of what America truly symbolizes so profound that it will even be complicit in mass murder, should mass murderers stand against...


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An Intelligent Ruling on Design

Of course, within the narrow context of the US Constitution, Judge John Jones' ruling is correct. There can be no rational dispute about that. The US Constitution prohibits State advocacy of any religion, and "Intelligent Design" is repackaged religion. Jones decried the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion. A six-week trial over the issue yielded "overwhelming evidence" establishing that intelligent design "is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory," said Jones, a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago. I applaud Judge Jones on his objectivity. In a wider context, children ought to be taught and instilled the values their parents would impart to them, at their own expense, of course, living with the full consequences of what they do (or don't) teach them. But in our greater "wisdom," we have instead devised a system where everyone pays the cost of education for everyone but themselves; thus, no one owns it, no one has an absolute say in what's taught, and no one is happy with the product or the...


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Pride and Prejudice

Beatrice & I walked down to Caper's Loft Bar and Bistro last evening for a drink in the upstairs bar, then over to catch the 9:30 showing of Pride and Prejudice. Truth is, I've never paid much attention to Jane Austen, or her works, but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed each of the 128 minutes of this film. Keira Knightly's performance was just perfect as Elizabeth Bennett. Of Miss Bennett, Jane Austen once wrote: "I must confess that I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know." It would be hard for me to grasp how that could not have been their guiding light in making this film. Go see it.


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Self-Made Soul

I was thinking of the Cory Maye case the other night, wondering how people believe this sort of stuff happens. I mean, even Balko--who started the whole movement (and I want to take nothing from him for that)--doesn't seem to be able to connect dots. I wanted to stress that we shouldn't be thinking of Officer Jones as a villain. We should be thinking of him as a victim. That's just utter bullshit. And do you know why? Because what is happening to Cory Maye didn't "just happen." It was caused to happen. Officer Jones decided that how people manage their own affairs, to include chemicals they put in their own bodies, was somehow his business. Officer Jones decided that he would gather an armed force dressed in paramilitary gear and break down doors without any knowledge of who might be behind them or what private activities might be taking place. Officer Jones did all this, most obviously, to further his career as a 4th generation police officer. So, in essence, rather than adopt the valuable role of a circumspect and responsible public protector and servant, he chose a far easier path to prestige and recognition. He chose the path...


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Feelin’ So Good, I Don’t Care That My Blog Blew Up

Well, Looks Like Typepad blew up last night and a few of my most recent posts are missing. They've got a recent back-up running until such time as all their hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of blogs can be republished from the database. I can republish manually, but at the moment, looks like everyone is trying to republish. But I feel good. I mean: good. A friend and business colleague in Pittsburgh emailed me this morning after I emailed him yesterday, apologizing for not returning his call of a few days ago: Just get well, Richard. There is almost no better feeling than feeling good after you have been feeling bad. Aint that the truth? Other than the once or twice a year cold, I get sick enough to crawl into bed about once every two years, and it's normally no longer than a day. This time put me down for four days. No idea what it was, but it was long enough I completely forgot what it was like to feel good. But I'm back now, and I just really can't believe how good it feels to feel good.


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Will the Terrorist Paul Guerra Please Stand Up?

Since it's not this Paul Guerra, perhaps it's this one; or this one; or, one of these Paul Guerras; or this guy; or, wait...furniture...very suspicious indeed; but not as suspicious as opera; ...and here we have a Paul Guerra posing as Paulo Guerra of Portugal. Ohmygod. Bunch of incompetent, do-nothing fucks (TSA and associated entities)--who do nothing but cause problems for people who are actually productive and beneficial to civilized humanity.


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Cory Maye

I filed this under "Justice." Seems that whenever I post on the topic of justice, it's to catalog some enormous injustice, so perhaps I ought to rename the category. At any rate, Cory Maye was the victim of one of those late night military raids by "police" playing G.I. Joe. You know, the kind with little to no genuine self-esteem; the kind that needs to brutalize others in order to make themselves feel important and worthy. Yea, it was the wrong place, again. This time, however, things went the other way. Mr. Maye heroically met his moral obligation to protect himself and his sleeping daughter, and luckily enough, it was one of the "protect-and-serve" guys that got killed (yes, I'm blood-lust glad for that fact; regretful only that I'm not presently disposed to go piss on his grave). Turns out it was the police chief's son. Double-plus good. Thrilled for his loss. So, no real surprise, now, that Mr. Maye, a black man in small-town Mississippi, having been convicted by an all-white jury, now sits on death row. Here's links to the whole story: Radley Balko, who has taken this on as a bit of a cause and has been...


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Pretty Cool

I've never taken an online course of study, before. Sure, I've researched a million things on my own over the years and sometimes scanned through dozens and hundreds of pages on a single topic. It's really remarkable how quickly you can become conversant on virtually any topic within minutes, if you know how to use this vast Internet resource and you're not so dumb that you believe something just because it shows up on a computer screen. I'm beginning to lightly dabble in the area of currency trading, having finally settled in on a profitable options trading strategy that nets a pretty consistent 5-10% return per month. Problem is, it's boring. It involves trading bear call spreads and bull put spreads on the SPX, which is the index traded fund representing the S&P 500. Essentially, you make your plays at the beginning of the month and wait for the options to expire. These are credit spreads, so the option you sell is more valuable that the option you buy (as a hedge), the difference being the credit that you keep. So long as your spread stays out of the money by the time the options expire in a few weeks,...


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“We’ll Be Screwed”

I had the opportunity to speak with two attorneys for the City of San Jose last evening down at the Tied House brewpub. One is a relative, so I can't be too harsh; and besides, he beat an ex-cop in court a few years back. She sued the city 'cause they "harassed" her, she claimed, on account of her sexual preferences. Anyway, I jumped on them because San Jose's newly-completed, multi-bazillion-dollar city hall building now occupies the spot formerly occupied by some local establishments I used to frequent when I previously lived downtown--Taco Bell being prominent among them. City Hall is now the largest, tallest, most prominent building in San Jose--although it should be pointed out that there's a height restriction to the west--where most of the buildings are--due to final approach into the airport. Adobe, because they couldn't go high, built three separate towers that I think look great. So, a brief discussion of eminent domain ensued. And, during that discussion, I learned that the landowners "made out like bandits." The city didn't "have to" undertake an eminent domain action. I didn't think I'd get much mileage pointing out that it doesn't matter what price the landowners received because...


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Random Odds & Ends

I've really been a terrible blogger, lately. Even I can't read my own blog without becoming bored. Anyway, here's a collection of random updates and observations in no particular order. We sold our house in the 'burbs and moved back to the city. Love it. I can walk to a dozen cool restaurants & bistros, and even a 12-screen cinema with stadium seating. I'll have to snap a picture from my new home-office setup in the new place (a loft). To paint a mental picture, imagine 18 ft. ceilings with my desk at about the 9 ft platform level, looking out the front, which is mostly window. In the spirit of downsizing and getting sportier, I sold my Hummer H2 and got a 2006 BMW X5 with the 4.4 liter V8. That's 315 HP in a car that weighs in less than 5,000 lbs. It has a, get this: 6-speed automatic transmission. I can tell you that I am very, very good with a stick and clutch, going way back. If you were in an automatic, I could spot you a whole lot of horsepower, 'cause there was no way you were going to out-accelerate me. That's all changed, now....


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An Observation About Truth, its Price, and its Consequences

I've recently observed that there are numerous ways to become a villain. Of course, there always exists the old conventional ways that everyone knows about, but there's another way too: Simply insist, uncompromisingly, upon an unpleasant truth. That's what I've done, publicly even, which now makes me the 'very bad guy.' Of course, it will be protested that it's not that I'm insisting on the truth, but the way I'm going about it (exposing obvious lies and all that impolite stuff). Now, mind you, I'm not talking about controversial topics where there is room for reasonable disagreement. I'm talking about the truth related to a serious, seemingly uncharacteristic harm that one person has caused another. The actual harm is unpleasant enough, but then, somehow, the truth becomes even more unpleasant than the actual harm it describes. In this case, some portion of the truth is enough for some people; it's all they want. And, once they're satisfied with this portion of the truth, they turn from demanding the truth to supporting and defending what is, ultimately and in reality, a lie. And whatever you do, keep it all quiet, please. It's not so much that the victim doesn't deserve to...


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