Quick Hit

I ought resist the urge, but what can I say? I’m weak Via email, I get the link to this post from Vox Day, “the scientist and Christian Libertarian.” I guess his real name is Theodore Beale, a writer of Christian fantasy (ahem…) novels in the tradition of C.S. Lewis, and apparently brimming with substantial doses of good old fashioned hellfire, brimstone and judgmental wrath for those who don’t toe the (Beale’s?) line. It’s reminiscent of the finest traditions of of the chortlingly vindictive Left Behind series, where people who profess shockingly stupid “revelations” here on Earth get to entertain their “You’ll be sorry” fantasies with regard to all the people demonstrably less delusional than they. At least he’s smart enough to be making money on a following (literally) of stupids and morons (read some of the 90-odd comments to that post to see what I mean). Anyway… we learn that ‘ol Vox too thinks pretty highly of his intellectual prowess. But I know that I will obliterate Hitchens, Dawkins or Harris without ever breaking a sweat should I ever get the chance, simply because all three of them base their primary arguments against religion on ludicrous assertions that are…

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China Jabbering

I wondered when this would be coming along and in what form it would take, so now the suspense ends. Well I’m just going to presume that I’m included amongst the “people” he’s talking about. So sit back while I swing and howl from the chandelier. I’ll leave you to judge credulity (childish or otherwise; his and mine) for yourselves. But first: I never, ever said or implied that “China is turning ‘capitalist'” or anything of the kind. I did say that China is attracting capital investment from abroad; an easily verifiable fact. Now, we can all argue about whether to be more “appalled” by someone calling China “capitalist” or America “capitalist” — and surely America is closer to the real thing, having at least once (200 years ago or so) laid down a sort-of moral foundation for the thing (except for that Constitution thingy, and the enormous contradiction of brutal institutionalized slavery) based in Hellenic and Enlightenment ideals — but I just don’t see the point in splitting such hairs given that capital in both places is ultimately (here and now) beholden to gunpoint at the hands of the state. However you get there and in whatever concrete form…

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Hair: The Long & Short of It

Sometime last October or November I decided to let my hair grow for the first time since I was about 12 or 13, I think. Of course, back then, being “clean cut” was more a function of dad’s preferences than my own; but it was what it was. Then I was in a private school that required it, then Navy ROTC in college, and then the Navy. Paradise lost. Or so I thought. So I never had the chance to be a “long hair.” Well, you can have it, I say. Wearing it was fine, I guess, once my head adjusted to the added insulation and stopped its sweating 24/7 (damp pillows really suck). My wife liked the look, so that’s something. But how in the hell to contend with the pain in the ass that is washing it? Jesus Christ on a banana peel: tangles galore, unless you “condition” — like a woman — and if you do that, then it feels greasy-like within a day. Yech! Then there’s the wet-head look for an hour; unless of course you want to blow dry (again, like a girl). So here was the before and after scene last weekend at the…

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Art De Vany

— Where it all began This is an amazing blog (or was, in 2007) on health and fitness that I’ve not been able to keep my eyes off of all morning since some kind commenter to my last post on resistance training steered me to it. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, and…

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Resistance Training

I will have much more to say about this in months to come, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that in terms of health and fitness, people have been suckered into a load of nonsense over the last 30 years with respect to the benefits of aerobics to the exclusion of all else.

Over four years ago, now, I embarked on a program of walking (briskly) every morning five days per week. I wanted to lose some poundage that needed losing, the dog needed walking anyway, and I like to walk. Well, 4,000 miles later (I was very religious about it, still am, and I enjoy it and intend to keep at it) I not only didn’t lose any weight but probably put on about 20 lbs. This was three miles per day (about 45 minutes), fifteen miles per week, every week. If you think you’re going to do much about an overweight problem with evening walks around the block you’re probably fooling yourself.

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Tiny Bubbles

Here’s pretty good reasoning, I’d say, characterizing asset bubbles in general and the China stock market in particular. Remember, the general public always gets it wrong by either exiting to early (fear of loss when hope of further profits is called for) or staying in too long (hope for a turnaround when fear of deeper losses is called for). This, from a book published in 1923 that I just quoted the other day: The speculator’s chief enemies are always boring from within. It is inseparable from human nature to hope and to fear. In speculation when the market goes against you you hope that every day will be the last day—and you lose more than you should had you not listened to hope—to the same ally that is so potent a success bringer to empire builders and pioneers, big and little. And when the market goes your way you become fearful that the next day will take away your profit, and you get out—too soon. Fear keeps you from making as much money as you ought to. The successful trader has to fight these two deep-seated instincts. He has to reverse what you might call his natural impulses. Instead of…

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They’ll Get Over It: Especially When It’s the Truth

Karen says: I could care less who gets pissed off at me. They’ll get over it. Reminds me of what I said to my wife over dinner just last night when the subject of an incident I inspired during the family camping trip this holiday weekend came up. Someone was talking about their “great” derelict son’s “great” girlfriend (not the one raising his two kids; the other one) who’s a stripper / lap dancer. I referred to her as a whore. There was some commotion. But as I told my wife: life’s just too short to listen to people’s bullshit while nodding your head. Eff that.

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Data Point

Billy points to something that reminded me of something I wanted to be reminded to blog about but hadn’t yet for whatever reason I’d forgotten to do it. …[inhale]… He strikes perfectly adequately at the underlying so I won’t bother to rehash; as well George Will. But what I was reminded of was a taxi experience a couple of months ago during a visit to Las Vegas. You must understand: I’m not one to strike up conversations with strangers, with one exception: certain working stiffs where I just get this certain “sense.” For some reason, I almost always come away uplifted or feeling as though I learned something or gained perspective. This was no different and I could tell the guy was an immigrant, likely Eastern European. Sure enough: Bulgaria. He’d been here nearly two years, as I recall. And he was headed back to Bulgaria in two months. “America isn’t a free country,” he told me. Like I said, I almost always gain perspective. You know, I have always thought Republicans to be generally full of crap and hot stinky gases on the immigration issue. And they still are because that taxi driver was only ever going to benefit…

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San Jose in The New York Times

So this is where I live, eh? Actually, as trivial hype goes, this isn’t too bad. A little over-emphasis of the truly mundane and no mention of the best things (like Trial’s Pub and SJAC, dammit! both a mere 5-minute walk from where I sit this very moment), but it aint bad; and they did, after all, mention Original Joe’s which I think has to be among my ten favorite restaurants in the entire world and I know a lot of ’em. And for outside of the immediate downtown area, Santana Row is truly a very good effort at simulating the charm and organic diversity of a centre ville somewhere in France or Italy with its storefronts along the sidewalks and residences above. We nearly decided to buy our loft there instead of downtown. I suppose if I didn’t like living here, I wouldn’t. -NYT link courtesy of a fellow resident via email

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A Reading: Mistakes

The recognition of our own mistakes should not benefit us any more than the study of our successes. But there is a natural tendency in all men to avoid punishment. When you associate certain mistakes with a licking, you do not hanker for a second dose, and, of course, all stock-market mistakes wound you in two tender spots — your pocket book and your vanity. But I will tell you something curious: A stock speculator sometimes makes mistakes and knows that he is making them; and after he makes them he will ask himself why he made them; and after thinking over it cold-bloodedly a long time after the pain of punishment is over he may learn how he came to make them, and when, and at what particular point of his trade; but not why. And then he simply calls himself names and lets it go at that. Of course, if a man is both wise and lucky, he will not make the same mistake twice. But he will make any one of the ten thousand brothers or cousins of the original. The Mistake family is so large that there is always one of them around when you want…

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Buy a Little Freedom; Only a Hundred Bucks

It goes without saying that it’d be best if airline businesses were turned away from the government trough, and most particularly, made responsible for the general security of their own aircraft and passengers (you’ll note we don’t have a federal aircraft repair and maintenance bureau), and held accountable for such general security — to include also all aspects of traffic management on the ground and in the air, port facilities; in short, each and every nitty-gritty aspect of you getting from point A to point B via air travel. (And don’t be silly and think that we need the FAA. Browse through this little website, then go turn every electrical appliance in your house bottom-side-up and have yourself a look see.) Anyway, your government, the slave holder, is offering you a little freedom; for a price. The aforementioned ideal world being duly noted and lamented, I can’t think of any reason not to buy.

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Shrugging: A Thought

America’s second most influential book after the Christian Bible is a favorite of mine, as it is of many or most libertarians. This entry a bit ago got me to wondering: not everyone appreciates it for the same reasons and exploring the differences, amongst those who like it, could be an interesting study. Offhand, I’m thinking of the central theme or device of the novel; that is, the producers (those to whom capital naturally flows because they know how to turn it) go on strike. Of course, anyone with an introductory high school understanding of economics can predict what happens. Unlike the fraudulent implication underlying strikes by employees (that they are particularly needed or particularly valuable), the world goes to hell in a hand basket. It’s one thing to have a (temporarily) vacant job; quite another to have no jobs to be vacant and no resultant fruits of production to be had at any price. To me, that’s more or less the entirety (essential) of the message: the world ought to be on its knees daily thanking the God of Capitalism for its very existence. In terms of public policy and those who strive to influence it (government, religion, big…

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A Good Show

I think I recall that the initial projection would be three months to repair the MacArthur Maze, the section of Bay Area freeway that came down a mere 25 days ago after a tanker truck caught fire (apparently, in order to mask a government demolition) and weakened the steel structure to the point that it collapsed of its own weight (Rosie? Rosie…?). This is damned impressive, if you ask me and considering what they were up against. Eighteen days of construction. According to the story, C.C. Meyers won the low bid contract at $867,075 which seems like an awfully small amount, especially when you’ve got crews totaling 300 skilled workers going at it 24/7. I’ll bet he set his price low enough to just barely cover hard costs, if not even taking an out-of-pocket loss. That would mean putting it on the line to go after the bonus. Setting aside the issue of where money to do this kind of stuff comes from, I think it’s just dandy that he gets that $5 million bonus. I can’t think of anything (again, setting aside…) more American. Way to go. Now, if only the environment can survive the impact…

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More Misery?

Well I can’t say I didn’t half expect this (second link in the post, along with the insinuation). Since I’ve never known Billy to lie (not a single time ever), or even to use selective truth to be dishonest (most people do it all the time), let me clarify a few things (much of which is done in the comments to that post he cites). First, I’m speaking for myself. I happen to find it glorious to produce in spite of the general and institutionalized theft of a portion of what I produce. I’d probably still produce even if they stole it all because they can’t steal the fact that it was I who produced it. That’s just me. Second, I’m not hedging on what I call it. It’s theft. Theft of a penny is theft. It’s robbery, and it’s done — ultimately — at the point of a gun and under threat of the loss of your freedom or your life. My point is that you can be miserable about the “penny or two” (I am) or you can be miserable about it (I am) and produce anyway (I do). Advance your life anyway. And I’m not talking about…

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Always Fade The New York Times

Carl Futia is a really, really good swing trader and is one the the very few people I pay any attention to. Well over 99% of market commentary out there — particularly for short-term or “swing trading” — is worse than worthless. Worthless would mean that heeding their “predictions” costs you nothing and makes you nothing. But you’ll find that listening to anyone else as a substitute for developing your own independent judgment will almost always cost you money. And if you’re in vehicles like I trade, i.e., selling options where your potential loss is 5 to 10 times your max profit, you’re gonna get killed (yes; selling short; but both ways, i.e., calls and puts; yes, you can go short options as long plays on the market). I particularly like Carl’s posts where The New York Times is used as a contrary indicator (not to trade by, but to judge market sentiment). Here’s another good one: Jay Leno is an even better indicator. And another: the NYT and The Economist; recent track record. Dismal; and people actually pay them money for this garbage. This is why I almost never turn on CNBC. I’ve found through painful experience that the…

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Believe or Wish for What You Want, But We’re Headed Higher

Reading as much market commentary as I do, I don’t think most people have even the slightest realistic inkling of the effect that China and India are going to have on the world financially, and in terms of raw prosperity, in the next decade or two to come. And you know what? I’m tired — really — of hearing and noting that China are a bunch of commies. We’re a bunch of commies. What’s new? What’s new is that you can be a commie and still have a nice house, two cars, and take a vacation every year. They’ve gone and done it (us, and them). They’ve figured out how to steal half of everything produced and still have a content population with citizens more prosperous than their parents. The Shanghai Stock Exchange composite index has shot up about 50% this year, following a 130% gain in 2006. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s benchmark is up more than 100% in 2007. Ordinary Chinese are increasingly dipping into their savings accounts (the country’s central bank reported on May 12 that $9 billion in savings has been transferred to brokerage accounts at the Shanghai exchange this year) to bet on mainland stocks. It’s…

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Who Knew?

I think Warren Meyer is onto something. If you thought that Princeton bachelors and Harvard masters of his was all for naught, whad’ya thinking now, huh?

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Unreasonable People

If you take “reasonable” to mean that which most everyone considers reasonable, then this is pretty good: Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people. — George Bernard Shaw (Bill Egan)

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Second Handers

Yep, the world is full of ’em (those who derive their self esteem from the perceptions of others, not from objective achievements), and my suspicion is that this sort of personality, demeanor, psychology, psychosis (whatever you want to call it) is behind a lot more than we tend to think it is. Upon due consideration, I also have to wonder if it isn’t sometimes behind things you’d least expect it to be. Brett Steenbarger tries to make the case that second-handedness is behind pessimism and negativity, and I think his argument is worth considering. The doomsayer needs followers who feel endangered and vulnerable. The forecasts of doom make the prophet needed to get through the pending calamity. No one needs a savior if the forecast is for sunny times ahead. By undercutting the sense of security of others, the doomsayer carves out a niche for himself: I will get you through the market panic, the economic collapse, etc. The same dynamic is at work with the seemingly solicitous and chivalrous man who wants his woman dependent upon him. We know this, right? But how about in libertarian circles? How many among us, myself included, sometimes go overboard with the doom,…

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Rachel Lucas

She’s Ba-ack. Not as funny, though. I turned 35 last month and something about reaching that age makes me feel totally ballsy. I’m ready to berate asshats once more, baby! And I’ve started paying attention to the news again, which is like watching a bunch of circus clowns throwing poop at each other. The headline on Drudge as I write this is about John McCain using “a curse word associated with chickens” while arguing with John Cornyn over immigration. Seriously? Did he call him a Chicken-F—er? Someone throw me a bone; I’m in the dark here. Hillary is going to run for president – oh god, yes, please. This election should be almost as hilarious as the last one. Al Gore has amped up his fearmongering and even though I do think we’re doing all sorts of naughty things to Earth, god, do I still hate that guy. And my favorite morbidly obese nutjob in the whole world, one Mr. Michael Moore, is back with a new “documentary”. It’s like manna from heaven, there for me to munch away on. …Right.

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