Why Movies Suck

The pinnacle decade for movies was the 1970's. My absolute top favorite films came out during that decade. Prior to that decade, movies were good. They got better and better each year. Hollywood turned out some great stuff like The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Even B-movie material like Dirty Harry and Shaft were damn good. So, what happened? How did movies go from consistently good to being consistently bad?

The answer to that question is two words--Star Wars. Star Wars is a great movie with a great story, but Hollywood got the wrong message. They turned to special effects instead of story, and it has spiralled into the shit we endure today like Transformers, a movie that is pure eye candy.

There have been some good movies since that time, but they appear less and less now as producers opt for the sure thing. Story has taken a back seat to spectacle. Movies today employ scriptwriters to write stories around the scenes that producers have already decided to film. In this new world, story is subordinate to the scenery and not the other way around. The alternative are the indie films that are so damn quirky as to be unwatchable.

We look at paintings to find something beautiful. Instead, we get art that makes us want to puke. We listen to music to feel something. Instead, we get saccharine pop songs that fill the blank spaces. We watch movies to lose ourselves in a great story. Instead, we have the equivalent of animated wallpaper.

To make matters worse is that Hollywood milks it all to death with sequels, franchises, reboots, and the like. I can tell you that these milk jobs never live up to the original. You can only be original with something once. That is what makes it original.

The reason things have gotten like this is because they spend so much money on movies. Eye candy looks good in trailers and piques interest. Sequels and the like guarantee return on invested capital. Hollywood plays it safe, and the result is massive suckitude.

The best thing that could happen in Hollywood would be a decline in available funds for movies. Hollywood needs to go back to a time before the big budget movie when the story mattered. The internet may be the thing that does the trick. But I doubt it. 30 years of decline is hard to reverse. Today's moviegoers have been reared on shit and can't tell the difference.

Warren Buffett vs. Index Funds

Warren Buffett is the greatest investor of all time. No one disputes this. He has a long track record of beating the markets in investment returns. He has many emulators, but though he is often imitated, he has yet to be duplicated. For some strange reason, the Warren Buffett magic is non-transferrable. Why is this?

I know a lot about Buffett's strategy. Here are the basics:

-Buy stocks when they are cheap.

-Buy stocks only in businesses you understand.

-Hold them forever.

The result of this strategy is pretty straightforward. You reduce costs. You can duplicate Buffett's investing strategy by dollar cost averaging and holding index funds. There is only one part you can't duplicate. This is buying stocks in businesses you understand. This is why Buffett counsels the rest of us to buy index funds. This is good advice because most of the people trying to be the next Warren Buffett fail. So, why does Buffett succeed?

I think stockpicking is a waste of time. People who win at this do so primarily as a consequence of luck. I think Warren Buffett is a lucky coin flipper. Buffett would disagree with me and cite his wealth and track record as evidence. But there have been winners of the lottery that won it more than once. One woman won it five times playing scratch off tickets. These stories abound.

The fact is Warren Buffett has made some horrible investing decisions. The worst one would be not loading up on Wal-Mart stock. How could someone with his investing acumen miss a business that fits everything he loves about a business? Yet, Buffett blew that one by his own admission. Why? The reality is that he can't see the future any better than anyone else. So, why has he done so well?

The biggest aspect of Buffett's strategy isn't his selection of stocks and company's to own but when he buys them. He buys them cheap relative to assets and future earnings. This affords him two advantages. He is automatically going to earn extra because he bought at or near the bottom. The other aspect is that it limits his losses. In a worst case scenario, Buffett will buy a company that must cease operation. It will be bought out by some other company that will break it up or whatnot. It's like buying from a thrift store. If you pay $1 for some pants that end up not fitting, what have you lost? And if you can resell them for 75 cents, it is less of a loss. You can't go wrong with this approach.

Value index funds outperform over the long term. If you had a long term investing horizon, buying shares in these funds would give you a better overall return than either a total sock market fund or a growth oriented fund. The downside is that you will not outperform every year. Neither does Buffett. The reality is that there are years when Buffett does not beat the market. Buffett doesn't care since his overall return trounces the S&P 500.

It is my belief that what has made Buffett so successful as an investor is not his skill at picking stocks but his discipline as an investor which you and I can duplicate. Basically, you should invest in index funds by dollar cost averaging with a weighting towards value and hold for the long term. You don't need to be a genius to do that. As for Buffett, he has made some colossal errors in his picks. They call him the Oracle but to listen to him talk about his picks suggests a nervous gambler. This is why Taleb includes Buffett among those fooled by randomness. For the greatest investor of all time, Buffett exhibits a high degree of self-doubt and humility. This is why he eschews tech and sticks with old economy type businesses. He is afraid of innovative industries because he has no clue about the future. What he does know is that the future does not change as wildly as predicted. Things like furniture and Coca-Cola endure no matter what the internet does. But his stake in the Washington Post may turn out to be a loser because of the internet.

For me, the key to talent or a successful strategy is repeatability. Though Buffett has shown a remarkable track record, few of his disciples have managed to pull off the same trick. The difference between Warren Buffett and some charlatan peddling a get-rich-quick scheme is that Buffett has a proven track record where the charlatan does not. But like the charlatan, the followers of his advice end up nowhere. Compare this to the followers of John Bogle who have done exactly as Bogle has predicted. They have captured the market's return beating a majority of active investors. The best advice Buffett gives is to follow Bogle's advice.

Critics of my criticism will point out that followers of Buffett's philosophy committed errors that can't be blamed on Buffett. Well, I hear the same thing with the charlatans. "You didn't do it right." Basically, the charlatan reaps the credit while everyone else takes the blame. It reminds me of religion. Buffett and his band of disciples are no different. Invest like Buffett and win, and Buffett gets the credit. Invest like Buffett and lose, and you will be shown how you didn't invest like Buffett. That is a neat trick.

Repeatability is the test. Anyone should be able to do it. With indexing, this is repeatable, and Buffett agrees. He even made a famous bet that hedge funds would underperform the S&P 500. We will have to see how this plays out, but it is obvious to me that Buffett believes in indexing even if he derides indexers as "know-nothing investors."

If there is one thing I have learned about randomness, it is to not be fooled by lucky coin flippers. They are bait for the trap regardless if they are aware if they are bait or not. Buffett does not consider himself to be a coin flipper, but what he fails to realize is that his performance is not beyond the realm of possibility. As I have pointed out, people can repeat success in purely random things like the lottery and will. But the fact that most people lose the lottery only shows that it is random. If you want to underperform the market, try to be like Buffett.

Why You Should Eat at Chick-fil-a

Why Atheists Shouldn't Eat at Chick-Fil-A
http://www.atheistrev.com/2009/12/why-atheists-shouldn-eat-at-chick-fil.html#idc-container

This is a stupid article. Chick-fil-a was founded by Truett Cathy who is a well known Biblethumper. So, what? They have some good food and the finest service I have ever received at a fast food restaurant. My only criticism of the chain is that it is damn aggravating when I want a chicken sandwich on a Sunday, and they are closed.

Boycotting products and services is a leftard tactic and a stupid one. I am reminded of leftards boycotting Whole Foods over the John Mackey editorial in the WSJ on free market alternatives to healthcare. Why not boycott all capitalist enterprises? I would love to watch leftards starve to death or have to turn to growing their own food. The reality is that these flurries of stupidity last a short time, and then they go back to the same consuming behavior. The most notorious example would be the anti-fur people who went back to wearing fur.

I make it a point to not let my politics interfere with my consumption of goods and services and this includes government goods and services. I still use the postal service to mail a letter even though I would like to see the USPS privatized and an end to their monopoly on first class mail. I still drive on public roads. I could be principled on this, but I would only be hurting myself.

The problem with boycotting any company's goods and services is that there really is no end to it. Why not ask if the local merchant is politically correct? It would probably surprise leftards to learn that most local merchants watch Fox News, listen to Rush Limbaugh, and attend church. If we take this fool's opinions to heart, we'd have to just cease all buying and selling because somewhere along the line we would have to do business with people who disagreed with us on other issues.

The beauty of the free market is that it promotes civility and peace because we have to leave our prejudices, opinions, and whatnot at the door for the sake of commerce. This is a good thing. I know of racist businessmen who still do business with blacks and Jews because they have to. They may not like it, but they manage to get over their prejudice because they need something or want to make a dollar.

Chick-fil-a is an outstanding place to eat, and if Christianity is the reason behind this, so be it. I just know they have good food and good service. I'm not going to let my atheism get in the way of me enjoying these fine sandwiches. Plus, those waffle fries are the shit.

Multitasking is Bullshit

When I drive down the road, I see a common sight. The car ahead of me is driving slowly and swerving. I pass the car, and it is someone at the wheel texting or yammering on their cellphone. This is multitasking, and it doesn't work.

I have been reading study after study on multitasking, and the evidence is overwhelming. Multitasking is bullshit. You can't do more than one thing at a time except walk and chew gum. Anyone who says they can pull this shit off is lying.

I have been doing the multitasking thing for years now, and I can tell you that I get nothing done because of it. I am neither faster nor more productive. The best I can manage is to talk on the phone while driving, but I have since ceased this activity. One day, your luck runs out, and you rear end a car.

At work, I know this guy who praises multitasking. When I tell him it is bullshit, he vehemently disagrees with me. Yet, everyone I work with agrees that Mr. Multitasker can't even singletask because he is an utter dipshit. The stupid fucker is merely spouting off corporatespeak and slurping slobber over the balls of some superior telling them shit they want to hear. What boss doesn't want to hear that you can accomplish ten things at one time? But in the long run, the truth emerges. When you overpromise and underdeliver on a consistent basis, people recognize you for being a dipshit.

Singletasking or unitasking is the way to go. This is where you underpromise and overdeliver. The unitasker will get more shit done than the multitasker and will also get it done faster. But this involves not answering emails or picking up the phone. It means saying no to certain things. This will make you very unpopular in the short run. No one wants to be denied or ignored. But to get shit done, you have to become The Abominable No-Man. But in the long run, they will love you. This is because you will produce while everyone else is bullshitting.

I am a unitasker now. I focus on one thing at a time and get it done. What I have found is that the secret to getting things done is to not start multiple projects and leave them unfinished but to do one thing at a time and never stop. This leads to a chain of completed tasks. I focus and lose myself in the task. Doing one thing at a time beats the overload of the multitasker.

Multitaskers are world class bullshitters. They exaggerate what they are able to accomplish with their ADD tactics. But when you inspect their results, they are lacking. They confuse motion with action. They are a flurry of activity but no progress. When they complete a task, it is shitty and often has to be redone. And at least one to two of their multitasks involves bullshitting on the phone or surfing websites that are not work related.

The successful unitasker will shut out the distractions and eliminate the unnecessary. Focus is the key. The results of unitasking will speak for themselves.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. WHAT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS

-Clothing
-Chocolate
-Coffee

2. KINDLE AND OTHER E-READERS

These devices suck. E-books might take off if Apple makes a reader, and they just might if the iSlate rumors turn out to be true. But nothing beats a book. NOTHING.

3. SARANDON-ROBBINS SPLIT

These two were together for 23 years happily unwed. Now, they are done. Their relationship lasted longer than most marriages. They were always free to leave at anytime. It is sad but not as sad as that Tiger Woods bullshit.

4. SENATE HEALTHCARE BILL

I still hold out hope this bill will go to defeat after the House-Senate phase is completed. Those two bills are very different. I hold out hope that Obama will FAIL.

Books vs. Movies

I went ahead and cancelled my Netflix membership. It is time, and it makes sense. The reason I am doing this is because they don't make enough good movies to justify the expense and the time. Let me elaborate.

I remember having a convo with my bro on the telephone back in the 90's, and he mentioned seeing this new movie called Pulp Fiction that he thought was really good. Needless to say, I thought it was really good, too. There haven't been any other movies from that decade that I really cared about. To be honest, there are only one to two movies that come out each year that I think are worth the time and money to watch.

TV shows like The Wire, Lost, Mad Men, etc. have become the biggest thing in visual entertainment. The reason for this is because TV shows have the time to tell a story. By being limited in budget but unlimited in time, TV shows can develop a story in the way that only a novel can tell a story. Meanwhile, movies get better and better special effects but are unfit to watch. They have no story in them. Then, they get diluted by sequels, franchises, reboots, and all the rest. I am consistently disappointed with movies.

I am rarely disappointed with books. Books deliver. The best stories come from novels. Good movies usually come from good books. It takes longer to read a book, but the books are just so much better than any movie can be. You live with a novel. I am currently reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road which they have made into a movie. But I don't need to see the movie. That book is so good. Movies are for people who don't have time or brains to read. Movies are for people with diminished lives.

I'm sticking with books and saving the time and money. My Netflix membership would buy me two paperbacks a month or one hardcover. Plus, books from the library are free. It maximizes my enjoyment for far less money. It is time well spent. I don't want to be a viewer anymore. I want to be a reader. As for Pulp Fiction, I can rely on word-of-mouth to alert me to those once in a decade movies. On a books-to-movies ratio, I've read way more good books than seen good movies which is ironic because I have seen way more movies than I have read books. Going to print is a smart move and one I don't see regretting.

Why Xmas Sux

I hate Christmas. This isn't an atheist bashing a religious holiday post because unlike a lot of atheists I actively participate in Thanksgiving and Christmas in much the same way I keep calling it "Thursday" even though I don't believe in Thor. This is a bashing on the materialism of the holiday post.

I like Thanksgiving and all the other holidays. This is because those days don't require a huge outlay of cash to prove to people that you love them. I'm OK with birthdays because I only have to buy one gift. I'm also OK with kids getting goodies on Christmas day because that is fun. Otherwise, I despise the season between Black Friday and December 25th. This is because I am inundated with messages requiring me to spend a bunch of money. But I will spend that money because I love the people in my life.

What makes me hate Christmas is asking someone if they had finished all their shopping, and they look away sad and ashamed. It is because they don't have any money. Thanks to this recession, I have seen a great deal of that sad look. I feel acutely for those people. Christmas is not a happy day for them.

There is something perverse when we measure the love of someone by how much money they spend. This is why Christmas sucks a fat one. Some won't buy gifts. Others will buy gifts with money they don't have and spend 3 to 6 months trying to pay for it. I find the whole thing sickening. Love and money should never mingle, but it does exactly that on Christmas.

There are parents who are heartbroken today because they couldn't get their kid exactly what they wanted for Christmas. Kids will compare gifts with other kids with the implied message that the kids with the better gifts are loved more. Adults will grimace as they receive a gift from someone they did not buy a gift in return. All of it weighed like the balance in an accountant's ledger.

The implied message in Christmas from Scrooge to today is that to love you must be liberal and lavish in your spending. But the real Scrooges are counting the dough and receipts from this foolish tradition.

If you are hating this day, I feel you. I hate it, too. I am fortunate this year and bought some nice things for people, but I know bad fortune comes, too. Try to hang in there.

Bah humbug.

DVD-Blood Simple



Blood Simple is a Coen brothers movie that tells the story of a cheating wife, a piece of shit who is her lover, a honky tonk owner, a conniving private eye, and a bartender who likes Motown. Sex, money, and murder ensue as expected in anything coming from the Coen brothers. I can't elaborate on the plot without giving away spoilers.

This movie is not as satisfying as later work from the Coens such as Fargo. The characters are not so well developed. You can't root for any of them because they are all scumbags in some way. This effort only hints at the genius that was to come in later movies, but all the usual Cohen brothers themes are there.

This movie is average.
Simplicity is best.

9 Miscellaneous Tips

I have a lot of tips for improving your life, but they don't fit in any kind of category. So, here's a list of tips.

1. WASH YOUR DISHES BY HAND.

The dishwasher is not a labor saving device. If you have ever seen a coating of grime on the bottom of a glass you were drinking from, you understand that the dishwasher has yet to be invented. Dishwashers don't clean dishes. They heat them up and sanitize them including the dirt and the grime. Dishes that were almost clean will come out clean. Dishes that were dirty will come out almost clean. In the meantime, you are always running out of dishes because you are waiting to accumulate a full load. Despite having a dishwasher, I never use the thing.

I wash all my dishes by hand preferably after just using them. I tend to have the same plate, fork, spoon, cereal bowl, coffee cup, and drinking glass drying in the dish rack. The best way to wash dishes is the shower method. I let hot water run and use a soapy sponge to wash and rinse at the same time. I don't fill the sink with water that becomes a cesspool of food and grease and soap. As for dried on food, this is only a problem if you let dishes collect. Clean your dishes immediately after each meal, and this will not be a problem.

2. NEVER EAT IN THE CAR.

I have eaten many meals behind the wheel of the car. I have also had my car look like a trash dumpster and had ant infestations as the critters go after crums on the floorboard. As much as this multitasking activity might save in time, it trashes your car and marks you as a slob. The solution is simple. Quit treating your car like a dining area. If you don't have the time to stop and eat a sit down meal, you need to reconsider your lifestyle.

3. USE GROCERY BAGS FOR TRASH BAGS.

I buy the big hefty sacks for trash, but I find that I keep things cleaner by recycling my plastic grocery bags as trash bags and taking them out daily. Big bags are heavy and take time to fill. Small bags fill up immediately, and they have to be taken out immediately but with less strain. The result is less garbage in your home.

4. LEARN TO IGNORE PEOPLE.

People will take every moment that you give them, and the only way to have time for yourself is to ignore these people. This includes loved ones. We feel guilty for ignoring people and turning off the phone, but these people filch everything you have. They are never satisfied, so they will be just as miserable and empty the next time you see them as they are now. The only difference is that you got to enjoy time for yourself. Ignoring people takes nothing from the equation because the emptiness that needy people have is infinite.

There are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who can sit in an empty room, and it doesn't bother them. Then, there are those who can't be alone. EVER. These are the people you have to learn to ignore. If you don't, they will drive you batshit insane.

5. PUT CINNAMON IN YOUR COFFEE.

Cinnamon is supposed to be good for you, but I'm not a nutritionist. I don't fucking know. What I do know is that it vastly improves the flavor of the caffeinated sludge I make each morning.

6. USE GOOGLE READER.

This is one of the most insanely useful things Google ever devised. Before Google Reader, I would use email subscriptions to keep up with news and information. Needless to say, my email inbox was crammed full, and I never even got close to reading all the stuff I was getting. Then, I switched to using Google Reader which is blazingly fast. I just scroll through what has come in, and I spend more time reading instead of emptying clutter. I also don't need to surf to websites anymore to keep up-to-date. I just let the Google Reader collect it all for me.

7. MAKE GOOGLE YOUR HOMEPAGE.

There is no other site more vital to what you do than Google.

8. KEEP SUFFICIENT SPACE BETWEEN YOU AND THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU.

This means not tailgating and being able to see the rear tires of the car in front of you at a stoplight or stop sign. People are clueless about how close they are to the car in front of them. If you can read their bumperstickers, you are too close. Back the fuck off.

9. SAVE YOUR CONDIMENTS.

I keep ketchup packets, fire sauce packets from Taco Bell, and what have you in my fridge in a container. The next time they forget to pack your shit, you won't have a fullcore meltdown when you get it home and see that the fastfoodtards fucked you. Besides, fire sauce tastes good on other shit, too.





Zen Habits Revisited



I wrote a scathing review of the Zen Habits blog here. Since writing that piece, the advice of Leo Babauta has grown on me. The guy may be right after all.

A few years ago, I fell in love with the concept of the Renaissance Man. This was a person with a polymathic sensibility skilled in various disciplines and an encyclopedic knowledge of all things. Along with this concept was a newfound love for all things consumer oriented. Unfortunately, it has all come with a darkside. I will elaborate.

Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance Man. His knowledge of various fields and his skills as an artist and whatnot are inspiring until you realize that he achieved very little. Today, we praise his imagination as recorded in his notebooks, but those notebooks represent nothing more than daydreams. These were the projects Leonardo intended to work on but never got to. As for the projects he did get to, he would often grow bored with them and abandon them before completion. This sounds much like our modern multitasker caught in a stream of info and an attention span shorter than a sneeze.

I am reluctant to admit it, but this Renaissance Man concept amounts to being a fulltime daydreamer. The reality is that you can't do it all. I am always lamenting the lack of time, money, and energy when it comes to realizing my plans and dreams, but the sad truth is that these dreams are unrealistic. They make no sense. The result is frustration. I can't make good on my ambition.

Leo Babauta's advice is to reduce ambition to the essential things that matter to you. The result is less frustration and more success. By simplifying your life, you achieve more and daydream less. Leo is right, and I am wrong.

I have been simplifying my life lately. I have stopped watching televised sporting events. The result is that I have more time on the weekend. I have been decluttering which has led to an easier lifestyle and easier cleaning which creates more time. I spend less money, and I have pared my wish list down to just a few items. I don't feel frustrated anymore. I am at the beginning of this process of minimizing and have a way to go.

I said that I found Leo's minimalism to be boring, but the fact is that I treat my boredom with a glut of media instead of with activity. This makes work even less tolerable because you are always craving a distraction. But I do work now, and I feel something I have not felt in a long time. I feel satisfaction. I complete tasks now where I did not complete them before

The choice to me is between being a daydreamer or an achiever. Like I said, Leonardo really didn't do much. The man could not simplify his life and focus on doing a few things well. The result was wasted brilliance.

On the consumer side, I am back to my frugal ways. People buy too much stuff, and I am no exception. There is little I can buy now that would improve my life in any significant way. My current lifestyle can only have marginal improvements from the things I buy since I have everything I need. The things that would yield the greatest improvement would be to get in shape, and that is less about money than it is about getting off my ass. There is nothing I can buy that will exercise for me. And why don't I exercise more? Because I can't stand to be deprived of the constant distraction of television and the internet. Once again, Leo's minimalist path is the way to go.

I will have more on this minimalist path as I go along, but I am pleased so far. It feels better to have less and do less and to live in a simple way. It is an adjustment, but I am taking it incrementally.


Zen Habits
mnmlist

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -Leonardo da Vinci

PZ Myers is a Dickhead



I am largely a fan of Pharyngula, but lately, PZ has been letting his leftardation overcome his rationality over the Climategate issue. Most of the time, Myers sticks to what he does best--biology--and smacks the shit out of creationists which I applaud. But then, he becomes a complete moron when he lumps freethinkers like myself or James Randi in with these creationists because we exhibit skepticism over claims of anthropogenic global warming or AGW. PZ Myers is an idiot.

Pat Michaels has a good column in the WSJ on the Climategate issue here. The scandal of Climategate is the fact that scientists have worked to exclude contrary information, marginalize critics, manipulate data, destroy data, and refuse to make data public even to go so far as to commit criminal offenses in doing this. This is a serious matter regardless of what your politics may be. PZ doesn't get this, but his recent flurry of propaganda on his blog indicates that he understands that Climategate is a serious blow to the science of AGW. He is like a flailing punch drunk retarded kid striking wildly in hopes of landing a blow on his opponent. Maybe he should stop for a bit and reflect on the possibility that he is biased and could have it totally wrong.

The reason libertarians like myself are skeptical on scientific claims is because we have seen decades of scientific misrepresentation to justify all sorts of government tomfuckery from exaggerated fears of what marijuana will do to that hole in the ozone layer to SARS to the current swine flu epidemic. When a politician like Al Gore comes along and makes a movie claiming the planet will turn into a fireball unless we stop driving cars and using lightbulbs and buy carbon credits from his pollution market schemes, libertarians immediately put on the skeptic glasses. This is because we have witnessed this same song and dance so many times before. Where is PZ when we need some true scientific debunking?

The reality is that politics corrupts science. Does anyone really think that these leftard scientists are going to report contrary findings or ever admit they have it wrong on AGW? Fuck no. This is because they refuse to admit even the possibility that they might have it wrong, or their fears are unfounded. It is scientific hubris, and PZ has a really bad case of it.

I am willing to admit the AGW people might have it right. I'm willing to admit that Al Gore might have it right. But we must also remember that Gore sounded the alarm bells on ozone depletion back in the day by citing blind fish in Patagonia as evidence that we were destroying the ozone layer. Whatever happened to that issue? Why do we not give a shit now when we cared so much back then?

Science is supposed to be about the facts, but we know that facts can be distorted. We like to think we have an unbiased viewpoint on things. But if science tells us anything, it is that we are rarely free of either prejudice or error. The antidote to those prejudices and errors is peer review and multiple perspectives. Let the debate ensue and believe that the truth will emerge as it must. The sad thing is that some ugly truth has emerged about a group of climate scientists, and PZ can't deal with it except to belittle and berate any and all who don't share his political outlook. Peer review seems to count only when the peers agree with what we think.

Climategate might be much ado about nothing, or it might point to one thing we do know. The scientists involved have been less than forthcoming with their data, and they have done little to answer their critics. This is not science. This is a scientific magisterium that attempts to lord knowledge over lesser mortals and to leave the science to the experts. You are simply too stupid to think for yourselves, so we will let the scientists do the thinking for us. I can see why PZ would enjoy this new scientific method. Truth is not what is, but what PZ says it is.

PZ Myers is a dickhead. If the best he can do is to deride skepticism as fundamentalism and urge us to err on the side of Bolshevism, he needs to quit calling himself a scientist and take the title of polemicist. The difference between science and empirical skepticism is that in empirical skepticism no one gets a pass because they have "Ph.D." after their name, and no debates are ever settled. Truth is not a destination but a process requiring both investigation but also the humility to admit our limitations and our biases. This is what separates freethinkers from fundamentalists and Catholics. I don't know when it happened, but PZ Myers ceased being a freethinker a long time ago. The only antidote will be abject humiliation, and I hope he gets it. Nothing tames the ego more than coming to the realization that you had it wrong, and the facts are not on your side after all.

POSTSCRIPT
Thaddeus Russell has an interesting article here where he details how Al Gore uses religion in his global warming crusade. Where is PZ on this shit? The man castigates Randi for his skepticism deriding it as being on par with fundamentalism but says not a word about Al Gore's fundie proselytizing. The man even has a slide show where he quotes Scripture. Where are you, PZ?

Why It Is Better To Be Known As a Scoundrel

It is amusing to watch the Tiger Woods meltdown. Here you have a guy with an impeccably clean image, and it is utterly blown to shit. People are DISAPPOINTED. The shame of it all.

Woods is just the latest guy with a polished image to go down. We must not forget Mark Sanford with his wife, four kids, and his evangelical faith who blew his entire career and public image to catch his nut in some Argentine fuckmeat. Then, there was Eliot Spitzer who prosecuted prostitution as a DA but also used the same info from his past job to hire callgirls. The result was the end of squeaky clean image and a political career. Poor Eliot. That must have been some good pussy. Here's a pic:



Yummy!

We can go on and on with examples of people on pedestals who fell. The question I have is this. Why put yourself up there in the first place? Why not be a scoundrel?

The advantage of being a scoundrel is that you never let anybody down. No one would be shocked to discover that Johnny Depp was cheating or would even care. Keith Richards can do just about anything he wants, and no one will be upset so long as no concerts get cancelled. Then, there is Ronnie Wood cavorting with some young Russian bimbo on a drug-and-drinking binge for the ages. No one gives a fuck except maybe Keith Richards who is missing all the fun.

Being a scoundrel is the better way to go. You don't break any hearts. You don't let people down. And you don't lose any endorsement deals which are probably for blunt papers and malt liquor. You are loved for being exactly who you are. And you can pleasantly surprise people in much the same way that Han Solo swooped in to save the day at the end of Star Wars. Without a doubt, being the rogue is the smart way to be.

Tiger fucked up in not being a good guy but in pretending to be a good guy. The public loves its scoundrels. They always have and always will. This is because scoundrels exhibit integrity which properly defined means having the same quality throughout. You can be a rogue and still be honest. You can still have a code and all that. But you are true to who you are. Tiger should have been upfront about being a player both on the course and off. This is how Charles Barkley and Dennis Rodman did it.

It is truism that the public does not like to be tricked. It is OK to root for a scoundrel, but you look like a chump when you root for a hero who turns out later to be a fake. The public does not forgive this as easily. While a lifelong fuckup like Dennis Hopper still has his endorsement deals, Tiger Woods will be lucky to keep any of his. It is safe to say you will see Hopper on a box of Wheaties before you see Tiger Woods there again.

Be a scoundrel. You can't go wrong with this strategy.

Atheism Is a Boring Subject

I don't think I can write another essay on atheism. The subject is so damn boring. I don't know how PZ Myers maintains a blog on the subject. It helps to have biology as a fallback and starting pointless pissing matches with fundies. Otherwise, what is there to write about?

I am done with atheism essays. Atheism is a dead subject for me.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. TIGER

Tiger and Elin need to divorce. After that, Tiger needs to get his ass back on the golf course.

2. COPENHAGEN

This is a junket for leftist bureaucrats to suck each other off. Expect nothing productive or good to come out of it. An utter waste.

3. OBAMACARE

Congress will pass healthcare reform minus the dreaded public option. Health insurance will become an undeniable right, and people will be penalized for not having it. That's my prediction.

4. JENNY SANFORD

Jenny is a smart woman and did the smart thing in filing for divorce. Let's face it, folks. A marriage can't recover from infidelity. Hell, marriage is stupid. Period. Monogamy is a myth, and anyone who ties the knot for anything other than money is a fool.

5. CLIMATEGATE

This controversy still swirls. I'm not sure what to make of it anymore because I have not read the leaked emails and don't intend to waste my life going through the 1000+ items. As such, I'm at the mercy of others. What does matter is the data and the science. Regardless of conspiracy or not, everything goes back to the facts.

6. MULTITASKING

Every study I read indicates that multitasking is less productive than unitasking. Anyone who disagrees on this point is fooling himself and others. Basically, multitasking is where you do multiple things in a really sloppy way and lie about how good it is. Multitaskers also lack focus. But in today's world, I don't see it ending.

7. ENTERTAINMENT FOR WORK

It doesn't take much detective work to glean from my site statistics that most people visit this blog and other websites during working hours. The internet was supposed to spur productivity, but it actually cripples it as employees spend work time surfing the web reading bullshit. Who are these people? Clearly, they aren't blue collar workers because those people generally don't have access to computers while on the job. This leaves white collar workers, academics, and government employees--the parasite class. These people don't know honest labor, but they do like getting paid to read my blog.
Tiger Woods-golfer, product endorser, sex machine.
Just another day in the life of a blue collar man.

DVD-Terminator Salvation



When I first saw The Terminator all the way back in middle school, I immediately fell in love with the concept of a single minded killing machine that would not stop until it was destroyed or it accomplished its mission. The one "virtue" of the terminator was that it was relentless. It would not stop. Ever.

Terminator 2 disappointed me when I first heard that Schwarzenegger would play the good guy, but he redeemed the movie with humor. Robert Patrick played the relentless role every bit as good as the first movie. It worked.

The wheel fell off the franchise with Terminator 3. They fucked up the storyline with that one, and I didn't give a shit about a bitch terminatrix. But I knew that there would be a movie set in the future to tell the other side of the story. So, I had high expectations for Terminator Salvation when it was announced. But it is on the level of T3. We could have lived without this flick.

TS does not fail on special effects or acting. It fails on story. The story is dumb. Here's how the story should have gone. We begin with Judgment Day. The machines take over, and it is everything humans can do to survive the relentless killing machines. It should be an epic with battles and humans dying. You have to believe it is utterly hopeless. But John Connor exhibits the same relentlessness. The guy never gives up. He keeps coming and coming and coming. He never stops. This is how he becomes the leader and the winner against the machines. It all comes down to a final showdown with Skynet with the machines sending back terminators in time as a final straw move to save themselves.

We don't get this story in TS. We get a filler movie for some future flick. The result is a suck ass movie. You watch and simply don't give a shit about what happens to the characters. The movie also doesn't seem to fit at all with the movies that came before. Basically, they slapped together an excuse for eye candy with a plot that was made for straight-to-dvd. I was disappointed.

I am done with this franchise. Hollywood needs to understand it all comes down to story. People want great stories first and foremost. Hollywood doesn't get this.

Simple Living

There are two facets of the work ethic. The first facet is hard work. The second facet is simple living.

Simple living means doing without things you don't need. Our culture has produced material abundance, but this has also produced what is known as "affluenza." This is where people find themselves unsatisfied with buying things, yet they keep on buying shit which leads to less and less satisfaction. The Left is fond of this term as justification for a neo-Bolshevik agenda. I will now deal with it from a more free market friendly perspective.

Hard work plus thrift yields wealth. This is what the Puritans believed, and this is why they became wealthy. Simple living means living well below your means. Since you habitually spend less than you earn, you amass cash which leads to savings and investment and peace of mind. People who work little and spend with the help of debt reverse this paradigm and reap the negative consequences.

How much stuff is enough? The answer to that is pretty simple. You only need one house, one car, food to eat, enough clothes to cover your ass for two weeks, one computer, one TV, etc. Everyone has different needs, so I am not advocating a one-size-fits-all prescription. But when it comes to lifestyle, less really is more.

The great insight of Epicurus was in discovering and articulating just how little it took to have a happy life. This insight is rearticulated by the current proponents of minimalist living such as Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. You don't need a bunch of stuff to enjoy life. In fact, having a lot of stuff diminishes the enjoyment of life.

There are certain mindsets that I find inimical to the simple living concept. Here is a list:

1. The Status Game

This is the old keeping up with the Joneses routine. If your neighbor buys a Lexus, then you need to have a Mercedes. People who are status conscious can never be satisfied because there is always someone out there with a more expensive car, a bigger house, more houses, etc. Yet, the irony is when these status conscious folks envy those with simple lifestyles because they yearn for less stress and more cash in their bank accounts.

2. Toys, toys, toys.

People ask me why I don't play golf, and I have a simple answer. I can't afford it. Actually, I can, but pleading poverty saves me an argument. The reality is that I don't care to spend money on a game I don't care to play. Most golfers are just people acquiring clubs to rust in the garage. The same thing can be applied to almost any other leisure activity requiring the purchase of toys. I think boats, RVs, ATVs, motorcycles, exercise machines, and the rest are just a colossal waste. Most of this shit either winds up in storage or on sale in someone's front yard on Craigslist.

3. Clutterbuggery

These are people who can't throw shit away. You can see examples of these folks on Hoarders. They have an inability to part with any possession no matter how trivial it is. They cling to shit. This might seem like thrifty behavior, but it isn't. Maintaining a hoard requires resources. It eats up space, and actually leads to overspending because it takes less time to buy a new thing than to try and search for the old thing. Decluttering is an essential part of simple living. Throw away the shit you don't need.

It takes discipline to live simply. It means saying no to stuff you don't need. It means ignoring commercials and infomercials. Above all, it means accepting how rich your life already is.
The peace prize winner is a warmonger.

PRICKS-Larry Ellison



Larry Ellison is an impressive individual. He went from nothing to being currently the fourth richest person according to Forbes. He is the founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation. His hobbies are racing yachts and flying airplanes. He also has a charitable foundation. And he is a colossal prick.

There is much to recommend Larry Ellison for the Heroes category. He is an entrepreneur and a maverick. He has battled Bill Gates. He lives life on his terms. Unfortunately, those terms include being a dickhead and an asshole.

Ellison is rich and lives an extravagant lifestyle. He consumes conspicuously by buying boats, planes, and expensive cars. A joke goes that ORACLE stands for "One Rich Asshole Called Larry Ellison." I'm fine with rich people spending their dough, but I think it is obnoxious when they spend it for the sake of spending it and rubbing other people's noses in it. Ellison qualifies. He quipped once that everyone should buy a yacht like his. Yeah, I'll be sure to do that, Larry.

Larry is also supposed to be an admirer of Ayn Rand, but I think this only goes as far as justifying his wealth. Oracle turns out shit products that are oversold and makes Microsoft products look good. Ellison is also a Democrat and takes advantage of government favors for his business. He has built databases for the CIA and volunteered to build a database for a national ID system. Rand was rolling in her grave. As for charitable donations, Ellison doesn't give them except to settle on charges of insider trading.

The truth is that Larry Ellison is a ruthless, narcissistic, egomaniacal asshole who takes his plays from Machiavelli instead of Atlas Shrugged. Ellison believes in and practices a version of capitalism that is identical to the one that the Bolsheviks envision. Essentially, you have a zero sum game where you are either a winner or a loser. Ellison chooses to be a winner. But he isn't a winner. He is a cocksucker who makes lousy software, fucks over his customers, alienates his workforce, and deserves to have his balls kicked in.

Larry Ellison would be the richest man in the world but being an asshole has put him down a few notches. He has the potential for greatness but fucked himself over into becoming the prick he is now.
The best way to not go broke is to stop trying to get rich.

Quotable Quotes

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
AYN RAND

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
ARISTOTLE

Don't you wish you had a job like mine? All you have to do is think up a certain number of words! Plus, you can repeat words! And they don't even have to be true!
DAVE BARRY

Run for office? No. I've slept with too many women, I've done too many drugs, and I've been to too many parties.
GEORGE CLOONEY

The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.
FREDERIC BASTIAT
Leonardo da Vinci was a brilliant daydreamer.
Never underestimate the value of clean underwear.

The End of Profitable Scalability

To say that the internet has decimated the media world is putting it mildly. Newspapers are dying as people go online for news. Record companies sink as people get their music through Limewire. You know Hollywood is next.

Old media had an advantage. Their product was tied to a physical medium--paper, plastic, vinyl, celluloid. Because these items cost money to produce and reproduce, pirates were kept at bay by these hurdles. Despite being free and in the public domain, Moby Dick is still purchased on paper because it is more convenient to read a book than a computer screen. The Kindle may change this, but I have my doubts.

The old model went like this. You created a book, song, or film, and it was issued on a physical medium controlled by a company that raked in huge profits. The internet destroyed this relationship by eliminating the high cost of production and distribution. It is virtually free. These media companies will certainly die in much the same way buggywhip makers did after Henry Ford decided to change the world. New media companies are in no better shape with YouTube posting no profit at all. So, who are the big winners on the internet?

The big winners are Netflix, Amazon, and eBay. They win by selling old fashioned products. Netflix may fall as DVD's are replaced with videos on demand. These will be hacked and made into pirated downloads. Amazon diversifies into other products other than media. It might become the new Wal-Mart except that Wal-Mart does a better job of being the new Wal-Mart.

The reality is that the gig is up for producers of media content. Gone are the days when an author or an artist could create some writing or music and rake in millions as the magic of scalability kicked in. The reality is that you can produce and distribute content online, gain numerous fans, and still not make enough to cover the rent. Old media content providers who try to sell their stuff will find their revenues shrinking by the day. Where will it all end?

I see a return to the physical world. The idea that information is a moneymaker seems ludicrous now. Google makes a killing, but it comes from advertising products you can buy in the real world. In short, I see money being made in non-scalable endeavors like manufacturing or services. Musicians are returning to performing and giving better shows while the recorded music serves as marketing material. People won't buy music, but they will buy tickets and product.

The internet has been a boon not to media companies but to consumers. It has lowered the price on information to zero. There has never been a better time for writers and artists to get their stuff out there and to be heard, read, or seen. But charging for this content isn't going to happen. Rupert Murdoch might try to charge for the WSJ, but people will simply turn to the media that is already out there.

Television seems to be the only medium that continues on with less impact. The internet is not unlike television. Television is not a physical medium. The same programming can be carried on the internet, but people are watching the same shit they weren't paying for in the first place.

The money in content comes from advertising, and advertising has taken a hit. But it will come back as the economy rebounds. Content makers like bloggers can make money, but it is commonplace money like a bricklayer would make. The new dream is not a book and a movie deal but merely to be able to work in your underwear.

Where am I going with all this? I'm just pointing out reality. The information age has given us a wealth of info but not much else. You can't build an economy on pure information. I see the backlash building. The future is in commodities and industry. The careers future is in blue collar areas providing real goods and services.

Accomodation--Should Atheists Play Mean Or Play Nice?

To be mean or to be nice. That is the question. Should atheists be civil and respectful to theists? Or should they denigrate religion for the lie that it is?

Atheism is splitting down the middle on this. We haven't seen anything like this since the Baptists split from the Calvinists over the doctrine of infant baptism. (FWIW, I am with the Baptists. Conversion should be an adult choice.)

The point of this debate has to do with winning adherents to the atheist viewpoint. The accomodationists are those who think that by playing nice and being touchy feely with the fucktards this will win their love, respect, and a change of mind. I think this mentality is misguided. Unlike most of my freethinking peers, I cut across the social grain on a variety of issues. On everyone of the issues, these same behavior patterns emerge:

-Fucktards respond overwhelmingly to the contrary ideas presented often in a very negative way.

-They attempt to neutralize the contrary idea by urging me to consider other viewpoints, to be conciliatory, and to claim that the idea is merely my opinion.

-If you continue to disagree or voice your viewpoint, they become mean, threatening, and even violent.

Now, this doesn't happen when you play mean with these people. This is what happens when you play nice. The error of the accomodationist is a belief that fucktards believe what they believe merely as a mistake in their logic. But this isn't the case at all. The reality is that theists are emotionally and psychologically wedded to a worldview that makes sense of their world. Introducing a foreign concept like evolution produces deep wounds in these people. They can't handle it. This is why they respond the way they do.

People don't change in gradual increments. Conversions are almost always instantaneous. The ideas are brewing in the mind. It isn't the truth that people are contemplating but how to live with that truth. Once their minds are settled, the change is instant. But until that point, they are the enemy.

Atheism was languishing prior to the advent of The New Atheists. Since their outspoken arrival, atheism has grown. They pushed the issue. They were not accomodating. They were brutally honest. They were also vilified and whatnot. But they were right for doing it this way. As Schopenhauer put it:

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Ideas create anxiety and crisis in people. This cannot be avoided. Accomodationists believe they can find a way around the upheaval, but they can't. It cannot be done. What makes people like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris so offensive is that they refuse to back down. Accomodation is capitulation to intimidation. The irony is that this accomodation only emboldens the enemy.

People who believe accomodation yields results are also the same people who believe gun control works in preventing crime. It doesn't. It only disarms law abiding citizens while leaving violent criminals to disobey the law.

The thrust behind accomodationism is a belief in keeping the moral high ground. We want to be the "good guys." This is misguided thinking. Moral positions are simply the will to power and are dishonest. This is why we end up hating our saints and loving our scoundrels. Saints champion the collective. Scoundrels champion the individual.

Accomodationism is seen as sinister subterfuge by religionists, and they are right. It is. I may be offensive, but I am also honest. I despise lying and manipulation. This is the dark truth of accomodation. It tells lies under the guise of promoting the truth. It is a Machiavellian ploy which I find utterly nauseating. Think of the sinister alien bitch from V or the slick talking piece of shit we call the President of the United States of America.

Accomodation is lying for the sake of future betrayal. Though I disagree with fundies and the like, I'm not going to pretend to be their friend when I am not. As for the liberal theotards, they are the accomodationists of the religionist crowd, and I see they are making inroads and blunting the message of The New Atheists in a way that no honest fundamentalist could do. They dilute the truth. They water it down to the point that it makes no difference. They preserve the status quo and their place in it.

I can't be an accomodationist. I have to speak the truth and let the chips fall where they may. If it pisses off people, that is too fucking bad. I've never seen the positive in a lie.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. CLIMATEGATE

Without a doubt, climate change is a politically charged topic, and this only turns it up a notch. Unlike my climate skeptic friends, I am not ready to point the finger and say, "Aha! I told you so." The only thing Climategate shows is the candor of scientists in their private emails. If mine were published, I shudder to think what the world's impression of me would be.

What does remain is the need for global warming believers to make a stronger case instead of saying that the debate is over. These fuckers are way too hasty in their zeal to fuck our economies and/or make a buck for themselves in the process.

I am concerned for the survival of our planet and our survival as a species. This is why I am way concerned about possible catastrophic meteor strikes. One of those makes our fears over climate change look very stupid. We already have ample evidence about what these things can do and even had two movies that are actually plausible future scenarios unlike that stupid climate change flick, The Day After Tomorrow. Yet, the US Government spends almost nothing on tracking asteroids or developing technologies to prevent us from becoming like the dinosaurs. Where is Al Gore on this?

The deafening silence of these people on the meteor issue only shows the real intent of these alarmists. They care primarily about fucking over large oil companies. In the breast of every environmentalist beats a Bolshevik heart. The climate change threat is plausible, and the results are mild. The meteor threat is real, and the results are catastrophic. When we get the Big One, no one is going to care whether you drove a Prius or an SUV.

2. TIGER

Turns out Tiger Woods was a big time philanderer. This does not surprise me. Monogamy is a myth especially for rich and fit athletes. A man has got to catch his nut.

3. AFGHANISTAN

The Nobel Peace Prize Winner is escalating a war. The mind boggles. Somewhere, George W. Bush is laughing.

Occupying a country is not the way to beat terrorists. If it were, we should go occupy other countries like Somalia. There's plenty of space there for training camps.

This escalation is not about winning the war on terrorism but nation building which no statist can refrain from doing. This is like asking Slash to give up smoking and guitar playing. So, Obama repeats the mistakes of his predecessor, and we will have Iraq II. As for Iraq, we won't be leaving there either. Massive debts to come later.

4. RACHEL UCHITEL

I find it ironic that Tiger's mistress is shocked and angered to find out Tiger has other mistresses. Women are strange like this. They can share their man with a wife but not another slut. Amazing.

5. BCS

Obama could do worse things than go ahead with is promise to use his bully pulpit to call for a college football playoff. It is screwed up that we still have the BCS.

6. EHRENREICH ON POSITIVE THINKING

Barbara Ehrenreich has a new book out called Bright Sided which makes the case that the cult of positive thinking that holds sway in corporate America was a direct cause of our current economic calamity. I tend to agree with her assessment, but I wonder she doesn't apply this same sobriety to her Bolshevik love for government solutions and labor unions. Another leftard who only has it half right.

7. UNEMPLOYMENT

I am with the Austrians in believing that unemployment is a government creation. You can read about it here.

Basically, government creates unemployment through these means:

-Raising the minimum wage, overtime pay, etc. that makes it more expensive to hire workers.

-Taxing companies to pay for government expenditures and reducing profits that could be reinvested.

-Regime uncertainty that makes companies scared to invest or hire because they don't how they will be fucked next.

-Unemployment insurance that pays people not to work and adjust to new economic conditions.

For me, unemployment is a temporary two to three week hassle. That's it. Even in this recession, I know of plenty of places that are desperate to hire but can't make an offer that beats unemployment checks. With the government granting extensions on these checks, this actually makes the job market better for someone like me who has never collected an unemployment check in his life. I despise free money.

I learned a long time ago to save my money for the inevitability of losing my job. The free market is about change, so you need to prepare yourself for the changes. But there is always a job out there. ALWAYS. Unemployed people are just too lazy to get them.

Assistance granted to the unemployed does not dispose of unemployment. It makes it easier for the unemployed to remain idle.
LUDWIG VON MISES

http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=476
Sleep is just another item on my To Do list.
Red Stripe Beer was named after a bowel movement.

BIRTHDAY

I am older than dirt.