What is a moocher? Here are some defintions from the Urban Dictionary:

Someone who always asks for things and favors constantly and will never leave you alone. They will ask for money, rides to places, for you to do simple tasks they could do easily but they think the whole world should cater to them, basically just a leech to everyone around them, a parasite to the community.

Someone who survives off another's income. Someone who believes that they are owed something for nothing. One who even if they have their own money, food, clothes, etc. will still use someone else's first. Even if that someone else is more poor.

Someone who won't leave you the fuck alone until you give them something for free.

A moocher is someone who lives at the expense of others. They are always asking for things. They are always looking for something. They can't get a job or won't get one unless it is absolutely necessary. They live completely on the charity and goodwill of other people. They are always in some desperate situation which seems to never end. There is no end to the crisis with these people.

Moochers get away with their tricks by following this strategy:

1. Be nice to everyone. Always be smiling and whatnot and come across as likable.

2. Always ask for things. Just ask ask ask.

3. Lay on the guilt and collect the goods.

Ulimately, moochers live off guilt. This is their dirty secret. They make you feel ashamed for telling them no. You can't find it in yourself to be shitty to these people. But these people are not to be trusted. Do not underestimate them. They are as shady and as shifty as any con artist or thief.

The only difference between a moocher and a straight up criminal is that the moocher gains your complicity in the crime. You end up helping them. And helping them. And helping them some more. Finally, you realize you have been had. Anger replaces guilt. But by the time this realization has set in, they have moved on.

Usually, it takes one single thing to finally set you off and realize you have had enough of the moocher's bullshit. There is one thing all moochers have in common. They don't give a shit about you. It will stun you when it happens, but the scenario usually goes like this. You are in the moocher's trap. You have helped him or her many times. Then, one day, you ask for their help. Or you want their friendly ear or what have you. Suddenly, their selfish side is revealed. They don't have the time. They have things to do. They may even be so bold as to call you a moocher. Or they will treat with disdain the things you have lent them such as returning your lawn mower with a broken pull cord.

I know a lot of moochers. Most of them can't work and support themselves. The ones who do work either won't spend their money when they can spend yours, or they blow their money on the things they love such as lottery tickets but expect everyone else to pay their bills. Life is sweet on the mooch.

How do you get rid of a moocher? Follow these steps:

1. Stop feeling guilty.

The moocher takes advantage of your good nature. But as a good person, do you go around asking for favors? I bet you don't. I bet you work for the things you have and enjoy. Why can't these people? Why do you owe these people anything?

2. Get really fucking mad.

Moochers get scarce when the wrath comes. They know the gravy train has come to a screeching fucking halt. And you should get mad. They are fucking you over, and they know it. You are being gullible. You are the mark.

3. Always say no.

Never give charity to anyone. If you gain the reputation as a nice and charitable person, moochers will head your way. This is why welfare rolls always end up going to freeloaders instead of the truly needy ones. Moochers are always on the prowl for a free lunch. It behooves you to stop serving those free lunches.

4. Realize why you aren't a moocher.

Most people are too proud to beg. They prefer the things they earned to what they could get for free. When they do get something for free, they feel an obligation to repay or at least show some level of gratitude. Moochers aren't like this. They possess neither pride nor shame and certainly not gratitude. They believe their need demands your sacrifice. You owe them.

Ultimately, you don't owe these people a damn thing. Any relationship based on guilt is not a true relationship. I remember seeing a picture of an Indian kid with a gash on his leg. It looked really horrible. The kid maintained this open wound for the sake of begging. That open cut on his leg was his livelihood because it made people feel sorry for him. There are also stories of people who begged and amassed fortunes from this begging. It is a very lucrative con. Do yourself a favor, and don't let yourself be the mark. The one thing I have discovered of all truly needy people is they were all too proud to beg, and if you ever helped them, they never forgot it.


I define a virtue as a quality necessary to achieve happiness. Wisdom is a virtue. Some would argue that it is the chief virtue. But I disagree. I think the chief virtue is a quality that I can only call "resilience."

Taleb talks repeateadly about "robustness." Mike Rowe talks about "hardening." It struck me the other day that these guys were talking about the same thing. For Taleb, robustness is the ability to withstand black swan events. Instead of trying to eliminate them, individuals and societies accept them. For Mike Rowe, hardening is the quality that long time blue collar workers have. It is an acceptance of hard work and the ability to withstand adverse working conditions such as heat, cold, rain, and long hours. It is also the essence of "old man strength" which gives seasoned veterans the edge over greenhorns. The simple fact is that youth is wasted on the young.

I use the term "resilience" to refer to these things. You see it in other philosophies and worldviews. In stoicism, it is referred to as apatheia. In Calvinism, it is known as perseverance. In sports, it is tenacity. In all these things, it is the same virtue. It is resilience.

Resilience is the prime component of the work ethic. Resilience is the quality endurance athletes seek to find in themselves and improve upon. Resilience is what academics, writers, and thinkers find as they grapple with the big questions. Over and over in all fields, we see resilience. And it is resilience that separates work from mere leisure.

What is resilience? Resilience is nothing more than perseverance in the face of adversity. It is essential to happiness, and I would argue that it is identical to happiness. It is the greatness that belongs to Aristotle's Great Souled Man. Seen in this light, adversity is necessary for happiness since this is the proving ground for resilience.

The opposite of resilience is despair. It is choosing to give over to adversity and to surrender. This is synonymous with anti-happiness which is boredom and depression. Neither sadness nor anger are anti-happiness since neither are a surrender to adversity. Anti-happiness comes from capitulation.

Resilience is not stoicism since stoicism is indifference which is itself a form of capitulation. The key to resilience is not to be unfeeling but to be unyielding. It is to know that you can handle anything which comes at you.

Aristotle said that you could never know if a man was truly happy until his life was over. This is difficult to understand until you see happiness in terms of resilience. It is easy to be an optimist when times are good. It is a much different story when times are rough. Resilience can only be discovered through experience.

Resilience does not mean living a life of constant hardship. It also means enjoying the good times without being lulled into false confidence. Times of comfort, luxury, and ease do not last forever but neither does adversity. The resilient person must be someone who is willing to let this shit go. Luxury and comfort should only be enjoyed in moderation, but it cannot ever be a permanent state of being.

Similarly, asceticism should not be a permanent state of being either. To always be in a perpetual state of suffering is senseless. This is not resilience but masochism. True resilience takes the good and the bad together. Resilience runs a 12 miler at 5 a.m. and has a hearty breakfast at 8 a.m. Both pleasure and discipline are within their limits.

The best way to develop resilience is to have a sense of humor. Being able to laugh in adversity is a certain sign that you will overcome it. Sometimes, this means developing a black humor. Laughter is the ultimate defiance of adversity.

Resilience and happiness go together. They are virtually synonymous. There is not one without the other. The key to happiness is not to be without adversity but to know that you can handle adversity. Living easy is not the same as living well.


1. I am tired of people spamming the comments section of my blog with their bullshit.

2. Success begins when excuses end.

3. The convenience of convenience stores is short lived as you are inconvenienced by the diarrhea from eating the garbage there.

4. The greatest learning disability is pure laziness.

5. Aphorisms write themselves.

The Mean Streak

I have a mean streak. I did not always have this mean streak in me. It has grown in me as I have dealt with a dishonest and crooked world. I have been fucked over more times than I can count, and it has taken a toll on me. I am becoming just like the people I despise.

The other day I took a parking spot from a woman at a restaurant. She was waiting patiently for someone to get out of their car, and I tore ahead of her and took the spot. Angry, she tooted her horn at me. I responded by giving her the finger. Inside the restaurant, the woman approached me and said I was very rude. I glared at her and told her I didn't give a fuck. She was eighty years old.

Has it come to this? Am I this person? What has happened to me? What has made me this way?

There was a time when I would patiently explain my atheism to a religious person. Now, I just call them shitheads. There was a time when I would make a reasoned defense of my libertarian viewpoints to people who mock me as a "teabagger." Now, I just bash them as leftards and fasctards before I escalate to calling them cocksuckers, sons of whores, and utter pieces of shit. Even in my work, I got so mad at a coworker that I told him that I wished that his cancer would come back, so he would hurry up and die.

I feel like Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi when he whips the piss out of his dad, and he looks at his robotic hand and sees he is on the same path to the Dark Side as his father. But Luke tosses his lightsaber away and refuses to fall like his father.

This mean streak is not who I am. It is my reaction to all that has been done to me. I have gone from bearing the bullshit with equanimity to reacting fiercely against it to now taking preemptive actions. My view of humanity grows dimmer and dimmer as misanthropy and nihilism eat away at me. I am becoming what I do not want to be.

My hero is Ron Paul. The thing I admire about him most is his honesty and decency. He never stoops to name calling or the angry rhetoric I employ. He is always insulted, lampooned, and vilified. But he bears it all with good cheer and no anger. He speaks the truth and never wavers. The result is that he grows in stature and respect. This is important to me because it shows that being nice works.

I struggle with this. People that know me wonder why I am not more bitter than what I am. I don't care to portray myself as the victim because it implies weakness. I feel that I am somehow responsible for the ill treatment that I have received, and my mean streak is my defense against this. Even now, the debate rages among the atheist community over whether to be mean or nice. I have fallen on the mean side of that debate.

It is easy to be mean. It is hard to be nice. I see this debate taking place in other venues. Should Israel be mean or nice? Should a NASCAR driver be like Mark Martin or more like the late Dale Earnhardt? Should we be Reagan or Nixon? I don't have the answer to this question. What I do know is that no one fucks me over anymore.

My current mean streak is about three years old. It came from one fuckover too many. In the story of my life, it was a minor thing all things considered. But it was the straw that broke this camel's back. I changed that day and took on a darker tone in my life. Before that day, I was amazed at how popular I was with people, and this was because I had a distinctly sunny outlook on things. I mocked no one but myself. I believed that all problems had solutions to them. I had no antagonism to others because I knew I could shrug off anything that came my way. But then, the darkness came. I didn't want to admit it, but it was there.

I don't know what to do. I don't want to be a victimizer, but I don't want to be a victim either. I am like a savage animal ready to hurt anyone who fucks with me. What should I do?
The number one virtue in life is resilience.

HEROES-Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce upset the world. All he had were words and a microphone. Yet, he was deemed "obscene." But he spoke the truth. He said things that needed to be said. He was a great comedian.

His act seems tame compared to comedians today. But at the time, he was a revolutionary. Granted, Lenny had a drug problem which killed him at age 40. He obviously began to crack under the strain of his legal troubles. But the comedians of today would be nowhere without Lenny. He paved the way.

We need guys like Lenny Bruce. Can anyone cause the same uproar today? It is doubtful. Comedians are edgy, but none really cause the same cultural trauma that Lenny Bruce managed to inflict. Lenny Bruce was truly heroic because he was going to pay for opening his mouth. Now, comedians are paid to open their mouths. It is a different world.

Lenny Bruce was an individualist and a rebel, and he shook up the world. He died too soon. The world and freedom are a better place because of him.

Quotable Quotes--Nassim Nicholas Taleb Edition

A C.E.O.'s incentive is not to learn, because he's not paid on real value. He's paid on cosmetic value. So he's paid to be nice to the Merrill Lynch analysts or the Wall Street analysts. So this is where the problem starts.

We tend to treat our knowledge as personal property to be protected and defended. It is an ornament that allows us to rise in the pecking order…we take what we know a little too seriously.

Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or (again) parties.

Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

You find peace by coming to terms with what you don’t know.

Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.

Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.

If something is going on, I hear about it. I like to talk to people, I socialise. Television is a waste of time. Human contact is what matters.

Let’s be human the way we are human. Homo sum – I am a man. Don’t accept any Olympian view of man and you will do better in society.

Work hard, not in grunt work, but in chasing such opportunities and maximizing exposure to them. This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters--you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity.

We cannot truly plan, because we do not understand the future--but this is not necessarily a bad news. We could plan while bearing in mind such limitations. It just takes guts.

Prediction, not narration, is the real test of our understanding of the world.

It was hard to tell my friends, all hurt in some manner by the [stock market] crash, about this feeling of vindication. Bonuses at the time were a fraction of what they are today, but if my employer, First Boston, and the financial system survived until year-end, I would get the equivalent of a fellowship. This is sometimes called "fuck you money," which in spite of its coarseness, means that it allows you to act like Victorian gentleman, free from slavery. It is a psychological buffer: the capital is not so large as to make you spoiled-rich, but large enough to give you the freedom to choose a new occupation without excessive consideration of the financial rewards. It shields you from prostituting your mind and frees you from outside authority--any outside authority. (Independence is person-specific: I have always been taken aback at they high number of people in whom an astonishingly high income led to additional sycophancy as they became more dependent on their clients and employers and more addicted to making even more money.) While not substantial by some standards, it literally cured me of all financial ambition--it made me feel ashamed whenever I diverted time away from study for the pursuit of material wealth. Note that the designation fuck you corresponds to the exhilarating ability to pronounce that compact phrase before hanging up the phone.