MALNIC

Q & A

Q: Is computer programming a blue collar profession?

A:
Yes, it is.

Author Matthew Crawford made this connection in Shop Class as Soulcraft. Working with code is not unlike working on a motorcycle or building a cabinet. It requires technical skill, and you get the same sort of satisfaction and feedback as you would getting some motor to run or fixing a leaking pipe. Of course, you don't scrape a knuckle or get covered in dirt and grime with programming. You just eat bad food, work on vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunlight, and feel an excruciating back ache upon standing.

I notice how programmers feel a certain affinity for the blue collar folks. This is because they are skilled labor. Their concerns are no different than what a millwright might go through. They deal with bosses who are clueless when it comes to their work. They also work in the shadows keeping the world running. In this age, we need programmers like never before. If they all went on strike, the world would stop.

Programmers don't fit well in the world of managers or financial professionals. So, they certainly aren't white collar. I will let the programmers who read my blog add what they will in the comments.

[SOC]

I'm sitting here after a trip from Walmart. I bought some groceries and some new work pants. I'm listening to music. I'm tired from working. I feel a need for some coffee.

Resolutions are just around the corner. I only made one resolution for this year, and it was to find inner peace. I realize that the turmoil that I feel comes from my relationships with other people. My only response to this reality is to create an oasis of calm for myself by living alone.

I had a dream where the chick who stole my car was crying and suffering for all the things she has done. I felt compassion for her in the Buddhist vein. Compassion is simply wanting others to be free of suffering. Then, I woke up. I don't care if she suffers or not.

I am facing a simple but inescapable fact. I am going to fail on the inner peace thing. This hit me today. I am alright with it. The best I am ever going to get is to enjoy being by myself and not worry about other people anymore. I think I am simply torturing myself with the idea that I can have people in my life that aren't going to tear me down, use me, or try to destroy me. But this is not the case.

I am OK with this. Strangely, I feel a certain peace with just accepting this fact. Being alone in the world is fine. I can do this. I've been doing it for years now, so why should I stop? This is who I am. I am a loner.

My parents had each other, and I can't recall a time when they were ever happy. I just don't ever want to end up like either of them. And there is nothing odd about them. I see the same misery with every other married couple out there. I don't have those problems. Like I said, I have created an oasis of calm here at my hole in the wall. The reason it is calm is because I am the only person here.

This past year has been interesting as I have pursued this resolution of mine. Ultimately, the only real turmoil that I have isn't other people, but the expectation that I should try and make things work with people in my life. I have turned that over in my head, but in the end, I come back to the same place. I have always done better alone.

I enjoy my friends, the people I work with, and the interactions I have online. Those are cool for me. Family and girlfriends have been misery for me. Trying to change my status from that of a loner just results in the very misery I want to escape. In the end, most of the problems I have had in my life belonged to other people. The most drama I have in my life is deciding if I should do laundry tonight or wait until the morning. Morning is looking better for me.

SUNDAY



1. I think it is good to lead off with the obligatory ass picture.

2. DISCOVERY: If you eat nothing but beans, you will shit mud. I won't share the details at how I arrived at that discovery.

3. Steve Jobs is thoroughly dead, but they can't stop talking about the guy. I doubt the same will happen when Steve Ballmer bites the dust.

4. Christian Bale has played Batman for the last time. Of course, I think Stallone said the same thing about Rocky Balboa.

5. I've been reading Blowback by Chalmers Johnson. Basically, imagine the US eating a Mexican dinner called the Cold War, and 9/11 was the explosive diarrhea that came later.

6. Ass and feces. You have to admit this is one quality blog.

7. The Gamecocks beat the Tigers for the third straight year. There will be much gloating Monday morning at work.

8. I got hit with the Blue Screen of Death twice in one evening. I am gun shy now.

9. Katie Couric wants to fill in for Diane Sawyer at ABC. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't she have her shot over at CBS? TIP FOR KATIE: See if you can go back to the Today show at NBC. Your ambition fucked you good and hard.

10. Finally, a nice country video:

Quotable Quotes

Forgotten is forgiven.
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.
OSCAR WILDE

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn't make it worse.
BRENDAN BEHAN

I went through life like an idiot for a great deal of the time, saying there's nothing I would change. That was a very arrogant thing to say. There's a lot I would change. There are people I would have steered clear of.
HUGH LEONARD

MALNIC

[U.] U-Man's Baadasssss Song



the sirens ringing in them ears. u-man comes to banish those fears. u don't need to hate. u-man will set it STRAIGHT. k-missile incoming. this mushroom cloud laying motherfucker is in the HIZZY. give up the love for the U-DADDY!!

illuminati k-bomb for ya. watch and LEARN:



obama goes after ALEX JONES. NWO power move to make alex a bitch:



when will the O-man come for the U-man? Anyday now. . .

AIDS is a MYTH. truth bomb on the party:



BAREBACK ON THE FUDGEPACK!

polio vaccines are POISON. straight k to the grille:



randy gage lays some cheese on yo biscuit:



nut to the BUTT and CUT. u-man is assholes and elbows out the door. got to run to have more FUN. oh yeah. SHIT ON THE HATERS. peace to my posse. u-man is OUT.




MALNIC

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. RON PAUL AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY DEBATE

I thought Ron Paul did spectacularly at this week's GOP debate. He isn't the slickest speaker in the world, but his ideas and passion more than make up for this. I think he is buoyed by his uptick in the polls and a greater likelihood that he could win in Iowa. I am amazed and pleased at what he has accomplished with this campaign.

2. BLACK FRIDAY

I absolutely hate Christmas. It isn't for religious reasons since I love Easter. (I love jelly beans and Easter eggs.) The reason I hate Christmas is because of the consumerism. Granted, people are buying for other people, but I think most of it is one colossal fucking waste. Plus, seeing shoppers fighting each other in the stores over some toy they want to give their brat for the holiday is enough to make you want to sit out the holiday.

I don't celebrate Christmas. I despise this day. Get rid of the gift tradition, and you would have a whole different holiday. But of all the holidays, it is the ugliest. The worst part is that it isn't one day but an entire fucking month. It represents an end of the year consumerist binge. Fuck that.

3. NEWT IS NUTS

Newt Gingrich has become the new flavor of the moment for GOP voters. The guy could be truly awesome except for one small problem. He is so brilliant that he is stupid. I have no idea how someone pulls that trick off. On second thought, maybe I do.

Newt is called an "ideas" man. His career in academia is responsible for this. Nevermind that those ideas are mostly stupid. His recent suggestion that the FBI be split into two groups with one upholding the Constitution while the other shreds it shows exactly what I am talking about. Smart and stupid. Basically, Newt is the political equivalent of a mad scientist. He is equal parts brilliant and insane. Kinda like that sicko from The Human Centipede.



Newt is equal parts fascinating and repulsive. He clearly is not Mitt Romney. Newt does not pander. Newt doesn't give a fuck. This is not a guy you want to be President. It is bad enough to elect unprincipled people but at least they care what the people think. Newt has neither principles nor regard for the voters. Yet, for some odd reason, people still want to vote for this fucker.

The Fundamental Problem with the Higher Ed Bubble

I read virtually everyday about the bubble in higher ed. I think the general public has some clue about it by now, and that it is tied to federal student loan aid. Libertarians like myself are good at explaining how federal dollars have led to inflated tuitions and substandard education. What we are not good at is explaining the high unemployment and underemployment of college graduates. It isn't that we don't have an explanation. It is that we don't want to face the reality of that situation.

The high unemployment among college grads can be blamed on a poor economy. The problem is that when the economy was good that was also a bubble. The problem isn't that college grads aren't finding jobs now. The problem was that they were finding jobs in the first place. Bubbles punk people into malinvestment. For instance, during the tulip bubble cited by many who study such things, people were led to believe that tulip bulbs were more valuable than they really were. When the market for those bulbs collapsed, those people were stuck with worthless bulbs. But we must remember what Austrian Business Cycle Theory teaches us. The damage isn't done during the bust. It is done during the boom.

The following chart shows that by 2009 a whopping 70% of high school grads were enrolling in college:



If you look closely, enrollment remained around the 50% mark until the 1980's when it began its meteoric rise. This coincides with the economic boom we have had for the last 30 years. The growing economy demanded an ever increasing supply of college grads to fill the positions corporate America was offering. The education establishment from K-12 to beyond all pushed the need to have a college education.

I have Googled hard to try and find a comparable chart for enrollment in vocational education, but I have found none. What I have done is read through dense studies of education and employment to draw the conclusion that I already had. Enrollment in vocational programs on the high school and the post-secondary levels have declined over the same time period. Most high school students are enrolled in the college prep track while few take shop classes. This goes unquestioned. I really enjoyed this quotation:

While reformers postulate about restructuring the American high school, a "quiet" restructuring has been taking place as increasing percentages of all high school students select the college prep program of study and enrollments in vocational education decline. This development has gone largely unnoticed, or if noticed, has not been questioned.

The college prep program of study was never designed to educate the majority of all high school students; it was created for the academically blessed, specifically those who had both the aspirations and the ability to be competitive in the college admissions process and academically successful in college. But now the percentage of students (including those from the academic middle) who take the college prep curriculum has increased dramatically, while the curriculum and instructional modalities remain about the same.

A consensus seems to have developed that assumes that the college prep program will prepare all who enroll equally well, regardless of their academic ability. Perhaps educators simply do not want to stir up controversy; if parents think their children are preparing for college, and colleges are admitting them, why look for problems? Yet, what if a large number of them are not well prepared, graduating without the credentials needed to be successful in higher education or in work? What if large numbers of those who do go on to higher education end up in expensive remedial courses and ultimately drop out? Or, what if those who do go to work without vocational education end up in dead-end jobs? If any of these scenarios is true, there should be cause for concern about the growing percentages of all high school students who enroll in the college track.


http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JITE/v32n2/gray.html


The author of that telling prediction wrote this in 1995. Dr. Howell has seen his predictions come true.

The flip side of this argument is the issue of that federal student loan aid. Trade schools, voc-ed, and technical colleges all take various forms of student loan aid including loans. We like to put the blame on those loans for the bubble, but there is no glut of voc-ed grads. There is a glut of art history majors. If there is one thing I have learned about bubbles, they all begin with a common sense judgment and get distorted by the availability of cheap money and easy credit.

I have watched and read about trade school suckers who went to expensive private for-profit trade schools to get job training. Most of them get jobs, but they don't pay anything that would justify the debt they incurred. These schools are a scam to get those federal dollars, but state universities and Harvard are no different. We can blame federal student loan aid for increased tuition, but we can't blame it directly for the unemployment and underemployment college grads now face.

The reason college grads are unemployed or underemployed is because there are too many of them. The system as it now stands encourages and demands that all high school students prepare for and attend college. Those people have listened to that message and have done exactly as instructed. In short, the effort has been put into trying to make everyone above average. This has led to below average prospects for the college grad compounded with the fact that the grad gets to pay for the punking with interest.

I tell people that I am an elitist, and this naturally comes with the expectation that I am some sort of conceited prick who thinks he is better than everyone. But there is a difference between being an elitist and being in the elite. I think sports achievements belong to people like Michael Jordan, but I am not Michael Jordan. But I'm not going to champion equality in the sports arena because it might help salve my bruised ego over my inability to dunk a basketball.

You can dumb down college, have open admissions, and provide all the tuition. This is not going to generate a bunch of smart people. This is going to generate a bunch of dumb people who think they are smart. The marketplace says otherwise on this effort to make everyone smarter than average, and it shows in the employment numbers. College in all its forms is an oversold product. This is the bachelor's degree, the graduate degree, the law degree, the MBA, the STEM degree, etc. Across the board, too many people go to school relative to the job demands that await them after school.

So, what is the advice to the fresh high school grad? Go to college. Even today, every high school grad is told to go to college while people cite old outdated stats on increased earnings for college grads. This is incredibly stupid, but it isn't going to change.

The people that go to college should be the smart ones. People are not equal. This is an inescapable fact of life. Some people are very intelligent. Others are physically gifted. Some are gifted in the arts and humanities while others can spend hours with math and chemistry. But for most of us, our place is in the fat portion of the bell curve. This is a crushing revelation for people. Nobody wants to be average. But there it is.

When I talk to people of my parents' generation, I notice something. Most of them never went to college. They fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum having a certain degree of literacy coupled with real world skills. They generally like reading the newspaper, and they are skilled enough to make a middle class living. They would like to retire, but they are seeing that hope dashed to ruins. Between inflation and depleted retirement funds, retirement isn't in the cards. This is good for businesses because they would be up Shit Creek without them. This is because there is virtually no new blood to fill these occupations.

The reason the middle class is disappearing is because we are hollowing out the middle. We are training generations to become rock stars in various fields. The result is a shortage of skilled labor. In time, the machinist will earn more than the engineer because few people will be skilled enough to use CNC equipment. As everyone strives to be above average, the bulk of them fall well below average relative to their parents and grandparents. This is not unique to America. The same thing has happened in Europe and the Middle East. Much of the revolution in Tunisia was sparked by college educated youth who could not find work.

Upward mobility is not what it is cracked up to be. This is anathema to the democratic and egalitarian spirit of the West. But saying that not everyone is going to be a Nobel prize winner or CEO of a company should be about as controversial as telling someone they probably won't realize their dream of becoming a movie star. People's expectations exceed what is realistic except we live in a time when people can run up a sizable chunk of debt in the pursuit of those pipe dreams. The result is the same as lending money to compulsive gamblers to play on the lottery.

The education establishment needs to level with kids and tell them the truth. Most of them are going to be just average people. High schools need to bring back shop class, and guidance counselors need to stop overselling college as a path to prosperity. Colleges need to ratchet up admission standards and grading while the federal government needs to get entirely out of the student loan business. Blue collar trades should no longer be denigrated. The bottom line is that we can't continue having 70% of our high school grads going to college. That figure points to the fundamental problem with the system today. Ambition is not a virtue. We need to stop encouraging it.

MALNIC

One Thing Well



To do one thing well you often have to do many other things at the margin of adequacy. Everybody is mediocre, only in different areas.
TIMO VIRKKALA

Timo is a Facebooker, and I enjoyed this statement of his. I have read some variation on it from different sources that said approximately the same thing. H.L. Mencken said, "It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf." The gist of the statement is that to do something well requires specialization.

Malcolm Gladwell tells us to practice something for 10,000 hours. If you do anything for that amount of time, you are going to get good at it. Some will argue that talented people don't need all that, but I have yet to see the talented but lazy individual go anywhere significant.

The downside of hyperspecialization is that it carries a great deal of risk. For instance, the superstar athlete is one injury away from oblivion. Petroleum engineers spend years and money to become tops in their high demand field. Right now, that pays off with a large salary. But what happens when oil prices go down again?

The flip side to specialization is being a generalist. It carries smaller rewards but also smaller risks. I think this was what was going through the head of Lukas Verzbicas when he opted to leave the cross country program at Oregon to become a triathlete. Lukas is one of the most talented runners in the country, but I think he knows what I know. He would have to push himself hard to ever match up against and beat the Kenyans and the Ethiopians in the more lucrative career on the track or in the marathon. Triathlon is a generalist sport, so Lukas is clearly taking less risk for a lower but more certain payoff.

Which way is better? Should you specialize or generalize? On a risk/reward basis, both are roughly equal. Or as someone told me once, the greatest guitar player in the world is unknown and playing on some back porch somewhere. You can see some of these guys playing on YouTube or pulling a Susan Boyle. How do these people go unknown? The reason is obvious. Talent is more common than you realize, and the world is not exactly a meritocracy.

I can only speak for myself, but I have found that when it comes to your vocation that the generalist way is better. Being adequate in a variety of things will trump being the best at one thing when it comes to remaining employed and having a consistent stream of earnings. Consider the Mercedes-Benz. It is the best car in the world, yet taxi companies rarely use them. Why is this? This is because you can buy five Chevy automobiles for a single Benz. This is why the petroleum engineer will almost certainly lose his job if oil prices fall. If your specialty is no longer in demand, they don't keep paying you unless you have something else to offer. This is especially true if you are making an eye popping amount of money. The generalist moves from one job to the other, so this diversification of skills makes him more valuable. You only have to be adequate to remain employed.

When it comes to your avocations, I recommend having as few as possible. Most people specialize in their work and generalize in their hobbies. This is how they accumulate all that clutter in the garage. When you focus on one hobby, you get really good at it. You can even become so good that it can become a new career for you. But the added benefit is that one hobby costs far less than multiple hobbies. Considering free time is usually less than work time, you want to concentrate your resources. This is one of the reasons why I don't understand triathletes. Between work and training, how do they pull it off? They don't.

The difficult thing for people to decide is what level of dedication they want to give to a project. I used to play guitar, and I toyed with getting better at it. But I am much better at writing than I am playing guitar. My brother is much better than me on the six string. His level of musical talent makes it a wise choice for him but not so wise for me. But I do write well or at least people tell me this. So, I ditched the guitar and started blogging. I admit that I have times when I would like to play a tune or two. I also like to sing. But I really suck at music. I would be fired from any band I played in. I would be like Sherlock Holmes with his violin.

At work, I want to be a Swiss Army knife. I learned a long time ago that the modern workplace merely seeks adequacy and not superlative achievement. For instance, the short order cook at Waffle House is not going to work the same as a chef at a restaurant that gets three stars in the Michelin guide. Most business is short order cooking. As such, specializing makes little sense because being better at such a task is not going to make much difference. But if you can cook, run the register, and memorize orders, this becomes very valuable.

Most paid work is simply not about achieving something great. This is the province of inventors, athletes, artists, scientists, and the like. You're just not going to achieve greatness as an assembly line worker or working in the service sector. Those achievements are strictly pass/fail. Either it works or it doesn't. This is why you should save your efforts at greatness for your hobbies where it actually makes a difference. The short order cook can make those excellent dishes at home, prepare a cookbook, or even start his own business. But if he decides to spend that time playing golf and sucking at it, this is just a waste.

For me, work should result in money or greatness. If you get neither, stop wasting your time on it.

HEROES-Ludwig Mies van der Rohe



Less is more. The man who said this was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. I think he can make a credible claim to being the father of minimalism. If it wasn't for Mies, you would never see the elegant designs of Dieter Rams or Jony Ive. You wouldn't have the minimalist lifestyle design of Leo Babauta. Mies is the cornerstone for all that we can call minimalist.

Mies did not begin as a minimalist. He was like the other architects of his day designing neoclassical structures with flourish and ornamentation. Somewhere along the way, he rejected all that crap. He stripped it down to its essence, and he changed the world in the process. His work is still revolutionary to this day.



Critics of Mies will point out how austere his work can be. It seems otherworldly, sterile, and not quite human. But when I see the Farnsworth House, I see a structure that is both beautiful and timeless. I would put that structure against anything Frank Gehry has built. A Gehry structure is an architectural abortion.

Not everything that Mies built makes sense. The Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin is an elegant structure but not a very good museum. His structures did not always fill the needs of the people who had to live and work in them. This may be his philosophy taken to the extreme.



Mies also designed furniture such as his famous Barcelona Chair. This chair typifies the elegance and simplicity of the man and his ideas.

Minimalism is not for everyone. In aesthetics, there is no right or wrong. But I love elegant designs and simplicity. Mies van der Rohe got the ball rolling with his designs. He has been much imitated, and he gave a foundation for other minimalist designers to build on. Mies blazed a new trail which is still with us. The ironic thing is that his buildings will still look good 100 years from now.

TUESDAY

1. Watching the Republican debate. They keep pitting Romney against Paul. Interesting.

2. This song is stuck in my head:



3. Someone needs to break some ass at Breaking Dawn. Those teenage girls need to feel the wrath of a deviled egg fart.

4. Romney keeps taking Obama out of context with the lazy American thing. The funny thing is that I know Mitt is doing this, and I still don't give a shit. Fuck the O-Man.

5. One day, the Onion will start publishing real news, but no one will be able to tell the difference.

6. I need to upgrade to Windows 7 to avoid getting stuck with Windows 8. I stuck with XP to avoid Vista. Or, I could get smart and go with a Mac.

7. Ass:



8. I'm glad Tony Stewart won the championship. Evil trumps good.

9. I bought a Gerber multitool today. This ranks up there with the blow up doll as an amazing purchase.

10. Country:

Wolverine and Cyclops



I had a friend tell me once that leaders fall into two categories--Wolverine and Cyclops. Wolverine is the outsider and possesses a more libertarian streak. Cyclops is more of a fascist telling people how to do shit. Wolverine allows people to be free to do as they please while Cyclops wants conformity. My friend didn't argue that one was necessarily better than the other. He just described them as two different styles. Naturally, I fit the Wolverine mode.

Which way is better? That is debatable. You can see that Steve Jobs was definitely a Cyclops type. Jobs may have been a renegade, but he demanded conformity from his subordinates. Steve's management of Apple was definitely an exercise in corporate fascism. But it worked.

I try to think about a CEO or other leader who fits the Wolverine mode, and I am drawing a blank. Most CEOs tend to be in the Cyclops mode except for the guys at Google. Neither Schmidt nor Page are in the Cyclops mode, but they aren't Wolverine types either.

These same archetypes exist in the movie Platoon where Barnes played by Tom Berenger would be the Cyclops character while Elias played by Willem Dafoe would be the Wolverine character. Barnes commanded respect and lead with fear. Elias commanded love and lead with charisma.



It is in the nature of Cyclops types to want to lead. They want to be in charge. Wolverine types are reluctant to lead. They don't like giving orders and telling people what to do. Naturally, leadership positions go predominantly to those with a Cyclops personality. Cyclops is hated, but he is the one in charge. The Wolverine types tend to lead revolts against the fascist style of leadership.

If you ever wondered why dickheads rule the world, there is your answer. They want to rule. But do you have to be a dickhead to rule? Of course not. Wolverine types are reluctant to lead, but they do an outstanding job when they do lead. This is because people are more motivated and are happier under those types of leaders. But they avoid leadership as much as they can. They are almost always drafted into that role by the urging of others. Dickheads get in charge almost solely as a consequence of abdication on the parts of others.

Being a dickhead is merely a correlation and not a causation of good leadership. The best boss I have ever had in my life was not a dickhead. But he was reluctant to move up and run things. Similarly, libertarianism would be a better way to go with government, but libertarians are also similarly reluctant to attain public office. This leaves things to busybody dickheads like Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

I think this is the reason why dickheads end up in charge. They have greater motivation. They want to rule. Wolverine types are motivated by the desire to not be ruled. Most of the time, they find it easier to escape and move on to some other place. I am definitely like this.

I don't see this order of things changing. Either the Cyclops people need to stop being dickheads, or the Wolverine people need to lead. When the Wolverine types run out of places to escape, they turn and fight. And they win. People like them too much to let them lose. Wolverine types inspire fanatical loyalty. They would be extremely powerful if they turned this loyalty and popularity to the ends of leadership. They just don't care to lead. Ask any libertarian what he would do if given an absolute dictatorship, and the standard reply is "resign."

The historical example of the Wolverine type would be Cincinnatus who was dictator of the Roman Empire long enough to defeat the enemy and then resign. Upon resignation, he returned to his life as a farmer. As great an example as this man served, this did not keep Rome from later being ruled by a succession of dickheads. Dickheads always fill the vacuum.

I don't have the answer to this problem.

Q & A

Q: Can science and religion ever be reconciled?

A:
I don't think so. This would be trying to reconcile truth to a lie. But people still try. It is ridiculous.

I dated a chick once who was like this. She believed in evolution, and she did not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. But she was spiritual and attended a Methodist church that was hipper than your run of the mill Baptist or Pentecostal Holiness church. It was not as hip as a Unitarian church where you could be openly atheist. Her goal was to try and convert me to this new liberal religion. This was stupid.

People like this want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to have science but also keep their imaginary friend. It would surprise many Christians to discover just how many evolutionists and atheists are leading their churches. Why does this happen? At some point, people that believed realized that it was all just a bunch of shit. This is what happened with me. The difference is that I could walk away from it all. These people are the ones who have devoted years, education, and careers to the church. They can't walk away because this would mean taking a real job somewhere.

The people who are more mystifying are the ones who are laypeople and have nothing to lose by facing up to reality. I know one atheist who attends church faithfully at the Unitarian fellowship. He keeps up the practice despite it being a waste of time. I call it the "Methadone Program for Ex-Christians." People need their fix even if they know better.

A couple of weeks ago I attended church to hear a friend play the drums. I still hum Bach choral tunes. For me, church offers a certain aesthetic that I still enjoy. I don't bother closing my eyes for prayers, and the sermon is always amusing. But I don't believe. I always leave church a little sad that people could waste their lives on such stuff. But I think deep down they know it is all bullshit. I know I did.

The addictive part of church isn't the religion part. It is being in a community of friends. Atheists don't have anything comparable which may explain why atheism remains a minority viewpoint in the US. People like to join clubs and organizations, and church is just another club. Even my latest act of church attendance was because of friendship and not religion.

Freethinkers make the mistake that religion advances as an intellectual error, and it merely needs to be corrected. The reality is that religion advances as an almost purely social phenomenon. When I told my ex that her unorthodox religious beliefs would be more at home at the Unitarian fellowship, she rebuffed that notion as quickly as it was offered. The U-U people might be more accepting, but her friends went to the Methodist church.

People have a fundamental desire to be with other people. This is a scientific fact. Much evidence dealing with people in solitary confinement shows that people in isolation break down mentally. Extended isolation is considered cruel and unusual punishment. Because people crave social involvement and connection, people who are simply stupid and evil exploit this need and co-opt it for their ends. It can be church or a criminal organization. Essentially, people trade their brains, their morals, or what have you for love.

This is why I don't spend a lot of time arguing about religion with the theists. Other atheists love nothing more than going over the fossil record or pointing out inconsistencies in the Bible or explaining how Anselm's ontological argument is just a trick with words. The fact is that people cling to religion because of their felt needs. They want to belong, so ignorance is the price of admission.

On the flip side, most of the atheists I know tend to fell into two camps. You have your rebellious non-conformists such as myself, and you have your socially handicapped Asperger nerds. Since both of these types have a much lower need for social interaction, they have liberated minds. Freethinkers are loners.

At some point, the cognitive dissonance between science and religion will become unbearable, and people will change their minds. This has already happened in Europe where atheism is much more prevalent. But I think the reason for this is because Europeans are more communal. They have alternatives to church. These would be the cafe and the pub.

[SOC]

I am ashamed to admit it, but I broke down and went back to Netflix. It was worth it because I watched a movie, a documentary, and five episodes of The Walking Dead. It was sweet.

I wonder what other things I will break down on. I know at some point some chick is going to get me. I deal with a horny Australian cougar on Facebook all the time, but the separation of oceans and continents keeps me safe. I can keep myself from going on the hunt, but I can't do anything about the sexually aggressive female.

The other flak I am getting has to do with Thanksgiving. I will spend it alone this year, and I am fine with it. Other people do the sympathy thing and feel sorry for me. It bothers them more than it bothers me. Christmas will be the same deal. I figure if I am alone on those days I might as well work and get paid for it.

If I stay busy, I never notice that I am alone. I just need to always be doing, and it won't bother me. People are probably mystified that a guy like me ends up being alone so much. But I have learned that when you let people in to your inner circle, they are only going to fuck you over. I don't wait for the fuck over anymore. I've resigned myself to the fact that this is the way people are.

Two days out of the year suck to be alone. The rest of the year is perfectly fine with me. I think 2 for 363 is a fair deal.

[U.] Foxy Brown



Shhhhhhh.....u-man is in the house. can u dig it? get ready for some nut in yo butt. BITCHES!!!! straight k to your GRILL. sit back and RECOGNIZE. u-daddy is here with your SPECIAL K delivery.

alex jones brings the straight SCOOP on PENN STATE:



more SCOOP:



find out about SPACESHIPS crashing into the SUN:



censorship on youtube. SHIT ON THE HATERS:



alex jones gives more on the GLOBALIST financial fuck over:



buy GOLD motherfuckers! get the spam and the gat. shit is coming DOWN.

watch this EPIC SHIT:



randy gage slaps some CHEESE on this toast:



oh, baby. the u-balls is draining in that snatch. BUST THAT NUT AND CUT. u-man's pimp hand is still STRONG. peace to the posse and SHIT ON THE HATERS. u-man is OUT.




MALNIC

SORAYAMA

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. DEBT FORGIVENESS FOR AMERICA'S POOR

This meme is circling amongst the leftard nation. Basically, leftards want the debts of America's poor forgiven. Let bygones be bygones. And who are these poor? That would be the recent college grads that can't repay their student loan debts.

Poor people don't get into such heavy debt. This is because so few people are willing to lend to them. The few who do charge outrageous interest rates because the likelihood of them being repaid is slim. Student loan debt now stands at $1 trillion.

What is the likelihood of this happening? When you consider that the federal government is the primary lender and that the demographic likely to benefit from such a move will be an entire generation of voters, it seems likely indeed. And who gets stuck with the bill? The American taxpayer, of course.

Such a move would create massive moral hazard and inflate the student loan bubble to outrageous proportions. But it is going to happen. The Occupation Movement is made up largely of these student loan debtors. The Democrats would love to tap into that movement for electoral success. Plus, the Republicans are likely to oppose the debt forgiveness putting a political black mark on them for the forseeable future. The only question that remains is whether Uncle O decides to ram this through Congress, or he does it by executive order.

2. MANAGEMENT GNAT STRAINING

There is a verse in the Bible that I always liked. It is Matthew 23:24 when Jesus uses the expression of straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel. I always liked the illustration because I have witnessed this countless numbers of times while working for various companies. Rome can be burning to the ground, and the guy in charge is obsessed with getting his fiddle in tune. Yes, it gets that ridiculous.

I remember about ten years ago when my hub manager came out on the dock to strain some gnats in my work area. I would have found this tolerable if we were running a tip-top operation, but there were massive problems where I worked. We are talking about the Titanic just after hitting the iceberg. Yet, there was my hub manager coming out to rearrange the deck chairs. I called him a fool, and I told him he was going to lose his job. The following week he was fired. I never forgot that.

The case for such gnat straining is based on the Broken Windows Theory. This theory was proffered as an explanation for the dramatic decline in crime in New York City from a peak in 1984 when Bernie Goetz decided to make some punks' day on a subway train by putting some lead in their deserving asses. Personally, I like to think that incident had something to do with the drop in crime. But there are other theories offered ranging from having cops return to walking a beat to abortion to what have you. The favorite pet theory among law enforcement is the Broken Windows Theory. If you go after small crime, then big crimes will decline as a result. There is evidence that this works, but it is disputed. New York did experience a drop in crime with the implementation of zero tolerance law enforcement, but the same thing happened in the rest of the country where no such zero tolerance policies were implemented. The idea that cleaning graffitti off subway trains will eliminate murder is a bit of a stretch. I think people are confusing correlation with causation here.

My own theory for the decline in crime rates is pretty basic though unproven. I think crime declines as a result of economic prosperity. The reduction in crime in the USA over the last 30 years corresponds almost perfectly with the rise in GDP and productivity in the United States. The fact that broken windows get repaired is part of the economic prosperity. As people's economic hopes are dashed once more, you should see an uptick in the crime rate. This is the camel. The gnat would be cops focusing on jaywalking while major larceny is going on.

This Broken Windows Theory always captures the mind of management types who want to use sociology in the workplace. The reason this is popular is because management is supposed to be about making profit. Yet, they seem quite adept at blowing money, alienating customers, increasing employee turnover, and the like. Being clueless fucktards, they focus on the most trivial of details instead of running a business as a business. For me, one of the trivial details from a decade ago stood out. While our hub was going to shit, we had an assistant hub manager who went around insisting that we have the correct color load charts for our sort. All of the load charts were the same, but they insisted on white for the day sorts and blue for the night sorts. We would xerox blue charts onto white paper to comply with this silly rule. This was happening at a time when the hub was in danger of losing million dollar contracts because days worth of work wasn't getting done. While this work was going undone, we spent our time on colored pieces of paper. I'm sure our customers appreciated that attention to detail.

Management needs to get rid of the sociology and go with the economics. Businesses are about making money. I know. This is some crazy shit. But when a business makes money, you are always going to see an improvement in these small details. Workers will have greater morale. They will value the job more. The company will have the profits needed for more capital investment. You will attract better and more disciplined employees wanting to make money. This is what I call a virtuous cycle. This is how a business can start from an idea and a humble beginning in a garage to becoming a Fortune 500 company. This would be Apple who cared less about what their employees wore to work but obsessed about the details of their products. They were all about the camel. Other businesses only care about the gnats. When management is focused on gnats, it a sure sign that either that manager or that business is in fucking trouble.

3. OCCUPATION EVICTION

It has become clear to various municipal authorities that the Occupation Movement is less of a protest as it is just a bunch of unemployed bums squatting on public and private property. The riot gear has come out, and the hippies are getting the boot. Meanwhile, we have stories of assault, rape, drug abuse, vandalism, TB, and RINGWORM! Is ringworm free speech?

There is a big difference between the Tea Party events and the current Occupation. Tea Partiers had jobs. They went home at the end of the day. Occupiers clearly aren't burdened with full time employment. Are cops justified in evicting these bums? That is a hard question to answer. I think there is a better way. If you want Occupiers to leave, start charging rent.

4. STOLEN FROM ANOTHER BLOG

"As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday, and employees will receive their cards in two weeks."
(Microsoft Corp. in Redmond WA )

"What I need is an exact list of specific unknown problems we might encounter."
(Lykes Lines Shipping)

"E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business."
(Accounting manager, Electric Boat Company)

"This project is so important we can't let things that are more important interfere with it."
(Advertising/Marketing manager, United Parcel Service)

"Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule."
(Plant Manager, Delco Corporation)

"No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working on it for months. Now go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know when it's time to tell them."
(R&D supervisor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing/3M Corp.)

Quote from the Boss: "Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say."
(Marketing executive, Citrix Corporation)

My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told my Boss, he said she died on purpose so that I would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could change her burial to Friday. He said, "That would be better for me."
(Shipping executive, FTD Florists)

"We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees."
(Switching supervisor, AT&T Long Lines Division)

5. RON PAUL SURGE

I have been so wrong on what I thought would happen in the GOP presidential race that I think it might be wise to keep my mouth shut. Readers may remember when I predicted that Michele Bachmann was the one to watch. Now, I see Ron Paul as the man to watch.

I think the race will come down to Romney and Paul. It will be the Establishment candidate against the Anti-establishment candidate. Romney is the GOP's version of Bill Clinton. The guy is a slick fucking liar. Never before will the GOP have such a stark contrast to choose from. What they really want is a pro-war Ron Paul, and they aren't getting it. So, they are opting for the Mormon piece of shit. It would not surprise me that Romney will be so desperate that he will convert to being a Southern Baptist. The religion thing is the only thing Mitt hasn't sold out on. Ron Paul will never sell out.

I am convinced that Ron Paul will run third party. This will give Obama another term, but I am fine with this. Romney is no different from Obama. Romney vs. Obama is like the Big Mac vs. the Big Mac without pickles.

6. FROZEN PLANET

Discovery Channel is refusing to air the global warming episode of Frozen Planet in the USA because it doesn't want to upset the half of the population that thinks it is a load of shit. I disagree with this move. It isn't because I believe in global warming. I just believe in airing differing viewpoints even if I may differ on them.

I see things like global warming as being formed and shaped in the marketplace of ideas. I like how points are debated and confirmed and refuted in a peer review process. What I don't like is when people attempt to control what viewpoints get presented. Censorship whether government or private is always a bad idea. This is intellectual incest. Of course, both sides of this issue are guilty of this censorship.

7. DEMI AND ASHTON

Demi files the papers. I am really enjoying this slice of celebrity misery. This will be Demi's third failed marriage. Why do they bother?


MALNIC

THURSDAY

1. I have a new Jack Bass story. Read it here.

2. Be sure to check out artwork from Malnic, a C-blog reader and contributor.



3. I am not an artist myself, but I pretend to be. Some people say that I also pretend to be a writer.

4. Today is the Great American Smokeout. By this evening, you will hear the Great American Cussout. Tomorrow, cigarettes will be ablaze again.

5. I have an acute gun fetish.



6. Tea Partiers smell much better than Occupiers. Plus, Tea Partiers leave a tip for the waitress at IHOP. Occupiers eat, refuse to pay, and piss on the floor. Then, they burn the place down.

7. Readers have lamented the demise of the Shared Items feature from Google Reader. I was not aware how many people actually followed my postings there. The most liked items were minimalist pictures. I got most of them from here.

8. Ron Paul has pulled even with the GOP frontrunners in polling. The cool thing about Ron Paul numbers is that they are solid. Ron Paul people stick.

9. I also have a high heel fetish.



10. Country:


MALNIC

VILLAINS-Bill O'Reilly



If you want to peer into the fevered brain of the typical Fox watching fucktard, look no further than Bill O'Reilly. The man is a goddamn mental disease.

I don't always disagree with Bill O'Reilly. But when I do, I want to smack him in the fucking face. I want to take a heaping shit down his fucking throat. What creates such hatred from me for this man? That is simple. He called Judge Andrew Napolitano a pinhead.

I love Judge Napolitano. That man is righteous in so many ways. I wish Fox would tell O'Reilly to walk and give the slot to Napolitano. When O'Reilly called Judge Nap a pinhead, I knew that I hated that son of a bitch. Bill O'Reilly is not a libertarian. He isn't even a good conservative. He is merely a demagogue and a stupid motherfucker. It isn't his substance so much as his style that utterly nauseates me. The cocksucker is pure human garbage.

Bill O'Reilly is a rhetorical bully, so this never fails to draw my ire. This is because I hate bullies. When I encounter them, I always have a visceral reaction of pure fucking hatred. Bullies need to have their asses kicked in the worst way. Somewhere in Bill O'Reilly's life, he decided that being a total assclown was a winning strategy.

I'm not alone in this assessment of the guy. Other conservatives can't stand the guy either. Rumor has it that there is a feud of sorts between O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. They can't stand each other. I like Sean even if I disagree with him. Like I said, it comes down to style.

The thing that troubles me the most is not O'Reilly himself but the people who watch him and like him. Who are these people? That is easy. These are white males over the age of 60 who are crusty with anger and age and lean to the right in their politics. They like O'Reilly because he talks shit to all sorts of people. The guy is a pure asshole. O'Reilly fans are pure assholes, too.

O'Reilly is no fan of libertarians, and he has expressed open contempt for Ron Paul. When Stossel is on his show, Bill treats him pretty badly as well. Libertarians universally revile O'Reilly.

Why is Bill like this? That is easy. He is pandering to his stupid fans. He puts on a show for their sake, and this makes his show the highest rated cable news show on the air. The reason is because those old men are a sizable demographic who spend each evening falling asleep in their chairs watching O'Reilly bloviate and be a complete assclown. They don't care if he is right. They are just content to think they are pissing off the world a bit before their era has ended. It can't end soon enough.


MALNIC

TUESDAY

1. They cleared Zucotti Park of Occupiers. Things should smell better there. But where will they go?

2. Brad Pitt says he will be done with acting at age 50. I suppose Fight Club 2 is out of the question.

3. Did Jesse James really cheat with 19 women? That number seems unbelievable. This calls for a Kat Von D pic.



4. According to a CNN poll, whites think Obama is doing a lousy job while non-whites think Obama is doing a great job. I didn't need a poll to tell me that. The reality is that Obama sucks the ass of a dead wino. He is a horrible president. But he's black, so black people want to grade him on a curve. This is stupid. Sucking ass knows no color.

5. Ron Paul is now a top tier candidate according to the polls. If he wins Iowa, he wins it all. I doubt it will happen, but if it happens, it would represent a paradigm shift in the minds of the electorate.

6. FINANCIAL TIP: Short the euro.

7. The Feds are putting GPS tracking devices on people's cars. I worry that there may be one on my car. They may find out that I go to work, go to Walmart, go to Fight School, and go home. On special days, I stop at Taco Bell. The most threatening thing I do comes after Taco Bell when I violently assault the shithouse.

8. I am on the verge of breaking down and going back to Netflix. I know it is sad, but they are simply the best deal on movies at home.

9. I have adjusted to the new Google Reader. Like Netflix, it is still better than the alternatives.

10. Country:

Q & A

Q: Why do you keep calling people "leftards?"

A:
I debate politics endlessly on Facebook. Some of that also shows up here on the C-blog. But I deal with things a bit differently than others. I try to be humorous about it all because so much of it is utterly farcical.

People turn political arguments into moral arguments. Leftards harp endlessly about social justice and equality and fairness. Fasctards wave the flag and talk about patriotism and the duties we owe to our country and civilization. Even libertarians harp on and on about the law of non-aggression. This is really heavy shit, and it can feel damn oppressive at times as the discussion strains under the weight of these moral and philosophical discussions. Naturally, they go nowhere.

The purpose of all this moral arguing is to make the case that the other side is evil. I refrain from those judgments as much as possible. It isn't that I don't think there is evil there. The problem is that evil is relative to opinions. For instance, I think welfare is evil. Leftards think welfare is just and good. Who is right?

The goal that all these political people are aiming at is to assume some sort of moral high ground. Like Plato, they rationalize to some sort of transcendant standard of what is right and wrong. The problem is that this standard does not exist. Morality is relative. If you doubt this, try listening to the arguments that people make. For instance, a libertarian may argue that the civil rights act violates the property rights of business owners forced to serve people they don't want to serve. A progressive will argue that racism is wrong and needs to be stamped out. Who is right here?

To me, the only transcendant thing is reality. Reality is not relative. It is what it is regardless of your perception of it. For instance, no one argues whether or not bloodletting is right or wrong. This is because we know it doesn't work at curing any disease. Science has a strange way of rendering arguments moot. Likewise, consequentialist arguments have the same effect. You can argue all day about whether or not drinking is a moral sin. What can't be argued is that Prohibition works. I have yet to find any teetotallers who think we should go back and try that failed experiment again.

Reality should always be the basis of your points. Now, this does not automatically change people's minds. There are people who still believe the earth is flat. But no one says these people are morally wrong for this belief. We laugh at them and call them stupid.

I am much more comfortable calling people stupid instead of evil. This is because stupidity is funny. I would rather use mockery instead of demagoguery. This is why I call them "leftards." The ironic thing is that it makes others laugh, and it might piss off the leftard. But it is very effective, and it really brings down the heavy tone on all this shit.

There are other libertarians such as Stefan Molyneux that take the moral approach even urging people to disassociate themselves from statists. This may or may not be an effective approach. I don't know. It is simply not the approach that I take. I associate with a wide variety of people with different and even opposing backgrounds. The irony is that they seem to like me even as they argue against others in my friend pool on Facebook. People that disagree with me still remain friends with me for some odd reason. But I think it has to do with the way I argue and approach the issues.

I respond to facts and make jokes lampooning moral arguments. It doesn't mean that I don't have morals, but I think all morality should be subject to question and review. Morality is subordinate to reality. When you show the repeated failings of the welfare state and Marxism, no one but a fool can argue for it. I would love to see poverty eradicated, but this is not the way it will be done. Responding to this reality, leftards have embarked on "social entrepreneurship" which is just a rebranding of the free market philosophy to assuage whatever cognitive dissonance they are feeling. But it shows people do respond to facts and change.

People that use moral arguments seek nothing less than religious conversion. I am not like that. I simply spur people to evolve a bit in their thinking. Even theists have adapted their theology to accomodate science. The changes that really happen are found in these incremental steps. Ultimately, freedom is relative. I doubt the entire population will become libertarian, but they clearly are softening up on things like marijuana as they are presented with the evidence. I think this consequentialist approach is a winning strategy. If you disagree, you are a poopyhead.

MONDAY

1. Facebook has been hacked and deluged with porn. The problem is that it is tranny porn. Hackers need better taste in smut.

2. Newt is the new flavor of the week. It seems like everyone is going to get a turn to be everyone's favorite alternative to Mitt Romney except for Ron Paul.

3. Stem cells help regenerate damaged hearts. What people really want to know is if it will help regenerate damaged livers, so they can go back to the tequila.

4. I made a suggestion to a coworker that we start a Jerry Sandusky suicide pool. I don't see this guy ever going to trial or prison. Someone should send him instructions on how to fire a shotgun with your big toe.

5. I am super stoked over the Breaking Dawn premiere. It will be one movie closer to the end of that fucking horrible series of teen girl bullshit.

6. Sasha Grey has caused controversy because she likes to read to schoolchildren. I would make a joke, but I think I'll post this pic instead.



7. It seems Kat Von D finally woke up and realized that Jesse James is a total womanizing sleazebag. This calls for a pic.



The cool thing about Kat is that you have something to read after sex.

8. J.Lo. is a cougar on the prowl. Naturally, we have a pic.



9. I really need to get laid.

10. I will wrap it up with a vid from Miranda Lambert:

Schumpeter and the Higher Ed Bubble

One of the most important features of the later stages of capitalist civilization is the vigorous expansion of the educational apparatus and particularly of the facilities for higher education.
JOSEPH SCHUMPETER

Joseph Schumpeter is famous for the economic idea known as "creative destruction." Basically, capitalism destroys old ways to make way for the new. For instance, vinyl gave way to CDs. CDs are giving way to mp3 files. Record companies are going out of business, and bands have to get off their asses and play concerts to make a buck. Some people may think this sucks, but it is why geezer rock bands are able to put aside their differences and play some gigs.

One of the famous predictions Schumpeter made was concerning higher ed and white collar work. As education became cheaper and more available, white collar work would no longer command a premium relative to blue collar work. Essentially, blue collar workers would end up making more money as their supply decreased while white collar workers would make less as their supply increased. If you doubt such a thing could happen, consider airline pilots and aircraft mechanics. I've Googled both, and airline pilots have a median annual salary of $30,000 while jet mechanics have a median salary of $70,000. These are rough estimates as I have looked at various sites with differing info. But they are clear on the fact that airline mechanics make more than airline pilots.

The reason for this difference in incomes is obvious. People would rather fly the plane than turn a wrench. Being a pilot is glamorous. Being a mechanic is not. This results in more people pursuing the pilot job while fewer pursue the mechanic job. It is simple supply and demand.

A similar thing is certain to happen in other industries. Blue collar workers have been decimated for decades as factory work has been outsourced. Jobs that can't be outsourced have been vilified. The result is shortage in skilled labor. The blue collar jobs that have remained have gained in pay relative to white collar jobs. These would be diesel mechanics, pipefitters, bricklayers, and others.

The higher ed bubble has produced a glut of college graduates who can't find work except as baristas at Starbucks. Now, libertarians like myself are very aware of this bubble, and we lay the blame with the government for creating it. But even if the government had not created it, the marketplace would be decimating this sector of the economy anyway much like the internet has been destroying old economy record companies. This is because white collar work is ultimately information work. Information is now very cheap. Even seemingly impregnable careers in law and accounting are being overtaken by software and websites. Plus, blue collar workers are getting smarter and more sophisticated using computers for just about everything from machining to warehouse inventory to logging miles for tractor trailers. If automated manufacturing replaced the factory worker, clearly, automated systems will replace the information worker.

The jobs that retain their earnings and even increase them will have certain features. The first is that they will be physical. They will deal with objects in the real world. These will be objects that cannot be mass produced or subject to scalability. An example would be a brick wall in front of a home or the construction of an office building. Repair work also fits this description.

The second feature is that these jobs cannot be outsourced. The cars might be made in Japan, but they still have to be fixed here. You can't outsource garbage collection, home construction, or janitorial work.

The third feature is these jobs will require skills. They will not require a Ph.D. in physics, but they will certainly require more than flipping burgers at the local McDonald's. These skills will be a combination of theory, manual dexterity, and common sense.

The fourth feature of these jobs is that they will be dirty, dangerous, and unglamorous. People prefer a comfortable office to being on their hands and knees in the basement of a home or being in a cherry picker dealing with high voltage lines. Working conditions are an aspect to job selection, and people will prefer the cleaner job over the dirty job. This preference will extend so far that people will be willing to take less money for the cleaner job.

The higher ed bubble has exacerbated a trend that was already in place before it even happened. Too many people go to college in hopes of getting white collar jobs that aren't there. Eventually, companies will recognize that they are overpaying for their current white collar people, and the salaries of those workers will decline in response. The bubble will pop, but the result will be lowered tuition costs and even more attending college. The internet will also help to drive down the costs of education. Plus, much specialized information will be available at your fingertips.

The internet and information technology has already eliminated certain white collar jobs. The secretary is virtually extinct. Travel agents are gone. Insurance agents are certain to follow. Stock brokers have been replaced with online trading. This creative destruction will continue onwards. Meanwhile, the blue collar workers will remain unscathed in this destruction.

This prediction seems ludicrous, but I thought it was ludicrous that pilots would make less than mechanics. But it happened. Schumpeter saw these trends in his day, and I see them now. Knowledge and information are as common as dirt and will carry that value going forward. Tenured professors will be replaced with adjunct faculty. Traditional universities will be replaced by online learning. The price of all this will decline dramatically. Online testing will become the new credential. Self-taught people will be able to demonstrate their learning and receive credit for it. Layers of management will disappear as information technology makes those managers obsolete. We can go on and on with the various things that will happen. But in the future, you will still have to call a plumber to fix that leaky pipe. The auto mechanic may use a computer to diagnose your engine problem, but the wrench will still have to be turned by hand. The robots in the factories of tomorrow will still need repair techs to fix them.

People love to denigrate the blue collar man. They have no clue how they sound like such utter snobs on this shit. It is endemic in the culture and society. Blue collar people are stupid. But tell me, do you know how to wire an entire house? Do you have the skills to install a hot water heater or renovate a bathroom? Do you know what that funny noise is on your car? Can you weld a steam pipe so well that it doesn't explode under high pressure? When you consider that the people who know how to do those things are now dwindling yet remain as necessary and as vital as ever, you can safely predict that they will command more pay as the demand increases relative to supply. Blue collar people are becoming undervalued.

I don't like making economic predictions because they are almost always wrong. But it is clear to me that the glut of unemployed college grads who aspired to white collar careers can only diminish the value of those professions. Currently, starting lawyers lucky enough to get a job make nothing like a good plumber who has learned his trade over a similar time period. Factor in the student loan debt, and a career in law looks like a really dumb move. Will the lawyer decide to switch careers to plumbing? Obviously, some will do this. But I think they will remain lawyers no matter how bad the pay is or becomes.

The college degree is an oversold product. The trades are undervalued. Like pilots and mechanics, salaries will be reversed between white collars and blue collars. Creative destruction is occurring as we speak. The paradigm is shifting as Schumpeter predicted.

[SOC] Epic Edition

I have wanted to do one of these posts and let it run for an extended length to see where it takes me. This will be that post. I don't know where to start though.

It is Saturday night, and I am listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers music. It strikes me that they don't really rock on a lot of songs. I'm used to bands cranking up the distortion and going for the power chords. These guys do some funk and soul shit. The music is good, but it isn't Black Sabbath. The effect is bittersweet.

I have been alone today. I got some exercise, went grocery shopping, and spent time on Facebook and writing for the C-blog. But I have spent most of my day sleeping. I feel tired like I have a cold. I have been jacked up all week on caffeine and exercise, but I have crashed today. Even though it is after 9 p.m., I am seriously considering a fresh pot of coffee. I am in no condition to make this an epic post, but I feel there is a ton of shit in me that I want to get out. You can insert a constipation joke here.

The way I make coffee is pretty simple. I have a Mr. Coffee, and I put five scoops in the basket. I get the cheap Colombian coffee from Walmart. I am not a coffee snob. I don't really care for a French roast or using a press or an espresso machine. I let the coffee shop handle that for me. But when I make my own, I go with regular coffee made super strong. When I drink this brew, the flavor should be hard. When I get a coffee from the Waffle House, it tastes like dishwater to me. I have to drink a gallon of that stuff to get what I want.

When I toss back the coffee as I am doing now, I get a feeling from it. It is hard to describe, but it is a sort of hum. I feel warm and happy inside. People become more tolerable. In fact, I feel quite happy having them around. This is because they are going to suffer my caffeinated persona. This is different from my regular persona which is much quieter. I get louder and more gregarious.

When I am drinking coffee alone, I have to channel this energy into creativity or work or exercise or something. Most of this blog has been written with the aid of many pots of coffee. I ran out of ideas long ago, so most of it comes from the coffee now. This got me to thinking about the substance aids that many creative people use.

The first and most basic substance writers and musicians have used is tobacco. Smoking is a huge spur to the mind even as it destroys the lungs. Studies show that nicotine helps brain cells communicate more effectively. This would explain Ayn Rand's devotion to the cigarette and the glowing ember at the end being a metaphor for the creative mind at work. I have observed many smokers and their rituals, and the cigarette seems to open their brains. They sit back and reflect while puffing away on the cancer stick. Then, they go to work.

The second substance is alcohol. Alcohol's reputation is mixed. Hemingway used it. But there is little evidence that it does anything to boost the brain. It would seem that it does the opposite. But alcohol is good at reducing fear which is a block to creativity. It is mostly rock stars who like to get liquored up, so they feel the courage to perform before thousands of people. The problem is that the performance really sucks because they are fucking drunk. My personal belief is that the reason alcohol is praised by these people as a creative aid is because they just like to drink, and the creativity thing is just an excuse to be drunk all the time.

I did an experiment once upon the suggestion of a writer and got shitfaced and did some writing. What I produced from that session was the absolute most awful fucking shit I have ever written. This was the single worst piece of creative advice that I have ever received. I have never repeated that experiment.

Another substance is speed. Ayn Rand had a notorious reputation for being on Benzedrine and other amphetamines which helped her write Atlas Shrugged. I don't think these uppers necessarily help with creativity, but they clearly help you to stay awake to get shit created. Kerouac who created at a furious pace had caffeine, nicotine, and amphetamines keeping him going. That fucker was so wired that he put a continuous roll of paper in his typewriter, so that he wouldn't have to stop to put in a fresh sheet of paper. This may sound crazy, but this is how we compose work in the digital age. I remember using a typewriter and being pissed when the paper was done. It broke your train of thought as you had to put in that fresh sheet and start again.

LSD and psilocybin gets rave reviews for creativity. Steve Jobs revealed how dropping acid changed his life. From the Beatles to Pink Floyd, we can see what psychdelics can do for you. Science indicates that these substance actually rewire the brain and can even change personality. It can also make you an acid casualty like Syd Barrett. That part gets glossed over.

It is obvious why I go with caffeine. It isn't injurious to one's health or sanity. It won't cost you your job or get you a DUI. You won't get sauced up and beat the shit out of your significant other. It works.

There is something else that is a spur to creativity, but it is counterintuitive. This would be boredom. If you turn off the TV and the internet and spend time without distraction, the boredom will hit you. At first, it will be unpleasant. Then, your brain will turn on to fill this white space you have created. People in sensory deprivation report hallucinations not unlike what you experience on psychedelics. It is obvious to me that the human brain abhors emptiness and seeks to fill it.

The problem with using boredom is obvious. You end up going to sleep. The goal is to be bored while also staying awake. This is called meditation. In meditation, you achieve altered states of consciousness. But sitting in a chair meditating will only put your ass to sleep in a short while. This is why in Eastern traditions of meditation they adopted postures, stances, and movement. Everything from yoga to kung fu to tai chi all trace their origins to a desire to remain awake while being bored. Practitioners of these arts will howl at my depiction of their disciplines in this way. But I study these things, and it becomes clear to me why kung fu types would spend hours in the horse stance. I can't manage more than a minute or two in this posture because it is excruciatingly painful. But you are definitely not going to doze in the horse stance.

The easy way to go is to run or walk. I think it was Longfellow who would take long daily walks. I don't think the same effect can be achieved with swimming or cycling for the obvious reasons that you would either drown or ride headlong into an obstacle. Putting one foot in front of the other seems to be slightly slower than the speed of thought, so your mind is free to roam while your body moves. Of course, this is negated by the mp3 player which I do not recommend.

I have spent many hours on roads and trails either walking or running. This habit lapsed in my early thirties as my thoughts became more troubled. I really hated my life, so having time to think and reflect didn't help this at all. I then obliterated those thoughts with as much work and creative work that I could muster. The goal was to not think. But I have come full circle.

I stated my resolution at the beginning of this year to find inner peace. I have made progress in this area as I have deliberately chosen to spend more time with my thoughts absent any distractions. When it comes to problems, you only have two options. You have solution, and you have resolution. For example, when I began to question my faith in God, I was searching for a solution. Frustrated, I let it go for awhile. This was resolution. Eventually, I realized the problem came from wanting a fairy tale to be real when it wasn't real at all. That realization lifted a huge weight from me such that I don't even consider the subject anymore.

My inner peace thing has to do more with people. I don't have a solution to that problem whatsoever. So, I have taken the path of resolution. When it comes to dealing with people, your best option is to diminish your expectations. I have little trouble making and keeping friends. I have nothing but grief with women and family. That grief is tied firmly to expectations. I have no expectations of friends while I do have expectations of girlfriends and family members. They fail because this is the way people are. People let you down. They betray you and even seek to destroy you.

Those who know me would conclude that I have some sort of residual bitterness or anger from past hurts. This is not the case. I am quite adept at letting old things go. I nurse no grudges. I keep no tally of rights and wrongs. I don't care. It isn't the past that troubles me. It is the future.

Imagine a man engaged to a shameless whore. How could this man ever find happiness with a woman like this? He could use her for sex. Or he could be a Platonic friend. But he could never have any serious loving relationship with this woman. She is a fucking whore. It isn't about forgiveness. This is what she is. The diminished expectation is the only rational response in this situation.

People think the reason I cut it off with them is because they have done something to piss me off. But this assumes that I am someone easily offended. The string of hatred and bile I endure here in the comments on the C-blog should show this is not the case. I have the skin of an armadillo.

The primary reason I become done with people is because I know that my expectations of them will never be met. Imagine a college football coach who has a starting quarterback that can't stop drinking and partying. At some point, he has to let that kid go. A single action may be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but it would be foolish to assume that a single act is the ultimate cause of that coach kicking the guy off his team. You know that kid is going to portray the coach's actions as being severe overreaction to a single act. But we know better.

In my case, I can't make things work with any woman because my expectation is companionship. The women I date have never met this expectation. I am not unique in this expectation as I have talked to many men both young and old, single and married. They all have the same expectation. When this expectation is dashed into the dust, they go ahead and start fucking around. The only difference between me and them is that I don't make vows that I will break. Marriage is a lie.

When I dumped my girlfriend in May, it was because I desperately wanted this companionship, and she was never going to provide this. When someone tells you to shut up over breakfast, you know she is just misery on two legs. My entire time with her was nothing but hearing about her problems. It was nothing but a drumbeat of misery. Each time I saw her, it was going to be a rundown of the latest problem. It is hard for me to relate to this because I don't have problems. It isn't that my life is perfect, but I don't spend my days obsessing over trivialities. The reason she told me to shut up was because I was interrupting more of her talk about her endless problems.

How do people live like this? I think I would eat a bullet at some point if all I did everyday was worry about paying a phone bill or getting my car fixed. But this is the crap I listened to for three fucking years. It's like listening to old people talk about their physical ailments all the time. What an empty existence.

All my other girlfriends were the same way. People can't understand my infatuation with Rachael Ray, but I imagine her as a woman who doesn't piss and moan about her fucking problems all day. The fact is that everybody has problems. Life is one long series of problems. But I like to think life is more than just those problems. It better be because there is no end to problems.

I dumped my girlfriend because her problems were more important than me. They always were. They always would be. It isn't that I didn't care about her problems. But most of them were self-inflicted, and solutions took a backseat to bitching. With her gone from my life, my existence is damn near tranquil. It has been such a relief that I simply don't ever want to be in another relationship with another chick ever again. It has been pure giddy goddamn joy with her gone.

The reason people obsess over their problems is that they imagine that if they can get to a problem free zone they will be happy as hell. This isn't true. I am happy not to have her problems anymore, but I still have my own. I just don't obsess over them because I know problems are forever. What makes them loom so large is not the problem itself but the unrealistic expectation that they can all be removed in some permanent way.

Companionship is shared happiness. For women, it is simply shared misery. This is why studies indicate men's lives are enhanced by being married while women's lives are the same single or married. This is due to a man's nature which tends towards happiness. A woman's nature tends toward misery. This is why we call men who whine "pussies" or "bitches." The language we use ascribes misery to women. At some point, men learn to tune this shit out. They quit giving a fuck. This is resolution.

Unless a woman is happy, there can be no companionship. The happiness I refer to is that Aristotelian eudaimonistic happiness. Rachael Ray has this. She is a stunning exception because most women are misery on two legs. This is why they aren't worth bothering with. As some smart ass quipped, "When you pay for a prostitute, you aren't paying for sex. You are paying her to go away."

I tried to tell my ex this stuff. It was in one ear and out the other. She knew everything except how to fix her problems. I know that in 30 years it will be nothing but problems for her if she is still living. Her entire life will be wasted going from one problem to the next hoping to get to that non-existent problem free zone.

The only way I see a relationship living up to the companionship expectation is if both people are flourishing individuals. Rose and Milton Friedman would fit this description. Both were economists, so they were even luckier to share a passion for the same subject. Rose Friedman was very accomplished in her own right, and you can bet that the two of them always had something interesting to talk about.

Most women I meet are very uninteresting in any intellectual way. I have thought back over the many dates I have had, and I have never met a woman who had this spark much less dated her. The closest was a real bitch who could read, but she didn't care about anything you had to say on any subject. She had no use for either my atheism or my libertarian politics. The only thing she seemed to really like about me was the fact that I didn't drink.

People wonder why I can be so candid on my blog here about these women, and the answer is that they never bothered reading what I write. I go through the same pattern with women. They become interested in me because they think I am some really bad guy. I've never understood this aspect of women, but there it is. Then, they discover I am a lot nicer than they initially thought. Then, they realize that first impression of me was actually correct. I am a mean guy. This usually occurs to them as their ass sails to the curb.

Happiness is a solitary thing. This realization has dramatically altered my dealings with women. If the dating game is like lifting and moving an object, I no longer do any of the lifting. I make zero effort. It is funny to watch as some chick expects me to ask her out, but it never comes. A woman merely has to glance in a flirtatious way at a man, and he is on that like the proverbial stink on shit. I let it hang in the air and ignore it. In times past, I would jump and seize on that like any other man. Now, I have reached such a level of don't give a fuck that I am simply indifferent to it all. I don't think about bedding the chick so much as wondering how hard it would be to make her go away when it was over with. It's like admiring a new car but choosing to not buy it knowing how difficult it would be to make the payments. Or it is like seeing a bartender pour some nice drinks and wanting one but choosing to stick to the Diet Coke.

Willpower is easy when you realize how empty the temptation will turn out to be. When the candy dish is empty, you stop going back to it. I was making this point the other day to a guy who is 28. He was engaged, but things went sour. If I remember correctly, she cheated on him with one of his friends. So, he was telling me how he was back in the game looking for some new chick. I told him to not even bother. He was wasting his time. He wanted the companionship thing, and I was the pin to his bubble of hope. I beat that hope down as hard as I could. He believed his disastrous relationship with his previous girlfriend was an aberration. I told him that was the norm.

There is one thing old bachelors like me have in common. We have experienced multiple relationships with different women, and we know that all women are fundamentally the same. Each bad relationship reinforces this knowledge like learning scales on the piano. You build up a callous on your psyche such that you feel very little anymore in regards to women. I imagine George Clooney to be like this. I laugh as he follows his usual two year cycle of dating and dumping. I know in 2013 that Stacy Keibler will be out on her ass. The funny thing is there will be another one waiting in line.

Clooney can do this sort of thing, but I can't. I want some peace in my life, so I'm in the monastic mode for as long as I can sustain it. I call this move "austerity." It grows out of my minimalist lifestyle. I've just taken it up a notch or two. I've been eliminating bad habits for the last couple of years. I gave up drinking. I gave up hamburgers and french fries. I recently gave up going to Hooters. I gave up watching sports. My Gamecocks have imploded this season, so I am safe in the knowledge that I am not missing anything historic.

Atheists don't become monks, but I find myself living a more monklike existence. If your life is spent working, reading, working out, and abstaining from vices, how is this not the life of a monk? The only difference is that I'm not participating in meaningless prayers or going to church. I suppose writing would fill the space of spiritual practice. But my life keeps taking on a more austere edge. My biggest indulgence these days is reading too much.

The effect of this austerity is not what you think. My life feels fuller and richer for it. I feel happier and more alive. I have been pretty happy for the last five years, but I didn't think I could take it up a notch like this. But it is what it is.

The opposite of austerity is indulgence. We attempt to sate ourselves with as much pleasure and good times as we can find. Those efforts leave us empty. I have gone in the opposite direction seeking to deny myself in some areas, so that I can fulfill myself in other areas. This is easy to do when you don't have a girlfriend. When you have a girlfriend, your life is consumed with trivial bullshit. This is when you expend an hour discussing what to fix for dinner. Now, I become so engrossed in what I am doing that I forget to eat. I spent last Saturday doing so much that I ate one meal that morning and did not eat again until Sunday. This was not deliberate starvation so much as not wanting to be bothered with taking the time to prepare a meal. Monks would call this "fasting."

The purpose of fasting was for the sake of greater devotion to spiritual practice. The importance of this is lost on us in a world of fast food, microwave ovens, and energy bars. But in the old times, the preparation of food consumed the bulk of one's day. Women were largely tasked with this chore. Monks not having women around to do this for them probably enjoyed the break from this chore. Granted, hunger sucks, but it pays off in more time and greater devotion.

My aims are more secular than what monks seek. For me, it all comes from reading. I indulge my curiosity about things and spend a lot of time on the internet or on the Kindle. This is supplemented by perambulation where I get to reflect on all that I have read. This gets turned into writing.

I have virtually doubled my output this year from last year. A glance at the sidebar of the blog will show this. The funny thing is that with this austerity I still feel like I am always running out of time. I am one of the few but superior people who still wear a watch. Despite the minimalism, the austerity, and the solitary nature of my life, I still don't have enough time to do all the things I want to do. It all goes by in a blur.

I could keep writing on this stuff for hours, but I am ending it here. I have other things to tend to, and I need to pinch it off. I just know it felt good to really indulge myself with this epic edition SOC post. It probably sucked for you to read it, but for some reason, people like to peek into my brain. These are just some of the things that have been on my mind lately. The other things will be turned into more readable and more focused fare. Thanks for hanging in there until the end.