Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Resist Thy Enslavers!

Nice quote here, and definitely something to think about every time you are tempted to linger on a time-wasting website:
Jamie Davidson, a YouTube product manager, says that the 15 minutes of daily viewing by a user typically involves six videos, with the conclusion of each presenting "a decision point, and every decision point is an opportunity to leave. We’re looking at how to push users into passive-consumption mode, a lean-back experience."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Better Blogging Chronicles 6 - Monetization?

After copious and exhausting research, I think I may have finally done it. I think I have finally figured out EXACTLY how I can, perhaps, make some dough.

My long term goal was always to build up my readership, by providing increasingly better content, and then, I presumed, good things would flow from there: advertising, writing gigs, female groupies, etc.

But that's a plateau that requires not only a lot of work to get to, much of which I've already done, it requires a lot of everyday upkeep. Even the most highly paid opinion-heads, fools like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Simon Cowell, work their tails off on a daily basis. (Though maybe not Simon!)

So with even the dreamy end-game being sub-optimal I've never really been too optimistic about my prospects.

Today the thing to do is, somehow, sell a self-authored *informational product*. Why? That's a silly question - because of high margins and wide (web) distribution.

Taking stock of what I have to offer....

I can't teach anyone to trade because there's no proof ($$$$) that I really know how-to myself.

I can't sell an instructional golf video, again, because I'm not good enough myself.  Plus, like trading this is a very crowded AND narrow market.

I could easily write and (try to) sell an eBook on something like *mind liberation*, but again I don't have expert standing - I can't bundle it with a how-to-get-rich-from-not-working guide a la the ultra-successful Tim Ferriss.

Hmmmm....So what could I do? What are my genuine, stand-out-from-the-crowd strengths?

Well, there's no one else out there with my ability to teach math. And my wife has been saying for a while that since we're putting so much time into educating our own kids, that we may as well try to make some money off it.  She's 100% correct.

I've always felt like I could use my math-advanced son to this end.  I mean exactly how many five year-olds are out there solving equations and using the Pythagorean Theorem?  He's what internet marketers would call the *social proof* of my credentials.  All I have to do now is collect all my insights, write up my theories and methodologies, and perhaps takes some videos.  I've got to bring it all together into an infomercial-type spiel.

This is going to take some real work, and some time away from this blog.  I have no clue yet on what kind of product to sell: instructional DVDs, just an eBook,, how long to make it, what price point,  should I create my own worksheets, should I bundle in consulting access to me, or should I grant customers access to a new private forum?

I strongly believe that there is a market for my wares out there.  I mean look how much money parents spend on SAT test prep, tutors, private schools, and college for their poorly educated brats.  Why spend all that money at the end when a little bit of money and time invested upfront could have your kid acing the SAT before they're ten years old?  Yeah, that'll be somehow incorporated in my marketing pitch!

I do want to thank Paul Mitchell (but only if this works out!) because I'd been frozen with *idea overload* until an email he sent me the other day clarified my thoughts on how exactly I should proceed.  This post here  acknowledges that he is henceforth duly entitled to .001 % of this endeavor's profits!

My back-up plan is to pimp myself out as an ultra-high-priced tutor to a billionaire or two here in Nassau County. And so I'm also trying to figure out effective, technologically-advanced ways (e.g. *ringing doorbells*) to break into that closed society.

So while this post isn't precisely about *better blogging*, it's still, clearly, very much related.

See also - Better Blogging Chronicles 5 - Learning From Masters.

Healthy Eating Disorder?

First, read my post from last week - Raw Food For Thought - particularly my remarks in the comment section.

Now check out Mike Adams from Natural News today:

NaturalNews) In its never-ending attempt to fabricate "mental disorders" out of every human activity, the psychiatric industry is now pushing the most ridiculous disease they've invented yet: Healthy eating disorder.

This is no joke: If you focus on eating healthy foods, you're "mentally diseased" and probably need some sort of chemical treatment involving powerful psychotropic drugs. The Guardian newspaper reports, "Fixation with healthy eating can be sign of serious psychological disorder" and goes on to claim this "disease" is called orthorexia nervosa -- which is basically just Latin for "nervous about correct eating."

Getting back to this fabricated "orthorexia" disease, the Guardian goes on to report, "Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating. Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out."

Hah! I told you (see link atop page) people were *weird* with their food. Though I do hate to ever come down on the side of Big Government medical experts apparatchiks...

Look I know it's wrong to judge the healthy-eating crowd by the queer small sample set that I personally have met - those fat vegans and hypochondriacs. That'd be like generalizing about homeschoolers strictly from meeting a few wackos with the gumption to take that less-traveled route.

So I guess the only way I'm ever going to be able to fairly judge the bio-organic, raw, grass-fed, granola diet is to try it out myself.

Crap! Do I really have to?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jim Rogers Shorting Warren Buffett?

Old buddy Jim Rogers said recently:

"I'm short a large western financial institution that everybody thinks is terrific."


Any guesses as to which one?

I'll bet it's the one I'm heavily short - Wells Fargo - if only because of his *terrific* hint.

Lessons From The Dead

I've never smoked I never did see the appeal of the Grateful Dead. In fact, I thought they were terrible and their fans doped-up Morons!

But they did one thing differently than their contemporaries - they focused on shows and allowed bootlegging - while other groups milked the thuggish copyright laws.  Obviously, they were still ridiculously successful. Their tack was somewhat ahead of its time.  Because in today's digital age, that strategy is being deployed profitably all over the place.

Skim - The Grateful Dead 4-Step Guide to the Magical Influence of Content Marketing.

Dethrone Calculus, Coronate Statistics?

Under the suboptimal presumption that government schools should exist in the first place, there are a million ways to *improve* the teaching of math. Heck there are even strong arguments that the subject should be de-emphasized altogether.

I agree, of course, that calculus isn't practical for everyone.

BUT, for those it is....they should be learning it a lot sooner than age 17-18.

Opinion-heads, like the guy above, talk all the time about improving averages and the competency of the masses.

Meanwhile, those students really capable of soaring are neglected; they are grounded by age-graded classrooms, 1-on-30 instruction, curricula, and the tragedy of low expectations.

I was always considered a bit of a math whiz, being accelerated only a grade level or so.

But now I look like a Moron compared to the progress of my kids. The Prince reached 7th grade math at age 5.25 or so; and his sister is even ahead of his pace. I invoke that evidence whenever system apologists come at me with, "Hey C-Nut, you weren't homeschooled and you turned out fine."

I most certainly DID NOT. I've had to work like heck to undo the intellectual damage and deferred adulthood wrought on me by schooling.

The idea that swapping statistics for calculus at the *top of the pyramid* would have substantively changed the course or my life, anyone else's, no less the *economy* is ridiculous. Yeah, go on ahead and rearrange those Titanic deck chairs...

See also - Subtracting Math.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book Review - The 4-Hour Workweek

Shoot that was fast. I reserved it on Tuesday, picked it up on Friday, and powered through the 376 pages this weekend.

As usual and as promised I was going to write up a *full review* - but I'm not going to. Because whatever I might say would prove woefully inadequate and an injustice to its merits.

This book is a game-changer folks. It's well-written, informative, philosophical, practical, and inspirational all at once. The 4-Hour Workweek is a recipe for happiness, time-management, wage slavery liberation, a credible how-to-get-rich manual, a travel guide, and so much more.

I don't care who you are, whether you are ambitious, successful, both, or neither. There's just so much packed into this book that ANYONE will profit mightily from reading it.

My head has been spinning all weekend long from Tim's life story and insights. In fact I just ordered a copy of my own.  I've threatened to do that a couple of times after being moved by authors (e.g. John Taylor Gatto, The Well-Trained Mind, Outliers,..) but haven't yet followed through, until today.

In a word, this book is a *juggernaut*. Ferriss has already convinced hordes of people to drastically shake up their lives - to quit their jobs, move halfway around the world, and to strike it out on their own. At the moment, I can't think of a higher impact, secular, contemporary author.

All of you self-styled anti-Morons out there better get on this one right away. I just couldn't give a book a higher recommendation than I giving this one. Outside of those leveraged ETFs, have I ever steered y'all wrong?

AND I'm still mad at you clowns, all of you, for not alerting me to this one long ago. Obviously I need to upgrade my readership!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Experimenting With A New Look

Fear not, folks.  The new look is not permanent.  I'm just messing around.

Question - Is the font okay?  Is it too small on the right margin?

I can't tell as I'm now on my new PC and using that new Chrome browser for the first time.  Hit me with some feedback.  Thanks.

What Free Time?

With my wife and kids *out East* as they say here in New York (i.e. out in the Hamptons) for the weekend....I have the LUXURY of some free time.

So what should I do?
  • Write some blog posts  
  • Read some other blogs
  • Work on my eBook(s)
  • File my amended 2008 Tax Return  (I missed a *wash sale*)
  • Clean the house/car/garage
  • Hit some of my 40,000 golf balls
  • Go to the pool - it's 85 degrees out
  • Do some more *unpacking* work (still have a ton)
  • Work on my new websites
  • Finish a terrific book I'm halfway through
  • Make a dent in the 1,100 emails in my C-Nut inbox
  • Set up my new computer that just arrived from FedEx (how can I resist?)

I'll probably try to do a little of everything.  But is that even a wise tactic?  Perhaps I should focus.

It suffices to say that I am swamped here.  My wife is beyond spent as well.  Working downtown, despite a good train into Penn Station is testing her mettle.  As she says, "I'm still not at-one with the commute..."  There's always something: a late train, a soaking rain on the way to the subway, *fire drills* with her work, the train wasn't even running the other night because a thunderstorm/mini tornado felled trees all over Great Neck/Manhasset....Heck, she's been working her tail off; she leaves at 6:15am for the train and never comes home before 7:15pm; sometimes it's car service at 10pm.  One night last week, after a full day of work, she was up on her laptop working until 2am.

Sure much of our harried life comes from a new home and my wife's new job and we most certainly expect adjustment to soon ease our burden...

But I feel like every time I think I'm getting some time back that it's just a tease, a mirage.

As much TV time, bar time, sleep time, and socializing time that I've eliminated from my daily diet, I probably have to do a full-blown objective Tim-Ferriss analysis of my life.  He swears by regulating email (among many other things); limiting it to being checked only twice a day, at set times and for set periods of time.  He recommends using when online.  And he has other online tools he uses to monitor and track how much time he spends on particular websites.

The guy is probably 100% right.  I spent at least 30 minutes today already just emailing back and forth a couple of homeschoolers about trivial things.  THAT wasn't on my list!  A full review of his provocative book is forthcoming.  Again, how did I miss this one up until now? 

Raw Food For Thought

I just asked a local homeschooler, one whom I sensed had strong views on matters of health, what she thought about vaccinations:
I have spent over 15 years studying, reading, researching almost anything about health or anything relating to it. It is an absolute passion of mine.

We do not vaccinate our children or medicate them.(no,antibiotics, Tylenol, prescriptions, over the counter...) We let their bodies heal naturally so that their immune systems learn how to work properly.

We get them adjusted by a WONDERFUL chiropractor once a week or more if they aren't feeling well.

However, my children do not have the typical SAD(standard American diet) and I would never recommend this lifestyle to someone who does.

We eat:raw dairy products(lots of lacto fermented foods-yogurt, kefir,sour cream..) grass fed beef, pastured chickens and eggs, low to no grains, lots of fats (raw butter, ghee, coconut oil, animal fats, raw egg yolks...)lots of veggies, properly prepared nuts and seeds.....

I am not anti-medicine though. If an emergency comes up, then I am all for it. But for an ear ache, cold flu, sinus infection....absolutely not.

If you and your wife are interested in more info, please feel free to call. I am busting w/ info and love to share w/ anyone who might be interested.
And y'all thought I was off the grid!

Click here for my most recent post on immunizations vaccinations.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pedestal Substitutions

Those are Entrepreneur Heroes trading cards.

When I was a kid, I was, for a short time anyway, drooling over Fred Lynn and Kirby Puckett rookie cards. And how many millions of poor kids did/do the same?

Why not encourage the children to *idolize* successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Michael Dell? I must say that I'm going to acquaint my kids with the biographies of these economic and creative heroes very early on in their education.

Does anyone want to buy my David Robinson NBA Hoops rookie cards? It's time for me to completely let go.

Printers = Trash

Maybe four years ago I excitedly bought a *3-in-1* printer from Dell for $150: copy, scan, fax, and print. Was that really four functions?

Anyways it worked fine at first. Then the scanner died. The copy function went. And I was just able to print.

The color ink runs out and I figure that I don't need it. But apparently the printer won't work with just black ink. What a scam, right?

Then I hear a similar story from a relative who spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone with Dell's technical support. She was also told that it wouldn't work without BOTH full color and black ink cartridges.

I'd never in my life (outside of a Sony PC that lasted a month) had such a bad experience with a piece of technology as I had with that printer. It got to the point where I couldn't print at all and was transcribing internet driving directions down on paper - even sketching out street maps which drew mockery from my wife! And I was often emailing stuff to Mrs. C-Nut (e.g. tax returns) for her to print out or scan at her office. There was no way I was going to try to fix that printer; I was just going to wait a bit and order a new one when I upgraded my PC - which I just did.

But I didn't find anything on Dell's site that looked appropriate. I wanted a higher quality printer that just printed in black. But everything I found screamed *cheap*. I think their 4-in-1 printers were down to $60 or something.

For those of you unaware, printers are essentially given away. The manufacturers make all their money by charging people who print more, well, more. It's all in their lucrative ink business; they force you to buy, one way or another.

I just looked at HP's printers. See below:

Look at those user review ratings and tell me I should be eager to buy one or them!

Rightfully, they should bundle a baseball bat in with each printer purchase...

Moron Story 3

A local big mouth vociferous NY guy, who I recently mentioned in another post, proudly told me that he had *already bought the tickets* for his kids to see Toy Story 3. (The movie was just about to be released amid much hype.)

Frankly, I don't understand WHY a four year-old (the other kid is 2!) has to see an animated motion picture right when it premieres.

I mean, seriously, has anyone on Earth ever missed a blockbuster movie because they didn't secure tickets, the showings were all booked, AND then discontinued?

Is he afraid that the other 4 year-olds at his son's daycare will be hitting his kid with *plot spoilers* or something?

And I most certainly don't understand a parent essentially bragging about this foresight or at least publicizing the stupidity which this action constitutes.

The Altar Of Culinary Sacrifice

My buddy informed me that his wife landed a job at Gramercy Tavern.

CaptiousNut - Wow. That's like a top-10 restaurant in Manhattan. What a great opportunity!

Buddy - Well, it's more like an *internship* and it's actually the top-rated restaurant in New York City. She's in charge of organizing the refrigerator. And it pays minimum wage.

CaptiousNut - But still it'll look great on her résumé and will be a tremendous learning opportunity.

Buddy - She has to start out at the bottom and pay her dues.

CaptiousNut- Yeah. Something will open up soon. She'll move up the food chain fast.

Buddy - But she doesn't know if she wants to work in that kind of restaurant or any restaurant for that matter. It's so crazy intense. People are always chopping off their fingertips and getting burned...

CaptiousNut - You know I was always wondering about that. I always wanted to ask these professional chefs: Chef Ramsay, Lydia from that PBS Show, et al, how many times they cut themselves chopping garlic and whatnot....And you see it all the time on Hell's Kitchen. Almost every season someone gets really hurt.

Here's the menu at Gramercy Tavern. Currently dinner is two courses and costs $86 per person. Good luck with weekend reservations!

See also - Finger Food.

Morning Cheer

I have no idea who this chick is, but this *collaborative* clip is well-done:

Content Thugs

Recently, in - YouTube Overshooting - I expressed my frustration at Google/YouTube for their accelerating *copyright* enforcement.

But it's tough to really blame them given the diversified and unrelenting legal assault on them from interested lawyers and competitors. As Microsoft found out, bigness and wealth attract shakedown artists like honey does flies.

Google's won the first round of the enormous lawsuit Viacom brought against it. Viacom is suing Google for $1 billion for not having copyright lawyers inspect all the videos that get uploaded to YouTube before they're made live (they're also asking that Google eliminate private videos because these movies -- often of personal moments in YouTubers' lives -- can't be inspected by Viacom's copyright enforcers).

The lawsuit has been a circus. Filings in the case reveal that Viacom paid dozens of marketing companies to clandestinely upload its videos to YouTube (sometimes "roughing them up" to make them look like pirate-chic leaks). Viacom uploaded so much of its content to YouTube that it actually lost track of which videos were "really" pirated, and which ones it had put there, and sent legal threats to Google over videos it had placed itself.

Other filings reveal profanity-laced email exchanges between different Viacom execs debating who will get to run YouTube when Viacom destroys it with lawsuits, and execs who express their desire to sue YouTube because they can't afford to buy the company and can't replicate its success on their own.

Read the rest of it here.

Hmmmm....Sending legal threats over videos Viacom had uploaded itself?

Sounds like *entrapment* to me.

Here's hoping that Viacom's business gets decimated by the digital, internet revolution!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Trying To Be Me?

I have a Google email alert on my unique last name (which, incidentally, isn't Nut)...

And I received such an alert the other day saying to *Check out (my name)'s phone number in Florida*. The search engine had come across my name on

So I finally get around to investigating it and discover that it has me living at a certain address in Orlando. Furthermore, it lists the other names of the household. One of them I recognize as the older sister of my old, OLD college roommate.

Hmmmmm....what's going on here?

For a second I figured maybe his sister's husband somehow got a hold of my name, credit card info, or Social Security number or something.

But then just now I realized that her last name is unchanged AND the same as the other two occupants. So they must be her and my old roommate's parents.

Seeing this queer coincidence and knowing a little about the *career* background of my old friend's *immigrant* parents I strongly suspect that foul play is afoot.

My first instinct is to track down my old buddy and inform him. But I'm going to put that unpleasant discussion on hold for a minute.

I guess I have to do something to make sure my credit hasn't substantially been compromised. There has to be some entity out there that offers such a service.

Any suggestions?

Background - My former roommate was a bit of a shoplifter. And apparently kleptomania was part of his family heritage.  Back in college, some 15-16 years ago, he told me that when he got G.I. Joe figurines for Christmas....they'd always come *without the weapons* and *without the packaging*. As he got older and more perceptive he noticed his mother stuffing store items down her shirt.  The weaponry must have gotten lost in her cleavage!

As for his father....well, have y'all seen the motion picture Scarface?

Enviable Sloth

I can't believe I hadn't heard of this book before.

Here is a link to the mouth-watering, infomercial-esque introduction.

I just reserved a copy of it at my local library.

Have any of y'all read it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

On Autism

This is an actual sign down the road from me:

The other day I blogged on the dilemma of getting my kids those MMR booster shots - as mandated by Big Government apparatchiks.

Here is a great must-read article on the subject of vaccines. I'm only going to excerpt the beginning, but please click through and read the entire piece:

(NaturalNews) The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has gone ballistic over a fictional television program airing on ABC that shows a family successfully suing a vaccine manufacturer for their child's autism. Not satisfied to push dangerous vaccines onto children in the real world, the AAP now feels it must also control the thoughts and ideas of people living in fictional worlds by pressuring television networks to censor their programming. Only television shows that conform to the pro-chemical, pro-pharmaceutical, pro-vaccine point of view will be tolerated by the AAP, it seems.

A letter signed by AAP President Renee Jenkins warns ABC that it will "will bear responsibility for the needless suffering and potential deaths of children from parents' decisions not to immunize based on the content of the episode." This is tantamount to saying that ABC's television program will kill children! The AAP letter goes on to state the usual conventional medicine propaganda line that there is "no evidence" of any link between vaccines and autism.

Of course, that's only true if you limit your "evidence" to whatever dogmatic beliefs are currently being circulated in the minds of the promoters of western medicine. To these doctors, there's no such thing as a dangerous injection, drug or synthetic chemical! It's all safe for children: Mercury fillings, chemical fluoridation of water supplies, 37 different vaccine injections, antibacterial soap in children's toothpaste... need I go on? The American Academy of Pediatrics seemingly hasn't met a corporate-sponsored chemical it didn't like.

Organic Toilet Seat Liners?

I was just thinking the other day how the above practice just can't at all be considered *green*.

Well, in a gender comparison, it can't at all be greener than the widespread male practice of depositing roughly 80% of their urine in a toilet/urinal, NOT flushing, and NOT washing one's hands! (Realize they only need to fill the soap dispensers in mens' rooms....annually.)

To counter propaganda such as - It's Been Proven - Women Are Greener Than Men - I'm going to put this *do you line the seat?* comeback on a developing list of my very own colloquial propaganda.

And if women truly are greener than men (I thought spitting out kids was destoying the Earth?), I think we ought to seriously look at repealing the 19th Amendment.

(At least one other nutjob agrees with me!)

A Junk Debunk

So I'm skimming a blog post that claims economist Paul Krugman *debunks* the idea of heavy government cuts as a way to economic recovery.

While Krugman didn't actually do what the blog author asserted....let's put that aside for a moment.

Morons and anti-Morons were arguing back and forth in the comment thread.

One particular mental midget offered up as his entire defense of Krugman that he *won a Nobel Prize* ergo he must know what he's talking about. (Next I'll have to take seriously the advice of *doctors* just because they went to medical school! Or government school teachers' opinion on education!)

Somebody countered that there's no such thing as a Nobel Prize in Economics.

And the boob came back with *yes, there is....look it up."

Lo and behold, the anti-Moron fired back:

Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Nobel Prize in Medicine
Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Peace Prize
Prize in Economic Sciences

It's a later addition, not in accordance with Nobel's will. Tastelessly tacked on.

Hmmmm....I didn't know that. He's right, there is no official Nobel Prize in Economics.

Look, I've been telling people for I don't know how long - that macroeconomics is pure sophistry. There's just no way they can measure the aggregates they think they can measure; furthermore, the qualities of what they try to measure are changing all the time. Pure economics remains a fascinating subject to study but only so long as students steer clear of the junk, the propaganda, the Krugmans AND the Mankiws of that world.

From a humorous prior post:

Larry Kudlow - Isn't it better to have a broad-based permanent tax cut?

Greg Mankiw - I think there are different points of view on that....If you had a bunch of economists in a room you're going to get seven opinions from six economists. So there's no real consensus on that.

So no matter what agenda a slimy pol promotes....he can be certain to attain the imprimatur of some Harvard quack!

In other words, 99% of these award-winning/tenured economists are nothing but political propagandists (and wannabe political propagandists).

Krugman, as a Marginalization target, is low hanging fruit. I've left fisking him to others from the get-go.

But for those who appreciate seeing him smacked for the bazillionth time....see comment #10 from that post:

Krugman's problem is that he demonstrates complete ignorance when it comes to the most fundamental issues of economics: incentives. Incentives are often ignored in large systems because there is some inherent balance present. However, that balance only goes so far. The reason that it is okay to slash taxes on the rich to the tune of $1.3 trillion and yet it is not okay to spend $77 billion to extend unemployment insurance is because slashing taxes increase investment and leads to economic growth because it increases the incentive to work. Providing extended unemployment insurance does the exact opposite - it increases the incentive NOT to work. This is a fundamental fact that cannot be ignored. The other fact that Krugman fails to point out is that when taxes are lower, government revenue actually increases. The reason, again, has to do with incentives. If people are provided with incentives to work, there will be less "need" for unemployment insurance, more motivation to produce and earn more, and thus a net gain in tax revenue.

One last point - Krugman's error is summed up when he talks about "slashing benefits for those in need". Krugman believes that productive citizens have a fundamental duty to provide for people who are not productive, and that the needs of those people are valid claims on the wealth of others. That kind of attitude enslaves producers to consumers. It is undeniably immoral, and any philosophy that follows from that foundation is factually and ethically wrong on its face.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

NYC - More In The Black

Here's one of the more prominent differences between Boston and New York:

New York has a whole lot more BLACK HAIR!

People-wise, it's waaaaay more diverse.

The extra black hair isn't just because of Boston's lily-white Irish heritage...

It's because New York is teeming with a whole lot more Asians, Italians, Jews, Blacks, illegal immigrants Latin Americans, et al.

I think in America 2010, all one really has to do to assess the demographics of a region is check out the size of the Goya section at the supermarket. Put it this way, I had no idea that Goya made so many more products than just beans and rice until I saw the Goya aisle at a store in Port Washington.

But getting back New York's diversity...

Particularly in Manhattan, one notices how extremely heterogeneous the pairs of caretakers and children are. It's far beyond just *white kids with Caribbean nannies*. You'll see every possible permutation imaginable - and then a few more. Asian kids with white nannies; bi-racial combos you won't be able to guess in a million years; and in vitro twins galore. My wife's friend summed it up perfectly, "The kids in New York NEVER match the parents." And often they don't even match their siblings!

And when diversity reigns so wide AND deep....foreigners don't have to assimilate. I experienced this previously as a student at UPenn. And here, I've already heard about old-school *Persians* nearby who, in keeping with their cultural heritage, will smack their adult sister in public if she falls out of line or something.

THAT I have to see, and hopefully record on my camera!

As for the *black hair* abundance, maybe that explains this from my prior post - Google Diversity Training:

The Dying Room

Look at those zombies...only a total Moron would dare call this quality family time.

I submit, that in this day and age when anyone who goes for a neighborhood walk/run at night sees a flickering color TV light in EVERY home,....I submit that the living room should henceforth be known at the *dying room*.

You know in my past abode, in 2.75 years there, while not precisely true, I feel like I spent hardly a minute in my living room. I was always either in my bed, in the kitchen, in the backyard, or at my desk.

I've almost come to loathe living rooms for the corrosive passivity they stand for.

Most people have an idea that the boob tube (the boob plasma now?) fries the brain, but few realize the full extent.

Furthermore, religious channel surfing absolutely destroys the body. I'm no doctor, which bolsters my credentials(!), but I swear that sitting on a couch is one of the worst, most insidious attacks on the physical body out there. TV watching rots the core - abs and back, prevents someone from otherwise being ambulatory, AND, for whatever reason (commercials?), induces people to pig out on food. When I do watch television, e.g. the US Open this weekend, I lay on the floor, without a pillow, in a semi-crunch position. Try it from now on and you'll feel your stomach tightening!

And even in those ultra-rare instances when the TV is off...

What are people doing in their living/family rooms?

They might be sitting around, munching and sipping, nodding at the musing of their like-minded acquaintances....or exchanging vapid small-talk with those whom they are either afraid of offending or getting offended by.

Of course it's important to have friends, entertain, and celebrate wage-slave/religious holidays as a family...

But it's also important to at all times be engaged in NOVEL and PRODUCTIVE activities.

And by novel I don't mean the latest dancing reality TV show or today's Red Sox or Yankees game!

TV is a narcotic and a prison cell all at once. Heal thyself and break free!

I say steer clear of these misnamed living rooms - as recovering alcoholics would scamper past bars.

Living With MIL Chronicles - 1

Alright, here's a good lead-in:

People have been asking me, on the side, what it's like now living with my MIL. After all, it's been some time now - by my count 24 days.

But there're too many other statistically significant variables at the moment to render a targeted analysis.

In a word, things have been totally *fine* thus far. This house is big - providing a large buffer zone for anyone in need of a little space.

Plus, y'all need to be reminded, multi-generational cohabitation is actually the historical norm. Grown adults have been living with their parents and grandparents for well....MILLENNIA!

Recall that I myself grew up in a two-family home, the other half of which was occupied by my maternal grandparents. Also, my wife's grandmother lived in her family house for a bit as well. And when Social Security/Medicare/pensions go bust living arrangements will revert back to what they always were.

Forever molested by foresight, I'm pretty sure that I want to be close to my own children when I'm a drooling, napping, forgetful 'old coot'. I actually asked my 4.01 year old Princess the other night if she'd take care of me when I was old. Without hesitation, she reached around my neck and gave me one of her trademark python hugs, gritted her teeth, and say YES!

So as far as I'm concerned, living with my MIL or even my own *inlawish* parents, is simply part of the family deal.

Note there are a score of benefits to having an adult roommate. For one thing, I can now run out to the store, to the train station, or to the driving range at 6am with the comfort that I didn't leave my small children alone (as I used to do!). And, I fully intend on some late afternoons, taking the train into Manhattan and meeting my wife after work for dinner. Grandma will be left in charge!

Yeah there's the to-be-expected clutter, and the 'old coot' idiosyncrasies that come with the territory....but in my case, thus far, they've been surmountable. And I'm starting to get very comfortable here.

What's funny, if you recall, is that I spent nearly two weeks at my parents' house before officially moving down to Long Island. Put it this way, after dealing with my folks and their cluttered fridge, their insane newspaper hoarding(!), and their queer rubbish disposal procedures (composting!)...

I came down here, to my MIL's house, and the similarities bordered on the profound, with her stockpiles of expired food, her papers everywhere (though mostly mail), and her wacko garbage can ritual (uses those grocery store bags only - about 11 per day that have to be toted down to the garbage!).

So limbo at my parent's house was actually a full-simulation training ground for what I was moving into!

And can someone, anyone, tell me why those all those 'old coots', the same people who run around turning lights off to *save electricity*....why they all have this deranged obsession with leaving a faint kitchen light on all night long?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Better Blogging Chronicles 5 - Learning From Masters

With my blog output lower the past few months, an explanation is due.

While I have been busy busier with landlord fighting, moving out of Boston, limbo at my parents' house, and then moving back to New York...I've also changed the way I look at this endeavor.

A few months ago, when I resolved to take Marginalizing Morons to the next level, the fruit of my work/research screamed at me to change my approach.

So although on its face nothing looks different soon will, hopefully.

I've traded some of the time that I would normally spend writing posts for time spent reading all the *internet marketing* gurus. I've been combing through their *pillar content*, aka *killer articles*, and been downloading all their free ebooks. Here are a few whom I've been consulting on the cheap:


Daily Blog Tips

John Chow

Yaro Starak

Erica Douglass

Seth Godin

Chris G


They all peddle their own books, other peoples products, and consulting services. Indeed they all do read like informercials and some of them are outright hucksters....promising to lead wannabes to internet gold, but there's still a whole lot of insight there. Note just about every one of them has a $500-$1,000 product where they will re-do your entire website to bring in more hits, more subscribers, and more monetization.

And it is pretty darn ironic - that almost every one of these dudes and broads made some money online but have now turned turned their attention to selling their insights as their chief product. That be like someone finding a handful of gold nuggets in 1849 and then investing that windfall in saloons, brothels, and a pick & shovel company to bilk all the latecomers!

Somehow I was thrust, at least mentally, to the frontier of the blogosphere. I now have so many ideas buzzing in my dome that I don't know where to begin. It's going to be a big job to re-organize my site, re-brand myself, work on my ebooks, AND keep spewing out content.

Having said that, I think it's time to send my kids to summer camp!

See also - Better Blogging Chronicles 4 - Too Slow?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Marginalizing The iPad

Not me, as I only have a few hunches what it's all about.

I'm outsourcing this Marginalization.

A guy on a popular blog titles his post:

Why I Won't Buy An iPad (and think you shouldn't, either)

The gist is that the device is for Morons - for people who passively consume information. *Ease of use* isn't a breakthrough but rather a tactic to hook or *re-capture* those who can't think for themselves.

Just like the gadget press is full of devices that gadget bloggers need (and that no one else cares about), the mainstream press is full of stories that affirm the internal media consensus. Yesterday's empires do something sacred and vital and most of all grown up, and that other adults will eventually come along to move us all away from the kids' playground that is the wild web, with its amateur content and lack of proprietary channels where exclusive deals can be made. We'll move back into the walled gardens that best return shareholder value to the investors who haven't updated their portfolios since before eTrade came online.

The blog post was provocative enough to generate, as of now, 895 it might be worth a read.

As If Playing The Games Wasn't Geeky Enough!

This was my favorite game from that original Nintendo video game system - though admittedly I never tried too many others:

In case you didn't discern it (or can't relate to the experience), this geek is playing the Super Mario Bros. theme in *real time*!

Big Gov't Alarmists, Wasting My Time

This morning I had to go pick up some forms from the local government school system. Yeah, with my son of legal age now, it's time for me to cross over into the official realm of *homeschooling*. Because it means nothing for anyone staying at home with toddlers, doodling, reciting the alphabet, and doing a little algebra(!), to say they homeschool - that is until their child is 6 and they are *defying the state*.

Of course I have no expectations of the process being easy. I went to the local school, had to check in with *security* at two different junctures, navigate my car and my kids through a sea of shiftless adolescents....only to come up empty-handed. The woman who was supposed to meet me had stepped out. I waited as long as I could before rushing off to my kids' pediatric appointment - which I ended up being late for.

Why were we seeing the doctor?

Because the Prince and the Princess can't attend any of these camps without physicals.

My son hadn't been to a doctor in two full years; and my daughter was due for her annual check-up as well. They say *due* but all they really mean is that they want to pump some more vaccines in her - "MMR boosters" or whatever. Having USED MY OWN BRAIN and done some research....this stuff scares me - meaning the vaccinations, not the diseases.

The doctor, unlike some others, was good though. She had no ego, no opinion about whether or not I got the vaccinations that were *due*. Though she did regurgitate the illogical propaganda in the face of my hesitation:

Pediatrician - You know, there was a case here last year in New York where an entire community got the mumps...

Of course, I knew exactly what she was talking about. I had blogged on it!

CaptiousNut - And 76% of those people were already vaccinated...

Pediatrician - But that just proves that there are some wild strains of the disease out there.

CaptiousNut - (lightly laughing) I thought it proved that the vaccine doesn't work?

Pediatrician - (blah, blah, blah)....herd immunity....(blah, blah, blah).

But she was very nice, which is rare to find among doctors(!), so I diplomatically changed the subject. It'd probably be unpleasant for me to diagnose her ignorance any more than I already had.

About 15 minutes later, it was a long examination, I changed my mind and allowed the vaccinations on my poor kids. Because the fact remained, if I wanted to send them to ANY camp this summer, they'd need a note from the doctor stating their immunizations were "up-to-date". This really pissed me off, but what am I going to do?

My kids love summer camp, even if they'll only get a week or two. They work hard all year long and have earned it - as far as my wife and I are concerned. Have y'all see my daugher doing her math yet?

Looking over my daughter's chart I was displeased to see that at age two she was given some *chicken pox vaccine* (on Mrs. C-Nut's watch!). That's my fault I guess because I hadn't done my research or paid close enough attention. Knowing what I know now - see Kids Need Viruses... - I'd never have allowed my kids to be injected with that crap. In fact, even more chafing, was a remark made by the doctor that the particular chicken pox vaccine my then 2 year old daughter was given is now *off the market*. Go figure! And worry!

More here:

Sometime around 1995 a vaccine for chickenpox became available. It is a live-virus vaccine. Typically live-virus vaccines are made by growing the wild -type virus in ways that alter its ability to cause the disease. In essence it is similar to the natural virus, and capable of reproducing once inside the body, but is supposed to be less likely to actually cause the disease itself. However just because the symptoms are reduced does not necessarily mean that it is not causing harm inside the body. Their are many examples of infections that can silently damage organs, and not be discovered until many years later.

The normal route of entry of chickenpox into a child's body is through the mouth and nose-- usually inhaling particles that an infected person has coughed. This means that the virus will come in contact with the mucous membranes and trigger the beginnings of an immune response. After this initial "alert" of the immune system, the virus travels to the lymphatic system, where additional body defenses are mustered. Finally, after the body has had adequate time to gear up, the virus gains access to the blood stream and major organs. But by this time, the immune system is mounting a full response (thanks to its being alerted early by the mucous membranes and lymphatic system) and will usually protect the major organs from damage from this virus.

Now compare this scenario to what happens when one's first exposure to the virus is from a vaccine: The mucous membranes are bypassed. The lymphatic system is bypassed. The live virus gains immediate access to the bloodstream and major organs -- a situation that millions of years of evolutionary wisdom seems to have tried to avoid!

No one really knows what the long term ramifications of exposure to this virus in this unorthodox way are. Since it is so new, there is no long term data available. In fact there is no data to even suggest that after ten years, immunity from this vaccine is sufficient to prevent the disease -- possibly leaving people vulnerable to getting chickenpox as adults when the risks of this illness are much greater!

There is no evidence that when little girls who have received the chickenpox vaccine grow up and become mothers, they will be able to pass sufficient antibodies on to their babies to protect them from chickenpox in infancy -- which can also be dangerous in the very young. And like all vaccines currently on the market, there is no requirement that manufacturers study recipients of vaccines to identify possible long-term ill-effects from these biological agents. In fact to my knowledge, no vaccine manufacturer ever records data on the health of vaccinee's longer then 90 days -- and even following them that long is rare! But that does make it easy for them to dismiss epidemiological data that seems to suggest vaccines may play a role in the increase in a variety of autoimmune diseases, asthma and brain disorders.

What we do know as a result of vaccination for measles, another previously common childhood infection--also thought to be much less serious if contracted between the ages of 3-9, is that for many, the vaccine does not confer lifelong immunity, it merely POSTPONES one's susceptibility. Prior to widespread measles vaccination, epidemics in college-aged people were unheard of -- today (or a least prior to requiring re-immunization of college freshman) college students have become more common victims, and face a greater potential for complications then children.

When I first heard press reports about the new chickenpox vaccine, I remember thinking to myself, "That's crazy -- how in the world will they sell a new vaccine with unknown long term dangers to the public -- nobody's scared of chickenpox." But very soon my question was answered. While reading a popular parenting magazine one day, I noticed a slick multi-page advertising insert that compared the cost of this vaccine to lost wages of the working parent who must miss a week of work to care for their sick child. It was a shock to see the health of our children so shamelessly traded for the materialism of our culture.

At that point, having studied a bit more about the history of vaccination, and the evolution of public perception about specific illnesses once a vaccine is introduced, I remember commenting to a friend, "Just wait -- in twenty or thirty years when childhood cases of chickenpox become rare due to the use of this vaccine -- everyone will be talking about what a DANGEROUS disease chickenpox was!" As it turns out, I was wrong -- it didn't take twenty or thirty years, it happened almost as soon as the vaccine was released. Pharmaceutical company spun articles and news reports began appearing that emphasized that chickenpox is not a benign disease. First they said that there were about ten deaths a year due chickenpox. A year later I saw an article that claimed there were a hundred deaths a year due to chickenpox. Next came a heart-rending article, splashed all-over the newspapers complete with color pictures and all of some poor child who had a "normal" case of chickenpox and then developed some serious heart complication. The child's doctor was quoted as saying, "Chickenpox is NOT harmless!"

I'm sure sales of the vaccine increased after that story came out -- funny how in the previous fifty years (prior to introduction of the vaccine) the media never had a story like that to run!

After this brutal and lengthy doctor's appointment (my kids were getting beyond restless), I swung by the house and dropped them off for lunch.

But then I had to go all the way back to the school, now all this nonsense was cutting into my afternoon, and try again to get the *home instruction* paperwork I needed to file.

It's damn hard to not get frustrated with all this BS. I mean who are these people? It turns out, I have to write a letter to the Superintendent AND the Board of Education, informing them of my intent to homeschool. THEN, they have to *sign off* on my curriculum, I have to file quarterly reports, and I have to subject my son to THEIR tests.

Hah! I should be testing their competency; and testing their Moronic kids...

In the doctor's office today, the nice pediatrician engaged my son, asking him what his favorite subject was. "I do a lot of math," he said.

CaptiousNut - Go ahead and ask him a math question.

Pediatrician - No...No...I'm not good at math.

CaptiousNut - (smirking) Well he's going to be the one who answers it...

CaptiousNut - Alright (Prince), why don't you ask her a question.

Prince - Okay...2 X equals zero...what is X?

Pediatrican - (about 15 seconds later) One half?

Prince - No, X is zero.


And I'm going to listen to her about vaccines???

Like I said, I should be testing them.

See also - Vaccinate Yourself Against Doctors.

And my rebellious pig flu posts:

Massachusetts - The Dumbest State, QED

The Bizarro World Of Pig Flu Hysterics

More Pig/Bird Flu Fraud

More Pig Flu Nonsense

Swine Flu Cooties

Pig Flu Quack-ccine

Nonstop Alarmism

Pig Flu Bogeyman - Up For Slaughter

A Window Into The Empty Lives Of Wealthy People

I caught some new(?) show on HGTV the other day.

Selling New York is a unique series for that channel in that it really only focuses on high-end real estate. What else is there now in NYC? In fact my wife can't stand watching its *My First House* programs - mostly on account of how dumb the buyers are, with their *it has to be good for the dogs* and their maxed out borrowing.

But the voyeur in me really enjoys Selling New York.

I couldn't find a decent short clip, so here's a *full episode*. You might want to skip ahead a bit:

I actually thought $12 million for that 5th Avenue penthouse was cheap. But what do I know about that world?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

C-Nut Family PC Upgrades

5.75 years ago I purchased my last new PC - a Dell Optiplex with two 19 inch flat panel monitors and *gold* customer support. I didn't even go in my pocket for MS-Office and the bill for this, at the time, top-of-the-line system came to $3,000.

Its replacement, which I just ordered a minute ago, only cost $1,300. And of course it should be a whole lot more advanced, have a whole lot more memory, etc. I felt like I was splurging going for the cordless keyboard, the built-in webcam, an external hard drive, and MS-Office (my wife insisted on this $119 add-on).

I also decided to get my son (and daughter) their own PC - for $635 or whatever. There's literally so much educational stuff online for them that I could, and plan on(!) leaving them at the PC all day long. The web is rapidly even making people like me, a hands-on homeschooling parent, obsolete.

BTW, the 21 inch widescreen HD monitor pictured above retails at Dell now for $139.

I recall that my two old 19 inch monitors, all by themselves, cost me a total of $700 back in September of 2004. And that was only because I bought two and got a *deal*. One by itself was nominally listed at near $500.

The bill for both new computers came to $2,205.05. Let's see how they perform!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think the computer I'm still typing on would last so long - not given the sheer amount of use and abuse I got out of it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In Praise Of Dead Sports

Here's what I do with my beloved Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals yet again:

At night I tape, er DVR, the game. I wake up in the morning and check the score to see if they won.

If they were in fact victorious, I'm delighted and will thoroughly enjoy watching the entire recorded game on my low-def color TV.

If they lost, I delete the game from my cable box and from my memory.

Yesterday I was explaining my strategy to an acquaintance down here.

He scoffed, called my approach *ridiculous*, and insisted that it *defeated the purpose*.

The purpose?

With all the drama in my life: landlord fighting, moving, marriage to a 100% Italian broad, homeschooling, trading, and now living with the MIL(!)....I scarcely need the stomach-churning of a LIVE playoff sports event - with it's four-minute commercials and bazillion time-outs.

Now this guy was hardly the first to mock my policy of only watching DEAD sports - as I've had the DVR now for over 10 years.

In his defense, he's not a Boston fan, he's a New Yorker so he hasn't had the burden of watching so many important playoff games!

But to him and every other couch-potato big mouth I say this,

"Have you ever tried to tape a game and watch it knowing the outcome or fast-forwarded? Well I've done it both ways - watching sports both live and dead. How much free time to you have anyway, O sluggard?"

Loading Up On Inflation-Protected, Hard Assets!

Today I bought, or pre-bought, 40,000 balls at the local driving range.

The total bill was $1299 or ≈ 3.24 ¢ per ball.

Sure it may take me 2-3 years to hit them all...

But if I paid normal freight for those 40,000 balls I'd be paying $3,750 or ≈ 9.375 ¢ per ball. So I'm reaping a hefty 67% discount.

I contemplated this purchase for several days. Do I really want to hit that many balls? Of course I NEED to if I ever want to reach my full golfing potential.

I looked at this this way - with the market prices for golf here, I'm not going to be playing too many rounds. So hitting balls is a viable alternative. I actually like to practice very much - especially when *playing* involves considerable time (5 hours!) and money.

And my risks are small (compared to my trading!). As I see them:

  • The club goes bankrupt.

  • We move yet again before I exhaust my *balls*.

  • I suffer some debilitating injury that renders me unable to exhaust my...

  • We end up joining some local country club in the next year or so that provides free range balls (highly unlikely). I told my wife if we have the coin to join a NYC area club....then that $1,300 I spent ought to be an insignificant amount to talk about.

  • The course drastically DROPS its range prices.

  • BP opens an oil rig in Long Island Sound!

  • Still, this is an awful lot of balls for a non-professional to be hitting.

    The girl at the counter said I was *the only one to ever buy that amount*.

    That remark put a nice smile on my face. As y'all well know, I pride myself on standing out from the crowd: renting, homeschooling, tuning out the *news*, blogging, etc.

    Movie Skip - Shutter Island

    After paying $4.99 for it on Pay-Per-View....I promptly fell asleep on it not once, but TWO nights in a row.

    I forced myself to watch the last 28 minutes of it early this morning.

    This motion picture, IMO, was rather stupid.

    (And anyone who tells me the book was better will be dealt with harshly!)