Sunday, October 30, 2011

Housing Disaster - Still Only in the 4th Inning!

For many years I blogged on the coming/arriving housing disaster...

Few listened.

I hate to beat this dead horse myself so here's Mark Hanson with an update:

Finally, it is extremely important to remember that ever since the mortgage and housing crisis began every last time a "movement" to artificially stimulate mortgage and housing gains momentum with the media, sell side, banks, NAR, builders and government it is only aimed at one thing…that is preventing a disaster lying directly ahead with a quick fix to patch the gaping hole in the side of the ship via kicking the can, protecting the banks from resi whole loan and MBS price discovery, giving something to millions of delinquent borrowers for nothing, and getting votes. None of these things will promote a sustanable recovery in housing. The only true fix for this housing market is time. And it always leads to disappointment.

The most recent ‘movement’ to legislate easier bank lending standards; giving everybody in America with a mortgage something for nothing in the form of an insta-refi; principal balance reduction modifications in hopes of avoiding foreclosures and freeing up homeowners to re-buy (won’t help); and continued foreclosure prevention through things such as bulk REO sales with usage provisions and the GSE’s renting REO (crushing the independent investor and cannibalizing the all important first time buyer cohort) — will end in disappointment as well. Heck, without distressed sales over a third of activity would disappear making macro housing even weaker.

This confluence of panic-bred stimulus lunacy is a perfect recipe for a disaster in the mortgage and housing sectors that will push out an ultimate bottom longer than anybody, include us, is forecasting.
There's plenty more in his report so click the link above.


Realize the next disaster I've been warning y'all about is - schools and college tuition!

Rather than them driving ME into debt with nothing to show for it but worthless diplomas....I'm trying to raise kids who can pay MY country club dues; send ME on cruises; etc.

October Blizzard?

After 14 inches of snow yesterday - OCTOBER 29th! - my parents in Central Massachusetts are still without their (electrical) power.

This is PRECISELY WHY I was so intent on moving out of that Arctic wasteland!

Western Mass was actually reamed with 30 inches of Halloween snow...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Job Interview - Follow-up

So the other day I had a *job interview* of sorts. See my - prior post.

How'd it go?

Well okay - even though I'm not about to be tutoring wealthy New Yorkers for $300 an hour through this company anytime soon.

It's funny because, just as I predicted to my wife, the guy asked a million questions about *homeschooling*.

Now I love talking about what we do with our kids, the theories, resources, etc....but this was a total deja vu situation.

Some 10+ years ago, after I messed up my back in that car accident....every doctor I saw wanted to talk to me about the roaring stock market (on account of me being a floor trader). "But hey, Doc, what about fixing my back???"

After a nice, long conversation we did get around to talking about me tutoring with his organization.

Here's the deal. They mostly do standardized test tutoring. Yuck! And tutors have to teach all three sections to the student: math, verbal, essay.

Furthermore, tutors have to re-take the SAT, score in the top 1% on all three exams, AND then undergo this firm's *training program*.

Forget the exorbitant rates charged to the parents....tutoring pay starts at only $70 an hour.

After meeting with me for 45 minutes, the guy said that he didn't think I would be interested in such a path....and I confirmed it for him right on the spot.

Unless I was getting paid north of $150 an hour, it's not worth my time to tutor through a company because of income taxes, the cost of getting someone to watch my kids, etc. So $150 was my minimum to start with.

Beyond that I don't really care to tutor the verbal and essay sections - again, unless I'm getting paid $200+ hour on the books.

Re-take the SAT? Didn't I have to go through that BS once before?

Well I had been contemplating taking it anyway. I have no idea what the *essay* section even is (note also my handwriting is illegible TO ME at this point).

Apparently 2,200 points would get you in the top 1% overall. That would be, for example, 800 math, 700, verbal, and 700 on the essay sections. Though I'm not sure what the individual section scores would need to be to crack the 1% threshold.

I'm pretty sure I could take the test, ace the math, do significantly better than the 690 I got on verbal in 1991, and get close to whatever score represents the top 1% in the subjective essay section...

But again, why do tutors need to do this?

The answer is simply - *marketing*. I'm sure this company tells its clients, "EVERY ONE OF OUR TUTORS SCORED IN THE TOP 1% ON ALL SECTIONS OF THE SAT."

Now that's their business; it's very lucrative/successful; so I'm not going to pass judgment on its inherent weaknesses. Clearly they rank marketing at least on par with pure competence.  Eben Pagan most certainly agrees with this philosophy too.

I mean, just because someone can score on the exam....that doesn't mean they will be an adept teacher of the content. Who among us doesn't personally know *nerds* with F-level people and verbalization skills?

The other thing is, just as I suspected, all the *management* continues to tutor as well. So they keep the ultra-high-paying clientele for themselves - as I would too if I were them!

They are not really hard-up for tutors who meet their qualifications (top 1% SAT scorers) and are willing to work for less than $100 an hour (which is like $50-$60 cash after taxes) either...

What else do you think graduates out of Harvard each year but another flock of aimless nerds who have high college boards and scant, real marketable skills!!!

It wasn't all bad. The guy and I got along really well and he was very interested in me as sort of an educational consultant for their parents who want to supplement, enrich, or even venture completely into the wonderful world of individualized education. And since he has all the connections to the *people of means* in this area I'm not about to close this window of opportunity.

Too Much Homework...

Yes, this is indeed my nightstand at the moment:

Awaken The Giant Within

Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition (Collins Business Essentials)

The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition

Relax into Stretch : Instant Flexibility Through Mastering Muscle Tension

Life Application Study Bible NIV

The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales.

Home Schooling, the Right Choice: An Academic, Historical, Practical, and Legal Perspective

Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

There's just too little time to read these days - so they are piling up. Plus I keep coming across new, good ones.

So far I've read 23 books in 2011.

Last year I read approximately 27 books. See my - book list.

In this arena my bibliophile son leaves me in the dust. Just wait until I show you what he's read - just since July!

Of course he doesn't really have to do anything other than make his bed. And a good portion of his reading takes place while I'm at the steering wheel, stuck in New York traffic. So it's not exactly a fair contest.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Women - Grosser Than We Thought

The scat-obsessed Ukrainian Fop sent me a link on toilet reading.

I was shocked to learn:

...and 41% of the women confessed to being regular toilet readers.
Besides that one lady who worked in my wife's office in Philly - who would blatantly fetch a newspaper(the sports section only!), tuck it under her arm, and saunter her way over to the comfort station....I had heretofore thought the practice was rare among the other gender.

It's entrapment!

Go - Better Than Chess?

Have any of y'all played this game?

I was told yesterday that go/igo/baduk is *better* than chess in some respects. Otherwise I'd never heard of this game before.

I've emailed that video to my son; we'll get a gameboard; and he'll TEACH ME!

Or perhaps we'll just go straight to an online version.

Hey, every other Moron these days is going *asian*, teaching their kids Japanese Mandarin, so why not?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Job Interview?

Today I'm actually meeting with/interviewing for some part-time work at a *high end* tutoring company.

Incredibly, they advertise rates from $195 to $795 PER 50 MINUTE SESSION.

So we'll see how this goes. Of course anything can happen in a job interview. In the distant past I've really annoyed/pissed off/offended/unimpressed some of these gatekeepers. Whatever.

I don't need to tutor through an agency. And I'm quite sure I can break into this ultra-rich market on my own eventually.

But it would be nice to be handed some easy, lucrative work right now.

Hey, if anyone on planet Earth is worth those rates it most certainly is me!

In fact I sent them the videos of my kids doing math and that's probably what landed me the interview and résumé request in the first place. Now it's just up to me to fail in person...

I would think this type of operation - in contradistinction to other firms over the years that DID NOT hire me - is actually very interested in pure teaching competence.

Because they want good tutors who are going to be demanded, repeatedly, by their clients. It's a referral business after all. They will charge the client $200+ an hour and only pay the tutor X-per hour. Maybe today we'll discover how high $X is - starting out anyway?

The certain downside of an operation like this is the dreaded 1099 tax form...

The uncertain downside is that probably the best clients ($500+ an hour) are hoarded by upper management - like in every other business.

Again, whatever. This is a no-risk proposition for me.

Still Searching For Fitness Hacks

I might get me one of these things this week.

Yeah it's a beast of a space-eater...

But one of my problems is that I don't get enough aerobic exercise.

I've always hated running (it's most unkind to my achy back) and just haven't been able to get going with full immersion swimming.

So I'm thinking that some work with the bags may finally be the answer to my cardio training deficiency.

Have any of y'all ever used these? Thoughts?

I mean I'm not even sure that it is a cardio workout. My arms are already ripped so what I'm looking for is a good sweat and maybe some more ab-work.  I'd like to kick the heavy bag too - so long as I don't hit the support structure!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parental Discrimination

If you can't read this gem, click the image to enlarge:


You know, the parents are still to blame. They are the ones who raised this spoiled, Moronic monster in the first place! Forgive my skepticism but somehow I don't think a momentary lapse of pseudo-discipline is going to do anything here.

At my son's soccer game the other day, one 6 year old brat was handed a water bottle by his father/coach...

The kid, unsatisfied with the offering for some reason, indignantly smacked it out of his father's hand right in front of the entire team AND all the other parents.

Unmoved, the father picked up the bottle and held it out anew.

The twit smacked it to the ground again and then booted it out on to the field for good measure.

Incredibly, the father didn't say a word or react one bit.

Meanwhile I myself was about to reach out and belt this little jerk. I'm sure he too, soon, will have a cordless cell phone paid for by his parents among many other perks.

Tragically, where we live/have lived, in these wealthy towns you see this behavior all day long, everyday. It's bad enough that most of the stay-at-home moms don't value juvenile discipline, but many of the dads are pushovers too.

When I was younger, I used to try and avoid consorting with unjustified braggarts, hypersensitive folk, dullards, and losers. (A$$holes didn't really bother me.)

But these days I find myself most repelled by *bad parents*. I quite frankly don't want to be anywhere near them, their kids, and I most definitely don't want my kids socializing with their kids.

Quite often we will meet some locals; they will become enamored of my wife and I (no shock there!); they will make some social overture towards us; and I will tell Mrs. C-Nut, "There's no way in hell I'll be chinking glasses with them at some restaurant."

There are millions of people here in the New York Metro there's hardly a need to *settle* even the slightest in the socialization department.

The downside of course is....traffic!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fries With That?

Did y'all see this?

Call me cold....but these girls just about deserved it.

Regularly I remark to random earthlings about *fast food violence* these days...

And most of the time the Morons have no idea what I'm talking about.

"Don't you see all these videos of vicious fighting, riots, and beatdowns on the web?"

Nope, they haven't.

And I reminded that despite the liberated info/news on the internet, there are still millions of people living in narrow-band world of Big Media.

As far as I'm concerned they are *martians*!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Jammed In The Keyster

My wife called a locksmith to install a deadbolt today.

The guy charged her $400!!!

I am not happy at all - to put it mildly.

Every tradesman charges women more, especially in New York.

Of course she's supposed to consult her husband...

What do y'all think a deadbolt should cost???

I'm thinking $150, max - and that's assuming he gave us a decent lock. ("MaxTech"?)

Go Forth And Multiply

First read - Aging - A Downhill, Death Spiral.

I still don't understand why my age-mates are all doing it!

Get this, today one of my buddies called me up to tell me his wife was due with his 5th child.

Congratulations! Right?

Well he also told me that he had undergone a vasectomy several months ago!!!

Of course I had to make a little joke about a *getting a paternity test* - what male buddy wouldn't?

Interestingly, this dude is a devout Christian who probably vowed at his wedding to *accept children lovingly from God*!

I believe a lawyer has been consulted already.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Golf Spam

Everywhere on the web I go I see an ad for this golf instructor...

I signed up for his *free tips*...

And he proceeded to spam me with about 20, TWENTY freakin' emails within two weeks.

Obviously I had to unsubscribe and I may or may not go back and read/watch what he sent me originally.

But c'mon whoever his *web consultant* is needs to get a clue. He may be hitting the ball far and straight down the fairway but his online marketing is a complete shank.

The people signing up for'll email them only once in a blue moon.

Up Sheep-Creek Without A Paddle

It's hard to believe that I'd never before heard of Tony Robbins - a fabulously wealthy, self-help guru from the 90s.

I just started reading one of his books and I'm afraid I'm going to have real trouble putting it down. It's 500 pages so there goes this week!

From page 41 of Awaken the Giant Within:
Too many of us don't make the majority of our decisions consciously, especially these three absolutely crucial ones; in doing so, we pay a major price. In fact, most people live what I call "The Niagara Syndrome." I believe that life is like a river, and that most people jump on the river of life without ever really deciding where they want to end up. So, in a short period of time, the get caught up in the current: current events, current fears, current challenges. When they come to forks in the river, they don't consciously decide where they want to go, or which is the right direction for them. They merely "go with the flow." They become a part of the mass of people who are directed by the environment instead of by their own values. As a result, they feel out of control. They remain in this unconscious state until one day the sound of the raging water awakens them, and they discover that they're five feet from Niagara Falls in a boat with no oars. At this point, they say, "Oh, shoot!" But by then it's too late. They are going to take a fall. Sometimes it's a physical fall. Sometimes it's an emotional fall. It's likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by some better decisions upstream.

Bingo! No?

The three crucial destiny-controlling decisions referenced are:

1. Your decisions about WHAT TO FOCUS ON.

2. Your decisions about WHAT THINGS MEAN TO YOU.

3. Your decisions about WHAT TO DO to create the results you desire.

Tony Robbins used to broke and fat. Now he's worth an envy-inducing $480 million!

Note that he DID NOT ATTEND COLLEGE either.

I'll say it again - HE DID NOT GO TO COLLEGE!!!

I myself have never been to Niagara Falls - it's not really on my list either.

Hucksters Of Yore

I just read another one of Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Workweek book recommendations:

"This business has legs": How I Used Infomercial Marketing to Create the $100,000,000 ThighMaster Craze

It was a fast-moving and overall decent business/marketing book, I would say.  And it was definitely of interest to me as I continue to develop and market

I'm sure y'all, or y'all's parents, have a Thighmaster collecting dust somewhere in the may even still be in the box!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Over-Protection Run Amok!

I caught a bit of a middle school soccer game last week and was shocked to see the goalies wearing helmets. What a ridiculous precaution!

Then Googling for images I came across the outrage above. Everyone on the field wearing freakin' helmets?!?!?!

I think in Massachusetts soccer players have to wear mouth-guards as well.

With all this padding the nannies are turning a terrific manly sport in a sissy-game  a la American football.

If I was a kid again I probably wouldn't play soccer....or ride a bike if I had to wear a stupid helmet!

Categorically speaking I'm dead-set against buying or wearing protection.

Sick Streak - Snapped

This weekend my son came down with a cough for a few days; his sister had a runny nose over that period; my wife was out of commission for a day; and on Sunday I experienced a sore throat for about 24 hours - although that might have been from carrying my 40 lb golf bag, 12 miles this past weekend at Bethpage Black!

I'm not sure about my wife, as she's more often run-down from work...

But my kids and I were working on an impressive streak of health. None of us had been *sick* since December of 2008 - if memory serves me. So another two months would have made it 3 full years!

No school = No germs!

See also - Sick Of/From School.

Cheap Protein Power

Recall Tim Ferriss got me into early morning protein intake - *30 grams within 30 minutes of waking*...

So I started out with piles of eggs and beans (black or refried). But then I was happy to discover the Lean Shake.

They are a little bit expensive at over $2 per drink....

Yeah, THAT IS EXPENSIVE. I don't need to be spending over $700 a year on breakfast. Cereal and milk is probably a 50-60 cent per day meal.

I go into GNC (the store) and tell the guy, "I want the CHEAPEST protein shake mix you've got."

He steered me to the $70 jar pictured above and asserted that the shakes would be cheaper ($1 each) and better (less sugar). SOLD!

They didn't mix as well as the more expensive brand; they didn't nearly taste as good; but I rationalized these concerns away on account of the price.

Now the dude at the store told me that I needed to drink *multiple shakes* per day if I wanted to benefit. Note there wasn't a muscle on this scrawny Indian kid.

Multiple shakes?

Whatever. I may as well have been pitched by a financial adviser to make monthly mutual fund(!) investments....or an exterminator, "If I don't coming for monthly sprayings....the bugs/rodents will return." What kills me is how they lie so self-unconsciously. I guess they have to believe their own BS to get dressed each morning.

Anyways I was ramping up my shake-intake a little, perhaps to 1.5 a day.

But by Saturday of that first week I was, well, let's just say *on fire*. I would have stopped the shakes sooner but I didn't realize it was in fact these chemo-protein drinks that had me percolating something fierce.

The worst part is a strange lack of dissemination. You rip them without relief because they linger on your person like a cloud. There's just no getting away from your own stench a la Pig Pen!

My wife, not surprisingly(!), told me to trash the rest of the mix and just take the loss.

But I'm too stubborn and too cheap. I went back in last night and BANG, I lit up instantly again only minutes after one little shake.

So it's going to be a long month - in the spare bedroom, with the windows open.

Heck I should have known. If you read the jar it says "EXPLOSIVE amino acid blend" in what I now presume to actually be a legal disclaimer rather than a helpful description.

Only 58 shakes left...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Conquering Bethpage Black...

Well, sort of.

I finally broke through on the phone tee time reservation system last week.

Allegedly tee times open up at 7pm, 7 days beforehand.

Except that when I generally get through, after 15 rapid-fire calls or so, at 6:59....there are no tee times left. I've pretty much been shut out all season long. I mean it's October and I've only played there once this year!

There's something very unfair and fishy going on. I suspect *foul play*. Rumors abound that the State of New York is selling the tee times for this *public* course in bulk to agencies. One advertises $1,395 for a foursome including transport to and from NYC. Compared to the $70-80 state residents pay....who could be surprised that the operators are *maximizing revenue* at the expense of us residents/taxpayers???

I finally landed a single at 10am for last Friday and was positively psyched. The only problem was that there was an 80% chance of rain (and thunder!) forecast. Undaunted, I got there early and was shocked to get right out over an hour before my time. The parking lot was EMPTY - there was absolutely no one at the 5 courses thanks to fallible meteorologists. We got sprinkled on between the 11th-13th holes and it poured on the 18th for no more than 90 seconds. Otherwise I was bone dry and enjoyed my round immensely.

In fact I played in a two-some with some young kid (27?) from New Jersey, a 4-handicap. I wasn't going to play the back tees this time because it's been raining for the past 2 months(!) and thought it might be impossibly long with no roll in the fairways. But this kid wanted to so I went along.

I didn't play that well at all - hitting in 10 bunkers a la Tiger at this year's PGA Championship. But I still managed to card a passable 91 on this 7,468 yard test of golfing manhood. (One has to carry their own bag over this mountainous terrain - no carts allowed.)

Recall last year I shot a 90 on it on my first go-around. Then this past August I improved to 87 there.

The 4-handicapper kid probably shot around 90 too!

But guess what...

One of my golfing buddies here on Long Island had a tee time on Saturday!

So like a 10 year old at Disney I was all geeked up, all week long, to play two days in a row.

Yesterday in blustery conditions I started out poorly again - tripling the easy 2nd hole from the middle of the fairway with a 7-iron in hand. However I got into a nice groove the rest of the way - scoring only bogeys and pars - before finishing up with my best round there yet - 85. All of my chips and pitches were landing within 8-10 feet....I made a few putts. You just can't reach most of these holes. Heck on the 12th hole I hit my driver straight and somewhat solid. Yet I still had 269 yards to the pin, into the wind, with bunkers on both sides.  Out of the 15 holes that are par-3s or par-4s, I only hit irons into 4 of them.  That's how freakin' long Bethpage Black plays!

And I think that's where most people get into trouble. First of all, most people don't drive the ball long and straight like I do. And then when they whip out their fairway woods, from the rough(!),....they start spraying into the fescue and the bunkers - not the green-side ones either! As defeatist as it might feel, they'd be better off playing 5-irons to 130 yards just to keep it in play.

Bethpage really is an amazing course and it appeals to me in fact because it is so difficult and physically demanding. I just don't like playing easy courses at all. Plus if you play badly on Micky Mouse tracks then you feel REALLY BAD. Blowing up at Bethpage Black (or Widow's Walk in Scituate, MA) is no big deal - everyone (else) does!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Anti-School, Pro-Education Movie

Well it's not out yet, but here's the *trailer*:

Although I won't give it my endorsement if it comes off as overly *make nice*.

Far too many parents who educate their own qualify their shtick with *well, school is great for some families*, etc.

They justify it too with, "Well I don't want to turn people off....I want to stay POSITIVE...."

Okay here's the problem with that.

Homeschoolers who refuse to take a hard, critical look at the shortcomings and *externalities* of age-graded, bureaucrat-taught, government schools are prone to make many of the same mistakes. At least they are in my admittedly limited experience.

What mistakes?

How about an antiquated focus on handwriting; taking the summers off; insulating kids from work and the important realities of economics; or trying to keep up with say the ridiculously low standards/expectations that exist in conventional schools. NEWSFLASH - if your child is homeschooled and only does math and reading *at grade level*....then you probably aren't pushing them hard enough.

You know what, I take that back.

I push math hard for many reasons; it's just happens to be my thang.

Kids on *individualized, parent-led* education programs certainly don't have to be advanced in math or reading....but they ought to turn out super-advanced in at least something - piano, computer programming, athletics, charity, cow-milking, or whatever.

A homeschooling parent who compliments the school system....well that's like a public school-advocating politician who sends their OWN CHILDREN to fancy private schools (Sidwell Friends!).

Of course these lying SOBs always say it's purely for *security reasons*...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Real Water Hazard!

There's a course in Australia that has sharks lurking in its freshwater lakes and streams:

Apparently 20 years ago a dam broke and the course was flooded for quite some time.

School Taxes - Pissing Me Off

Of course most of it is due to outrageous salaries, pensions, unnecessary bureaucracy, and typical large institution waste...

But I'm continually wondering how government schools can waste so much money, how the schools in our tony town of Manhasset, NY can be spending upwards of $26,000 per pupil these days. (They underperform spectacularly too!)

Recently I was stricken with another insight while I was urinating on the local elementary edifice.

I looked up and spotted all these security cameras above me!

In fact, they surround the entire building every 40-50 feet. You no one breaks in and steals construction paper, eraser-less number 2 pencils, and the hundreds of *be green* posters in the school.

I mean this security system had to cost a million dollars to buy and install - probably at each of the schools. Then you have the costs to run and maintain it. Are they freakin' recording every second of each day? I wouldn't bet against it.

Ten vandalizing kids with baseball bats couldn't do $1 million worth of damage, so why all the *security*?

Recall last year I discovered these in the school hallways:

WHY??? And how much do they cost???

Everything about these so-called schools is ridiculous. I just don't know why earthlings continue to put up with them.

For crying out loud I recently heard that in our town, if your child has an allergy,....that one of their parents MUST accompany them on all school field trips or they can't go.

And this wasn't a political statement or anything.

There are hundreds of people at the school on Sundays for youth soccer. Since they won't open the bathrooms in the school (a money problem?)....everyone - moms too! - is sneaking out back to pee, all day long. How's that for earth stewardship???

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Finally Shooting Movies...

I probably need to get a better camera and perhaps some lights....but I didn't think this came out too bad. Here's Johnny: is slowly but surely coming along - although it certainly took a whole lot longer to get this far than I would have hoped.

Too much indecision, too much perfectionism, and too little time.

When College Isn't The Promised Land

Now this was written by a naive unschooler who *stunk at math*....

But despite those two strikes I really enjoyed her article:

A Home-Schooler Goes To College

Couple Of Book Rec's

Dan Kennedy - Famous Bull Photo

Tim Ferriss lists The Magic of Thinking Big as one of his top book recommendations. In fact he said he read it 5 times in high school or something.

Published 50 years ago, and with several million copies sold it was weird that I had never heard of it.

Anyways it's a decent read - inspirational and full of tips on developing an attitudinal plan for business success: wear nice clothes, be infinitely polite/nice, etc.  Tim's book rec's, and I've read a few of them now, have not been anywhere nearly as good as his own works (4HWW and 4HB).

The other book I read this week I had heard recommended by several big names recently so I concluded it was worth buying (surprisingly, my library network didn't have it).

Dan Kennedy's book How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide was also seemingly dated, published back in 1995.

I found this one to be much better, one of those compelling reads that you kill in a single day and has you lamenting the end of the book. It's chock-full of stories of earthlings who made $hitloads of money in the 80s and early 90s - mostly via infomercial-type products and innovations. Many of the big winners sold *information products* but of course in the pre-internet age the vehicles were different: FAX machines, classified ads, color TV commercials, and toll-free phone numbers. Watching how many people today have cleaned up selling content online and looking back at their forerunners I can't help but in hindsight say, "DUH...of course billions were going to be there for the picking on the web!"

I sure wish I had read this book 15 years ago!!!

What was striking about these little case studies is how banged-up, bankrupt, and thoroughly uneducated the people were originally. Seemingly almost NONE of them even went to college - notably the ultra-wealthy author himself.

So take THAT all y'all college flacks out there!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Funnies For Lazy Readers

I've got this batch of funnies here. It's an ALBUM so click through it. Many you'll have to click on to enlarge. Enjoy!

Never Check...

Those of you wise enough to have heeded my incessant advice and have ACTUALLY READ Tim Ferriss...

Y'all will surely appreciate this one:

There's actually some crazy young lady out there, an author, who claims that Tim Ferriss STOLE her idea to steer clear of email in the morning.

But c'mon. You can't patent commonsense. A good-to-mediocre lawyer would surely argue *inevitable discovery* or something.

Recall the *scoopable nacho chip* was actually MY IDEA years ago and I didn't start whining when Tostitos stole it. Whatever.

Although Cosmo Kramer wasn't so charitable either...

It would have been really funny if The Office had done an entire show on The 4-Hour Workweek. God knows there's plenty of rich material in there to work with.

Thanks to LeagueIslander for this one.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Go Watch Color TV, You Brat!

Without being any more descriptive....let's just say *someone* my wife and I know recently complained that they, "Can't f*ckin' stand it" when their toddler grabs a book and asks them to read a story.

Bad parent, right?

Well, incredibly this one is/was also an elementary school teacher for several years. So just imagine if she hates reading to HER OWN CHILD,....imagine how much she cares about the education of her students!

Also, ironically this *somebody* has more than once told me that they do NOT APPROVE of me homeschooling my kids. She's said, "I'm a big believer in the school system."

You know I usually enjoy firing ripostes at Morons like this...

However this one is so bad she merits only avoidance.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Golf - Chinese Domination

Alright it wasn't that cold this morning....but it certainly felt like it!

I had four layers on and a winter hat when I teed off at Eisenhower Red - a muni nearby that's pretty good (hosted Seniors' event for several years) and pretty cheap (only $36 for county residents!).

I think it was in the high 40s this morning.

Anyways I had to *work* for this round.

Wide awake at 2:50am, and with my wife working from home I figured I could probably play today.

I left my house at 4:00am and was in line at precisely 4:22am. Note there were actually 6 people/chairs already ahead of me.

Luckily the guy who was first only had a threesome and I was the first single so I leap-frogged the 20 guys represented by the other 5 *chairs*.

It is allowed - to throw a chair down and go sleep or whatever in your car. You don't have to stand there until the clubhouse doors open. I myself went back in the Tahoe, turned the seat heater and lights on, and read 100+ pages of my book while the 'old coots' had their mid-morning naps.

How'd I play? Well despite a triple on 15, four short birdie putts missed, and bogeys on 17 an 18 I carded an 80 or so. That wasn't bad at all for me on recently aerated greens and on a saturated course that I was unfamiliar with. I've been excited by a tip I got from that guy who's peddling his expertise all over the internet these days - C.J. Goecks. He asserts that golfers SHOULD NOT hold the club in the fingertips of the right hand - which I was definitely doing for the past 18 years or so.

On the 10th hole, for our first verbal communication of the morning I asked the guy how early he got in line:

ChineseDude - I number one. (finger gesture too)

CaptiousNut - I know. But what time did you get in line?

ChineseDude - I number one everyday.

CaptiousNut - How early do you have to get here to be NUMBER ONE?

ChineseDude - I get there 2:30...

CaptiousNut - You get there at 2:30 every Friday?

ChineseDude - I number one EVERY DAY....Monday through Friday.

ChineseDude - I number one EVERY DAY....for last four years!

Did all y'all round eyes catch that?

This Chinese golfing wacko sleeps in his car, in a parking lot, five days a week so that he can get the first tee time at Eisenhower Golf Course!

I actually don't think it's that crazy. I mean he's playing a terrific course, for next to nothing, and he's probably home by 10am in the summer. Us non-sleepers understand each other.

Without a doubt though, his wife by now sleeps *in the middle of the bed*.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Boston Pols and Intelligentsia Still Screwing Minorities and Poor People

Say what?

Well it's most definitely not *bad* for WOMEN WHO SHOP FOR GROCERIES!

The scumbags (referenced in my title) are still at it. They have recently blocked a proposed new Walmart in Roxbury which is, for those lucky enough to be unfamiliar with this area, Boston's *hood*. (Years ago when cities were integrating Boston flushed the minorities out to suburban areas like Roxbury, Dorchester, and Brockton to keep this most PROGRESSIVE city lily white.)

And as for *hurting small businesses*....NOTHING on Earth is worse for small businesses than Big Government regulations: minimum wage law, ADA regulations, unemployment insurance, the Massachusetts healthcare mandate(!), the 15% tax on all hiring aka Social Security/Medicare, excess environmental regulations, Board of Health regulations or whoever it is that limits restaurants, food trucks, and other eateries, etc.

While this is an old story - these same old socialist Morons keeping their peeps's still worth an update here and there.

Heresy Against The Church Of Schoology

Always worth reading and re-reading, here's former government school teacher and homeschooling patron saint John Taylor Gatto and his resignation letter:

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents. The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.

That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its "scientific" presentation in the bell curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of Biology. It’s a religious notion, School is its church. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid.

Socrates foresaw if teaching became a formal profession, something like this would happen. Professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating the laity to the priesthood. School is too vital a jobs-project, contract giver and protector of the social order to allow itself to be "re-formed." It has political allies to guard its marches, that’s why reforms come and go without changing much. Even reformers can’t imagine school much different.

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can’t tell which one learned first—the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I label Rachel "learning disabled" and slow David down a bit, too. For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won’t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, "special education" fodder. She’ll be locked in her place forever.

In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation. There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen—that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn or deliberate indifference to it. I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work.

As someone who's often preaching the pull-out-of-school creed to dissatisfied and ambitious parents alike, I'm continually impressed with the depth of Gatto's wisdom and the clarity of his argumentation.

One very common push-back I hear is that, "I can't teach my kids algebra, physics, chemistry, etc..."

It's BS of course. Tiger Woods' father couldn't hit a golf ball a country mile; Bill Gates' mother didn't know a thing about programming computers.

If you can READ, you can find and marshal the resources to give your children an education far superior to the 25-on-1, standardized school experience. ENABLING - that's all that's required.

Gatto asserts:

Professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard.


And I do like the metaphor comparing failure to toe the school line with *heresy* - a sentiment all homeschooling parents have to brush off, often.

Me? While my wife is low-key in social settings about how we educate our children...

I on the other hand initiate the *school conversation* and wear the Scarlet Letter proudly on my chiseled chest!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Indian Obamacare

After reading about Tim Ferriss' harrowing experience as a patient in Indian hospitals....I'm tempted to *short* him a la that Crocodile Hunter guy (already dead) and Bear Grylls (soon to be dead).

Clearly Tim knows a bit about self-defense and about matters of bodily health...

It's just that it seems like this thrill-seeker ventures into some real wild places and takes vain risks - almost like a Kennedy flying no-instrument aircraft back and forth between The Vineyard and The Hamptons.

Do click the link above and read his story.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Another New Body Hack?

Today somebody lent me a so-called Bulgarian bag. It's 27 lbs and homemade - a tire tube filled with sand and rubber mulch, ducktaped shut. (The name brand online this size is $175!)

I haven't tried it out yet but will do so soon. I guess it's supposed to be another Communist-Bloc *ab ripper* a la kettlebells.

I'll try anything other than crunches and running!!!!

Are you interested in playing chess? Or do you have a child that is?

Well I just joined and I must say that it is an unbelievable resource - AND IT'S FREE.

It has a daily chess puzzle and (free) members get an additional 3 *tactics training* exercises per day.

Only recently, in the course of educating my children *outside the system* did my personal interest in chess really kindle.

Locally, there's a well-organized competitive league nearby that plays Monday nights but quite frankly I haven't the time.

Anyways members can get a game anytime they want - speed games, slower correspondence games, etc. And THE best part of it is that the computer ranks you after each game and thus lines you up against players around your caliber. As someone who's trying to get better and who's pretty competitive in general, I find this quantification to be an absolutely terrific feature. After all, the only way to improve is to play people slightly better than you, right?

So far my son loves the website too. We do the daily puzzles together but he can probably solve them on his own already. And he wants us to pay-up for the next level of membership so he can get more online instruction.

Why would I spend $60-$100 an hour for a private instructor when there are terrific deals like this online???

It seems that every week I find something new and fantastic on the web that completely blows my mind...

See also - DIY Chess Versus Outsourced Chess.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Wealth Gap OR Reality Gap?

It was a conspiracy to get them arrested too. Seriously!

From Forbes:

Justin Brown, who was quick to point-out that Occupy Wall Street has no spokesman, described the standoff and mass arrests yesterday: "There was more or less an overt or calculated effort to block traffic as the group was entering the walkway over the Brooklyn Bridge. A legal volunteer with the National Lawyers Guide saw an undercover officer in that area leave a squad-car, join the protests, and go with the group over, probably in the process verbally encouraging protesters to enter the roadway. After a significant number had entered, [NYPD] blocked it from the back, blocked it from the front, then brought in the paddy-wagons and arrested, I think the number is over 700 so far.

When asked if he thought undercover NYPD were purposely infiltrating and agitating protesters, Brown answered emphatically, "No question, no question. I don’t know if they’re hunting for terrorists or encouraging any particularly violent behavior but I think, on a small scale, if you can encourage someone to go onto the streets where you’re not supposed to, then that gives you the opportunity to come in with the handcuffs."

As regular readers well know, I don't usually follow the din of contemporary news. In fact I barely skim these headlines even though these whack-jobs are camped out on the front door of my wife's office in Lower Manhattan.

I faintly heard that they were protesting *global warming*, *corporate greed*, and *inequality*. I also heard that it's a status quo protest FOR the re-election of the current President - which is not a little bit funny!

Well nominally at least they are mad at Wall Street. But of course their anger is non-sensical.

Wall Street is actually a creation of the socialists of yesteryear. Seriously.

If it weren't for the wholly un-Constitutional income tax in the first place (redistribution)....there wouldn't be the 401k exemption which all but forces average folk to blindly dump money into the stock market each month. It's precisely that *dumb money* that has turned Wall Street (i.e. the 'skim biz') into the frothy gold mine that it is.

With this government-mandated funnel....average people wouldn't be Moronically buying mutual funds, preyed upon by interested financial advisers, fretting over every tick in the indices and Wall Street would essentially be nothing more than an off-the-radar, private casino for rich people.

Believe me, I understand the anger. There's a whole lot of scheming and thievin' going on at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, AIG, and many other politically connected financial entities.

But it's friggin Obama who's forking over billions of taxpayer money to bailout large banks these past 3 years. He's the one monetizing/inflating the stock, bond, and commodity markets and in the process spectacularly enriching Wall Street.

And recall it was Obama who was elected by the wealthy and by Wall Street too!

Rightfully these trust funders should be BLAMING THEMSELVES (and their hippy ancestors).

On protesting *inequality*....I would like to highlight a slammin' quote from my boy Will Durant:

But I will not say that revolution is never justified. But we have learned, through the experience accumulated and transmitted by our undying hierarchy, that after every overturn there will soon again be masters and men, rich and relatively poor. We are born unequal, and every new invention, every added complexity of life or thought, increases the gap between the simple and the clever, the weak and the strong. Those hopeful revolutionists talked of liberty, and equality, and fraternity. But these idols never get along together. If you establish equality you let natural inequalities multiply into artificial inequalities; and to check these you have to restrain liberty; so your utopias of freedom sometimes become straitjackets of despotism, and in the turmoil fraternity becomes only a phrase.
I did let the *global warming* bit slide because it's been well covered in the past.

In summary, these LOSERS are against the people, policies, and institutions THEY have voted for; they are against Father Nature, human nature, economic laws...

I myself would not be surprised if tomorrow night they held a candlelight vigil protesting the ever-heartless and chauvinistic *force of gravity*!

Morons Reporting On Morons

I think the story in the Daily Mail was actually penned by 7th grade government school students. I was left scratching my head after these illiterate excerpts:

Police have arrested two dozen protesters for trespassing during a demonstration against Bank of America’s foreclosure practices at the banking giant’s offices in downtown Boston.

The Boston Herald reports that the event was an act of civil disobedience that the organizers intended to send the message that the lender’s practices were unfair.

There was no mention of Bank of America’s planned debit card fees, which recently have generated headlines and frustrated customers nationwide.

The Bank of America website crashed yesterday after being overwhelmed by angry customers following the decision to charge them to use $5 a month if they use their debit cards...

Though the bank, like several others who instated similar fees, will use the revenue to help increase revenue, the move is seen as biased against less wealthy clients as they are more likely to use a debit card because they are often denied credit.

U.S. banks have been looking for ways to increase revenue as regulations introduced since the financial crisis limited the use of overdraft and other fees.

In spite of hesitations (?) about the new fee, Bank of America's stock price was up at the close of business Thursday, coming in at 6.35.
Bad diction, run-ons, misinformation...

My favorite though, hands down, was *use revenue to increase revenue*!

And note that half of the story was about debit cards even though admittedly *there was no mention of the debit card fees* at the protest.