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February 2011
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Interesting Articles

Why I don't smile

A Dune reference in a take down of whore Megan McArdle? Mark Ames still has it.

Time Magazine claims these are the best 140 people to follow on Twitter.

Wal-Mart CEO: "Expect inflation."

"Why can't probable just mean probable?"

Commenting at Popehat, "James" reveals the mind of a house boy.

More San Francisco police officers are caught on video - lying. None of them will be charged with perjury, even though they testified under oath. "Law and order" only applies to the slaves.

Weight-Life Balance

One very intelligent movement has had disastrous implications. Like many realizations, this occurred to me at the gym.

I was at the gym last Saturday. You know who else was there? The same people who are there - and who look good - during the week. Success takes vacations, but successful people rarely take a full weekend off. Even if you're not doing work-work, successful people are building their bodies and minds.

Yet I hear people in their early-20's talk about the need for "work-life balance." Work-life balance is something people should aspire to. Yet it's not something a young person should seek. Eventually we will be old. We are going to have less energy. If we don't have successful careers by then, what do you suppose we're going to do? 

Seriously. Imagine yourself at 30. You will be 30. How are you going to feel? What would your 30-year-old self advise you? What would your 40, or 50, or 60 year-old self say about what you're doing today? Eventually that old man will be you. Then what? 

As a youngling, I had no sense of balance. I really didn't have a choice. I grew up poor and was the first in my family to attend college. I always had the safety net of living in my dad's basement. Yet my life choice was to make it on my own - or not at all.

I gave up much of college, law school, and a few years thereafter to build a mind and a career. During college, most Friday nights were spent reading or writing. I would go out to get drunk once a month. Otherwise, I worked at my job, attended military training, did coursework for my classes, or studied persuasion and human psychology. I rarely had a girlfriend, as most girls are a time suck. Most guys are, too, and a large social circle is a success killer.

Today, while many are jobless, I don't have big troubles. Barring cancer or a car accident, for the rest of my life, I'll be able to make a living. I have expertise in a few things to keep me afloat, and what I don't know, I can learn. I could move to any state in the U.S., pass a bar exam, and find a job. Maybe not a great job. For a guy who grew up poor, however, it doesn't take much to keep me afloat.

Now I'm able to relax more because my life was completely out of balance for so many years. A couple of friends are coming up, and we're having a "staycation." (Even so, my friend is attending a court hearing on Friday, and he and I will discuss some cases.)

I know a lot of you are guys in your early-20's who lift weights. Look around at the old guys in the gym. At my gym, there are a lot of old guys with great bodies. They might not have much hair, or what they have might be grey: They are beasts, though, and most are dating 30ish-year-old women. 

The main reason I attend that gym is for inspiration. I like the old lions, if only for the selfish reminder that even when my face is grey: I'll still be a lion. 

Yet the old guys with good bodies didn't build those bodies in their 40's. They laid the foundation in their 20's and 30's. To age is to decay. Yet aging is an inevitability, and thus the only question is how to age well. The best way to set yourself up for a better life later on, is to fall out of balance early on. Dante of Dog Crapp training writes:

So what will all this hard work for the past 15 years allow me to do? I'm in my mid 30's now so for the rest of my 30's and thru my 40' and 50's i can pretty much walk around at 250lbs hard as a rock at a very low bodyfat percentage. Ive set myself up so that will be very very easy. I actually have to do much less than everything I do now (except cardio) to be there. Ill use guys in this forum for examples, Inhuman and massive G are both around 5'9", 5'10" and are offseason 280 to 300. They have spent the time and food consumption and paid their dues to get there. Massive G I believe is mid 30's and Inhuman is early 40's I believe. Both these guys will be able to crank this down and enjoy walking around with full abs, hard as granite with veins everywhere at 240-260lbs.

They have set themselves up and paid their dues in their 20's and 30's to do that. You guys that are 35-45 years old who want this but weigh 175-210lbs are playing catchup and are so behind the race its sad.

My point of this post is to get guys in their early 20's to think, to get guys who just blew 10 years of training who are in their 30's to think, and to get guys who just blew 10-15 years of training who are in their 40's to think....

You have to set yourself up early so you can be right where you want to be late. Theres alot of you guys 35-45 years old in this forum, some that I even train, that think they want it but really dont have what it takes to go get it. I see it in their workouts they send me (they take the easy comfortable road never pushing the limits) and for those that I dont train I sometimes see it in your posts---you just dont have what it takes. I can only provide a guide to get there, I cant create an inner drive for you.

Outside of the gym, this matters even more. My first boss out of law school was in his 60's. He is still a brilliant man and lawyer. 

My dad is 57, and still a fierce debater. He's always read for hours each day, and thus his mind has what cognitive scientists call "cognitive load." When you push your brain harder than you need to when your in your 20's, 30's, and 40's, you'll mitigate age-related cognitive decline in your 50's and beyond.

To set yourself up for life, you can't fuck around when you're young. Worry about work-life balance later.

Interesting Articles

"Sirius XM Radio Host Ron Bennington on Plimpton" discusses the creative process and art of interviewing people.

"Body Bagger in Iraq," is a first-person account of a Marine working in mortuary affairs. She was the one first on the scene to clean up and process dead soldiers. The article is heavy, so perhaps save it for after work. Here's a teaser:

“We all had the idea that at any point this could be us on the table,” she said. “I think Marines thought that we went over there to die. And so people wrote letters saying ‘If I die I want you to know I love you.’ ‘I want my car to go to my younger brother.’ Things like that. They carried those letters on their bodies. We had a Marine that we processed and going through his wallet he had a picture of a sonogram of a fetus his wife had sent him. And a lot of Marines had tattooed their vital information under an arm pit. It was called a meat tag.”

"Autistic boy, 12, with higher IQ than Einstein develops his own theory of relativity," while ostensibly about what the title suggests, is also a reminder that brilliant people are weird.

"White Whine" is a blog about the bullshit we complain about. It's hilarious, and the guy will get a book deal out of it.

"The Reagan shooting: A closer call than we knew" is a detailed look at the attempted assassination of Ronald Regan. 

"The Looming Male Backlash" is hilarious. Have you ever talked to an anti-Semite or spent any time on conspiracy theory message boards? The Jews are always up to something. That's how "feminist" articles read to me. The Men are always scheming with their little male hands, trying to oppress women.

The authors note that women are out-earning men, and graduating from colleges in greater proportion to men. Yet even these advances are part of a grand conspiracy. For example, putting a woman into a leadership position when a company needs strong leadership most, is actually a conspiracy theory designed to oppress women::

Plus, we now have entirely new battles to fight: take “The Glass Cliff” phenomenon, in which female business leaders are more likely to be appointed to powerful leadership positions when an organization is in crisis or high-risk circumstances. These women are set up for failure—blamed for negative outcomes that were set in motion well before they assumed their new roles. To give a few examples, Carly Fiorina (Hewlett Packard), Kate Swan (W. H. Smith) and Patricia Russo (Alcatel-Lucent) were appointed to top positions at a time of tumbling share prices. All were fired or pushed out of their jobs.

The tusnami:

What a Statutory Rape "Victim" Looks Like

Lawrency Taylor is a lifetime registered sex offender, as he had sex with an underage girl. The prostitute was only 16 when they had sex, which was below the agent of consent in New York. A picture of the girl has surfaced, and it should give every man pause. Can you tell she's only 17?

Sex Offender

There are many good reasons not to have sex with prostitutes, and there are many more good reasons not to have sex with young-looking girls. "She looked 18" really doesn't cut it as an excuse by a 50-year-old man who had sex with a young girl.

Just follow this simple formula for creepiness-free relationships: Divide by two, and add seven. Under this formula, a 30-year-old man shouldn't be dating girls younger than 22. (Which is still scary, given that the girl looks at least 23.)

Taylor was 52 when he had sex with the girl, and thus should have limited himself to 33-year-old women. He broke the mathematical law of gender relations, and faced peril as a result. 

Creep factor aside, being a registered sex offender is a game-ender for non-celebrities. It's impossible to find a job, and many cities prevent you from living within 1,000 feet of any school - which even in a large city like San Francisco means only a few seedy blocks. 

Should a man's life be ruined - forever - because he had sex with a girl who looked much older than she really was, and who offered herself for sale?

George Orwell on the Way Things Were (Or Are?)

George Orwell is primarily known for Animal Farm and 1984. That's unfortunate, as his best work was as an essayist. Orwell, more than anyone since, understood how language was used to control thought. 

Today, for example, my friends are all throwing around "kinetic military action." Here is George Orwell, writing in 1946:

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism., question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them

Read the rest.


The GAO put out a fascinating report on drunk driving, which contained this interesting statement: "Overall, the evidence does not conclusively establish that .08 BAC laws, by themselves, result in reductions in the number and severity of alcohol-related crashes." That's a long-winded way of saying that the .08 that'll get you a DUI isn't even unusually dangerous.

For decades, the DUI limit for was .10. The BAC limit was lowered to .08 in the 80's and 90's. Thus, there should have been a decline in drinking-related deaths. Yet there wasn't. Thus, the .08 BAC is an arbitrary scam number designed to increase the number of tickets issued - and thus revenue collected.

It's also very easy to blow a .08:

On average, according to NHTSA, a 170-pound man reaches .08 BAC after consuming five 12-ounce beers (4.5-percent alcohol by volume) over a 2-hour period. A 120-pound woman reaches the same level after consuming three beers over the same period. 

A 4.5% beer is Miller Lite. The stuff I drink is always in the 6-9% range, as I only drink IPA's or artisan beers. It's easy to drink five beers in two hours, and even easier to drink 2-3. 

Your liver only "clears" 1-2 beers an hour. That is, if you drank five beers in two hours, you'd still blow a .08 if you then paced yourself at a one-beer-an-hour rate.

It gets even more complicated when ordering mixed drinks. "One 12-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor." How strong is each drink? How many ounces of gin are in that G&T? How can you ever safely drive after a couple of drinks?

What's worse is that breathlyzers are unreliable. Even if you're not "drunk" under the law, the pseudo-scientific breathalyzer may still have you blowing a .08. 

Even if you're over 170 pounds (who in America isn't?), those averages work out. BAC is a measure of alcohol relative to body hydration. Even 30 extra pounds of fat doesn't increase hydration, as very little water is stored in fat tissue.

A DUI, on average, costs $10,000:

If you need any more reasons not to drink and drive, consider this: A driving-under-the-influence conviction is a financial wrecking ball. A typical DUI costs about $10,000 by the time you pay bail, fines, fees and insurance, even if you didn't hit anything or hurt anybody.

That number is low for two reasons. First, the lawyer I'd hire if charged with a DUI charges $10,000. That's just the legal fee. Second, that number doesn't calculate the hundreds of hours of lost work from having to perform community service. If $10,000 is sticker shock, imagine how you'll fee when the numbers are greater.

When in doubt, take a cab. Consider it DUI insurance. Even if you leave your car and it gets towed, the $250 will be much cheaper than the cost of a DUI. Also, many cab drivers know people who will drive your car home for you. In Los Angeles, there was a cabbie who'd drive around with a bike the trunk of his car. If it wasn't too far away: He'd toss the bike in your trunk, drive you home, and then bike it back to his cab. He only charged $100. Ask around.

In the real world, most of us are going to drive after a drink or two. How can you be safe on the road while also avoiding a DUI? My rule is simple: One mixed drink per hour. If I drink two G&T's in an hour, I won't drive for another hour (i.e., two hours total). Instead, I'll start drinking water. If I leave the bar, I'll go for a walk. Whatever the case, I never average more than one drink per hour.

Driving after even a single drink puts one at risk for a DUI. It's better to take a cab or walk. Barring that, only drink at one location, and save your receipt. That way, if stopped and given a false DUI, you'll have at least some record of your alcohol consumption - perhaps enough for your $10,000 lawyer to raise reasonable doubt.

End of Public Service Announcement. 

(BTW, I'm closing comments because this useful post is exactly the type to attract spammers and self-promoters.)