Thursday, June 29, 2006

I meant to mention something related to what I just said.

I went to meetings of AA both last night and the night before.

Today, I faced terrible temptation. I wasn't aware that my new employer had approved vacation for me today. It seemed from our last conversation that I had given it up. But I discovered to the contrary that I was on my own today. I had no supervisor or wife or kids to watch me.

So, I decided that since I'm signed up for the TCM, or Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon - "the most beautiful marathon in America" - I should see if I could actually finish one.

Short answer: No. I hit a hill at the 8.5 mile mark that brought me to a standstill. That showed me clearly that my training has not yet brought me where I need to be to even finish the thing yet. Now, I was worried at that point about the condition of my feet - they were starting to complain, but they should be well conditioned by the end of September - and the fact that I didn't know where I was going to refill my water-bottle, which was just about empty - a problem that I don't expect to encounter at the TCM.

On the other hand, a guy ought to be able to run that distance at a leisurely pace under his own power and preparations if he has any expectations of completing the course in the maximum allowed time. Now I forget what that time is, but I considered it ridiculously generous. I could certainly ignore my foot pain under the pressure of competition. It's just stupid to do so, however, during the process of training. You can't have an infection knock you out of the race after all!

I have no intention of winning, and I have no percentage of the participants in mind to beat, but I would like to finish in under 4 hours... If I could approach 3 hours, that would kick butt, but I'm not going to compromise the goal of "just finishing" for the sake of some kind of record that means nothing to anybody but me. The public at large only cares about two criteria: "Did you win?" or "Did you finish?"

In other games, the latter might be understood as, "Did you try your hardest?" or "Did you play fair?"

I intend to do all of the above.

What? Win? Sure. And an NHL contract while I'm at it.

Well, I suppose I'd better come clean.

I've got two problems, one of which is that the computer is bogged down to the point that I can't download any emails to my Outlook account. I'd be happy to take any suggestions to fix that problem. When I go online these days that's what I'm trying to fix and I get depressed because I can't to anything.

I'm thinking I have a bug that my bug-zapper can't see. But then my back up drive is absolutely jam-packed as well, so maybe it just means that I need to wipe her clean and start over.

But, more importantly, there is an another problem.

If you know anything about 12-step meetings, you would have noticed signs that I haven't been going to any for about a year. If you don't know anything about them, you might have noticed that my posts have become less frequent, and that some of them have been a bit odd.

For those who weren't aware of it, I am an alcoholic. I have been on a binge for... oh, 5 months. I'm an early stage alcoholic: I only destroy my loved-ones trust in me about once a quarter. Most of the time it's safe for me to drink nightly.

But, as Dr. Laura once said, memorably (in another context), "He's not murdering people all the time!"

All right, I haven't murdered anybody (yet--I wish that were funny), but I have done some things, under the influence that I'm still not willing to admit here. I know I've hurt my wife's feelings terribly, and I'm afraid I've given my daughter the impression that "High Gravity , Ice-Brewed Lager" drunk in pints and quarts [don't ignore the importance of the distinction between conjunction vs disjunction in Logic], is harmless. I'll have a couple right in front of her, and there is no obvious effect before she goes to bed at 9:00.

It hits after that, and the target is pretty random. Generally, I'm a pretty loving drunk. How could that be a problem? See the previous sentence.

The good news is, that I am the world's most incompetent flirt, drunk or sober. God knows how I ever landed my wife.

I'd rather be a Lover than a Fighter, but my life history places me firmly in the latter category rather than the former. I think that sucks.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Steve's got a great post [What? Only one?]

at Grandpa John's. No, there's more than one.

But here's a taste of the one that made me post:
We have been busily preparing for the season diligently. We have stockpiled food and water, batteries, a generator with biofuel, and other necessities. We have plenty of plywood to protect our windows from the incumbent missles. In case the storm surge reaches Southern Wisconsin, we have a wide variety of flotation and breathing devices. We also have stockpiled a large arsenal of weapons and ammunition to protect ourselves from any marauding bands of Conservatives that we will surely encounter in the aftermath.

It doesn't stop there, read on.

I'm reading Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk's

dismantling of Das Kapital, called Karl Marx and the Close of His System.

That I'm not sure who's side they're on. They seem to be intellectually honest anyway.

Yesterday was Father's Day

but, more importantly to me, it was my (our) 18th Anniversary. So, how did we celebrate?

Well, um... Hmmm...

Went to church...

I installed an air-conditioner in our bedroom window... We enjoyed that.

We have central air, but it's expensive to run, and really, the whole house doesn't need it usually.

Played with the kids... went to Menards to buy trellises for my Morning Glories... did dishes... levelled the ground a little for the pool... Laurie did laundry... played with the kids some more... watched TV...

I guess I was a little more productive than I usually am on Sunday.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I want to ask you a question.

Commenters here are a practical bunch. (I don't know anything much about visitors who don't comment. Feel free to chime in. Don't worry--if you're an idiot, we'll tell you.) I want to know what you think of the Think and Grow Rich Blog.

It might behoove you to read Napoleon Hill's book, which Norman Hallett offers as a free ebook to get you on his list (I'm on it and don't consider it much of a burden-he announces his blog-posts and new products-about weekly and monthly, respectively. The products sound great, if you have the money. Of course, you'd assume that following Nap Hill's program would get you the money...).

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Read Hill if you don't get Hallett. Or, if you aren't inspired by the latter to do the former, screw it! But tell me what you think anyway.

Heres how the latest post begins:
Let Your Mind AUTOMATICALLY Create Your "Plan for Riches"...
So you want to be rich.

But you don't have a solid plan to get there.

No Problem... you subconscious mind will create the plan for you!

Here's how you do it, according to Napoleon Hill, written in the chapter on AUTOSUGGESION...(even though I don't usually do this, I'm going to type word for word from Think And Grow Rich, because paraphrasing does not give it justice.):


I'd have shown you the email that "made me look," but I opened Blogger in that window, and my concern is insufficient to open a new one.

Seems to me there's something there, but I get newsletters regularly from people with conflicting opinions. I think they'd all agree that you have to Plan and carry out your Plan. They disagree, I think, about where and when to apply the motivation.

I butchered the link to Rudy Carrera's blog

when I was updating it last time. I've fixed that now. I had to go get his new URL 'cause he went and changed it again!

He writes good stuff. Go check him out.

Update: I was checking out Rudy's links just now and found a great link to an Asatru site: Earth Dance. All sorts of info on Runes there that I'll have to check out.

Comin' up on the Solstice, people! Get your robes ready!

Friday, June 16, 2006

You know I can't pass up a chance to quote an Anti-Federalist

when I run across one. From THE GOAL IS FREEDOM: Government by Obfuscation by Sheldon Richman
In 1787 the Antifederalist Samuel Bryan, writing under the penname "Centinel," rebutted James Madison's argument in Federalist 10 and 51 that the new government to be established by the Constitution would have sufficient checks and balances among the branches to safeguard liberty. Bryan wasn't buying it. He wrote:
The highest responsibility is to be attained, in a simple structure of government, for the great body of the people never steadily attend to the operations of government, and for want of due information are liable to be imposed on. If you complicate the plan by various orders, the people will be perplexed and divided in their sentiments about the source of abuses or misconduct, some will impute it to the senate, others to the house of representatives, and so on, that the interposition of the people may be rendered imperfect or perhaps wholly abortive.
With hindsight at least, we may want to conclude that Bryan was right and Madison was wrong.

Richman's article is about the byzantine tax code.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

There's a great essay about Francis Scott Key

and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner at I think I'm going to try to acquire the right to republish it at my store.

Put that credit card away!

If you're interested in getting into an online business, don't buy anything until you check out ETB Global Free University. Their tagline is, "Over 8000 Internet Selling Tips & Home Business Ideas Revealed."

Get over there and study up.

Update: I meant to say this earlier, but I wasn't swimming in spare time. They're being quite modest-they say 8,000 tips and ideas--that's 8,000 pages of tips and ideas. Each is a focussed, explanatory essay.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sorry. I've had a bit of a lock-up, due, I think,

to an excess of The Sims and Zoo Tycoon. I've deleted the latter, and a bunch of other games my daughter is less fond of, in the hopes that that will solve my problems, but I have to admit that I don't expect much from it. We may be due for another good wiping.

Or a new hard-drive. This thing's six years old. Can you expect more from a computer?

I seriously considered an external hard-drive to store the games, but they tell me that they're just rewritten to the C-drive every time they're played, so...

It's just fortunate that I bought the computer during a lull in advances.

Hey! It's Flag Day! I'm flying mine, how about you?

Unfortunately, my suppliers don't offer much for my store, or I'd give you a big spiel for one. I actually offer one, but there's no picture available, so I won't bug you further about it. The link's on the top-left there if you feel persistent.

A born salesman, I am.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lew Rockwell's article, The Sinful State, deserves a place in the panthion of Libertarian Classics

[I'm sorry. Just as I was about to post, my wife pointed out that there was a German version of Monty Python's Flying Circus on PBS. Hilarious! (It's even funnier when you understand what the subtitles leave out. To paraphrase Lu Mises, learn German!)]

Anyway, I pulled out my copy of Carl Menger's Principles of Economics [or better, use this link to The Mises Institute's Carl Menger page, where you can download the whole book], for a little Saturday afternoon reading, when I discovered that I had marked my page with a printout of Rockwell's great article. I was even more astounded that I hadn't finished reading it and that it says, quite succinctly, things that I have been mulling over for several years. It's one of those things I have a hard time deciding what not to quote, but it opens,
Hardly anyone talks of the table of virtues and vices anymore – which includes the Seven Deadly Sins – but in reviewing them, we find that they nicely sum up the foundation of bourgeois ethics, and provide a solid moral critique of the modern state.

Now, libertarians don't often talk about virtues and vices, mainly because we agree with Lysander Spooner that vices are not crimes, and that the law ought only to address the latter. At the same time, we do need to observe that vices and virtues – and our conception of what constitutes proper behavior and culture generally – have a strong bearing on the rise and decline of freedom.

Okay, skip to this bit:
Usually it [Capitalism] is used to describe people who have an affection for hometown, faith, and family, and a suspicion of lifestyle experiments and behaviors that skirt commonly accepted cultural norms. But those who use the term derisively are not generally appreciative of the extent to which bourgeois ethics make possible the lifestyle of all classes, including the intellectual class.

The bourgeoisie is a class of savers and contract keepers, people who are concerned for the future more than the present, people with an attachment to family. This class of people cares more for their children’s welfare, and for work and productivity, than for leisure and personal indulgence.

Unfortunately, I have to admit to having breached these values many times myself. I'd like to, here, once and for all, blame my faults on someone else, and thereby stake my claim to the status of Victim: of "Liberal" government education. At UM-Duluth, I was taught to be a libertine: to neglect all concerns about the future and indulge my short-term pleasure-seeking urges.

This instruction wasn't overt, but one who is attuned to undercurrents would catch it. There was definitely overt disapproval expressed, by many of my professors, for Free Markets and traditional families, though, for the most part their disapproval was expressed in vague platitudes.

Libertinism is seductive to anyone who isn't well versed in moral training, particularly those, like myself, who think they are.

Back to Rockwell:
The virtues of the bourgeoisie are the traditional virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Each has an economic component – many economic components in fact.

Prudence supports the institution of saving, the desire to get a good education to prepare for the future, and the hope to pass on an inheritance to our children.

With justice comes the desire to keep contracts, to tell the truth in business dealings, and to provide compensation to those who have been wronged.

With temperance comes the desire to restrain oneself, to work before play, which shows that prosperity and freedom are ultimately supported by an internal discipline.

With fortitude comes the entrepreneurial impulse to set aside inordinate fear and to forge ahead when faced with life's uncertainties. These virtues are the foundation of the bourgeoisie, and the basis of great civilizations.

But the mirror image of these virtues shows how the virtuous mode of human behavior finds its opposite in public policies employed by the modern state. The state sets itself against bourgeois ethics and undermines them, and the decline of bourgeois ethics allows the state to expand at the expense of both freedom and virtue.

One day I need to write a long essay on how my government education undermined my morality at each of these points, but for now, I should just insist that you read Mr. Rockwell's article. He continues to discuss each of the Seven Deadly Sins and how special interest groups influence the government to promote each and every one of them.

Friday, June 09, 2006

God says it's time for me to say something nice about Kiwis.

This site is a case study in web design and marketing: And it's the place to go if you're hungry in Auckland but don't know what for.

I don't know when I'll get to NZ - it's high on my list - so I may just try to reproduce the dishes they show on the Twickenham Homestead page here at home.

Have I mentioned that one of my odd passions is watching cooking shows. I never cook anything, but I love to watch other people do it brilliantly. And maybe there's a latent gift there that I should develop. I do grill and I almost always grill meat perfectly - to my wife's, the baby's and my taste, anyway. Rosie won't eat anything - she learned finickiness at daycare; and the In-Laws want everything kiln-dried like lumber. We seldom accomodate them.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I've found an essay by Stanley Jevons on Cantillon

at the Online Library of Liberty (at the bottom). He writes in a very engaging, personable style. I'll have to read more Jevons.

But there are a couple French passages in it that I don't understand and they seem interesting and important. The first, from p. 6, is a conversation Cantillon was reported to have had with Mississippi Bubble engineer John Law:
"`Si nous etions en Angleterre [said Law] it faudrait traiter ensemble, et nous arranger; mais, comme nous sommes en France, je puis vous envoyer ce soir ; la Bastille, si vous ne me donnez votre parole de sortir du Royaume daps les vingt-quatre heures.' Cantillon se mit A rever un moment et lui dit: `Tenez; je ne men irai pas, et je ferai reussir votre systeme." Accordingly Cantillon took from Law an immense quantity of the new-fangled paper, which through the hands of his numerous com¬mercial friends and agents, and by the force of his immense credit, he was able to place upon the market to great advantage. He thus, if the accounts can be trusted, made a fortune of several millions in a few days, but still, distrusting Law, prudently retired to Holland, whence he subsequently removed to London. Here he was murdered by a valet-de-chambre (more correctly a cook), who then decamped with his most valuable and portable property.

And this, from page 12, where Jevons finally finishes with biographical and bibliographical matters and gets down to analyzing the Essai:
The opening sentence of the first chapter, "De la Richesse," is especially remarkable, and is as follows : "La Terre est la source ou la mature d'oii 1'on fire la Richesse; le travail de Momme est la forme qui la produit: et la Richesse en elle-meme n'est autre chose que la nourriture, les commodites et les agremens de la vie."

I may have dropped an accent or two.

Jevons' comment on the latter is worth quoting as well:
This sentence strikes the keynote, or rather the leading chord of the science of economics. It reminds us at once of the phrase "land and labour of the country" upon which Adam Smith is so frequently harping. Yet it holds the balance between the elements of production more evenly than almost any subsequent treatise. Quesnay, as we shall see, attributed undue weight to some other remarks of Cantillon, and produced an entirely one-sided system of economics depending on land alone; Smith struck off rather on the other track, and took "the annual labour of every nation" as the fund which supplies it with all the necessaries and conveniences of life. Properly interpreted Cantillon's statement is probably the truest which has yet been given.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ah! The Advocates

For Self-Government! I love them dearly. They have some good news for us in their last Liberator Online.
Dear friends,

There's good news in this issue for friends of liberty!

We report that two major U.S. newspapers have discussed the World's Smallest
Political Quiz -- with one printing the Quiz in its entirety and linking to it
at its Web site.

Those same newspapers also ran articles arguing that the old "left versus
right" view of politics is obsolete, that millions of Americans are
libertarians or libertarian sympathizers, and that libertarianism is a major
ideology in American politics.

Also reported in this issue is a new poll that indicates that, for the first
time, a majority of Americans -- 53% -- want to see a major, viable third party
emerge in America -- another sure sign of dissatisfaction with the left-right
statist quo.

All this comes on the heels of other surveys and newspaper articles we've
mentioned in the past few issues that make similar points.

These millions of libertarian-leaning Americans are what we've called for years
"the politically homeless" -- largely or completely libertarian in their
beliefs, but not aware there is a *name* for what they believe. And not aware
there is a vast, fast-growing movement of organizations, publications, and
activists working to put their beliefs into effect.

Our job as lovers of liberty is to reach them -- and bring them the good news
that they're not alone!

But it's not all good news, James Harris tells us that "Americans Know The Simpsons Better Than First Amendment"
* Only 1 in 4 Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances).

* More than half, however, can name at least two members of the Simpson cartoon family.

* More than 1 in 5 of Americans could name all five Simpson family members -- Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. But only 1 in 1,000 can name all five First Amendment freedoms.

Go to this link to see that it's actually worse than that.

Then go on down and read Michael Cloud's and Dr. Mary Ruwart's contributions about... Well, H***, I'll show ya...

Oh! Great definition of a Libertarian there: "I believe in individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government. Period. No exceptions." But see the Ruwart article on some sticky points. I'll just quote Michael:
What are the reasons we are libertarians? Here are a few of the many different reasons I shared with the reporter.

1. Moral: because we believe no person or group has the right to initiate force against another.
2. Pragmatic: Freedom works.
3. Utilitarian: Freedom produces the greatest good for the greatest number.
4. Self-Interest: Freedom benefits you. It's in your self-interest.
5. Altruistic: Freedom benefits others.
6. Big Government Doesn't Work. Freedom does.
7. Personal Responsibility: Freedom rewards personal responsibility and punishes irresponsibility.
8. Choice: freedom maximizes choice. In fact, freedom is choice.
9. Prosperity: Economic freedom creates prosperity.
10. Tolerance: the free, competitive marketplace makes bigotry and prejudice very expensive. And very widely known.

There's a persuasion lesson here.

When you talk with family, friends, and co-workers, how many different kinds of reasons for being libertarian are you offering them? How many different approaches to libertarianism do you put in front of them?

* Why Government Doesn't Work by Harry Browne is one approach.

* Libertarianism in One Lesson by David Bergland is quite different.

* Healing Our World by Mary Ruwart is another way to present liberty.

* The Libertarian Idea by Jan Narveson is yet another.

Buy them. Read them. They will stimulate your thinking. Trigger ideas. And provide you with new ways to present libertarianism. Different paths to winning the hearts and minds of those you care for.

Different individuals want different things.

Different approaches to liberty reach different people.

Different reasons for liberty convince different individuals.

There are many paths to libertarianism. Many reasons for becoming a libertarian.

Don't be trapped by the fallacy that there's only one reason, one case, or one justification for liberty.

So, as I like to say, there!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I'm making a point of writing the date that way today - often followed by "MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!" I'm sure that will lead to a position of greater responsibility.

I'd say it's vastly more important to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of D-Day than to worry about what The Anti-Christ is doing today, whether he's being born or initiating The Tribulation or whatever. Think of it this way: if the prophecy is true, there ain't a damn thing you can do about it anyway.

I'm much more disturbed by this portrait of German children:
In Germany, however, Lego's strategy worked exactly as intended. German children opened a box of Legos, sought out the instructions, read them carefully, and then sorted the pieces by color. They set to building, comparing their assembly progress to the crisp, helpful illustrations in the instruction booklet. When they were finished, they had an exact duplicate of the product shown on the cover of the box. They showed it to Mother who clapped approvingly and put the model on a shelf. Now the children needed another box.

Without even knowing it, Lego had tapped into the Culture Code for Germany itself: ORDER. Over many generations, Germans perfected bureaucracy in an effort to stave off the chaos that came to them in wave after wave, and Germans are imprinted early on with this most powerful of codes. It is that imprint which makes children reach dutifully for the instructions, and it is that code which prevents them from immediately destroying their neat construction in order to build it anew. Lego's elegant, full-color instructions had tapped into the German code in a way that assured repeat sales.


Oy, veh!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Answers to The Important Questions

asked here:
1. Sadly, too often, no.
2. Yes, but we/they don't care.
3. I'm sure there are porn sites for that.
4. You'd know better than I would.
5. I'd bet on amnesiac, but I'm a cat-person.
6. That question has caused me no end of frustration.
7. We don't. We're just screwed.
8. It's always rape. Haven't you heard of Katherine McKinnon?
9. See answer #3.
10. I vote no.

Friday, June 02, 2006

You know, I just noticed that I've seriously underpriced

the coolest thing in my store: the
Maxam 31pc Picnic/Backpack Set
only $47.92
Retail Price: $105.95
You Save: 54% ($58.03)

Trust me, that's a mistake. I'm only going to announce it here and I'll leave it like that till Sunday night, in case any of you are interested.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

I'm sure you commies out there will fail to see yourselves

in this description by Murray Rothbard, but it's you:
It is no accident that it was precisely the economists in the Communist countries who led the rush away from communism, socialism, and central planning, and toward free markets. It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a "dismal science." But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. Yet this sort of aggressive ignorance is inherent in the creed of anarcho-communism.

The same comment can be made on the widespread belief, held by many New Leftists and by all anarcho-communists, that there is no longer need to worry about economics or production because we are supposedly living in a "post-scarcity" world, where such problems do not arise. But while our condition of scarcity is clearly superior to that of the cave-man, we are still living in a world of pervasive economic scarcity.

How will we know when the world has achieved "post-scarcity"? Simply, when all the goods and services that we may want have become so superabundant that their prices have fallen to zero; in short, when we can acquire all goods and services as in a Garden of Eden — without effort, without work, without using any scarce resources.
The fact that the abandonment of rationality and economics in behalf of "freedom" and whim will lead to the scrapping of modern production and civilization and return us to barbarism does not faze our anarcho-communists and other exponents of the new "counter-culture." But what they do not seem to realize is that the result of this return to primitivism would be starvation and death for nearly all of mankind and a grinding subsistence for the ones remaining.

If they have their way, they will find that it is difficult indeed to be jolly and "unrepressed" while starving to death. All this brings us back to the wisdom of the great Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset:

In the disturbances caused by scarcity of food, the mob goes in search of bread, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the bakeries. This may serve as a symbol of the attitude adopted, on a greater and more complicated scale, by the masses of today towards the civilization by which they are supported … Civilization is not "just here," it is not self-supporting.

It is artificial … if you want to make use of the advantages of civilization, but are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization — you are done. In a trice you find yourself left without civilization. Just a slip, and when you look, everything has vanished into air. The primitive forest appears in its native state, just as if curtains covering pure Nature had been drawn back. The jungle is always primitive and vice versa, everything primitive is mere jungle. (José Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses, New York: W.W. Norton, 1932, p. 97.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I've got a Pentacost post next door

at Bourgeois Philistines.

Comment here if you don't like Blogger's comments.