The basic scam in the Internet Age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. Companies that weren’t much more than pot-fueled ideas scrawled on napkins by up-too-late bong-smokers were taken public via IPOs, hyped in the media and sold to the public for mega-millions.


“Since the Depression, there were strict underwriting guidelines that Wall Street adhered to when taking a company public,” says one prominent hedge-fund manager. “The company had to be in business for a minimum of five years, and it had to show profitability for three consecutive years. But Wall Street took these guidelines and threw them in the trash.” Goldman completed the snow job by pumping up the sham stocks: “Their analysts were out there saying Bullshit.com is worth $100 a share.”


The market was no longer a rationally managed place to grow real, profitable businesses: It was a huge ocean of Someone Else’s Money where bankers hauled in vast sums through whatever means necessary and tried to convert that money into bonuses and payouts as quickly as possible.

If you laddered and spun 50 Internet IPOs that went bust within a year, so what? By the time the Securities and Exchange Commission got around to fining your firm $110 million, the yacht you bought with your IPO bonuses was already six years old.
Besides, you were probably out of Goldman by then, running the U.S. Treasury or maybe the state of New Jersey.

Taibbi, M. (2010, April 5). The Great American Bubble Machine. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-20100405


Confident Idiots

Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack. To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, an impossibility among the incompetent. Poor performers—and we are all poor performers at some things—fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack.

In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

Dunning, D. (2014, October 27). We Are All Confident Idiots. Retrieved from http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/confident-idiots-92793/


Symbolic Offense

The ships described in the article are the big vessels run by the big lines, and they have all manner of accommodations, depending on how much you spend. The end result – a hierarchy of comfort and amenities ordered by expenditure – is something whose symbolism appalls some folk, because if something doesn’t present sufficient opportunities to be appalled, you have to concern yourself with its symbolic offense.

Lileks, J. (2016, May 2). How to be angry about other people’s vacations. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/how-to-be-angry-about-other-people-s-vacations/377833321/


Coked-Up Editing

The number of cuts per scene is astronomical, ensuring that the audience never gets a chance to orient itself in the environment, or, for that matter, care about what is happening. Liam Neeson is impressive physically, but the fight scenes are filmed with so many cuts that the action itself is never clear. In one car chase scene, involving multiple police cars, an 18-wheeler, and the various commuters on the road, a car commandeered by Mills ends up driving the wrong way down a crowded freeway. At least I think that’s what I was seeing. The coked-up editing makes it impossible to tell, and it made me yearn, longingly, for the classic car chase scene in “To Live and Die in L.A.,” also involving a car barreling the wrong way down a freeway. That visceral, gripping scene in “To Live and Die in L.A.” was filmed so specifically that the audience never loses its orientation in space. Effective car chase scenes involve care in the execution: it’s not enough to show a car flipping over in slo-mo, surrounding it with 100 quick edits designed to disorient. Ironically, that approach ends up making it look like the movie is trying too hard.

O’Malley, S. (2015, January 9). Review: Taken 3 (2015). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/taken-3-2015


♛ Important People

As John Whitehead, the godfather of Goldman’s modern culture, wrote in a set of guidelines for executives: “Important people like to deal with other important people. Are you one?”

Hagan, J. (2009, July 26). Tenacious G: Inside Goldman Sachs. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/news/business/58094/

🌏 Life Goes On

Life goes on, but you wish it went someplace better.

Source Unknown


It was meant sincerely, and like all things sincerely intended, the Boomers had to turn him into a sarcastic joke to show they could see right through all the things that were wrong with the world.  Like sincerity, I suppose.

Lileks, J. (2012). Graveyard Special (Mill City Book 1) . Amazon Digital Services LLC. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Graveyard-Special-Mill-City-Book-ebook/dp/B00962GFES/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1500508490&sr=1-3

🌰 Comedy Brain

I use it to illustrate the comedy brain. It picks up so much except a lot of the basic stuff that you really need.

Jerry Seinfeld

 VoxophoneFoolish Girls

God made foolish girls so he’d have something to play with.

Fitzroy, D (1912, Feb 12). A Place in the World. Soldier’s Field Voxophone, Recording 022. Bioshock Infinite. 2K Games. 2013. Video Game.


Tony: Turns out I’m a fucking robot to my own pussy-ass weakness.

Weiner, M., & Winter, T. (Writers). (2004, May 2). Unidentified Black Males [Television series episode]. In The Sopranos. HBO.


Deacon: That’s sweeping leaves on a windy day.

Simon, D., & Price, R. (Writers). (2004, September 26). All Due Respect [Television series episode]. In The Wire. HBO.

👍 Patronize

… and the thing about patronization is that it hides its self-involvement with a pretense of goodwill.

Ivan Fyodorovich (2014, Oct 27). Re: What the garbageman doesn’t know [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/143948/What-the-garbageman-doesnt-know#5791826

🕒 Everything is Fleeting

Time, and our interaction with time, and the way in which we are all ultimately overmatched and worn down by time, and the notion of cinema as a means of sculpting with time: these and other aspects of temporality are at the heart of “Boyhood.” Time is the core around which all of this movie’s musings on childhood and parenthood are woven. It’s the river down which the scenes and characters travel without consciously realizing that they are on individual journeys that all have the same ending. If life is “about” anything, it’s about realizing and accepting that fact: that everything is fleeting. Time gives birth and nourishes and then obliterates as it moves ahead, like the family which, in an early scene, prepares to move out of a house by covering murals and hand-lettered height charts with white paint. The film ends and the credits come up and you ask the same question that you ask at the end of an evening spent with old, dear friends: where did the time go?

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, July 11). Review: Boyhood (2014). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/boyhood-2014

🌲🌲🌲 Enlightened Environmentalists

The Bay Area, on the whole, is a case study in how liberalism – and I mean specifically liberalism, rather than socialism/leftism – fails in practice. The city, the peninsula, Silicon Valley, the exurban East Bay, the north bay, and even great swathes of Oakland and Berkeley are places where hyperindividualist liberalism is the governing ideology. Although the residents here mouth statements about inclusivity and acceptance in the abstract, they are completely gung ho about avoiding all of those things should they appear to threaten either property values or creature comforts when actually realized. Moreover, the idea of collective action is absolutely anathema to them, since individual choice is the only version of freedom comprehensible to them. This is how a bunch of property owners in wretched little towns like Palo Alto and Menlo Park, all of whom think of themselves as enlightened environmentalists, end up frantically trying to sabotage high speed rail lines in order to protect the sanctity of their large backyards. This is how Marin county ends up as a hotbed for measles outbreaks triggered by selfish antivaxxers. This is how they all find themselves either comfortable with or totally oblivious to Tom Steyer’s hedge fund’s use of economic force majeure to expel long-term residents of West Oakland to make way for white people – after all, if the people being foreclosed upon after being stuck with predatory loan terms had simply freely chosen not to get scammed, they’d still have their houses, right?

You Can’t Tip a Buick (2015, Feb 4). Re: It’s always the dentists [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/146736/Its-always-the-dentists#5923043

🎦 Productivity Theater

I suspect in most cases you’re still only getting 30-40 hours of real work output, even if someone is physically in the office or at their computer 80 hours a week. The rest is productivity theater.

almostmanda (2015, May 4). Re: Why some men pretend to work 80-hour weeks [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/149348/Why-some-men-pretend-to-work-80-hour-weeks#6033639