Friday, November 29, 2013

New York Of Myth & Legend

I moved to the NY metro area from suburban NJ in late 1989 to go to college.  To live and / or work in New York City at the time was like the Chinese curse, ‘may you live in interesting times’ for it was interesting.  New York with the election of the far-left David Dinkins coupled with the height of the crack-cocaine craze, fell into chaos that even an intrepid science fiction writer would have trouble imagining.  The city was becoming something out of ‘Escape from New York’, ‘Death Wish’, or ‘The Warriors’.  Granted, the trains were no longer covered in spray paint
(which former mayor Lindsey called “art”); the city however had become lawless.

City parks turned into open drug marts and dens of drug addled vagrants.  Bryant (aka Needle Park) and Tompkins Square Park were unfit for use during the day and outright dangerous to be in after dark. The chaos effect went beyond just the parks.  Trying to use the subway meant passing through a mass of vagrants, crazies, gangs, and god know what else.  For example, there was a tunnel built decades earlier to allow commuters to reach the upper 30’s from the 33rd St. PATH station without ever having to ascend to street level.  By the late 80’s, the tunnel had degenerated into a piss soaked corridor full of trash and junkies.  One poor woman around my age at the time was pulled behind one of those trash piles and raped.  The response from the authorities:  Clean out the tunnels, roust the vagrants, and aggressively patrol the area.  Well… no..  This was the age of Dinkins, the age of surrender to the forces of darkness.  The tunnel was closed and remains so to this day. 

Times Square which today resembles Disneyland was back then something out of the movie Taxi Driver. 
Porn, prostitutes, dilapidated buildings ruled the day.  Walking out of the tourist areas involved risk, which a classmate of mine found out.  He found himself surround by a group of black teens who promptly relieved him of the $10 he had in his wallet.   Luckily that is all they took as this was the age of an earlier version of ‘Knockout King’.  In the 90’s though it was called ‘wilding’, which the most outrageous examples of it was the Central Park Jogger rape and beating and the murder of a teenage tourist.

Dinkins and the rest of the far left running the city cared little.  The attitude of the left in general was “Welcome to the new normal.  The old New York of order and laws will never come back”.  The police force was divided into three not very effective divisions (regular, transit, housing) and staffed by people who were badly demoralized.  The police force was strictly reactive to major crimes and ignored the fare jumpers, aggressive vagrants, and most importantly, the gangs.  This was the age of the violent Korean Deli Protests and the Squeegee men. The racial grievance industry had become violent and had a passive if not outright sympathetic mayor in power. This is not to say Dinkins couldn’t be effective when motivated.  Being an avid tennis fan, he successfully lobbied to have flight paths rerouted so the US Open would not be interrupted by the roar of jet noise.  Howard Stern from that point on would refer to Dinkins derisively a “The Mayor of Tennis”.

At the time I was dating a woman who was a student at Columbia University, which required me to travel to Columbia from Hoboken.  The lobby of her apartment building was adorned with flyers warning of attacks on students.  Several of my girlfriend’s friends had already been robbed.  The modus operandi of the attack was a victim to be sucker punched in the back of the head, then kicked by a conga line of attackers until the victim was paralyzed by pain and fear.  The final attacker would relieve the victim of her belongings.   I referred to these trips as ‘running the gauntlet’ as I would often return home at a very late hour (hey.  I was young then and she was very cute).  To my dying day I will remember sitting at the 96th St station waiting what seemed like an eternity for a No. 2 or No. 3 train to arrive.  The scene around me consisted of:

  • A rather large man on his knees, vomiting on the platform.
  • A super-hyper emaciated black woman with no shoes on running around screaming incoherently.  She ran over to the puke man, tasted his puke, and announced that he was on crack.
  • Another guy standing next to me who for some unknown reason began screaming at an imaginary person standing on the train tracks.
  • A ripe smelling vagrant counting little rocks of crack cocaine (at least I assumed it was) he just removed from a small glass vial.
  • Lastly, a finely dressed gentleman smiling, singing, and handing out religious literature to all the crazies on the platform. God was nowhere near this place.

 Eventually Gomorrah on the Hudson became too much for the majority of New York City’s residents.  Dinkins lost his bid for a second term which ushered in the age of Giuliani and the very capable William Bratton as police commissioner.  Neither of these men tolerated the chaos and race pimps of the previous regime.  In the following years unlivable neighborhoods transformed to be safe and expensive.  Former drug dens such as Bryant Park transformed into a place of relaxation, fairs, and cultural events.

Right before the election of Bill de Blasio, I recounted the remembrances above to my wife’s friends at a get together.  One woman, who has been living in Manhattan since 2006 stared at me with wide-eyed wonder.  “I read stories like this, but I never thought they were actually true” she spoke.  The bad days of New York City, the crime, the chaos, the decay…  Many people who live in New York today never experienced it. History must be experience to be truly understood. To later generations, the bad old days have become myth and legend.  Too many do not know what hell that the ideology of a Dinkins and de Blasio leads to.  What they did hear was the siren call of free daycare, end of white privilege (whatever the hell that means), free stuff paid for by the rich, unicorns, and rainbows. 

To all of those that enthusiastically voted for de Blasio:  May you live in interesting times.

The Devil's Platform

Now that I scared myself about a solar flare burning material ejected from the AG A* galactic center, causing a magnetosphere collapse and a mass extinction, so much so that I was awake until 3:45 last night, I thought I would visit and old topic of mine. The stories in the links are a little old, but it is a slow news day. I will take a little bit of an insufferable victory lap to shake off the fear!

I called it the Google Purge when I first saw the take down David Patraeus: As sequester approaches, we are seeing a purge of the administration moderates. Within days we saw what I thought were similar takedowns of Marine Gen. John R. Allen and Gen. William ‘‘Kip’’ Ward.  Kip Ward was the predecessor to Carter Ham at U.S. AFRICOM until March 2011, even though he wasn't formally demoted until November 2012.   Carter Ham was the last link in the chain of command short of the President for communications about American soil in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

The official party line is that no alternative or additional aircraft options were available within a timeline to be effective for interdiction at the embassy. Gen. Ham, has been highly critical of the decision by the State Department not to send in reinforcements, which he contended could have arrived in time. He was relieved of his command and retired.

Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, commander of the Carrier Strike Group in the Mediterranean, contended that aircraft could have been sent to Libya in time. He has been removed for alleged profanity and making “racially insensitive comments.”

Three of the nine firings of generals and flag officers by Obama this year were linked to the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack. According to Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, at least two CIA officers who were to testify before Congress about Benghazi were told keep quiet or they could lose their jobs.  All the while, our men and women gets more instruction on sexual harassment than how to handle weapons.  

The demoralization of our military is nearly complete. Things brings me full circle, back to sequester. A $475 Bln. automatic reduction is on the way for January, 2014.  The packaging of the argument is already complete. The "Expect Sequestration to Hit Much Harder in 2014" talking point, supported by a study by the Center for American Progress, is baked into the public opinion cake.  That point is directed at Republicans, who want sequester: "The kind of game playing that went on over these last few weeks with the shutdown and the debt deadline, all of the threats and counterthreats that went on — that’s the politics of this town."  In the meantime, there is no Republican unity about how to fund the military.

By the way, the picture above is from Season 1, Episode 7 of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Some have called Valerie Jarrett the Night Stalker, because she has had access to the White House residential quarters during the evening hours.  In that episode, The Devil's Platform, Kolchak discovers a young rising politician has made a deal with the Devil to murder off his competition through incidents made to look like accidents.

I hope I can sleep tonight.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just Change the Solar Constant

Two stories in astrophysics have piqued my interest recently. They may impact the stability of the anthropogenic argument for climate change. This argument, it seems to me, assumes solar and galactic conditions to be constant, when they are far from that.

The sun orbits around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way on a galactic plain. Standing here on the earth, you look at the galactic center when gaze toward SGR A* near the border of the Sagitarius and Scorpius constellations.  In its orbit, perhaps because the arms of the Milky way are shaped kind of like the brim of a fedora, the sun crosses over the center of the galactic plane four times in a galactic year, which is about 225 to 250 million "terrestrial" years. Several years ago, after looking at the data that shows a mass extinction about every 62 million years or so, a thought emerged that correlated mass extinction with the location of the sun to the galactic plain.

When a star goes supernova, collapsing into a black hole, it emits a gamma ray burst from either pole. Black holes have polar jets. A recent story seems to put the polar orientation of the Milky Way super-massive black hole as parallel to the galactic rotation axis.  The signature of the jet passing through nearby gas is weak, because not much material is falling into the black hole. It was at least a million times brighter within the past few hundred years.

Another recent story talked about how GRB 130427A, a gamma ray burst in another galaxy, lasted for 20 hours, far longer than accounted for by current theory. Add this to observations that planetary nebula left over from supernova tend to orient with one pole toward the galactic center.  With this orientation, and a more active SGR A*, the galactic plain seems to be the likely place for the exit of radiation such a a gamma ray burst.

So, does the sun burn at a constant rate?  We know it doesn't.  Over the past half a century or more, we have seen coronal mass ejection events and cosmic ray flux confirmation of the 22 year Hale Solar Cycle and the Vries solar cycle. How do events emanating from the galactic center effect how the sun burns? We have no idea. But it seems to me that attributing no variation whatsoever to the center of galactic orbital rotation is foolhardy.

How the sun burns, it seems to me, depends upon what is falling into it, which varies far more greatly that our scientists imagine.  Just how material may be bulldozed outward from the galactic center and into our sun seems to be something astrophysicists just haven't been thinking about.

Take for example how Carbon 14 and Beryllium 10 deposits found in ice and sediment cores correlate temporally to the Younger Dryas mass extinction boundary.  They can be seen as evidence of spikes in cosmic radiation, with a massive peaks powerful enough to irradiate many species to extinction.  Similarly, a solar proton event a powerful as the Carrington Event of 1859 may cause a temperature drop of 3C.

The ice ages and mass extinctions may not be due to comet and meteor collisions at all. They may be due to events in the galactic center that change what the sun is burning, which modern science has never seen or measured.

Now shut up and eat your peas.

Who Have You Invited?

As I sat to write this post, I thought about Thanksgivings past. My childhood Thanksgivings in the 1960's included aunts uncles and cousins. There was turkey, stuffing and arguments. In my house, where I tried to do things differently, we had turkey, stuffing and tense discussions. So for me today, Thanksgiving makes me think of:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way ...

My xwtb (Ex-wife to be), who I love and will always wish the best for, and who I also love under a different roof, told me about a story in her beloved New York Times about how Thanksgiving gatherings are now more commonly attended by those other than nuclear families. So the Thanksgiving table discussion, you see, is not like it was in the 1960's.

The argument starts when you invite someone in. It begins with a jab or a barb and it takes off from there. If it gets really bad, it may be best to take a time out. I have taken a time out - a really long one. I think many people, perhaps for different reasons, have taken a time out like mine. There are even charts that show it.

Post election, CNN viewership in the key 25-54 year old demographic was down 62% in primetime and down -59% for total day viewing. MSNBC was down 52% in the demo. In primetime, the network lost half its viewership and more than half (-57%) in the demo. The pay-TV industry has reported its worst 12-month stretch ever. The total "Nielsen TV Universe" is declining.

I am a cord cutter. I have not had cable TV under my roof for nearly two years. I have all the TV shows and movies I want. The only thing I miss is watching sports. That's fine, because I can just walk to a sports bar for the games I want to see.

I could not be more happy about my money not going into the pockets of Alec Baldwin, Martin Bashir and Ted and Hanoi Jane Turner. People of this ilk have climbed onto the back of the popularity sports. Without sports in a cable package, most in the MSM would not have a seat at our Thanksgiving table.

Please, cut the cable. Don't invite these people in for dinner. They're eating your lunch already.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Knockout Game and the Sound of Silence

Slate and the Daily Beast have put out stories today calling the Knock Out Game a "right wing media myth." It seems the talking points are out on what is an old story here at RFNJ, which has become legitimate because the the big dogs have responded.

The MSM deals only now with this longstanding embarrassment, by employing a technique from an old but very effective playbook. All you need to do is substitute the name of the group you have targeted as the source of the problem, and repeat this often: "It was difficult for a time to persuade the people of this, for public opinion was entirely in * hands." Go ahead, highlight the words inside the quote and Google it.

Over at National Review, it's like the the Knockout Game does not exist at all. Open the Home page or the Corner, and the word "knockout" is nowhere to be found. "Fools", I say "You do not know Silence like a cancer grows."

I mentioned to the Derb on Sunday that the tone of the popular conversation seems to be turning about the ferocious hostility reality that lurks behind The Talk. As I left lunch after the morning shoot, the Derb, who crushed nearly every clay in sight, asked me to keep this blog going. I will try to do that.  

On Sunday, I repeated to the Derb something I read on Saturday.  I will say it again here:

National Review owes John Derbyshire an apology.

I am not sure I will ever meet any of those fellows over at National Review, unless I go on one of those cruises they have from time to time.  The next one will probably be on the renamed Arctic Sunrise.  There!  I said it!  

The Pirate of Murmansk

This story made think about the Russians, the Somali pirates and the leaky boat that all came about because of “the absence of a legal base to carry out prosecution procedures against pirates

"When guys come on board with machine guns, they're going to take control and you're going to sit down. That's understood. The shock was when we got back to Murmansk and they said the word piracy."

The charges may have been worse, I guess, if Peter Wilcox, 27 Greenpeace comrades and two journalists had been sailing the confrontational sounding Rainbow Warrior. Mr. Wilcox, during his time in Russian gaol became a little philosophical:

"The first five weeks when we were being hit with the piracy charge I lost a lot of sleep," he recalled. "I was nervous, I was scared. I just couldn't believe that they were going to put us to jail for years and years. You keep telling yourself you know they're not going to do it, but then a month later you're still sitting there. If I'm in jail for five years, I never see my father again, maybe my mother too. That's a game changer."


"I'm going to be much more conservative with the way I do actions in the future," he says. "You can't go through what I went through and not have it affect you."

Not to worry though. The charges against the detainees were downgraded from piracy to hooliganism, which has a maximum sentence of 7 years.

The fate of the Arctic Sunrise remains in the dark. Maybe if Greenpeace gets her back, with Mr. Wilcox becoming a conservative and all, they'll rename her Pussy Riot.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What Makes You Strong?

I didn't know where I was really going when I posted the Never Give in speech.  As a piece of oration, it says many things, and it just seemed apropos.  Rather than include a picture Sir Winston though, I put in an image of one of those ordinary blokes who just played his part. As I look back at the picture I, it symbolizes what Tom and this blog has meant to me.

People who think like us, the readers of RFNJ, are standing in the gap much like the British in 1940. The British much underestimated and clearly not understood early warning systems were the demise of the Luftwaffe. Tom designed his own brilliant early warning systems.  His immersement in the news enlightened me on a daily basis.  

I have my own fascination for the news and politics, which as some readers might appreciate is more than a little seat of the pants. Here at RFNJ though, as a consumer of news, you got items that were more than current. They were selected and treated by "one of us" who was reliably not just standing, but standing tall, “in the gap.” Tom is our coast watcher who has a 10,000 yard stare. His commentary never gave in.

I can relate to so much about Tom’s Turning a Corner post. I know about being hated for how you make a living. I also know about the wrenching anguish that seems to always accompany important personal change. Sometimes if you don’t change, you die. So that’s why, for me, it’s is better to take what Sir Winston said and flip it over. I try to put my “convictions of honour and good sense” first. I know when I do that, like when I put my hand out to someone that struggles, I can let go a little more easily of some of those absolutes and underlying truths that make me suffer. Perhaps that is why, seeing the way national politics and the slaughter of our Constitution now unfold, I have let go a bit of my attachment to the news. That is part of what I haven't been around here lately.  Sometimes you admit defeat to gain strength.  

I think Tom is going to be more than just fine. A shrinking pie, like what he has described in the Hedge Fund industry, and like what has come and gone many times in the legal business, has a way of magnifying the impact of competition. What doesn't kill you makes you strong. So I pity the businesses that will compete against whatever endeavor Tom becomes involved in. For crying out loud, he hit 25 of 25 clays yesterday, having not been to the range in I don’t know how long! He’ll probably do something like invent Reardon Metal rather than going Galt.

So I will say for the readers here, I pray that my convictions of honor and good sense make it so I will never give in.  Thanks Tom.  

Never Give In

Sir Winston Churchill visited the Harrow School, his alma mater, on October 29, 1941, to hear the traditional songs again. The preceding summer, Britian stood down the F├╝hrer's General Directive 16, which sought to eliminate the English home country as a base for the continuation of the war against Germany. Sir Winston heard a new verse in one of the old songs that day:

Not less we praise in darker days
The leader of our nation,
And Churchill's name shall win acclaim
From each new generation.
For you have power in danger's hour
Our freedom to defend, Sir!
Though long the fight we know that right
Will triumph in the end, Sir!

Sir Winston addressed the assembly:

Almost a year has passed since I came down here at your Head Master's kind invitation in order to cheer myself and cheer the hearts of a few of my friends by singing some of our own songs. The ten months that have passed have seen very terrible catastrophic events in the world - ups and downs, misfortunes - but can anyone sitting here this afternoon, this October afternoon, not feel deeply thankful for what has happened in the time that has passed and for the very great improvement in the position of our country and of our home? Why, when I was here last time we were quite alone, desperately alone, and we had been so for five or six months. We were poorly armed. We are not so poorly armed today; but then we were very poorly armed. We had the unmeasured menace of the enemy and their air attack still beating upon us, and you yourselves had had experience of this attack; and I expect you are beginning to feel impatient that there has been this long lull with nothing particular turning up!

But we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. It is generally said that the British are often better at the last. They do not expect to move from crisis to crisis; they do not always expect that each day will bring up some noble chance of war; but when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months - if it takes years - they do it.

Another lesson I think we may take, just throwing our minds back to our meeting here ten months ago and now, is that appearances are often very deceptive, and as Kipling well says, we must "…meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same."

You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period - I am addressing myself to the School - surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.

Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.

You sang here a verse of a School Song: you sang that extra verse written in my honour, which I was very greatly complimented by and which you have repeated today. But there is one word in it I want to alter - I wanted to do so last year, but I did not venture to. It is the line: "Not less we praise in darker days."

I have obtained the Head Master's permission to alter darker to sterner. "Not less we praise in sterner days."

Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days - the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.

Friday, November 22, 2013

- Turning A Corner

I think I’ve reached a corner in my life.  A time for a moment of reflection anyway. 

I always get melancholy around my birthday, and this time circumstances have conspired to make me even more so.  The Marathon I ran last week is better analogy for my first 50 years than I expected it to be.  Though I trained as hard as I could devoting months of work to it and hundreds of miles, thanks to bad luck or poor timing my performance was considerably less than I’d hoped (to say nothing of other’s expectations).  I finished, which is what most people would call a success, but it took me 25% longer than I had hoped, which I call... maybe not a failure exactly, but not a success.  

 I think the very same thing can be said of my first 50 years.

My 25 year long career on Wall Street was only middlingly successful by Wall Street standards, and I feel like I might have reached an end there too.  It’s true that lots of people strive to be in the position I was as a profitable PM in a major hedge fund, and then head of a department at another.  But the real fact of the matter is that I was late to the party. 

The fatted calf had been milked, killed, skinned, roasted and almost fully eaten by the time I finally arrived.  Where a PM could hope to make 10’s of millions per year before 2007, afterward, the money was barely enough to make it worth the gut wrenching stress.  After 2008 for many people, the real money wasn’t there at all.  I had seven straight years of uninterrupted profit.  But I think you’d be surprised how lightly that sort of thing is valued these days.

So I’m considering a big career change.  An investment banker friend has taken over a logistics company and I’ve been working for him as a consultant to see if I like it and if I’d be a fit.  I’m adding value in meaningful ways, solving problems and creating value.  I’m filling a genuine need of his, not just taking up a space that he held open for me because of our friendship.  And the industry itself is almost perfectly placed for a quant with a deep understanding of machine intelligence and optimization.  The money is pretty good and the work is fun.  I’m considering a permanent change very seriously.

Meanwhile my personal life hasn’t gone the way I’d hoped either.  My teenage daughter is sick.  The stress of it has pushed my wife right to the brink if not slightly over, and now our marriage is suffering greatly as well.  I’m almost completely powerless to effect any change in my situation, and I find myself wondering about the mistakes I made to bring myself here.  I can’t figure out what I might have done differently, but everyone involved seems to think it’s all my fault somehow anyway. 

I’m so tired of being everyone’s bad guy.  I’m exhausted by it.  But if it’s the only way to save my daughter then it isn’t even a question for me.  I’ll keep doing it, even if it means the very end of me.  The career change possibility is a big deal, but this is literally everything else to me.

Even with all that said though; even with little to hang my black hat on other than my own ignorance, I would say that I’ve learned a few important things in 50 years.  For instance, all the happiest moments in my life were those times when I was only worried about people other than myself.  And that’s a damned good thing too because it seems that all the good intentions in the world won’t actually make people care any more about you, so it had better feel good or no one would ever bother.  At this point I’m convinced that ‘doing the right thing’ won’t make people see you with affection and that people are as likely to hate you as love you, no matter how you treat them.  Very often contempt is greeted with adoration, and kindness with vitriol.  I think it’s mostly just a question of timing. 

Another thing I noticed is that the things I thought took the greatest effort were generally not valued very well by others, and the things I thought were almost effortlessly easy were often looked at as if it were magic or some kind of miracle.  I don’t really understand that.  I’ve attributed my confusion to the fact that I’ve never had a particularly clear view of how others see me.  And I’m afraid that’s one aspect of my life that seems likely to continue.  

I always thought that the right way to approach the world was to worry about ‘reality’.  I thought that our feelings on various subjects were as changeable as the tides, but beneath the water was always the ‘facts’ of our existence.  Those facts always seemed more permanent to me and I thought that if you relied on them you were more likely to be ‘right’ than 'wrong’.  

 I know now that the world has no taste for such absolutes.  So few people are able to tell the difference between facts and their feelings that I’m starting to wonder if I got that all wrong in the first place. Does a 'fact' actually exist if there is no one able to see it?  Isn't the whole subjective problem of delusion one of knowing 'facts' which aren't knowable to others?

I guess my point is that I find I don’t care at all about politics anymore.  I have nothing but contempt for politicians of all stripes.  I still believe principle is important, but I think it’s personal.  And I’m no longer willing to pay the price in public hatred for my political views.  I used to say “this is how I feel, so let them hate me for it if they must.”  Nowadays I’d just as soon keep my feelings to myself.  After 50 years I’ve finally got enough people out there who hate me, including virtually everyone in my life who was closest to me.  I no longer see the point in adding more.

Maybe that’s a sign of maturity, I don’t know.  I do know that I no longer feel the need to have others think I’m right about abstract issues.  I know that I’m not going to change the world, and I’m no longer willing to cope with the cost of trying.  People will live their lives and value their beliefs, governments will rise and fall, and the world will keep spinning whether they want it to or not.  Meanwhile I’m just a small man with a small life who isn’t going to be able to do anything about any of it. 

The truth is that I think I’ve said everything I wanted to say here a long time ago.  I no longer have anything new to add or any new way to add it.  The declining readership obviously knows that and there probably isn’t much sense in continue to try.  I’ll leave the talking heads to do the talking, and focus on what I know better how to do.  I’ll go help build a business whose service is simple enough for anyone to understand and see the value in.  One that doesn’t make me the despised enemy of millions simply for trying to do it well, or horror of horrors, actually succeeding at doing so.

I started writing this blog because I felt I had something I needed to say.  Whether anyone was interested in reading it or not was secondary to me.  That need is gone now, washed away by other exigencies.  So while I may not be completely done, I don’t think you can expect to hear much more from me.  Not for a good long while at least.

A while back my dad reminded me of a time when I was about 12 and I came home all banged up and bruised.  I had gotten in a fight to defend my friend who was being picked on for being Jewish.  He told me that he was very proud of that story and had repeated it often over the years.  But as is usually the case with my dad and me, he got the whole point of that episode wrong.  

The truth was that I didn’t care that my friend was Jewish at all; all I ever cared about was that he was my friend.  There was a principle involved, one that I hold above nearly all else.  But it wasn’t the one that he thought it was.  My real fight was really much smaller than the one he wanted me to be in, and much less worthy of being repeated to his drinking buddies.

I think it’s time for me to get back to that kind of fighting for a while.