Wednesday, November 30, 2005

2 For 1 At Au Bon Pain

After 10:00PM, Au Bon Pain sells two pastries for the price of one. A fat boy cannot pass up two pastries for the price of one. So, I grab a Coke and two day-old cheese danishes.

While the cashier keys in the two for one special, guess who gets behind me in line wanting a coffee fix?

Yes, the track star, the fit heptathelete looking stunning. Two cheese danishes and a Coke, I will always be a fat boy. (If I only had my plunger...)

I was never an athlete. I was an offensive lineman who threw shotput.

International Colleagues 5

Here is a conversation between myself and an Ethiopian colleague. He and I had just failed a meaningless exam. If I let that exam have any effect on my life than I am a bigger fool than the professor who wrote it.

Ethiopian: "I am destroyed. I am done."

Myself: "Destroyed! You have a wife and child back in Ethiopia that still loves you! I have no prospects!"

Ethiopian: "Have you ever been to Ethiopia?"

He really didn't say the last part, but I forget that sometimes this meaningless degree means more to others than it does to me.

ML and I had some interesting discussions about life today. Unfortunately, I cannot think of anything to say about them.

The economist's role is to illuminate the decision. His role is to make people think. His role is to see what is not seen.

Sitting on the fence puts splinters in your ass.

I am not saying that one has to have an opinion on everything, but he has to know why he does not have an opinion.

"Why?" is the question that separates the positivists from the normativists.

Monday, November 28, 2005

100th Post

"People get ready. There's a train a coming. Picking up passengers coast to coast. Faith is the key. It opens doors and borders. You don't need no ticket. You just get on board." Bono's interpretation of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready."

I sit in my office wondering what tomorrow will bring. I guess that is what makes life so grand.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Quick Post

"Sleep comes like a drug in God's country" from U2's "In God's Country"

Because of physical fatigue or boredom? Is there a difference?

I did poorly in the 11th grade. I took a joint AP US History-American Literature class. It was the hardest class at my high school. Tons of work "to prepare for college." I was always struggling to finish some "thought paper" at lunch. A teammate and I missed the year-end field trip to go to a track meet, and the teacher made us do an extra assignment. They were good teachers and everyone loved them, but they did not understand that smart kids require time to think. Homework assignments rarely require serious thinking. I was always tired and struggling with "why am I doing this'. I learned more in my senior government class where we did little work than I did about US History and American Literature.

I was the worse student in the class, but I was the only one to get a 5 on the AP exam. I came back in the Fall, and my classmates were shocked. One jokingly said the graders saw my fifth grade handwriting, assumed I was ten, and gave me a high score. He also called me a "big dumb redneck."

He was right.

I did well my senior year and throughout college. My teachers and professors never buried me in meaningless work. They allowed me to breath. They allowed me to do a little reading on my own. They got out of my way and allowed me to succeed. They showed me the door, but I had to enter.

I am tired again. It is my own fault. I have allowed myself to be bored. In the 11th grade, I did not know better. Now I do.

Life and production are the only constants in this world not death and taxes.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne"

This song fascinates me.

Fogelberg meets an old lover in a grocery store. She is married and not happy. He is famous and not happy. They part ways, and "the snow turned into rain."

"She said she married an architect who kept her warm, safe and dry. She would have liked to say she loved the man, but she didn't like to lie."

What does she want? Why did she marry him? Would she rather have a musician who was never there? Would she rather have a man who cheated? Would she rather be cold, fearful, and wet? I do not get it.

I keep harping on this, but she wants something other than reality.

This is what subjective positivists want. They see no Truth in the world. They see no reason for living. They do not believe in God. They accept 'what is' and sing hopeless songs. They go from lover to lover but never know what love should be. They refuse to improve their lives. Sometimes, they try to improve others' lives, but they cannot. A man who hates himself cannot love another person. (A Peace Corp volunteer who does not appreciate why he is able to volunteer cannot help those who cannot volunteer.)

I respect the husband. Fogelberg and the wife/ex-lover can chase after unreality. They can talk over a six-pack. Why do they need a six-pack? Anyone who says let's discuss this over beer or wine has nothing to discuss. The husband designs buildings. He produces. Fogelberg and the wife/ex-lover are suffocating in self-pity. They do not understand the joy of producing.

The Bridgewater Eagles defeated Thiel College today. They will play Delaware's Wesley College next Saturday for the Division III South Region Championship in Dover. Go Eagles. (I almost used an exclamation point.)

This is the last team that I have any ties to. I am getting nostalgic.

Friday, November 25, 2005

"'Cause Time Goes By Like Hurricanes, Runnin' After Subway Trains, Don't Forget The Pouring Rain"*

We debated the merits of the 1.6 gallon toilet rule in a graduate microeconomics class. I was the only one outraged by this unnecessary regulation. My classmates talked about externalities and 'good intentions.' I screamed about steak dinners ruined by stopped toilets. They talked about saving water. I screamed about no toilet innovations. (Think about the possibilities, an adjustable flow gauge and bigger bowls, but no, we are stuck with these 1.6 gallon jobs that have to be flushed three times anyway. Where is the water savings when you have to flush the damn thing three times?)

Was I wrong?

Subjective positivists have a problem here. They do not see what is not seen. They have a difficult time seeing that their solutions cause greater problems. They are too quick to take the rules as given. They are not quick enough to see that 1.6 gallons is sometimes not enough and too much other times. They do not see that 2.0 gallons might prevent double flushes and actually save water. They avoid the incentives problems in water rationing and come up with some stupid regulation that discriminates against fat-asses.

A normative Truth: Government's only role is to enforce the Constituion. It has no business in wallets, bedrooms or bathrooms.

Why this bitching?

I get back from Thanksgiving dinner last night. I used the bathroom. I am forced to get a plunger. I get on the elevator with the first good-looking girl I have seen in days. She rides the elevator with me and my plunger.

Where is the utility in that?

I like to stop-up the President's toilet who signed this one into law.

Note to self:
My father's discussion on religion is a good blog topic.

*The Allman Brother Band's "Ain't Wastin' Time No More"
"Don't forget the pouring rain"

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I Cannot Go Into Barnes And Noble

If I enter, I will spend at least $50 for the same books I could have gotten for $30 on the internet.

I do enjoy Barnes and Noble's Classics. They are both affordable and informative.

ABC/ESPN should get a game on Thanksgiving. The Lions suck. I hate the Cowboys.

My father's deceased boss (he is another post by himself) once told me that I was better suited for hauling apples than playing football (and going to school). I was a sophomore and not traveling with the team to Guilford. The bastard had a point.

I worked for two hours at the video store Wednesday night. I was probably more productive, more focused, and happier than I have been all semester.

This post says more about my philosophical foundations than the last three combined.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


The only philosophy course I have ever taken is Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Most of what I have been writing is not technically correct. A philosophy student knows I am attributing the wrong words to others' ideas. I apologize.

I also think writing takes place in stages. In the first stage, ideas are written. This blog is still in this first stage. I try to express ideas. One day I might come back and turn these ideas into intelligible and clear writing, but right now, I am concerned with putting ideas out there. This is especially true with the last two posts explaining my philosophical foundations. Philosophical foundations take time to form and even more time to express.

I also prefer active writing. I assume everyone knows I am writing my opinion. I also prefer hyperbole and making things personal. I assure you nothing written in this blog is mean spirited. If you take offense; please comment. I prefer to rectify problems instead of letting them fester (that is why ML angered me).

I had an external visitor yesterday who commented on another page. She gave a perfect example of what subjective behavior entails. The visitor commented, "my understanding of the entry itself may have been increased had I known whose blog it was." The visitor denied absolute Truth. The value of the entry changed with who wrote it.

My advisor did the same thing when I said someone had criticized our research. His first question was who? (I was the one criticizing the research. He caught me in a lie, but you get the point.)

An objective person would have commented on the entry here. He would have said "this post makes very little sense. You, WB, are wrong. Churches and academia do form normative thinkers." He would have stated what the Truth was.

A subjective positivist would have reacted similarly to the external visitor. This post is not intelligent or from an intelligent person, therefore, this post is not worth thinking about. A subjective positivist does not care about philosophy from some unknown blogger.

An objective positivist would have said this post is not true, therefore, it is not worth my time.

A subjective normativist would say the author should learn how to write better. He would think about the points that he understood. He would think about who wrote it. He would then decide what philosophical foundations should be and express his personal opinions.

An objective normativist would say the author should learn how to express his ideas clearer. He would think about the points he understood and compare them to the Truth. He would then say what philosophical foundations should be.

Positivists avoid irrelevant discussions. There is no use talking about uncorrupt government, because there is no such thing as uncorrupt government. There is no use talking about what we should or should not be doing in Africa when children are starving and people are dying of AIDS. It is the philosophy of reality. It is the philosophy of the here and now.

Normativists enjoy irrelevant discussions. What should government do? The answers they create are usually deemed infeasible by positivists. It is the philosophy of the ideal. It is the philosophy of what should be.

My proposition is the majority of society, the knowledge workers especially, have became too positive. They have shunned normativism without proper reflection. This stagnates growth as sub-optimal reality is chosen in favor of ideal improvements.

I also propose that subjective positivism is the philosophy of my colleagues, but this has to change if our society is to improve.

"You May Find Yourself Living In A Shotgun Shack...You May Find Yourself In A Beautiful House With A Beautiful Wife"*

I ate lunch with a professor today. We did not talk economics. We talked football.

He commented that big time football universities do not have great academics. We spent the next ten minutes trying to find counter-examples. This was a positive exercise. We never discussed why football programs and academics are mutually exclusive. We never discussed how football programs should fit into the university setting. Those questions do not matter to positivists. (I am surprised one of us didn't blurt "there might be a paper in this.")

John Maynard Keynes said "in the-long run, we are all dead." Keynes convinced the Western world that the economy could be controlled by positive philosophers. Recessions require government spending. We are all dead, therefore, live today and worry about the future when it gets here.

His statement is true, eventually, we are all dead. His logic satisfies the positivists.

But, our progeny will not be dead in the long-run. How long is the long-run? Are we really dead? The normativist asks what should we do? Should today be more important than tomorrow? Keynes' positive statement is not enough for his conclusion. The question becomes should we live today and worry about the future when it gets here?

Economists (and academics in general) give up when they cannot refute a positive statement. You cannot refute Keynes with positive logic. "In the long-run, we are all dead." The only way to argue against him is to use normative logic. We should care about our children. We should let individuals make their own decisions.

Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young" is another example of positive logic. He courts a Catholic girl, saying its only a matter of time before she gives it up to someone, therefore, it just as well be him. Only the good die young, therefore, be bad. I wonder how many times this logic has been used.

It does not matter to Joel 'what should be.' How can the girl reply? Sex should be sacred. Joel replies but it is not sacred. We should be good. Joel replies everyone is not good. It can go on forever.

They are speaking in two different languages.

This is where our society is at right now.

Religion is normative. It is based on books that say what should be. Science is positive. It is based on books that say what is.

To succeed in school one must be positive. Teachers do not like answers that say two plus two should be eight. Good students like evidence about what they are learning. Of course, there are classes where shoulds become part of the class, but these shoulds need to be proven by positive statements.

The problem is many shoulds cannot be proven by positive statements. Sex should be sacred cannot be proven through positive logic. Religion fails here. It turns its normative doctrines into positive ones. The church says sex is sacred. It forgets the shoulds. Religion does not have the courage to preach that sex should be sacred. It takes much more thought and convincing to say 'should be.'

Thought that positivists do not appreciate.

*Talking Heads

Monday, November 21, 2005

"If You Live The Life You Love, You Get The Blessing From Up Above"*

RHK challenged me yesterday. He gave me an ultimatum: my complaints have to turn into action or I have to stop complaining. I did not pay attention. I kept complaining without action.

ML challenged me today. She called me a subjective positivist. She also called me a liar and many other things that might or might not be true, but I am not a positivist. She pissed me off, but I really did nothing about it because I am a slow-witted fat bald man.

I then read this quote in the TIA Daily: "Nothing in the world can take place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."--Calvin Coolidge

I was taught to hate Coolidge in my Neo-Marxist US history classes. He might have been the most lassiez-faire President in American history. I was always taught that Hoover's and Coolidge's inaction caused the Great Depression. My grandfather still hates Hoover; he would spit on Hoover's grave. Today, I reevaluate my opinions about Coolidge and Hoover. I understand the Great Depression was caused by many things and government intervention was part of the problem not the solution.

Coolidge's point is that your work is the only thing that matters. Rand says this too.

I have not been doing good work. This is going to change tonight. It is 'time to kick ass now and take names later.'

My first action is to discuss my philosophical foundations. This is a difficult process. When one examines philosophical foundations, he finds unacceptable contradictions and definitional problems. He must reconcile these before he can continue. Hopefully, I will generate discussion with my one and a half reader.

I will start by defining subjective positivism. A positivist cares about 'what is.' It does not matter what should be. Government is corrupt and the discussion ends. They state facts. Virginia's code requires bathroom fans. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

Of course, positivists draw conclusions but they are based on what is. For example, there were no weapons of mass destruction, therefore, withdrawal from Iraq. All conclusions are based on positive statements like a court case where evidence is presented and a verdict rendered. The vast majority of academia are positivists.

A more mundane version of positivism can be seen by high school students. Peer pressure is positivism. Everyone else is smoking, therefore I smoke. Everyone else is drinking and fucking, therefore, I drink and fuck. Everyone is wearing Jordans, therefore, I wear Jordans. Students see what is and draw conclusions (and emulate their peers). Another example is "I dated a teaching assistant, therefore, dating teaching assistants is acceptable."

Normativists ask 'what should be.' To them, it is not enough to say 'it is.' They take 'what is' a step further and compare it to the ideal. Government should not be corrupt. Virginia should require bathroom fans.

They draw conclusions based on what should be. Wars should not be fought under any circumstances, therefore, withdraw from Iraq. Feeling good today should be more important than my long-term health, therefore, I smoke. Fucking should be a common stress reliever and a meaningless activity, therefore, I fuck.

Sometimes normativists mix in positive statements, but should always comes first. Sex should be a beautiful thing between two people deeply in love, we are in love, therefore, we have sex. Normativists admit an ideal. Positivists only see and care about what is.

Subjective means that Truth is mutable. It is atheism. A subjective person cannot believe in God. Subjective thinkers say government is corrupt today but uncorrupt tomorrow. Subjective thinkers can sit in churches, then go home and break commandments. They do not think there are eternal and universal Truths. What is right today has no bearing on what is right tomorrow.

The opposite of subjective is objective. Objective thinkers see a fixed Truth. Objective thinkers do change their minds. But these changes are internal; they do not change the Truth. This is a subtle difference. Objective thinkers are concerned with getting the one and only correct answer. A subjective thinker sees a different world everyday. Truth is secondary. An objective thinker desires to see the same world everyday. Truth is primary.

Subjective positivists rule the day as can be seen by political correctness. A small minority is offended by the use of a word, therefore we stop using that word. The subjectivity comes from the word being acceptable yesterday (or even in certain situations today). The positivism comes from the small minority being offended. A positive statment leads to the conclusion.

An objective normativist would evaluate the situation by asking, 'should the word be used? They would search for the Truth encompassing the word. Their conclusion could be offensive words should not be used, therefore, we stop using them. It does not matter to them that a small minority is offended. Everything is a clear issue of right versus wrong.

I am not happy with this post. It has already taken me two and half hours. I have other work to do. But, it is a start. Tomorrow, I hope to talk about "Only the Good Die Young" and "In the long run we are all dead."

*Van Morrison

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Billie Holiday, Idea Folder, And Hollywood Couples

In reverse order:

I am shopping at Wal-Mart. I see this woman wearing a tight jeans, big earrings, heels, and plenty of make-up. She looked like a mannequin in an expensive department store. She was attractive, and she liked flaunting it. Her husband was worse. He looked like he just did a commercial for Old Navy and forgot to change his yuppie sweater and cargo pants. He was six three, chewing gum, thinking he was better than the hicks shopping around him. Then there was their little boy, wearing another classic sweater and dress pants, behaving like the brat he was. The mother placating him by taking him to the cereal aisle. The wife cut me off in the Q-tip aisle. The husband tried to jump in front of me at the deli. The kid was annoying.

I did not know if I wanted to punch the husband and humiliate him in front of his wife and son, or take a picture while asking them how it felt to be beautiful. Envy is powerful. It makes you think crazy things.

I have filled one idea folder. I am saving these ideas for when I have time to think. It does not look like that time is coming soon.

Billie Holiday is awesome. She makes me forget about Hollywood couples and my stupid ideas. She tells me, "Maupin, you need help and you certainly ain't pretty. But you are alright." I know she will always be there.

"I Feel Like The Thief Who Is Raiding Your Home, Entering And Breaking And Taking In Every Room"*

Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek explains why universal health care makes no sense. He links to a better explanation by Roberts here.

Read Roberts. He sees what is not seen as well as what is seen. It is well-written economic reasoning. There are no bullshit numbers. He uses economics' didactic lessons to illuminate the difference between what is and what should be. He does economics the way it should be done. The way I would like to do it.

"A preacher in the old time gospel hour stealing money from the poor and the sick. Well Mister, the God I believe in isn't short of cash." Bono in the movie Rattle and Hum

I am stealing money from my hard working family, stealing money from the producers in the name of 'good intentions.' Well Mister, good intentions pave the road to hell.

"Hey calling it your job ol’ hoss sure don’t make it right. But if you want me to, I’ll say a prayer for your soul tonight."--John Mellencamp's "Rain on the Scarecrow"

A former NFL player called me 'hoss' after I fouled him a pick-up basketball game. I hope he is saying a prayer for me tonight.

*10,000 Maniacs' "Jezebel"

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I Swear I Did Not Copy

Bill Curry answered the 'why do I enjoy football' question in this article.

We say a lot of the same things.

I am not going to comment on his tribalism argument. He does not have the courage to say that some tribes are right while others are wrong. We (the US) will not be next. To be a member of our tribe, all you have to do pursue happiness. We are right. They are wrong. He admitted he was no academic; I will cut him a break.

I have a question for my one and half readers: What does the 10,000 Maniacs' lyric "how I learned to please, to doubt myself in need" from "Stockton Gala Days" mean. I should give all of the lyrics, but I do not think they help. The "in need" part makes no sense. I do not know.

Why I Enjoy Football

Bridgewater College defeated Washington and Jefferson (who tied California in the 1922 Rose Bowl) in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs today. It was a great game. There are no scholarships in Division III sports, but playoff programs prepare for 15-20 hours a week during the season and 10-15 hours a week during the off-season. The coaches put in eighty hours a week for little pay. "Rational economic men" would not participate in Division III football.

I participated for four years, and I am still learning from the game.

A football team is a melting pot of cultures and personalities. What I remember most about my playing days is the people I sweated with during practices and games. I learned too many lessons to repeat here, but football helped establish my philosophical foundations. It taught me how to work with other people. It taught me that people want to succeed, but it takes leaders to point them in the right direction. I saw some bad things, but I learned from them also. It was a great experience. (I feel the same way about my graduate programs so far. I have not learned a damn thing in the classroom, but I have learned plenty outside of it.)

I do not feel comfortable as a regular fan, because regular fans do not understand football. They do not see the game the way I see it. The outcome of a football game is insignificant, but the impact of football on certain individuals is immeasurable.

Here is an example of what football can do. I played with these guys my senior year. They will be productive citizens. Football is a part of their success.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Will The Circle Be Unbroken

I am listening to Gregg Allman singing this spiritual right now. "There is a better home awaiting. In the sky, Lord, in the sky." Allman has me convinced.

I am a complete screw-up when it comes to women. I am talking to this heptathlete in the elevator. The conversation was going like a fine Swiss watch, but I had to go get my cinnamon bun and Coke. I had to let her walk to class alone. [I must be honest. First, she was German. Looking back on the whole thing, I am sure we were talking about two different things. Second, putting it nicely, she was Amazonian. I like athletic women, but I would not be wonderfully proud to show her off at the grocery store. But, she was a heptathlete. Think about the possibilities. She would probably hurt me, but I would love every minute of it. I get a goofy smile just thinking about it. ]

On a different note, ML told me a story that really bothered me. You can find it linked from her blog if you care to look hard enough. It reminded me of In the Company of Men. It is a good movie, but it will make you sick.

ML is convinced I am sexist. I am not sexist, but if I were, women should not worry about me. The two boys involved in her story, and the two fictional boys in the movie, as well as some of the other creeps walking the street are the ones women need to watch out for. I love women so much; I cannot hurt one. I feel bad about the Amazonian statement above. If the heptathlete saw that statement, I would be mortified. I would probably cry.

Some men see women as objects to be abused. They see women as meaningless things, something to be used and thrown away. I see women as art, something to be cherished. A woman's smile pacifies my mind. I am a volatile guy. I can go off at any time, but beautiful women placate the beast in my belly.

And when I say beautiful, I am not just talking about physical features. The heptathlete was beautiful. You could see the toughness and discipline in her sculpted body. You could see her intensity. But, you could also see a heart that cared. She had been uncomfortable before, and she did not want other people to feel uncomfortable. She wanted peace.

I am not sexist.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Why I Am Not A Republican

Here is a link to George Will discussing the hypocrisy of the Republican party:

"It does me no injury," said Thomas Jefferson, "for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. " But it is injurious, and unneighborly, when zealots try to compel public education to infuse theism into scientific education."

I agree wholeheartedly with Jefferson. Likewise, it does me no injury if two homosexuals marry.

But, Will's commentary confuses the problem. America should forget about public education, so a modern Jefferson can say 'it does me no injury for my neighbor's child to learn creationism.' While a modern zealot can say 'it does me no injury for my neighbor's child to learn evolution." Will gets it backwards, public education is the problem, not the zealots.

On a different note, I had a horrible experience today. I see this beautiful brunette with legs all the way up (...) in the campus eatery. Naturally, I picture her naked. Instead of the little boost that I usually get, I suddenly feel sick to the stomach. It might have been a sinus drop, but it was disappointing. If I cannot enjoy picturing beautiful women naked, I might as well jump off the roof. Or, maybe I need a little Southern Exposure. [Every now and then, you get the five minute kick in the balls after you realize that comparing your mental print to the real thing will never happen, but this nausea came right away.]

Before anyone calls me sexist, they should consult this post and this one too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nobody Understands Me, But I Understand Everyone

ML told me that I judge people too quickly, but I contradict myself when I say people misunderstand me. I know all I need to know about a person after observing them once in the weightroom, but I complain that people do not know me. She has a point.

My reality is what I see. I see differently than most people. Shop with me at a grocery store, and I will see things that most people never notice. I evaluate people's actions. But, I do it everyday. I judge people everyday. I do not discriminate. Their past actions are information, but I care more about their actions today than yesterday. My goal is to discover Truth.

One needs to know what is, but they have to draw on what is to say what should be. Positivism without normative conclusions is futile. It is purely intellectual masturbation without climax.

Most of my colleagues have been duped into half-hearted positivism. They do not see actions. Sometimes they try to see intentions. Hayek proved the impossibility of seeing intentions in The Road to Serfdom. Other times they refuse to see reality, prefering to see what they want to see.

They also refuse to draw conclusions. They believe that everything is okay except being proud of who you are. They champion self-sacrifice and failure. They prefer mediocrity to success.

I want people to misunderstand me. During my high school statistics class, I decided I wanted to live in the tails. I wanted to be more than two standard deviations from the mean. This desire guarantees that people will misunderstand me. I have to accept this fact and direct any complaints at myself.

But, I get discouraged that people do not see my actions. ML has never seen me treat another person wrongly. I question her friends' actions, but I listen to her defense of them. I would listen to their rebuttals if I was not worried about living in the tails. My observations have made her think, and her replies and her friends' actions have made me reevaluate. This does not mean that I should forget. My observations have Truth in them.

ML does not understand that I love people as much as she does. But for me, giving people free passes, ignoring their shortcomings, and writing off their failures as humanity is unacceptable. Humanity requires us to question everyone's (including our own) actions.

That is why I appreciate ML criticizing me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


"Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy--a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of the drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions."

Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged (page 1022)

"... a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values..."

Rand says what I have been trying to say for a month. There is more to happiness than alcohol and casual sex. I was happy when I filled up the grocery store's banana table; I was more happy when customers emptied the table. Many people do not get any thrill out of producing. They prefer drunkenness and meaningless sex.

I am worried that I am forgetting what true happiness is.

Life Or Death

My Neo-Marxist professor says everything occurs in a social context. There is no individual. People buy IPODs because everyone else is buying them. They do not provide any value to their users. Value has to be determined in a social context.

He is full of shit. I am the only one who knows what I want. I have the right to exist. I value American football. If I had grown up in Argentina, I would not value it, but who is to say the Argentinean is right? I allow Argentineans to value futbol, and they allow me to value football. I value. Of course, social context contributes to my opinions, but it does not coerce me into going to football games.

My professor assumes I am stupid. He assumes that I cannot decide. He assumes that he knows best. He is full of shit. I would like to send him back to his ideal, the middle ages. He would not survive long. I would like to spit on his bloated body after he has died from the plague or starvation. I know this sounds harsh, but accepting his philosophy is death. I do not want to die.

A collective cannot value. There are social and marketing effects but it does not change the fact that value comes from the individual.

Monday, November 14, 2005

U2's "11 O'Clock Tick Tock"

"We thought we had the answers. It was the questions we had wrong"

I do not know Bono's exact intention.

I think the song is about being young, not knowing what love is, but feeling the need to try something. This describes the majority of the young adult population. It certainly describes me.

JobLess once told me "love it a deep sleep."

I told ML that "love is waking up next to the same person forever."

I have been listening to too much Counting Crows and Springsteen's "Human Touch." "Human Touch" is a beautiful song, but it is about giving up. I will eventually give up (maybe that is what love is), but I am not ready yet.

U2 Lyrics - 11 O'Clock Tick Tock
It's cold outside
It gets so hot in here
And the boys and girls collide
To The music in my ear

Hear the children crying
And I know it's time to go
I hear the children crying
Take me home

A painted face
And I know we haven't long
We thought that we had the answers
It was the questions we had wrong

Hear the children crying
And I know it's time to go
I hear the children crying
Take me home

Sad song, sad song
Sad song, sad song

La lah la lah...La lah la lah...La lah lah...
[Repeat 4x]

Sad song, sad song
Sad song, sad song

Call out your name
Call out in shame
Call out your name
Call out
You better call out
Call, call, call out

ML was playing Sarah Vaughan's "My Favorite Things" in her office today. I am glad I did not break out in tears. I have said this before, but Vaughan sees through the pain and reminds us that no matter how far away love is, it is still a beautiful world.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Game We Should Be Playing In Principles Of Economics

Two people are selected to be the firm. The rest are consumers. The firm is endowed with an operating budget. Consumers are endowed with income. The firm has a product to sell (donuts, pens, or even a pseudo financial instrument with no knowable expected value to the consumer). The firm has the opportunity to purchase marketing research (two consumers come out in the hall to test the product and give an opinion on price). The firm can also purchase traditional marketing (a pretty poster or something). The firm sets a price and the consumers decide to purchase or not. (The price setting can be done simultaneously by consumers submitting written bids before knowing the price. Different market institutions can be tested. Different supply schedules (production functions) can also be tested.) Repeat the process. Allow entrepreneurs (former consumers) to enter. Allow firms to go bankrupt.

We have to get away from avoiding utility because it "is too abstract." We have to show students that the market works (better) when it is not contrived. I do not know what the results of the game would be. It depends on the product and the people just like real life.

Economists must (re)tackle utility and value if they want to progress. The supply and demand game is not good enough. Students should see Hayek's discovery process.

You cannot learn anything superficially. You might do alright on a test, but you will not retain anything. Economics has to stop teaching superficial ideas. It has plenty of real lessons; it just takes more effort to teach and learn them.

This thought applies to my post about women. Women are Truth's (God's) most beautiful creation, but many (as well as many men) are superficial. Being superficial means denying reality. It is a refusal to see.

Economics has been superficial since Marshall. It is time to see again.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

R.E.M's "Why Not Smile?"

the concrete broke your fall
to hear you speak of it
I'd have done anything
I would do anything
I feel like a cartoon brick wall
to hear you speak of it
you've been so sad
it makes me worry

why not smile?
you've been sad for a while.
why not smile?

I would do anything
to hear you speak of it.
why not smile?
you've been sad for a while.
you've been sad for a while.

International Colleagues 4 And Veterans' Day

Two American women were complaining about Iraq. My Ethiopian colleague looks at me and says: "I don't understand American politics. Don't they know America is the yardstick. Everybody wants to be America. Of course, some are envious, but America is the yardstick."

An Indian colleague discussing terrorism after one of the women blamed America for September 11th: "You do not get it. Terrorism is not about poverty. Terrorists are rich. They pay for flight training, fake visas, and legal documents. They give money to martyr's families. They have resources, but they do not spend them on food or anything productive. They kill people. They kill their own people. When lives are destroyed, how much is lost? Those losses are infinite. Terrorism is about faith. Terrorists hate the individual. They put a holy book in front of humanity. India will succeed because it is a democracy. Pakistan will fail because it is a theocracy. Individual freedom is the only way to fight terrorism. Freedom makes it okay to be Muslim, Hindu, or even a Hindu who eats beef. It makes it okay to reach your potential. The terrorists want to make us slaves to the Koran. The American (Western) system guarantees humanity. It puts importance on the individual not a holy book. The American system is right. The terrorists are wrong."

Thanks Granddaddy for destroying Hitler. Thanks Uncle Pat for fighting Ho Chi Minh. Thanks to everyone who is fighting and has fought for individual freedom. Thanks to every entrepreneur who has had to fight the collective's bureaucracy. Thanks to every productive citizen who understands humanity's greatness.

Those two women might not understand, but I appreciate your efforts to make the world ideal.

Clarification On Last Post

Women do not want honesty. They are like men: they do not want reality. Reality is boring. Reality is easy. No one wants something boring and easy. We are all dreamers craving anti-reality. This craving keeps alcohol companies and graduate schools in business.

I dream, but I do not lie. I am not pretty. I have no talent. But, like reality, I will be here every day.

If this makes me unattractive, so be it.


I have no allure.

I am not a bad guy.

But, I cannot get any play. I must be hideous. There must be something wrong with me.

The sad thing is after I stop thinking with my penis I do not think I want any play from most women.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Listening To Springsteen, The Counting Crows, and 10,000 Maniacs

I have had lot of ideas lately. I just finished the book Branded by Alissa Quart. ML and I have been discussing moral courage. The change of seasons makes me horny. (I was conceived during Autumn. Maybe its genetics.) I have to reconcile a previous post using my college motto. I want to discuss poverty. There are many more things I have forgotten.

The Neo-Marxist did it again today. He said every good is a public good. I contend there are no public goods. He said the market was a commons to be managed by the collective. I contend a market by the collective for the collective is slavery. He says externalities rule the day. I contend that there are no externalities. He is a confused Neo-Marxist Utopian. I am a confused Austrian-Libertarian-Randite Utopian. I connect with him better than I can with moderate professors. I prefer people who care. (Really, I am just confused.)

I want to litanize on why I am right and why he is wrong. I will eventually, but I will just ask for one thought experiment. Imagine Adam and Eve. Imagine today. How did we get here? No master planner did it. There is Truth which is God, but as Bill Evans said in the liner notes to Kind of Blue, it took a lot of individual improvisation to make something this special.

You have to think in ideals to be ideal. Reality does not interfere with the ideal. I am still young enough to believe and to know the difference between right and wrong.

I really bastardized Bill Evans' thought.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Are You Happy Where You Are Sleeping?"*

Reconciling the last post will have to wait.

Something good happened. My Neo-Marxist professor made me think. He said there was a fine line between too much competition and too little competition. He thinks we are always on the wrong side of that line. He is Neo-Marxist.

Economists have to define competition. My Neo-Marxist professor does not have a definition. His argument has no meaning.

But, he resuscitated my faith in economics. (He talked about the fundamental economic problem, happiness.) We have to start dealing with problems and stop making up problems to masturbate through. ("Masturbation is sex with somebody I love."--Woody Allen)

Success is happily answering, 'what are you doing?' paraphrased from Whit Stillman's "Metropolitan."

You have to tell the truth. I am still young enough to tell the truth. I should be thankful.

I wish I was sleeping with a woman who did not mind waking up next to me, who was going to be there every morning for the rest of my life, but on the whole, things could be much worse. I am happy where I am sleeping.

* Counting Crows (Adam Duritz) "A Murder Of One"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Continuous Value Theorem (Written On August 27th)

My affection for the continuous value theorem (CVT) is well known to the few people who have ever been in my office and saw my homemade sign declaring it the only theorem one needs to know.

Nobody has pressed me about this odd affection, but I am going to tell you why the CVT is so special. Time is a continuous function. CVT reminds us that if you want to be 65 then you have to be 24. If you want get through a class then you have to get through all of its homeworks and exams. You cannot skip from time A to time C without going through time B. I think about this when I am driving. I have to pass through Roanoke, Lexington, and Waynesboro before I get to Crozet. I used to think, "damn, I am only at Lexington," but the CVT comforts me because I know that I have to go through Lexington to get to Crozet. The CVT reminds me that there are no short-cuts in life.

I am afraid that the prevalent philosophy of my peers resignates in the beat generation of the fifties. One of the main propositions of the beats were that experience was the only method of learning. You had to go on the drug induced road trip to Mexico to learn life. You could not appreciate someone's well-reasoned argument about the dangers of drug use and intoxicated driving. One had to experience it. It is a treacherous philosophy. It leads to teenage mothers, alcohol induced stupidity, bad relationships, etc. etc.

JobLess once told me that if I saw an interesting woman I should just go up and ask her on a date. No matter what happened, it would be an experience. I told him that I did not think this was a good strategy, but I could not give him a reason except for some bogus prisoner's dilemma.

Here is my refined answer: It is easy to get caught up in mediocrity. A kid sees another smoking a cigarette and it it looks beautiful. He knows that smoking is bad for you, but he must experience it. I do not need to smoke a cigarette to know it is bad for you. I do not want to be mediocre.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Great Song From A Great Album

R.E.M.'s Hope:

You want to go out Friday
And you want to go forever.
You know that it sounds childish
That you've dreamt of alligators.
You hope that we are with you
And you hope you're recognized
You want to go forever
You see it in my eyes.
I'm lost in the confusion
And it doesn't seem to matter
You really can't believe it
And you hope it's getting better.
You want to trust the doctors
Their procedure is the best
But the last try was a failure
And the intern was a mess.
And they did the same to Matthew
And he bled 'til Sunday night
They're "saying don't be frightened",
But you're weakened by the sight of it
You lock into a pattern
And you know that it's the last ditch
You're trying to see through it
And it doesn't make sense
But they're saying don't be frightened
And they're killing alligators
And they're hog-tied and accepting of the struggle
You want to trust religion
And you know it's allegory
But the people who are followers
Have written their own story
So you look up to the heavens
And you hope that it's a spaceship
And it's something from your childhood
You're thinking don't be frightened
You want to climb the ladder
You want to see forever
You want to go out Friday
And you want to go forever.
And you want to cross your DNA
To cross your DNA with something reptile.
And you're questioning the sciences
And questioning religion
You're looking like an idiot
And you no longer care.
And you want to bridge the schism,
A built-in mechanism to protect you.
And you're looking for salvation
And you're looking for deliverance
You're looking like an idiot
And you no longer care.
You want to climb the ladder
You want to see forever
You want to go out Friday
You want to go forever.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Social networks drive graduate programs. Students require these networks to succeed in graduate school. They help in completing the work and staying sane. I will not go into further detail, because as a colleague told me, these insights are obvious.

At first I was angry that the colleague called my ideas simple. But, I remembered Buchanan's 8th Cryptic Statement: "Economics is elementary."

Buchanan is right. What drew me to economics was that it gave terms to insights that I had seen before while working with my father at the grocery and video store. Understanding that when something is about to rot, any price greater than variable cost is profitable is an insight that has made the grocery store money. My father knew this concept, but by knowing why, I convinced the idiot dairy manager to sell closed dated orange juice at reduced prices instead of dumping it. There are many economic applications related to grocery stores. I should write a book. (An insight from the meat manager: Anyone can do a job, but the man who knows why is the boss.)

No matter how much academic economists bastardize the subject: economics is elementary. The Freakonomics crowd realized this, and they will be successful in selling economics to the marks. Another economic insight; the marks run the world.

Friday, November 04, 2005

International Colleagues 3 Or Thanks For Listening ML

My international brothers and sisters had to take pictures of the fall foliage. The colors are not great this year, but they thought the leaves were beautiful. They are. It was an great excursion.

Americans take pictures of things. Filipinos take pictures of people in front of things. They care much more about people than things.

Their love of people is refreshing.

This love is what I appreciate about my mother, sister, my aunts, ML, EM, and many other people I have forgotten. It is a motherly love, but some men have it too. I want to quell the Romanticism in my soul, but watching their unconditional love of people, of humanity, makes me rethink what is important.

My undergraduate Micro professor said, "As an economist, I appreciate the power of the market. As an intellectual (and a human), I sympathize with the radicals (Marxists)."

The other day I told ML that I hated everyone. She is a good friend. She did not ask if I hated her. She did not leave and never talk to me again. She listened. She held her laughter until she was out of earshot.

This event made me think. What is a good friend?

A good friend is someone who you can call for a ride, and they do not make you feel guilty. They understand that you would not inconvenience them unless necessary. There are many people who I would call for a ride because they owe me, but when they fail I would call a friend.

What the hell is happening to me?

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I threw the shotput and discus in high school and college. I thought if I could visualize myself making the perfect throw, then I would be able to make the perfect throw in a meet. I could never do it. There was always some hiccup in my visualization. I could never get my left foot to pull my hips and chest through.

I always thought that if I could visualize my future, then I would be able to achieve my dreams. I have never been able to do it. I cannot picture the perfect woman. I cannot picture the perfect job. My dreams have no clarity.

I guess just like the shot and disc, it takes practice and experience.

Did I break both resolutions in this post?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another Resolution

I will forget all information that does not make today easier or help pick up women.

The world does not need another Bastiat. It needs another JobLess.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

International Colleagues 2

A female Chinese student and I are walking to class. We are talking about some meaningless math problem. A young man embraces a young female. My Chinese colleague stops in midstride, and says "isn't that romantic?"

Yes it was, my friend.

This post was composed listening to Miles Davis' "Blue in Green." Any man or woman who does not appreciate life, love, sex, TV and all of the other beautiful things in this world after listening to "Blue in Green" is dead.


They were walking in the park. They were holding hands. She was talking about something. Some moment in her meaningless day that did not warrant conversation. He was faithfully acting like he cared while the Spring fragrances aroused him.

He thought about love. Was this love? Or was it the idea of being in love? Did it matter? A woman was holding his hand telling him forgettable details about her mundane life. She was not the woman of his dreams, but she was a woman who didn’t mind holding his hand on a beautifully scented Spring night.

He decided one could never be sure about love. One could definitely not rely on word of mouth. He had spouted out ‘love you’ far too many times to believe in one’s voice. Actions were what mattered.

He decided to take action. He grabbed his partner. He wrapped his arms around her. He passionately kissed her lips. He forced her against a nearby tree. His hand sneaked up her blouse. Her hands grasped his buttocks.

The embrace did not last for more than thirty seconds, but it ended the talking.