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Monday, June 30, 2014

The worst insult a sociopath can deliver

A couple weeks ago I spoke about the worst insult an Aspie could think of (to accuse me of having Asperger's), and before that I had talked about how a gay guy had accused me of being gay.

A few days ago I got a rare comment from a self-admitted sociopath, on the Do sociopaths love their children post:

You call us monsters john but you yourself sound like a narcissistic know it all, why else would you write about sociopaths unless you got a buzz of reading about other peoples sad stories lol? What can I say apart from most of the most us successful people including your own governments are sociopaths. They can cope with making decistions that hurt people were as your little mind would send you into a break down. well said about the kids, I protect mine and provide for them and reward there sucess they are my future blood which reflects on me, one last thing about us.... the stupid ones are easy to spot like the ones in some peoples stories, the smart ones arent and its normally to late if you ever find out because dont forget we will do anything to protect ourselves

This sociopath's comment is revealing on a number of different levels. First, like the Aspie and the gay guy, the first insult he hurled my way was to accuse me of something he is, i.e., a "narcissistic know-it-all." (All sociopaths are by definition narcissists.)

Then he suggests, illogically, that I wouldn't write about sociopaths unless I "got a buzz out of reading about other peoples [sic] sad stories." I'm not sure how getting a buzz out of sad stories would relate to wanting to alert others to sociopathic behavior patterns. In any case, it appears to be another case of projection.

Note the "lol" he puts at the end of his first sentence. I've written in the past about how one of the surest signs of narcissism is to laugh at one's own jokes. Punctuating your sentence with an "lol" is effectively doing the same.

The sociopath then goes on to claim that most successful people are sociopaths, which is ridiculous. Sociopaths are roughly 3% of the population, and far more than 3% of the population is successful. I certainly wouldn't argue that shamelessness and dishonesty and disloyalty and extreme confidence can't be useful attributes when climbing the corporate ladder or campaigning for public office. But not every successful person is a sociopath. And given that a high percentage of successful sociopaths go down in flames, even the sociopaths at the top don't necessarily remain there for long. (And there are plenty of sociopaths for whom success was always elusive: look in any prison.)

The sociopath then actually makes a good point: that sociopaths "can cope with making decisions [sic] that hurt people were as [whereas] your little mind would send you into a break down." It is true that sociopaths have more nerve than the rest of us, especially when it comes to actions that will harm others. (It's a lot easier when you simply don't care about others.) But his use of the phrase "little mind" is telling: it is a claim for nonsociopathic inferiority, and, thus, sociopathic superiority. This is how sociopaths view the world: divided into the strong and the weak, i.e., the guilt-free and those burdened by consciences.

He then agrees with the point of the original post, which is that sociopaths will often take good care of and be loyal to their own children, not because they feel the same kind of love for them that normal people do, but because they are extensions of themselves: "well said about the kids, I protect mine and provide for them and reward there [sic] sucess [sic] they are my future blood which reflects on me."

He then concludes, "one last thing about us.... the stupid ones are easy to spot like the ones in some peoples stories, the smart ones arent and its normally to late if you ever find out because dont forget we will do anything to protect ourselves." This is another perfect example of sociopathic thinking: he obviously categorizes himself as one of the smart ones, and assumes he's got everybody in his world fooled. (Sociopaths are forever assuming they're pulling the wool over people's eyes even when they're not.) My guess is that a lot of people who've dealt with him, even if they are unfamiliar with the concept of sociopathy, recognize him as a nasty, unpleasant character who can't really be trusted. Which is not to say he hasn't successfully hoodwinked many in the past.

Also note the "we will do anything to protect ourselves." Sociopaths see their every action, no matter how aggressive or vile, as defensive. They are never in the wrong: in their minds, they are only doing what they have to.

In any case, the main point of this post is that people's insults usually tell more about them than they do about the people they're insulting. Projection is far more common than most realize.

Although, now that I come to think of it, I do seem to accuse a lot of people of being sociopaths.

Luckily -- or unluckily -- I have neither the charm nor the nerve to be a true sociopath. In fact, I don't even have the confidence level of a garden variety narcissist. I will plead guilty, however, to being a know-it-all on certain subjects. LOL!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Hillary told friends Obama is 'incompetent and feckless': book"

The NY Post has a revealing article this morning detailing Hillary's honest opinion of Obama, as excerpted from Blood Feud, a new book by Edward Klein. The first paragraph of the article:

Hillary Rodham Clinton called President Obama “incompetent and feckless” and charged that he had “no hand on the tiller half the time,” during a boozy reunion with college pals, a new book claims.

"The thing with Obama is he can't be bothered," Clinton continued. (In other words, he's lazy.)

Google offers the following definition of "feckless": lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible. offers this definition of "shiftless": lacking in resourcefulness; inefficient; lazy.

So "shiftless" and "feckless" mean pretty much the same thing. 

Interesting that Hillary, the Democrats' great hope for 2016, would effectively call our nation's first black President shiftless and lazy.

(The private Hillary certainly seems far more interesting than the public one, who sidesteps every question she is asked.)

In vino veritas. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This will make you feel smart

Today sociologist Walter Williams published an article, The Education Establishment's Success, about how high schools and colleges have successfully dumbed down America's educational standards.

By way of example, Williams cites the following astounding statistics:

But it's not just K-12 students who are ignorant of our history. In a 1990 survey -- and there's been no improvement since -- almost half of college seniors couldn't locate the Civil War within the correct half-century. More recently, 60 percent of American adults couldn't name the president who ordered the dropping of the first atomic bomb, and over 20 percent didn't know where -- or even whether -- the atomic bomb had been used. The same people didn't know who America's enemies were during World War II (Germany, Japan and Italy). In a civics survey, more American teenagers were able to name The Three Stooges (Larry, Moe and Curly) than the three branches of the federal government (executive, legislative and judicial). A third of the people who were asked the origin of the statement "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" responded by saying it's from our Bill of Rights, when it's actually from "The Communist Manifesto."

It's always fun to hear facts like those. First, because there's something intrinsically funny about astonishing stupidity. And secondly, of course, because it gives us an opportunity to feel smug, secure in our own intellectual superiority. 

That was my reaction, anyway.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Aspies brought to life

Someone left the following comment on the Asperger Syndrome post (which now has 242 comments) three days ago. This is a particularly colorful description of an Aspie, so I thought it worth posting:

How's this: Aspie who goes nuts if someone complains about his extremely rude, racist, sexually inappropriate exclamations. Obsessed with TV contest winners and beauty pageant winners, cyber stalking them, bombarding them with angry tirades when the won't return his love. He actually says in all seriousness that refusing to answer his demanding emails and posts is a cruel form of "reverse bullying" (his coinage). He angrily stuck his foot in a neighbor's door, stating "I'm not leaving until you explain why you won't be my friend." He belches and farts constantly, followed by a mischievous grin and raised eyebrows. Cute. He's a savant with an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway musicals and opera. Yet when asked why he likes a certain performance, he says it's because the female singer is "so hot I just want to f*** her!" He absolutely hates singers whom he doesn't find attractive and says they should die. Has no concept of irony or satire do often argues with people or screams at the television, which he watches -- 3 different TVs at the same time. Though he often claims to be super intelligent and great at "multitasking", he actually only keeps shifting his focus from one thing to another then yells at the TV/computer/CD player/radio for being "too slow and stupid." When he laughs, it's a terrifying bellow and he appears angry, not happy. He complains that people are always starting fights with him. If he sees someone jaywalking, or smoking too close to the wall of a building, he'll run up to them and begin a lengthy admonition. Despite all this it's really all the fault of "ignorant people" who don't understand his Asperger's.

This commenter has obviously had his (or her) fill of this Aspie. My guess is that the commenter is related to the Aspie, otherwise he/she would have taken his leave long ago. (One or two of these behaviors are enough to drive anyone away, but sometimes it's just not that easy.)

Coincidentally, last night another commenter on the Do Aspies span the full range of morality? post made the following comment:

My (ex)boss, who I'm 1000% convinced had Asperger's, was fired a few days ago. My entire department celebrated like it was New Year's Eve.

It was a living nightmare working under an "Aspie" for month after month. His total, absolute inability to connect with real human beings. The locking himself in his office with the lights off all day. The extreme rage over the *slightest* thing. The mixing-up/mangling of words. The NEVER, EVER admitting that he was wrong. The accusing others of saying shit that they never said. The pointing the finger of blame at EVERYONE except himself. The strange gait and even goofier hair. The mismatched clothing. The creepy stares. The telling people he never says "Hi" to them because there's no need for it. The going about the day like some kind of fucked-up robot. And on, and on, and on. 

It drove some of the employees to therapy, like they had some kind of PTSD. From what I hear, this was like the 30th job he's been fired from. Hallelujah!!! 

If you look at the literature on Asperger Syndrome, you'll find a lot of descriptions like "qualitative impairment in social interaction," and "restricted and repetitive interests and behavior," and "verbosity, abrupt transitions, literal interpretations and miscomprehension of nuance," and "developmental coordination disorder." (These quotes are from the Wikipedia entry on Asperger Syndrome.) 

To really understand Aspies, however, you have to witness them firsthand and see some of the ways in which those vague academic terms manifest themselves. The two descriptions quoted above are both far more informative than any dry textbook-style generalities could ever be.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Life is a catwalk

The NY Post ran an article this morning, Meet the better half of the world's hottest couple, about Irina Shayk, the Russian model and girlfriend of Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. In the article, Shayk comes across very much like a model.

She's full of breathless quotations like, “I think it’s all about your body and how you feel inside. You can wake up and look at the mirror and say, ‘Oh my god, I feel so beautiful and hot, let me just wear sweatpants and walk on the street,’ and people are going to turn around and say, ‘She’s hot!’ because you’re feeling it inside.”

Shayk understands guys perfectly. They're not swayed by outward appearance -- they're only influenced by how a woman feels inside.

Shayk also said, about her early modeling days, "It was really hard, but I’m Russian and I’m a Capricorn. I say to myself, I would never go back to Russia with nothing.”

I had been wondering where she got all that determination. Now I know --- she's a Capricorn!

She's also full of fascinating information, such as, “I love chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. Every time I’m at the airport, I always get chicken nuggets with extra BBQ sauce. People think I’m getting paid to post chicken nuggets on Instagram. That’s so wrong. I just love chicken nuggets.”

Ever notice how beautiful girls will excitedly relate the most mundane details of their lives as if they're telling you something really fascinating? It's not really their fault; they've simply been conditioned by a lifetime of uttering such inanities and having people, especially men, react with seeming fascination. 

Shayk could probably say, "I farted yesterday," and most guys would accord that statement the same respect and attention they would a reliable insider trading tip.

Here's a picture of Shayk -- sans makeup -- with her boyfriend: 

Is it just me, or do the two of them resemble each other? How exactly did that attraction work? Did she see Ronaldo and think to herself, wow, he looks just like me -- he's hot! Did he think the same thing? 

Is there some narcissism involved here? 

Note Ronaldo's look of pleasure as he holds up the small fish he's caught. He, too, has been conditioned by years of stardom to expect people to react to his every minor accomplishment as if he had just kicked the winning goal in the finals of the World Cup. 

The real message behind those smiles seems to be, aren't we a cute couple? 

Previously, I might have been jealous. But now, thanks to the wisdom imparted by Shayk, I don't have to be. Instead, I'm going to just throw on a pair of sweatpants and walk down the street, and people are going to turn around and say, "He's hot!" -- because I'm feeling it inside

After all, I'm a Taurus!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dave Chappelle on steroids?

The New York Times review of Dave Chappelle's comedy act at Radio City Music Hall this morning included a shock. The mildly positive review itself contained nothing surprising. They said that the huge venue wasn't suited for Chappelle's usually intimate style of comedy, and that he recycled some old material, but that he was still funny and original.

The shock was his picture. Chappelle looks nothing like the skinny guy he used to be. The print edition of the Times showed a closeup of him with a cigarette in his hand, though they used this, more distant picture for the online edition:

Here's the more dramatic silhouette the times included at the end of the article:

When I Googled "Dave Chappelle on steroids," I saw that a number of people had beat me to this observation. Here is a convincing before-and-after picture:

I of course can't prove that Chappelle has juiced. But he himself has offered one unmistakable piece of evidence: he now wears a sleeveless shirt -- a steroid signature as definitive as anything WADA can produce.

I don't resent Chappelle for juicing; he's not doing it to cheat at sports, only to feel better about himself. It's just a little disconcerting that he's changed his persona this way. His skinniness always seemed to be an integral part of his act, even part of what made him likable. He would occasionally make fun of his own wimpiness, and by doing so, seemed better than the guys who succumbed to the macho ethic.

Now….I'm not so sure.

Addendum, 6/25/14: Please read the third comment, by "Julie." Her description of how Chappelle walked off the stage during that infamous show in Hartford fits perfectly with the behavior of a guy feeling some 'roid rage.

Truth in advertising

The other day I made the mistake of picking up a bag of "Red Delicious" apples. They was nothing wrong with them, they were simply lacking in taste. But really, why else would some marketing maven have bothered to come up with that name?

Six years ago my son and I drove through North Carolina. We stopped off in Fayetteville. A large sign greets you as you turn off the freeway: "Fayetteville -- a Family Town." At the time my only reaction was, hmm, I guess these Southerners really like to stress family values. Then we drove down the main thoroughfare through town. I've never seen so many strip clubs, tattoo parlors, pawn shops, gun stores, and used car lots in one place. Fayetteville is the home of Fort Bragg, and Army bases naturally attract these types of businesses. But the part of town we saw sure didn't look like the kind of place you'd want to bring up small children. That, of course, is why Fayetteville felt obliged to advertise itself that way.

Speaking of strip clubs, why do they always advertise themselves as "Gentlemen's clubs?" Here's the Google definition of "gentleman": "A chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man." Getting drunk and paying women to take their clothes off hardly squares with most people's idea of chivalry or courtesy. So why call jiggle joints "gentlemen's club's?" Club owners want to make their patrons feel better about themselves, so call them the opposite of what they are.

The misleading phrase which has received the most attention recently has been Islam billing itself as "the religion of peace." Of course, had Christians committed thousands of terrorist acts in the past ten years  in the name of Christianity, had Jesus had people killed for insulting him, if the Bible taught that non-Christians were less than fully human, and were the Baptists and Presbyterians waging a bloody holy war against each other, some church functionary would undoubtedly have felt obliged to brand Christianity as a "religion of peace" as well.

Just as with potential prison pen pals, whenever you see a label with editorial content included, beware. It's most likely an attempt to counteract reality.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


People with Munchausen's Syndrome feign illness in order to receive the sympathy of strangers, usually the doctors or nurses at a hospital where the malingerer checks himself in.

I've long felt that people with Munchausen's Syndrome are merely a subset of sociopaths: The only kind of person who would stoop to this to gain sympathy must have a bottomless need for others' affection (think affect-hungry sociopaths). And anyone who thinks nothing of conning others into wasting valuable medical resources in order to satisfy his own desire for sympathy must be extremely dishonest by nature.

The sociopathic underpinnings of Munchausen's Syndrome become even more apparent in Munchausen's-by-proxy, where someone will make his own child sick in order to get the opportunity to pose as a loving and concerned parent and bask in the sympathy of strangers.

What kind of parent would purposely make his own child sick? Obviously, a sociopath.

The NY Post today had an article about a woman, Lacey Spears, who struck this noble pose and received lots of sympathy because of her sick son -- whom she was making sick. She also received plaudits for being a wonderful mother because of all the "love" and "concern" she showed for her ailing son online.

In the end, she killed him, by injecting salt into his stomach.

It's hard to find words to describe such a woman. Let's just say, she's the type who gives cold-blooded murderers a bad name.

It would be a miscarriage if Spears got a reduced sentence because her lawyer is able to bamboozle the jury into thinking that she suffers from the mysterious, inexplicable malady known as Munchausen-by-proxy.

Think of it this way: a serial killer is someone for whom another's person's life is worth less than his own orgasm. He will remorselessly kill another human being in order to indulge his own sexual appetite for a few moments. Someone with Munchausen-by-proxy will remorselessly kill another human being -- usually, his own child -- in order to temporarily indulge his own appetite for sympathy and acclaim.

It's actually a level of depravity beyond serial killing since it's one's own child one is killing.

Here's Spears with her son:

(Look at her wholesome face -- what a wonderful mom!)

Spears is yet another piece of proof that sociopaths come in all shapes and sizes.

My calling card

When I drove across the country last year, whenever I would stop at a motel, half the time the proprietors would treat me as if I were a con man looking to rip them off. If I approached people on the street to ask for directions, they would shrink back and give me a look indicating that they couldn't decide whether I was a rapist, a mugger, or just a panhandler.

It's all understandable; I was a man traveling alone. I have a vaguely ethnic look that tends to arouse people's suspicions. And (I should probably be happy that) I still look young enough to appear dangerous.

Somehow it all adds up to having "serial killer" written all over me.

But during my cross-country trip, I also stopped every other day to take a swim somewhere. And whenever I would start swimming in some lap pool, and it became apparent that I was a swimmer, people would inevitably be friendly. If I asked a question, they would respond in a friendly manner, and maybe even ask where I was from.

The lifeguards (even the female ones) smile at me approvingly, and people would sometimes even allow me my own lane if I swam butterfly.

In Kansas, I even started a conversation with an 18-year-old boy, also a swimmer, who was in the next lane. We chatted for a while, and even did a set together. I can pretty much guarantee you that had I tried to start a conversation with him a mere 40 yards away -- in the locker room -- I would not have gotten nearly as friendly a response.

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that if you're a swimmer, especially at a relatively advanced age, it gives you a certain innocence.

If someone has obviously spent a lot of time swimming, it means he has not spent his energy in more destructive pursuits (like crime). It means he has a passion for a sport (which is far preferable to, say, a passion for prepubescent girls, or for hard drugs). It means he grew up middle class and had parents who cared for him enough to cart him back and forth to practice. It means he's still solvent, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to keep up with the sport.

It means, essentially, that he's basically kept his nose clean his entire life.

People of course don't analyze it in that much detail, but it must all somehow register in the back of their minds, which causes a little light to go off: he's harmless.

In a way it reminds me of the kind of skills that upper class families used to teach their daughters, and the underlying social motive for doing so. My mother came from a well to do family in Japan, and as a girl she was taught calligraphy and also piano. These are of course utterly useless survival skills, and that may be the point. It's a way of advertising that you're upper class, because it means you had the leisure time to learn these "refined" things, since you didn't have to be in the fields working in the hot sun. (In Japan, pallor is also considered a desirable trait, probably for the same reason.)

Being able to swim up and down a pool rapidly has to go in the same category as an utterly useless skill. Everybody should learn to swim, of course, to keep from drowning. But beyond that, learning the different strokes and practicing enough to be able to do them with good form is the mark of someone with time to waste.

In any case, being a swimmer has always given me a certain low-level entree.

It's just unfortunate I can't figure out a way to show off this useless skill to people on the street from whom I need directions.

(The only other way I've found to defuse suspicion from strangers is to wear a suit and tie; but I foreswore nooses long ago.)

Sunday, June 15, 2014


On May 30th, a commenter ("Steven") wrote, after the Adam Lanza II post:

A female friend of mine who lives in Croatia wrote to me yesterday "you're really a nice guy, Steve and I can see why it's hard for you to wrap your brain around men despising women. but trust me that I see it all the time."

She's talking about low level put downs and degrading of women because they speak their mind or don't meet sexist expectations, stuff like that, which I wasn't sure is really misogyny. I don't see it in this country and I'm pretty sure my sister doesn't experience it. Again, am I missing something?

I replied:

I think a lot of what gets called "misogyny" by feminists is actually just men pointing out that women are not suited for military combat roles, or are less logical, stuff like that which is true but which they don't want to believe. And there is the "disparate impact" kind of "misogyny," where women don't achieve as much and it's considered "discrimination."

But there is a subset of men who are remarkably ugly toward women. They will use any opportunity to put them down for their looks, or their sexuality, or anything they can think of. I've known some of these guys. The thing is, most of these guys are just as ugly toward other guys, but men don't complain about it as much and don't see it as being directed at them because of their gender. My last boss on Wall Street, who was unquestionably a sociopath, would remark on various women's looks with great bitterness, as if their lack of attractiveness was some sort of personal affront to him (I'm not exaggerating). And sometimes he would say these things so that the woman could hear him. I can see why they would get the impression that he hated women. But he also constantly cut men down for their perceived lack of masculinity (when they didn't do what he wanted them to), or their stupidity, etc.

So, yes, your Croatian friend has undoubtedly seen guys who act insultingly to women; but my guess is that practically all of those guys have a similarly brutal attitude toward other men.

I want to expand on this a little.

I referred in my comment to my last boss on Wall Street (I'll call him "Jack"). Among the comments I heard from him:

"I've never known a woman who wasn't a pain in the ass. Not one."

"That whore, you put your fist up like this she'd probably jump on it."

[To a slightly overweight woman who pointed out that vertical stripes on a dress made one appear thinner]: "Hey Kathy, can't expect a miracle, know what I mean?"

A lot of times, he would just look at a woman across the room and give a big stage shudder, as if her appearance was downright scary.

I can't remember all the things Jack said along these lines, but he was constantly putting women down for any reason he could think of. And I'm sure every woman who overheard these comments ended up thinking of him as a woman-hater.

And they'd be right.

The thing is, they'd only be half-right. Because Jack, as a sociopath, basically hated everybody. Men were not somehow magically exempt from his contempt. He would put them down for being ugly, or fat, or stupid, or effeminate. (One of his favorite epithets was "mosquito balls.") If the men he was putting down were above him in the organization, he would do it behind their backs; if they were below him, he felt no qualms about doing it to their faces.

One of the guys who worked for him, who had worked there for a long time, was gay. Word got out that his partner had died of AIDS. Jack knew about this, but never said a word of condolence to him. ("I'm not talking to that faggot!")

But no one ever accused Jack of being a man-hater.

Jack had stopped attending NBA games because, in his words, "Why would I want to watch a bunch of baboons run up and down the court?"

I once heard him say, "You know why black people walks slow? 'Cause they have a hard time remembering, 'left foot, right foot, left foot'….."

In reference to an unpopular Jewish employee, he once said, "Hey, don't blame me, I'm German. We did our part in World War Two."

Early on, after I had gotten a sense of his personality but before I realized he was a sociopath, I tried to think of someone he would actually like. It occurred to me that I knew a guy who was one class ahead of him at Princeton. This guy was also of German descent, extremely masculine, a top athlete (better than Jack), conservative, and he also worked in the financial industry. I figured, Jack couldn't have any objections to him. But when I asked Jack if he'd known him, he replied, "That guy? What an asshole! I tell you, no one at Princeton liked him. Hey, you know, I fucked his girlfriend."

Jack simply hated everybody, and found something to bitterly criticize them all about, and had absolutely no compunctions about how he did it. And every guy I've ever known who's been like this (even if they were less extreme than Jack) didn't draw the line with women. They were brutal to every one.

No one is brutal to one set of people, then kindhearted and considerate to another. It would simply be out of character.

Other people, who caught smaller snapshots of Jack than I did, might have ended up thinking that he was really racist, or anti-Semitic, or hated homosexuals. And they'd all be right. But for all the hatred Jack expressed toward blacks and Jews, he in fact hated every white person he knew with the same, seemingly never-ending supply of bitterness.

Which, in a weird sort of way, actually made him less racist and anti-Semitic than he appeared.

There are people -- like me -- who are accused of being haters because they are fed up with the dishonesty and hypocrisy of politically correctness and point those out. I certainly don't hate anybody because of their race or gender or sexuality. And I hope that nobody hates me because of mine. I only hate liars and hypocrites.

Then there are people like Jack, who actually do hate blacks, and Jews, and women, and gays. But the key to understanding a guy like Jack is knowing that he hates individual whites, and men, and heterosexuals just as much (even if he had to find different justifications for his hatreds).

Back to the subject of misogyny: every serial killer (of women) who's ever lived, has undoubtedly had the same utter lack of sympathy and regard for every man he's ever met; the only difference is that these killers didn't want to have sex with men. These killers were simply sociopaths, which meant they had no concern or regard for anyone other than themselves.

(Homosexual serial killers are never accused of being "man-haters." And nobody ever pedantically explains, well, you see, what they really want to do, deep down inside, is kill their fathers.)

There's no such thing as a misogynist; only misanthropes (meaning, sociopaths).

And, if there's such a thing as a person who truly hates all blacks, but has an open, trusting, and friendly attitude towards whites, I have yet to meet him. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What's good for the goose...

The IRS told Congress yesterday that it has lost two years worth of Lois Lerner's emails because of a computer crash.

Some cynics might regard that as a rather, um, convenient excuse.

Personally, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Unfortunately, my own computer crashed in March, so all of my stock trading records have been lost, and I won't be able to pay my taxes this year.

I just hope the IRS is willing to extend me the same trust I've shown them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The economics of the Cantor - Brat race

David Brat's upset victory over Eric Cantor for the Republican nomination in their Virginia House race has garnered a lot of publicity in the past 24 hours.

Brat spent $200,000 in his entire campaign, whereas the Cantor campaign spent over a million dollars in just April and May, and $5.5 million overall. In fact, the Cantor campaign spent $179,000 on steakhouse dinners alone.

That's really all you need to know about the race to know that the good guy won.

The worst insult an Aspie could think of

A few days ago someone posted a Facebook link to my original post on Aspergers Syndrome from 2011. It sparked a number of comments, a few from people who agreed with my description of Aspies, and a larger number from outraged Aspies who resented my characterization of them.

One Aspie wrote twelve separate times. A few excerpts from his comments (which are all dated Jun 8th, 2014):

Can't even read the whole thing, because all you are doing is bitching. And there is a good chance that you have Asperger's. Don't talk about something you don't understand just because you ran into a couple of people that do the things you describe. Or because you hate yourself…. Dude, you act like a person with AS, so shut the fuck up. This whole thing is just self hate and ignorance….

How can you say that all these things you describe are traits of those who have Asperger's Syndrome? I know plenty of people who don't have Asperger's Syndrome that do a lot of the things you describe. So your blog seems like you are talking about yourself and not someone else. Hmm... You should get checked. Or maybe you did, and that is why you wrote this.

It's quite sad how someone can have so much hate for people. You know, that's an Asperger's Syndrome trait. Oh wait, that's just a human trait from someone who is out of touch and hurting and seeking attention in the worst way instead of trying to figure themselves out.

Good luck with your life dude, because you seriously need some help….

You have a narcissistic and sociopaths personality, from what I can tell with a lot of the things you write about. You are very rigid, you are very narrow minded, and judgmental. So if all these things you say are traits of those on the spectrum, then you sir, have Asperger's Syndrome….

Well good luck with your life.

I didn't want to bother responding to his comments in detail, so I just wrote:

Thank you for wishing me good luck with my life!

This enraged him further, so he wrote more comments after the Adam Lanza II post. An excerpt:

He [Adam Lanza] didn't have Asperger's. He was a disturbed kid obsessed with high status and having "the girl" to match it. He was completely out of touch with reality. He was apart of a woman hate group and complained so much about women….

And I read some of your other stuff. What is your issue with those who have Asperger's? You come off as someone who hates them, but yet you come off as someone who has Asperger's.

I thought it interesting that the worst insult he could think of to hurl my way was to accuse me of having Aspergers Syndrome myself.

He reminded me of the gay guy whose most scathing insult to me, in response to a post I'd written about gay men back in April of 2010, was to accuse me of being gay.

You can always tell a lot about a person from the insults he chooses.

Of course, it could be that they're right. Maybe I am a gay guy with Aspergers who just doesn't realize it yet. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Workouts as windows to personality, Part II

You may have seen this surreptitiously recorded video of Obama working out at a hotel gym in Poland by now, but if you haven't, here it is.

What I was struck by was the fact that he didn't go through the full range of motion on most of his exercises. I can't help but feel that this is somehow emblematic of the way he runs his Presidency.

As I said on March 31st, you can tell pretty much everything you need to know about a person from just watching him work out.

Reassuringly, Obama does pass the workout IQ test. He works his legs, he utilizes a full body exercise, and he works out without the aid of a personal trainer.

Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt because he may be jet lagged and tired from his job. (Then again, it's not as if Air Force One doesn't have a bed, and it's not as if he works all that hard at his day job.)

Nonetheless, between the fact that he doesn't go through the full range of motion and the light weights he used, he looks a little wimpy.

He looks like the kind of guy who, even if you cross a line he drew in the sand, probably wouldn't follow through on any of his threats.

(Of course, if he really worked out the way he ran his Presidency, he'd be lifting large metallic dumbbells labeled "100 pounds" which were in fact hollow, filled only with air. Hot air.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rod Stewart

When I went to parties during my ninth grade, in 1969, I used hear Jeff Beck's I Ain't Superstitious -- with Rod Stewart on vocals -- all the time. I loved the song then, and still do.

Here's a clip of Stewart performing at Royal Albert Hall in London in 2004.

In December 2012 Stewart released an album of Christmas music. That marked the sixth straight decade in which he's released an album.

During that time he's had eight children with five women.

Given that during the 60's he looked like a strung out druggie and he always sounded hungover, it's a surprise to see him still going strong.

A pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Enemy" and "Filth"

Saw the worst movie ever this past weekend, no exaggeration: Enemy. It's about a college professor who sees his doppelganger in a movie, then looks him up. Jake Gyllenhaal played both roles.

None of the characters are believable, there's nobody to empathize with, the pace is glacial, you keep waiting for something to happen, then the next thing you know the credits (blames?) are rolling. Watching that list of names scroll down the screen was probably more exciting than anything that happened during the movie.

I paid my son thirty dollars to watch the film in its entirety, without his iPhone or computer. He agreed it was the worst film ever.

The next day, to wash the taste of Enemy out of my mouth, I rented Filth, which was almost as good as Enemy was bad.

It's about a detective sergeant who wants to be promoted to detective inspector and the sly games he plays in order to advance. He is dishonest, disloyal, corrupt, promiscuous, and has a bad drug habit. But the first forty minutes of the movie is a perversely fun romp through the life of a gleefully uninhibited sociopath reminiscent of the first half of Clockwork Orange. James McAvoy does a remarkable job in the lead role.

Part of the humor of the film lies in showing how a holier-than-thou backstabber turns political correctness to his advantage.

The problem with the movie is that the protagonist seems to develop a conscience in the second half, and agonizes over things a sociopath wouldn't be fazed by in the least. We're left wondering what happened to the fun guy we first met.

Watching a clever sociopathic character from a distance -- i.e., on the screen -- can be fun, as it was in Catch Me if You Can. We can even begin to identify with him.

The problem with Hollywood is that they can't leave well enough alone. It's not enough for their main characters to display all the traits of an unmistakeable sociopath, as McAvoy does so eloquently in the first half of Filth. They must also become noble, or guilt-wracked, a psychological impossibility.

As a connoisseur of sociopaths, I find that sort of unrealistic character development annoying. Still, the first half of Filth is as enjoyable as anything I've seen in a long time.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Psychic mediums

It's surprising the government doesn't shut down psychic mediums. Why are they allowed to prey on the gullible and weak?

The government has many laws against fraud. The FDA has stringent standards for new drugs; dishonest stockbrokers are barred from the securities industry; dishonest lawyers are disbarred; and medical doctors can lose their licenses.

Police departments used to have "bunco squads," which were in charge of investigating confidence swindles. Certainly, what psychics peddle is a load of bunk.

If you Google "psychic mediums in Connecticut," the names of 48 practitioners appear. All advertise openly, evidently without fear of prosecution.

For all but the terminally naive, their con is obvious. Let's say a middle-aged woman walks in (most customers are women). The medium looks at her and says, "I sense trouble with a man."

The woman nods sadly and says, "I'm in a difficult marriage." The psychic replies, "Ah, you have arguments with him….which sometimes get heated." (Another great leap of faith.)

The gullible woman nods more eagerly, and thinks to herself, finally, someone who understands me.

The psychic says, "Your husband, he is attracted to other women?" (In other words, is he human?) The woman thinks, wow, she understands my husband too!

Then the psychic might say, knowingly, "There is a loved one you miss." This could mean a lost family member, but could also apply to a long lost romantic love. And "miss," of course, could merely describe your feelings about a child who's gone to college. The gullible will immediately think of whomever they miss most.

Psychics who claim to communicate with the dead are the lowest of the low. One ad for a psychic in Connecticut said:

As we sit together in sacred space, departed loved ones and Spirit Guides are invited to communicate with you through me. This is done with the intention of healing and providing evidence of life after death.

Does the inclusion of the phrase "evidence of life after death" give them a "freedom of religion" out to their scam? After all, our Constitution does provide for freedom of worship.

And does saying "done with the intention of healing" shift intent -- in a legal sense -- to "healing," so that the psychics can claim to be psychotherapists?

Also, note that the ad does not claim that the dead actually communicate: it says that "departed loved ones….are invited to communicate." An invitation is not quite the same as an actual acceptance of that invitation. Thus, no fraudulent advertising.

One senses a lawyer's hand in the construction of that ad.

Most psychics would have to be sociopaths in order to pull such a scam; and, of course, it's sociopaths who feel most comfortable preying on the weak and gullible in the first place.

The real question: how big an idiot must one be to consult a psychic?

It's one thing for a young couple who've had a few drinks and to see a sign for a palm reader and pay $20 to have their fortunes told, just for giggles. But to really believe in this stuff, one must be weak-minded.

My guess is that the average type of person willing to pay a psychic partly just wants to be center of attention; she probably feels neglected, since others have most likely been conditioned to avoid her daily idiocy.

The psychics themselves will all burn in hell -- if there is such a place. Personally, I don't believe in hell, but those who go to mediums undoubtedly do. If they eventually wise up and feel burned by their psychics, they can at least take consolation that the psychics themselves will eventually be experiencing that same feeling, on a more epic scale.