Blog

Brave New Money

I am not an investment advisor, financial analyst, accredited investor, or any other imposing title. This is just my opinion; always do your own research.

For the vast majority of my working life, I’ve been consummately conservative when it comes to investing. VOO & QQQ (S&P and NASDAQ index funds) have been my idea of risk exposure, and I always squirreled away a stack of silver as insurance again them. Consequently, like many others I instantly ruled out Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as Tulip Mania.

It wasn’t until I thought to sit down and read the white papers (formal business proposals) of Bitcoin and Ripple [XRP] that I began to decouple the thing itself from the greed-hysteria surrounding it. Satoshi Nakamoto’s paper read like a practical Wittgenstein, packing so much condensed brainpower that some have argued–ala Shakespeare theorists–that it must be the product of a group rather than an individual. And Ripple’s read like the cynical–and thus realistic–appraisal of Satoshi’s ideal. When I was done reading both, the comparison that sprang to mind was MP3 technology and what it did to the music industry–at first transgressive and terrifying in the guise of Napster, but quickly coopted and commodified by the likes of Itunes.

Like Napster’s triumphant P2P file sharers, quite a few early crypto adopters–particularly those branded “Bitcoin maximalists”–seem to labor under the impression that the banks of the world will willingly throw themselves upon Satoshi’s sword. The sentiment seems to be that regulators and old money are so slow and so stupid that they will never be able to catch up with this innovation or dream up a way to stop it. I would humbly suggest that however dimwitted the average politician may or may not be, the persons who really fund their reelection campaigns bear little resemblance to them.

Facebook’s Libra is a prime example. No one in D.C. (not even the politicians in sync with Zuckerburg’s stereotypical Silicon Valley politics) seems to welcome the thought of a tech corporation competing with central banks. To me, this suggests that Mark once again prioritized coding over communication. He lately seems an unintentional, even bewildered Ayn Rand protagonist, backed into a corner not because he was unwilling to grease palms but simply because he forgot.

Unfortunately for the proof-of-work cryptos like Bitcoin (indeed, perhaps almost all of them excepting Ripple’s XRP and Cardano’s ADA), Libra has brought them the wrong sort of publicity and attention despite how little they have in common with it. The bear has been poked, metaphorically and perhaps economically. What comes next is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that if someone got it in their head to take out all cryptos that don’t cater to Uncle Sam, a good place to start would be the dubious if not downright fraudulent Tether stablecoin that props much of this speculative market up.

But despite D.C.’s curmudgeonly view of Bitcoin, Libra, and co., that doesn’t change the fact that blockchain technology stands to make them and more importantly their puppeteers a lot of money in the coming years. Remember, you can get rid of Napster but keep MP3. Or, to bring things even closer to home, you can screw over a Tesla if you have an Edison.

I am of course referring to Ripple and their XRP (“booo, banker sh*tcoin!” echoes down from the rafters). Ripple CTO David Schwartz is a mind powerful enough to give Satoshi a run for his tulips; heck, some think he is Satoshi. But, far more importantly, he is surrounded by a team of cold, hard, Machiavellian pros who knew the second they read Bitcoin’s white paper that they should keep the MP3 and ditch the Napster. You know that Hollywood “7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” thing? Well, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that Ripple is fintech’s and maybe even business’s current Kevin Bacon. It is downright bizarre just how many known names in finance and law have left behind “sure thing” positions to join Team Ripple. And there are several characters outside of staff, most noticeably the IMF’s Christine Lagarde, who are clearly playing favorites with them at every turn. (Listen for “level playing field” in financial/political discourse going forward–I am personally convinced this phrase is a substitute when referring to Ripple).

Alright, but what does XRP actually do? Well, unlike speculative cryptos that are merely “stores of value,” XRP is positioned to solve specific problems. Most pressingly, these are international remittance (banks and other financial institutions like Western Union and Moneygram moving money across global borders) and nostro-vostro accounts (the necessity of one bank having to keep a large sum in another bank so it can cover remittances that it sends into that other bank’s jurisdiction, basically). But there is also the futuristic proposition of “universal liquidity”–something like a global, digital reserve currency that can seamlessly transition payments from one currency to another, be it fiat or crypto. (“…Or crypto” meaning XRP’s success does not necessarily mean BTC or anyone else’s demise). These are the problems that stand in the way of instantaneous transaction, or money changing hands as quickly as texts and emails do.

When you combine what XRP does (or can do) with who Ripple is, it becomes clear that Ripple XRP is an attempt to make Satoshi’s tech palatable to central banks and thus governments. Whether they have already succeeded is the juicy question. I believe the immediate fate of Moneygram will be an excellent indication. Western Union and Moneygram are the big boys in the world of non-bank remittance. Western Union halfheartedly “tested” Ripple’s tech, panned it in the press, and kept doing what they’ve always done. Moneygram, on the other hand, has recently embraced Ripple tech with open arms, which sent Western Union’s CEO scrambling to the nearest journalist to proclaim that he and Ripple could sign a deal any time if the price is right. Point being, if the underdog Moneygram suddenly seems as though it has a mysterious advantage over Western Union (current stock prices circa $2.00 and $20.00, respectively), this will be the best and perhaps final hint that Ripple has already sealed the deal with the powers-that-be behind closed doors. But if they have, the amount of ironclad NDAs that have gone out recently must be record-breaking.

So, with all that hinting, flirting, and general beating around the bush out of the way, I’ll now take a proper guess 25 years into the future. We’ll see if I look back with pride or embarrassment…

Bitcoin is a relic, but a very expensive one. Ripple is THE fintech company, with whole XRP tokens at a very respectable (but nowhere near 20K BTC) price. They’ll go public at some point, and the stock will be worth more than the token. What with instantaneous transaction now being taken for granted, they are primarily known by businessmen as the universal liquidity behind Quant’s Overledger (or something like it that hasn’t yet been invented). The average person won’t think about XRP at all; they’re getting paid and paying with cryptos such as or similar to Cardano’s ADA and even BAT, funneled through Overledger but meant to be nothing more or less than digital money mostly paid out in fractions. Amounts, to a certain extant, have become meaningless to regular folks–watch enough ads, post enough cool content, or do enough community service, and your creature comforts are covered without much thought. Indeed, buying things is nearly antiquated; now you mostly just subscribe to tokenized services. You don’t buy groceries; you subscribe to Walmart or Amazon and the drone drops your foodstuffs off every-so-often. But how will you get what you like? Easy; algorithms. Products trend and go viral; every object and software reports back collective metadata, rearranges itself to be optimal, becomes inherently desirable thanks to this automatic molding by the market’s “hive mind.” Conspicuous consumption on steroids? Yes, but tempered with self-righteousness. If California crops had a rough year, that popular bottle of Merlot will have to wait. Indeed, if you take one for the team and preemptively defer that Merlot, your stream of micro-payments will get a handsome boost, and pump some social credit-score along with it. Like a spooky synthesis of hardcore capitalism and hardcore socialism, the corporate-government is the godlike provider without whom all will starve, but it also inherently obeys the “free market” by “giving the people what they want” whenever possible.

…So, full disclosure: I own some XRP and Moneygram, but, as Ripple’s own Bob Way has put it, “not enough to make me worth kidnapping.” I also plan on acquiring some apartment REITs and BOTZ (a robotics/A.I. index). Now you know why.

Accountability (Mid-2019)

If you’ve read any of my other posts, I think you’ll be able to discern that “flexing on” people isn’t my style. Nonetheless, this post inherently contains some self-congratulatory pats on the back.

October of last year, I committed to maintaining accountability in regards to my goals. Since then I’ve adhered to and improved my “Ledger” method (of writing down significant goals, then documenting how I pursued them on a day-to-day basis). But I have been a little lax in updating others on this progress (or, to be frank, achieving anywhere near an ideal blogging consistency). Let’s remedy that.

First, the improvements to the method. I’ve found that it is psychologically powerful to be able to see the entirety of the Ledger’s goals all in one place. While it’s sometimes depressing to see how far there is to go, this disadvantage is outweighed by the pleasure of marking off victories and being able to better envision an ideal future. Here is what my Ledger visual looks like [excepting redactions], for anyone who might like to adapt it for themselves:

ledger pic

It started out as the janky Powerpoint approximation of a pyramid.

The green base at the bottom summarizes what I “cannot do without” and must provide for monetarily. The words in white represent large financial goals (meaning they ought to be totally paid-for before I commit to them).

The orange squares in the center represent six “genres” of goals. In my case, those are (T-B, L-R) Reading, Writing, Tech, Minimalism, Health & Miscellaneous know-how. Obviously, if all six of these boxes are ever checked off, I’ll come up with new ones.

The grey apex represents the general daily routine whereby everything below it on the pyramid can gradually be accomplished.

The yellow circles (L) detail the extensive Tech square.

The blue & grey squares/rectangles (R) represent the state of my finances, writing projects, and what I ought to be primarily focusing upon each year. According to this, I could conceivably cross off or at least have begun to master everything in the orange squares (except all of my writing goals) by 2024 (or 30 years of age).

Alright. That’s well and good, but what have I actually done this year?

  • I’ve read at least one quality book a week, every week. At that rate I’ll finish my Reading goals long before 2024.
  • My debut novel is in its 2nd draft and going better than expected.
  • My fairly elaborate (although not at all lengthy) work on nostalgia is ready to be published.
  • I’ve started earning Tech certifications / learning JavaScript and Python and am practicing regularly.
  • Thanks to Humble Bundle making Sony Vegas Pro and Magix audio software affordable, I’ve gotten passable (not yet good) at audio and video editing.
  • I’ve maintained or improved my sleep and exercise schedule.

What have I done wrong?

  • Slacking on meditation. It is way too easy to convince yourself to neglect “doing nothing.”
  • More screen-time spent gaming or watching Twitch and Youtube than coding. Tsk tsk!
  • Continuing to indulge my introversion. My single-minded pursuit of the Ledger goals, while perhaps admirable “in a vacuum,” has provided me the perfect excuse to shun all socializing, which of course exacts a heavy toll in the long-term. I have no peer friends, much less a girlfriend. Loooser.

In summary: I’ve done pretty good for me and great compared to “past me.” But, it took me much longer to get here than some (wherever “here” is). And there is no telling how much longer it would have taken without the exceedingly rare and exceptional familial support that I have.

If you’re paying really close attention, you’ll notice I’ve taken off some ideal travel destinations from the Ledger for now. This is because I’ve determined to think more about growing what money I have than how to spend it.

If you’re really, really paying close attention, you might wonder how my resolve to stop buying video games has gone? Well, my deadline cutoff–the release of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night–is 48 hours away. I see no reason to think I’ll go back on my word in this respect, since I haven’t in any other. I don’t feel dread about it either; coding is the most difficult thing I’ve ever tried to learn and I could really use re-appropriating that valuable gaming time towards it. Also, cutting off the monetary vidya hemorrhage would mean my only non-essential spending is books.

To conclude, here’s some stuff that has improved my 2019 so-far that might improve yours as well.

InStockTrades.com

I was hesitant to buy any books online (even comics) elsewhere than Ebay or Amazon, but their competitive prices made me take the risk and I’m glad I did. I recommend paying the extra $4.00 for upgraded shipping and trying the Monstress series if you haven’t already.

Musings Upon the Mandela Effect

lion & lamb

Lion & Lamb: a photo I took outside of Sight & Sound Theater in Branson, MO.

The Mandela Effect is a phenomenon where one’s memory of the past does not correspond to the evidence one can produce of that past. Most examples are inconsequential, like whether James Earl Jones while voicing Darth Vader famously uttered:

“Luke, I am your father.”

or

“No, I am your father.”

(Apparently it was the latter, though many fans, and the actor himself, recall the former).

Other examples, however, involve historical and even religious truths. The Effect itself is named after the mass belief that Nelson Mandela died in the 1980s, although his current death-year is given as 2013. And many a Christian has been disturbed by the realization that their collective recollection of Isaiah 11:6, which opens with the utopian statement that

“The lion shall lay down with the lamb…”

actually reads

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb…”

This replacement of the remembered lion with the apparent wolf is potentially upsetting because, in Judeochristian symbolism, the lion is often equated with God, while wolves are only ever equated with the Devil. To a paranoid eye–perhaps such as mine–it looks like someone decided to engage in a little nefarious editing to reference Aesop’s fable “The Wolf and the Lamb” while simultaneously giving the Lion of Judah/Aslan connotation the boot.

These are but a few examples of a veritable avalanche of surreal and even downright disturbing incongruities between recollection and reality that the internet has compiled since around 2012 (oh yes, we can’t get this weird without the Mayan calendar being involved).

Most explanations of the phenomenon appear to be either secular or metaphysical extremes:

  • that human memory is even more fallible than previously believed, or
  • that science/tech like CERN has opened portals to alternate dimensions, merged timelines, etc.

Briefly entertaining the thought that every KJV Bible in my possession–and perhaps in the world entire–has mysteriously been tampered with, was sufficient evidence that this Effect has the potential to send imaginative people straight to the funny-farm.

Yet, the madness of a thing is not sufficient to disregard it–not in a modern age where quantum computing/artificial intelligence wizards like Geordie Rose must turn to H.P. Lovecraft’s horrifying Great Old Ones as the only sufficient metaphor for what their creations will be like in relation to human beings.

So, for now at least, I want to propose a moderate theory which bridges the Effect’s extreme explanations.

  • Because we humans, for the first time in our existence, cannot in anywise foresee or guess at our own future (it is as though the future merely reads “Here There Be Monsters,” like old ignorant maps), perhaps we are suddenly forced to look back at a hazy past. What do I mean by “hazy past?” We have in effect severed all of our ancestral ties. Few humans in the developed world know much about their family beyond their grandparents or great-grandparents. And perhaps even fewer still believe or think like those unknown ancestors did. The developed world starting with or since the 1990s has been so forward-focused that we have neglected all which came before. Only now that we have accelerated technology to the point that we can no longer chart its trajectory are we rebuffed, and forced to look over our shoulders into the proverbial “haze” for some point of reference. But that which is neglected rarely welcomes the negligent. We find “the good old days weren’t always good” (as Billy Joel puts it in his song Keeping the Faith). And, especially for those who are recollecting something from childhood, we find the subjective sheen and grandeur of innocence is shed, replaced by adulthood’s cynical appraisal. Thus, those who seek a firm foundation in nostalgia find only shifting sand. Perhaps only now do we fully understand why the ancients were so all-fired adamant that one should keep in close contact with their tribal history and myth.

This of course does not placate those who are dead-set that the fabric of reality is already coming unwound pre-Singularity (see Ray Kurtzweil’s books and interviews for more on that idea). I am even willing to concede that it might be. But, I believe my explanation at least serves as a useful caveat. If the past is decaying, it is due to our overemphasis of the future; and the sole way to combat it is by genuine, rather than merely reactionary, reconciliation with that past.

For example: if Jesus’s quotations are (or will be) corrupted and lost, then one had better be sure they have Him in their hearts, rather than depending upon an “infallible” text to preserve His reality for them. True, he did say “my Word will never pass away…” But He Himself is that Logos or Word…

I would also recommend to anyone who can remain entirely unaffected by this Effect (and similar phenomenon in the coming years) to be patient with those who cannot. Even if the Effect is utter tripe–an internet conspiracy conflagration based on memory’s fallibility–the environment in which such Effects are possible is unquestionably trying to introverted personality types. It is relayed by some zookeepers that apes in captivity display hair loss, impotence, and sometimes even insanity. From a purely cold and clinical perspective, this Mandela Effect could be a human comparable to “captivity” in a post-tribe, post-scarcity, post-history environment.

I.E. this is but the tip of an iceberg that our Titanic has already struck. When “deepfakes” fully arrive, all bets will be off in regards to the validity of visual media. The Mandela Effect is but a largely analog precursor to this digital crisis, wherein the average person will not be able to discern a screen or hologram’s fact from fiction. Even if we have begun by distrusting arguably trustworthy forms of media, the principle of general distrust towards media may prove invaluable in an all-too-near future.

The choice is coming sooner than expected:

  • to continue consuming content one knows, deep down, is false and/or harmful, or
  • to endure the silence of no content at all, and discover what awaits there.

I’m pleased to say that my upcoming booklet treats of this general subject matter almost exclusively, although (synchronicity?) I wrote it before learning of the Mandela Effect. I expect it will be out in June or July of this year, as a free PDF here and physically on Amazon for circa $5.00. Now, I guess we just have to hope that what I wrote there continues to be what appears upon the page…

Disturbing Symbolism in Recent Music Videos

I am not inherently against such symbolism, but I do find it distasteful when it turns up in unexpected places such as pop music aimed at young audiences. My belief is that symbolism of a sinister nature ought to either be 1. juxtaposed with divine symbolism or 2. explained, unabashedly, as being such. Failing to do either gives the sense that one is using ‘harmless’ entertainment as a Trojan Horse.

Billie Eilish – You Should See Me in A Crown

1:09-1:23: The character, ostensibly Billie, is surrounded by seven levitating beings with mannequin-like white faces, each dressed with differing color-schemes. She approaches the one in black with a red human/spider sigil on its back and invokes it.

1:35-end: Each step she takes is now accompanied by the appearance of spiderwebs at her feet. At 1:57 we learn why–the true form of the being she invoked is a monstrous spider that vomits upon a city, turning its green human sigils into its own red human/spider sigils.

The nondescript white mask is generally angelic, be it loyal or fallen angels.

Seven angels appearing together is evocative of the Seven Princes of Hell. They are given differing names in different sources. The oldest source, The Book of Enoch, uses unfamiliar names. Later Catholic and occult sources, usually based upon the Seven Deadly Sins, use more familiar names like Satan and Mammon. Therein, the demon ascribed to Lust is called Asmodeus.

Asmodeus appears in the apocryphal Book of Tobit, not–to my recollection–as a spider. However, Alan Moore in his comic series Promethea depicts Asmodeus as a giant black spider with a red sigil on its back. Whether Billie’s music video is borrowing from Promethea, or if Billie and Alan were separately inspired by the same third-party source, I cannot say.

This music video was particularly surprising to me since I used both of its symbols–The Seven Princes and Asmodeus as a spider–in my Deus Non Machina (2017). That is coincidence, obviously.

Blackpink – Kill This Love

The symbolism of this music video is almost too frantic to timestamp, so I’ll just address it somewhat chronologically.

The silver organ that plays trumpets sets a gothic, apocalyptic tone.

The swans and setting sun betwixt a crowned woman evoke–for me at least–Zeus’s rape of Leda which produces Helen of Troy. The crystal heart which eventually breaks could be a derivative of the treasure-fruit which Paris of Troy gives to Helen.

Another girl frolics in a candy-store labelled “Heaven.” Most of its wares are breakfast cereal. While a slight stretch, this could be a nod to Ambrosia, the drink of the gods that grants immortality. I base this upon a few intimations by Soyer’s Pantropheon that ancient Greek “cereal” can mean either dried grains (food) or fermented grains (drink). If that is accurate, she is a female Prometheus, stealing earthly power from spiritual beings.

The swans are gone and it is dark, but the sun is still setting. Helen/Venus rises out of the ocean wearing a swirled crown like an unstable halo.

The car’s front plate reads “Ego.” (For me, this scene evokes the one Zodiac Killer victim who lived to tell the tale. He picked her up by a roadside after her car had broken down. When he threatened her she jumped out and ran). Since she is both killer and killed, this appears to be metaphoric of ego-death or enlightenment. But why, in that case, would the “Ego” vehicle do the killing? A confusion–or a corruption.

All the girls are now dressed as thieves who’ve blown open a vault.

In the clothing/selfie scene, our Korean singers look morbidly Americanized, the idea being that they are now blonde and brunette white girls instead of Asians.

She holds a four leaf clover as the sun sets and turns into a storm. This is boasting of luck during catastrophe.

A bride in white is killed by whore in black in a Gothic church with a flaming arrow. This sounds familiar but I cannot recall the source at the moment.

The band stands upon a giant beartrap in a desert. Not many bears to be found in deserts. Deserts are, however, the most appropriate backdrop for ritual sacrifice.

Back to the silver organ. A party in a church, lit red like a brothel.

This music video’s symbolism could merely be a product of over-budgeting by infamous KPop corporations (and/or a set designer with years of ideas and only one opportunity to actualize them). However, it strikes me as slightly odd that not a single Eastern-centric symbol managed to appear herein. The West is either being heavily pandered to here, or there is an unstated motivation.

What do you think?

Eros Flees: The Compounding Celibacy & Asexuality of Americans

The share of Americans not having sex has reached a record high,” reports the Washington Post. We are quickly closing in on a quarter of adults reporting total celibacy. In mainstream comment sections frequented primarily by Baby Boomers, this news seems to be provoking quite a bit of head-scratching.

However insufferably smug it may seem to quote one’s own works, I would like to document the fact that–thanks to the assistance of endless anecdotal data available for gleaning on social media, especially Reddit and Youtube comments–this should be a surprise to no one.

“Eros Fled,” from Deus Non Machina (2017)

…Claiming that sexuality is also being menaced may seem audacious and even absurd since there has never been a time when it was less restrained than now. However, the destruction of sexuality is counterintuitive. Just as the way to stop a child’s gluttonous sweet tooth is to allow him or her to get a terrible stomachache by overindulgence, so the way to cause human sexuality to malfunction is by encouraging society to overdose upon it. One need only consider the increased divorce, depression and sexual discontent and deviance that has arisen in tandem with so-called sexual liberation. Humanity has never had more orgasms and less satisfaction.

Yet deadening and devaluing actual sex is not enough, for it is too hardwired into man’s instincts to be entirely quit, unsatisfactory or not. Rather, the sexes must be alienated to consummate a “progressive” sexuality. The goal is not for humanity to lose interest in orgasm, but in having it with the opposite sex. The foundation for this has been laid by feminism—an opportunity for hatred of the sexually dimorphic and traditionally familial to masquerade as an equalization of rights. With the boogeyman of patriarchy as its excuse, feminism has efficiently emasculated developed societies, demonizing or even criminalizing all that is naturally masculine. And just in case that is not enough to stave off the incorrigible heterosexual male, technology’s more expedient outlets for sexuality such as pornography beckon any man who has received this “we don’t need no man” message loud-and-clear. When technology can allow males complete sexual gratification without any of the legal or emotional risks now involved in attachment to a female as well as the ability to propagate their genes via artificial wombs, the disintegration of males and females shall be complete…

“Wastrel,” from The Blue Testament (2018)

…This female ambition or hypergamy is not just self- nor child-serving; it has also prompted many a dubious father to “get his act together” and “make something of himself” where he might otherwise have stagnated in a worldly sense. Such is the devious but not-all-together sinister trap that nature lays for men—to fulfill themselves sexually they have had to better themselves materially. Though male fortunes, Herculean physiques, scientific pursuits, and artistic magnum opuses have doubtlessly been achieved without the accompanying favors of some minx in mind, one wonders how dramatic the reduction of these accomplishments would be had the libido been absent. So must men see dreaded “bitching” begrudgingly yet with a degree of appreciation. It may be unpleasant, but it is not evil in that it serves a necessary purpose.

The only trouble with this hypergamy is that, being biological and often unconscious, it cannot be (or is rarely) adjusted even when appropriate. Thus women continue to be drawn to polygamous, testosterone-besotted males during peak fertility only to desire a less-aggressive monogamous provider once the hormones have died down. This behavior made perfect sense in an age when he who excelled at violence stood the best chance of preserving new life. In peaceable modernity it is rendered a sad parody of nature’s intention, merely serving to cuckold would-be-fathers throughout their sweetheart’s breeding years or indefinitely.

In addition, the reversal of gender superiority—from dowry where a father paid a man to take his daughter off his hands to the Sadie Hawkins dance of modern courtship—has and is creating a class or substrata of males who can expect, regardless of their preference, to remain lifelong bachelors. The results are in—when no structure of societal shame exists to prevent it, women would rather share a 6’ tall extroverted athlete with salary to match than settle for exclusive rights to an average male. Put concisely, the age of the harem has recommenced. “Good,” the militant feminist may reply. “Men have always made women feel they are nothing more than sex-dolls. It is only fair that we take our revenge by making men feel that they are nothing to us but dildos with wallets.” Such sexual saber-rattling is relatively harmless so long as these rejected males find adequate distraction from their genetic plight. However, should the bread and circuses of video-games and pornography ever grow old for them, I shiver to think what these lost boys with nothing to lose might get up to!

And lest we conclude that all such modern bachelors have been forced out of the sexual sphere, let us meditate upon those who have opted out as well, called grass-eaters in the East and MGTOW (“Men Going Their Own Way”) in the West. Believe it or not, some men have a sense of pride and propriety that their penis does not trump. The thought that they must meet various, rather shallow criterion before the female will deign favor is so offensive that they would rather take their balls and go home. On an even shrewder basis, they may entertain meeting those criteria only to then consider the distinct possibility that all the work involved will come to naught via divorce, alimony, and child-support. “Better to have loved and lost…” is a sentiment few men share in extremis.

Increasingly this current state of sexual affairs seems to eerily mimic the findings of NIMH scientist John B. Calhoun during this “Rat Utopia” experiment. Therein he provided his rat subjects with a world free from every danger except limited space. They then reproduced to such an unsustainable extent that the males eventually became asexual—preferring to relax and clean their coats rather than participate in the Rat Race, as it were…

These works are available either as free PDFs or as physical books via Amazon here.

For any newcomers to this subject matter who would like a brief summary, I’ll say this: the fall of the Roman Empire roughly began the age of the celibate monk. I recommend considering how these modern headlines may relate to that ancient factoid.

Beware the Ides of March: The Christchurch Mosque Shooting

Code red. Meme magic has breached the containment field, folks. Per the shooter’s manifesto, he is intentionally offering leftwing ideologues a rightwing boogeyman in the hopes that the culture war will accelerate into a real war. The scary bit is, it could work, especially if there are copycats. Please consider treating all corporate media as compromised, and all video/audio/viral posts as highly suspect, until emotions stabilize.

XRP Suppression?

March 7th, Forbes rakes XRP over the coals…again.

Four days later, Coindesk reports Swiss SIX will open a Ripple ETP this year.

Meanwhile, Ripple’s Japanese darling/foothold SBI, is keeping the faith even as J-Coin looms.

Could JPM’s attempt at competing with Ripple be a factor?

forbes jpm

Here’s a sensible-sounding (if clearly biased) theory from Youtube. However, he may be underestimating the effect of Ripple holding 60% supply.

What do you think? Is $0.31 USD the right price?

How To Become a Published Poet by 2020

The following is the outline of a lecture I gave today at the Jacksonville Public Library’s Winter Poetry Celebration. I hope it proves useful to anyone with notebooks full of honed material which deserves to be shared, but hasn’t been yet.

 

  • Select The Sacrificial Lambs

 

-Expect & accept rejections

-Free verse/no rhyme unless formality is specified

-Shorter line-length poems preferred (attention span/cheaper)

-Wording unique but thoughts universal

-Bias toward visual/format eccentricity?

-Select 3—5 best poems

-Cover letter & author bio

 

  • Hunt With Birdshot, Not Bullets

 

-Choose between physical or online journals

-Only send to journals that accept “simultaneous submissions”

-Physical journal acceptance rates generally 1—3%

-Poetry reading periods/contests commonly receive 500+ submissions

-Generally recommend avoiding submission fees (rewarding bad behavior) (Rattle as possible exception)

 

  • Today’s Poet Is More Important than their Poetry

 

-Publishing as politics; use it to your advantage (if applicable)

-Emerging/underrepresented—not new/unpublished

– Christian, British, Aryan name/straight white man? Consider penname/penpersona

 

“We particularly welcome submissions from indigenous writers, writers of colour, writers with disabilities, LGBTQQIA+ writers, and writers from other intersectional and under-represented communities. If you are comfortable identifying yourself as one or more of the above, please feel free to mention this in your cover letter.”

-U of New Brunswick’s The Fiddlehead

 

“[Submissions] are currently closed. During the off season, we only accept queries from POC and LGBTQ folks.”

-Tree Light Books

 

  • Digging for Dinosaurs (The Poetry Book)

 

-Poetry manuscript publishers expect previous publication of individual poems

-Consider self-publishing (Amazon’s Createspace for paperback/ebook, Vanities for hardback)

-Chapbooks vs full-length manuscripts (15—45p; 50—120p)

-Small presses (anecdote: 60 manuscript submissions; 2 acceptances; 1 publication)

-Literary agents/large publishers not a realistic option for poets without connections

 

  • Recommended Resources

 

-Robert Lee Brewer’s Writer’s Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published

-pw.org / Poets & Writers magazine