Sunday, November 22, 2015

How Syrian Refugees Can Help America

I haven't worked out the details of how this might work, but here are the basics of my Great Big Plan For America.

Bring refugees here, have them live wherever they can be housed. I know this is complicated, but whatever the economic or political conditions, there are a lot of empty homes going untenanted in various parts of the country.

One area in particular should be considered: the Rust Belt. Not the best place to be in the winter, but if we put able-bodied refugees and Americans wanting work to work (at whatever time of year) making the empty and abandoned homes in these places livable, it would completely reboot the local economies. All sorts of infrastructure in places like Detroit need rebuilding, and with major funding and impetus from the federal government-- something like the New Deal programs that got people to work in the Depression era-- you could rebuild old cities, get lots of people working, house lots of people-- and heat their houses-- for whoever needs it, both Americans and refugees. You might even end up fostering goodwill between Americans and Syrians.

See also: Utah has a program called Housing First, which has proved an effective and MONEY-SAVING way to house people who need homes. Policymakers, activists, and others can learn a lot from this, not just in how it applies to the homeless, but in how to house anyone you don't know how to house, e.g., refugees. In other words, I think investing in low-income housing on a large scale, in a way that also helps the other people already living in underserved places like Detroit by getting people jobs and building infrastructure, would be a win-win for citizens, refugees, and taxpayers, as local governments could save money on any number of problems (crime, the need for emergency healthcare for the suffering) that are exacerbated by not housing people.

And hey, even Detroit can't be a worse place to be than Syria right now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Use Your Powers For Good (For Those Who Love to Argue)

I love to argue.

But sometimes I just wanna go home.

Have you seen the internet? My, but people love to argue.

But I also like to DO stuff.

I want to support all marginalized people. But some of the arguments on the internet, like one I skimmed recently among lesbians and trans activists on a Facebook page [which I'd link here, except that it's disappeared] yesterday, make me sad because it's hard to see how it helps any good cause rather than harming it.

I could read and read... or I could just stop reading and start singing to myself to get the arguing out of my head. You could call that privilege, that I don't have to argue or pay attention to arguments all the time.

Do you/your social category have big problems? Undoubtedly. Are your problems bigger or more important than other people's problems? Impossible to say. They are to you, of course. "All suffering, however multiplied, is always individual," said Gandhi, possibly. (I read it somewhere and am having trouble finding the original quote.)

Do you have the right to be offended? Yes, at anything and at any time, and neither I nor anyone else has the right to tell you you shouldn't be offended at something. Maybe I don't think you should, maybe I think you're annoying, but that doesn't matter. Getting offended is free, free, free.

But what is the point of all the arguing? Changing minds is important, yes. But berating potential allies for your cause, people who may have some very major enemies in common with you-- e.g.,  THE PATRIARCHY!-- can be massively counter-productive. It's beneficial to limit your arguing to what is actually doing good, I think, which, though it sounds good, is also hard to determine.

But I'd offer everyone fighting for a cause this simple-ish advice: Take at least some of the time and energy you could spend arguing with potential allies and spend it on taking REAL action in the real world to benefit actual people. Fighting online may feel righteous, but there's a good chance a lot of the effect will NEVER result in any positive change for the people you claim to champion. Like real transwomen suffering real violence out there.

Let's lessen the arguing and try to DO SOMETHING.


 Napoleon Never Slept: How Great Leaders Leverage Social Energy  
 Micro-sociological secrets of charismatic leaders from Jesus to Steve Jobs
E-book now available at and Amazon

Friday, September 4, 2015

Depressing Shit, Part 12

I recommend you see part 1 of my Depressing Shit series and read my original disclaimer here; now here's installment 12.

I'm only telling you about these things for your own good. Unless you have the problem of too much happiness and too little awareness of bad things, AVOID! AVOID!

Essaying to watch War Witch on Netflix and not sure if I should go on. Seems very... educational, in a massively bummer-causing way.

And it reminded me-- time for another installment of Depressing Shit(TM)!

Little Moth (haven't seen, don't want to)
Petits Frères (haven't seen, don't want to, can you guess why?)
War Witch (not a spoiler: young girl is forced by guerrilla soldiers to kill her parents in the first 5 minutes. Child soldiers. Had enough yet?)
Welcome to Me (Kristen Wiig quasi-comedy that wastes the talents of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Joan Cusack, & many others. Supposedly about Borderline Personality Disorder, but didn't show any of the scary violence that is often associated with it, though this doesn't mean it's fun, either. "Kooky," but overall a bummer.)

Spiral (French title: Engrenages) (another pit of joy I tried to watch because it was expiring on Netflix and they told me I'd like it; can't say it's bad, but wish I hadn't watched it. There are better ways to learn French.)

More depressing stuff: Read Part 2 here.
And here's Part 3.
And Part 4! Are you depressed yet?!
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

As always, I welcome your suggestions for More Depressing Shit. Please comment, and I'll include any good suggestions in a future update.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What would Steve Jobs or Napoleon say about Amazon's workplace culture?

Our new book is called Napoleon Never Slept: How Great Leaders Leverage Social Energy, and has to do with the fact that great leaders get to be successful at least partly because they have so much energy. Did Napoleon really not sleep? Evidently, not much. Does this mean workers shouldn't sleep, and work night and day like Amazon employees reportedly do? Not exactly.
   Our big thesis is about how great leaders, including Napoleon, Steve Jobs, Alexander the Great, and others, are energetic people (many of whom, like Napoleon, happen to sleep considerably less than 8 hours a night) who energize the people they lead, and are in turn further energized by own successes and by the energy shared by the people they lead. So no, sleeping less in and of itself isn't the secret to great success, either individually or as an organization.
   But seriously, folks, read the book. Not just because we want you to buy it, but because our thesis can't be neatly or fully conveyed in a soundbite or even in a single blog post. This is real social science, though it makes for not a very long book, and we tried to make it easy enough for the layperson who doesn't like jargon, without talking down to anyone. Suitable for pro scholars and non- alike.

UPDATE, 9/4/15
   You can buy a pretty, soothing-to-the-eyes PDF at the Maren Ink site for about $14, or a nice new Kindle edition on Amazon for nearly $40. More formats and outlets may be available eventually, depending on demand.

Cartoon credit: Rob Rogers, August 22, 2015,

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Dumbening of The Idiot, Part 1, Chapter 1, Bit 3

Click here for Bit 1.
Click here for Bit 2.

Part 1, Chapter 1, Bit 3

[TEMAZEPAM, LEEB, and PRINCE MOO, still on a plane.]
TEMAZEPAM (continuing): ...My Dad gave me some money to do some business for him, so I just went to the store & bought Natasha some gold teeth. She likes rainbows. Then I went to my friend Snatchy's house, & we both went to see Natasha, and Snatchy acted like the teeth were his idea and he gave her rainbows. And he smelled all good and I had just been running. What a fuck. And then my Dad found out about the no money and he locked me in a room with no internet. And I had to listen to Michael Bublé. And while I was in there, I guess he went and saw Natasha and took back the teeth but she didn't let him take her rainbows but then she said, "I guess that little shit really likes me" and that means me. Then I went to my aunt's house in Tahoe and then I guess I drank somewhere & then I woke up right before I was about to get run over by a tour bus.

LEEB: Natasha! I'd like to give her some teeth! I could put reindeer in her teeth all day!

T (to LEEB): Never talk again.

L: We'll see! (pinches T's cheek)

[And then they land.]

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Dumbening of The Idiot, Part 1, Chapter 1, Bit 2

See Part 1, Chapter 1, Bit 1

Note: Any or all of the dialog may sound better spoken resnotulously fast. Because, well, it's dumb.
And now...

The Dumber Idiot, Part 1, Chapter 1, Bit 2

Cast so far:

Scene: still on a plane.

TEMAZEPAM: I didn't do anything to piss him off. I was fuckin' sweet. My bro, on the other hand... Ugh, my Dad & my Mom, they thought his shit didn't smell. But, like, my mom and my bro didn't even wanna tell me Dad croaked. Had to hear it from someone else on Facebook, like, after the fact. And my bro's already taken, like, the best Rolexes 'n' shit. I heard he even took the one my Dad was buried in.
SCHLUB: That's fully gay, dude.
T: By rights, he should have his ass kicked. At LEAST. But so guess what? I didn't even tell them I'm coming back.
S: Woah!
T: Oh, AND my bro talked shit about me to my Dad before he died. But, I mean, my dad was already pissed about this girl I know, Natasha P.
S: Who?
T: Come on.
S: You're talking about THAT Natasha P?
T: Whatever, motherfucker.
S: Hey, Leeb knows some people.
[SCHLUB is talking about himself in the third person now. He is LEEB.]
Leeb knows all about Natasha P. Like her real name isn't P.
It's Ba-rass.
[waves his finger in the air in a know-it-all way]
Leeb knows her family. There's also this guy Totsy-wotsy, and he's real good friends with Lady Cowabunga's husband. GENERAL Cowabunga. And Totsy's not too bad off, either. He's a CEO of... something, you know, whatever.
T: What? No way. You-- Leeb-- no way!
LEEB: Uh-huh! I was with Lee Ha for, like, a month. And (he/Lee HA) knows Natasha & he knows... everybody.
T: Wait, Lee Ha? HE knows Natasha? Like, really knows her? Like, he KNOWS knows her?
L: No-- I mean, I don't think so, but... Nah, those other dudes know she's all about the Totsy. He takes her to the VIP room & shit. Red carpet shit. So everybody that sees her, sees her with Totsy and that's it. Nobody tries shit with her.
T: Yeah... fuck. I heard about Totsy. My friend said Natasha lives with him now. But you know, I think it might be over with them. Totsy has some new bitch and they're getting married and shit. I saw Natasha at the club this one time-- oh, shit! Smoking, I mean smoking hot. Like... never.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The New Idiot, Part 1, Chapter 1, Bit 1

Been listening to an audio version of Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot, & had the notion to translate the dialog into something... well, dumber. Idiot-er. The book is almost all dialog, so there. I'm taking a lot of liberties, changing names, dividing the chapters into "bits" when I feel like it, and comtemporizing a lot of the details, just cuz. Try to enjoy.

Part 1, Chapter 1, Bit 1

Cast of Characters so far (names subject to change later)
Some SCHLUB, a bystander

Some guys sitting on a plane or a train or whatevs during what is presumably a long flight/ride.
TEMAZEPAM: How you doin'?
PRINCE: Wow, hot! Never been hot before! Or I forgot! 'Cause I've been away!
T: Like, far away?
P: Shit, yeah! Canada!
T: No shit! How long?
P: 4 years. --Actually, more than that.
T: Skiing?
P: No, mostly just lying around. I've got epilepsy, and there's an experimental clinic I've been staying at where they're working on a cure.
T: [cracks up laughing, squealing like a pig crossed with a hyena. Then:] So did the skiing work?
P: I'm not very athletic.
T: Dude. Are you cured?
P: Oh! Oh, no.
T: Wow, what a waste. Bet the doctor feels bad for taking your dough. [snickers]
[A nearby SCHLUB gives T a high-five.]
P: Dude, no, he was SUPER nice. He actually GAVE me some money before I left, seriously. And he actually paid for me the last 2 years out of his own pocket.
T: Whaaaaa! Woah, he musta liked you! [holds up a fist and stabs it over and over with the index finger of his other paw]
P: Well, my Big Daddy P died, so he kinda had to. Or he just felt like it. I guess he did like me. I've got, like, this aunt, Lady Cowabunga, back home still, & I've been trying to get in touch, but she didn't email me back yet. I'm not sure if it's the right address for her. Anyway, I thought I'd come try to find her in person, 'cause, you know.
T: Do you even know where you're gonna go when we land?
P: Uhh...
T: [points at P's carry-on, a garbage bag] OMG, Is that your luggage?
SCHLUB: Totes! The family jewels!
P: Oh, yes. I mean, yeah, it's all mine.
S: Well, you know though, if Lady Cowabunga knows you, you're fuckin' set.
P: Uh... I've never actually met her, I don't think, but she's, like, my mom's cousin or something. They saw each other when they were kids. But she didn't write me back, so...
S: [curtly] Yeah, oh, well. But Big Daddy P, that's some shit. He used to own the Oakland Raiders! ...Dude, what's your name, by the way?
P: Prince Moo.
S: Huh. Never heard of it.
T: So, Prince, what school did you go to?
P: I took classes at The Online University of Grince.
T: [smirking] Oh, pardon the fuck out of me.
P: But I didn't get my degree.
T: Yeah, me neither.
P: I was too sick.
T: [incredulous, apathetic] Uh-huh. Ever heard of Temazepam?
P: No, I don't think so. I've been kinda out of it.
T: I'm Temazepam.
S: Woah! THAT Temazepam?
T: [to SCHLUB] Yeah, yeah, whatever, fuck off.
S: So your Dad Semen Temazepam just died and left you 2 billion!
T: Not like I've seen any of it.
S: 2 billion dollars!
T: [to P] A month ago, I didn't have shit, either. I had a trash bag, just like you. I was in Ibiza when he died. It's just as well. We would fucking killed each other if I was still staying with him.
P: Why, what did you do?
[T just looks at him and doesn't answer for a while.]

And now, see Bit 2. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Too long for Twitter

Just realized someday I could be one of those old people who has a caretaker and we form an enchanting special friendship which is so unlikely because we're such different people but I make them laugh because I'm a very special old person and we both learn a lot about life.

Friday, June 19, 2015

How did I know gun peeps would demand guns in church?

My lyrics are weirdly prescient about world events sometimes. Here, my fake outrage about not being able to bring guns to places of worship, pre-echoing the fun NRA guy's assertion that the shooting in Charleston could have been prevented if only those dang liberals hadn't opposed letting peeps carry guns in church...

We released the album that includes this song in February 2014.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a link to an article re the NRA board member's comments:
NRA Board Member Blames Church Pastor For Charleston Shooting

Am I capitalizing on tragedy? Well, I don't see myself making money on this, so in that sense, no.
But maybe peeps should listen to my songs & worry more abut the world around them! I worry, why not you?! Look at all the good it does me! AAAAAAAAAGH!

On September 3, 2001, my old band released the song "The AttaQ" to the world via our first show. It contained these lyrics:

We did it for Allah
The white place down...
White place, falling down...
and I'm prepared to meet the man upstairs...
I'm almost there, I'm almost there
[accompanied by a sound like a plane flying]

Um, yeah. Also, I've put curses on people via song before (intentionally? un-? maybe not consciously...).

As for if this power is worth money, you tell me, world. Hint hint.

P.S. I'm fine with people having guns under certain conditions-- like the condition of not being a terrorist.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Our new book on energy & success: Napoleon Never Slept

"What do Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, Napoleon, and Alexander the Great have in common? How to generate emotional energy in oneself and others." It's real sociology, so it's more than a cut above the herd of success-ology books out there.

Yes, my Dad/co-author and I have been working on this for over a year. Didn't think I had it in me, did you?!

We're publishing this first just as an ebook, though we'll have a print version available soon.

Go get your success, darlings.