Gold is Old: Why I’m a Rhodium Bug

William Hyde Wollaston, the original rhodium bug.

William Hyde Wollaston, the original rhodium bug.

Everyone knows a true conservative’s investment portfolio should look about like this:

  • 10% long term CDs
  • 50% gold coins bought from reputable cable news advertisers
  • 20% cash stuffed under a Smith & Wesson-protected mattress
  • 10% firearms, antique swords and other Pawn Star-grade investment vehicles
  • 10% patriotic, Christian and/or Elvis-themed display plates and similar collectibles

Fewer people, however, know that gold, popular though it may be, is no longer the fairest maiden in the land of precious metals. Sure, it’s had a good run. But as much as it pains me to say it, gold is old. It will probably provide some good returns for the time being, but do you want good returns, or do you want great returns? Do you want to be somewhat prepared for the coming economic collapse, or do you want an impenetrable financial fortress to rival your actual impenetrable fortress in rural Montana?

That’s what I thought. So what is this miraculous metal poised to give investors historic, unprecedented, Biblically-proportioned returns in the comings years? Is it platinum? Gold-pressed latinum? Unobtainium? No, no and no. As you’ve no doubt cleverly deduced from the title of this article, it’s a well-known but little-discussed precious metal called rhodium.

Rhodium, or as savvy investors often refer to it: the cobalt of kings, is the most valuable investment grade metal in the world. In fact, so valuable is rhodium that scientists actually refer to it as a “noble” metal, presumably because in times past only nobles could hope to invest in something so precious. During the first wave of America’s entitlement-fueled economic apocalypse beginning after the “election” of “president” Obama in 2008, the price of rhodium soared to over $10,000 per oz. To put that in perspective, gold, the investment choice of kings since time immemorial and probably the original noble metal, barely made it past $1,900 per oz during that same period. With rhodium now back down to below $2,000 per oz—and, more importantly, with the fat cats on Wall Street and those clowns in Washington thinking our economic problems have blown over—the time has never been more ripe for filling up your coffers with precious rhodium.

What kind of returns can investors expect? That’s a good question. No one can know for certain, of course, but odds are it’s going up…way up. During the inevitable second wave of economic collapse, some experts predict rhodium will reach prices exceeding $20,000 per oz. If you bought in now, that could mean a return on your investment of more than 1,000%! Good luck getting that kind of a return gambling your hard-earned savings in a rigged casino game like the stock market.

So how the heck did rhodium get so valuable in the first place? That’s a smart question, so I’m going to give you the smart answer. But hold on. It gets a little complicated, and I’m going to use a couple terms of art. Don’t be intimidated, though. If you weren’t smart enough to do  this, you wouldn’t have read this far.

See, the beauty of rhodium is that it possesses something savvy investment professionals and financial gurus call “intrinsic value.” That’s just a fancy way of saying that besides being rare, precious and highly sought after, rhodium also has real life, practical uses. Consider your prized AR-15 or replica medieval battle hammer. They’re not just works of art you keep over the mantle and could sell for a lot of cash. They’re also tools that can be used to defend your land. That’s intrinsic value.

What are these practical uses for rhodium, you ask? Well, do you have a catalytic converter in your car? If so, chances are it’s made with rhodium. Now think about this for a second: when most of the world is living in a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-style wasteland the lie-beral agenda bought us, people are still going to need cars, right? And if there are cars, there are going to be catalytic converters, aren’t there? You know what else that means? Yup. It means there’s going to be high demand for good, old-fashioned rhodium, which will be even rarer since mines will probably be out of  business or converted to producing nothing but overpriced, “green” light bulbs. That’s why you can count on rhodium.

Compare this to the so-called “money” that printing press we call the Federal Reserve puts out. Unless there’s a toilet paper shortage, that stuff has no intrinsic value. Like Monopoly money, it’s only valuable because our government says that’s a part of the game and people blindly follow. It’s what economists called a “fiat currency,” which is the opposite of one that has intrinsic value. You may have heard the term fiat before. No, not the car. I’m talking about ruling by fiat. It’s kind of order made by dictators like Benito Mussolini, his pal Adolf Hitler and our current president/emperor. Yeah, scary as it sounds, America’s whole financial system is based on the techniques of Mussolini and Hitler. Nice, huh?

Okay, okay. So you’re convinced. The question still remains: how much rhodium should you buy? Well, that’s somewhat a matter of personal preference, of course. Really, the question is how rich you want to get. Personally, I would put 100% of my investments into rhodium. However, I recognize that would be a big change and maybe you don’t have the guts for the huge profits that come from America’s safest, most reliable, most intrinsically valuable investment. If that’s the case, might I recommend this: switch out half your current portfolio with rhodium, just to give a shot. Give it a year. Once you realize it’s safe, then maybe switch out the rest of your portfolio, or at least sell the rest of your gold and replace it with good, ol’ rhodium. Sound reasonable?

Advertisements

Abortion Surpasses Powerball in US News & World Report’s Latest Ranking of America’s Best College Savings Plans

The results are in. Terminating your pregnancy is now the best way to assure you can afford to pay for your child’s education costs in the coming decades, this according to the recent rankings released by US News & World Report, the company famous for its influential annual rankings of “America’s Best Colleges.”

Terminating your pregnancy, commonly known as an “abortion,” works by surgically removing a woman’s fetus. Research has shown the procedure is highly effective at lowering child-rearing costs.

“Abortions have actually been around for decades,” says Dr. Leo Chestin, MD, an educational choice activist and key contributor to the report, “But it’s only been recently that people have realized it could be used to control education costs and prevent their children from becoming indentured servants of the federal government and private corporate lenders into their 50s and 60s.”

While some people question the need for a college education in the first place, Dr. Chestin insists that in today’s economic environment a college degree is essential.

“Undergrad is the new high school and grad school is the new undergrad,” he said. “There used to be a time when a person could easily get a good job without a college degree, but nowadays you need one for pretty much any job that pays a living wage, and even for a lot that don’t. If you don’t want to mop floors for minimum wage your whole life, your only good options are to be born rich or not to be born at all.”

Anne Schmidt, a 26 year-old, formerly expecting mother agrees. After getting pregnant, Anne researched every feasible way to pay for her child-to-be’s projected seven figure college tuition without taking out a loan eight  times the value of her three bedroom, ranch-style house. She figured playing the lottery was her best bet.

“I had been buying Powerball tickets for god knows how long,” she said. “Usually I got four or five a week, more if the jackpot was big. I figured my kid was worth it.”

As many prospective American parents have done in recent years, Anne soon discovered the probability of succeeding with her method was unlikely at best.

“You can’t buy the scratchers unfortunately,” she said. “Even the best of those won’t pay out nearly enough to finance four years of undergraduate education in this country in 20 years. Heck, it’s not even enough today. The problem is odds on the ones that do pay out enough aren’t that good. I mean, sure, Powerball has better odds than the chances of someone actually doing something to control rising college costs in this country. But still, they aren’t good.”

When lotto ticket  after lotto ticket failed to deliver the return Anne sought, she began to grow desperate.

“I even considered the military. That’s what my grandfather did. Or tried to do until he went to Vietnam. It messed him up pretty good. He came back with PTSD and ended up shooting my grandmother and himself a few years later. I decided I didn’t want that for my kid.”

Out of options, Anne didn’t know where to turn.

“I was at my wit’s end and about to just resign my child to a life of debt slavery. That’s when I got a call from Planned Parenthood telling me about this new procedure that makes it so you don’t have the kid at all. I was like, ‘shit, why didn’t I think of that?’”

Anne went through with the procedure the following week and is proud to report it was a complete success. The only student loans she has to worry about these days are the $84,238 she incurred in her two and a half years at the University of Phoenix.

With success stories like Anne’s, it’s not hard to see why abortions are becoming a popular tool for navigating America’s higher education system. However, despite the procedure’s growing popularity, it’s not without its critics.

“The notion that getting an abortion is the best way for people to afford college is a bit misleading,” said T. Henry Astor, a budget analyst for the American Exceptionalism Foundation. “The results of the study actually only apply to those in the lower  and middle classes. If you make more than $300,000 a year and have one or fewer children, college is still quite affordable and will continue to be so for at least another decade or two.

“We’re also forgetting about the indirect consequences of all this,” he added. “Our nation’s military relies on exorbitant college prices to entice high school kids to risk their lives for free school. Who is going to protect our freedom if the military can’t get new recruits from the economically disadvantaged? It’s possible we’d have to reinstitute the draft. I don’t think anyone wants that. And there’s also the simple fact that the federal government currently rakes in about $50 billion per year in student loan profits. If that dries up we’re going to have to raise taxes.”

“Taxes…,” Astor repeated, widening his eyes, waiving his hands threateningly above his head and making ghost sounds while he backed slowly out of the room.

Dial-Up Using Fox News Viewer Suddenly Has Strong Opinion About Net Neutrality

Mr. Stanton's modem.

Mr. Stanton’s 28k modem.

Sources in Xenia, Ohio report Mark Stanton, a 67 year-old, retired office manager and avid viewer of the cable television channel Fox News, suddenly developed a negative opinion about net neutrality last week despite never having heard of it before then and possessing an understanding of the internet his 35 year-old daughter describes as “beyond rudimentary.”

“This FCC thing is all we need,” said Stanton, who claims his stance on net neutrality is the “pro-capitalism, pro-freedom” position, “More government regulation interfering with the free market and taking money out of the pockets of hardworking, patriotic folks like you and me. They can call it equal opportunity, or whatever euphemism our tyrant-in-chief has cooked up this time. I don’t want it. I don’t need some internet affirmative action jacking up my bill and forcing me to use an inferior government email program instead of my AOL mail. Thanks but no thanks.”

Stanton also mentioned that the FCC is using net neutrality to fund “free internet for welfare queens,” though he admits he isn’t sure of the precise mechanism. “Just go to the business section on FoxNews’ world wide web channel. They explain it better than I can.”

Sources report Stanton’s primary interactions with the internet include posting anti-Obama tirades in the comments section of foxnews.com and checking his email on the America Online account he signed up for 19 years ago in exchange for a discount on a Compaq computer purchased for his then-teenage daughter.

“You can read all my blogs at h-t-t-p-s-colon-backslash-backslash-f-o-x-n-e-w-s-period-c-o-m-backslash,” said Stanton of his postings. I’m ConstitutionMan1776.”

Though Stanton is reportedly aware of more modern methods of connecting to the internet, he insists his dial-up internet connection “works just fine” and that he “[doesn’t] see the point of that wi-fi internet,” which is how he refers to all types of broadband connection, regardless of whether users connect via wi-fi router. “My daughter told me I should get that, but when I saw the monthly price tag I told my cable company they could stick it where the sun don’t shine. Heck, it was more than I pay for my AOL, and it was just for the modem part.”

The Top Five Greatest Colors of All Time

256px-Colouring_pencilsWe all have our favorite colors. Maybe you’re a blue man while your neighbor likes his people eaters purple and your wife likes her monsters green. That’s all well and good, but the thing is, there’s a difference between these subjective assessments and the objective, highly scientific world of listicle ranking. What are the criteria for a truly great shade of visual light? Does it take a numerically provocative and controversial wavelength like 666 nm? Or is it being an egalitarian color like gray, which all sighted peoples can enjoy regardless of colorblindness? Maybe it’s being a part of famous holiday group like red and green at Christmastime? The truth is it’s not an easy question, and there are no bright line answers. Many factors make a great color, and no single aspect will put one over the top. That’s why we decided to defer to the experts for some real answers. After polling some of most well known and respected names in the field of color, we analyzed the results and came up with this short list of the Five Greatest Colors of All Time. Enjoy!

  1. Yellow

The color of cartoon suns, Texas roses and urine, where would the world be without this classic color? Would golden showers and tooth whitening kits still exist? Would America’s dog pounds incarcerate Labrador retrievers at a higher rate? Easily the most well known non-RGB color next to orange, yellow has long fascinated both scholars and laymen alike, and in fact yellow is among the oldest of colors.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but the Egyptians first discovered yellow nearly 5,000 years,” says Smithsonian Color Historian Theodore “Red” Pierce. “See, back then alcoholic beverages were very expensive and poorer Egyptians used to collect the urine of rich drunks and chug it in the hopes of catching a buzz. One day a curious Egyptian thought to look down at the collecting liquid and probably said to himself, ‘Just what the heck is that?’ This may seem hard to believe in the age of the modern flush toilet, but before that nobody even knew urine had a color since they pissed on the ground and their urine dispersed. It was a pretty big discovery at the time. There are actually several walls of hieroglyphics dedicated to the event in the Valley of the Kings. They thought the color was a gift from the sun god Ra.”

  1. Orange

You either love it or hate it, but everyone has to admit orange has been an extremely influential, even revolutionary color, its work paving the way for the dozens of non-RGB colors that came on the scene after it.

“Because non-RGB colors are so ubiquitous in media and popular culture nowadays, it’s easy to forget that before orange non-RGB colors weren’t even allowed on television,” says Kodak Noted Scholar Alvin Pickens, a color expert and self-described orange-aholic. “When my grandmother was a child, orange was an outlaw color. People called it ‘Satanic’ because of its association with Halloween. Heck, you can still watch old newsreel ads with blue-colored citrus fruits. Of course everyone knew a tangerine was orange, but it just wasn’t proper to show it on television.”

  1. Green

Spanning “Gaia’s 75” between 495-570 nm, unless you live in the heart of a big city you really can’t spend much time outside without encountering a whole lot of green. Between leaves, vegetables and poorly chlorinated pools, green is everywhere, and its legacy cannot easily be disregarded. However, that wasn’t always the case.

“For a long time there was this mentality that green was ‘the ugly one’ of the RGB colors,” says C.W. Berne, grandson of the inventor of Technicolor and 4K HD TV activist. “People used to hate nature. They called it the ‘savage’s house’ and considered it a part of America’s ‘Manifest Destiny’ to convert every square inch of unused land into parking lots and strip malls. There was even a longstanding movement to ban the use of greens in public buildings and parks. One town in Ohio went so far as to paint all its grass red. Nowadays these notions seem quaint and maybe even a little silly to us, but back then it really held green back. It’s a testament to just how great this color is that it could stick around and make such a comeback in the modern era.”

  1. Blue

The color of aristocratic blood, oxygen deprivation and France, even if blue isn’t your favorite color you have to give it grudging respect for sheer prolificness.

“Blue often gets a bad rap as being a hoity-toity color,” says Alfonse Jameson, Director of Color Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. “We hear terms like blue blood and royal blue and think, ‘Oh, I guess blue is too good for me.’ That couldn’t be further from the truth. Blue comes in many shades that are perfectly accessible to the common man. I’m talking your baby blues, your sky blues, heck, even your robin’s egg blues. It’s actually a universal color, but people get turned off because it also embraces high society, and people take that to mean blue is exclusive.”

  1. Red

The ultimate classic. Nothing says red Ferrari like the color red. It’s the color of passion and love, of blood and vengeance, of menstruation and accidentally kneeing yourself in the nose drunkenly attempting a flip off the armrest of the couch. Whether it’s being used as the coloring for all the best candy flavors, as roses for that special someone or to paint an X on your neighbor’s front door, red is everything that makes us human, for better and for worse. A perennial powerhouse on critics’ best colors of the year lists, the choice of red has become something of a litmus test for good taste in colors.

“When I was first getting into this field, my mentor actually took me aside and told me, ‘Look, you have to write a paper on how great red is,’” says Jameson. “I took his advice seriously and, sure enough, my research paper, ‘Red: Greatest Color Ever,’ was very well received in peer review and managed to land me my first tenured position. I’m thankful for that, but sometimes I wonder what track my life would have taken if I had written it about yellow or green…or, god, even purple. Can you imagine?”

Top Reasons to Continue Living

The offices of NFFHC have been closed for the last week due to a federal investigation surrounding our vending machines. In the meantime, please enjoy this little tidbit from our reject pile to tide you over.

  1. The Price is Right
  2. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  3. The power of Christ compels you.
  4. Spite
  5. Alcohol
  6. Klondike bars
  7. Turns out mom and dad do understand.
  8. Just joined the cult to get laid.
  9. Grandma’s old-fashioned homemade apple pie. Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmm.
  10. It’s called responsibility!
  11. High as fuck on life.
  12. Foes still unvanquished.
  13. Have you seen what Obamacare and this president’s radical socialist agenda has done to let’s say the price of ammo?
  14. Still 10 oz short of beating Schweiderman Steakhouse’s 96 oz Challenge.
  15. Money.
  16. Wendy’s super value menu. No seriously. Eating until I hurt is the only think I have to live for right now.
  17. Because I believe in you, kid.
  18. Sex.
  19. Drugs.
  20. The Wise and Mighty Zoroaster.
  21. Rock ‘n’ Roll.
  22. My children, I guess.
  23. Ain’t no one gonna get my gold.
  24. Turns out the answer was inside you all along.

New “Econobot” Puts America’s Economists Out of Work

Economists around the nation are buzzing about the increased value accruing to society as a result of a new invention that has made all their jobs totally obsolete.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” said Norman Frankl, former economist and inventor of the device.  “This is what the free market is all about, folks. Services which used to cost consumers into the hundreds of dollars per hour plus a full benefits package can now be had for pennies.”

Frankl’s invention, called Econobot, consists of a lifelike, anthropomorphic robot programmed to use a comprehensive economics software suite called Efficient Market. From teaching undergrads and writing multivolume treatises to delivering cherry-picked data and partisan talking points to television news outlets, Econobot can replicate every service previously performed by the nation’s economists.

“It even has a ‘rogue’ function for producing contrarian podcasts and rant-based blogs,” says Frankl. “One time I set [my Econobot] Chester to rogue, and he played a prank on some snobby professor buddies of mine, tricking them into declaring Franzia top shelf French wine after changing the labels in a tasting game.”

Econobot also aims to imitate the various lifestyles of the professionals it replaces. Depending on user-defined settings, the robot can wear everything from a bow tie, suspenders and tweed to free t-shirts it forages from festivals it just happened to be walking by. It also requires no charging, instead running on heat generated by the chemical breakdown of bulk-purchased, wholesale ramen and Kraft Easy Mac.

Just as important, Econobot is capable of performing its functions through the lens of nearly every school of economic thought in a manner Forbes magazine gushed is “just as cold and borderline sociopathic as the discipline’s most influential human practitioners.”

“I don’t care if you’re a world famous academic or the armchair economist next door,” says inventor Frankl, “This thing can do your thing, and it can do it better. Keynesian or supply-sider, pre-modern, classical, Chicago school, Neo-Ricardian, gold bug, Austrian, Marxian, ecological, feminist. You name it. And it’s all further customizable by the user. There are 100 different settings for smugness alone.”

Before Econbot, the only people with the resources to obtain top flight economic insight were large corporations, educational institutions and governments. Everyone else seeking personalized economic analysis usually had to procure the services of lesser-known, independent economists working the street corners, infomercials and blogs of America. These “indy” economists generally practiced outside mainstream economic thought, which was not always appealing to some consumers.

This increase in consumer choice is a welcome change for most of the nation’s former economists, and Econobot agrees. Indeed, the general response among the former economics community at large has been one of jubilation as the gears of capitalistic progress grind what meager livelihood and meaning they had derived from life into ash and dust. Many are even committing suicide so as not to inefficiently leech off the economy’s resources in unemployment, since they no longer possess any marketable skills and will likely be unable to find another job anytime soon, if ever.

“This is a fantastic example of disruptive innovation,” said Malthus T. May, former economics professor at the University of Chicago, while standing in line at the Cook County unemployment office. “Some great new invention just came out of nowhere and totally changed how we look at the economics industry. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that anymore. Just go down to your local Econobot retailer or one of the many websites offering free, ad-supported Econobot analysis.”

“It’s wonderful. Really, it is,” May insisted, digging through the crevices of his empty wallet. “So many people who previously could not afford the services of a top flight economist can now get exemplary economic analysis for next to nothing. Thank god Congress decided not to pass any inefficient, protectionist regulations which might have preserved my job at the cost of progress.”

A Very Special Guest Post on Alcoholism and Recovery

Alcoholism and drug addiction is one of the most serious problems facing the offices of NFFHC today. What follows is a guest post by renowned drug expert and addiction survivor Herbert Lumberdale. Born to a crack-addicted mother, then immediately stabbed and thrown in Lake Erie during the ‘70s, Mr. Lumberdale survived 3rd degree chemical burns only to be enslaved by one of America’s most prestigious meth labs in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has since overcome dozens of different dependencies, chemical and otherwise, in many cases on multiple occasions. With a combined 16 ½* years of sobriety**, he is one of the soberest people living in the state of Colorado today. His book, Addiction Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About, is available now as a self-published Amazon e-book and a popular chain letter.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE 12 STEPS?

Of all the bullshit ever purveyed by the world’s only unprofitable pyramid scheme, Alcoholic’s Anonymous, perhaps the most pernicious and fundamental is the notion that there need to be 12 steps in order to free yourself from addiction. Haven’t you already wasted enough of your life getting loaded, sleeping it off and trying to figure out where you left your credit card?

But what’s a drunk to do? After all, many people seem to have gotten sober with AA, so some of these steps must work, right? Sure. The question is: which ones are doing the work?  I contend that there are really only three necessary steps, and the rest may be discarded. In fact, experienced habit breakers may actually need only two or even one. The choice is up to you. But, as with any ideology, I suggest you educate yourself before you hop on the bandwagon. Submitted for the approval of the midnight society:

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE 12 STEPS:

  • “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Analysis:  If you have no power over booze, how the fuck do you expect to overcome it? Certainly your life is manageable enough if you’re reading literature on how to stop drinking, right? Trust me. Rock bottom is deeper than you think. I know. I grew up in a meth lab/opium poppy greenhouse that sold counterfeit souvenir mugs on the side. Unmanageable isn’t getting wasted every night after work. It’s drinking half a can of gasoline before you realize it’s not whiskey. If you can show up at meetings on a regular basis, you don’t have a serious problem.

  • “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Analysis: No, they’re not talking about a gun to their heads. They’re talking about the most influential being in pro-sports, God, aka the big man upstairs. They have a real hard on for this guy. Didn’t some scientists in the ‘60s actually prove once and for all that God doesn’t exist? In any case, if you’re praying to God for help you’re basically taking your directions from the ceiling, and if you’re talking to your ceiling you have bigger problems than booze. Any success you achieve in this step would be entirely coincidental.

  • “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Analysis:  This is basically the same damn thing as the last one. I like that they add in that little part about “as we understand Him,” a statement which makes a lot of unwarranted assumptions, the first of which is that if such a deity did exist that it must be a dude. In any case, it’s a meaningless step.

  • “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

Analysis: You can keep this one if you want, but I prefer having what goes under the rug stay under the rug. There is no such thing as a truly fearless moral inventory. Our delusions, our instincts, our obsessions, our opinions, they are impossibly intertwined with our conscious minds and will never allow us to be completely honest with ourselves, nor to fully scrape clean the tar and muck from the grimy, Dickensian streets of our subconscious. Sure, it’s easy enough to remember when you stole $20 from the collection plate to go buy a couple handles of Skoal, but that’s not facing yourself. That’s the classic deceptive technique of hiding a big lie by admitting to a smaller one, except in this case you’re deceiving yourself. There are about 100 of these gatekeepers running around any person’s head before you get to the truth. In other words, it’s hopeless. You’re never going to truly face yourself, so why the fuck bother? Not to mention, if you’re an all star drunk, the kind who really needs help, you’re literally not going to remember the worst shit you did because you were blotto and probably a couple other things at the time.

  • “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

Analysis: My primary problem with all these steps is the repetition. Once again, this is essentially the same thing as the last step. I guess admitting the wrongs you can identify to your ceiling and then to another human being are slightly different, but not really. Trash it.

  • “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

Analysis: I’m still under the impression that the enduring popularity of Christianity isn’t in the moral foundation people think it provides but in the legal loophole. How wonderful if there was a service that would come in and take all the months-old vomit and miscellaneous feces from under my ethical rug, wipe it up with a smile, and require nothing besides convincing myself I believe as payment? I also don’t like what’s implicit in the statement. Namely, that your alcoholism is caused by defects of character. Don’t they also teach that alcoholism is a disease? Diseases are caused by real life problems with your body, not some cockamamie, moralist’s hogwash like “defects of character.” Does a schizophrenic just need to admit that he’s a lying sonuvabitch and magically his brain will function normally?

  • “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

Analysis: First of all, there’s nothing humble about thinking you have a direct line to the Creator of the Universe and that He cares enough to listen to you. Second, if He’s God, He’ll see what’s coming next when you become ready to have God remove all these defects. No need to ask this repetitive question. Trash it.

  • “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

Analysis: What? They hate you and probably for good reason. No need to go open up old wounds. I’m sure Mom has gotten over the $2,058.26 I stole from her purse by now and my ex Melissa has stopped cringing every time she hears the word “beer-battered.”

  • Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Analysis: Ah, okay. Step 1: Become willing to make amends. Step 2: Stand up and get in a car or other suitable mode of transportation (or should that be two steps?). Step 3: Make amends. Please. This is just more repetitive, unnecessarily detailed garbage. Sounds to me like they thought their Big Book wasn’t quite big enough, so they added some extra shit you had to do. I know I’m starting to sound repetitive myself, but that’s just because it’s the same problem over and over again. You guys know what you need to do. Just do it. In any case, I think I can make a case that making amends to anyone I know could potentially injure them emotionally and perhaps even physically.

  • “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

Analysis: This kills me. I think it’s the step most responsible for all the smugness AA people have—like they’re fucking enlightened because they put down the bottle and started praying, and so now they can see all their wrongs. The answer to this one is the same as the fearless moral inventory one. Most of people’s biggest defects are cause by a lack of honesty with themselves. True honesty is virtually impossible. Taking a personal inventory is irrelevant if you’re blind. Don’t bother.

  • “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Analysis: Total filler. More of the same. Skip it.

  • “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Analysis: This is the pyramid scheme part of AA. Stay sober by trying to help others get sober and ride the wave of good feelings that come with it. Trust me. You won’t be awakened. You’ll just be more sanctimonious, which admittedly is almost as good a feeling as booze. Good enough that you might be tempted to replace booze with it.

THE THREE STEP PROGRAM

So what are we left with then? Well, really all the steps as written need to be removed or rewritten. Here’s what I say the steps can be whittled down to:

  1. Admit you have a problem.
  2. Stop drinking so damn much. How much is entirely up to you. For me that means no more than a sixer a day. I don’t get drunk off beer, so it’s okay. Plus, it’s rich in antioxidants and let’s say vitamins. I limit it to that more just to save money, and so I can keep sporting my trim figure.
  3. Learn to love the feeling of being better than other people, which you are now that you’ve defeated the demon of alcohol addiction. Lecture people every chance you get.

So there you have it. Easy-peasey, mac and beer-cheesy. Stay as sober as you want my friends. It’s only a “problem” by the definitions of our culturally biased dictionaries. You don’t need some pipe-smoking, tweed-blazer-wearing, university fruitcake telling you how to live. You can define words how you want.

BONUS!

Here are my abridged programs for the experienced or particularly strong of will:

Two Step:

  1. Admit you have a problem.
  2. Stop drinking so damn much.

One Step:

  1. Stop drinking damn much. Technically you don’t need to admit you have a problem to stop.

*Combined through multiple periods.

**Sobriety as defined by his copyrighted three step program

Four Examples of Shameless Corporate Greenwashing

By K. Billy Zoroastrian, NFFHC Founder, Persona Emeritus

I guess I should start by clarifying that I’m not against environmentalism. I like the EPA. I like the National Parks System. I’m glad we have people making sure companies don’t rape and pillage every last ounce of this planet just to squeeze a couple more cents per share into the fiscal year. What I don’t like, are causes du jour being used to manipulate our behavior. A classic example is what some have called “greenwashing,” the selling of substandard and/or overpriced shit to consumers on the grounds that it’s good for the environment. That’s not to say than any company touting the environmental bona fides of a product are greenwashing consumers. Like most things in life, it’s a matter of degree. Touting a coffee cup as made of recycled materials is fine. Pulling a used coffee cup out of the trash and calling it “recycled” is not. Submitted for your righteous indignation, the four most egregious greenwashes I’ve seen.

  1. Valvoline™ NextGen™ Oil

In high school I used to help a buddy of mine work on cars. The most common thing we did was change the oil. One time I accompanied him down to Wal-Mart to buy some fresh O for his hoopty. He insisted on getting Pennzoil® and, because I’m a cheapskate who buys generic whenever possible, I asked why he didn’t buy the much cheaper off-brand. He said cheap oil like that is refurbished and does an inferior job of protecting the engine. By refurbished he meant they take used oil, filter out the dirty engine bits and resell it. In laymen’s terms, it’s recycled. Now, regardless of whether he was right about refurbished being worse for your engine, one thing is indisputable: it’s considerably cheaper to produce than regular oil.

Fast forward 15 years to the present day. I show up at Valvoline to get an oil change. Though they still offer their regular oil, the default oil change option is now what they call “NextGen™,” and they’re pushing it like penis enlargement pills and one weird tricks. I ask them what the stuff was and find out that it’s not NextGen™ in the sense of being a brilliant new formula (at least not for consumers). It’s NextGen™ in the sense that it’s a recycled version of some old shit someone pumped out of another car. They claim Valvoline™’s tireless commitment to the environment motivated the company to come up with this new formula, which sounds about as rock solid as Phillip Morris’s tireless commitment to keep kids from smoking or a mobster who claims he only kills people who “had it coming.”

Anywho, the mechanic asked me if I wanted to “go green” and put this shit in my car, adding that they offered this dubious service at “no extra charge.” How fucking generous! They’re giving me the shit that costs half as much to produce at no extra charge. I almost wished they charged more for it than their regular oil. That would require such a shameless set of granite testicles I might actually respect it. But the price point they’re actually charging is just slimy.

No thanks.

If they were really doing it for the environment they would offer it at a lower price relative to new oil since it costs them less to produce. In reality, it’s just an excuse to dupe consumers into paying more for cheaper shit. Demand new oil. Better yet, demand they throw away your old oil so they can’t just filter it and sell it to the next poor schlub who comes in there.

  1. Not Replacing Towels at Hotels

Practically every goddamn hotel does this now. When you check in you’ll usually find some passive aggressive note by the towels saying that, in the interest of preventing the planet from becoming a smoldering heap of polar bear ash, they won’t replace your dirty towels unless you request it. Or at the more generous hotels they’ll only do it without request every four days or so. Many also extend this practice to the sheets. This is basically like McDonald’s classic efficiency play of only giving you ketchup packets if you request them. In that case, though, the motivation is obvious and straightforward, so it doesn’t really qualify as a dupe. Plus, I figure most people who really like their ketchup would request it every time anyway, just to make sure.

What the hotels are doing, on the other hand, is passing off increased profit margins as civic mindedness. They don’t give two shits about adorable polar bear cubs. What they want is to save millions of dollars per year through their customers’ inconvenience. That in itself doesn’t necessarily bother me. People create businesses to make money, after all. Greed isn’t so bad. It lubricates the invisible dick of capitalism, which helps a lot of us get laid. What pisses me off is the deception and the shamelessness of it. Stealing is bad, but stealing from the collection plate is worse.

And that’s just it. I could actually care less if my towels are cleaned every day. I doubt I clean my towels at home more than once a month. I’d actually straight up admire them if they passed the savings on to the customer in the form of lower room rates, but only the most fanatical of free market zealots really believe they’re going to do that, so fuck ‘em.

  1. Ethanol Gasolines

Another car-related greenwashing scam, ethanol gasolines are fuels made of a combination of denatured ethanol (poisoned booze) and gasoline. It comes in two varieties: E10, which is a fuel mixture of 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol, and E85, which contains 51 to 83% ethanol and the rest as gasoline. They claim it’s better for the environment both because it produces fewer emissions and because the corn used to produce the ethanol is a renewable resource. Both are kind of a crock of shit. E10 pisses me off the most, though, since it’s sold to people with regular cars, often with only some fine print on the pump to inform you that what you’re buying isn’t pure gas. E85, on the hand, is only sold to people with engines that are built to handle it, so I assume they’re better informed about what they’re getting into. Not that I think that’s cool, either.

In any case, ethanol fuels are a wonderful amalgamation of political pandering to special interest groups and blatant consumer deception. Gasoline engines can run on ethanol gasoline, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same thing as pure unleaded. For one thing, it gets worse gas mileage than using pure gas, on the order of 15-30% worse for E85. Ethanol fuels are also worse for your engine that ol’ fashioned unleaded, so much so that using a high ethanol blend can void warranties.

But what really gets me about this is that it’s passed off as going green because it supposedly reduces car emissions a little bit. And you know what? It doesn’t even do that. What proponents never include in the calculation are the emissions to produce it. Producing corn ethanol is a net energy loss, requiring an estimated input of 131,000 BTUs of energy to get a mere 77,000 BTUs. So corn ethanol might produce fewer emissions when burned in your car, but the overall emissions for production and use combined are far higher. What corn ethanol is, is a very beneficial new market for America’s most unsung welfare recipients: farmers. Like I said, making ethanol from corn is wonderfully inefficient, which means it requires massive quantities of Midwestern gold (the production of which is already subsidized by the government btdubs).

  1. Overpriced, Inefficiently Produced Locally-Sourced Produce

It doesn’t seem to matter that locally-sourced vegetables on average have a greater carbon footprint than products grown in an ideal climate and trucked halfway around the world. The imagined efficiency of local sourcing makes enough intuitive sense to fool most consumers (myself included) into paying more to think they’re helping the planet. Sure, transportation emissions are greater for stuff produced a long way from where they’re sold, but transportation emissions are only a fraction of the emissions that go into producing fruits and vegetables.

If this doesn’t seem to make sense, think about an example: hydroponic tomatoes grown in a greenhouse in Minnesota and sold locally versus tomatoes grown outdoors in South America and delivered to Minnesota. For those who don’t know, Minnesota is cold as fuck and keeping a hydroponics lab climate-controlled and pumping water into the maters requires a lot of energy—a lot more than is expended trucking South American tomatoes halfway around the world. But that doesn’t stop local producers from charging twice as much under the banner of environmental protection.

That’s not to say locally-sourced can’t be more efficient. It’s just that, like most stuff, it’s more complex than it seems, so don’t assume you’re doing Mother Nature a solid by buying locally. If you really care about the environment you can take the time and do a little research to make up your mind for yourself.

 

 

 

Smoking and Lung Cancer: the Backbone of America’s Retirement System

640px-Van_Gogh_-_Skull_with_a_burning_cigaretteBy Franklin Herbert Washington, MD, PhD, CPA, Science and Health Editor

In case you just woke up from long term cryogenic sleep and don’t know, tobacco companies get a bad rap in America these days. From multi-billion dollar payouts to users of their products, to the self-righteous scold brigades behind our nation’s multi-billion dollar anti-smoking propaganda industry, never has it been cooler to be anti-smoking. The thing is, why? Most media reports and health professionals tend to focus on the cancer-causing aspects of smoking like it’s a bad thing, all the while ignoring the many benefits smoking provides our society.

Sure, it sucks to have cancer, but for non-smokers lung cancer can be a boon. Every day we’re inundated with news stories about how the massive influx of retiring baby boomers is making Social Security less sustainable than ever. And it’s not even like Social Security covers all the expenses the elderly poor place upon the system in the first place.

All that could be worse if not for those unsung heroes the tobacco companies. Tobacco products have prematurely killed off millions upon millions of useless, working class Americans who did not save for retirement and would have otherwise spent decades out of the workforce in unproductivity. Rather than getting rewarded for this behavior by our government’s many socialist teats, they will instead get their just desserts: death.

The name “working class” is itself one of the biggest misnomers of the modern age, as they are probably the least industrious among us. Even when they do manage to hose themselves off and get some form of employment outside meth manufacturing and distribution, it is typically working pay day loan to pay day loan at some minimum wage burger flip that barely affords them a spot on the couch in their cousin’s double-wide after they blow most of their pay on beer, ammo and tickets to monster truck rallies.

With the decline of defined-benefit plans and benefits for the working class in general, many poors are struggling to fill the void using defined-contribution plans, which typically require a level of planning and self-control beyond the meager abilities of their Maury-soaked minds and McDonald’s-forged bodies.

This is not news, of course. Everyone knows poors do a terrible job saving for retirement. I mean, for God’s sake, our tax code gives the financially challenged, slack-jawed masses a $1,000 tax credit just for contributing to a retirement account. This is essentially Congress handing poors a sack with a dollar sign on it every year just for opening up a goddamn retirement account, and yet they can’t even accomplish that. Normal people like you and me would think all the povers would be firing up their El Caminos and F-150s to go see their financial planners at Check Into Cash, but we would be wrong. You have to remember this is also a group who likely has not filed a tax return in years, one for whom the notion of getting past ChexSystems and opening a simple savings account seems like a major life accomplishment, reminiscent of the time their father wore a tie.

All this leads to one inevitable conclusion: getting poors to provide for their own retirement is a hopeless cause. Worse, their frequent bouts of unemployment and long periods spent in part-time, minimum wage work mean whatever Social Security they do qualify for won’t even be enough to pay the rent on the mobile hovel they towed into a KOA campground 10 years ago.

This leaves us with two options. One, what I call “the ol’ fashioned way” is to cut all sorts of entitlement and succor in old age and simply let them starve to death or get taken in by the Church. This is, of course, the natural way, the moral way, the way God intended. It is also impossible in America today.

The second way is to let the government tax and spend its way to providing a basic standard of living for all legal residents over a certain age, regardless of their “ability” to pay. Thankfully, this too is politically infeasible, not to mention the unethical burden it places on those who actually earn their money.

So are we doomed?

Not completely. See, we can in fact accomplish the first way, just not explicitly through legislation. Instead, we must facilitate a sort of “voluntary extermination” of the poors through smoking, culling their swelling numbers to something more economically feasible.

Like I said before, this is the way of Nature, the most optimal free market capitalist system the world has ever known. When an ecosystem can no longer support the herd, what does Nature do? Does it provide extra plants for the herbivores? Increase the game animals for the predators? No, it kills, starting with the weakest and working its way up. This is good for the herd. It makes it stronger, both in the sense that those who remain are the most competitive, and in the sense that the herd itself requires fewer resources to survive.

The beauty of this plan is that we really don’t have to do anything but preserve smoker’s rights. Everyone knows poors smoke at a much higher rate than their social betters, so typically they will be the ones getting that cancer and dying young, often before they even reach an age to start draining what little money they put into Social Security from its trust fund or to put a burden on other social services for non-working poor. No doubt smoking has already saved billions for what few defined-benefit plans remain in the private sector, and no doubt in the future it will continue to mitigate the costs of the greatest defined-benefit demon of them all: Social Security.

Now wait. I already know what you’re going to say next. “But what about all the added healthcare costs smoking adds to the system?” Sure. I’ll give you that. It does add some extra money up front, but the long term costs are almost certainly lower. It’s kind of like paying off a loan with a big lump sum rather than slowing bleeding interest payments over the years. But in any case, most of the medical costs of lung cancer are overstated because they only account for the cost of care for treating the lung cancer patient without considering the savings resulting from their premature death.

Think about it. Everyone is going to die at some point, and smokers hardly have a monopoly on spending their last months or years getting expensive treatments. Think about not having to pay for the decades worth of doctor visits and prescriptions for the multitude of age-related ailments almost all seniors deal with. That alone could probably cancel out the lung cancer costs. But what if they also had a couple strokes before kicking it, and were hospitalized several times? What if they had some heart problems and needed a couple surgeries? For all we know, smokers actually save the medical system money even before we account for the money these people would have drained in food stamps, Social Security payments, welfare, senior discounts and so on.

So next time you tell your kids that smokers are jokers and get ready the check the yes box for a public smoking ban in your community, think of not just the societal costs of smoking, but also the many benefits lighting up provides. As the burgeoning ranks of our nation’s elderly continue to put a greater and greater strain on our nation’s economy and the wallets of productive citizens, something is going to have to be done. Like capital punishment does with our nation’s criminals, smoking can do with our leeching elderly, reducing the size of the people our government is forced to foot the bill for and providing more wealth, opportunity and happiness for the rest of us. So the next time some guy wearing a WWE Raw t-shirt blows smoke rings in your path as you walk past the bus station to the covered garage, don’t complain. Tell him, “Thank you for smoking.”

America’s Last Overt Prejudice

America these days likes to think of itself as a nation where prejudice and hate are no longer acceptable in polite society. Yes, we say, overt racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry still exist among outliers, but it’s no longer something your average American tolerates. No longer can someone casually spout racist, homophobic, sexist and/or religious slurs without a second thought. Women can have careers. Gays aren’t ostracized. African Americans don’t have to drink from separate fountains. That crap is all in the past, right?

Totally. Today’s problems are about subtler forms of discrimination. We’re beyond overt bigotry, right?

I hate to burst your bubble, but no, we’re not. There still exists one perfectly acceptable prejudice that everyone from employers to news broadcasters to doctors practices. I experienced this prejudice last week at a clothing store. I experienced it last month when the man seated next to me on the plane moved a to different row. Just last week my movie theater’s manager reminded me of it as I tried to take my seat at a film. I’ve experienced this prejudice at countless job interviews where I just wasn’t “what they were looking for.” I feel it under the weight of almost every waiter’s judging eye. I’ve endured it through countless sanctimonious lectures from my doctor, my family and my so-called friends. What is this prejudice, you ask? What form of hate could still be so pervasive in a nation that just elected its first African American President? I’m talking, of course, about heavy drinking people.

So I drink more than most. So what? I didn’t realize teetotaling was a requirement for trying on pants or flying on an airplane. I didn’t see the sign out front of the theater or the restaurant that said “Sobers Only.” And you know what Dr. Know-It-All? I’m sorry to ask, but what do my drinking habits have to do with this checkup? I’m here for medical advice, not a lecture. Here’s a tip: people can be happy and healthy at any BAC. In fact, there is no legitimate scientific evidence linking heavy drinking to health problems. None. What was that? You were taught it damages the liver? Well guess what? Thousands of sobers end up dying of liver failure every year, too. How do you explain that? Did they hang out with too many drunkies? What do you tell their families? That maybe you don’t know everything and perhaps you’ve just been brainwashed by our alcohol-obsessed media?

What the medical establishment doesn’t want you to know and what doctors routinely ignore are the multitude health benefits alcohol provides, among them stress reduction, lower blood pressure and heart health. On top of that, many forms of alcohol are chock full of cancer-fighting antioxidants. But do we ever hear about these sorts of things from healthcare professionals or all the other drunk-shamers out there? Of course not.

Organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are held up by our society as “noble” institutions fighting the good fight against some evil scourge. But let’s call them out for what they really are: hate groups spreading a pernicious lie that there is something somehow wrong with being a drunk. AA purveys a brain washing technique called the “12 Steps” in which convinces otherwise healthy, happy drunks that alcoholism is a disease caused by “defects of character,” and that only by divine intervention can the moral black hole that is a drunk find solace from this horrible affliction. Meanwhile, the rabble-rousing busybodies over at MADD continue to spread propaganda about drunks as dangerous behind wheel, framing all car accidents in which the driver was drunk as automatically being the fault of alcohol and the drinker. They were probably inhaling air right before the crash, too. Are you going to start crusading against breathing?

I dream of living in a world where people will not be judged by the color of their license plate, but by the content of their character. It’s as if people forget the humanity in my heart the moment they see the glaze in my eyes or smell the whiskey on my breath. Their narrow-mindedness prevents them from seeing through the drunken stupor to the person beneath—a person with real thoughts and feelings who is only partially insulated from the stab of their insults. Do I not work and love and laugh as much as the next? Is 99.78% of my blood not red?  Where do they get off telling me I need help?

But really, I pity the drunk-shamers. To live with that kind of hate in their heart must be a terrible burden. Hate is a prison. All of the world’s greatest philosophers preached this. So many people have come to see that they’re wrong about race, about gender, about sexual orientation, and freed themselves from their prejudice. Are people incapable of seeing that they might be wrong about alcohol “abuse,” too? Does everyone not deserve equality?

Basic respect and the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not BAC-dependent. I implore you. Look into your heart of hearts and ask yourself: are drunks not human beings? Do they not deserve dignity and respect? I’m talking about equality, people. Real equality. Is that not the most basic principle at the core of this great land called America?