Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My pitch for A Long Way From Tipperary ( Edition)

POSSIBLE SPOILERS if you care about that thing. If you do care, click here to nominate my book and get your free copy so you can read it before the rest of the Internet ruins it for you. I think my book has something for everyone, After the meme below, I will talk about things that intelligent educated people can use to guess how the novel ends.

A Long Way From Tipperary is a retelling of World War 2 in space. Yes, I'm aware that has been done before. It just hasn't been done recently. What makes my story different is that I didn't use aliens or robots to represent the Axis Powers. Instead I sought to create sympathetic villains and flawed heroes. I suspect the reason why scifi leans on robots, zombies, and aliens so much is that you can kill them all without feeling bad about yourself. (To be sure, maybe I might feel as bad about killing an alien as I would about hitting a dog with my car. Or worse. Depends on the alien.) My goal is depict the horrors of war, not to glorify it. At the same time, I have to acknowledge that war is sometimes needed to survive and resist tyranny.

So ALWFT is about humanity making the same mistakes over again in the distant future. History totally repeats itself sometimes. See the Spanish-American War and Gulf War II for a real life example of this: The Commonwealth of Worlds, the New Magellanic Cloud, and the Democratic Association of Worlds represent the UK, the USA, and the USSR, respectively. Cygnus Starclan and Azul Starclan represent Germany and Japan. Atrocities are committed by both sides, so instead of black vs white morality, we have black vs dark grey morality

Of course, there are users who feel that war is sometimes needed for survival and to promote tyranny. These folks might choose to root for Cygnus and Azul. I hope I never meet any of you on the street, but you are still welcome to read my book. Thanks for listening!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trump doesn't want to be President

Donald Trump doesn't want to be President. Donald Trump will not allow himself to become President. At this point, we have to assume one or more of the following about Donald Trump:
1) He is trying to destroy the GOP.
2) He is trying to get Hillary Clinton elected.
3) He has some other agenda that is completely incompatible with him getting elected President.
4) Even after a year on the campaign trail, he simply fails to grasp what it takes to appeal to the majority of voters and be elected President.

A man who wants to be President doesn′t mock POW′s or gold star families.

A man who wants to be President doesn′t throw a fit and skip a debate.

A man who wants to be President avoids going negative in the primary. Ronald Reagan′s famous 11th Commandment: ″Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican″ applies during the primaries because you are competing against men and women whose support you will need after the convention.

A man who wants to be President doesn′t talk about ″bringing Joe Paterno back″ in Pittsburgh. Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky was having sex with little boys. He lost his coaching job at Penn State because of this. If he hadn′t died of cancer, Paterno could have been charged with a felony.

A man who wants to be President would do some basic research and realize that most voters are women. The things you say that get high fives from the guys will get women to pull the other lever.

A man who wants to be President does not promote conspiracy theories. Some might argue that this blog post itself is a conspiracy theory. I′m ok with you all thinking that for now, since I′m not running for President. But my hunch is that Donald Trump is trying to destroy the GOP. I think that in his heart, he is a Manhattan liberal. He has mistreated women all of his life and never had to worry about getting fired or going to jail. Deep down it′s eating at him.

Like most billionaires nearing the end of their lives, Trump is more concerned with leaving a lasting legacy than adding more money to the pile. Andrew Carnegie built libraries and schools. After getting rich off of yellow journalism, Joseph Pulitzer created the journalism award that bears his name. Trump will create his own legacy by destroying a 162 year old political party. It is costing him millions of dollars and it is wrecking his brand and his reputation, but this is atonement for him. Men have given up more for less. If Trump actually wants to be President and is working with that goal in mind, none of his actions make sense.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Long Way From Tipperary

I love space operas. But instead of remembering 50 year anniversaries, we should be looking to the future. The universe needs new heroes. We need stories of epic adventures that won't be rebooted by J.J. Abrams, sold to Disney, or canceled by Fox.

Folks, I need your help launching this exciting new novel Click here for details. Amazon might send you a free copy if they decide to publish it.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Zaphod Effect: The Best Thing The Next President Can Do For The Economy

The best thing that a President can do to help the economy is give the press something else to talk about besides the economy. Economics boils down to applied psychology: when people think the economy is bad, they cut back on spending and investing. The media picks up on this and continues to talk about how bad the economy is. And consumers continue to avoid spending, and investors continue to avoid investing, and the media talks about that, continuing on in a viscous cycle.

To break the cycle, the media needs something else to talk about. The reason why the economy was so great during the 90's is because Bill Clinton accidentally gave the media all sorts of things to talk about. Bush had a recession that went away after 9/11. But a new recession started when people got bored with the War on Terror.

I call this the Zaphod Effect. Zaphod Beeblebrox was the President of the Galaxy in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. His sole responsibility was to distract the public.

Many economists will insist that the Zaphod Effect isn't real. This is because the only time anyone pays attention to them is when the economy is bad. And for the Zaphod Effect to work, we have to ignore them.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Explaining Trump's popularity

A lot of political science is forensic. We try to explain the past rather than correctly predict the future. A lot of people assumed George H. W. Bush  would be re-elected in 1992 because of Desert Storm. A lot of people thought Al Gore was going to win in 2000 because of anti-GOP blowback from the impeachment process. A lot of people thought Hillary Clinton would be the nominee in 2008 because it was her turn. So really we can only look back and explain what happened.

Donald Trump is a very unusual candidate. I didn't think he was serious about running last year. Billionaires tend not to run for president, because that would be like a millionaire applying to work at WalMart. The annual salary of the President is less than .05% of any billionaire's net worth. And every presidential election this century, the wealthier of the two establishment party candidates always came in second. Presidential candidates typically have prior experience serving in elected office and/or in the military. Trump has spent his entire life in the private sector.

So let's dissect why he has done so well so far.

1, Name recognition This is the easiest explanation right here. When people ask me why Trump is polling well, I quiz them on the other candidates. And Trump is the only candidate who they can name what he does for a living. When I was in elementary school during the 80's, I knew who Trump was. I didn't know who Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, or even Hillary Clinton were back then. Trump has been a household name for decades.

2. Perceived competence "You know he's good with money," a Trump fan told me last year. Trump got rich in the first place because he was born into a wealthy family. He became wealthier through a combination of both prudent and shady investments. This describes a lot of politicians in fact, and not even most of them are worthy of holding elected office. Just because some trust fund kid survives into old age doesn't mean we should hand him the nuclear football if he asks for it.

3. Perceived honesty "He tells it like it is!" a lot of his fans will say. Let's not mistake political incorrectness for honesty, though. Trump makes promises that educated adults should know he can't keep. Check out all the statements that he makes that get rated "Pants on Fire" by PolitiFact.

4. Media coverage It's all about ratings and pageviews. The media likes to talk about the zaniest guy on the stage. Television is a poor medium for learning about politics. A candidate can soberly state his informed position on a current issue, but the audience will forget what he said and remember anything funny or outrageous the next morning. Trump says things that are geared more towards upsetting people than solving problems, and the media rewards him with extra airtime and column inches that he doesn't have to pay for. And I'll admit that I'm part of the problem with this very blog post. You need to admit that you are part of the problem if you know more about the Donald's personal life and how many times he has been married than you know about what the other candidates had to say about healthcare, foreign policy, and taxes.

5. The GOP establishment and liberals hate Trump By going after Trump, Democrats are luring GOP primary voters into supporting a candidate that Clinton would very much like to run against. I actually know a Bernie Sanders supporter who says that if Bernie drops out before he gets a chance to vote, he plans to vote for Trump in the primary and Hillary in the general election.Trump is a strawman capitalist made into flesh. He is like a businessman movie villain supplied by Central Casting. Progressives love to hate Trump, and it's like they are using reverse psychology to get Republicans to nominate the weakest possible candidate.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thoughts about online dating now that I'm in a stable relationship

Historically, online dating was thought of as a tool for the desperate. Even though it's more popular, it still gets bashed a lot. But it opens up a single person to more potential dates. You get to meet people that you likely would never have met offline. And to think that our parents met through random chance in meatspace.
For me, online dating was like college: enjoyable but stressful, and I'm glad I don't have to do it anymore. Here are my thoughts for anyone who is still looking:
1. Never post your thoughts about online dating on your blog if you still are active in online dating. You will sound like a complainer. You probably are a complainer if you do this. So stop it. I get to rant about online dating because I'm in a stable relationship now.
2, Your parents probably give better dating advice than your single friends.
3. I saw a lot of single mothers on OKCupid. I know that kids come first. But just check off the box that says you have a kid or kids. Don't gush about how amazing your kids are in your dating profile bio. "Amazing" was a pretty common adjective to describe toddlers. I would have liked to meet the mother of a mediocre three-year old. That would have been a woman with realistic expectations.
4. Platonic friends and coworkers can sometimes stumble across your dating profile. It's probably best to keep things PG.
5. I think people who put up ads that say they are looking for a platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex are either lying to themselves or don't know what "platonic" means.
6. You don't save yourself up for marriage. You save yourself up for a house full of cats.
7. People say there is no such thing as the friendzone. But I think it's real. It's like getting a bronze medal in the Olympics. My best advice is not argue with the judge, and just move on to the next event and try again. (Silver medal is when you are friends with benefits.)