Hard to Believe It’s Just 213 Days Until Disaster Time! #America

art by DonkeyHotey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/
(art by DonkeyHotey)

So, about a year ago I wrote about Trump for the first time: “Listen: If We Don’t Start Taking Trump Seriously, He Will be President #FACT #NotJoking

I still think much of what is in that post is true, but realize that I’d failed to comprehend the scope of our national fuck-up.  Back in August 2015, I was seeing this as something liberals were messing up, by not taking Trump seriously and at face value.  It never dawned on me that it was all of us—left, right, center, and nutbag—who were botching this.  Yeah, even his supporters—even the worst among them, the vicious racists, the violent thugs—have it wrong, ’cause I think Trump is probably right about himself: He isn’t racist. Yes, he’s almost certainly a White Supremacist (in that his default and unexamined worldview privileges a White perspective in the same way as the sighted privilege the visual spectrum), but he really isn’t racist, per se, because a racist really does truly believe something—albeit something gross and erroneous.

I honestly don’t think Trump believes anything: He is an absolute empty vessel, the final fantastic, horrific, awful expression of American post-modernism: A perfect surface with no substance, a mirror-less mirror.

Is he a great negotiator?  No.

Is a great businessman?  No.

Is a statesman of any stripe? No.

Is he even a politician, in any conventional sense of the word?  No.

But he is possibly the greatest salesman this country has ever known, in part because he has perfected the sales process beyond the need for any product at all.

That said, there is something I’ve begun to question about that year-old post: How do prevent this mercurial, bellicose, void human-mask from entering the Oval Office.  Last August I counseled Compassion and Reason—and while I stick with Compassion (’cause I always do), I think Reason is useless here, because his sales process is crafted to short circuit and judo-throw reason.  Reason is the obstacle that Trump’s method is custom designed to overcome (for real; go read the Sales Playbook!  Many sections are devoted to jujitsu-spinning hesitation and reasonable objection into signing on the line which is dotted).

So while I counsel Compassion for Trump supporters, I also counsel Contempt—not for the voter, but for the Skinsuit with Hair Plugs himself.  Make Trump the object of dismissal, scorn, and visceral disgust.  Take the shine off his product-less product—make it not only not worth the money, but not worth the time or attention.

He is a Ding-Dong dropped on a fresh, warm dog turd.  

He is a mouthful of maggots on a sunny day.  

He is the smear at the bottom of a commercial kitchen trash can.  

Not a president, not a candidate, not even a man; let him be the strange, nihilistic object he has made of himself, a solipsistic point in a one-dimensional Universe, convinced he is a God.

Later, on November 9, he will be deserving of our compassion; he can be a man again, and rejoin humanity.

But until then . . .

The Trump U Sales Playbook: A Marvelous Primer on the Dark Art of B2C Sales

I wanna start with an apology: Based on a very brief hot-take published in Slate, I posted this quip:

After seeing the these two Jon Oliver episodes (vol 1 and vol 2), I finally dug into the 2010 Trump University Playbook in earnest (as opposed to just re-reading the same nibblets everyone was passing around). And you know what? This playbook is special.

Since the Slate excerpts were chosen for the lulz, not the insight, all I saw was what was there: Standard-issue sales training materials, with the genre-mandated jankety English and flop-sweat sheen of Glengarry Glen Ross bravado.  If you have experience with consumer-oriented sales (i.e., “B2C”—that’s “business to consumer”, generally contrasted to “B2B,” which is “business to business”), none of this is that unusual. And so that’s what I tweeted.

But, of course, I was looking at it as someone who’s worked in sales, studied the psychology of selling, written sales copy, and slogged through a lot of terrible sales material and ethically questionable sales advice.  After digging into the playbook with my “Normal Human” eyes on, I’m seeing the ickiness much more clearly. That fantastic, revelatory ickiness.

Give these materials a gander, esp. the “Sales Playbook” section starting around pg. 96.  Read it, and get a sense of what a steep disadvantage you are at, as a normal human thrust into a professional sales situation (e.g., buying a car, sitting down with a “financial advisor,” being dragged to court, being interrogated). 

This is, in fact, a pretty tight textbook on the dark arts of high-pressure sales/persuasion situations where there is a built-in power differential that favors the seller. 

Frankly, if Trump U really wanted to give students value, then screw real estate investing; they should have handed out copies of this. “Here’s how we suckered you; go forth and sucker others!”

Maybe not worth $995, but certainly worth more than nothing. 

RECOMMENDED READING2010 Trump University Playbook

WATCH ME: “8 1/2 Mile”

[WATCH] CLASSIC INTERNET THEATER: THE ‘8 ½ MILE’ TRAILER

I basically 180-degree disagree with H. Perry H on the watchability of such a film—I would watch the shit out of this!—but love the opening graff of his post:

The internet is a Sarlacc pit of information: stuff goes in and it never comes out, the bodies just keep piling one atop another until they’re all digested into a sludge the individual elements of which are indistinguishable, it’s just a big, messy, congealed pile of videos, social media posts, other assorted viral moments, and mostly porn.

And I love the trailer itself:

Thing I Learned: Check Your Damn Gas Cap!

Vw_engine_check
Yikes! Scary light!

After a long trip, the dashboard of our Scion xD lit up like a Non-Denominational Gift Giving Holiday Display.

:(

Since this is our “good” car (in contrast to our Prius with the bum AC, which is miserable for summer road trips), I high-tailed it to the mechanic, terrified that we’d done Something Bad to the car that we’re relying to get us through at least another two years (at which time our youngest can enroll in public school, freeing up $1200/month for an auto payment on something big enough for us all to not drive each other to the brink of murder during every damn road trip).

Fortunately:

  1. Our mechanic (Rons’s Garage, God-of-yr-Choosing bless ’em!) is fantastically honest and
  2. It was nothing

So why the light display?

We’d left the gas cap off.

We fueled up as we rolled back into town, as my wife needed the car for work the next day (a ~30 mile drive).  And we hadn’t screwed the cap down all the way.  A loose cap makes the car’s computer believe there’s an air leak somewhere in the fuel system (’cause there is–around the lose cap. If you’re wondering why the car gives a damn: To ruy efficiently, you need to maintain a proper fuel-air ratio in the engine, and it’s easiest to control this if you have a sealed fuel system.  On top of that, petrol fumes are bad news for the environment, so many car’s additionally check for leaks just to make sure you aren’t wrecking up the joint with stray hydrocarbons).

The car can run basically fine like this, and there’s no real danger of damaging the engine.  Put the fuel cap back on, reset the warning light, and all is well.

The lesson:  If your car is throwing a CHECK ENGINE light, make sure the gas cap is tight.  If it’s loose (or you lost it), then tighten it down (or replace it), and keep driving.  If there’s nothing obvious wrong (no sluggishness or weird noises) and it isn’t nearly time for an oil change, you’ll be fine, and the light will reset itself within 100 miles.  If it stays on, then go to the mechanic.

Ron didn’t charge me, because he’s a solid dude (which is why I keep going there).  But plenty of guys would charge you for figuring it out (they did spend time pulling the code from the car’s computer and troubleshooting my dumbassery), and a few would even use this as an excuse to “repair” some “major problem.”

Gaaaaaah! #Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah #NSFW :( *UPDATED!!!*

Hey gents: Ever wanted to do sex stuff to a cannibal ghost’s face? Well, guess what? NOW YOU CAN!

61grjqHmU-L._SL1001_
gaaaaaah!

I don’t wanna come off as a prude or anything, but I think that there’s maybe absolutely nothing not wrong with this, from it’s name—which starts with “sexbaby“(!!!), and then somehow manages to get worse—to the use of colors and shapes, to the reviews, distressingly low price, and the fact that this is in stock and “Fulfilled by Amazon” (thus conjuring the image of untold ranks of shelves in a Tennessee warehouse, holding uncountable numbers of cartons, each containing boxes upon boxes of individually packaged artificial ghostbaby sexmaws.  With teeth.)   

I present to you the “Sexbaby Silicone Realistic Mouth with Tongue and Teeth

Sexbaby Silicone Realistic Mouth with Tongue and Teeth?!?

“Sexbaby silicone realistic mouth with tongue and teeth.”

Sexbaby

silicone and realistic

tongue and teeth

:(

Continue reading “Gaaaaaah! #Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah #NSFW :( *UPDATED!!!*”

Free Fiction Friday: “Brights” (a brief tale of uncertain moral)

Hey All:

Continuing to experiment with both interactive fiction and consistent self-promotion—and you are the benificieries there-of!  Please enjoy this lil interactive story:

“Brights” or In the Midst of Darkness, Light Persists
(a brief tale of uncertain moral)

If you dig it, please do pass the link around.  And, as ever, I’m eager for feedback as I feel my way forward in this format. Sock it to me!

Thanks!

The Gospel of the Best Damned Silkscreen Printer on God’s Green Earth

Under normal circumstances I don’t link stuff posted on Medium, because I’m wickedly biased against what overwhelmingly seems to be a bloviation platform for painfully self-unaware “meritocrats” who were born on third base and think they batted a triple.

James Marks is not one of those guys.  I’ve used his print shop for t-shirts, buttons, and stickers since just about the beginning, and watched them steadily grow via pluck and vigilance.  I would take business advice from this t-shirt making vegan over most any other cat on Medium.

On Time is Late:

“On time” is begging to be late. The solution comes down to what I’m coiningReliance on Luck, or RoL for short. The best people have near-zero RoL: that shit will not fly while they’re on the job. But as you get lower down the chain of competence, RoL goes up.

These commandments that Marks gives you today are to be written on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. Bind them as symbols on your arm and bind them on your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. And it shall come to pass if you surely listen to these commandments with all your heart and all your soul, your customers and clients will give you money and will return tenfold, and you will eat and you will be satisfied.  Amen.

I Have Been Pwned; You Probably Have, Too (Alt Title: “God Fucking Dammit, LinkedIn!!!”)

THE SHORT VERSION

If you use LinkedIn, then your email and LinkedIn password have probably been compromised.  If you reuse the same password across several sites, then you are likely a total sitting duck waiting to get exploited.  Go change passwords NOW!

THE LONG VERSION

This breach seems to have gotten less press than usual, even though it’s liable to have a broader impact on folks, so I want to make sure it’s on everyone’s radar:  

An enormous hack of LinkedIn accounts has surfaced (details).  Crackers snagged ~164mil login credentials; since the passwords were stored as a unsalted hashes (i.e. “not securely”), the vast majority of these passwords were cracked.

I took the liberty of checking a couple friend/client email addresses while I checked mine (using this tool), and found that most of the emails I checked were included in the hack (as was I).  LinkedIn hasn’t proactively informed anyone I’ve contacted about this. So, I’m spreading the word.

The immediate problem is losing control of your LinkedIn account (which, let’s be real, doesn’t necessarily mean much for most people).  The bigger problem is that many folks reuse the same password on many sites.  If the email:password you used on LinkedIn is the same as the one you used on Twitter or Facebook or Gmail, then those accounts are now also up for grabs.  While a LinkedIn account may be of limited value to criminals, a Twitter or Gmail account can be much more useful, and a bank or credit card account—let’s not dwell on it.  Did you start changing passwords yet?  Go change passwords NOW.

THINGS TO DO RIGHT NOW

  1. Go here (Yeah, it looks sketchy; it’s legit) https://haveibeenpwned.com/
  2. Plug in the email address you use to log into LinkedIn (or any email you use to log in to any site; this service tracks many data breaches)
  3. If you get a green bar, you lucked out.  If you get a red bar with “oh no!” in it, continue to step #4
  4. Read whatever details the site offers about the breach(es) you’ve been included in, and change your password(s) immediately.
  5. Also set a new password anywhere else that you used that same password 

EXTRA CREDIT

Passwords are inherently crappy.  It’s just a fact of life.  Consider upping your security in two ways:

  1. Set up “two-factor authentication” (also called “2FA”) on any account that lets you do so.  Different sites have different systems (and, alas, call them different things), but they all boil down the same: Once 2FA is set up, logging into your email account (or whatever) will have an extra step.  First you enter your username and password and hit submit (like normal).  Then they ding your phone (either with a txt or via app) and wait for your to respond (either by clicking “accept” on the app or entering the six digit code they’ve texted you). If you don’t respond, you can’t get in.  This makes it impossible for someone to log into your account unless they have your username, password, and your phone.  Much more secure.  (I’ve added 2FA to several personal web tools I depend on, as I was getting hammered with a brute force attack a couple weeks back.)
  2. Please seriously consider using a “password manager” or “password locker.”  This is a piece of software (or service) that securely stores your usernames and passwords for all of your accounts.  That way, you don’t have to chose easily remembered passwords for all of your accounts.  Instead, you choose one very good password for your locker, and then let the locker generate insanely hard passwords for your individual accounts (all of my passwords are now 20+ characters long and randomly generated).  Lots of folks like LastPass and 1Password.  I prefer KeePassX and use MiniKeePass on my phone (I have lots of nit-picky reasons, but the tl;dr: The software implements good encryption algorythms in a secure way; it’s open source and well vetted; it’s not “cloud based”—”the cloud” is just “some other dude’s computer” [with all that implies, viz. security risks], and a cloud computer full of the master keys to folks’ online lives strikes me as an attractive nuisance, at best).

Sorry to be your bad news bear today; I hope you all get green bars and nonetheless CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS, GET A PASSWORD MANAGER, AND START USING 2FA WHENEVER YOU CAN!!!

Doing What You Have to Do (w/ props @roosroast)

There are three types of things you have to do in this life:

  1. Things you enjoy doing for entirely internally motivated reasons—those things that you simply find pleasurable or gratifying in and of themselves, without further social context.
  2. Things you enjoy doing because someone will give you money to do it.
  3. Things you enjoy doing because they please or help other humans whose opinion you give a shit about.

Note what is lacking here:

things you don’t enjoy doing

Everything that you do, you should be able to mentally reorient into one of the Three Things listed above. If there’s a thing you can’t do that with, then maybe you need to excise it from your life.[1][2]

In short: Do Good Things.[3]

Continue reading “Doing What You Have to Do (w/ props @roosroast)”