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The Carcer Principle

Let me tell you one of the most important lessons my favorite author ever taught me. In Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch, the main villain is a thief, murderer, and all-around bastard named Carcer. He’s the very picture of a psychopath—he has no conscious, feels no guilt, and doesn’t even understand the idea of right or wrong. He’s egotistical, volatile, constantly smiling, and he always has an extra knife. In a basically well-run city where the rule of law is kept, he...

Fire, further

It’s not just capitalism that’s like fire. It’s the internet, it’s advertising, it’s lawyers, it’s video games, it’s beer. Where there’s power, there’s almost always danger. That the world’s filled with fire shouldn’t be cause for despair. It is a good cause for vigilance, though. “We didn’t start the fire It was always burning Since the world’s been turning” -Billy Joel Feel free to use the fire, in all of its forms. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s your friend....

Fire

Two things are undeniable about fire: it’s useful, and it’s dangerous. Anyone who’s been burned by a match or gotten too close to a campfire knows the latter for a fact. Yet it’s true that fire is useful as well. From cooking our food to warming our homes to powering the entire industrial revolution (and many of our cities today), fire has been at the center of much of human progress. Fire is powerful. Yet it’s still dangerous, as even children know. So we pin...

Daily 7: Why you should go to bars

I love going to bars, and I appreciate that my day job (selling beer for a craft brewery) requires that I go to bars, because it forces me to do something that’s not always comfortable: go to social places alone and talk to strangers. The benefits of this are larger than you think. It’s undeniable that beer and other alcoholic beverages do damage. They’re drugs, and they can be abused. But they also do good, because a delicious beverage and a slight buzz...

Vote like a minority

It’s election season in the USA, so let’s talk about that. Not the candidates, but my philosophy of voting. (Though I’m not going to talk about the candidates, it’s probably easy to figure out who I’m voting for from my twitter feed. If authors expressing political opinions annoys you—though it shouldn’t—I suggest you avoid that. If not, have fun.) First and foremost: vote. No no no—I don’t care if your vote “won’t matter.” I don’t care if it’s “logical” to say that your one...

A billboard in congress

I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts, and the Tim Ferriss Show is one of my favorites. Tim interviews high-performing individuals, and he often asks his guests a few reoccurring questions. Here’s one: “If you could have a billboard anywhere in the world, where would you put it and what would it say?” I’ve wondered what I would say, to this and many other questions. It probably depends on what I’m thinking about at the time. If it’s art and writing, my answer would...

Understanding catcalling via beer

Gentlemen, if you want to understand why women hate catcalling, or think you understand it but want to experience it yourself, I have a suggestion: take a job delivering beer. There’s something about wheeling a full keg of beer into a restaurant that makes people feel like they just have to comment. “You can put that in the car over there!” “Wheel that down a couple blocks, to the house on the right!” “You can leave that here with me!” It’s...

What happens when you work 80+ hrs a week

If you want to understand why it’s so hard to rise out of poverty, work 80+ hrs/wk for not a lot of pay. Even if you’re (mostly) doing work you enjoy, as I am now, it’s illuminating. What I’m being brutally reminded of is that it takes time and effort to save money. That seems obvious, and the typical rejoinder is “If it’s important, you’ll make the time!” But what if there isn’t a lot of time to make? I can manage all...

Dying idols

David Bowie. Alan Rickman. Prince. It seems like beloved celebrities are dropping like flies. I’ve heard people say that this is a terrible year, that our cultural heroes are all passing away. Maybe. Though it occurs to me that, if that’s so, it’s only because we have more heroes now. A million channels. A million stations. A million ways great people can connect with us. That’s not such a bad problem to have, even if we have to lose them all eventually....