I was recently scammed out of $1,500 by Danny, a man I believed to be my friend. I’m glad it happened as it was a tremendous learning experience. The warning signs were everywhere. I didn’t notice them (justified them away is probably a more accurate phrase) because I enjoyed Danny’s company. I didn’t want what I told myself were minor character flaws to sour a fun friendship.
Danny’s picture should be on the Alpha Male cereal box: He’s tall, dark, aggressive, handsome, gregarious, cocky and socially adept. He can’t take two steps without hitting on a girl. He drives a black Lexus and hangs out at the hottest night clubs in Chicago. Danny really has his shit together.
Or so it seemed . . .
1. The First Thing Danny Told Me Was A Lie
I was new to the big city and Danny was giving me a tour, taking me to some of his favorite eateries. We stopped by this great Mexican place that serves $1.50 tacos every Wednesday. During lunch, I asked Danny how old he was and he told me he was 32. A few months later I heard a woman wish him a “happy 36th birthday”. I laughed and asked him why he told me he was 32.
He said, “I’ll tell you whatever I want to tell you.”
I’m still not sure why he did this. Like, what did he stand to gain by subtracting three years from his age? Maybe he is so use to lying to women about how old he is he just does it as a reflex now. Or maybe he thought I wouldn’t want to do business with him if I knew he was quite older than me.
2. Danny Immediately Glommed Onto Me
Danny called me every single day for months on end after our first meeting. We discussed business ideas for hours. We talked girls and money. We talked life. We went bar hopping and picked up girls in night clubs and hung out in pool halls. We went out to eat constantly. I really enjoyed the guy’s company because he seemed so motivated and full of life. Although, in the back of my mind I thought it was weird that our friendship had gone from 0 to 60 overnight.
3. Danny Lives Well Above His Means
After I realized what Danny did for a living and estimated how much money he made I found it weird that the dude drove a new Lexus. I also couldn’t understand how he could afford to go out to eat every single day. And not just with me. He probably takes three different girls out to eat every week. Then, I found out he lived with his mom. Something didn’t add up.
4. Danny Is Super Ungrateful
I let Danny borrow $500 dollars like two months after I met him. He paid me back a week later so it wasn’t a big deal. Then, Danny and I went to a bar with a group of friends. When we I arrived, I realized I had forgotten my wallet. I asked Danny to let me borrow 50 bucks so I could buy drinks. He was like, “Hell no, dude. Buy your own damn drinks. I’m not your bitch.” I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t. I said, “Are you serious? After everything I’ve done for you, you won’t let me borrow 50 goddamn bucks?” He said, “This is different, bro. You gotta remember to bring your wallet.” I was flabbergasted. I finally harangued Danny into buying my drinks, but he wouldn’t let me hold the money. He would go up to the bar and buy every drink for me. Then, he made a big production of it every time he handed me the drink. “Look everyone. I have to buy Askari drinks because he’s too broke to afford Heinekens.” He had the nerve to call me “broke” after I let him borrow $500.
4. Danny Always Has Some Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
Whether it is multilevel marketing nonsense or bullshit concert promotion or border-line illegal money gram schemes, Danny is not big on developing genuine skills or working hard.
5. Danny Has A 200+ Notch Count
I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I mean, what man doesn’t want to have that much sexual variety? However, the more I live, the more I notice that the men who really, really clean up with women are some of the most sociopathic men you will ever meet. We all know many women are attracted to criminals and con artists.
6. Danny Loves Crazy Women
He actually enjoys them as people. And he attracts them like a magnet. It’s as if every other date he goes on is cut short because the woman has to be dragged out of the restaurant for drunken and belligerent behavior.
7. Danny Really Doesn’t Have That Many Friends
Besides the women who follow him around like ducklings, Danny doesn’t really have that many friends. Which is weird for such a charismatic guy. When it comes to men, Danny eventually rubs them the wrong way or does something to piss them off.
8. Danny Has Horrible Taste In Absolutely Everything
He listens to nothing but Top 40 and gangster rap. He’s also obsessed with professional wrestling. This might not be a tride-and-true sign of a con artist. However, there is something a little off about a man in his mid-thirties who knows every Taylor Swift song by heart.
If those little sweethearts won’t face German bullets, they’ll face French ones.”
“Paths of Glory” opens with a shocking portrayal of military corruption in a palatial French château during World War I. Then it maneuvers through the botched attack of a key German position, a crooked court-marshal and the execution of three innocent soldiers, before it winds up being one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
To experience this movie is to catch an exhilarating buzz as you realize the director took the risk of going the anti-war route, got away with it and delivered a story that is entirely unique, and, yet, shares ideas that are as well-known as old running shoe – or a tanned cowhide trench boot, more accurately.
I was very moved by the anti-war, and more importantly, anti-patriotic theme of “Paths of Glory”. It’s not that I believe territorial behavior is unbecoming of a nation. Nor do I believe in pacifism or the value of diversity. But this movie’s uncompromising depiction of the humiliating and dehumanizing treatment of French soldiers at the hands of their of their very own generals is so satisfyingly cynical of flag-waving and national loyalty. Soldiers are slaves in this film. General Mireau thinks of his soldiers as disposable tools. He is willing to see 55% of his men torn to pieces by machine gun fire if only their deaths earn him a promotion and some new medals. They’re cows to the slaughter. When French soldiers refuse to charge an enemy fortress, Gen. Mireau attempts to have shots fired at his own men. His subordinates refuse his command. So, he has one soldier from each company executed by firing squad for “cowardice”. In the world of “Paths of Glory” there is no one on earth more omega than the soldier.
This movie was just another good reminder that relationships are mutually beneficial or they are garbage and manipulation. The soldiers in “Paths of Glory” stand to gain nothing for their bravery. They are putting their lives on the line. They do so because they want to protect the country they were raised in and, seemingly, love. And how does their country repay them for their loyalty? By executing them after calling them disgusting cowards. They are suppose to sprint into a monsoon of machine gun fire because it was their “duty” to do so. Fuck duty. Anyone who refuses to use logic when imploring you to take action, but instead asserts that it is your “duty” to do this or that is attempting to enslave you.
The black and white cinematography of this film is just beautiful. The tracking shots down in the trenches, the soldiers dodging cannon explosions on the battle field, Kubrick’s trademark camera placement. Visually, it’s just great. However, the dialogue is where this movie shines. Ultimately, “Paths of Glory” is a talking heads movie. It almost feels like watching a play on a television screen, because dialogue is so ubiquitous and delivered so rapidly. There is zero fluff in this movie. Every single syllable uttered is meant to serve the movement of the plot. It almost feels Shakespearean in a way.
“Paths of Glory” is the ultimate argument against being a “nice guy” .
Go watch this movie.
Vox Popoli and Alpha Game Plan are two of my favorite blogs, because they are penned by a writer named Vox Day, an atheist-thwarting, SJW-humiliating, feminist-bashing editor and video game designer who consistently churns out posts which are entertaining and abundant with wisdom. Some of Day’s favorite writing topics include:
- Socially autistic atheists
- Delusional gamma males
- Quality books
- Myopic feminists
- Game Theory
- Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature
Vox Day has been writing on the net for a long time, so he has touched on just about everything. Personally, Day’s posts concerning the best ways to win over rhetorical audiences hold some of his most valuable and easily applicable advice.
With Aristotle as his guide, Day contends that for a rhetorical audience (feminists, gamma males or just plain slow people) logic can serve no purpose. The only way to convince a rhetorically-minded person of damn near anything is by appealing to emotion and authority. Reality is irrelevant. Facts fall on deaf ears. Nothing matters except how you make them feel.
Here’s an example of a rhetorical argument:
“Newton’s theory of gravitation is false. Think about it. The guy died a virgin at the age of 84. All that time and the dude couldn’t score a single piece of ass. What a retard. Newton wasn’t smart enough to get a girl naked, but somehow he magically had perfect understanding of planetary motion? Sure thing. Most modern-day gravity supporters probably have trouble finding dates too.”
Notice how the argument does not deny the facts but attacks the source of the facts (Newton). Taking the example further, a rhetorical socialist may argue that capitalism is inefficient because every capitalist he knows has poor hygiene. Sound ridiculous? Doesn’t matter, for it is the modus operandi of rhetorical people.
My family is one big rhetorical audience. For years and years I used logic, math and common sense in a futile attempt to bring them closer to reality. Making dialectic arguments in the Ray home is like showing up to a beach valley ball tournament wearing shoulder pads and a football helmet. Strictly speaking, dialectic communication is meet with derision.
This is no longer an issue for me. I have learned through trial and error, along with research and the experiences of wise men, that my family is encased in dialectic-deflecting Teflon. It doesn’t matter what topic is being discussing. It could an important issue like gun control or something trivial like which local restaurant has the best pasta. Either way, my logic bullets do not put the slightest dent in their rhetorical armor. The simple acknowledgement of this fact makes my life much easier.
For example, let’s pretend that my dad buys a six pack of Miller Lite every Friday night. I want to convince him to buy cases, because he is throwing money away.
Here is an example of a logical argument and, thus, what I wouldn’t do:
“Dad, your wasting money with those six packs. You are currently spending $259.48 a year on booze. However, if you start buying beer by the case, you will only be spending $191.88. Think about it. You will save $67.60 and be able to drink the exact same amount of beer.”
This approach would never work. Dad would dismiss my argument by claiming I have a bad attitude or sarcastically saying “Well, aren’t you just a mathematical genius” or something like that. Actually, he would probably attack my character the way Newton’s character was attack in the hypothetical example from before. In other words, he would cite an example of a time when I made foolish purchases in the past, thus disqualifying me as an authority on frugal living.
If I’m going to get through to him, I must go rhetorical. I must imply that only “weirdos” and “losers” buy six packs. I must mock and ridicule him and I must convince my mom and my sister to do the say, thus, out-grouping him. The three of us must point and laugh each time he walks through the front door brandishing a six pack and eventually he will cave. Later, he will claim that he stopped by six packs because “it is a waste of money”, not because he folded under the pressure of our mockery.
Pretend my mom is unhappy because I bought a motorcycle. She claims it is too dangerous. What I would never do is cite some study contending the relative safety of motorbikes. This would not sway her one iota. I must say something like “Prominent Citizen Number 1 owns a motorcycle. So does Popular Neighbor Number 2 and Wealthy Church Member Number 3.” I must ignore her supposed concern, that is, the safety aspect of riding a motorcycle and focus her attention to all of the high status people who ride motorcycles, making motorcycles seem desirable by association.
It’s easy to feel contempt for people who force you to emotionally tickle them into agreeing with you but such is life. There is no alternative.
I’ll leave you with this ubiquitously quoted and, nevertheless, true Sun Tzu quote from The Art of War:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy or yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force
Newtons First Law of Motion
I’ve noticed something interesting about my morning ritual. The first few hours of my morning set the tone for the rest of the day.
Lazy mornings give birth to lazy afternoons and evenings that are lazier still. Each swat toward the snooze button equals 200 less words I will have written by the time 8:00 PM rolls around. The longer I browse Twitter from the warm cocoon of my comforter, the less intense my workout will be later that afternoon.
On the other hand, active mornings lead to active afternoons and highly productive evenings. The more I accomplish, the more I want to accomplish. The more energy I expend, the more I have. Each item I cross off my to-do-list, before the bell tolls noon, is like an espresso shot. Cooking a healthy breakfast triples the chance that I will eat a healthy lunch.
Pretty weird, isn’t it?
Laying around like a lion lounging off a gazelle carcass is energy conservation, is it not? Come afternoon, I should snap upright and attack the day with twice the tenacity of the hyperactive early birds, right?
No, not at all.
An object in motion stays in motion.
By 10:00 AM I have (usually) already brewed coffee, “enjoyed” a cold shower, lifted a bunch of heavy weights, spent 30 minutes jogging, made a nutritious breakfast, drank fresh juice and done some reading/writing. My body and mind have no choice. My body and mind must be mature adults. Body and mind must accept the fact that they’re here to get shit done, whether they like it or not.
So, a morning spent watching the Three Stooges from the cozy rocking of an indoor hammock is not energy conservation. It is habit formation. Dedicate the beginning of your day to exercise and other productive hobbies. This is how you beat the lazy, reptilian portion of your brain into submission. And if you follow this advice, after a while, I don’t think you will have a problem with motivation anymore.
In fact, you’ll have a problem winding down and going to sleep.
Working as a door-to-door salesman in Chicago has taught me a simple, but very important, fact about human nature:
Nice neighbor hoods make you feel nice.
Bad neighbor hoods make you feel bad.
An attractive environment is like a massage for the brain.
An ugly environment is like getting your brain punched with brass knuckles every four minutes.
Positive people make your soul swell with energy.
Negative people steal your precious life force.
A typical day in a Midwestern ghetto:
1:00 PM –
Vacant houses everywhere. Occupied homes look vacant. Peeling paint. Rotting porches. Broken windows.
1:30 PM –
A dirty man lights a blunt on the dirty sidewalk.
1:45 PM –
A huge woman is punching a dog in the face.
2:00 PM –
A pit bull locks eyes with me through the bay windows of the living room as I approach the house from the drive way. It rams it’s face into the glass. Territorial aggression. This little monster face-rams the glass again and again and again. Blood pours. The owner screams.
I decide to leave.
3:00 PM –
A high school graduation party is underway. Music and barbecue and dancing. A rusted Caprice drives up. A handgun appears from the passenger’s window, aimed at the grey sky. Four shots. Dancing turns to fleeing. Everyone is screaming and the car pulls away.
I decide to leave.
4:00 PM –
A gigantic man answers the door. His eyes light up when he sees it is me.
He’s wearing a woman’s shower cap. Make up. A woman’s bathrobe. Nail polish and woman’s slippers.
“Oh, hey baby. Why don’t you come on inside,”
I decide to leave.
5:00 PM –
I’m inside the living room of the only nuclear family on the block.
The “mother” approaches me with two 100 dollar bills in her hand.
“She a virgin and don’t nobody want her. Fuck dis bitch and da money’s yours.” she says, pointing to her teenage, albino daughter who is sitting on the couch.
“You know the best part? She a V (V being virgin). No one will fuck her cause’ a how she is (albino).”
I look to the father in disbelief and see that he is chuckling like the whole thing is a good-natured joke.
I decide to leave.
I would rather live in an upper class community, ripe with breathtaking architecture and circular driveways lined with luxury cars, where everyone hates me, than be the king of a low income community where every citizen worshiped me as their lord and savior.