NFL Virus Strategy

Imagine two Super Bowl contenders: one team has all COVID-19 virgins on its roster; the other team has nothing but infected players. Which team would you bet on to win the Super Bowl? If you bet on the first team, may I suggest that you are an imbecile? Obviously, the second team has players with antibodies, while the first team’s players are sitting ducks, several of which will likely test positive during the season and have to quarantine for two weeks, at best.

So, antibodies are a hot commodity for the 2020 NFL season. And while it may one day be possible to suck antibodies out of a recovered person, and inject them into an uninfected person to convey immunity, that has yet to be accomplished. So, the only reliable way to get antibodies is to get them the old-fashioned way: by surviving an infection. So, fans should be rooting for their team to get mild infections now, in order to prevent infections during the season.

But, will NFL coaches leave this to chance? Might there be a coach out there who will deliberately infect his players? Let’s see…which coach can be relied upon to cheat at every turn? Hmm. I won’t mention any names, but I will give you a hint: the guy I have in mind is currently missing a third-round draft pick. Let’s keep an eye on him, shall we?

The NFL is striving to keep all things equal between teams when it comes to practicing. But is there anything they can do to make sure that all teams suffer the same from the coronavirus? I don’t think so. The only possible method would be to infect all players now, and that is simply not ethical.

If a coach did deliberately infect his players, he could be brought up on attempted-murder charges. But what if all the players secretly signed consent forms? Or decided amongst themselves to self-infect? If they wanted to recover before the season started, they would have to do it now. And then they would have to explain away the sudden “outbreak” on the team: “Gosh, somebody didn’t wash his hands, and now we’re a hot-spot. I hope we can all recover in time.”

While there is an opportunity to cheat here, the most-likely scenario will be that the coronavirus is simply treated like any other injury. You get it, you miss a few games, and then you come back.

And there are more virus-strategy issues. What if your team doctor, or local medical systems, refuse to treat players with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for political reasons? Or if they do give HCQ, do they first screen the patient for Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD)? That might be a big factor considering how many African-American players there are in the NFL.

This all begs the question? Should the NFL regulate the treatment of COVID-19 infected players?

In case you think I’m crazy for considering these things, imagine the long-suffering Cleveland Browns making it to the AFC Championship game in January, and then Baker Mayfield tests positive, ending his season. Would this not induce a mass-suicide in the Dawg Pound? If Baker could foresee this future, would he self-infect? I don’t know, but I bet he would think about it considering how rabidly competitive he is. And Baker isn’t the only rabidly competitive player in the NFL. This isn’t the NBA after all.

With luck, this may all be moot by opening day. The CDC just reported:

“Mortality attributed to COVID-19 decreased compared to last week and is currently at the epidemic threshold but will likely increase as additional death certificates are processed.”

In other words, COVID-19 is a stone’s throw away from losing its status as an epidemic.

Note: the CDC link above is for the week ending June 27, 2020. It may change by time you read this.

Don’t Let Fauci Take Your NFL

If you see an NFL player, you should not ask him for a selfie. Instead, you should recoil in horror, and shout at him to get back in his bubble. Or at least, that’s what a little troll by the name of Anthony Fauci might advise you to do.

For some ridiculous reason, the NFL asked Fauci for advice. Predictably, Fauci told them to close up shop:

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall.”

Fauci acts as if there is no such thing as antibodies. And while the jury is still out on the exact behavior of COVID-19 antibodies, I think it’s safe to say that they do indeed exist. Otherwise, we would have thousands of people suffering from multiple infections; something that has not been observed.

So, I personally wouldn’t be the least bit worried about taking a selfie with Ezekiel Elliott. Here is what he said about his battle with COVID-19:

“I would say I had maybe one or two days when I felt symptoms. Even then, it wasn’t too bad. I had a cough and a little bit of shortness of breath. Now, I feel good. I feel normal.”

Hardly the end of the world, right? After all, this is football we’re talking about – a game that is literally the equivalent of being in a car crash – weekly. Broncos’ superstar Von Miller, who suffers from asthma, had it worse than Elliot, but even he will recover much faster than he did from the torn ACL he suffered in 2013.

So, which would you prefer? To be sacked by Cleveland Browns’ defensive-end Miles Garret, or get infected with COVID-19? Miles would snap my spine in two, so I would take my chances with COVID-19.

President Trump slapped down Fauci right after the bubble comment, so the NFL is safe for now. However, that may not last. First, kneeling players may cause Trump to withdraw his protection. Second, a Biden victory in November might spell the end of football mid-season. Third, the NFL Players Association may pull out the old “abundance of caution” and order its players to surrender. Fourth, the NFL might simply run up the white flag as the COVID-19 hype reaches deafening levels.

Which it will.

Prepare to be terrorized like you have never been terrorized before. Take a look at this official CDC map (click to enlarge):

The whole country is green, and considering the current media hype, green must mean that everybody is dying, right? Wrong. Green means that, statistically, nobody is sick enough to go to the doctor. Here is what the chart looked like back in February 2020:

Now that was a problem. But today? It’s smooth sailing.

Those maps are made from data collected by the U.S. Influenza Surveillance System – one of the fabulous things our hard-working government bureaucrats produce for us. Go to this page and play with the interactive map yourself.

The map probably won’t begin to heat up until around Election Day, when the weather gets cold, and people start staying inside and breathing on each other all day.

There is a lot of pressure on the NFL right now, during the summer when nobody is sick. Imagine how intense the pressure will get when flu season starts, and people get sick for real.

Furthermore, it’s entirely possible that the NFL will save more lives than it takes by playing the 2020 season. Back in May, doctors at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California reported that they had more suicide deaths than COVID-19 deaths during the lockdown. It turns out that being isolated, locked-down, and terrorized by constant media propaganda takes a toll on many people who then look for a way out.

But, if you have the NFL to watch, you will at least be able to enjoy a few hours of your life every week during the inevitable second lockdown. And that will likely save some lives.

In other words, the NFL is likely to be medicinal. It should be provided to the public just like Vitamin D. And while players make more money than Trader Joe’s clerks, they should still be lauded for their service.

They will shut the NFL down if they can, so fans will need to fight for their right to party. Write to your congresspersons, your governor, and your mayor, and make sure that they know that the only way they can get your vote is if you can watch Nick Chubb trample DBs like they were so many bowling pins every Sunday.

Are the Browns Still a Dirty Team? (Cleveland Browns Red Flag #2020-4)

In 2019, the Browns’ hype-train pulled out of the rail-yard, and rolled straight into a brick wall. Browns fans were shocked to learn that their oh-so-fabulous team was, in reality, a bunch of clowns, committing 18 penalties for 182 yards, and handing Game One to the Tennessee Titans on a silver platter.

Were the refs punishing the Browns? Maybe, but why? Could it be that the league was not enamored of coach Freddie Kitchens’ plan to make the Browns a more “physical” team? Did they take note of the Browns beating up the Colts during their preseason practice session? Did the NFL want to nip that thuggish coaching in the bud as they strive to make the game less dangerous?

Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. But what I really want to know is what coach Stefanski is doing to undo Kitchens’ bad coaching. I don’t recall him making any statements on the subject, or the Browns press discussing it. So, that’s why it is our 4th red flag.

And it is indeed a pressing matter. While there have been many changes made throughout the organization, the Browns still come up as #4 when you pull up a list of the most-penalized teams in the NFL. So coach Stefanski, how are you addressing this enormous problem?

The o-line and the DBs sometimes have to commit penalties to protect the QB, and prevent touchdowns, respectively. But what about receivers? Surely a receiver’s job is to receive (ha, ha) penalties by running his routes so well that the opposing DB has to grab him. But Odell Beckham Jr. committed 5 penalties, and was a bit of a troublemaker. OBJ was a big supporter of coach Kitchens’ policy. Here he is fighting with Marlon Humphrey during the Browns’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens:

That penalty moved the Browns from the Ravens’ 30 yard line, all the way back to the 48. The Browns were up by a touchdown and trying to widen their lead in the third quarter when OBJ just had to fight Humphrey. True, Humphrey was roughing-up Odell, but it seems to me that Odell should be complaining to the refs and trying to get them to watch Humphrey more-closely and draw a penalty rather than indulge his ego by fighting Humphrey.

Browns fans also seem to be assuming that Myles Garrett will be able to avoid getting suspended again this year. But will he? With all the hoopla over the Mason Rudolph incident, you may have forgotten that Myles was fined $42,000 after the game against the Jets in week 2. Here’s what Myles said afterward:

“It’s been like this for awhile, and I feel like they [QBs] have been getting added protection as the years go on. And they sell the tickets of quarterbacks scoring touchdowns, but it’s our job to get after them and I’m not going to stop that, just gonna play the game like it’s supposed to be played. Nothing post- or pre-snap.”

So, here you have Myles thinking that he has the authority to change NFL policy. Do you think the NFL took notice? I do. I think they were just itching for Myles to screw up so that they could put the hammer down on him. That’s why his punishment later in the year seemed so draconian. Did Freddie Kitchens do anything to try and change Garrett’s attitude after the Jets game? Apparently not.

Was it Kitchens who taught the “gentle poet” how to rip off a helmet and bash people with it? Did they drill that in practice? I don’t know, and I don’t know if Myles is “cured” or not. However, if I were coach Stefanski I would not assume that he was. Freddie Kitchens did a lot of damage to the Browns, and it may require quite a lot of work to undo it all.

Contrary to what Myles said, the job of a defensive-end is no longer to sack the quarterback; the job is to sack the quarterback just so. And that’s not easy. It’s something that requires self-control and finesse. Does Myles have that? Well, he didn’t during the Pittsburgh game, and we haven’t seen him play since then, so who knows?

After the Jets game, I cringed every time Myles rushed the quarterback. I was terrified that he would snap somebody’s spine or cause some other disaster. And indeed, the fight with Mason Rudolph (though tame by NHL or UFC standards) was catastrophic for the Browns’ playoff chances. If the 2020 season were to start today, I would still be cringing because I don’t have any reassurance that this issue is being addressed.

We Browns fans are excited about what appears to be a huge coaching upgrade for 2020. But, we have to keep in mind that Kevin Stefanski is a rookie as head coach, and he has some gigantic egos to deal with. Does he know how to manage such players? I certainly hope so.

On the helmet incident, I believe Myles when he says that Rudolph called him the n-word. But Myles did start the fight, dragging down Rudolph long after he released the ball. However, Rudolph escalated the fight by pulling Myles’ helmet halfway off. I also think that there was further racism with the black player (Myles) being called “barbaric” by the white announcer, and the white player (Rudolph) being given the benefit of the doubt by Troy Aikman who said:

“I couldn’t tell if Mason Rudolph’s left hand was caught in the helmet somehow of Myles Garrett, and that’s why he was trying to go to the headgear the way that he was…”

Absurd. As if it’s impossible for a white player to be a bully and a dirty player. (That comment can be heard at the 5:16 mark of this video.)

Clearly, if Rudolph had succeeded in getting Myles’ helmet off, he would have hit him with it and we would have had a totally different outcome. If you look up “bully” in the dictionary, there is a picture of Mason Rudolph. Does he not look like the prototypical bully? How many smaller kids did he stuff into lockers in high school? I bet it was a lot. He knew about the helmet-move and didn’t even have a dirty coach like Freddie Kitchens to teach it to him.

Did Myles Garrett Give Baker Mayfield PTSD? (Cleveland Browns Red Flag #2020-3)

In his rookie debut in 2018, Baker Mayfield was a fantastic quarterback. In 2019, he sucked. Kind of mysterious, no? Most analysts attribute Baker’s regression to the loss of OG Kevin Zeitler, and a consequently degraded o-line.

But I blame Myles Garrett.

How is that possible? How could a defensive player like Myles effect Baker’s game when he isn’t even on the field at the same time as Baker?

Answer: Myles was on the field at the same time as Baker during practice. And no, Myles did not whack Baker in the head with his helmet. However, many people have remarked that Myles “ruined” practice by being way better than the Browns’ o-line that he was practicing against.

So, the ones are on the field practicing, and on just about every pass play, there’s Myles wrapping-up Baker before he can get the ball off. He doesn’t injure Baker of course, however, subconsciously Baker learns that he is not safe, and that he needs to flee the pocket – even when he is not being pressured.

This is the reddest of red flags because everybody is thinking that the addition of Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin to the Browns’ o-line is going to restore Baker to his former glory. But, if I am right, it will not, and Baker will continue to see ghosts, have another terrible year, and maybe lose his starting-QB job to Case Keenum.

Speaking of which… Maybe one of Keenum’s jobs as backup-QB should be to take snaps when Myles is on the practice field. I’m not saying that Baker should be coddled, however his subconscious mind does need to be reconditioned into trusting his revamped o-line, which by all accounts will be far superior to the 2019 edition.

This brings to mind a story about MMA fighter Georges St. Pierre as told by his coach, Firas Zahabi, on the Joe Rogan show. As GSP was training for his fight with Dan Hardy in 2010, he got knocked down during a sparring session. In order to rebuild GSP’s confidence, and unbeknownst to GSP, Zahabi instructed the sparring partner to not throw any punches at GSP in the final round, and he did not; he just took a beating. And it worked; GSP was elated after the round and very pleased with his comeback performance. And he went on to defeat Hardy, even though he was probably concussed going in.

The important part of this story is that even the GOAT, GSP, needed to have his confidence restored.

Of course, Baker might catch on if Myles is never on the field at the same time, and that might ruin the therapy. But if so, another treatment will need to be found. An intellectual recognition that he has a better o-line this year probably won’t be enough. He needs to be conditioned to know in his bones that he is safe enough to stand in the pocket and wait for his receivers to complete their routes.

The top priority of the Browns is fixing Baker Mayfield. However, the little adjustment to Baker’s footwork made by coach Van Pelt isn’t going to get the job done by itself. This a job for a sports psychologist. And Baker could start right now with perhaps some visualization exercises, hypnosis, etc.

If this isn’t done, then the Browns will need to change their offensive scheme to match Baker’s disability. Otherwise, we will be watching a rerun of the 2019 season, which nobody wants.

Odell Beckham Jr. is an Overrated Distraction (Cleveland Browns Red Flag #2020-2)

In early 2019 when people were remarking that the Browns had no first-round draft pick, coach Freddie Kitchens responded: “Yeah, but we have Odell Beckham, Jr.

Wrong again Freddie. OBJ did not help the Browns win more games during the 2019 season. In fact, the Browns slipped from 7-8-1 in 2018 to 6-10 in 2019. Turns out, having 14 million Instagram followers doesn’t make you a great player.

And no, OBJ is not the best wide receiver in the NFL. He’s not even the best receiver on the Browns. That title belongs to Jarvis Landry who had 1,174 yards in 2019; the 10th best in the league. Beckham barely squeaked over one thousand, finishing in 26th place with 1,035 yards. Yes, OBJ was not at 100%, but neither was Landry, and both players had surgery right after the season ended.

What I find truly absurd about OBJ is his off-the-charts level of narcissism. OBJ went over 1,000 yards during the last game of the season against the Bengals (early in the 4th quarter). When he achieved this oh-so-fabulous milestone, he took himself out of the game, sat down on the bench, and put a towel over his head. He was all verklempt, and had to shield his eyes from the beam of pure, white-hot light pouring down upon his glorious personage. But his team was losing, and if he has such a high opinion of himself, why did he stop trying to win the game?

Answer, because OBJ doesn’t give a shit about the Browns.

Odell sat out for a play or two, and then came back in the game, but the drama show was ridiculously unprofessional.

And nothing has changed since then. In early May of 2020, Beckham released a video updating fans on his recovery from surgery, and was roundly criticized for his narcissistic attitude. Nowhere in the video does Beckham say the words “team” or “Browns.” Just the opposite; Beckham declares:

“This is my time. That’s all.”

See for yourself:

Is OBJ telling coach Stefanski and Baker Mayfield: “throw me the ball, or I will demand to be traded?” Because if that’s what he means, I say just trade him now. If Stefanski and Mayfield capitulate to OBJ, then the Browns will have yet another disappointing season.

Beckham’s declaration is an insult to the entire Browns receiving corps – including his best friend Jarvis Landry. And I don’t even think Beckham will make it through the season without yet another injury. In fact, the only way he will make it into the season is to skip practice and the preseason because Beckham is made of tissue paper.

While Beckham is the same size as Jarvis Landry, Beckham gets rag-dolled a lot when being tackled. It’s like watching the Broncos 5’8″ Phillip Lindsay – you brace yourself for him getting smashed by a lineman twice his size. But even Lindsay is more durable than Beckham.

While Beckham and Landry are virtually twins, Beckham’s yards-after-catch (YAC) were a paltry 331 in 2019, #44 in the league. By contrast, Landry’s YAC was #18 in the league at 440. Landry had a few more catches than Odell, but his average YAC is still higher at 5.25 vs Beckham’s 4.40.

And of course, Landry is the Browns’ team leader, while OBJ is the exact opposite of that; whatever you might call it.

In May 2020, while the Browns facility was on coronavirus lockdown, Baker Mayfield hosted some of his receivers and tight-ends in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Rashard Higgins, Damion Ratley, Austin Hooper, and David Njoku were there. Meanwhile, Beckham was frolicking in a fountain. Literally. Frolicking. (Click photo to enlarge.)

In all fairness, Jarvis wasn’t there either, but at least he was mentoring Browns rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones in Deerfield, Florida where both players were training.

And of course, wide receivers are known to be narcissists; but I think OBJ is a narcissist among narcissists. Imagine if he were to show up at training camp with a Nick Chubb style attitude. That would be incredible, but I’m not holding my breath.

If the NFL had a Harlem Globetrotters type of team, Odell would be perfect for it, doing his one-handed circus catches and whatnot. But short of that, I am not a fan, and would like to see him traded ASAP. The Browns could use a linebacker, and I hear that Joe Schobert guy in Jacksonville is pretty good. Or maybe the Browns could trade him back to the Giants straight-up for Jabrill Peppers or Kevin Zeitler. Just kidding; the Giants would never go for either trade. What the Browns need to find is an unsuspecting, linebacker-rich wide-out poor team to dump OBJ on.

Note to Odell: the first rule of football is DON’T RUN BACKWARDS:

That’s the way a narcissist returns a punt: he thinks he can juke the entire coverage team. Remember when Jabrill Peppers returned punts for the Browns? Those were the days…until the Browns sent him to New York for OBJ.

So, that’s our second red flag for the 2020 season. OBJ needs to be reigned in, or traded. He is a walking red-flag.

How Beckham Broke the Browns

Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t trying to break the Browns, of course. And there were plenty of other problems during the 2019 season. But the OBJ trade in March of 2019 sealed the team’s fate.

When I first heard about the trade, I was baffled. “They traded Peppers, of all people? WTF?” That was the defensive equivalent of trading Nick Chubb. But that wasn’t the worst of it. The Browns also traded OG Kevin Zeitler, one of the guys who pass-blocked for Baker Mayfield as the rookie QB rose to super-star status in 2018.

It was a large six-player trade. The Browns got Beckham and DE Olivier Vernon in exchange for OG Kevin Zeitler, SS Jabrill Peppers, and the Browns’ #17 & #95 picks in the 2019 draft. Those picks turned into the highly-regarded DE Dexter Lawrence, and LB Oshane Ximines. Here’s the spreadsheet:

Browns Got Giants Got
Odell Beckham Jr. Kevin Zeitler
Olivier Vernon Jabrill Peppers
Dexter Lawrence
Oshane Ximines

Ironically, this trade hobbled OBJ himself by blowing a giant hole in one of the finest o-lines in the NFL. The Browns never came close to filling Zietler’s shoes in 2019, and Baker Mayfield spent most of the season running for his life. Consequently, OBJ put up mediocre numbers.

OBJ was hurt for most of the season, and said that he could not hit top gear. Olivier Vernon also had an injury-riddled lackluster season. So, in hindsight of course, it looks like the Browns acquired two over-the-hill players in exchange for four, count ’em!, FOUR! solid players. So, as of this writing, the OBJ trade is looking like one of the very worst in NFL history.

And it gets worse. Shorty after the trade, Bucky Brooks, in a prescient article, took OBJ to task for not participating in the Browns’ off-season “organized team activities” (OTAs). OBJ had a new offense to learn, but didn’t bother to show up for practice.

So, it was a multifaceted disaster: 1) The Browns made a terrible trade for OBJ. 2) OBJ’s celebrity presence amplified the reality distortion field around the Browns to a lethal level. 3) The Browns’ passing game was not broken, but they fixed it anyway. They fixed the hell out of it. 4) OBJ didn’t practice enough to develop a chemistry with his new quarterback.

But wait! There’s more! OBJ will be the subject of my next “red-flag” series for the 2020 season.

Note: the Browns later said that there were two trades, with one being a straight-up swap of Zeitler for Vernon. I don’t know why the Browns wanted to rewrite history, but here I went with the trade as originally announced and reported.

Watch Zeitler (#70) opening the hole for Nick Chubb’s franchise-record 92-yard touchdown run against the Falcons in November of 2018:

That’s what the Browns gave up for OBJ. But this wasn’t just any old 92-yard touchdown run. At the time, the Browns were 2-6-1, and suffering yet another abysmal season. But then went 5-2 to finish the season at 7-8-1. You could make a case that the hole Zeitler opened was the very beginning of that seven-game “Golden Age” of 2018. Not only did it establish Nick Chubb as truly something special, but it also demonstrated that the Browns’ o-line could spring him loose. No doubt that it gave the Browns a new-found confidence.

Baker Mayfield does not Step Up into the Pocket (Cleveland Browns Red Flag #2020-1)

Early in the 2019 season, retired OG Geoff Schwartz wrote an article about how Baker Mayfield was making life difficult for his o-line. One of the things Schwartz pointed out was that Baker was not stepping up into the pocket.

With the problem publicly identified by a credible observer, I was expecting Baker to fix it. But he did not. And he finished the season as one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL.

While it’s true that the Browns haven’t set foot on the practice field yet, I am worried that this problem is not being addressed. I have not heard Baker, coach Stefanski or OC Van Pelt even mention this issue. Even worse, I have not heard anybody in the sport media discussing this glaring flaw in Baker’s game.

I’m excited to watch first-round draft-pick Jedrick Wills Jr. pass-block for Baker, but I wonder if Wills knows that he has a QB who won’t be stepping up into the pocket? Can he adjust for such a thing? Because everybody is expecting Wills to make a meaningful contribution to Baker having a great season. Everybody is acting like it’s a done deal, but I don’t think it is.

So, that’s our first red flag. Somebody needs to teach Baker how to play his position, and there is no sign of that happening yet.

No, Miami was Never “Hard Hit” by COVID-19

Every day during the COVID-19 crisis, the media here would describe Miami as “hard hit” or a “hot spot” or the “epicenter” of the pandemic in Florida.

That was 100% horseshit.

According to the official statistics of the State of Florida, the pandemic in Miami-Dade county peaked on April 4, 2020 with 22 deaths. (See the chart below.)


That’s literally 1/26th of New York City’s peak daily death toll of 581! (Chart here.)

Now, you might be thinking: “Yes, but NYC has more people, and the per-capita numbers are probably comparable.” Wrong. Florida has done fantastic per-capita too. As of May 11, 2020, this chart on shows New York State with 137 deaths per 100,000 and Florida with only 8!

Miami Beach got international media coverage when spring-breakers refused to stop congregating on the beach. So, there were corpses stacked to the rafters in South Beach, right? Wrong! In the South Beach zip code of 33139, I can find only one resident who died of COVID-19. And even there, that victim was 79 years-old, in Mount Sinai for another condition, and was infected with COVID-19 while in the hospital. Today, the state is reporting 219 cases in 33139, but that is the total for the pandemic, and they do not say how many of those people have recovered. Most of them probably have recovered, and the number of active cases right now might only be a couple of dozen.

If you live in a real hot-spot like New York City, and can afford to do so, you would be crazy not to buy a place down here that you can flee to when the wheels come off up north. We have clean air, with no nearby petrochemical industry to weaken your lungs. We have plenty of sunshine to keep your vitamin D topped-up, and when the hotels are on lockdown, our population-density is downright spacious.

Daily COVID-19 deaths in Miami-Dade Country for March 16 – May 11, 2020 (click chart to enlarge):

Note: data is reported with a lag, so these numbers will continue to go up a little bit. And when we come off of lockdown, there are bound to be more cases and deaths.

Note: the media has tried to browbeat the State of Florida into including tourist deaths in their statistics in an effort to paint a bleaker picture. However, the state reports only cover residents. Were there a lot of tourist deaths? I don’t know, but I have been unable to find any at all in South Beach. The media reported on two Winter Party attendees who died, but they did not live in Miami Beach. If there were more, the media would have trumpeted them, so I would bet that the tourist death toll was very low.

Here are some death-stats that I compiled for this time-period:

Average age: 75.3
Median age: 78.0

Males: 299 (61%)
Females: 191 (39%)

Buckminster Fuller Wanted to Bomb the Rainforest

I am not making this up. Here is the exact quote from Fuller’s 1981 book, Critical Path, page 306:

“Certain it is that the jungle in no way lends itself to the easy, speculative wanderings of homesteaders and prospectors. An entirely different means for deploying the Brazilian population over the whole of their land for purposes of its development must be devised from those which augmented the pioneering of the U.S., Canadian, and Russian hinterlands.

Almost so simple that it will be shunned by those who prefer to plan the hard way, in order to take advantage of their hard-earned specialized experience of the past, is the technique now provided by modern warfare that would approach this whole Brazilian jungleland from above, bombing it open, then parachuting in with well-planned hand equipment and personal protective devices to carve out a complete polka-dot pattern of island airports over the whole country, into which pattern mechanical devices would be fed progressively as parachute deliveries graduate to plane-landed deliveries, etc. Each area would receive its quota of machine tools, drafting equipment, air conditioning, etc., and then its engineering and designing personnel would amplify the hold on the jungle. This ‘island’ network of ‘tropical research and development stations’ should form the nuclear structure for the new Brazil.”

What about the natives living there? Fuller didn’t give them a thought. I might also add that in the same book, Fuller lauded the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as a strategic stroke of genius – and couldn’t have been more wrong if he tried. Fuller rooted against the USA during the Cold War; he was a true believer in the supremacy of the Soviet system. Start reading on the bottom of page 192 for more on this subject.

Believe it or not, President Reagan gave Fuller a Presidential Medal of Freedom for Architecture in 1983. I guess he didn’t read Critical Path.

The Miami Beach Construction Balloon

I’ve never heard of one of these things before, so I’m calling it a “Construction Balloon.”

I thought that it would be a temporary measure when it was installed in late 2016, and would be removed when the little “falling over” problem was fixed. But it is still here in May 2017, and has become a tourist attraction. So, maybe it is here to stay.

This is in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach where there are strict rules about renovating old buildings. So, I’m guessing that something went horribly wrong while they were renovating the building on the right (west) and the problem didn’t become visible until it was too late. If you have the story, be sure to let me know. A Google search turned up nothing at the time of this writing.

The balloon is only a few stories up, so you can get your picture taken under it. To find it, click the map below and look for the red “X” in the center:

Ocean Court, and 14th Place are allies. I see delivery trucks in there, so you can drive in, but it’s probably better to park and walk. You might aim for the Starbucks on Ocean Drive at the north end of Lummus Park. Once there, just walk west across the street, and then into the alley.

Should You Use a RAD Tool for Your Software Project?

Twenty years ago, there was a mad rush where every company built a website. Today, every company wants to have a mobile app, and apps are a lot more complicated than websites. You can throw up a pretty nice website in a single day with WordPress, but developing an app takes much longer. Consequently, there are millions of civilians faced with the challenge of managing software-development projects – a daunting task, even for pros. See: “The Long, Dismal History of Software Project Failure.” And no one is immune. For example, Apple’s “Copeland” operating-system project is regarded as one of the largest failures in history (see this).

In this article I will explain some things about software-development tools that will hopefully make things a bit more clear for the non-professional. So, which tools should you use? Should you use what the platform vendor gives you? For example, that would be Apple’s Swift or Objective-C for iOS, and Google’s Java for Android. Or should you use a tool provided by a third party, of which there are many choices?

One of the problems with using the “official” tools is that they play second fiddle to the hardware. Once a hardware company invents a new computer, they must then write an operating system for it. So, the tools they develop to do that are naturally low-level, well suited for an engineer writing a display driver, for example. They aren’t optimized for you to write an accounting app for your small business.

Another problem is that hardware competitors don’t cooperate very well. Steve Jobs famously wanted to crush Android. However, just about everybody developing mobile apps wants them to work on both iOS and Android. And so, there is a huge void for third-party toolmakers to fill, and one of the big things that they bring to the table is “RAD” technology.

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a style of building software that has reduced the failure-rate of projects. Associated with the methodology is a group of tools designed to speed development. In general, this speed is achieved by abstracting away the native development environment of the operating system, and replacing it with a streamlined model that requires less training, and increases programmer productivity.

Imagine the iPhone as a beautiful work of art sculpted by the geniuses at Apple. Then the RAD designer comes along and says: “I can fix that” takes out his chisel and starts banging away. As you might imagine, it’s an ambitious endeavor, and RAD designers are a special kind of genius.

RAD tools are often expensive, but they are able to command premium prices because they really do speed up development. RAD tools can’t do everything, but for a subset of use-cases, you would be crazy to use anything else. Many people also like to use RAD tools for personal productivity and hobbyist applications because the streamlined development tools let them achieve a “flow state” which is very enjoyable.

RAD tools are also pretty popular; you might have heard of some of them: Visual Basic, Delphi, HyperCard, FoxPro, REALbasic (now Xojo), Xamarin, etc.

Let’s take a look at the major features of RAD tools, and then we will be able to draw some conclusions about the kinds of projects for which they are appropriate.

The Programming Language

First of all, the RAD designer has to invent a new programming language. For example, Apple’s primary programming language in recent years has been Objective C, and here is what the traditional “Hello World” program looks like in that language:

int main(int argc, const char * argv[]) {
    @autoreleasepool {
        NSLog(@"Hello, World!");
    return 0;

By contrast, here is the same program coded with a RAD tool (Xojo):

MsgBox "Hello World!"

A little more accessible, right? So, the RAD programming language does a lot of the grunt work for you. This language is often referred to as a Forth Generation Language (4GL). As you probably know, computers run on binary code, zeros and ones. That’s the first generation language, but it’s rather laborious for us humans. So, we have something easier called assembly language, the second generation, but that’s still too laborious for most tasks. Consequently, most programming is done in third-generation languages like Objective-C and Java. The code in these languages is run through a thing called a compiler which translates the language into machine code that the CPU can understand.

The Framework

In addition to the language, the RAD designer must abstract the computer’s framework. What’s a framework? It’s the built-in software that makes it easier for programmers to build apps. For example, if you want to draw a circle on the screen, you don’t have to manually switch on the pixels in question. You can just call a thing that does that: DrawCircle(x,y,r,c) will draw the circle after you tell it where to start (x & y), how big to make it (r), and what color (c). A framework will contain thousands of such subroutines, and typically the RAD designer will only implement the most important ones, leaving aside the more esoteric.

The RAD designer is targeting “applications” programmers as opposed to “systems” programmers. The systems programmers are the engineers at the computer company who code all the system software: compilers, drivers, file systems, frameworks, etc. The applications programmers are the ones who buy the computer and then write an app to manage their company’s payroll.

Applications programmers generally don’t have to use the esoteric functions of their computers. So, that’s why a RAD designer can leave out those functions. But there are indeed high-performance apps like games that need low-level code to push the hardware to its limits. So, most RAD tools are not suited for such apps. However, as hardware gets more and more powerful, more and more applications can be handled by RAD tools.

The RAD framework also facilitates cross-platform development. For example, Microsoft and Apple have been rivals for decades, and while their frameworks do pretty much the same things, they are vastly different and require years of study by programmers. But you can cut that learning-curve in half by using a RAD tool that provides you with a single framework and then “cross compiles” for each platform.

The Compiler

Since the RAD designer invents his own language, he also needs to invent his own compiler. You don’t need to know a lot about compilers, but in general you want a RAD tool that compiles to 64-bit “native code” and uses the state-of-the-art LLVM compiler. Once a RAD tool adopts LLVM technology, you know that it will be able to support new hardware in the future in a timely fashion. For example, Xojo recently added support for the new Raspberry Pi 2, a windfall for Xojo developers.

The GUI Builder

Applications programming almost always involves a Graphical User Interface (GUI), so RAD tools always have a drag-and-drop GUI builder. In the old days, you could adjust the buttons, text fields, and lists on your screen by just dragging them to the right place. But with the modern proliferation of screen sizes, you want a GUI builder that can automatically reposition things. You also want one that uses “native controls” so that your GUI looks like all the other apps on your computer. For example, Java uses its own controls and consequently looks horrible on all computers. Just take a look at the thinkorswim trading platform. It’s a perfectly good program, but it’s jarring to both Mac and Windows users because of its crazy GUI. So, when you are selecting your RAD tool, take a look at the apps it builds on each platform it supports and make sure that they have a native look-and-feel appropriate to the platform. If you are developing an app for internal use, you may not care about this very much.

The Database Engine

Most applications need to store data, so most RAD tools have some sort of database facility. Relational databases have been the standard for many years, and these systems are often referred to as SQL, which is the language that you use to talk to them: Structured Query Language. In recent years, a database called SQLite has become popular, so if your RAD tool has that, you will be fine. Of course, your RAD designer needs to do a good job abstracting it like any other part of the system. If you will be working with big data, or enterprise clients, then you want your RAD tool to have database “drivers” that can connect to the major database-management systems like Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, MySQL, etc.


As you may have noticed, the RAD designer’s job is a big one. And because he has to get his product to market in a reasonable amount of time, he will very likely leave some gaping holes behind. So, you want a RAD tool that is extendable, with some kind of plugin facility that allows you to plug the holes. For example, a long time ago, I developed a product for a startup company in Silicon Valley using the Omnis RAD tool. Omnis was up to the task and the project came out beautifully, but it took a ridiculous amount of time to import the data from the IT department. The Omnis database was adequate, but super slow at importing. However, Omnis had an extension system that allowed me to write an import routine in the “C” programming language that sped up the process a hundred-fold. If a RAD tool is not extendable, then you shouldn’t use it for anything more than hobbyist projects because it is only a matter of time before you hit a brick wall.


Speaking of Omnis…I had to stop using it in the mid 1990s when the Internet arrived to the masses. Omnis required that you purchase a serial number for each copy of your app that you made. Such a model is fine for in-house work, and B2B apps, but completely impossible for shareware. So, I switched to Visual Basic which had no “runtime” fees at all. I have also heard of a “free” cross-platform mobile RAD tool that makes apps for iOS and Android, which is only free until you upload your app to the App Store or the Play Store. Then you get a phone call from the RAD tool’s sales department demanding thousands of dollars. And they can enforce the demand because your app is integrated with their backend services, which means that they can switch off your app whenever they feel like it. So, if you are planning on selling your apps, make sure that you know all the licensing details of the RAD tool before you start building apps with it – especially if you will be selling your app to the public.


RAD tools also include another large, complex piece of software called an “Integrated Development Environment.” You don’t have to worry about the IDE too much if you are hiring a contractor. If you are a programmer, you definitely want to evaluate the capabilities of the IDE because it has such a large impact on your productivity. And if there is no debugger, then it’s not a RAD tool.

Technology State

Imagine that you are a RAD designer, and you have been slaving away for years on your awesome RAD tool, abstracting away Apple’s “Cocoa Touch” framework. You release your product to great fanfare, and then a few months later at “dub-dub” Apple announces that Cocoa Touch has been “deprecated” in favor of a new framework called Coconut. The crowd goes wild over the new hotness, but your heart sinks because you know that you will have to walk over the hot coals all over again, updating your framework to support Coconut, which will take years. And while you are doing that, all of your customers will be complaining that their apps look old-fashioned on Apple’s new Coconut-based devices. Not fun.

In the software world, things are always being “deprecated” which means that while they will continue to work, they will be done away with at some point in the future. So, you need to get busy and reprogram your stuff. For example, Google has deprecated the first version of its Chart API, and released a new API. As the shut-off date approached, I recoded all of the charts on my website. And just as I was getting ready to do the same to the charts in my BlubberPatrol Android app, Google announced that while the original chart API is still deprecated, they don’t plan to turn it off any time soon. So, BlubberPatrol still uses the old API, which I happen to like better than the new one. But if Google ever changes its mind, and turns it off, and I don’t happen to catch the announcement, I will have to scramble to release a new version. That happens. Just ask Rob Walling; he discusses such an incident at the beginning of this podcast.

In July 2012, Apple deprecated its “Carbon” framework in favor of the new “Cocoa” framework. Granted, a big change like this doesn’t happen very often, but change is coming faster and faster making life harder for RAD designers to keep up. In any case, when selecting a RAD tool, you want to choose one that can generate apps for the current frameworks, and is made by a company that has the staying power to keep up-to-date. You definitely want a tool that can produce Cocoa apps on the Mac and .NET apps on Windows. Android updates are much more frequent, so talk to the user community online or at local meetups and see if the RAD tool has a reputation for staying current.

Critical Framework Support

Before choosing a RAD tool, you should identify the major features of your app. For example, if you will be selling it to the public, how will you collect payment? Will your app do push notifications? Etcetera. Make a list of these features, and make sure that your RAD tool supports them, or if not, whether there are third-party plugins available. Because if you have to dive down and implement such things yourself, your productivity is going to get torpedoed.

So, When Should You Use a RAD Tool?

First of all, pretty much any kind of hobbyist app can be easily handled by a RAD tool. If you want to write an app to catalog your bug collection, you will get it done twice as fast as you would with a 3GL. RAD tools can also handle most data-centric apps. So, if you have a million different bugs in your collection, don’t give it a second thought. If your RAD tool uses a SQL database, it will be fine.

Personal productivity apps, such as a customized to-do list are suitable for RAD tools, as well as office productivity apps: accounting, payroll, customer database, etc.

RAD tools are often used at the enterprise level, for example to build front-ends to huge databases.

RAD tools can be used for some kinds of games. For example, here is an implementation of Flappy Bird written in Xojo.

RAD tools can even be used to write RAD tools. For example, Xojo is coded in Xojo. This is called “self hosting” and is pretty solid evidence that the tool can handle large, complex projects. Xojo can also build web apps.

Many apps sold to consumers are written with RAD tools, and the original incarnation of BitTorrent was written in Python, which is not strictly speaking a RAD tool, but you might call it a 3.5GL. BitTorrent has since been rewritten in C++, but that was only after it took over half the internet.

So, RAD tools are capable of handling large projects. However, as we discussed, RAD tools are ambitions programs and require a lot of time to develop. So, if you want to be first to market on a new platform, RAD tools are pretty much out of the question. If you want to be there on Day One with your dashboard app when the first AppleCar rolls off the assembly line in 2019, I suggest that you start learning Swift right now, or make the acquaintance of a Swift programmer to contract with once Apple releases the SDK (software development kit).

On the other hand, you can be there on Day One with a RAD tool when new APIs are released for existing platforms. For example, when WordPress releases its much-anticipated REST API, RAD developers just might be the first to market with client apps in many categories.

If you are trying to win design awards, you probably don’t want to use a RAD tool since it may not support the fancy things that you are trying to do. If you are making a game that pushes the hardware, you probably want to use a 3GL. If you are doing something very innovative then you probably want to use the platform vendor’s tools.

If you are developing a mobile app, and you want it to run on both iOS and Android you are faced with a choice: You can hire two programmers, one to write the iOS version in Objective-C or Swift, and another one to write the Android version in Java. Or you can hire one guy to do both apps in a RAD tool like Xamarin. Obviously, Xamarin is going to win a lot of these jobs because it can do them for half the price in half the time.

Why I Like to Use RAD Tools

Many “real” programmers wouldn’t be caught dead writing an app with a RAD tool. They think that RAD tools are for a lower tier of coders who just can’t handle real programming. Sort of like an automatic transmission in a car for the “idiots” who don’t know how to shift their own gears. But even though I am a “real” programmer with a CS degree, I prefer to develop apps with RAD tools. Why? Because I like to get things done. I like to finish projects quickly, so that I can go onto the next challenge. If you have a lot of ideas, and you want to bring them to life, a RAD tool can help make it happen a lot faster. Thirty years ago, I began writing software with Omnis 3. Then, I switched to Visual Basic for many years, and for the past fifteen years, I have been using Xojo. I made a lot of money and had a lot of fun. RAD is good stuff.

Further Reading

Gay Passages from Moby Dick

“There’s hogsheads of sperm ahead, Mr. Stubb, and that’s what ye came for. (Pull my boys!) Sperm, sperm’s the play!” -Moby Dick

In high school and college, I was never assigned to read Moby Dick. I’ve always wondered about that. How could it be that I was never forced to read such a famous book? Well, I have a theory now: it’s possible that the book was deemed to be “too gay” for us suburban students. I just finished reading it, and here are some quotes.

At the beginning of the book, before the Pequod sets sail, the main character, Ishmael, is looking for a hotel. But all the hotels are full, and his only option is to share a room with Queequeg, the savage harpooner. The room has one large bed and no heat, so they have to snuggle together for warmth. There is no explicit sex, but there is a lot narrative like this:

“We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free and easy were we…” (Kindle 1082)

And this:

“As we were going along the people stared; not at Queequeg so much – for they were used to seeing cannibals like him in their streets, – but at seeing him and me upon such confidential terms. But we heeded them not…” (Kindle 1148)

And this:

“How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts’ honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg – a cosy, loving pair.” (Kindle 1079)

After the Pequod leaves port, the love affair seems to come to an end, and the narrative turns to whaling, as you can imagine.

For some reason, sperm whales have about 100 barrels of oil inside of their heads. At first, people thought it was sperm, but that turned out to be wrong. It’s just some kind of mysterious oil. So, the word “sperm” in the context of whaling means the same thing as “whale oil.” Hence the quote at the top of the page (Kindle 3519); the sailors are excited by sperm because it is a valuable commodity, and they are rowing, pulling hard, to catch up with the whale.

Melville also uses the word “erect” quite a lot:

“The savage stood erect there” (Kindle 3540)

“erecting himself” (Kindle 3548)

“an erect posture” (Kindle 3554)

“erect attitude” (Kindle 3565)

“erected crests of enraged serpents” (Kindle 3609)

“the body was erect” (Kindle 3763)

“Of erections, how few are domed like St. Peter’s!” (Kindle 4854)

“horses only show their erected ears” (Kindle 7502)

“her three firm-seated graceful masts erectly poised” (Kindle 7626)

“he stood erect” (Kindle 7700)

“the erect spar” (Kindle 8665)

Here’s a few more phrases:

“Flask mounted upon gigantic Daggoo” (Kindle 3556)

“Tashtego has to ram his long pole harder and harder, and deeper and deeper” (Kindle 5336)

“Don’t ye love sperm?” (Kindle 5509)

“Jerk him off” (Kindle 7896)

“for bettor or for worse, we two, for the time, were wedded” (Kindle 8822)

After catching a whale, the sailors would have to butcher it and process the oil so that it could be stored in barrels until the end of the voyage. The oil often had waxy lumps, and the sailors had to squeeze them down into oil. Ishmael loved that particular task:

“Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers’ hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say, – Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness. Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever!” (Kindle 6450)

Turns out, Melville wrote love letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne, not that there’s anything wrong with that… He also worked on a whaler, jumped ship, and spent a month living with the natives on the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia. Getting is savage-freak on, no doubt.

I’m not sure why Moby Dick is so famous. It seemed terribly long-winded to me. And Melville’s characters didn’t strike me as real. In fact, they reminded me of Ayn Rand’s cardboard characters. I did enjoy learning about whaling, which is a fascinating subject, and the book is packed with many clever turns of phrase.

Whaling in a nutshell: Scientists don’t know why whales have oil in their heads, but they have some theories. You might think that a whale could just dive down and evade the whalers, but whales are mammals and have to come up for air. So, the whalers would just wait them out. A whaling ship didn’t chase whales itself, but put smaller boats in the water that had oars, as well as sails. That way they were not dependent on the wind. Sometimes they could row as fast as the whale could swim; sometimes not. While they had muskets, they didn’t shoot whales because they might just sink to the bottom. You wanted to harpoon them, with a rope attached to the harpoon so that you cold reel them in. And for that, you had to get up close and personal, which as you can imagine, was quite dangerous, especially considering that the whales didn’t appreciate being harpooned. You might think that a harpooned whale could just pull a boat under, or drag it around for weeks. But apparently, they bleed out from even the small wounds made by harpoons, so they are more vulnerable than they look.

Note: I loaded the Project Gutenberg version of Moby Dick onto my Kindle and read it there. So, that’s what the Kindle locations refer to. That text didn’t show the original page numbers.

Update: In March of 2021, a fascinating study on whaling was published: “Sperm Whales in 19th Century Shared Ship Attack Information.” Instead of forming defensive circles, as they did to fend of attacking orca, the whales began to swim upwind to foil the wind-powered ships. Their new tactic cut harpoon strikes by 58%!

Stanley Kubrick Whitewashed the Illuminati

Conspiracy aficionados are enamored of Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut. They believe that Kubrick showed us an authentic Illuminati ritual, and exposed the evil nature of the group. However, while I’m not disputing the occult content of the movie, I assert that the net effect of the film on the millions who viewed it was to make the Illuminati look mostly harmless.

Tom Cruise, in the black cloak on the right, gets the third degree from Kubrick's Illuminati.

Tom Cruise, in the black cloak on the right, gets the third degree from Kubrick’s Illuminati.

Kubrick’s Illuminati doesn’t do anything flagrantly evil. They hire hookers; they rough-up a piano player; they follow Dr. Bill on the street, and they threaten Dr. Bill in a politely written note hand delivered by a butler. You call that an Illuminati? Ha! In its heyday, Italy’s P2 lodge did more crime before breakfast! Compared to the Sopranos, Kubrick’s Illuminati are a bunch of choir boys. Kubrick would have us believe that the Illuminati is just a bunch of weirdo swingers. And he gives us no hint as to who the Grand Poobah in the red robe is. It’s got to be a banker, right?

Most. Boring. Orgy. Ever.
Even the orgy scene in EWS is tame. Yes, Warner Bros. blocked out some explicit content, but that doesn’t change the fact that it looked like somebody spiked the Illuminati punch bowl with sleeping pills.

In fact, the entire movie exhibited glacially slow pacing; almost as if Kubrick was trying to hypnotize us. I mean, here we have Tom Cruise being captured by a sinister secret society, and there is no action in the movie at all. And no laughs either – that might break the hypnotic spell. And it goes on and on and on for an incredible 159 minutes which feels like double that length. Eyes Wide Shut will literally put you to sleep – despite the fact that it is loaded with naked chicks!

“You’re getting sleepy, very sleepy. When you wake up from this boring movie you will believe the Illuminati is harmless.”

And it’s not a joke, because when a genius director like Kubrick makes a boring movie, it’s not an accident. Ladies and gentleman, I submit to you: EWS is a psy-op just like Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy.

Now, there is a character who pimps out his underage daughter (Milich at the costume shop) however he isn’t portrayed as a part of the Illuminati. And even there, the girl is game, so that makes it look less sinister. So Kubrick also whitewashes pedophilia, one of the Illuminati’s favorite pastimes.

Let’s look at a creepy subplot. In the frame below, we see two characters that we might call Square Head and Round Head at the 12:55 mark (click image to enlarge):


They are sitting at a table at the foot of the stairs, possibly as guards. The guy on the left has a square-ish head. The guy on the right has a rounded head. Perhaps Kubrick chose their distinctive head shapes so that we would recognize them more easily later in the movie. They have no lines. Their appearance here is significant because this is where Dr. Bill (far left) first learns that the Christmas party is less than wholesome. At the top of the stairs, he finds the host, Victor Ziegler, with a hooker who just overdosed.

The next time that we see Square Head and Round Head is at the end of the movie (2:30:35) in the toy store:


Kubrick puts them dead center to make sure that we get a good look. While Bill & Alice distract us with the boring, anti-climactic end of the film, we imagine their daughter Helena following the Illuminati operatives out to the creeper van. Now that’s alarming, but even here it’s not as sinister as it seems. First, Square Head and Round Head are not snatching the child. Second, before Helena follows them out of sight, she looks back at her parents, seemingly for approval:


Dr. Bill & Alice are not concerned at all. In fact, they dreaded the idea of taking her Christmas shopping, and acted indifferent as she enthusiastically picked out toys. For the remaining three minutes of the film, Bill & Alice don’t so much as glance in the direction of the last whereabouts of their child, displaying parental negligence. And finally, this sequence of events is so subtle that very few, if any, theater-goers probably noticed it at all. And so Kubrick softens the blow of the Illuminati’s acquisition of under-age sex slaves. He makes it look peaceful and voluntary, and perpetrated on parents who might deserve it.

As to the film’s title, I understand that the phrase is the Illuminati equivalent to the Mafia’s: “you didn’t see anything.” And we didn’t see Dr. Bill ever notify the authorities: he didn’t call 911 for the hooker who overdosed, he didn’t notify the police about Milich pimping out his underage daughter at the costume shop, etc. He kept his eyes wide shut, and the title of the film should be understood as a command from Kubrick to yourself. If you ever see any Illuminati crime, just dummy up like the great movie stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

So, the conspiracy community needs to calm down about EWS. Indeed, a complete re-evaluation of Kubrick’s body of work from a less-credulous perspective is in order. I submit to you: not only are Dr. Bill’s eyes wide shut, but so are Mr. Kubrick’s. Another example is the famous Ludovico Technique shown in Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange:


In the film, this form of torture is used to cure Alex, the violent psychopath. But in real life, the London Times reported that Lt. Commander Thomas Narut of the U.S. Navy used the technique to do the exact opposite: to train assassins.

The moral of the story is that when a member of the esoteric world makes a film for us out here in the real (exoteric) world, he’s probably not doing us a favor. Rather, he’s probably running a psy-op on us.

Note on the boring plot of Eyes Wide Shut: the conflict between Alice and Bill begins when Alice ditches Bill at the party, chugs down a glass of wine, and goes to flirt with a guy at the bar. So, she starts it. Bill makes it worse by telling Alice a white lie about where he disappeared to at the party, keeping his eyes wide shut even with his wife. Though Bill didn’t cheat on his wife at the party, Alice knows that he is lying about something, and proceeds to go berserk on him, torturing him with all kinds horrible tales of infidelity.

Tinker Tailor Soldier, My Eye!

If you are having trouble sleeping, tune in to HBO and watch the 2011 film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and let a British psy-op knock you out. The film is excruciatingly dull. I’m not the type to fall asleep during movies, but watching Tinker made me feel like I had swallowed a handful of sleeping pills – just like it did 39 years ago when I tried to read John Le Carré’s equally dull novel.

In fact, I tried to read Tinker more than once. Each time, I got exasperated and threw the book down in disgust. I defy you to read it. And I love spy novels. I’ve read all of Tom Clancy’s books, for example. In general, I read books cover-to-cover. Even bad books because I keep thinking: “the good part that brought it to my attention must coming up any minute now.”

So, I’ve been perplexed by Tinker for my whole life. But I think I have finally solved the mystery: Tinker is dull because it was designed to be dull. It was written by a British intelligence agent to literally put Americans to sleep. It is a psy-op aimed at us as a deterrent to keep us from looking further into the machinations of Perfidious Albion.

How was it possible for such a horrible book to make it onto the New York Times Best-Seller list? I’ll bet that if the truth were known, British intelligence agents were sent out to bookstores to buy-up copies and goose the sales numbers. Just like L. Ron Hubbard used to send out his thralls to buy copies of Dianetics.

But why? What were the British trying to hypnotize us into forgetting? Well, as World War II wound down, President Roosevelt refused to help Churchill maintain the British Empire, which infuriated Churchill and he turned against us. Churchill sought to weaken the USA by instigating the Cold War, and having us turn against our Russian allies. Stalin even believed that Churchill had FDR assassinated (see story here).

Don’t you think that it’s odd that the US military did so well in World War II, but all of sudden, couldn’t fight its way out of a paper bag in Korea and Vietnam? Genghis Khan had no trouble conquering Korea, so why couldn’t we do it? Well, General MacArthur suspected that the North Koreans and Chinese were being tipped off to his plans. Back then, we foolishly trusted the Brits with too much of our intelligence.

In Vietnam, it was a Brit who talked us into the disastrous Strategic Hamlet program where our side “helped” villagers by burning their houses down and marching them into concentration camps. Not the best way to win hearts and minds.

Ostensibly, the Russians had infiltrated British intelligence, and spies like Kim Philby sent intel to the Kremlin during the Cold War. But Stalin himself didn’t trust Philby and thought that he was a triple agent still loyal to the British.

Ultimately, the Tinker psy-op has succeeded. The vast majority of Americans think that the Brits have been nothing but staunch allies since World War I, when in reality the picture isn’t quite so clear.

How to Update the Android GUI From a Timer

If you found this post via a Google search, chances are that your Android app just crashed after you added an innocent-looking timer. You probably got this error:

android.view.ViewRootImpl$CalledFromWrongThreadException: Only the original thread that created a view hierarchy can touch its views.

You may have also found people saying that you can’t use a timer to update the GUI. Seems odd, right? Why would Google make a timer and then not let you use it for hardly anything?

Well, those people are wrong. While you can’t update the GUI directly from your timer, you can do so with a few little tweaks.

The error above happens because Android doesn’t want other threads, such as your timer, messing with its GUI. So, what you need to do is politely ask Android to make the update for you. To do that, you need to add a handler and a runnable. Android will monitor the handler for a signal from your timer. When it gets the signal, it will run the code in the runnable. It sounds complicated, but it amounts to only a few lines of code.

First, move the code that updates the GUI out of your timer and into a runnable. A runnable is a mechanism where one thread can tell another thread to run a block of code. In this example, there is one line of code which sets the TextView tv to the value of the global variable i:

final Runnable myRunnable = new Runnable() {
   public void run() {

Creating a handler is very simple:

final Handler myHandler = new Handler();

And in the timer, we pass the runnable to the handler:

private void UpdateGUI() {
   //tv.setText(String.valueOf(i)); //This causes a runtime error.;

As an example, I took the Android “Hello World” app, and modified it into a counter that updates once per second:

public class HelloActivity extends Activity {
   int i=0;
   TextView tv;
   final Handler myHandler = new Handler();

   public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

      tv=(TextView) findViewById(;

      Timer myTimer = new Timer();
      myTimer.schedule(new TimerTask() {
         public void run() {UpdateGUI();}
      }, 0, 1000);


   private void UpdateGUI() {

   final Runnable myRunnable = new Runnable() {
      public void run() {

Parabolic Gold Update #1

Gold has been shooting straight up recently, but will it keep going? I reckon it’s time to dust off the old Fractal Dimension Index (FDI); don’t you agree? Here is a weekly GLD chart (click to enlarge):

Parabolic Gold Update 1

The FDI is in the red line in the lower panel. When it drops down to the purple line, that means that prices have been moving in a straight line, which our allegedly fractal markets are not supposed to do. And sure enough, low FDI readings have corresponded to peaks on the GLD chart. (Points 1, 2, 3, 5, 6). And, as you can see at point X, the FDI is very low right now.

However, that does not mean that gold will take a plunge. It might, or it might just pull back a bit and gun higher as it did at points 1, 2, and 5. A low FDI reading only tells you that the trend is long in the tooth. It doesn’t tell you what will happen next.

Now look at points 4 and 7. A high FDI reading means that prices have been consolidating and that a breakout may be imminent. Not bad, huh?

Note: I will write more about the FDI as soon as I’m done coding it. I just have to add the alarms now.

2008 Performance

Here is a chart of my account from my broker’s website. I am the green line, and the S&P 500 is the blue line:

That’s my large retirement account. To be exact, I was up 43.63% during one of the worst years in history. In my smaller taxable account, I was up 50.10%. I don’t have a chart for the smaller account because it lived at three different brokers, but I imagine it would look about the same as the chart above.

Notice that my high-water mark was around 73%. That peak was on December 1st, which was one of the largest percentage drops in stock-market history. I saw it coming. I was massively short. I had absurdly huge profits on that day, but… I failed to ring the register. I studied the volume to see if the decline would have legs, and it was a toss-up. I decided to stay short, and that turned out to be the wrong decision. The moral of the story is that when you see gigantic profits appear in your account, it’s almost always a good idea to take them.

Also note that my performance flat-lined during the last two weeks of December. That’s because I was in cash making sure to lock in my bragging rights! And it was worth it! Look how much fun I having now!

Needless to say, in my first year of full-time trading, I have crushed just about every mutual fund, hedge fund, and legendary investor in the world. Here’s a quote from Bloomberg:

“Just six of the 1,611 U.S. mutual funds that invest in stocks and have more than $250 million in assets gained in 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Among them is Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo & Co.’s $2.04 billion GMO Alpha Only Fund, which returned 12 percent.

Jeremy Grantham, who helps oversee more than $107 billion as chairman of Grantham Mayo, in January recommended shunning stocks and holding cash because of the burgeoning crisis. Dubbed a “perma-bear” for his dour view on U.S. equities for more than a decade, Grantham correctly predicted the crash in technology shares two months before the bubble burst in March 2000. “

Note to Jeremy Grantham, Ken Heebner, Warren Buffet, Ben Bernanke, etc: I will give you lessons, but its gonna cost you! You could all fly over to my place in one of Ben’s helicopters filled with freshly printed fiat money!

Biting Yourself While Chewing

Have you ever accidentally bitten your lip, cheek, or tongue while chewing your food? If so, then you know how painful it can be. Some people think that they are eating too fast, or just being clumsy, but I don’t think that is the case. The process of chewing is like the beating of your heart: it’s not something that you have to learn and practice. There was no “Chewing Food 101” class in school.

I think this phenomena is caused by a malfunctioning nervous system due to an electrolyte deficiency. Your nervous system needs sodium, potassium, and calcium to work properly. (Yes, that’s right, you need salt – salt is not evil.)

If your electrolytes are out of whack, then your body can’t control your muscles properly because it is either sending the wrong signals, or all the signals are not reaching the muscles, or both.

How does this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  1. Chemically-induced dehydration – Caffeine and alcohol are well known to dehydrate you. If you stay out late drinking, and then guzzle coffee in the morning to stay awake, don’t be surprised if you start biting yourself. Adding some Gatorade to the mix might help.
  2. Eating a diet that is too acidic – This depletes your calcium. See the post I wrote on the cause of stiff necks and back pain for the full explanation and instant cure.
  3. Mineral Supplements – Taking extra mineral supplements can create a mineral imbalance. For example, when my skin breaks out, I take some extra zinc, which usually helps. However, one day, I must have taken too much because I started biting myself like crazy during lunch. I had been keeping a good acid-alkaline balance with my diet, sticking to one Dr Pepper per day, and a beer or two, so I’m pretty sure it was the excessive zinc.
  4. Getting Low-Sodium Religion – While your body can adapt to a lower sodium intake, going cold-turkey is not a good way to get there. If you suddenly reduce your normal sodium consumption, you just might start biting yourself for a day or two while your body adjusts.

The worst incident that I suffered was immediately after putting 15 sugar-cubes in my coffee. Why would I do something so crazy? Because I was trying to figure out how many carbs I could eat before my blood sugar spiked. It was an experiment. Of course, both coffee and sugar are acidic, and when I ate breakfast 30 minutes later, not only did I bite myself, but I bit myself continuously. It was pretty terrifying to see my body fly out of control like that. I had to concentrate hard to slow down my chewing in order to get through breakfast in one piece. So, the one time that I put 15 sugars in my coffee was the one time that I bit myself continuously. That’s pretty good evidence that an excessively acidic diet was the culprit.

Of course, I am a programmer, not a doctor, so if you don’t get a quick cure by adjusting your diet with the steps above, you should definitely see a doctor. If your nervous system is telling you to chew on yourself, then we can only imagine what other wrong things it is telling the rest of your body to do.