Today’s Word: distrust vs. mistrust (noun) – Distrust and mistrust have different meanings. Distrust is the complete lack of trust based on an experience. Mistrust is a complete lack of trust based on gut feeling.

Did You Know?: The shortest verse in the Bible consists of two words – “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)

Worth Quoting: “Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths those thoughts that you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them.” – E.M. Foster

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I read this essay by James Altucher expecting to be entertained. The guy can be very funny. And, indeed, I smiled a lot while reading it. But the crazy thing was that – however crazy his proposals for political reform sound – I found myself agreeing with each one.

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Today’s Word: legerdemain (noun) – Legerdemain (lej-er-duh-MANE) is sleight of hand, the skillful use of the hands to perform magic tricks. As used by A.A. Milne: “A clever conjurer is welcome anywhere, and those of us whose powers of entertainment are limited to the setting of booby-traps or the arranging of apple-pie beds must view with envy the much greater tribute of laughter and applause which is the lot of the prestidigitator with some natural gift for legerdemain.”

Did You Know?: A blue whale can produce sounds up to 188 decibels, detectable up to 530 miles away. For comparison… conversational speech is about 60 decibels, a jackhammer is about 90 decibels, and a thunderclap is about 120.

Worth Quoting: “A single feat of daring can alter the whole conception of what is possible.”  –Graham Greene

Something to Think About

Believe the Woman… Always?

Sexual assault is a despicable crime. The damage it does to the victim and the family is huge and long-lasting.

In most civilized countries of the world, there have been great strides towards investigating and prosecuting sexual offenders. Reports of sexual assault, once treated randomly and even casually, are generally taken seriously today. As they should be.

But the pendulum will have swung too far if we accept the idea that “the woman should always be believed,” an idea that is on the ascendency.

The proposition – one I’ve heard frequently and which actually appeared recently as a full-page ad in the NYT– that “nobody would ever make up such a thing” is simply idiotic.

In response to this craziness, reports of false accusations are finding their way into the media. Not the NYT perhaps, but other, alternative media.

Here’s one example in which 5 young girls accused a young man of sexual assault on two occasions. As a result, he was fired from his job and forced to endure multiple court appearances, detention in a juvenile facility, and loss of his liberty. Finally, several of the girls reluctantly admitted that their accusations had been false.




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Today’s Word: ineluctable (adjective) – Ineluctable (in-ih-LUK-tuh-bul) means inescapable, unable to be resisted or avoided. As used by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr: “The Christian doctrine of sin in its classical form offends both rationalists and moralists by maintaining the seemingly absurd position that man sins inevitably and by a fateful necessity but that he is nevertheless to be held responsible for actions which are prompted by an ineluctable fate.”

Did You Know?: In Japan, you can buy all sorts of things from vending machines. Not just condoms and cigarettes and snacks and cans of soda, but comic books, hot dogs, light bulbs, women’s underwear, and alcohol.

Worth Quoting: “Fashions, after all, are only induced epidemics.” – George Bernard Shaw

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When I was younger I found Frank Sinatra’s I Did It My Way to be a mawkish thing. But as I am in the years when one must evaluate the bits and fragments of one’s life, I find it to be…well mawkish, but in a good way. This septuagenarian Korean drummer accompanies what looks to be a karaoke singer doing it not her way but his way.


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Today’s Word: interloper (noun) – An interloper (IN-ter-loh-per) is a person who interferes or meddles. As used by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet. Let him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charity-boy, a bastard, or an interloper.”

Did You Know?: Some facts about women in education*

  • Since 1976, girls enrolled in gifted and talented education programs have outnumbered boys.
  • Girls are evenly represented in biology and outnumber boys in chemistry, but are underrepresented in physics.
  • Girls outnumber boys in AP science, AP foreign languages, and several other AP subjects. In AP math (calculus and statistics), however, boys have consistently outnumbered girls.
  • 57% of students in higher education are women.
  • In 2009-10, females represented 57.4% of students receiving a bachelor’s degree and 62.6% of students receiving a master’s degree.

*Source: the US Department of Education

Worth Quoting: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King

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Wanis Kabbaj on How Nationalism and Globalism Can Co-Exist

We are trudging through a bog of polarizing ideological arguments. Here’s a little branch of helpful logic you can grab onto…



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Today’s Word: deportment (noun) – Deportment (dih-PORT-munt) is the way a person conducts himself, his behavior or manners. As used by the French writer/philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau: “There is a deportment, which suits the figure and talents of each person; it is always lost when we quit to assume that of another.”

Did You Know?: The word biannual is ambiguous. It can mean twice a year or once every two years – and that’s a problem. The solution: Use biannual or semiannual something that occurs twice a year. Use biennial for something that occurs every two years.

Worth Quoting: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin


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An Unconventional – but Highly Successful – Employment Ad

Last week, Sean MacIntyre, a colleague, posted an ad for an assistant writer and marketer to help us out. He posted it on a client’s job board. They told him it was super-successful. That “in 24 hours it produced more qualified candidates” than they had seen in months.

I looked at his ad. It was good. And it was unusual.

It was unusual in that it provided a detailed and frank accounting of the sort of activities the job would consist of. It made it very clear that this was a demanding, fast-paced job that required both tenacity and intelligence. The description would have turned off anyone on cruise control. But it would appeal to a superstar that wanted the freedom to push his career forward at the fastest possible pace.

Another thing I liked about it was that there were no formal requirements listed, such as type or level of education or experience.

As I said in my September 16  journal entry: “When it comes to hiring members of your creative team, you are not looking for a specific set of skills. You are looking for superstars and potential superstars. And for them, conventional recruiting methods don’t work. Academic credentials mean nothing. Resumes don’t mean squat. Relevant work experience is generally overrated and problematic. What are you looking for? You’re looking for temperament and talent. Someone who is very smart. And naturally contrarian. Also, someone that can play well with others. You’re not looking for good. You’re looking for great.”

Take a look at the ad. I think you’ll see why I believe it’s going to give us at least several very qualified leads – not qualified in terms of education or experience but qualified in the sense of “potential superstar.”



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Today’s Word: rubric (noun) –  Rubric (ROO-brik) has several definitions. It can be a statement of purpose or function. It can be a set of authoritative or well-established rules, traditions, or instructions. Most commonly, it is a title/heading under which something operates or is studied. Example from Neri Oxman, the American-Israeli architect, designer, and professor: “When I came to MIT, there were four rubrics: science, art, design, and technology. And as you entered your degree, whether it was a master’s or a Ph.D., if you were a citizen in one domain, you were a traveler in the other.”

Did You Know?: If you are snoring, you are not dreaming.

Worth Quoting: “All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up.” John Steinbeck

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Today’s Word: beetle-browed (adjective)Someone who is beetle-browed (BEED’l-browd) has bushy or overhanging eyebrows. The word is generally used to describe an unfriendly or scowling face. As used by Thomas Carlyle in a letter to his brother: “A terrible, beetle-browed, mastiff-mouthed, yellow-skinned, broad-bottomed, grim-taciturn individual; with a pair of dull-cruel-looking black eyes, and as much Parliamentary intellect and silent-rage in him… as I have ever seen in any man.”

Did You Know?: You can be fined up to $1,000 for whistling on a Sunday in Salt Lake City.

Worth Quoting: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Ben Franklin


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Update on Cryptocurrency

I wrote about cryptocurrency several times earlier this year. If you saw those posts, you know my position.

A quick summary: There is a lot to say in its favor. Ultimately though, I don’t see how it can grow beyond a speculation because the value of any currency depends on two things – usage and faith. I can’t see the US government allowing Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency whose circulation is limited) to ever compete with the dollar. I can, however, see governments and big finance getting together to take advantage of the blockchain, the technology that makes cryptocurrencies work. They understand the value of a currency that is attached to it because they would be able to track every exchange, thus eliminating tax dodges and rendering financial privacy passé.

I have a small basket of cryptocurrencies that I bought so that, in the unlikely case that cryptocurrencies flourish, I will be able to say “I was in early on.” But my total investment is less than one-tenth of one percent of my net worth. Not enough to crow about.

Two colleagues of mine – Teeka Tawari and James Altucher – have been bullish on cryptocurrencies for quite a while. Recently, another analyst that I know and respect, Steve Sjuggerud, climbed on board.

I read these guys to keep up. Here’s something from Teeka that sheds light on what’s been going on this year…

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 Today’s Word: putative (adjective) – Something that’s putative (PYOO-duh-tiv) is accepted as fact by supposition rather than as a result of proof. Example from the science fiction writer Greg Bear: “Conservatism is not about tradition and morality, hasn’t been for many decades…. It is about the putative biological and spiritual superiority of the wealthy.”

Did You Know?: Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer– published in 1876 – was the first novel written on a typewriter.

Worth Quoting: “Our fears do make us traitors.” – Lady Macduff in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

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Life isn’t fair. Like poker, we are each dealt a different hand, and some of us get more favorable cards than others. Character is defined not by the hand you begin with but by how you play it. And although success favors some over others, it is ultimately determined by what you do with what you have.


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Today’s Word: vinous (adjective) – Vinous (VYE-nus) refers to something that resembles or is associated with wine. As used by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The GreatGatsby: “She had drunk a quantity of champagne, and during the course of her song, she had decided, ineptly, that everything was very, very sad… A humorous suggestion was made that she sing the notes on her face, whereupon she threw up her hands, sank into a chair, and went off into a deep vinous sleep.”

Did You Know?: How to Hang a Painting – For the most part, paintings should be hung at head level. A portrait, for example, should be at a height at which the subject’s eyes are about level with yours (or up to 6 inches higher). There are some exceptions to this rule: If you are arranging paintings vertically, one above the other on the wall; if the room has a very high chair rail; or if you are purposely going for an avant-garde look. But for the most part, hanging your paintings too high indicates that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Worth Quoting: “Abilities wither under criticism and blossom under encouragement.” – Dale Carnegie

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Students Making Waves at FunLimon

Nicaragua is a mess. The Ortega government is arresting protestors and tourism has dried up almost completely. But its people are as warm and ambitious and hardworking as they have always been. In our little corner of the country, Rancho Santana is open (keeping its employees on the payroll). And across the street at FunLimon, the educational and skill-development programs are moving ahead full steam.

Here’s a recent newsletter that will give you a glimpse of what that means.


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Today’s Word: obviate (verb) – To obviate (AHB-vee-ate) is to anticipate and prevent something or to make something unnecessary. As used by the entrepreneur Sam Altman: “Technology magnifies differences, and it’s been replacing or obviating jobs for a long time. But what happens as that case accelerates? I’m not one of those doomsayers who says, ‘There will be no jobs.’”

Did You Know?: When a female horse and a male donkey mate, the offspring is a mule. When a male horse and a female donkey mate, the offspring is a hinny.

Worth Quoting: “The test of a man or woman’s breeding is how they behave in a quarrel. Anybody can behave well when things are going smoothly.” – George Bernard Shaw

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Lost faith in humanity? Need a break from all the dismal news? I could watch this video for hours…



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