Mailvox: I care, but not that much

William is, he tells us, in a quandary:

I am in a quandry – I read both you and Michelle and when I read your original post it had the tone of sour grapes to me wrapped in a “this doesn’t make sense to me” wrapper. Then I read your latest with its “That’s obviously not the case, as if I had the desire to be a media whore and maximize my exposure by running back and forth between CNN and Fox” where sour grapes in disguise are so obvious despite all your protestations–not to mention a few cheap shots under the guise of satirical irony.

I have read you for some time and was happy to see your blog (though your website is unreadable – literally, the text is too small and not adjustable) but I must say I was disappointed by the original post on this topic and the follow-up only reinforces my concerns. I have just come to expect more from you. Maybe if I didn’t like Michelle I wouldn’t have reacted this way, but that says more about me than you…

William, as hard as it may be to believe, there are actually some people who have lives outside of Media World and no desire for a career in it. I happen to be one f them. I have no media career, this is something I do… “for fun” is the short answer.

It might help you to understand that I once started a band that had record and publishing contracts with TVT Records, singles hitting the charts, music in soundtracks of movies like Mortal Kombat, was beating out Prince for local music awards, and we refused to play live or go on tour. It was an absolute must if we wanted to make it big – it took TVT three years of touring NIN to break Trent – but we absolutely refused. Were we stupid? No, because that wasn’t what we wanted. The other founder is happily married, doing exactly what he wants at Microsoft, and I’m doing… other things. I can’t even imagine going the other route now.

I will be the first to admit that the success of others occasionally boggles my mind. After turning down two of my proposals – which they’d requested – a publisher published what turned out to be a successful book based on the shocking premise that professors are left-liberal. (Insert advertisement for my forthcoming work “Oxygen” here.) Even though I understand that people read for confirmation, not information, I still found this remarkable. But I’m not envious of this success, because I don’t want to do what they do. Do you honestly think I can’t write an article expressing outrage about airline security?

Of course I can! But why should I, when twenty other columnists inevitably will? I am quite aware that I’m limiting my audience by writing about Tolstoy instead of terror, and Elliott Waves instead of Wilson. I can run neck and neck with Queen Ann for top WND readership anytime I choose; all I have to do is lambast Kerry and the Clintons every week, taking one week off every month to take the obligatory shot at the liberal coverage of the issue du jour. How entertaining – I think I’d rather write bad fiction imitating Mercedes Lackey instead.

I have nothing at all against Michelle Malkin. She’s cute. She writes well. But she clearly wants a media career whereas I don’t. Seriously. Now, I’m glad that you, William, and a few others happen to enjoy my columns and whatnot. But I was writing before anyone was reading my stuff, and even now, with five novels and almost three years of columns under my belt, a good part of what I write goes unread. This isn’t my career, in fact, this isn’t even my primary hobby. If I ever get tired of it, I’ll walk away as cheerfully as I walked away from the record company.

Life is too precious to worry about a career. No one ever lay on their deathbed and said: “thank God I was on CNN!”

My low, low standards

Puzzled thinks we’re looking for perfection:

maybe it is the ability to count, and an understanding of the electoral system, which the ideologues don’t seem to begin to understand…. Mrs. Schaeffer used to tell us in studies when she was still here that one of her late husband’s favorite phrases was “In a Fallen world, if you demand perfection or nothing, you will always get nothing.”

I’m afraid it’s you who repeatedly fail to understand. Yes, we understand how to count. Yes, I understand the electoral system. I simply don’t believe it makes one bloody bit of difference if Faction A (international socialists) or Faction B (corporatist socialists) is in power. And the facts of the matter are clearly on my side, as I’ve previously illustrated the many, many similarities between Bush and Kerry.

Puzzled, like all Republican cheerleaders, can’t think past tomorrow. Like every conservative Republican since Barry Goldwater was the Promised Land, he’s hoping for a miracle as the country further rots. Since the serious putrification began so long ago, the speed with which it proceeds is totally unimportant except in the shortest term.

I am not demanding perfection. Not even close. I simply hope and pray for a government that will somehow manage to avoid killing its own citizens. If my standards for women were as low as my standards for government, I’d be cheerfully dating a 65 year-old crack addict with no teeth and a bad case of syphilis.


The Sports Guy has come up with a Vengeance Scale:

8.0 — Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” video.

(Note: The most underrated example of vengeance on this list. After Britney cheated on him, not only did he dump her, he put out a best-selling album fueled by a song about their breakup in which he basically destroys her with the lyrics. Just an unbelievable piece of work. It’s devastating. I can’t even imagine what she did when she first heard it. And if that wasn’t enough, he made a well-received video about the song, starring a Britney look-alike. And if THAT wasn’t enough, he immediately started going out with Cameron Diaz. By the time he was done, Britney’s career was in the tank — she was chain-smoking and hanging out with backup dancers and white trash guys from her hometown. Now that, my friends, is vengeance. Bravo, Justin. Bravo.)

Well said. But uncharacteristically, The Sports Guy fails to note the added bonus that the girl in the video, (not the Britney stand-in, the brunette), is approximately 4.75 times hotter than Justin’s dumpee.

Also, given that VENGEANCE is the theme of every martial arts movie ever filmed, I felt that the genre was not adequately represented by Daniel-san, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude van Damme.

OO bleg

Anyone know if there’s an invert macro for OpenOffice Calc and where it can be found? I know there’s a Transpose function, but that only turns a vertical column into a horizontal row. I want to take the cells in a single column and reverse the order so that:








I have the macro running in Excel, of course, but I don’t want to reboot into Windows just to flip a column.

Arrivederci, baby

J is bereft:

Whatever happened to Cox & Forkum? I was a fan of their work since back in the old school, and I was hella stoked when you put them on your faves list. Now they’ve disappeared. What gives?

What happened? I got bored. They’re talented and amusing, to be sure, but after a few weeks it got to the point that I knew what the cartoon would be before I clicked on the page. And so, the axe fell. Hello Cthulhu is more my style anyhow.

Nothing bores me more than predictability. If you notice, I don’t tend to write a lot of “Isn’t America Great” columns on July 4th, and it actually causes me physical discomfort when I write about a dead horse which I know every other columnist will be enthusiastically flogging. There’s no need for me to write about Joe Wilson’s lies; NRO has been writing about little else. I usually make an exception to this rule on Christmas and Easter, when I do like to write about matters spiritual,

Meanwhile, the stock market takes a dive, which if it is the onset of Wave 3 will probably do far more to threaten the re-election of the president than Abu Ghraib, “Bush Lied” and [fill in your conservative cause-of-the-week here] combined, and not a one of those Townhall and NRO columnists championing the president even notices except for Larry Kudlow, who, as is his custom, can’t see a dip without shouting BUY, BUY, BUY!

Back to a previous subject – success isn’t terribly difficult if you’re willing to trash your principles. I know how to make ridiculous sums of money – an acquaintance of mine is a major European porn king – but what price the world? On a smaller scale, I have no doubt that UPS would have more success selling my column if I would toe the line and champion the Republican Party, but if I ever decide to sacrifice my principles and sell out, I’ll do so in a manner far more cynical, lucrative and spectacular than that. This is not to say that most of the Republican cheerleaders are trashing their principles, because it’s painfully clear that most of them very much believe what they are saying.

Their constant bewilderment at the actions of their so-called leaders testifies to this. Of course, they also have plenty of incentive to stay within the Pale, as the conservative establishment’s treatment of former stalwarts such as Joseph Sobran, Paul Craig Roberts and even, to a certain extent, Ann Coulter shows.

Pattern blindness

I was reading some of the emails to WND this morning, and I was struck by the short-sighted consistency of the conventional Republican position. Everything is always about the next election, upon which the fate of the nation is always hanging.

The fact that the election of a Democrat does not significantly worsen things and that the election of a Republican does not significantly improve them as the nation continues its slow death-spiral never seems to enter into this short-term equation.

If, on the contrary, one steps back and sees precisely how the seeds of the future destruction were planted in 1861, in 1913 and in 1933, long before either of the present bi-factional candidates were born, one realizes that it makes no difference whatsoever if Bush or Kerry are elected, as neither of them have any intention in chopping down what have grown into trees towering over the rights and liberties of Americans, killing the national birthright in their oppressive shade.

Who is wiser? I have seldom heard that it is best to listen to the advice of those who look no further than tomorrow.

Weird grumblings?

Michelle Malkin writes:

In response to some weird grumblings that a reader alerted me to, I note for the record that I took Sitemeter off my site about three weeks ago because it was publishing traffic numbers phonier than Enron’s. I think it wiped out about a week’s worth of visits for some reason. I e-mailed Sitemeter for help and they never wrote me back. So I took it off the blog.

Ms Malkin seems to be under the vague impression that I begrudge her her links or her readership. That’s obviously not the case, as if I had the desire to be a media whore and maximize my exposure by running back and forth between CNN and Fox I would have long ago moved to NYC or Los Angeles instead of living in what the Original Cyberpunk describes as my cave in the snow-covered Andes.

As all the regulars know, I don’t take the SiteMeter statistics seriously. Some of you were even openly disappointed when I explained that the number of people visiting here had to be rather lower than reported as SiteMeter tends to overcount hits. But, since that’s what the Truth Laid Bear uses for the TLB Ecosphere, that’s what we use here. If everyone overcounts using the same method, it may be useful for comparative purposes, after all.

The point was not to slam Ms Malkin – although her apparent inability to grasp the point is amusing – but instead to highlight the human tendency to butter up those we regard as our superiors in some way. (Wonkette, another relatively new and much-linked blog would have served as well, I simply happened to have more data on Ms Malkin thanks to her WND connection.) Many people who link to me are readers and regulars here, and I’m pleased to link to them in return. However, it’s clear from visiting some other blogs that link here and subsequently request addition to the blogroll that they are only interested in what is rather distastefully known as “link-love” in order to widen their own exposure.

Is there anything wrong with that? No more than there is anything wrong with butt-kissing in general. I despise it, some people, on the other hand, clearly crave it. Your mileage may vary. To me, the purpose of a blogroll is not to demonstrate how well-connected one is, but to offer new and perhaps unexpected alternatives wherein people may find something of interest. For example, I frequently visit Yahoo! Finance, but you’ll never see it on my Faves. I want people to visit Mogambo and Charles Stross, I want visitors to know where the regulars’ blogs can be found. But I see no point whatsoever in trying to present an inflated image of me or my blog.

The truth is what it is.

Mailvox: caveat emptor

DS has reasonable doubts:

Having subscribed to Elliot in the past I find that it may be useful for investing (not trading) but only in the largest view one can take. They have been so wrong so many times on even what I would call the year view, much less month, week, day or intraday. They were wrong throughout the 90’s waiting for the top of V that to have followed them meant financial disaster if you shorted and very low returns if you sat on the sidelines. I lost alot shorting on their advice last year when they called over and over and over for the start to wave III down. My feeling is that like most of us they are way too soon in their calls but have to say something to their subscribers. They will eventually be right but in the mean time I learned the hard way not to trade in any time frame on their advice.

There’s no question that the current state of Elliott Wave understanding leaves much to be desired. I, too, was anticipating a decline last spring at the start of the war for other reasons thanks to a flawed system of my own development, so I’m hardly one to cast stones on this subject. But timeframes are clearly a major weakness in the current level of analysis, although I don’t think there’s any nefarious need to feed the subscribers that’s involved – accuracy is far more saleable than action here – instead, I suspect it’s simply the age-old problem of human impatience coloring the wavecounts.

For example, the idea that Intermediate Wave 3 was about to begin in early 2003 appears almost absurd in retrospect. Why? Because Wave 1 took about 640 trading days from March 27, 2000, to October 10, 2002. (The precise figure depends on the specific market, of course.) Now, if it’s true that we saw the peak of Wave 2 in March 2004, that’s only 319 days, pretty close to 50 percent of the time-length of Wave 1. So, far from this countertrend wave being exceptionally long, as many would have it, it’s pretty close to the minimum that one would reasonably expect even if one knew nothing of Elliott Waves. A counterwave may be longer or shorter, but it’s not reasonable to EXPECT it to be one-tenth the time of the preceding wave.

As the S&P 500 is the largest of the three indexes, it is the least easily manipulated. Assuming the Intermediate wavecounts are correct, the countertrend response of Wave 2 was a 50.83 percent retracement of the Wave 1 decline over almost precisely 50 percent of the trading days. The Nasdaq-100 featured only a 19.54 percent retracement, while the Dow did best in reclaiming 85 percent of its losses. As 50 percent is a reasonable amount of time, the Dow is unlikely to re-establish new highs and there are a plethora of other factors indicating near-term continued decline (after the expected mini-rally over the next week), I don’t expect a need to redo the Intermediate wave counts.

Time decay is fatal. I think products like RYVNX are probably much better for those with a bearish outlook, as it significantly reduces the danger of impatience. In any case, I don’t believe that Elliott Waves are definitive, I only think that they may prove to be the tip of the iceberg that is our understanding of the way in which mass forces operate over time.