Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Looking Back To The Future

Eulogies tend to be the most painfully honest and cathartic monologue people submit themselves to in their lives. They look at their dead friend or family member, take a deep breath, and then let it all out; the stories, the mistakes, the laughs, the adventures, and how they really, truly felt about that person in retrospect. And it always comes down to them wishing they had one chance - just one last chance - to tell that person the truth of it all.

But they can't now. The person they love is now dead, unable to appreciate the kind words the rest of us held back our entire lives but have now gathered to admit outloud in droves. And so a few poignant mementos and inaudible well-wishes serve as a comforting compromise for the living. The peace of mind is a one-sided affair.

Why do we wait until there's no consequence to finally tell someone the truth? For all of our misgivings and faults and moments of reservations of opinions deep down when someone is alive, isn't waiting until it's easy the most cowardly act of all?

So I'm thinking about starting a series for my blog called "Eulogies". Each entry is going to be about a certain friend or family member or loved one (past or present), and in each one I'm going to spill my guts and write a eulogy for them as if they had died. The good, the bad, the agonizing truths I don't want to admit to myself... all of it. I'll close my eyes, lean back, and imagine myself standing over their coffin or urn during the service, turning to their crowd of loved ones all donned in black, breathe, and then write what surfaces to my fingers.

I might even need to use the entry itself one day.

People deserve to be let in on the axioms of your relationship before their story ends. Because if you can't be brave at least once when they were alive, what good is your courage when they're dead and gone?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How Much Money You Need To Realistically Recreate The Scrooge McDuck ‘Gold Coin Swim’

After executing smart mortgage derivatives and diversifying high yield stocks, cash should start flowing freely, leaving the smart investor with even more questions, like “how do I protect my municipal bonds?” and, “should I invest in a C-Share or blend fund?” and, “how much money do I need to create giant floes of gold in a private vault and dive into it like Scrooge McDuck?”

In most money circles (insider tip: “money circles” is a term used by only the most elite investors), wealth is measured exclusively by how closely one can recreate this famed animation. It has come to represent success in America and anything less than doing the backstroke amongst a sea of Earth’s rarest metal should be considered an abject failure. A main problem of this measure, however, is that there is no agreed-upon Scrooge McDuck quantity of gold. In order to give the young investor a goal to shoot for, and to clear up this age-old question once and for all, the following is a precise judgment of exactly how money you need to be successful.

Looking at some of the best pictorial evidence of the McDuck vault, it is evident that this large pile of gold on the left appears to be five feet tall. This is deduced under the assumption that the average duck 14 inches tall, which is then used comparatively to quantify the pile (5 ft = 4.3 duck heights). With a little calculus and graph-work, the rough integral can pinpointed to y=-x2-1x+5.  This equation puts every “x” and every “y” value at exactly one inch, as seen below.

When the area under the curve is calculated (from x=-3 to x=5), it yields roughly 46 square inches. The assumption will be made here that one cubic inch is roughly one ounce of gold. To convert that into a dome shape the value is simply cubed, which becomes 97,366 ounces. Given that 1 ounce of gold is roughly $5.00, it can extrapolated that each large pile of gold in the vault is worth $486,830.

However, Scrooge McDuck was first drawn in 1947, therefore inflation must be adjusted for which totals a whopping 5.2 billion dollars per pile. In the picture, there are two smaller piles which roughly equal the larger doubling the total to 10.4 billion. However, the shadows in the corner suggest that the room is a least three times as large as it is. Therefore, Scrooge was privy to a cool 31.2 billion dollars.

This means that only the six richest people in the world could afford to pull off the Scrooge swim.

Swimming in gold truly is a marker for success, but for the world’s big wigs, there are goals beyond even this. Another famous picture of Scrooge McDuck skiing down a mountain of money is even more alluring still.

Calculating his velocity (roughly 5 m/s2) suggests that this mountain (of which we cannot see the summit) has a slope of 35 degrees, putting a rough estimate of the entire hill at 73.5 billion. Is it possible that McDuck pushed together his wealth to make this monstrosity? In theory, yes, but the eye line of McDuck (fixed at 8 degrees above the horizon relative to the slope) suggests that there are at least two other such mounds, putting his total wealth at over 210 billion, and well beyond the meager 70 billion of richest man in the world Carlos Slim Helu. It’s also heartening to see cash in this picture, as a diverse portfolio is always a successful one.

If you follow the rules of global trends, equity markets, and grizzled anthropomorphic birds, you will be well on your way to a swan dive (or "duck dive"?) into nearly limitless gold.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Life is chock-full of lies, but the biggest lie is math. That's particualrly clear in the discipline of probablility, a field of study that's completely and wholly fake. When push comes to shove - when you truly get down to the core essence of existence - there is only one mathematical possibility: Everything is 50-50. Either something will happen, or something will not.

When you flip a coin, what are the odds of it coming up heads? 50-50. Either it will be heads, or it will not. When you roll a six-sided die, what are the odds that you'll get a three? 50-50. You'll either get, a three or you won't. That's reality. Don't fall into the childish "it's one-in-six" logical trap. That is precisely what all your adolecent authority figures want you to believe. That's how they enslave you. That's how they stole your conviction, and that's why you will never be happy. Either you will roll a three, or you will not; there are no other alternatives. The future has no memory. Certain things can be impossible, and certain things can be guaranteed-but there is no sliding scale forf maybe. Maybe something will happen, or maybe it won't. That's all there is. What are the chances that your sister will die from ovarion cancer next summer? 50-50 (either she'll die from ovarion cancer or she won't). What are the chances that your sister will become America's most respected underwater welding specialist? 50-50. It will happen, or it won't. There are two possibilities, and both are plausible and unknown. The odds are 2:1. These facts are irrefutable.

Quasi-intellectuals like to claim that math is spiritual. They are lying. Math is not religion. Math is the antireligion, because it splinters the gravity of life's only imperative equation: Either something is true, or it isn't. Do or do not; there is no try.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


In every episode of Happy Days, Arthur Fonzarelli was surrounded by adoring teenage girls. The Fonz would snap his fingers and they would rush to his embrace. This phenomenon was central to all Happy Days-related discourse. We as viewers were constantly regaled with stories of his remarkable exploits at the popular makeout locale Inspiration Point; these tales often involved twin sisters. This was just an accepted part of life. Richie Cunningham would periodically wander up to the Fonz’s spartan apartment over the garage, and - inevitably - Fonzie would be with a buxom (and strangely mute) high school junior.

This forces us to pose an ethical question: Are we to assume The Fonz was having sex with all of these girls? I mean, this was the 1950s, and Milwaukee is a conservative Midwestern city. It’s hard to believe that such a staid community would be supersaturated with so many sexually aggressive teenage girls. Moreover, we are supposed to perceive the Fonz as a “good guy,” correct? Oh, he’s a bit rogue (what with all the bull riding and shark jumping and whatnot), but he’s certainly not the type of guy who would sexually corrupt dozens - perhaps hundreds! - of virginal high school females, many of whom would have undoubtedly been under the legal age of consent in the state of Wisconsin (currently eighteen years of age). That scenario is unthinkable. We cannot exist in a society where someone like Fonzie would be lionized for being an insatiable sexaholic, a statutory rapist, and a potential child molester. This is not the behavior of a “good guy.” And since Fonzie never seemed to have any long-term rapport with any of these girls, it’s unlikely that he ever experienced a loving, mutually satisfying, logically advancing relationship (the lone exception being Pinky Tuscadero, who did not seem to reside in the immediate Milwaukee area).

That being the case, there is only one conclusion to draw:

For the entire 255-episode duration of Happy Days, the Fonz was a virgin.