Sunday Story – The Three Surgeons

A new study found a surgeon's perception of risk drives whether or not she'll recommend an operation.
Morganka/Shutterstock

“Your predecessor went missing,” Mr. Kumar told Meira, his toad lips curling a smile.  “In any other case we would have been hiring a much more experienced surgeon but we had no choice but to accept the very first person who was basically qualified and available.”  His accent was so thick that Meira doubted any non-Indian could comprehend a word he said.  “You are extremely fortunate to enjoy this opportunity,” he continued, “and I hope you will be making the most of it, Meira.  Very fortunate, indeed.”

Meira fumed stonily, a carved idol slighted.  “Thank you, Mr. Kumar.  I’m sure the hospital will find my performance more than satisfactory.  If you don’t mind terribly, in my previous position at Boston General Hospital I was accustomed to being addressed as Dr. Ram.  I would prefer to keep things formal, especially in the Middle East given that I am both a woman and a foreigner.”  Her accent was similar to his though softened by years abroad.

“Of course, Dr. Ram!” he said, emphasizing her Dalit surname.  “In America they address surgeons as ‘doctor,’ isn’t that correct?  We British surgeons go by ‘mister’.  Or missus, of course.  But at BGH you were not yet a fully qualified surgeon so I guess the difference is not relevant in this case.  How is your house?”

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Friday Finance: The Apocalyptic Emergency Fund™

Turbocharging your emergency fund

When circumstances change, we must change with them.

A traditional emergency fund is enough cash to survive for three to six months. Being very risk-averse, in The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom I recommend holding enough cash to get you by for six to twelve months.

However, I’ve noticed that some in the ‘sphere are concerned about cancellation, rolling lockdowns, vaccine mandates and whatever may hit us next. They are saving for an emergency much greater than being downsized and spending a year or so out of work.

They want a fund sufficient to last several years – enough to get them established somewhere else, perhaps overseas, with a new career and a new life.

This is fair enough. I had the same idea and ended up having sufficient resources to survive two years (and counting) out of work during the Great Coof.

Missteps and tradeoffs
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The War on You revisited

In June 2016, I wrote a post called What’s Next in the War on You where I made predictions about upcoming steps in the Woke juggernaut.

I was pretty far off with most of them. The main thing I missed is that Woke can simply forget about an issue and move on to a completely new one without believers or opponents noticing. Nor is constant change required; the new regime will eventually seek stasis.

Let’s summarize each prediction and see what’s happening now:

1. Western governments will make it harder for men to escape the West

Who would have thunk it: now no one is allowed to leave Australia without permission. Travel restrictions are making it difficult for anyone to travel anywhere except for the super-rich. There’s that problem solved.

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Sunday Story – Love Never Runs on Time

Source (NSFW)

On his fiftieth birthday, Stephan bought himself a True Beauty™ doll.  It was the most advanced in the range: an intensely lifelike silicone model equipped with some movement and conversational AI.

Stephan was well-off.  He’d risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the army and had diligently saved and invested his income over the years.  He now had a house worth half a million euros, almost paid off, and a salary that he found difficult to spend as a single man with no children.

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Word from the Dark Side – arresting the unvaccinated, riling the sheep and robbed by a dildo

Swamp Thing by The Grid, 1994

Duterte orders local officials to hunt down and arrest unvaccinated people who leave their homes:

“I’m now giving order to the barangay captains to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just request them — or order them if you may — to stay put. And if [they] refuse and go around the community, [they] can be restrained,” Duterte said in his address to the public Thursday night. “If [they] refuse, then the barangay captain, being a person in authority, is empowered now to arrest the recalcitrant persons.”

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Friday Finance: relax about retirement

Explicating the problem

I know a guy who’s a bit of a character.

He tells the story of the time he was driving home from a job in a distant suburb and noticed he was very low on fuel. The dial was a little under the ‘E’ line. Nevertheless, he chose to drive past several inferior servos until he reached his favourite BP another 10km down the road. As he pulled in, the engine died and he had just enough momentum to roll to a vacant bowser, coming to a halt exactly in the right place without having to apply the brakes.

The story’s funny because, while he had a win, he might not have. It was a silly thing to do.

Retirement strategies are similar.

Imagine a ‘perfect’ outcome of a given strategy: You are 98 years old. You have 7 yuan remaining in your nest egg. You hobble down to the 7-11 and spend your last 7 yuan on a Mars Bar.

You eat the Mars Bar on the way home, enjoying the full utility of the saved value of your much earlier labour. Then you get home, lie down for a nap and peacefully pass away.

Win!

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How multiculturalism erodes social trust

If the headline’s assertion is not already familiar to you, read this first.


I was once flying back to Sydney from Bangladesh and the flight was delayed by twelve hours – a common occurrence in those parts. The airline put us up in a nice hotel by the airport, twin-share. I was travelling alone.

An Aussie guy spotted me and suggested we share because he didn’t want to spend the night with ‘some random Bangladeshi.’ I looked him up and down, decided he was alright and agreed.

The night passed without incident.

I was younger and more pious then, so I thought we’d been a bit racist. Now that I’m older, I can see why it made sense.

When I see an Aussie, I can sum him up at a glance with a very high degree of accuracy. Toffy Poms sometimes complain that they can’t ‘place’ Australians in terms of class because we all speak the same, but we can tell who’s who.

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Sunday Story – The Bunker

First published in Terror House Magazine


Bill, Mark, and Elon sat down in the control room, preparing to argue again. Their families and the others sheltered deep below. Only the Steering Committee were allowed to come up here. Only they could be trusted to remain calm when scrutinizing data, and to make the right, critical decisions.

After all, they’d paid more than their fair share for a place in the bunker.

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Made a New Year’s resolution to sort your finances? Here are the next 10 steps

Good morning or evening wherever you are and Happy New Year!

Let me guess. You had a big night, woke up and had an epiphany. You need to get your life back on track.

If the thing you need to fix is money-related and you don’t know where to start, here are the ten steps you need to follow in order to go from debt-addled stressburger to solvent, chillaxed man-with-a plan:

1. Don’t get into (more) debt

Stop living on credit. Cut your cards if you must. Avoid fintech products that are glorified credit cards.

From now on, don’t buy anything until you can afford cash up front.

You must fix this or you will not get anywhere because those interest payments are dragging you backwards.

2. Make a frugal budget
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Friday Finance: don’t pick your own stocks

https://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/10/9/1412855938053/Oliver-Burkeman-illo-11-O-014.jpg

This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Why Stock Picking is Bad

Do you know who can pick stocks well enough to beat the average market return, i.e. that which a dartboard, a monkey or an index fund could do?  You know who? 

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Freedom ends in tiny steps

Seemingly small incidents sometimes take on a much greater significance with the passage of time.

A decade ago, Australia banned its citizens from travelling to Syria in order to prevent lumpen Muslims from Western Sydney joining ISIS. Those that made it anyway were stripped of their citizenship in order to block their return.

I vaguely recall civil rights groups kicking up a fuss at the time but most people were untroubled. Who cares if some people wanted to travel to Syria for innocent reasons, i.e. to work as civilian medics? Do-gooders have no right to go get themselves killed in some hellhole. Who cares if some ‘Australians’ are not allowed back after fighting? They’re citizens of Islamic State now and if they don’t like it, tough titties.

Then in 2020, Australians were banned from travelling anywhere in the world without permission and those stuck in India were threatened with jail if they tried to come back. This would have been politically harder without the Syrian precedent. Before that, Australians were free to go anywhere including Cuba, North Korea and Iran.

The border controls illustrate two vital principles of WEIRD nations:

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Friday Finance: stock market indexes of the world

https://photius.com/images/jp04_03a.jpg
Tokyo, 1980s

This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Stock Market Indexes

We already learned about some of the stock markets around the world.  An ‘index’ is something that measures the change in such a market.  An ‘index fund’ invests broadly in order to match the performance of that index.

Are you with me?  No?  Okay, here’s an example:

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Untenable proposals

I’ve noticed a habit of the extremely online, which is most of us these days: advocating unrealistic positions.

The chief culprits are libertarians. For example, ‘All taxation is theft!’

Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t, but there’s never going to be a society with no tax so it hardly matters.

The same goes for other libertarian proposals like ending all public expenditure on welfare, education, healthcare, roads, etc. These things will not happen.

If you write a theoretical piece outlining a utopian society run along completely different lines, that’s okay, but be aware that it is purely a thought experiment or perhaps a model for a country a hundred years hence. Kind of like how boffins used Newtonian physics to figure out how much horsepower was required to escape Earth’s gravitational field when all they had were horses.

The trouble comes when a writer espouses a politically impractical proposal, accuses everyone else of being too retarded or evil to see that he’s right, then flounces off to his trailer while leaving to others the impossible task he has decreed.

We get this on all sides of politics but let’s look at the right:

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Sunday Story – Hyenas

This story was first published in Terror House Magazine


The old fighters greeted each other with their traditional, shoulder-bumping handshake.  They went to their usual table on the raised section where they could look out at the other customers in the restaurant.  There were two types of food to choose from: Eritrean or Italian.  The fighters could remember when this colonial-era hotel had been owned by actual Italians.  Their fathers had told them of the time before that when natives had not been allowed inside.

For better or worse, the Italians were long gone.  The friends ordered a simple meal of lentils and injera because both were adhering to an Orthodox fast.  It was late afternoon.

In any group of three there is a government spy but Johannes and Tesfay were only two, and the other customers were slightly too far away to hear their uninhibited conversation.  They spoke of blackouts, feuds with tenants, mandated food prices, the water shortage.  The coup attempt.  The boys who’d been arrested for it, who they knew.  In a small city of old families, there were only a couple of degrees of separation between anyone.

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Word from the Dark Side – pseudo-chicks a-swimming, mean tweets a-triggering, elephants a-giggling and I’ve Simple Things

2002. HT commenter Jason from this post

An entertaining women’s swimming bout.

Koreans dream of a future where they never have to meet anybody:

Maybe some of the craziness of the pandemic social distancing is that it represents a Next Step in a trend that has been growing since the World Wide Web or maybe since television came along in which humans are becoming more averse to face to face contact?

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Friday Finance: SCAMS!

https://i0.wp.com/cdn3.whatculture.com/images/2020/04/ade1692f6e43b984-1200x675.jpg

On his excellent finance blog, JL Collins lists the five laws of con, reproduced here with my commentary:

1. EVERYBODY can be conned.

Even me. Even you. Those who think they are at no risk, are at the highest risk because they will be complacent.

2. You are likely to be conned in an area of your expertise.

Given Law 1, it makes sense, right? You’ll think yourself an expert and let your guard down. The art curator being sold a painting or the mechanic being sold a car should be especially cautious.

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Literally Hitler

Book review of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

Previously: Literally Marx

Instead of fading with the passage of time, fear of Nazis seems to be growing stronger. Mainstream media asserts that WWII is currently being re-fought by the Proud Boys and other multicultural larpers. Western governments, three-letter agencies and all the other elite bodies sing in unison: the Nazis are back and they’re on the brink of taking over! (Unless we suspend your Constitutional rights to fight them.)

With Islamist terror forgotten and Covid fading, they needed something new. Plus, a dualist religion like Woke needs its Devil and Trump is struggling to fill the role.

With this newfound fervour for discovering fascists under the bed, it’s timely to go back and read what Hitler was all about.

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Sunday Story – Secret Heart

First published in Terror House Magazine


“Bastards!”  The man’s exclamation rang out through the bush, fading until the only sound was the cicadas droning in the heat.  His vegetable patch was completely turned over, the chook-wire fence pushed down and flattened.

The man looked like a retired bikie but in fact he was a retired biologist who’d let his greying beard grow wild.  He stood bare from the waist up in the blinding sunlight, a surgery scar livid on the brown skin of his chest.  He stared at his ruined tomatoes.

“What did it, Julius?” asked Alina.  “You said there are no bears here.  Was it wild pigs?”  His young wife put an arm around him sympathetically.  She spoke with a strong Russian accent.

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