Friday, April 29, 2016

Financial Advisor Fiduciary Rules

This is government at its best - taking a real problem, trying to solve it, and making it worse.

Yes, financial advisers have an inherent conflict of interest that tends to cause them to steer clients towards investments that make the adviser money.  Worse, most financial advisors get most of their training from the company that employs them, so they don't even KNOW that their advice is tainted.  This is the only explanation for why good, honest people can sell whole or universal life policies, which are terrible and you should never buy.

This is a problem requiring a solution.  Despite my misgivings, it might even require a government solution.  The solution on the table, however, won't solve the problem (unless you think you've solved the problem of there being marginal advice by replacing it with no advice at all).  Contrary to what Bernie might say, even financial advisors have to make money.  They make money off commissions, and that leads to the conflict of interest.  Requiring a fiduciary standard, which HuffPo conveniently fails to define - here's a decent source, though it fails to highlight the pitfalls.

Simply put, a fiduciary standard makes an advisor VERY responsible for giving good advice, and opens them up to enormous potential liability.  No advisor is going to accept that risk without some real money coming in.  In fact, HuffPo misses the point that the standard already applies to advisors!  It's brokers, people who facilitate more than advise, that don't have to uphold the higher standard.

If this rule passes (which is a misnomer, since it is unelected bureaucrats making the rule) poor and middle class people will find investment advice almost impossible to come by.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What it's all about...

I argue a lot....A lot.
I'm opinionated, sarcastic and also wicked smart and well read.

That said, like most people, my opinions and tightly held beliefs change over time.  I've found that ideas I fervently clung to a decade ago just aren't right.  Hell, there are things I thought yesterday that were just stupid.  I like to be challenged, but hate being wrong, even though I'm probably wrong more often than I think.

This blog is a way of challenging my beliefs, as well as articulating my beliefs in a way that helps me understand them better.

It's also a place that I can write whatever I want, without messing up the theme behind my food blog and my tax blog.  I'm going to write whatever I want, however I want, and without much editing.  I'm going to express some frightfully stupid, offensive and also incredibly smart and insightful things.  I'm going to argue in favor of things I despise, and against things I love.  Then do the opposite.

I'm going to label posts so you can generally tell where I stand at the time of writing, and this is important...if you decide to take something I write, knowing that it might not be what I really believe, and spread that about as though I actually believe it, then you're a dick.  That's all.  Go ahead and do it if you want, or be a stand up person and argue with me about things here.

I hope to make this a place where people (especially me) can learn about issues, critical thinking, good argument techniques, and what a generally brilliant person I am (modest too).  

I might invite people to write here if I respect the way they express their beliefs.  I don't actually care what their beliefs are, just that they can articulate them well and make me smarter.  But this is my house, and what I say goes.  I won't change your comment or post, but I will delete it if I don't like it.  The criteria for that are...there are none.  My house.  If I don't like it, that's enough - though you'll find I'm pretty tolerant.  This is one thing I believe, tolerance is about putting up with stuff you don't like.  It's easy to be tolerant of things that you agree with, or don't annoy you.  True tolerance is accepting (or at least, well, tolerating) things that really bug the living shit out of you, or that you really, REALLY disagree with.  Please be tolerant of the insanity to follow....

Thoughts on Bathrooms

Use the bathroom you're most comfortable with.
There, problem solved.
If a business won't let you use the bathroom you want, leave, and don't come back - that's what I do when I have issues with a bathroom.

Getting the government involved in bathroom rules is stupid, and a recipe for disaster.

There are a people I'm a lot more creeped out in a bathroom than I am about the trans gendered...
Like that guy who wants a buck for handing me a towel, and thinks I might like a mint that's spent any amount of time in a bathroom.
Like the guy who doesn't use proper urinal selection etiquette - there's a rule book, with charts, and scenarios, and a test - it's actually stupid - like fag seats between two guys at a theater (sorry for the ugly term, but that's what they were called, and that's how fucking stupid they were.  Only the use of the term can convey how homophobic you have to be to need a seat between you and a guy so people won't think you're gay.)  Back to creepy people in bathrooms (wow we got off topic quick)...
Like anyone buying a condom or cologne out of a bathroom vending machine.

Anyone who thinks that when politicians, pundits and activists (most of them) get involved that it's about rights, protections and freedom is deluded.  This is an issue right now so that Conservatives can get votes from neanderthals, and liberals can get votes from people who think there's a giant mass of people who give a shit what bathroom you use.  Spoiler alert, there isn't, and the ones who do exist, nobody gives a fuck what they think, except conservatives trying to get their vote.

This isn't about religious freedom, and it isn't about trans rights.  It's about power.  The power of the government to tell you what to do, and both sides are wrong.  Under no circumstance should the government be telling people what bathrooms they have to use, or telling a business what their bathroom policy should be, beyond having one, and I'm pretty sure the marketplace will fix that one too.  I know I'm not going to a bar without a bathroom, and there better not be a line.

I have no problem with the people boycotting Target over their bathroom decision (well, I do, but that's a personal belief based on their opinion - but boycotting - knock yourself the fuck out.)  I also will have no issue with the other side boycotting Target when they inevitably bow to public pressure.  I do have a problem with people wanting the government involved.  That's how you get police beating and tasing people for using the wrong bathroom.  I think we can work this out without anyone being beaten, arrested, tased or humiliated - at least until someone decides to get violent, then 911 it is.

Now on to the craptastic NC law that's got everyone worked up.  That law is only "needed" because of other craptasticer (def: more craptastic) laws passed by other monkey fucking morons who just can't help themselves but try to tell people what to do.  On top of that, the law is both so narrowly designed as to be discriminatory (against all non christian beliefs that might also need "protecting") and also widely subject to interpretations and unintended consequences that will boggle the mind when some 14 year old ends up on the sex offender registry.  Very similar to Mississippi's religious freedom law with regards to gays.  I'll let Popehat Lawsplain it for you.  In short, some stupid fucking busybodies that can't leave well enough alone and want to tell people what they can and can't do have caused other head-up-assers who can't imagine not protecting their ever-so-perfect religion (and no others) to create this Giant Steaming Bucket of Fuck out of NOTHING!

Fuck them all.  Use the bathroom you want, and if someone has an issue with it, kick 'em in the nuts (originally provided, or added later.)

Nothing discussed here should be interpreted as me not being empathetic to the very real struggles the LGBT community face every day.  I just think things will get a hell of a lot better, a hell of a lot faster, if we can keep the government's dicks out of the whole thing.

Bonus Popehat thoughts on bathrooms

20160428 Things I'm Digesting...

Popehat on Rape

Deidre on improving the lot of the poor.

Are we fighting an unauthorized war?  (Oops, a headline as a question!)

Simple Justice AND Popehat will try to make you smarter

Math Shit I wish I understood better - but there's a movie coming out about him.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Global Warming

I haven't decided if I'm going to keep updating posts on a subject, or make new posts whenever I'm thinking about things.  I have some time, since I haven't posted much yet.  It's amazing how when you start a blog where you can explore politics, everyone on all social media platforms stop posting thought provoking or irritating things - go figure.

This post would be a good example of a "don't quote me post".  I'm going to go everywhere, and a lot of what I'm going to write doesn't necessarily comport with any solid conclusions on my part.  I'm not an expert on climate, but I'm really good at politics and political motives, as well as sciencey shit in general, but I'm the wrong guy to form your opinions based on my thoughts.  Bottom line, don't assume you know my true thoughts based on what you read here.  A lot of this is going to be me digging holes and following random thought chains.  Everything that follows is unreliable as to my true views - which are fungible anyway.

That said, you could call me a climate change skeptic, but that just means I'm skeptical of everything, especially if it involves government action.  I am pretty sure climate change is occurring and I'm pretty sure man is a big part.  But I'm very skeptical of calls to action.  By their very own "science" climate change advocates have pretty much proven that carbon control is too little too late - so why wreck the world economy trying to clean everything up.  I'm all for slow and steady progress in the direction of clean air, but the plans of some of these people would send us back to the stone age.  If you ask me, we should focus on effect mitigation, not go balls to the wall on prevention, especially if prevention won't work.  One big thing I could get behind is to stop subsidizing insurance for oceanfront homes - that seems the opposite of what we should be doing if sea level's going to rise.

I'm especially skeptical of motives.  Not the motives of the average joe, or the celebrity true believer.  I'm skeptical of the politicians, the businessmen, the lobbyists, the world government and NGO's.  I just don't believe it's all about climate change.  I think this is just the latest "crisis" that's being used to shove a bunch of policies down our throats, get more power, and get more money.  These were the same people screaming "global cooling" and "new ice age" a couple decades ago.

I like clean power.  I love nuclear power.  I like solar and wind.  Everyone loves solar and wind, just ask Vermont, vehemently protesting wind turbines, shutting down nuc plants, protesting natural gas pipelines, and then wondering why their energy bills are skyrocketing.  I fully expect the giant fields of solar panels will feel their wrath soon enough.

I'm also an optimist.  I expect, if the dire predictions are true, that we'll get through it.  We'll find ways to slow it, mitigate it, or even reverse it.  It's what we do.  I'm also a big fan of local action.  It seems strange to me that there's not more solar in Charleston.  We have these giant neighborhoods, with tons of light exposure, and powerful HOA's.  Why aren't they negotiating a big bulk price for panel installation and getting whole neighborhoods done.  Especially with the subsidies available (which I hate in principle but will accept at the drop of a hat if it works for me.)  It makes me wonder.

Huge left turn aside - tax subsidies.  This is pure advice from a tax guy.  When you get a loan from a solar company, with a 30% balloon due April 15th the year after installation, be prepared to be screwed.  The idea is that the 30% tax credit will pay the balloon.  The problem is that if your taxes hit 0, you have to wait until next year, or the year after that to get the rest of the subsidy, but the balloon payment is still due.  Make sure to check your taxes to see if you can get the whole credit before signing.

Aside done.  Where the fuck was I?


Should New York City be building a big sea wall instead of pushing carbon controls?
Should New Orleans be upgrading their flood control systems?
Should we be looking for a technology solution to excess heat retention?
Heat is good.  Lots of energy.  Can we harness this excess in a good way?
If our planet is so fragile, why aren't we putting more effort into establishing a foothold somewhere else?
Why do environmentalists hate Nuclear?  It is literally as clean as it gets.
Do I care what sea level will be in 50 years?

I still have this nagging feeling that this might all be bullshit, but I wouldn't care if we weren't suggesting solutions that are enormous in scope and cost.  The problem with science is that we just don't know shit.  Eggs are bad, eggs are good, eggs are bad again, or are they good - fuck - who can keep track.  The climate is HUGE!  Sure, something's going on, but do we really know where it's going and what's going to happen?

I also think this carbon thing has sucked the life out of other important environmental issues like water pollution, over fishing, fertilizer runoff.  It's all carbon all the time.

Well shit.  I seem to have come across as the anti science nut job.  Oh well.  Just seeing where the thinking leads me.  There are plenty of people writing about why we should all be scared shitless.  Might as well write something different.

Remember - not necessarily my true beliefs.  Quote them as if they are mine, and you're a dick.

Monday, April 25, 2016

20160424 Things that Interest Me Lately

Popehat on bathroom hysteria

XKCD on the worst President ever

Daily Kos on what you still can't talk about on TV

Nebraska gets on the right side of civil asset forfeiture

When I'm on my phone its a bitch to add a titled link so you get just the link...

Minimum Income

I'll admit I'm fascinated by the minimum income.  The idea that the government provides a living income to everybody of a certain age, regardless of income.  Most other welfare programs, including social security would be replaced by this basic income.

The idea is to free people from the income cliffs inherent in other welfare programs that restrict what they can earn.  It also will theoretically increase risk taking and entrepreneurship due to having a fallback income.  It should drastically reduce administrative costs and it should be easier to minimize fraud.

The downsides are that it's EXPENSIVE, and might create a disincentive for work, though experiments indicate people reduce working time, but don't stop working.

Obviously implementing across the US would be a HUGE risk, but this is why I love the idea of a limited federal government.  If our federal leviathan wasn't involved in every single little fucking detail, a state could give this a try, and see what happens.

An economist I respect has some thoughts:

An opinion in favor:

Another post:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

My Vague Ideas about Healthcare

Principles this is based upon:
1. Subsidies increase prices
2. Providers respond to government payments by shifting services to those that pay more
3. More ideas tried by more entities creates more opportunities for success
4. Government is essential, but should do only what cannot be accomplished by private parties and should accomplish it at the lowest level, with the minimum amount of coercion
5. Plans never accomplish just what they set out to do
6. Any plan will be manipulated by the powerful to their own ends and to the detriment of the public, hence, less power and money reduces incentives for corruption

Things to eliminate:
1. Obamacare and associated taxes
2. Medicare and associated taxes
3. Medicaid - funding shifted to states as block grants for indigent health care - no strings except it must be for indigent health care
4. HHS except as research and advisory role
5. Drug war - at least 25% of savings shifted to states for mental health and addiction treatment
6. All fed restrictions on cross state health insurance

Things to implement:
1. States control what they want to do on health care.  VT is trying single payer, MA mandatory insurance, others may decide to provide free basic health care with catastrophic insurance coverage, others may put the onus on employers.  Who knows, let's take the fetters off and see what works.
2. Streamline FDA drug approval and allow patients and doctors access to experimental treatments, particularly for debilitating or fatal diseases
3. Reduce restrictions on who can provide medical treatment, allowing common sense efforts by states to increase access to more affordable avenues for care such as nurses, alternate practitioners, medical assistance etc.  Ideally one's doctor would provide guidance, but wouldn't necessarily have to be involved in treatment.  This one's a bit fuzzy, but the idea is that medical licensing has become more about protecting the current players from competition and less about protecting patients.
4. Separate health care from health insurance.  Things that everybody needs or should want, are not what insurance is for.  Insurance is about shared risk.  Insurance is for cancer, accidents, etc.  Both need attention, but conflating them has only fucked things up.  States need plans for insurance, and plans for health care, and they are different things.

Bottom line is that the ONE BIG FEDERAL PLAN idea is simply stupid.  It's too big, too subject to abuse, too expensive and stifles any attempts at real innovation.  Cut the restrictions, eliminate federal incentives that drive up costs, and let people get to work finding solutions.  Government involvement equals political involvement.  The higher the government level, the more politics.  Corporations love BIG federal plans because they only have to corrupt one level of government.

Will this solve everything?  Of course not.  Is every idea in here the best idea, probably not.  But putting things in the hands of the President, Congress and Federal bureaucracies only makes a big problem worse.  

Disagreeing Agreeably

One of the things that most bothers me about the world today is intolerance of other's opinions.  You don't have to agree with other's opinions, but you should be able to at least see where they are coming from...

That annoying Christian "bigot" actually believes he's saving people from an eternity in Hell.  If he's right and I'm wrong, everyone I've convinced of my beliefs is fucked.

Most Pro Lifers honestly believe that abortion is murder, and that you are killing a living, breathing child with a soul.  It's still not right for them to ask the government to hold a gun to someone's head and tell them they can't have an abortion, but their argument about the sanctity of life still has merit.

The Minimum Wage is incredibly destructive to the low skilled, low income, and minorities, but people who favor it honestly believe it will help, and their motives are in the right place.

A person who fights against hate speech and offensive behavior has probably seen many an example of someone genuinely hurt by someone's thoughtless speech or actions.  It's still not okay to ask the government to shut people up, but their goal has merit.

Most people honestly think that what they believe is true, valuable, helpful and will make the world a better place.  Screaming insults at them or pretending their opinions have no value simply doesn't help, and is also lazy and mean.  People aren't evil just because they believe evil things.  They were taught these things, and have to be untaught.  Not by the government at the end of a gun, but by thoughtful people who can respectfully disagree.  Take some time to do this and you might find that you're the one whose wrong.  It sure has happened to me.

None of the above applies to professional pundits, politician's or lobbyist.  They argue for what will bring them more money or power.  It also doesn't apply to those who translate evil thought into evil action - like a terrorist or a lynch mob.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

20160423 Interesting Stuff

These are things I've read, seen, liked, disliked or otherwise found interesting.  Linking does not indicate agreement:

Another attack on free speech, this time criminalizing client change dissent

RIP Prince

Supreme Court Fun

A post from the place I go to learn about free speech

Must Read Economics from Deidre

My Current Beliefs (subject to change at a moment's notice)

Just a basic summary to help people figure out where I'm coming from...

Politicians are universally loathsome, and trying to claim one is more loathsome than another is an exercise in futility.

I am a small "L" libertarian.  I believe the government should do the absolute minimum necessary, but Big "L" libertarians are generally living in a fantasy world.

I won't vote for a Democrat or Republican, even for dog-catcher, until the two party's hold on power is broken.

Most policies hurt those they are designed to help - the minimum wage being the poster child for this.

Most people and pundits are woefully ignorant of basic economic principles.

I support free trade and enormous amounts of legal immigration.

I am pro choice, but that doesn't mean I'm pro abortion.

I think most political fights are just a distraction designed to keep us voting for one or another party.

I reserve the right to judge you for your behavior while supporting your right to do it.

The Supreme Court is responsible for much of what is wrong with the behavior of our government.

If you give power to the government, it will be used to benefit the powerful, and to the detriment of the rest of us - this applies even if the stated aim of the legislation is to reign in the powerful.

When a big corporation supports a policy that people tout as helping the poor and powerless, you should be suspicious.  Walmart doesn't support the minimum wage because they believe it's the right thing to do.  They support it because it will cripple their competitors.

The existence of my retirement career is an indictment of the US tax system.  I'm kinda for the Fair Tax, but not sure.

The decline of the middle class is mostly a myth, and mostly their own fault.  I plan on posting about this eventually.

Big fan of state and local level control.

Budweiser is evil.

Welfare is out of control - both kinds (corporate and personal).

If the government declares war on something, there will be more of it.

Legalize pot - period.  Decriminalize use of all drugs.

The fact that people think the solution to the problems of public drunkenness is preventing me from walking down the street with a beer tells you we are all sheep.

Free speech is a big deal.  The onus (and it's a BIG onus) is on someone telling someone they can't say something.  Even the guy who said you can't yell fire in a crowded theater thinks it was a stupid analogy.

If an article's headline is a question, the answer is probably no.

I believe in man-made global warming, but also believe carbon controls are not the answer, and if it was, the cost is too high.  We should be investing in mitigation of effects.  All that said, I'm pretty sure it won't be as bad as predicted, because it never is.

Big fan of nuclear power as a bridge to a low emission future.

Paper recycling is bad, plastic bags and Styrofoam cups are good.

Wrong Questions

To be continually updated...
Not necessarily representative of my actual beliefs

The wrong questions is, "Should Gays be Allowed to Marry?"
The right question is, "Why do I have to ask the government for permission to marry?"

The wrong question is, "Should trans women/men be allowed in the women's/men's room?"
The right question is, "Why is the government telling me what bathroom I can use?"

People always ask, "How did the bad guy get the gun, and should he be allowed to have it?"  I'm always thinking, "Where's the good guy with a gun?"

A Blogging economist has a question...

From Cafe Hayek: Full article here - distillation below

"You ask why I continue at my blog to highlight imperfections in majoritarian representative democratic decision-making given that “it’s our best option.”  My reasons are two..........
.......Second, for most its uses today majoritarian representative democratic decision-making in fact is not our best option.  Given the existence of the U.S. government, majoritarian representative democracy might be the best option for making some select few choices, such as the size of the state’s military budget.  But why must ‘we’ choose collectively the minimum wages that employers pay to employees?  Why must ‘we’ choose collectively the rate at which water runs out of the faucets of individual homes and places of business?  Why must ‘we’ choose collectively the minimum amounts that workers save for their retirements?  Why must ‘we’ choose collectively a set of substances that ‘we’ are not permitted to ingest?  Why must ‘we’ choose collectively what foreign goods consumers are permitted to purchase?  Why must ‘we’ choose collectively the professional qualifications of physicians, lawyers, and (in some states) cosmetologists and florists?  Why must ‘we’ choose collectively the terms on which money is funneled to producers of electric cars, to manufacturers of commercial aircraft, and to growers of corn?"

Friday, April 22, 2016

Advice for a New College Graduate

This is a rehashing of an email that I sent to my cousin before he graduated from college and started a new job.  These are things I strongly believe:

Well, I finally got around to sending you a preachy email, and, my first piece of advice is DON'T PROCRASTINATE!  Yeah, I don't follow that one either.

The main reason I wanted to send you this email is that you are right at the point in your life when people start fucking things up.  Most people go through life, fucking things up, not realizing they're fucking things up, and wondering why their life sucks or is always a struggle.  Not fucking things up is, truly, the key to life.

I'm going to give most of this advice in list form, because it's simple, and easy to edit, but I'll expand on some.  First though, I want to make a point about people.  People do things because they think they have to, or because that's what everyone else does, or because someone tells them that's the way it should be done.  As I pointed out before, most people are fucking life up, so why should you do what they do.  Seriously, listen to adults.  All they do is bitch about what they have to do, what they can't do, and just about everything else.  Don't be like everyone else.  And don't follow my advice just because I tell you too.  In fact, if you follow everything, in some ways, that's not ideal either.  Read my advice, think about it, and do what you think works best for you.  Just keep in mind that my life is awesome, and I'm pretty damn smart, so have a good reason for blowing something off - just make sure it's YOUR reason, and not some bloviating blowhard's reason.

I'm going to try to stay away from mystical metaphysical bullshit, but some is going to slip in, because it can help. 
I'm also going to try to order things in relative importance, but there's some fudge factor in the list.  Just rest assured that if something is near the top, it's probably a big deal.
Some of the money things can be gotten off on the right foot by judicious use of whatever money you get from the trust fund when you graduate, and any signing bonuses you get.

So here it goes:

Don't drink and drive - have a plan before you go out.

Have an emergency fund.  Start with $1000, and then build it up every month until it equals 3 to 6 months of must pay expenses.  I like to have a permanent line item on my budget for emergency fund, so if I have an emergency, I don't have to redo the budget to refund the emergency fund.  Only use for emergencies unless it exceeds your 3 to 6 month fully funded amount. 

Have a budget.  Every rich person who didn't inherit money has a budget.  Set yours up before you get your first paycheck, and then adjust it as necessary.  It doesn't have to be too detailed, but every dollar you earn, every month, should have a job - that job may be beer, but that's okay.

Don't borrow money for ANYTHING except a house, and a car that meets your minimum NEEDS.  If you want a better car, save for it and pay cash.  Make a car payment to yourself, and you will always be able to get more car for less money than you would if you financed the car.  Credit cards are fine, just pay them off every month.  Don't get in-store financing for anything, even if it's 0% or 12 months same as cash.

Start putting money into your 401k immediately to at least the employer's match.  I would start at 15% or more.  Youth is your best ally in retirement savings.  Start out really big!  Every time you get a raise, increase the percentage. 

Never, ever, EVER, get any life insurance that is not pure term.  Everything else is a rip-off.

Make sure your prospective spouse is on the same page with you on money - if not - you're fucked.  Money is the number one cause of divorce (followed closely by kids).  Ideally, you and your wife should go over the budget monthly.  Kari and I use a big whiteboard and go over all our funds (how things in our account are allocated), verify the amounts are right, and then go over the credit card bills identifying which fund the money is coming from.  Then we pay the bill.  (Before this Kari allocates our paycheck into the funds based on our agreed upon budget.  It helps that we get exactly the same amount every month.)  If your income is variable, use the minimum for your budget, and allocate any excess to a long term savings item such as retirement, vacation, kids college, house payoff, etc.  I know this sounds complicated, and, when your budget is a mess and you have to squeeze every dollar to make ends meet, it does suck - but is critical.  If you make smart decisions early, and stay out of financial trouble, this becomes easy.  Kari and I have big "funds" that are basically slush funds so we don't have to pay too much attention.  We can do this because we worked hard to make sure that there's a ton of money in our paycheck's that's not needed to pay our bills.  Financial flexibility is a huge key to happiness.

Live below your means.  Just because you can afford a really nice apartment or house, doesn't mean you should have one.  Same with cars and furniture (video game systems may be an exception to this rule).  Start off living someplace adequate, then work your way up (if you want to) as your income increases.  Controlling your standard of living is critical to life.  Ultimately you are going to want to quit working, and you have to maintain whatever standard of living you established.  As your income goes up, your standard of living should go up, just not as fast.  You normally do this by saving a portion of every raise for a long term objective like kids college, retirement or first home.

Don't marry unless you've known the girl for at least 2 years.

Be aware that you think with your dick too much.  This will be true until you are at least thirty.  There's not much you can do about it except be aware and try to keep the little fucker under control.  Before 30 it is often difficult to tell whether it is you or your dick that's in love with the girl.

Don't have kids.  (Or at least wait until you and you're wife are done with school, have been married a year, and have discussed and committed to child rearing techniques)

Know the difference between wants and needs.

Save up 20% down before you buy a house and try to get a 15 year mortgage with a payment less than 25% of your income.  People have no idea how much better a deal you get with 20% down.  It's more important than your credit rating.  Don't buy a house unless you will be there at least 5 years.

Always be looking for your next job.

Try to put $5000 into a Roth IRA every year.

Never buy an extended warranty (except for computers if you are a computer moron - being able to bring it back to Best Buy and go "fix it" might be worth the rip-off warranty.)   Every time I'm offered an extended warranty, I put the cost of the warranty into a "warranty fund" and use it when something breaks.  There's over $1000 in the account and it never seems to go down.

Stay on top of computers, internet stuff and tech.  Once you fall behind the times - you're fucked.

Your kid is not an excuse to start blowing money because "you have to."  That's bullshit.  If kids are going to make you break all the rules of a happy life - don't have them.

Happiness comes from you and nowhere else.  So does stress.  Learn to worry about things you can control and not to worry about things you can't.

Scams are everywhere.  Never buy anything you aren't completely familiar with, and never give out personal information to anyone who contacts you first until you have researched them and taken 24 hours to think about it (unless it's a Nigerian prince trying to smuggle money into the U.S.  They're always totally legit.)

Don't be an asshole just because you're smarter than everyone else (boy this has been hard for me!)

Have a high deductible for car insurance - that's why you have an emergency fund

If you have a wife or kids - get life insurance - term

Don't day trade.

Use Vanguard for your investments

Keep a schedule and task list for your life.  Stay organized.

Keep a journal.  Doesn't need to be fancy, and doesn't need to be detailed.  You're life is going to be cool, and you're going to forget a lot of it.  Write it down (or keep electronically.)

Don't lend money to people unless you don't care about getting it back (this does not apply to lending to me).

Most salesman are trying to rip you off - especially your broker and car salesman.

Beware the upsell - add-ons are almost never worth it.

Everyone's in sales.  If you don't think you're in sales, you're wrong.

Learn to cook, and not just a few things.  Learn the theory and methods.

Multi Level Marketing (Avon, Amway, Party Lights, etc.) are generally a terrible idea.

All politicians suck, and are only interested in their own power or money.

Gas grills are for pussies.

Buy my tax book and make all your friends buy it.  Everyday Taxes 2015.1

There's more, but that's enough for now.

Left Turn - Double IPA Blind Tasting Results

Okay.  So one of the primary reasons I started this blog was so I could post double IPA blind tasting results.  These are fairly unscientific, but fun.

After 10 tastings, it's time for a summary...
After 15 tastings, and more Double IPA's than you can imagine...I'm just updating rankings..

These beers were tested (in very rough ranking order):
COAST Boyking
Fiddlehead 2nd Fiddle
Odell Myrcenary
Firestone Walker Double Jack
Edmund's Oast Viridi Rex
AleSmith Double IPA
Burlington It's Complicated Being a Wizard
Evil Twin Lost Souls
Westbrook Two Claw
Maine Beer Company Dinner
Upper Pass Cloud Drop
Prairie Phantasmagoria
Alaskan Hopothermia
Frost Beer Works Slush
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Tree House Bright
Alchemist Heady Topper
Alchemist Focal Banger
Lawson's Sip of Sunshine
18th Street ZERO Discipline
Greater Good Greylock
Trillium Melcher Street
Southern Barrel Slippery Slope 
Southern Tier 2xIPA
Trillium Vicinity
Stone Ruination 2.0
Second Fiddle Mastermind
Alchemist Crusher
Shmaltz She Brew
Clown Shoes Space Cake
Shmaltz Wishbone
Firestone Walker Leo vs. Ursus Fortem
Foley Brothers Fair Maiden
Foley Brothers Pieces of Eight
Benford Problem Solver
Westbrook Three Claw

Tied for the top, without questions:
COAST Boyking
Fiddlehead 2nd Fiddle
Odell Myrcenary

Serious Contenders:
Firestone Walker Double Jack
Alaskan Hopothermia
Prairie Phantasmagoria
Westbrook Two Claw
AleSmith Double IPA
Upper Pass Cloud Drop
Burlington Wizard

Awesome, but not best ever:
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Alchemist Heady Topper and Focal Banger
Lawson Sip of Sunshine
Frost Slush

Bottom Dwellers:
Three Claw...boring
FW Fortem...bleh
Shmaltz She Brew and Wishbone

None of the beers tested were bad, and the top ranks of every tasting were super close every time.
I will keep up to date:

Test 1:
Alchemist Heady Topper (Waterbury, VT)
Fiddlehead Second Fiddle (Shelburne, VT)

3 tasters

2nd Fiddle wins 3 to 0

Test 2:
Fiddlehead Second Fiddle (Shelburne, VT)
Coast BoyKing (North Charleston, SC)
Southern Tier 2xIPA (Lakewood, NY)
Stone Ruination 2.0 (San Marcos, CA)

4 tasters

2 tasters had Second Fiddle #1, BoyKing #2
2 tasters had Boyking #1, 2nd Fiddle #2

Test 3:
Coast Boyking (North Charleston, SC)
Russian River Pliny the Elder (Santa Rosa, CA)

3 tasters

Boyking wins 3 to 0

Test 4
just for the hell of it,
All Alchemist ipa's...

Heady Topper H
Focal Banger F
Crusher C

4 tasters...

0 consensus

Second... H,C,C,F

Test 5:
Pitting Lawsons Sip of Sunshine against the reigning champions...

Fiddlehead Second Fiddle
Lawson's Sip of Sunshine

5 tasters
4 of 5 had Lawson's last, though all but one loved it - this is a battle of heavyweights after all.
2 had Boyking 1 2nd Fiddle 2
3 had 2nd Fiddle #1, 2 of whom had Boyking #2

2nd Fiddle a slight edge, but we're going to call it still a tie because one of the tasters was an unreliable IPA hater.

We will see what happens when we put the 2 against some west coast and denver big boys in the fall.

Test 6:

Odell Myrcenary
Fiddlehead 2nd Fiddle
Foley Brothers Fair Maiden

4 tasters
A little all over the place...
3 of 4 had Myrcenary as best (one had 3rd)
Boyking was a solid 2nd
Second Fiddle was a little skunked - might have kept too long.
Fair Maiden was solid last place

Test 7:

Fiddlehead 2nd Fiddle
Foley Brothers Pieces of Eight
Firestone Walker Double Jack
Alaskan Hopothermia

5 tasters
2nd fiddle a solid #1
Double Jack #2
Maybe Alaskan 3rd, Boyking 4th...maybe vice versa
Foley Brothers Last

Test 8:
Second Fiddle
18th Street ZERO Discipline
Prairie Phantasmagoria
Westbrook Three Claw

2nd Fiddle was solid winner again
Prairie was close 2nd, but was different in a good, but non double IPA way.  Three claw was boring.

Test 9:
Second Fiddle
Westbrook Two Claw
3 Floyd's Warmullet

Warmullet was a disappointment but okay.  Many people had a rough time deciding between 2nd Fiddle and Two Claw, but finally decided 2nd Fiddle was the winner.  Almost included Two Claw in the clear winners category, but will wait until we can compare to Boyking and a few others.  2nd Fiddle has beaten dozens of contenders, Two Claw has been in on me one tasting.

Test 10:
Second Fiddle
Firestone Walker Fortem
Frost Beer Works Slush

Second Fiddle dominated again.  Slush was good.  Fortem was meh.

Test 11:
Second Fiddle
Southern Barrel
Shmaltz She Brew
Shmaltz Wishbone
AleSmith Double IPA
Upper Pass Cloud Drop
Benford Problem Solver

The surprise was problem solver coming in last.  AleSmith, Second Fiddle and Cloud Drop were a virtual tie for the top.