fighting the lack of good ideas

adoption fundraising

This month we hit 60% on our funding target!

We have a ways to go, but we have our referral fee, and one flight covered ~ish.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped, who would like to, and to those who are just keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.

Our main adoption blog.

the 50th law by 50 cent and robert greene

The 50th Law

The greatest fear people have is that of being themselves. They want to be 50 Cent or someone else. They do what everyone else does even if it doesn’t fit where and who they are. But you get nowhere that way; your energy is weak and no one pays attention to you. You’re running away from the one thing that you own – what makes you different. I lost that fear. And once I felt the power that I had by showing the world I didn’t care about being like other people, I could never go back

50 Cent, The 50th Law

Robert Greene’s book with 50 Cent was … different. Unlike his previous books I’ve read (33 Strategies, 48 Laws, Mastery, and The Art of Seduction), this book isn’t really written by him – and it’s not a Joost Elffers book. The copy I borrowed from my local library looks like a weird cross of a notebook and a Bible.

Should you read the book? I don’t think so. The whole of it is summed in the opening quote above – the rest of the several score pages just elaborate and/or ramble on the theme.

It’s marketed as a sequel to The 48 Laws of Power – it’s not. It ‘s a performance artist’s attempt to write-off his critics and push himself up in everyone’s estimation because hey: he wrote a book.

infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky – law 10 – #48laws by robert greene

Law 10

You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead. –Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (review)

the 33 strategies of war by robert greene

I’ve now read [almost] all of Robert Greene’s books (just pending is The 50th Law, which I’ll have reviewed in a couple weeks). Thanks to my local library, I have not had to spend gobs o’ cash in the process (though at least one of his books I think is most definitely worth the expenditure).

The 33 Strategies of War is Greene’s rewriting of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (review and chapters) with “modern insights” and the inclusion of a vast network of historical examples. It’s certainly an interesting text, but not one that I personally think warrants its own work – especially when the 2500-year-old book is still so insightful.

That being said, since I have read and/or skimmed the book, here are some thoughts. The best aspect of the book is still the “Joost Elffers-ification” of the book, with extensive marginal comments, highlights, funny textual formatting, etc.

Greene does an admirable job in this book, and it’s worth skimming – though I think the table of contents (reproduced below) is more useful than the whole text. It’s more of a pick-and-choose type of reading than something you should consume cover-to-cover.


Part 1 | Self-Directed Warfare

  1. Declare war on your enemies: The polarity strategy
  2. Do not fight the last war: The guerrilla-war-of-the-mind strategy
  3. Amidst the turmoil of events, do ot lose your presence of mind: The counterbalance strategy
  4. Create a sense of urgency and desperation: The death-ground strategy

Part 2 | Organizational (Team) Warfare

  1. Avoid the sense of groupthink: The command-and-control strategy
  2. Segment your forces: The controlled-chaos strategy
  3. Transform your war into a crusade: Morale strategies

Part 3 | Defensive Warfare

  1. Pick your battles carefully: The perfect-economy strategy
  2. Turn the tables: The counterattack strategy
  3. Create a threatening presence: Deterrence strategies
  4. Trade space for time: The nonengagement strategy

Part 4 | Offensive Warfare

  1. Lose battles but win the war: Grand strategy
  2. Know your enemy: The intelligence strategy
  3. Overwhelm resistance with speed and suddenness: The blitzkrieg strategy
  4. Control the dynamic: Forcing strategies
  5. Hit them where it hurts: The center-of-gravity strategy
  6. Defeat them in detail: The divide-and-conquer strategy
  7. Expose and attack your opponent’s soft flank: The turning strategy
  8. Envelop the enemy: The annihilation strategy
  9. Maneuver them into weakness: The ripening-for-the-sickle strategy
  10. Negotiate while advancing: The diplomatic war strategy
  11. Know how to end things: The exit strategy

Part 5 | Unconventional (Dirty) Warfare

  1. Weave a seamless blend of fact and fiction: Misperception strategies
  2. Take the line of least expectation: The ordinary-extraordinary strategy
  3. Occupy the moral high ground: The righteous strategy
  4. Deny them targets: The strategy of the void
  5. Seem to work for the interests of others while furthering your own: The alliance strategy
  6. Give your rivals enough rope to hang themselves: The one-upmanship strategy
  7. Take small bites: The fait accompli strategy
  8. Penetrate their minds: Communication strategies
  9. Destroy from within: The inner-front strategy
  10. Dominate while seeming to submit: The passive-aggression strategy
  11. Sow uncertainty and panic through acts of terror: The chain-reaction strategy

feed by mira grant

After some time of not reading fiction, I saw Mira Grant’s Feed recently in a store, checked my local library, and reserved a copy.

Now I need to read Deadline and Blackout. Grant’s writing, while typically female in style (first person dialog – both inner and outer, and the main character is a girl), does not confine its audience to needing to be female to fully enjoy it. I’ve read (or tried to read) many female-authored stories that are intensely difficult for me to really get into because it’s largely internal dialog in the female protagonist’s mind. I’m not a girl, and what ramblings are conveyed don’t jive with my brain 🙂

Exceptions to the rule have only come from Stephanie Meyer (The Host), Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games trilogy), and one other that I purchased in Britain several years ago but whose name escapes me.

Back to Feed. Our heroes are an adopted brother and sister, Georgia and Shaun, and their tech friend Buffy. They’re all bloggers with licenses to travel into contaminated areas (ie, where zombies are freely roaming), but all blog differently – Georgia is a Newsie, Shaun is an Irwin, and Buffy a Fictional – so they report the news in an objective fashion as possible; educate by “poking things with a stick”; and write poems, stories, etc based on their type of blogging.

After a short introduction to our main crew, the backdrop of being selected to blog Senator Ryman’s presidential campaign in the substantially-post-zombified world of 2040 (the Rising happened in 2014) is the main setting.

Interestingly, Grant uses references to other pop culture zombie portrayals (including ample nods to George A Romero who more-or-less created the ‘ideal’ zombie world we all love today with his groundbreaking work in Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, and Diary of the Dead, and which is also typified in AMC’s TV production of The Walking Dead (also a graphic novel series)). This is unlike perhaps any other horror/scifi writer I have ever seen before: she uses those stories to exemplify both “what we got right”, and “what we got wrong” in her universe.

If you’re queasy at the thought of flesh-eating zombies roaming the world, don’t read Feed. (Also don’t read World War Z – another of my favorites). If, however, you love a good whodunit, and are intrigued by the backdrop of a man-made-but-survivable apocalypse, go read Feed.

I’ll tell you how the rest of the trilogy is after I’ve finished them.

win through your actions, never through argument – law 9 – #48laws by robert greene

Law 9

Any momentary triumph you think you have gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate. –Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (review)

char steakhouse, raritan nj

I got taken out (along with several other people) recently to Char Steakhouse in Raritan NJ.

The food was nice, and the service was decent – but for $50+ per person, it should be AMAZING. And it wasn’t.

There was nothing wrong with the food, and indeed the sides were several steps above a Logan’s or Outback … but the steaks were no better. Which is sad.

If someone else is paying, though, it’s an ok place to go.