Defeating the Aliens

“The aliens are not evil, but they are here to eat us,” our main character replies to the first question the talk show host asks him. This contradiction draws some laughter from the studio audience, as they don’t understand the difference. “Do we consider the lion evil? Of course we don’t. When lions eat cute, baby antelopes, they don’t do it to satisfy some perverse love of violence. Anyone who thinks lions are evil is assigning their thought process to the primal actions of the lion, or they might watch too many cartoons. I agree with those who say that the aliens are not evil in the same vein, and I disagree with my colleagues on this note, but I can only guess that the lion’s prey don’t care what their intent is. We know the only reason lions kill is that they’re hungry. I think the aliens who landed on our shoes are desperately hungry, and they know we have meat on our bones. They just want to eat it. If you consider that evil, that’s up to you, but my bet is that the baby antelope doesn’t suffer their fate without, at some point, mischaracterizing the lion’s motive.”

The reactions the various players have to the main character’s appearance on the talk show ends up saying more about them than it does the main character, or the aliens. When the scientists and reporters attempt to interact with the aliens, soon after the shock and awe of their arrival subsides, they do so to understand why they’re here. They want to befriend them, and we follow their lead on the matter, because we want learn everything we can about them, so we can learn from them.

The aliens know their arrival is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us, and they know how much it excites us. They operate in good faith, in the beginning, and they focus on public relations to build trust with us to hide their real motives. When one of the reporters, assigned to cover the aliens, disappears, the aliens’ approval ratings suffers a dive. The public begins to suspect that the main character might be right when he suggested that the aliens captured her, filleted her and refrigerated her to take her meat back to their home planet.

“They had their eyes on that reporter,” the main character suggests, “because she had right combination of muscle and fat. My friends and I have studied all of the people who have gone missing since their arrival, and we’ve found no discernible patterns, other than they’re not too fat or too muscular. We think the aliens are eating those of us of a certain body mass index that contains a quality mix of fat and muscle. We think there are so many humans on earth that they’ve developed a finicky preference. They prefer those of us with a little fat to add flavor to our meat, in the manner a little fat flavors a ribeye steak. 

“Their initial landing was awe-inspiring,” our main character says on another talk show, “and I was as affected as anyone else by their initial messages, and their attempts to help us advance our science, but the number of missing people that followed alarmed me so much that I began studying them. It’s them, I’m telling you, they’re the reason we now have so many missing people. They’re filleting them, and refrigerating them to feed the starving population on their home planet. I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to accept this idea. Our water supplies have not diminished, nor any of our other natural resources, and I don’t think they’re here to build friendly relations between the planets, as they suggest. There’s no evidence to suggest that they’re here to breed with us, or any of the other things we’ve guessed aliens might want over the decades. So, what’s their motive? I don’t care what their public relations team says, we should still ask why they came here in the first place? We’ve heard them say they had the technology to come here decades ago, so why now? Why are they here? I think they regard us as food, and I’ve been trying to get that message out before it’s too late. As we sort through all these complex arguments regarding their intentions and motives, we forget Occam’s Razor, “All other things being equal, we may assume the superiority of the demonstration that derives from fewer hypotheses.” Simply put, the best answer is often the simplest.”

Most moviemakers line “alien attack” movies with hints of the adversary’s high-minded intelligence. The aliens, in these productions, are required to be of an intelligence we cannot comprehend, and they are of unfathomable strength and power. Our production would state that evidence suggests that power and strength usually counter balance one another in most beings. Is the lion smarter than the human is? No, but that wouldn’t matter in a one on one conflict. Is the body builder smarter than the average person is? Most are not, because we all focus on one pursuit to the usual detriment of the other characteristic. Thus, the alien cannot be of superior, unfathomable intellect and superior strength and power. Not only is it a violation of what I consider the natural order of things, it’s not very interesting.

Yet, even productions that try to have it both ways, be they sci-fi novels, movies, or otherwise eventually begin to train their focus on one of these attributes. If they depict the aliens as the literary equivalent to the bloodthirsty lion is this nothing more than a slasher flick? If they focus on the superior intellect, do they do so to achieve a level of complication that might lead to more favorable critical reviews? Whatever the case is, we now require our moviemakers to provide subtle hints of alien intelligence. The more subtle the better, as that makes it creepier. The moviemaker, as with any storyteller, might be feeding us the entertainment we want, but I don’t think so.

I think the quality moviemaker modifies his material in such a way that it provides subtle hints of the surprising and unusual intelligence of the aliens. They spool out hints of the aliens’ intelligence in drips to further horrify and mystify us. They do this to mess with our mind in a way that a slasher flick doesn’t bother doing. They want to creep us out and scare us somewhere deep in our psychology.

In our production, the aliens have developed powers that we cannot comprehend, but as with any decades-long reliance on a power, it comes at a cost. To explain this theory, the main character says, “Imagine if we could emit super gamma rays from our eyes, in the manner these aliens do. It would be a superpower to be sure, but it might lead us to neglect the intelligence we might otherwise employ in tactical and militaristic conflict. We might rely on those powers so much that it could result in a deficit of our intellect. I submit that even though these aliens employ some war-like tactics, they’re as intelligent as a lion and not as smart as we are. I think we can defeat them with our intelligence.”  

Every alien/monster movie eventually also eventually turns into an allegory about our inability to accept outsiders. In our production, the aliens would use our compassionate approach to outsiders against us. They are intelligent enough to put together a seductive war-like plan, and in doing so, they purport to support a cause that most humans adore. They don’t have a cause, but they know that we’ll follow them to our own demise if they cater to our heart correctly.

The reporters and scientists in every alien/monster movie are always correct in the designs they create for how we should approach and handle our relations with aliens. What would happen if they operated from a faulty premise? Everyone who employs the scientific method to resolve a crisis, approaches the situation with a question, does background research and eventually reaches a hypothesis. At what point in the attempts to prove or disprove that hypothesis, do we troubleshoot and find out if we approached the issue from a subjective or biased view? At what point, do we arrow back to the beginning on our algorithm and correct the question that led us to an incorrect conclusion? 

In our production, the reporters and scientists are operating from a flawed premise they develop as a result of their own biases and subjective viewpoints. The aliens enjoy that premise and begin building upon that narrative to sell it to all earthlings. These useful idiots inadvertently aid the aliens’ public relations campaign to soften us up. They discover, too late, that the less worldly main character’s simple truth that while the aliens are not as evil as their detractors suggest, they’re also not hyper-intelligent as the reporters and scientists theorized. The idea that they just want to eat us bears out, and we realize that if we all agreed to these facts earlier, we could’ve saved a lot more people. We all had a difficult time agreeing to the idea that we were of superior intellect, but once we did, we used it to defeat them. We used our intellect to nullify their superior force. We were elated with the victory, of course, but once life returned to normal, there was that sinking feeling that if we just ignored the reporters, the scientists, and all of the people who believed we should be more accepting of the aliens sooner, we probably wouldn’t have been victims of the worldwide slaughter that ensued. If we listened to the main character, and all of the people who supported his view, and we followed his simple strategy for attack, we could’ve saved a lot more lives.

Boring Investment Advice from a Know Nothing

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” was one of the most valuable takeaways I had from working at an online brokerage company. Soon after I landed this job, I entered the training room. The information overload I experienced in the training class was intimidating, overwhelming, frustrating, understandable, illuminating, and intoxicating. I thought I knew something when I finished these grueling classes, and I was eager to put that knowledge into play in the market. Every time I did, throughout my tenure there, “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” became the refrain of my pain.

Watching the brokerage’s customers put their knowledge into play in the stock market only reinforced the idea that I didn’t know what I was doing, because some of these callers knew a lot more than I did and they spent a lot more time studying trends. They could recite a company’s tiny, accounting numbers and explain to me how those numbers were indicators for future success. They could explain cyclical trends in the company’s industry and how those trends and numbers coupled with prevailing winds in the market and the nation’s politics could indicate that the company’s stock was ready to explode. They were eternal optimists on the subject of their stock, yet their results ended up being as unimpressive as mine were.

Some of these callers didn’t have the money to pursue their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, some didn’t have the stomach to pull the trigger, and others didn’t have the brains as evidenced by the fact that they asked me for advice on what they should do. Those in the latter group were more memorable for the creative ways they tried to blame the company, and me, when their too primed to fail moves fell through. The theme of these calls was, “You, and your company, shouldn’t have permitted me to do this.”

My lifestyle at the time was such that I provided friends the opportunity to use all of the clever and humorous variations of the word frugal. I had money at my disposal in the post-Reagan era that preceded the tech bubble bursting. Momentum stocks were exploding all over the place, and the excitement from these gamblers (not investors, gamblers) was infectious. I forgot everything my grandpa and dad told me about investing, and I put my foot in the tide. I learned the hard way, that if I was going to make any money in the market, the last thing I should be counting on were my knowledge, or my knowledgeable instincts.

Invest in What you Know

“Invest in what you know,” The wizard of Wall Street, Warren Buffet, advised those of us overwhelmed by the information required to invest in the stock market. The question I ask those who follow this wisdom is how often do your personal preferences align with the popularity of products?

An aficionado of coffee might know that the blend corporation ‘X’ puts together is superior to their competition, but do they really know that, or do they think that? More vital to the subject of personal investing is the question, does the coffee aficionado know anything about the business practices of ‘X’. They might know that ‘X’ makes a superior blend, because ‘X’ only uses the finest quality bean, but do they know how much that bean costs the company? Do they know what percentage of that cost the company passes onto the consumer? The idea that ‘X’ might charge the lowest possible cost possible to the consumer might be a key component to their personal loyalty to the brand, but how does this action affect ‘X’s profit margin? On another note, how many knowledgeable consumers have been frustrated by the number of consumers who for whatever reason, stubbornly insist on drinking an inferior blend? We might insist that our friends try our brand with the hope that they might switch, but how many of them do? They stubbornly insist on drinking their coffee, the coffee they’ve been drinking for a generation. It’s called brand loyalty. Repeat after me, “I know nothing.” Buffet’s advice might be great for novices who have some money to play around in the market, and for them investing in ‘X’ is another way to show brand loyalty, but for serious investors seeking a path to some level of financial independence, it’s been a formula for failure in my experience.

Why do our employers provide us a select list of mutual funds for our 401k? They do it to protect us from indulging in our creative impulses when investing. They know that the key to long-term investing involves the slow growth, and they study the mutual funds market to determine which funds will produce long term and consistent growth.

“Investing doesn’t have to be boring,” I’ve heard creative investors say in response to the adage that if you find investing exciting, you’re probably doing it wrong. Creative investing involves an otherwise intelligent person finding creative end arounds to prove they are as skilled in the investing world as they are in their profession. Creative investors seek to impress their friends with exclamation points!!! They want to tell their friends that they were in on the ground floor of an idea that made them millions, they want to show their friends a physical product to “wow!” them, and they want their friends and family to talk about that investment that put them over the top in the arena of accumulated wealth. Any common Joe can invest in a slow growth, blue chip companies that has an extensive record of paying consistent dividends. Investments in those companies require little to no creativity or ingenuity, and they are the antithesis of sexy, creative investing. Watching such companies plod onward with miniscule, but consistent profits is about as boring as the professions, most common people have, but seasoned investors will say that that long-term boredom might provide the most probable route to long-term success.

On that note, a vital mindset that an investor should maintain is one that recognizes the continental divide between investing and gambling. Some seasoned investors might say that all investing is gambling. If that’s true, we maintain that there is a continental between gambling on an upstart and gambling on a blue chip stalwart that has a proven history of consistent returns. There’s nothing wrong with investing in momentum and growth stocks versus defensive stocks, but most momentum/growth stocks are more volatile than defensive stocks.

The difference between stalwart, blue chip stocks that some call defensive stocks and momentum, or growth stocks are often found in their volatility. A theoretical measurement of a stock’s volatility is the beta number. If a stock has a .44 beta number, for example, the investor knows that that company is theoretically less volatile than most of the stocks listed in the market, a .62 is a little more volatile, but not as theoretically volatile as most stocks. A 2.15 beta, on the other hand, is a number that suggests that that company’s stock is theoretically more volatile than the rest of the market. This number is a theoretical variable that suggests that a 1.0 stock moves in line with the market.

The opposite of investing in growth stocks that promise growth based on momentum are the defensive stocks that generally sell the staples of consumer related products. Defensive stocks generally provide more stable earnings when compared to those in growth stocks, and they generally provide consistent dividends to the investor, regardless what’s happening in the rest of the market. There is always going to be some volatility in a company’s stock, of course, but some would say that a blue chip, defensive stock that offers a dividend could be a better investment for a potential investor than a bank’s certificate of deposit (CD). At this point, many of these companies offer a yield (dividend) that is better than what most banks can offer in the form of a CD, and taxes are lower on dividends from stocks than they are on interest from a CD. The one caveat on investing in a dividend paying stock is the prospect of losing some, or all, of the principle investment in the stock, whereas a bank enters into a locked in agreement on the principle with the consumer when providing a CD for a specified amount of time.

Some call blue chip companies the major players in their industry, or the household names. The Dow Jones Index lists thirty of the major players that have a propensity to either move with the market, or dictate the movement of the stocks in their industry, and the subsequent moves of the overall market over an unspecified amount of time. The stocks listed in the Dow Jones Index are blue chip stocks that generally offer slow growth and dividends to its investors. These investments are what a creative investor might call boring investments.

Be Boring 

I am not an investment advisor, and I don’t pretend to be one on this site, but when I talk about investing it inevitably leads some to ask me what particular investments I would advise they put their money in. I tell them that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night thinking that they might purchase a stock I’m tracking, because I know how much their family is counting on them to make wise investments choices. My one piece of general advice is that they avoid creative or sexy investing and develop an investment strategy that involves getting boring. I tell my friend if he wants to up his income, his best economic opportunities available to him are at the office and in his work ethic and loyalty to the company, for that might result in raises and promotions. If he wants to get filthy, stinking, and “I hate you now because you have so much money” wealthy, the best route to accomplishing that is to have your money working for you. “Working for you” can mean a variety of different things to a variety of different people, but I would advise that an investor in an optimum situation that entails having some disposable cash on hand find the least volatile, blue chip company that pays a consistent dividend. If they are in this optimal situation where they don’t have immediate need for the money from those dividends, they should set up a Direct Reinvestment Plan (DRIP) on that stock to watch the slow growth accumulate over the long term.

Those readers who blanch at the notion that “You don’t know what you’re talking about” is solid investment advice, should know that it parallels the advice Warren Buffet gave elsewhere. “If you’ve got 150 IQ and you’re in my business, go sell 20 or 30 points to somebody else, ‘cause you really don’t need it,” he said. “You need emotional stability. You need to be able to detach yourself from fear or greed, when that prevails in the market. You’ve gotta be able to come to your own opinions and ignore other people. But you don’t need a lot of brains.”

I agree with everything Buffet says here, except for the idea that the novice investor should ignore the advice of others. I advised my friend to create a fake portfolio on one of the platforms that provide that function. I advised him to input data that suggests that he’s made a purchase of some shares at the amount of that day, and then chart that stock’s progress for however long he finds necessary and read all of the data and analytical reports that the chosen platform provides. Then, allow some earnings quarters to go by and read, or watch, interpretations of the company’s quarterly report, and digest all of the negative and positive data provided. (The optimum is to read the company’s own quarterly report, but most of these are about as long as Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea and about one-tenth as interesting.) If he is still uncomfortable with his knowledge regarding individual stocks he chose to fake invest in, I told him to delete the stocks in that fake portfolio and start charting mutual funds and index funds in it. Investing in these vehicles requires as much homework as investing in an individual stock, but some outlets like provide comprehensive ratings on various mutual funds. They also provide a description of the risk the potential investor will experience if they ever decide to push the buy button, a full breakdown on the mutual funds’ investments, or asset allocation, and an outlook that ranges from one month to ten years.

Investing in mutual funds and index funds might be even more boring than investing in blue chip stocks, as it takes away the personal rewards investors seek when picking an individual stock and riding it to the top. If the investor is using the art of investing to prove their craftiness, I suggest that they might want to consider the far less expensive route of downloading one of the thousands of strategy and war games in app stores to satisfy this need. If they are seeking immediate returns on their money, just about every state now has craps tables and roulette wheels in their casinos that provide gamblers a guaranteed payout. For those who have worked hard for their money and now want their money working hard for them, it’s vital that the investor take stock of what they don’t know, as opposed to what they do, or what they think they do. For those people, “You don’t know what you’re talking about” is the best advice I’ve ever heard.

Quality of Life and Addiction

If you have an addiction to some intoxicant, your quality of life is diminished. There are many statements bandied about regarding controlled substances, but I don’t think many would argue that point.

Personally, I’ve never known a recreational user. This term gets bandied about by those who want to legalize some drugs. They talk about the particular faction of our society that can control themselves when it comes to usage, and they say that the user—like beer drinkers—should be afforded the opportunity to indulge in their substance of choice. I’ve never met this person. I’ve met plenty of drug users, and I’ve heard my share of testimonies regarding the moment when it got out of their control. I’ve also had them tell me that their quality of life was diminished in various ways by the substance of their choosing. The legalization crowd never talks about the little ways in which your life is diminished by continued usage of a substance, and the resultant forms of addiction.

Those who argue about the evil a drug has on a person often use the large arguments to pursue their point. They speak about the anecdotal evidence regarding the individual who ends up robbing a Kwik Shop or shooting a pedestrian, and they even speak about the man who ends up ruining his family.

I have young nephews, and I’ve often wondered how I’m going to address the questions they will have about these substances and addiction. As the fun Uncle that I am, I don’t want to approach their questions from a professorial position. I don’t want my answers to be of the text book variety or something I learned from an anti-drug campaign. I want to tell them something that is personal and different from the answers they receive from anyone else.

Funny thing about these substances, I will tell them, they become mood regulators. When you’re a little too happy or energetic, you can mistake this as a desire to have a cigarette. When you’re a little down, tired, or in some way feeling below life’s bottom line you mistake this as a need for a caffeinated beverage of some sort. It doesn’t happen in one day, and it doesn’t usually happen in a cognitive manner, but there will come a day when you cede control of your mood over to the substance that you’re just trying out. I don’t know anyone who sits down and says: “You know what? I’m a little too happy today. I need a hit.” It happens to the best of us though, and we never saw the escalation.

As you can see here, I’m not talking about the big guys. I have little to no personal experience with controlled substances, other than through friends, and I wouldn’t begin my discussion with alcohol. Alcohol would be a discussion I had down the line. The nature of addiction is where I would start, and I would begin my answer with the fact that the nature of addiction begins with relatively harmless substances such as cigarettes and soda pop.

“Do you love doing what you do?” I will ask them filling in the blank with whatever they love at that time. “After gaining an addiction (be it drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, soda pop etc.) your enjoyment of the particular activity will be diminished. Your focus will be on that addiction. Doing (whatever it is they do) will become secondary to your next hit. Not only that, your mind may become diminished. Your physical capacity may become lessened by increased hits, until you are less concerned about your ability to run, play, laugh and love.

At some point, you become concerned only about that next hit. At some point, you’re no longer listening to the loved ones around you, because you’re wondering where your next hit is going to come from. You’re obsessed with it, until you leave that table get a hit/get regulated, and you’re fine. At that point, you are able to listen to their mindless minutiae without hatred.

We can talk about all the big things if you want. If you want me to, I could recite for you the facts and figures on the evils of addiction, and I could turn professorial and provide you with all sorts of literature on addiction, but life is really about the little things. Life is about smelling a flower and tasting an incredible burger that you’ve worked to pay for, but cigarettes cut down on your sense of smell and your sense of taste. Life is about having fun, being who you are, and doing what you do. Life is about playing baseball and basketball, and talking to beautiful women, and going on vacations, and wanting to spend time with your grandpa talking about stupid stuff that only he can make entertaining. Life is about highs and lows and dealing with them on a case by case basis.

There are huge addictions, like those associated with heroin, meth, cocaine, and alcohol, but there is also cigarettes and soda pop. Soda pop and sugar can bring you temporary highs, but it can also bring you low. I wish I could tell you that there are no temporary highs with alcohol and drugs, but there are. You can experience a great deal of mixed emotions in the throes of these substances, but they are temporary, and you can spend the rest of your life trying to recapture those temporary highs, until you become something less than what you were when you started, and you don’t even see this happening.

There was a time in my life when I couldn’t picture a night out without some form of intoxicant. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine considering a night out with friends pointless if there wasn’t anything to stimulate you? I remember wondering what we would talk about if there wasn’t something to bridge the gap…if there wasn’t something to bring out that crazy side of my personality that I wanted to show. You could say that I was an insecure individual who didn’t believe he was capable of entertaining people without alcohol, and you would be right. I fell into that trap somehow. I hated most polite conversation. I still do, but I let it go now. I used to have this desire to shake up boring conversations by saying something controversial, and I didn’t believe I would be capable of doing so without some intoxicant. I didn’t want to go out and talk about knitting and crochet. I wanted a night out, I wanted to create memories, and I couldn’t see anyone accomplishing that on soup and jello. I worked hard, was my rationale, and I wasn’t about to let a weekend go without something to take the edge off.

I went to a lot of parties to take the edge off, and I got drunk a lot. There were some occasions when I did take the edge off. There were some nutty nights, but for those good nights there were just as many nights when I sat in a proverbial corner by myself while the fun happened around me. I was all right though. I never got down in the dumps as long as I had a full pack of smokes and a bunch of beer.

As long as I had a full pack of smokes and a bottle of beer in my hand, I didn’t have to deal with the fact that I had trouble talking to women, that I didn’t do well in school, that I hadn’t done much to further a career, that I didn’t get along with my Dad on many levels, that I didn’t really care about seeing my family, that I had little to no idea who I was, and that I was pretty much a slob. I could put those discussions off for one more night, as long as I had a beer and a full pack of smokes.

I look back on my life now, and I think about all the time I missed. I’m left to wonder what I was doing. What did I do with all that time that others spent talking to girls, refining their personalities, owning a home, learning the ins and outs of the tax code, learning about bank loans, and striving to achieve in the workplace? I was rarely a blackout drunk. I remember about 98% of it all, but I missed out on something in life. I put it off in order to have more fun than one guy can achieve in one life. Did I have fun, of course I did, but I think my quality of life was diminished a little. I think I put a lot off in pursuit of a good time. I think the pursuit of my addictions was, more often than not, my goal in too many situations.

Money matters

“You say money doesn’t matter, but let’s see you do without it,” is a lyric in an old Cracker song.   Those who say such things in art and in life have usually never known a life of need.  I haven’t either in the Ruwanda refuge manner, but I’ve been broke.  I’ve also known what it’s like to go out with all your buddies knowing that you’re the only one who has to budget.  On the flip side of that coin, how many do what they do for the sole pursuit of money?  How many people do things that make them unhappy, because they feel the need to provide themselves with the constant flow of money?  What do we do with that money?  Are we paying bills, providing sustenance for our children, and saving for their schooling and our retirement?  In other words, are we doing what we do for a living for our basic need with some frills lined up on the side?  Or, is the majority of our money set aside for the frills and the superfluous?  What percentage of our hard earned money–earned at a job we hate–spent on the things we don’t need?  If you don’t think I have a point on this matter, look around your town.  Storage units are a thriving business in my fair city, and they are not just filled with speedboats and jetskis.  They’re filled with the items we could not do without at one time.  They’re filled with items that the Jones’ family had that we had to have if we were ever to consider ourselves one of them.  I’m leaving a job that I hated, that I did for the sole pursuit of money.  I’m leaving a job that I loved to say to girls.  I work at the XYZ corporation, and I’ve been there for ‘X’ amount of years.  I loved to say that to girls, and relatives, and friends, and people I met on the street.  I loved to watch the paper gains I made in my 401k and my other investment portfolios and my bank account, but I hated every aspect of the job I did–except for the people of course–and I didn’t feel like I was making gains, other than the paper gains, in life.  It was a tough decision, don’t get me wrong, but I’m now going to live by the credo: “In the United States of America of 2009, you should never have to do a job you hate.  There are too many opportunities out there.”  I didn’t say it, but I will live it, and I will love it.

Waging War in the Office Space

Pick your battles, I say to those who ask me, and wage war on the vital aspects of life.  A friend of mine wages war on every stupid thing that crosses her transom.  It’s the stupid minutiae of life that really gets her dander up.  I tell her not to complain so much.  Pick your battles, I say, and people will listen to you when something really bothers you.  I have an analogy that always works for me.  It’s the difference between Dr. J and Magic Johnson.  Every time Magic went down the lane, you would’ve thought that someone just attempted to rip his arm off.  He bitched and moaned, and I lost a lot of respect for the guy.  I’m sure that the refs that worked those games got sick of his whining too.  I’m sure they even told him to shut up on occasion.  It’s my belief that a Magic Johnson wouldn’t be listened to when he complained for the 187th time that season.  Dr. J., on the other hand, did not complain.  Julius simply accepted the fact that the refs would catch some fouls and they wouldn’t catch others.  When Julius would get outraged, I say, the refs would listen.  I’ve had this analogy and this theory for years.  I’ve quietly accepted that which I didn’t think I could change, and I’ve saved it all up for the larger battles that I saw coming down the road.  I live with the notion that when I eventually do complain, everyone is going to add a little more seriousness to it.  The argument to my theory is that Magic was working the refs to make sure that he would get the calls that he was supposed to get.  The argument is that Dr. J. was too passive, and the refs accidentally let some things slide.  With Magic, they didn’t want to hear home bitch and moan, so they made more calls in his favor.  In the office where I work, most ascribe to the Magic Johnson theory of bitching and moaning, and it works.  I’m here to tell you today that I know nothing of the human condition.  My theory on this topic has been officially rendered invalid.  My friend, the complainer, the bitcher, the moaner,  has been promoted a number of times, and my eventual complaints have been treated with no more and no less seriousness than hers.  So bitch away good people of Earth.  The fruits of your bitching and moaning are only a whine away.