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You are currently browsing the Stupidity In Society blog archives for October, 2008.

Oct

31

What Not to Order at a Sushi Bar

By admin

Sushi restaurants have become a staple in modern society. Where Papa Riah lives there is just about one in every strip mall, and all of them do a good business. The popularity of sushi in modern American society isn’t very hard to explain. The food is both delicious and healthy, and what’s more it’s served in a fun atmosphere. You just can’t beat it. However some people just have to push the envelope in whatever they do until they ruin it. I like to refer to these folks as extreme sushi knuckleheads.

Extreme sushi knuckleheads are looking for shock value. They want to eat something that other people won’t. Which would be fine if they kept it to themselves. But if they kept it to themselves there would be no point to it, and so they wouldn’t even bother. They need you to notice them. They want you to think they are really cool for doing such hardcore sushi. What’s worse is they want to order you some of that ridiculous crap they are eating. So don’t pay much attention to them when you come across one, or you might find that they ordered you a special caterpillar roll – perhaps one crawling with actual live caterpillars.

When an extreme sushi knucklehead pulls up to the sushi restaurant he probably isn’t driving an ordinary car. It will usually be pimped out in some degree or another, no matter what kind of car it is. These guys like to be noticed. If they are bringing a date it’s probably a short little Asian girl (as they don’t seem to be too picky and usually don’t have a problem doing hardcore sushi themselves).

They won’t be dressed in ordinary casual clothes. They will be displaying some bling and have an expensive or unusual shirt. Perhaps expensive designer shoes as well, and many of them like to wear trendy sunglasses even at night. There will be a certain air about them, and everyone in the restaurant will soon become aware that they are on a first name basis with at least one of the chefs.

They will often start out ordering something rather run of the mill – for them that is, as it will likely be the most extreme thing you ever order. Maybe a special, colorful rainbow roll or something. Their drink of choice will be something really cool – a Scorpion for two in a porcelain clamshell shaped vessel, or premium cold Sake that comes out of a special hip-looking blue bottle.

But after their first course things will start getting interesting. They just can’t stand to dwell with the mere peasants anymore and will order something from their favorite chef which nobody else even knows exist. Perhaps a large fried fish head with the eyeballs raised up on toothpicks. And it only gets more bizarre from there. The last extreme sushi knucklehead I encountered had lobster heads which were still moving their tentacles placed on the bar next to him and his date’s plates while eating I-don’t-even-want-to-know-what.

One thing I never understood at sushi bars are the quail eggs. Why in the world would you want to eat a little raw quail egg? In my youth I tried a couple specialty items which included them and I’m here to tell you that they contribute nothing enjoyable to the dish. They are just there so you can be hardcore, and they really are not all that safe. All risk, no reward. If you are into Uni (sea urchin) it is much better served plain (no quail egg) and dipped in the wasabi/soy sauce.

In fact that’s really what eating sushi is all about. It’s that soy sauce and wasabi (which is really just a green horseradish) flavor. You just need a good substance to flavor it with, and cooked white rice plus some fresh raw fish happens to be the perfect texture for it. A good sushi experience simply means the fish was a good cut and extremely fresh. You aren’t going to improve upon that by ordering weird stuff or exotic looking rolls. It’s fine to tell the chef to make you something special; in fact some of the most enjoyable dishes are discovered that way. Just let him know you aren’t into anything too weird.

Papa Riah

Oct

29

What Happens to Atheists when they Die

By admin

Ever wonder what happens to an atheist after they die? Well, there are two distinct possibilities. The first is: absolutely nothing. That is what happens if their belief turns out to be right. Most atheists do not believe in anything supernatural, just what they can see and feel. No God, no creation, no afterlife. So they assume that when they die it’s all over. Their consciousness is snuffed out, a concept known in theology as annihilation. So there can never come a moment when they have the satisfaction of finding out that their belief turned out to be right.

The other possibility is that they discover their belief was wrong. This is where it gets interesting. This cannot be a good moment for an atheist. Now some of them do acknowledge that there might be some kind of continued spiritual existence beyond this life, as a way to explain paranormal phenomenon such as ghost sightings. However they refuse to believe in God or the Bible or creation for various reasons. (Atheists are typically rather vehement in their denial of God.)

Therefore if the Bible turns out to be true, dying is going to be a rude awakening for atheists. A gigantic oops! Now Papa Riah does not endorse any particular religious belief, nor does he belong to any particular theological camp. I’m just a guy who is completely detached from everything and happens to be blessed with a keen sense of unbiased observation. So I’m not religious, nor am I an atheist. That may sound like a contradiction to some people, but it’s really not. I am a smart gambler and have my bets hedged. If the Bible turns out to be true I’ll be in fine shape. If atheists turn out be right I have nothing to worry about either.

The thing that really bothers me about some atheists is their willingness to argue their point of view. This makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I can’t understand the motivation behind it. What is the point of trying to convince somebody else that there is no God and existence ends at death? That just seems like a complete waste of energy to me. If you are right it doesn’t matter what anybody believes. But if you are wrong the stakes are enormous.

Since there is no possible upside to your belief and a huge possible downside, why in the world would you spend an ounce of effort attempting to recruit others into this dangerous position? Does it make you feel better to think that if you are wrong you won’t be going down alone? There is no need to be concerned about that! In fact if the Bible turns out to be true there will be plenty of religious people in hell.

Ask an atheist how we all got here, that is to explain existence itself, and they will usually give you the explanation that everything happened by an incredible series of coincidental accidents. The protein cell, the DNA cell, the fact that if the earth were 5 miles closer to the sun we would all burn to death in 8 minutes and if the earth were 5 miles further from the sun we would all freeze to death in 8 minutes – all just random chance. Our ancestors crawled out of the sea and this chain of accidents eventually led to us hitting golf balls on the moon. It all started with a big explosion a long time ago – however they can’t tell you where the combustible material for that explosion came from.

Perhaps I sound a bit hypocritical to you. Perhaps you think that not being an atheist just to have my bets hedged is an insincere stance on the issue and therefore doesn’t count somehow. Don’t worry about me; I have that handled as well. Just to make sure I have everything covered, I have taken a sincere position on the Bible in order to hedge my bets. According to the Bible the reason you believe doesn’t matter, as long as you truly believe. Not being an atheist because it’s a stupid gamble is apparently an acceptable line of reasoning to God. Perhaps that’s why the wisest (and richest) man to ever live said The fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom.

If you insist on arguing with an atheist, they will probably ask you Why the Bible? Why not some other religion? What makes that the thing I should go with? Trust me, if I needed to hedge my bets with any of the other world’s religions I would. But as it turns out, there are only two other types of religions – those that were invented centuries after the Bible was completed in an obvious attempt to directly contradict it, and ones that do not claim to be a communication from God at all.

Read my post on What Different Religions Believe for a breakdown. When you really start researching and studying this subject, it becomes obvious that it’s either atheism or the Bible that is going to end up being true. If there is no God and no Heaven then nothing really matters. But if there is a God and a Heaven then that’s the only thing that matters. Why risk everything you own on a bet that can lose and not win anything?

Papa Riah

Oct

27

Stock Market Volatility Cannot Last

By admin

The stock market has recently broken all previous records for volatility, often swinging as much as 10% or more in a single session. This has a lot of people scared as they watch their 401K account balances swing wildly. Papa Riah happens to be an expert in the financial markets (really) and I’m here to tell you that this type of market behavior by it’s very nature just can’t last for any length of time. I have actively traded stocks, currencies, options, and even futures accounts, and have an extensive collection of trading and investment books (all of which I have read and studied). I have even attempted to make a living daytrading at various points in my life, and have authored printed articles on the subject.

Which brings me to the reason that extreme volatility can’t last: It is too easy for daytraders to exploit. Intraday trading is not easy, but extreme volatility makes it easy. Therefore it cannot keep going because all the daytraders will make too much money too easily. This results in a market inefficiency and free markets always close pockets of exploitable inefficiencies rather quickly. Otherwise everybody and their mother in law will get rich daytrading in the stock market – and that just ain’t gonna happen.

Perhaps you are wondering exactly how this is done? Sure, I’m happy to tell you. But first I need to warn you that you are probably too late if you are getting any ideas. Before you get your day trading account set up and are able to start betting on volatility, market conditions are likely to change. It’s also extremely likely that you will discover you have a discipline problem when it comes to closing out losing positions (which is what kills most people who try this).

Traders makes money from extreme volatility by betting on market swings, looking to capture a big one. They are wrong a lot and subsequently take many small losses along the way. However when they finally catch that big swing it more than makes up for all the small losses. With volatility as extreme as it has been lately, traders making these kinds of bets don’t have to wait very long to capture a big swing – it’s been happening almost every day! Easy money, and easy money always dries up fast.

As an example, below is a 3-day chart of the Dow Jones. The red dots are points where the daytrader would be betting on a major swing starting, at a point where it looks like a reversal could be forming. Most of the time this results in a small loss or a small win (if the market turns back and makes a new high or low you get out, if not close your position near the end of the session).

The green dots are the big winning positions. After you have captured a few hundred points you look to get out when another possible reversal starts forming – if not, at the end of the day then. Several of these captured 400 points or more. Although that represents only 5% of the entire Dow, traders are using highly leveraged entities to trade with and enjoy 4 x margin on their account as well. And last week wasn’t even as volatile as prior weeks have been!

dowchart

This simply can’t last because everybody will rush in to start doing this, much like daytraders of the late 90’s who simply bought tech stocks every morning and sold them at the end of the day. They all went bust when market conditions changed, and you can expect that to happen to the most recent breed of daytraders at any time.

So don’t worry about your 401K. If you have less than ten years to retirement you shouldn’t have it all in stocks anyway, and if you have longer to go you should have (at least) most of it in stocks and ignore the market (and your account balance) altogether.

Papa Riah