Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Corcoran Was a Time Traveler - Chapter One

(NOTE: I'd HIGHLY recommend reading through the first book in this series, Jesus Was a Time Traveler, first. You can get it here. Even if you haven't read it, you should be able to follow along with this one. Enjoy! -D.J.)

(Oh yeah, also, this book contains adult language! You have been warned!)

Corcoran Was a Time Traveler

By D.J. Gelner

Copyright 2018

***

Chapter One

 
     Should I break the empty bottle of Macallan 18 and slit his throat? Or would it be more satisfying to rip out his jugular with my teeth?
     I decided on the former and, in one motion, dashed the empty scotch bottle on the curb, and brought the jagged edge to the exceedingly cool-looking man’s throat.
     “Aw come on, Doc, we ain’t got time for this!”
     He made a casual attempt to swat away my erstwhile hand, which had formed a claw around the bottle’s neck.
     Yet my resolve was steeled. I was more beast now than man. Fueled by hatred, I pushed through his half-arsed defense, though his parry forced the bottle just far enough away so as to graze his cheek.
     Damn! How close I had been!
     “Damn!” he checked for blood. “So we’re gonna do this the hard way then?”
      I let out a primal scream (or what I imagine as such—I was in a state of somewhat less-than-complete sobriety) and lunged for the Commander again.
     I felt sick as he lodged his fist squarely in my gut. I heaved in gulps of air between near-wretches as I crouched to draw in breath after breath.
     “God damn it Doc can ya let me—”
     The sound of his voice re-lit my fuse. I spun out of the crouch in a backhand led by the jagged bottleneck. He sidestepped the attempt as I thrust the bottle toward him repeatedly, backing him toward the corner of the alleyway I had been “fortunate” enough to call home for the past several weeks.
     His eyes darted around the surrounding area. I had been in battle with this man long enough to know he was looking for an advantage, any advantage, he could press as I forced him toward a somewhat indefensible position.
     He set his back foot and used it as leverage to bound forward, his open palms straight out, on their way to the sides of my head, presumably to box my ears.
     I reached both hands up to block his assault, then leveled a kick at his leg.
     It connected flush, and as he reeled, I steadied myself into my boxing stance. I jabbed at him twice, connecting on both and brought my rear hand back, ready to unload a devastating cross (along with what remained of the bottle) on the side of his face.
     I could sense the now hot, moist glass nearing its target… the jagged edge of the bottle practically smiled as it thought of spoiling that well-crafted chin.
      Suddenly, I heard a loud “RIIIIP!”
     He had managed to raise a leather-clad arm to repel my final blow… though I must admit I was somewhat pleased it had utterly ruined his fine-looking jacket.
     “That!” He punctuated his exclamation with a right cross.
     “Was!” He followed it with a jab.
     “My!” His right hook connected and sent me reeling.
     “Favorite!” He grabbed the remnants of my sleeve and pulled me toward him as his off-hand somewhat curiously held my wrist. What the devil did he have in mind…?
     “JACKET!”
     <CRACK>
     I felt the blood drain from my face as the sickening noise coincided with an otherworldly pain in my arm.
     I instinctively released the bottle, which shattered on the cobblestones of the alleyway, and watched as my arm dangled lifelessly at a funny angle, broken at the elbow.
     My eyes went wide. I must’ve screeched like a schoolgirl as I ran around in circles, lamenting the grotesque break in my joint.
     “It’s gone! My arm—it’s gone!”
     Corcoran straightened his jacket and leaned against the wall with a sigh.
     “Oh come on Doc. It ain’t gone… just broke a bit.”
     “I can’t feel it! I can’t use it! It’s gone!”
     He rolled his eyes and reached into his pocket.
     “Here you go, ya big fuckin’ baby…”
     He reached up toward my mouth and squeezed whatever was in his hand. Within seconds, I tasted the familiar, vaguely pineapple-y taste of medigel.
     “Shhhh… there, there, sweetheart…” he deadpanned. The bastard had the gall to mock me!
     He reached into another pocket and produced a bottle of (rather cheap, mind you) whisky.
     “This oughtta even ya out a bit…”
     I seized upon the bottle like Smigol upon the magic ring and started chugging it down.
     “Christ Doc, I woulda settled for ‘Good to see ya, Rick!’ or ‘Wow, how long has it been bud?’”
      “How about ‘Thanks for ruining my life! Stealing my fucking legacy?!” I spat the words at him.
He harumphed. “Figured there might be some hard feelings leftover. Didn’t you get my—”
     “Yes I got your fucking note. Thank you.” I nodded at him.
     “Well… it was all in there, ain’t it?”
     “About how Helene employed you to steal my time machine? To abscond with it and the countless fame and riches that was rightfully mine for having discovered time travel?”
     “Yeah… yeah I guess it was kinda about that…” he rubbed his chin.
     “And now that you’ve come back in time to gloat, to show me just how awful I am… what a wretch I’ve become… to lord it over me, and add injury to insult in this case…”
     He shook his head, “Why you gotta be such a fuckin’ drama queen all the time Doc? Look I came here for 2 reasons, and rubbin’ your face in it or ‘lording it over ya’ ain’t neither of ‘em, okay?”
     I must have literally taken a step back, and the surprise must have been evident on my face.
     “First of all, I figured you might still be sore about what all happened back in 2042.” He took a couple steps toward me. “So I wanted to offer you the chance to take one free shot at me, right on the—”
     He had begun to point at his chin, but my fist anticipated his words. I launched a perfect left hook with my good arm that connected flush with his face, and sent him reeling toward the piss-stained wall that doubled as my urinal.
     “Owww! God…fuck!” He covered his face for several seconds. I don’t know why, but as satisfied as I was at getting my God’s honest revenge on him, I couldn’t fight the urge:
     “Are… are you okay, Ricky?”
     “That fucking hurt Doc!”
     “Yeah… I know. Months of repressed rage and so-on and so-forth?”
     He nodded. “Got it… Christ, and here I was thinking Bloomy was just a pussy when you whalloped him one…”
     Though I normally wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to make a joke at Steve Bloomington’s expense, with him not in present company, over half the fun was drained from said opportunity.
     Corcoran finally staggered to his feet and brought his hands away from his face.
     “How do I look?”
     A large purple welt had developed around his cheekbone, raising the usually taut skin into an unsightly mass of pulsing flesh.
     I shrugged, “Hardly can tell…”
     “Allright… we square now Doc?”
     I thought for a moment. It did feel surprisingly good to both enact some small measure of revenge on Corcoran and show him that I was a more than capable adversary when pushed.
     “I suppose that depends.What was your second reason for coming here?”
     He wiped his shredded jacket sleeve over the deepening purple skin on his cheekbone.
     “Well for one…” he paused, “I couldn’t in right conscience let you rot away back here in history, just so you could wave ‘Hi’ to daddy a couple’a times a week.”
     He delivered the final part in a rather grating, mocking baby voice.
     “Come on Doc, look at yourself! You reek of shit and piss!”
     I straightened up. “I thought the whole idea was quite moving, almost poetic even. Become the very vagrant my father warned me about on all those long walks by the Thames. A cautionary tale to young Phineas, week in and week out, forced to face my deepest fear and shame like—”
     “Spare me the goddamned ‘woe is me, daddy hates what I’ve become’ psychobabble lecture, awright? It’s fuckin’ selfish is what it is.”
     “I beg your pardon?!” I had half a mind to slug him once more.
     “Look, I fucked up. I can’t say I’m sorry enough. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Does that help?”
     “Only about 999,997 to go…” I deadpanned.
     His uneven stare glared at me for a moment… and I saw just how serious he was.
     “Truth is, what’s up there—” he pointed at my ragged hair, “Is probably one of the most valuable commodities in history.”
     “You… want to make a wig?”
     “Always a fuckin’ wise ass… your brain, dummy! You’re one of the greatest human minds of all time, damn it! And to wallow in self-pity like a damned pig in slop is downright fuckin’ tragic… when you could be helpin’ so many people all throughout history.”
     I tried to take in the Commander’s compliment in the best manner possible. And unless he had added “Oscar Winning Actor” to his repertoire (I was legitimately afraid to ask him if he had), then I believed his apology to be sincere.
     “Very well then—for what do you require my assistance now?”
     He scrunched his nose momentarily before he shook the awkward sentence construction out of his head. “I have a job offer for ya.”
     I rolled my eyes. “Oh really? Need some sap you can pin the Kennedy Assassination on? Perhaps I could be nailed to the cross in Trent Fucking Albertson’s stead?”
     “No, nothin’ like that.”
     He didn’t even chuckle.
     “Anyway… does the name Klaus Thurber ring a bell?”
     I was (quite literally) taken aback—I shuffled backward a half step.
     Klaus was a dear old friend of mine, and perhaps more importantly, was one of the few people on the planet whose intellect could even begin to rival my own.
     We had spent many gin-soaked nights together in Leipzig opaquely talking around key concepts of my time machine in coded vagaries like a couple of mobsters planning a hit.
     He was especially keen on optics, and I had enlisted his help more than a few times tweaking the time machine’s cloaking device to get it to perform up to spec.
     “What in the devil does Klaus have to do with anything?”
     Corcoran shook his head. “He’s in trouble back in the future. I guess he got involved with Chronosaber somehow, and then the Nazis got word of it, and they ended up coming to his lab in 2032, and—”
     “You cannot be serious.” I rolled my eyes. “Who in their right mind would ever do business with Chronosaber?”
     This time I at least got what I can best describe as a “huffed guffaw” out of the Commander.
     “Damn it, Doc, this is serious stuff. Last I saw, Klaus was pinned down in his lab, under heavy fire from Dolph, Gerry, and the reunion tour of the survivors from our little jaunt into Paris circa WW2.”
     “Klaus… is seriously being attacked by Nazis? He’s in trouble?”
     This time it was Corcoran who rolled his eyes.
     “Yes! Fuck it, Doc! And as soon as those Hugo Boss-wearing assholes goose-stepped their way into his office, he sent me to get you.”
     “Why?” I shot back.
     Corcoran shrugged. “Beats the tarred shit outta me. Somethin’ about he wanted you to have somethin’a his? Or somethin’?”
     I narrowed my eyes in the hope that the Commander would realize how unhelpful his description was.
     “Anything more than that? Like an invention? Or piece of equipment?”
     Corcoran shook his head. “That’s all I got. He said you’d know what to do with it when you got to Leipzig—”
      “And fought my way through an army of Nazi thugs?”
     “Fought our way through an army of Nazi thugs!” Corcoran couldn’t conceal the glint in his eye from the glee he felt at an opportunity for unchecked mayhem against the fascist horde.
     I stroked my chin. If Klaus was truly in trouble, then it would logically follow that he had something that only I could understand. Should someone of lesser intellect, like the Commander, for example, try to use or decipher whatever Klaus had prepared, it would be much akin to a chimpanzee in a lab coat trying to operate a fission reactor.
     My only worry was the mention of Chronosaber. Obviously that old crone Helene was cooking something up, and had employed Klaus to help her do so… but what? And was this some ruse concocted by her to further humiliate me? And make me the clown’s arse of history?
     Or would it allow me to cross paths with her once more and set history “right”? Sure, “what happened, happened,” and whatnot… but nothing I had seen had shown me definitively that I couldn’t off the old bat in both of our futures.
     For all I knew, she would have travelled directly from our meeting in 2042 back to 2032, and now I would have the opportunity to exact revenge from her, much as I had already from the Commander.
     With eyes greening by the minute, I nodded my head.
     “Well then, if Klaus is in need of help, then help him we shall.”
     A broad grin crossed the Commander’s face.
     “Awesome! Put ‘er there pal!”
     He extended an outstretched hand to me.
     I shot away from it as if it was a loaded gun.
     It took him a second to realize it was the same hand that had damned me to become a vagrant all those months ago when he had inadvertently used a “memory glove” to capture my handprint and abscond with my time machine.
     “Ah come on Doc—no glove, see?”
    He raised his bare hand in what I imagine was supposed to convey a sense of comfort.
     I steadied myself, sighed, forced an overbroad smile, and clasped the man’s hand in my own.
     “Very good then. To one more adventure, just like old times!”
     Perhaps it was the medigel taking hold, but I must admit it was invigorating to contemplate a proper adventure like the ones we had previously undertaken!
     The sad truth was, sitting in this alleyway, pickled as a mummy in formaldehyde, week after week, wasn’t nearly as therapeutic as I thought it might be. I longed to recapture that sense of adventure, that joie de vivre from our previous travels. Even more so than I wished to come to terms with my father’s shame…
     My father!
     “Um… one more thing Ricky?”
     “You name it.” Corcoran nodded.
     “I…err…well…you see, it’s my father and I.”
     “Look, Doc, if you really want to  come back to this time period when you’re done to be a damned bum and see your Pop, we’ll see what we can—”
     “No, no—seeing him these few times was thoroughly therapeutic,” I said. “But the simple fact of the matter is that we saw the bum every week when I was a child, and if I leave now—”
     “Won’t someone take your place?” Corcoran asked.
      It took me a moment to catch on, but eventually I realised what he was saying.
     “Ah yes… ‘whatever happened, happened.’”
     "Right. No matter what you do, the past is fixed. You leave, and someone else should be right there to take your place, just as the universe intended..."
     As if on cue, the sound of a stream of water impacting brick resonated out from behind the dumpster in front of us.
     “OOOOOOHHHH YEAH MATE!” a voice yelled after it. “GET AFTER IT, POP, WHYDONTCHA?” the booming voice asked no one in particular.
     We circled around quietly to find one of my alleymates urinating loudly on the facade of the building next door.
     “He been there the whole time?” Corcoran asked.
     “That’s Horace. Real piece of work, that one,” I shook my head.
     As the man continued to pound the wall with a torrent of urine and groaned, Corcoran walked over to the far side of him and stared at him in profile.
     Hopped up on God-knows how much gin and barbiturates, I doubt Horace even noticed.
     “Sure,” Corcoran said.
     “What?” I asked.
     “He’ll do just fine.”
     As Horace shook out the final drops of what I imagine he considered his greatest masterpiece, Corcoran grabbed him under the arm and guided him the several steps back to where I had previously made my home.
     “Absolutely not!” I protested. “Horace takes all of the aluminum cans for himself out of the bins. Furthermore, he’s an incessant bore. I will not have that man represent me on my—”
     “Your what? Your wall? Who the hell knows it’s you, anyway? Not your Pop, that’s for sure. Not little Phineas Templeton. Look at him—he’s a dead ringer.” I hadn’t had the good fortune to admire myself in a mirror lately, and though grudgingly I must admit that Horace was somewhat of a “handsome homeless,” if I was in as poor of shape as he was, it was probably a good thing I was getting back to work. The Commander waited for Horace to finish his semi-orgasmic urination.
     I offered Corcoran a tight smile and a nod, “Very well then, Commander. I am officially, if reluctantly, in your employ.”
     The familiar broad grin worked its way over the Commander’s face.
     “Outstanding. Thank you, Doc. I mean it—won’t let you down again.”
     I nodded, perhaps too-grimly to betray my suspicion. “Indeed. Now about these Nazis…”

Stay tuned for Chapter 2 next week.

In the meantime, if you liked Chapter 1, please forward it and share it with folks who you think might be interested. It'll help spread the word! 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Corcoran Was a Time Traveler" For FREE Starting Next Week...



For those of you waiting for the sequel to my novel, Jesus Was a Time Traveler, I appreciate your patience!

I'm thinking of doing something particularly crazy to help promote and publicize the book:

I'm going to give most of it away for free!

Yep--FREE!

If things go as planned, I'm going to start publishing one chapter per week(ish) on this very blog.

It's going to be open to the public--no tricks, no gimmicks.

And if you're on my email list... you'll get an email every time I release a new chapter.

I'm planning on doing this for about 20-25 of the chapters in the book (there will probably be around 33-35 like in the last one)... and then to get the ending, you'll have to buy the book.

I'm trying this for a few different reasons:

1) It'll make me finish the damned book!


I've already finished 12 chapters of CWATT.


Unfortunately, it's taken me way too long to get that far... I know some of you are thinking "WTF is JWATT lol?!?"

You've forgotten the first book by now!

I'm a very list-and-routine-driven person... so if I have this "deadline" looming over me, it makes it way more likely I'll get a chapter done per week.

Especially now that I have a full-time job and I have to write before work, or on nights and weekends.

This kind of schedule that sets a consistent progress goal for me is exactly what I need.

One foot in front of another... one chapter every week...

Then it's just a matter of time before the whole book is finished!

2) I want to reward my most loyal fans


I know--all 7 or 8 of you out there!

But it's true--whenever someone asks me about the sequel, I feel guilty.

I always could be getting more done on it... but particularly lately life is getting in the way.

So please take this as my way of making amends--and a way for you to get your "fix" before anyone else even knows about this book.

3) I'm trying to build my email list


From my day job, I know the easiest way to build an email list is to give MASSIVE value to people for free just for joining.

Unfortunately, I've decided to make this writer thing work... so my own books and stories will have to do instead!


Seriously though--that's basically the most valuable content I have.

And by releasing it periodically like this, I'm hoping people will join my list to be notified when a new chapter drops.

Notice that I don't have a set day/time of the week when I'm releasing these chapters.

So unless you want to refresh the site a million times a day, the easiest way for you and me both is to just join the damned email list...

4) I'm hoping to build a buzz


I'm really hoping that (if you like the book), you'll tell all of your friends about this little experiment too.

But asking people to buy a book from an author they've never heard about before is a pretty daunting task.

I don't think that's necessarily true money-wise--after all, most folks have a few bucks to spare on a novel.

What they don't necessarily have is time.

If you're going to invest the time in reading something--a book, a series, etc.--you're going to want a return on investment for your troubles. You want:

-Entertainment
-Something that's enjoyable to read, and
-A payoff at the end

I'm happy to give the first two away for free... but to get the third one (the payoff) I think it's fair to ask folks to buy a copy of the book.


This lets anyone who's new to me as a writer try out my stuff before they get too invested in the series.

They can see if they like my irreverent tone, the characters, the jokes, etc.

And then, if they like what they see, they can pay for the ending.

Hopefully as more people start getting into it, they'll share it with more people... and they'll share it with more people... and eventually, I'll have a nice big following for when it's finally done.

That's the hope anyway--it might fail spectacularly!

I may be embarking on a total disaster here.

There's a chance NO ONE will read it...

There's a chance NO ONE will tell anyone else about it...

And there's an even bigger chance that NO ONE will ultimately buy the book...

But hey, at least this is something. At least this is a way to take a shot and finish the book.

Otherwise, it might be 20 years from now and I'll still be talking about "Oh, I made another 500 words progress this week... on chapter 19 now... the grandkids will probably love it... and WHERE IS MY METAMUCIL?!?"

Just kidding. I already take Metamucil.

What You Can Do to Prepare:

Really you only need to do 3 things:

1) Read Jesus Was a Time Traveler if you haven't already.

In case you need the link to Amazon, click here.

And if you've already read it, you might want to re-read it if you've forgotten the ending.

(NOTE: I will be having a Kindle Countdown Deal December 21-28 where you can get JWATT at a steep discount!)

2) Sign Up For My Email List

I'll send out an email each week when a new chapter goes live. As long as you're subscribed, you'll be the first to know about it.

 
3) Click the links in the emails as they come out each week.

And then I only have one more thing to ask of you:


If you like the book... SPREAD THE WORD!

This experiment only works if it helps me get this book out on time and spread it to a wider audience.

So if you have anyone who you think might be interested in trying out my stuff for free... send them this way!

Loan them a copy of JWATT to get them up to speed...

And buckle up--cause no matter what this is gonna be a heck of a ride...

-DJ

Friday, June 8, 2018

This Insane "Double Cloud" Westworld Theory Will Blow Your Mind


Note: This post contains LOTS OF SPOILERS FOR WESTWORLD. If you haven't seen Season 2 Episode 7 ("Les Escorches") yet, probably best to avoid this post. You have been warned...

I'm going to jump right into it.

I think my wife and I have cracked what Westworld is up to this season.

It's more than a little bit crazy, so bear with me a bit here.

The big thing to remember through all of this is that it seems like this season is very tightly written. Every revelation comes back to play a part in the grander scheme of things.

So if something has been covered in a plot point, that probably means it's important, no matter how much of a detour an episode like Samurai World seems to be.

This past week, we learned that Ford had uploaded his consciousness to the Cradle (I don't know the cutesy way they spell it in the show), which Kate and I affectionately call "Cloud World."

This is the place where all of the hosts' backups are stored, and they go through their loops best as we can tell pretty much continuously.

Much more on Cloud World in a minute.

We also learned more about Delos's scheme to learn more information about the guests. Namely that Westworld is all a big experiment. They run variables (the guests) through a situation where the hosts are the constants, and record everything--behaviors, reactions, etc.

We still don't know why Delos is doing this, but Kate and I think we have a pretty good idea.

Recall the "tragedy" of Old Man James Delos.

Long story short, rich a-hole has a terminal illness and ultimately dies, but per his instructions, young William tries to put Old Man Delos's consciousness into a host's control unit/body to give Old Man Delos immortality.

Every time they try to do so, William comes in and has the same conversation that he did with Old Man Delos when he was alive to see just how close they got to duplicating "the real thing."

The only problem is that these host copies always bug out somehow. They lose fidelity. They survive for days, sometimes weeks even, but the human mind is proving to be too complicated to be accurately replicated in a host in the real world.

So that path to immortality--putting peoples' consciousness in host bodies--seems to be a dead end.

If you can't create an "immortal" consciousness in a host body, what's the next best way to achieve immortality?

It seems like Ford has the answer:

Upload your consciousness to the Cradle/Cloud World.

As he explains this episode, consciousness seems to last a lot longer in Cloud World--it's not plagued with the same issues of degradation as "implant a person's consciousness in a host body" does.

So Ford, in anticipation of Delores killing him in last season's finale, uploaded his consciousness to Cloud World where he knew it would be safe.

Still with me?

Ford is an interesting character too--what's his motive? Does he want the hosts to just murder all people they encounter? Is he really mad, as the end of this episode might suggest?

I don't think so, and here's why:

It's pretty clear that the "product" that Delos wants to offer is some kind of immortality.

And as we've seen, immortality in a host's body is a non-starter.

But cloud immortality--that's seemingly possible.

Ford has achieved it a couple of times now.

He did it initially by bringing Arnold back to life in the cloud in the form of Bernard.

Granted, Bernard isn't a complete carbon copy of Arnold's consciousness: he's been created from both Ford's memories and Delores's memories--the two people who knew him best.

As Ford was tinkering creating Bernard in Cloud World, Bernard was only released once he passed the "fidelity" test with Delores.

So Ford has created a "person" (Bernard) in Cloud World from the memories of a couple of individuals. And this creation was able to pass fidelity tests for years--up until they find the cache of Bernard copies in the lab, not even Charlotte or Big Bald Goatee Idiot suspect him of being a host.

And as we've seen, Ford's even gone a step further: he's uploaded his own consciousness to Cloud World. And it seems to be pretty accurate as far as we know.

In other words: it seems like Ford's perfected the ability to upload individuals' consciousnesses to the Cloud.

This is a huge development! Theoretically, it means that Delos can sell people "Cloud Immortality" where they can live in Cloud World pretty much forever.

Here's the problem though:

If you live in Cloud World forever, it would get pretty boring after a while.

Guests would just go about their same loops, day after day... Delores dropping the can, pre-badass Teddy going on about whatever simple stuff he's talking about...

Sure you'd have other Guests to interact with... but you'd be living in the same theme park ride FOREVER.

This was alluded to in the Samurai World episode. There are only so many narratives--so many ways the stories can play out. So it would get terribly boring after a while.

So we think Ford needed a way to give the hosts the ability to think for themselves. To create their own narratives. "Choose their own paths," so-to-speak.

And to do that, he came up with a couple of plans.

The first is Delores. She was probably his "plan A"--introduce self-awareness naturally, by allowing her to proceed through the maze.

The backup--the "plan B," I think, is Maeve. She's around to "wake" hosts who either don't buy into Delores's special brand of murderous "justice" or who haven't encountered her yet.

After all, Maeve's search for her daughter had her cover a lot of ground. And she interacted with a lot of different people.

So you've got Delores gaining self-awareness on one hand, and Maeve giving self-awareness on the other.

Yet there's one crucial question that no one has addressed yet:

If you want to give Hosts self-awareness to improve the experience in Cloud World... why would you do that in the real world?

After all, it seems like a real pain to go to all of that trouble... then corral all of the hosts, upload their consciousness into a new Cradle/Cloud World, etc.

And it'd be much, much tougher to convince anyone to work with Delos after the bloodbath Westworld has turned into. After all, if you were a billionaire, would you go to the "New and Improved--Grand Re-Opening!" Westworld after all of this had happened?

Finally, Ford is more of a "show, don't tell" kinda guy. He's a master storyteller and knows that it's way more powerful to let people have an experience and draw their own conclusions than to just be like Brad Pitt in Troy:

"Immortality--take it, it's YOURS!"

So this is what we think is going on:

All of the action this season is taking place inside of a "Second Cloud."

Somehow, the guests who attended the gala were brought into this "Second Cloud" on their way into the park.

This Second Cloud has a few different purposes:

It allows the hosts to develop consciousness (and thus go "off-script") in a controlled way.

It also not only "shows" the guests attending the gala that not only are they going to die... but it lets them experience it, often in the most gruesome and painful ways possible.

And yet Delos is collecting all of this data... and we don't know why... but:

Could it be to create "versions" of guests who have already been in the park for Cloud World?

So like Ford did with Arnold/Bernard, he'd have these "Cloud Immortal" versions of guests ready to roll out...

And that's the true end of this new narrative of Ford's:

If you just got eaten by fire ants, or hung slowly in the sun for days... and then you woke up and Ford's there like, "Surprise! You're still alive... but now for a limited time, Delos is offering Cloud Immortality..." you'd be pretty likely to cut a check, right?

Finally (and perhaps most importantly), Second Cloud World is there to prove fidelity.

And this is where William, Charlotte, and Bernard all come in.

No one probably has experienced the park quite like William has. Even though Ford might "know" more about it, he doesn't have the day-to-day experience William does in there.

So if you were creating a cloud version of the park, with "free-thinking" hosts, you'd want to test it on someone who has extensive experience in the real park, to see if they could tell the difference.

If William is in Second Cloud World, but he thinks he's in the real park, there's a high level of fidelity there.

Same goes for Charlotte--she knows the park in a different way than William... but if she can't tell the difference, there's fidelity there too.

And then there's Bernard. He's key to this part of the story.

That's because he's the first iteration of what Ford's trying to do here:

He's the original "create a Cloud World consciousness from data/memories" test case.

As Ford says to Bernard at the end of the episode, "It's your narrative now."

I think that's because he's testing the fidelity of Bernard in Second Cloud World. To see if this kind of a person constructed from memories and data acts like the real thing in Second Cloud World.

And the ramifications for Second Cloud World are startling:

Is this essentially the genesis story for the Simulation Theory of the Universe?

How deep do the Cloud Worlds go?

(Most importantly to Kate): How does Ghost Nation play into all of this? Are they some kind of fail-safe in the narrative? But if it's all a simulation, why would they be needed then?

It really does boggle the mind a bit.

Anyway, would love to get your thoughts! Leave a comment below:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

How to Fix Health Care, Our Divided Society, and REALLY Make America Great Again...

Dear President Trump,

I know that as a country, we have a lot of problems right now.

I also know that we have a lot of great people. People who dearly love this country, but who feel like they've been left behind.

Not only that, but as a country, we've maybe never been quite so divided.

It seems like every issue now is "us vs. them." The art of compromise--the "art of the deal," if you will, seems like it's dying a little bit every day.

And that division comes at a great price. As we bicker over endless minutia in the hopes of scoring hollow political victories, the real problems remain:

-Broken healthcare

-Crumbling infrastructure

-A divided citizenry that thinks they hate half the country

-A skills gap that keeps a growing number of people out of the workforce, and (to a lesser extent),

-A corporate tax base that continues to dwindle due to tax inversion.

These problems are serious, and require a serious effort to fix.

But What If You Had a Plan to Address ALL Of These Issues... And TRULY Make America Great Again... Within a Decade?

It's not going to be easy... and it'll require a little deal-making ability... but if you can pull it off, it would cement your legacy as one of the greatest Presidents in our history.

Interested?

I present to you:

America Serves

The basic idea is simple:

-After graduating high school, allow young adults to sign up for a 1-2 year term of national service in an area vastly different than the one they grew up in.

Think "Green Acres." Urbanites heading out to rural America and vice versa. 

First of all, this will expose our young people to people from other walks of life.

Part of what divides us currently is the simple fact that people are insulated within their own little "bubbles."

The working class family from "rural, red state America" watches Fox News and has little time for "academic, Ivory tower" liberal ideas that just "aren't practical."

Similarly, many urbanites in "blue cities" don't get to see what rural life is like in America these days. Many haven't even gotten to see open fields, or see that there's a "different way" than the way they grew up.

By transplanting people across the country, you'd start to see people gain that one crucial thing that you can never get from inside a bubble:

Perspective.

They'd start to learn a little bit of empathy for people who are different from them... and in the process, perhaps they'd come to understand that yes, these people are Americans too!

Sure their problems may be a bit different... and they may live differently and have "funny ideas" about certain things... but ultimately, we all live under the same flag... and we should all be proud to do so.

-This program will be completely voluntary... 

NOT compulsory. I think the concepts of liberty and freedom should be honored, and baked more into our national consciousness. However...

-To entice young people to participate, for every year you serve, you'd get ten years of access to highly discounted, "public option"healthcare.

So serve one year, you'd get ten years of access to health care.

Serve two, you'd get 20 years.

Essentially pay a small premium every month (like $100) and you'd get access to a V.A.-like system of hospitals.

Each child that the person had could be covered for an additional $50/month. So 3 kids would only cost $150/month extra.

Now before you go saying, "The V.A.?! What is this guy, nuts?!?"...

The V.A. is actually getting better. A lot better, actually. High-quality doctors are increasingly considering the V.A. since they don't want to deal with salary structures that rely on how many patients you can get through the door in a given year.

People would flock to America Serves in droves just for ten years of deeply discounted healthcare.

Not only that, but it gives Congressional Republicans a political "out," since they can give in on the public option for some Americans, but in exchange for real, honest work that helps the country.

It's a win-win.

What Kinds of Projects Would America Serves Folks Work On?


As a part of America Serves, you'd get a huge workforce to help with a variety of projects, including:

-Infrastructure Projects: First we could repair our crumbling bridges and roadways. Then we could work on building high-speed rail lines, hyperloop lines, airport improvements--things that matter to help people and goods get places.

-City and Rural Modernization: Think bringing broadband to rural areas, or computerizing the records department of a city.

-National Park Improvement: Would be great to get urban young adults out in the fresh air to make our National Parks (the lasting legacy of the great Teddy Roosevelt, mind you) even better than they are now. I'm thinking new trails, new lodges, improved accessibility options, and more interactive displays.

-Tech Projects: I'm thinking of things like mapping roads for driverless cars. I don't even know if this is a thing anymore, but doing the kind of "grunt work" that would vastly improve our country down the road, and save lives.

-"Manhattan-Type Projects": I'm a firm believer in big projects, like the Manhattan Project and Moon Landing, that energize the modern tech sector, build jobs, advance technology through pure research, and frankly inspire the country to greater heights. A project like this may not be feasible for a few years, but once we set one (nationwide hyperloop network potentially?), it could be a huge source of ongoing jobs.

This would only be the start... and you could get a lot more projects than this, simply by surveying every city and county in America and asking, "If you had the people, what would you like to get done right now?"

All you'd have to pay them would be a stipend for housing, food, and basic goods that would vary with the area of the country you were in with the cost of living.

Not Only That... But These Projects Would Help Build Skills Too...

A lot of these projects help build either:

-Engineering skills, or

-Computer skills

These are exactly the kinds of skills we want to build in our young people, right?

And even better, they'll learn them in the field, on-the-job, getting real "resume experience" with real-world projects.

Better still: once done, these people will be better prepared to continue their educations formally if they so desire.

In fact, if it's feasible, I'd like to add some sort of "G.I. Bill" component to this... or at least 2 years of college assistance at a heavy discount (so that someone could do 2 years at a Juco and then finish their degree at a 4-year University if they'd like). But it might be "too much" to make it work at the start.

Not only that, but I'd like some kind of "skills training" requirement to be a part of the program.

Basically you identify a dozen "highly marketable" skills... then hire folks (as part of the program) to teach those skills to participants 1-2 nights per week for 6 months.

After 6 months, the participant would switch to a different "highly marketable" skill.

This would give them at least 2 marketable skills to help them find work after their America Serves term is over. And as Scott Adams notes, becoming "pretty good" at 2 skills is often enough to make a person wildly successful in the job market.

These skills could be wide-ranging, including:

-Sales
-Public Speaking
-Engineering
-Robotics
-Computer Programming
-Data Security
-Private Space Program / Rocket Science
-Pre-Med
-Plumbing
-HVAC maintenance

Really, wherever we "need more people" to compete with China and other potential challengers in the next century.

So where would we find these instructors?

That brings me to my next point...

What About Older Americans Who Haven't Had the Chance to Participate? And What Happens When the 10-20 Years of Coverage Runs Out?

These are kind of related, so I'll address them at the same time.

After an initial 3-year "shakedown" period, America Serves would be open to ALL Americans of any age for a one-year term.

Yeah that's right--I want the 52-year old programmer who just got downsized from her job to be able to sign up, get her 10 years of healthcare, and learn new, transferable skills.

I want the homeless guy who's lost hope to be able to sign on the dotted line... find housing and a fresh start... pick up a shovel... and get to work if he so desires.

I also want people who have developed skills to bring those to the program too.

So if someone works at SpaceX or NASA... and they wanted to teach some aspect of (presumably non-proprietary) rocket science to America Serves participants... they could do so 1-2 nights per week, and gain eligibility for the public option health insurance, and any educational benefits it would afford.

This would require a public-private partnership to teach these skills... and ensure that nothing proprietary was released to potentially the wrong hands.

But employers would be incentivized to participate for one very simple reason:

They'd instantly gain a pool of potential employees with skills that they desperately need!

(More on that in a second...)

And every eight years after your initial America Serves term... you'd be eligible to "re-up" in the program. Either by taking a working/learning position again, or by taking a teaching/mentoring position in the program.

This would also continue exposing participants to people in a variety of different industries, from different walks of life, with different problems. The bubble collapses further!

About That "Corporate Inversion"...

Oh yeah--so here's the real kicker:

America Serves would help fix corporate inversion too!

Forgive me Mr. President, but this is an open letter, so for those who don't know what corporate inversion is, it's when a country moves to another country to avoid paying the going U.S. corporate tax rate.

It's quite a bit more complicated than that... but that's the general gist of it.

So for example, right now, the tax rate in Ireland is a lot lower than it is here in the U.S.

Because of that, a lot of companies have created Irish holding companies (or merged with Irish companies and headquartered themselves there) for the tax benefits.

It robs us of billions of dollars of tax revenue from these companies... and contributes to the crushing deficit we now face.

But America Serves would fix that, and here's how:

The Carrot: For every America Serves graduate you employee who makes at least $50,000 per year, the employing company would get to take a $50,000 tax credit (or deduction--accounting wasn't my best class in law school).

This provides the incentive (the "carrot") for companies to hire more employees, as it would effectively lower their tax rate.

They could help develop the "skill curricula" that America Serves participants would get, which would make the participant more valuable after graduation.

They'd also be helping create more value in the America Serves program. After all, if graduates are highly sought after, that makes serving in America Serves all the more appealing.

It could also lower corporate healthcare costs. More employees on America Serves could mean fewer who needed to be on expensive corporate plans... though it would be great to come up with a way for employers to give employees an America Serves "supplement" as an enticement to come to their company.

Lower taxes, more jobs, more good jobs... what's not to like?

However, in case that doesn't do enough to entice companies... we'd need an alternative way to compel them should they still remain abroad:

The Stick: No non-American Citizen or Company should be able to lobby Congress or the Executive Branch

If you want to influence policy in this country... then you have to have some kind of skin in the game.

It makes sense, doesn't it?

This would provide strong incentive for an Apple or similar company to come back home.

If you need to have some sort of repatriation holiday to make it happen...so be it.

But it doesn't make sense to allow these countries to move abroad... and then let them lobby for favorable treatment in our government.

In short: you can't have it both ways.

And We'll Pay For This... How?

It's a fair question. This all seems like it's going to take a lot of cash.

But I'd counter that it makes a lot of entitlement programs either obsolete, or able to be drastically reduced.

If someone has the ability to get a "restart" in their career once every 8-10 years, then long-term welfare can be drastically scaled back.

We can also scale back social security (since older folks could take their biggest financial worry--healthcare--out of the equation by passing their skills on to the next generation).

And we could up the age for medicare by 8-10 years as well, practically overnight.

Remember, we want to incentivize folks who have these skills to pass them along to the next generation. If people could be retired for all intents and purposes and teach a couple of classes a week for a year for deeply-discounted healthcare? I'm guessing they'd hop on-board immediately.

Democrats may scream "bloody murder" at any entitlement reductions. But since they'll effectively be getting a form of single-payer healthcare, we all have to compromise here. It's not going to be neat and pretty, but I think the benefits outweigh the costs in this instance.

America Serves Would Bring Us Into the 21st Century

It would fix our infrastructure... 

Create great, skilled, relevant jobs...

Build our workforce...

And it could help end corporate inversion.

Not only would it bring our great country into the 21st century...

But it would also be a big positive experience that a lot of people could get behind.

Sure, you'll have the nay-sayers who'll crow that "It'll never work"...

"It's too expensive"

"It's not feasible"

"How are you going to run it?"

And while sure it'll probably need a few tweaks along the way... I'm sick of hearing why we can't do things as Americans... when half a century ago we were putting men on the moon and paving the way for democracy worldwide.

This would finally be something that would put us on the right track... and help us grow the economy (after all, all of the participants would pay taxes, and would pay even more once they were in teh workforce).

It's the fastest way to Make America Great Again that I know.

What's not to like, Mr. President?





Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The #1 Way to Stay Organized and Be More Productive, Even If You're Working For Yourself

As anyone who's ever seen my desk or apartment knows, I'm not what you'd call terribly "organized."

Papers and files everywhere... stuff all over the place... if left to my own devices, pretty much any environment I inhabit for an extended period of time starts to look like a "Museum of Clutter."

Unfortunately, back when I was freelancing, this disorganization extended into what I would work on in any given day.

I had a bad case of what's technically known as "shiny object syndrome." I don't know how many different projects I started that never amounted to anything.

I'd work on a book... and then a new website... and then an idea for a startup... and then a client's project.

I was hopelessly all over the place--and worst of all, I never got anything done!

How Working Remotely Helped Me Develop My Best New Habit

Eventually I got into Content Marketing, and even then I didn't feel like I was "firing on all thrusters." For a while I worked for a golf improvement company... and I'd get sidetracked with side projects, new ideas, and other assorted things that didn't ultimately matter.

When I got my current position, I knew I'd need a way to stay on-target. After all, we had 2 Google Hangouts calls daily so that everyone could check in and we could make sure we were all getting things done.

And since what I was about to work on didn't even exist yet, there was a TON to do. I didn't have the luxury of exploring potential "side projects" or anything like that. It was just (quickly) research the best way to do something... and do it. Make it happen.

Fortunately, my boss gave me a book before I started called Work the System. It's about a guy who owned a telemarketing company who suffered from a similar "shiny object syndrome" to my own.

Even more coincidentally, he never seemed to have enough time to finish what he was working on... and his company basically lived "paycheck-to-paycheck" from the checks that came in from outside vendors.

One day, this guy had enough. He decided that chaos wasn't working for him... so he'd look for something more orderly that could give his life more consistency.

And for him, that "something" was the idea of systems.

These "systems" were little more than checklists for common tasks that needed to be repeated frequently for the business. 

They were so simple that anyone could do the task in question. Which meant that this guy could hadn more of these tasks off to his employees... and he'd have more time to work on bringing in more business for his company.

Eventually (spoiler alert), he "systemitized" pretty much every aspect of his business. He started working 10-15 hours a week (since all of the "busy work" was handled by people who were using these systems). 

His quality of life improved drastically. And his business made a TON more money!

This all sounded GREAT to me! And it was honestly exactly what I needed at just the right time: something like a system to keep me on-track. 

As far as I could see, there was only one issue:

What Kind of System Could I Develop to Stay Organized and Productive?

Part of the beauty of these systems the author of Work the System created was that they were simple.

They didn't have many moving parts... and if one of the systems proved to be "broken," he'd just rewrite the step that was broken and try it again.

So when I developed my system to stay "on-task," I went with what I already kind of knew:

I started making daily task lists.

It was kind of an extension of my old job as an attorney where I had to keep track of my billable hours (shudder!). 

For that, I'd keep a list of times that I worked on things and work out the hours at the end of the day.

Of course, my old disorganized self often turned "day" into "month," which could lead to some tracking down documents and whatnot on the day time was due.

I hated billing my time for a variety of reasons. It was inconvenient. It got me out of my "flow" state. It was administrative work, and I'm not afraid to admit that I hate administrative work.

But honestly it was the only kind of system I knew at the time. With one caveat:

Instead of tracking hours, I needed to track what I was doing.

So within the first week, I started writing down what I had to do for the day, longhand. As I completed something, I checked it off the list. Pretty simple, right? Nothing too revolutionary.

Of course, within the first month, problems started cropping up in my system. I'd lose a page of notes (in my Museum of Clutter), and then be forced to ad lib what I'd done for the day.

Much as the author of Work the System noted, if a system is broken, fix the broken part and try it again.

So I started keeping my daily task list in a word document with this format:

Wednesday 2-1-17
-Check the traffic and sales numbers
-Contact expert regarding article
-Write Thursday blog email
-Edit Writer's article for Friday
-Get Optin plugin up-and-running
-Work with developer to get squeeze page up and running
-Finish writer payment report

etc.

I usually tried to keep the more important things at the top of the list, but it didn't REALLY matter what order they were in. 

In fact, I still kind of enjoyed jumping around the list a bit--it built in a tiny fraction of the "chaos" I formerly enjoyed into the system without compromising performance.

As I completed things, I'd start "tabbing" them over. And I'd introduce a bold "ROD" (for "Rest of Day") into the list. So that by the time of a call, the list above would look something like this:

Wednesday 2-1-17
          -Check the traffic and sales numbers
          -Contact expert regarding article
          -Write Thursday blog email
          -Edit Writer's article for Friday

ROD:
-Get Optin plugin up-and-running
-Work with developer to get squeeze page up and running
-Finish writer payment report

To prevent these documents from getting too long (and becoming too sluggish), I'd start a new document at the beginning of every month.

That's pretty much it!

How These Lists Helped Me Boost My Productivity

Over time, I started to notice something weird:

My lists started to get longer. 

Like a lot longer.

It's not that I was parsing things out more, but rather that I was getting more done!

I think subconsciously, I'd get a little hit of dopamine (the "pleasure" chemical in your brain) every time I'd move something over.

More than that, I'd get a sense of accomplishment. I was making progress! I was moving forward! My self-confidence would soar: "I'm organized! I'm a doer!"

But a funny thing happened as I got more and more confident:

My lists started to get SO long that I couldn't finish them each and every day.

I started to worry. Was I doing something wrong? How could I fix the system?

Ultimately there wasn't an "Aha!" moment here either. Over time, I started moving less important tasks lower and lower in the list... 

(And here's probably the most important part):

I gave myself permission to not finish EVERYTHING on the list in a given day if the deadline wasn't that day.

This was big psychologically for me. I don't like having "stuff to do," so I want a clean plate when I go home at night.

But I also like stretching myself and "aiming high." I made a conscious decision that it was MORE important to push myself than to worry about "closing out the list."

And I had a simple fix:

If there were things on the list that I didn't finish that could wait until the next day... 

Then I'd just put them at the top of the list the next day!

Simple enough, right? Nothing fancy.

And as I started to have appointments and interviews days ahead?

I'd create that "day" in my list document... and put the interview or appointment under that day so I wouldn't forget it!

My System Evolves to Become Indispensable

Over time, I've come to rely on this system so much that it's a little scary.

But I still had one issue to overcome:

I used these lists at work to great success.

But in my personal time at the beginning or end of the day... I just became a potato.

I'd sit and watch TV... movies... play video games... whatever.

That all changed recently when I read Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. 

As Tim is so good at doing, he reminded me that we only have about 26,000 days on this planet... and that's assuming we make it to 70, which is no guarantee.

Not only that, but I'm roughly at the halfway marker now. Only 13,000 days left...

And how many of those days will truly be productive?

Hence why I've tried something new: 

Keeping these lists for my side-projects too!

This is why this site suddenly came back to life... why I'm waking up an hour earlier to work on my fiction again... and I have some other projects coming to life as well.

All of this is possible because of these simple, copy-able lists that anyone can make.

Don't have Word? Keep them in a free Google Docs file.

The point is, if you're reading this, you have access to this tool right now.

It's a powerful tool that's boosted my productivity any given day by at least 50%...

And if that doesn't help you adopt this system, think of it like this:


In the coming weeks and months, I'm going to talk about all of the hard work that goes into making an "automatic cash machine" online.

The more you can get done every day... the less time it's going to take to build that same machine.

If you can double your output... you'll reach whatever goal you've set for yourself that much faster.

If you this system... and the other ones I'm going to show you in short order... you'll double your income in half the time.

That's MORE time your site can generate income for you... and LESS of those worrying months at the start waiting for it to take off.

It's win-win... at least from my perspective.

And I hope this helps you as much as it's helped me!

-D.J.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Everyone Lies in Business

So it's really come to this.

Honestly, I couldn't decide whether to write a big old "f--- you" to Stan Kroenke (who I imagine will enjoy dining with Pol Pot and Hitler in ten years or less), to take the high road on this one, or to try to split the difference.

The more I thought about it, what good will calling Stan Kroenke a "small, petty man who uses his billions to try to compensate for other areas of his (ahem) life" accomplish?

What good would it be to call Roger Goodell a "no good liar who has now sympathized with chronic domestic abusers and cheats, all in the pursuit of the almighty yankee dollar?"

No, that's not the approach I need to take now that it's final that the Rams are, in fact, moving to Los Angeles next season.

Instead, let me impart a lesson that guided me through this entire process, from start to finish, and held my attention like a slow-motion car crash throughout:

Everyone lies.

Especially in business.

We had sportswriters on every side of this thing trying to figure out what was real and what wasn't. Desperately trying to sort the B.S. from the truth.

But what does that fact tell you, right on its face? It means that, implicitly, there was a LOT of B.S. floating around the pool for the entire past year!

The NFL telling #STLNFL to "keep doing what you're doing."

(Never mind the two hand slaps the league office tried to levy against the Task Force. The NFL said it, so it MUST be true!)

The numerous reports that "Carson has 26 votes!"

(Even though on the first secret ballot, that support proved about as real as Pam Anderson's...well... you know...).

Roger Goodell's long-winded "f-off!" to St. Louis at last year's Super Bowl presser:


None of it mattered. And as I suspected from the start, it was for that very reason above:

Everyone lies.

As a licensed attorney, I've known this all too long. Your opponent lies. Opposing counsel lies. Your own client lies. Everyone involved in a business transaction lies at some point.

It's disheartening for good, hardworking folks to hear. I understand that. I've always been keen on the "handshake agreement" myself. That my word should be good enough to cement a deal under almost any circumstances.

But there's a reason that a handshake deal often doesn't hold up in court. There's a reason that contracts exist and "get it in writing" is the mantra of any business owner.

It's because people are dishonest. Yes, Stan Kroenke most certainly is. The statement he released is absolutely sickening:

“This has been the most difficult process of my professional career,” Kroenke said. “While we are excited about the prospect of building a new stadium in Inglewood, California, this is bitter sweet. St. Louis is a city known for its incredibly hard-working, passionate and proud people. Being part of the group that brought the NFL back to St. Louis in 1995 is one of the proudest moments of my professional career. Reaching two Super Bowls and winning one are things all St. Louisans should always treasure.

“While there understandably has been emotionally charged commentary regarding our motives and intentions, the speculation is not true and unfounded,” Kroenke said. “I am a Missouri native named after two St. Louis sports legends who I was fortunate enough to know on a personal level. This move isn’t about whether I love St. Louis or Missouri. I do and always will. No matter what anyone says, that will never change. This decision is about what is in the best long-term interests of the Rams organization and the National Football League. We have negotiated in good faith with the Regional Sports Authority for more than a decade trying to find a viable and sustainable solution. When it became apparent that we might not be able to reach an agreement, it was then and only then that we looked at alternatives.”

What a prick.

Keep chasing those dollars, Stan. I'm sure it will buy you one of the nicest funerals you've ever seen, maybe at the 50 yard line in that new stadium you're so generously building in Inglewood. 

Oh wait, you won't get to see your own funeral? You won't get to take your billions with you after you, like everyone else in this world, croak?

(Don't worry Stan--I don't need to go to your funeral. I just want to know where you're buried. You know...so I can pis bring flowers every year.)

This is the ultimate dishonesty, to practically stand on the arch and piss on the town's citizens and then tell them "Oh, no, that was a hell of a rainstorm, wasn't it?"

Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. Kevin Demoff was a loyal soldier and truth concealer throughout this entire process. Whenever I've questioned Kevin's motives among my peers, it's always been met with a "Yeah, but he's just doing his job..." 

Where have I heard that one before?

What happened to morals, Kevin? What happened to "doing the right thing?" They may seem like foreign concepts to you, but honestly, right now, I'm embarrassed that my alma mater can claim you as one of its own.

Unfortunately, I knew that these guys were lying from about a year ago on. Few listened, mind you, but that's just the truth. Thems the breaks.

But what could we do about it? When confronted, team officials consistently denied that any of this was going on. Stan was too cowardly to even face reporters. THEMS SO SCARY WIT' THEM QUESTIONS AND WHATNOT!

As media members, all we can do is ask questions. And if we don't like an answer, we can follow up. We can check and cross-check sources to our hearts' content, but that doesn't mean that what they're peddling is worth any more than what I just left in the toilet.

And it's left to us to figure out the degree to which everyone's lying. Honestly, that's been the best skill that I've developed through covering the Rams--knowing when someone is full of shit, and when to read between the lines. Sometimes the lies have been more egregious than others, but overall, they've all served the league's agenda: move the Rams back to L.A. Have to hit more women that $25 billion number, right Roger?

So if you take anything away from this move, if you take any of this into your business and private life, make it this:

Everyone lies. Some are better than others at it. But learn to separate the true scumbags from the posturers.

The posturers won't look you in the eye.

The scumbags will.

-D.J.



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