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Today is my birthday and I turn fifty-two.

So what does that mean, for me or for you?

There’s not much about age that the math can provide,

Save the count of our years and its sting on our pride.


Here’s a little math trick on which you can chew,

‘Bout the momentous occasion of turning fifty-two.

The math is sound, and it is also quite true,

That at some point in time this math will apply to you.


Today is my birthday, and I turn fifty-two,

So what does that mean for me or for you?

Not much save that regardless of who you might be or what you may do,

The math at this point probably yields that I’m the older of the two.


In everyone’s life we arrive at a place,

Where we can no longer prevent wrinkles on our face.

We can no longer assume that with everyone we meet,

We are always the pup, the youngster on the street.


52 is the point where the odds shift the norm.

And they accomplish this with such curious form.

If we pay attention and listened while still being weaned,

At this point we’d savor the knowledge we’ve gleaned.


And if we’ve become wise and learned how to love,

We can share what we’ve learned and what comes forth thereof.


My twenties ran by, or rather they flew.

My thirties fit me like a comfortable shoe.

My forties made me ask if I’d learned what I thought I knew,

So, I leave you with this: good advice – served up in a tasty word brew:


Today is my birthday and I turned fifty-two.

So what does that mean for me or for you?

I choose to share what I’ve learned and hope that it’s true,

That you’ll do the same, when it’s your turn to be the older of the two.


We are all we have.


We can do better.



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There’s a reason why I consider this post the “king” of the Wordplay Series.  If you continue reading and follow the math, you might just see it as you read.  It is what we all need to know but don’t really want to see:  an inarguable example of our self-destruction and probable demise.  I hope we all see it; we are capable of so much more.
As usual, it all starts with one little word, in this Wordplay example, that word is:





  1. Often, profits.
    1. Pecuniary (pecuniary: of or pertaining to money) gain resulting from the employment of capital in any transaction. Compare gross profit, net profit.
    2. the ratio of such pecuniary gain to the amount of capital invested.
    3. returns, proceeds, or revenue, as from property or investments.
  2. the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.: The company works on a small margin of profit.
  3. advantage; benefit; gain.

verb (used without object)

  1. to gain an advantage or benefit: He profited greatly from his schooling
  2. to make a profit.
  3. to take advantage: to profit from the weaknesses of others.
  4. to be of service or benefit.
  5. to make progress.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be of advantage or profit to: Nothing profits one so much as a sound education.


1250–1300;  (noun) Middle English  < Middle French  < Latin prōfectus  progress, profit, equivalent to prō- pro-1  + -fec-,  combining form of facere  to make, do1  + -tus  suffix of v. action; (v.) Middle English profiten, derivative of the noun

That’s what we put in the dictionary; its definition, but what about the word’s meaning? A word’s definition is not the same as its meaning.  A word’s meaning is determined by how we use the word in our everyday lexicon and many times, the meaning we give to a word is not even remotely related to its definition.  Or is it?  We are the designers and builders of our own reality, so to distort a word’s definition to give it a meaning that yields some kind of benefit to someone is both wasteful and absurd. We created words and language, assigned the definitions and the meanings; why go through all of the trouble to alter a words definition to achieve a particular meaning as subtly and clandestinely as we do?  It’s almost as if someone or something else had created language and definitions and “we” were purposefully altering something that “they” established as a rule.  Who are “they”?  We’re only fooling ourselves and cheating ourselves and in the end we really can’t, because our sense of self-preservation doesn’t permit it.  We end up facing ourselves in a mirror and the person looking back knows what the deal is.  Let’s start the sequence.  Look at the very last listed definition of the word “progress” above; it says ‘to make progress’.  Progress; isn’t that what life is supposed to be all about?  Making progress?  Improving your ‘station’? Making a better life for our children? You know, progress:  We make progress by making money which is also how we believe our ‘station’ is improved and making money is pretty much the only way that anyone believes they can make a better world for their children.  Progress.  Progress IS profit, according to our own dictionary.  To progress is to profit, also defined as ‘making money’ (definition #1) and that’s how we ended up where we are.  We succeeded in creating a world where the entire point and purpose of a human life is to ‘make money’.  That is what we believe.  Still doubtful?  Okay, let’s continue the sequence.  Given the established and formal definition of the word ‘profit’ just examined, it would be correct to state that since the point of it all is to “profit”, then by definition, all of us would be “profiteers” and the definition of a profiteer should be something to the effect of “a person who works or labors specifically to make profits” or at least that what the rules of linguistics yield.  Let’s see.   Following is the definition of “profiteer”.





  1. a person who seeks or exacts exorbitant profits, especially through the sale of scarce or rationed goods.

verb (used without object)

  1. to act as a profiteer.
 Confused yet?  You should be.  If this is the definition of profiteer, then the definition of profit must be “the EXORBITANT pecuniary gain…..”  and “the EXORBITANT monetary surplus…”, but it isn’t, so once again, according to the rules and language and linguistics, by including the word “exorbitant” (defined as “exceeding the bounds of custom, propriety or reason, especially in amount…) a distinction is made and therefore “profiteer” doesn’t mean ‘everyone who benefits from any kind of profit in any way’, it means ‘a person who abuses the practice of profiting’ (because that’s what a person is doing when they make an exorbitant profit).  That slight distinction (sigh of relief) is what lets the vast majority of us off the hook, right?  Please.
 Isn’t making exorbitant profit(s) (something that results in a condition called “being rich”) the most celebrated, venerated and admired thing that anyone can accomplish?  It is what everyone strives for today.  It is the goal of every college student, businessperson, worker, unemployed person, housewife and even children.  What is more admired and desired than to be the person who finds a vast quantity of the THING that everyone wants to buy and which sells for $100.00 everywhere, at a cost of $.05 (five cents) and sells a gazillion of them.  Even more admired are those who accomplish this with a THING that is commonly known to be a bauble, or a useless and gimmicky gadget that no one should waste their money on but everyone does anyway.  So powerful is this accomplishment that it overcomes human EGO – it may be one of the few or even the only thing than can do this; the human ego is virtually unrivaled in its power of human behavior.  How, you say?  That’s easy; of all the people who have actually done what is described above; the thing virtually everyone dreams of and strives for, how many have become famous?  Can anyone name just one of the people who have “accomplished” this?  Their names are not generally known and purposefully so, if we attach a name to the act described above; we have identified a crook, but by keeping names out of it, what’s left is the act alone: the practically effortless, virtually immediate and gargantuan accumulation of money achieved by exploiting a systemic defect, in this case popularity and desirability; each a result of the use of human judgment, which may just be the most defective of all systems of any kind.  This has become humanity’s “golden fleece”, it has replaced any and all other purposes or objectives in life, it is what everyone desires (secretly or openly) and it is all that matters.  It is also fraud.  Still unconvinced?  Very well, let’s proceed.
Look at the definition of ‘profit’ again; it’s at the very beginning.  Notice how many times the word ‘advantage’ is used in the definition ‘profit’?  It’s even the 3rd literal definition of the word.  As a noun and in the company of ‘benefit or gain’, it’s rather inoffensive and even permissible, to a degree, but it’s also a verb and here things change.  We think that “advantage” is a good thing and a good word.  It’s good to have an advantage in everything and anything; it increases the chances of success of winning exponentially.  It’s even better to have an advantage in any given situation and that no one know you have an advantage, that makes it even sweeter, doesn’t it?  It lets us say things like “They never saw it coming.” and “They had no chance.”  Definitely an advantage is a good thing, perhaps that’s why it’s considered a profit.  Let’s look at the word ‘advantage for a moment.



[ad-van-tij, -vahn-]

noun, verb, ad·van·taged, ad·van·taging.


  1. any state, circumstance, opportunity, or means specially favorable to success, interest, or any desired end: the advantage of a good education.
  2. benefit; gain; profit: It will be to his advantage to learn Chinese before going to China.
  3. superiority or ascendancy (often followed by over  or of  ): His height gave him an advantage over his opponent.
  4. a position of superiority (often followed by over  or of  ): their advantage in experienced players.
  5. Tennis. the first point scored after deuce.verb (used with object)
  6. to be of service to; yield profit or gain to; benefit.
  7. to cause to advance; further; promote: Such action will advantage our cause.
  8. to prove beneficial to; profit: It would advantage him to work harder.Idioms
  9. have the advantage of, to be in a superior or advantageous position; possess an advantage over: By virtue of independent wealth, he has the advantage of his opponents.
  10. take advantage of,
    -to make use of for gain: to take advantage of an opportunity.
    to impose upon, especially unfairly, as by exploiting a weakness: to take advantage of someone.
  11. to advantage, to good effect; advantageously: The paintings were arranged to advantage on one wall.

Advantage  (etymology)

early 14c., “position of being in advance of another,” from O.Fr. advantage, from avant “before,” probably via an unrecorded L.L. *abantaticum, from L. abante (see advance). The -d- is a 16c. intrusion on the analogy of Latin ad- words. Meaning “a favoring circumstance” (the opposite of disadvantage) is from late 15c. Tennis score sense is from 1640s, first recorded in writings of John Milton, of all people. Phrase to take advantage of is first attested late 14c.

Wow!  That’s one powerful definition!  Other than its use in the game of tennis the word advantage defines a characteristic, trait or situation that everyone desires.  It’s the closest thing to a “sure thing” that we can get away with.  It’s also the result of Wordplay of the word “cheating”.  The line between having an “advantage” and plain out cheating does not even exist, we just choose to believe it does so we don’t have to face the fact that it’s CHEATING.
Now, let’s do the math.  When you correlate the definitions and meanings of the words “profit”, “profiteer” and “advantage” and factor in the word “exploit” (a word inexplicably absent in the morphology of this entire analysis.  A word so abusively Wordplayed that it is defined – IN THE DICTIONARY – as a “striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act” AND “to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account: to exploit a business opportunity, to use selfishly for one’s own ends”, simultaneously.  Talk about irreconcilable, that’s probably why it’s been eliminated from the definitions of ‘profit’, ‘profiteer’ and ‘advantage’ – it would be a dead giveaway.) an inescapable conclusion is reached:  We have molded ourselves into a world where the driving force behind progress is fraud.  We reward the profit achieved through fraud but not the people who achieve it because we would then need to rewrite the definition of “hypocrisy”.  The money accumulated by profiting from an opportunity where one has the advantage, which is the same exact thing as saying ‘the money that one can accumulate by cheating in business and exploiting the flaws in human judgment in an unfair and biased way without remorse or regard for any consequence’ has become the highest possible achievement in today’s world.  It has become the point to anything and everything, the reason for living, the reason for getting up in the morning, the reason to do anything at all and that to which we owe our time and lives and existence to; it has become humanity’s new religion and money our new diety. 
In the end, it’s still fraud and a lie, neither of which work.  After all, everyone knows that the exploitation of a systemic defect is fraud, but it’s still what we want.  At least that’s what most of us choose to believe.  If you are still skeptical, just look in a mirror, no one can lie to the person looking back and that person can’t lie back.

Stop believing it.


We can do better.

 Citation list:

 American Psychological Association (APA):

profiteering. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 04, 2013, from

Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

profiteering. Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013 Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering (accessed: July 04, 2013).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

“profiteering.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.  HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering&gt;.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):

Dictionary.com, “profiteering,” in Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013 Dictionary.com Unabridged. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com. Accessed: July 04, 2013.

BibTeX Bibliography Style (BibTeX)

@article {Dictionary.com2013,

title = { Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.},

month = {Jul},

day = {04},

year = {2013},

url = {http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering},

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We are so far advanced from where we were 10,000 or more years ago.  We are such badasses!  Just to think, not that long ago, we were little more than naked, nomadic semi-animals who spent the majority of their time looking for food.

Now, however, we have GROWN AND EVOLVED.  Look at US! See what we have evolved into:

Today I received an e-mail.  It was spam, just like the other 412 e-mails that I received in the last 15 minutes (it now takes a measurable amount of time for a person to “sift” out real e-mails from the spam).  This particular e-mail caught my attention because of the bright colors (because I’m a recovering 20th century consumer) and when I read it, it really had an impact.  At the end of this post there is a screen shot of the e-mail message.  Just in case the text is too small and you can’t make it out well, the e-mail reads as follows:


Hey frank (then my email address which I blacked out)

Use this information to Blackmail Anyone You Know

 Ever wished you could get back at someone by uncovering dirty information?

If they have a speck of dirt under their fingernails, we’ll find it and provide it to you.  Find out background information on anyone in just minutes (arrests, past marriages/felony)

 Get the Dirty on Anyone Here (in the green button)


This is what we have evolved into?  This is the best we have?

Sometimes, we suck, big time.

(PS, in case the author of the e-mail is reading this:  Get a life!!)

What's left of us.

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2012 has been all about change, of that there’s no doubt,

But what are these changes really about?

A good place to start is with how everything works;

And the fact that nothing does, impales like a dirk.

Inaction and fear are the dominant forces,

That invade our hearts and the blood that it courses.

But the most impacting thing that I’ve seen – now or ever

Is so huge that nothing compares; whatsoever.

The fact is, and many of you may have already reckoned.

That it hasn’t felt like Christmas, not for even one second.

Look into your heart, and you know this is true,

So the question remains:  what are we doing to do?

Whatever we do, we should not act as a bettor,

We must simply remember that we can do better.

 ……in 2013.

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A curious observation

Far be it for me to resort to raw commercial endorsements.  No, that’s not what this is about; however

PROLONG2many of you know about the product pictured here:  prolong.  It’s the stuff you add to you your Christmas tree water to keep it fresh during the time it sits in the tree stand.  The stuff works great, but it’s not only that.  It also gives me such a robust boner.

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It turns out that most of the things that are considered “impossible”, are not; they are just hard and require effort, but not impossible. We are becoming a planet of sissies – lazy sissies. Never fear having to do something difficult; if you absolutely must live in fear, then fear having nothing to do.

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As to giving up

It appears that someone else has give “it” a name and assigned it a date.  It is being called the “Fiscal Cliff” and apparently we are supposed to topple over it on January 1, 2013.  Interesting.  At least this gives some indication that there is a speck of sanity and an atom of awareness left in the human condition.  It’s not a fiscal cliff, however, if we were to apply that metaphor to the actual world, we went over that cliff in 2008.  After filtering out all of the “required modifications” to the language used, what is being called the “fiscal cliff” may very well be the bottom of the precipice that we have already fallen from (it is still incalculable to determine how far we will fall) and January 1, 2013 may be a probabilistic calculation as when we might hit that bottom.

It is simply insane that, at this stage of the process, all that we are capable of is to acknowledge the inevitable proximity of an unthinkable catastrophe and attempt to figure out when it will occur.   All that is missing is to take bets and give odds as to the actual date for it to technically be lunacy.

It is a shame; and to think that preventing it from even occurring is so simple.  All that we have to do is to realize that there is no spoon, because there isn’t.

I can’t let myself  forget, even for an instant, that giving up is simply not allowed.

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It’s all in the details…

Ever since there have been banks, one of their principal bookkeeping functions has always been  the daily reconciliation of every customer’s  account(s) and the posting of credits (on the right hand column) and debits (on the left hand column).  From the very first day that the first modern-day bank opened, the daily reconciliation has always been performed in the same exact way, probably because it simply made sense; nonetheless, every bank in every country has always posted the credits to every account first and then the debits.   There is no citable reference found up until now that establishes the order in which the functions of the daily reconciliation are performed, it has simply been that way always.  What this translates into visually can be described as follows:

Mr. H has a checking account at a bank.  On the morning of August 5, 2012 (for example) Mr. H had a balance of $50.00 to his favor in the checking account.  During the banking day of August 5, 2012, two transactions took place:  1) Mr. H deposited $2,000.00 in cash into the checking account.  2) A check, payable to City Gas Co. for $62.00 written by Mr. H and drawn on the bank was received for payment.  At the end of the banking day, when the accounts are reconciled, this is what has always happened:

  1. The $2,000.00 cash deposit is posted as a credit to the account, leaving a running balance of $2,050.00.
  2. The check for $62.00 is posted as a debit, leaving a running balance of $1,988.00.
  3. After posting all transactions, the account’s final ledger balance is updated to $1,988.00.  This is the balance that will be reflected for the account the next morning.

Simple, isn’t it?  After some pondering on the topic, I arrived at the opinion that credits were posted first as a courtesy to the customer, probably because courtesy still existed back then, but that is just my opinion.  If there is a law, a policy or regulation mandating this particular order of events, then it’s been very well hidden for whatever the reason, the point being that the posting of credits before debits is a matter of rote rather than a matter of statute.  It is also a pretty decent custom and a courtesy, which is probably why it’s never been an issue. Well, all that is about to change.

It appears that for some reason and at some unknown point in time, more than likely in the last 3-4 weeks, the banking system modified a custom.  Customs, require no authorizations, approvals or other mechanisms in order to be modified, they just are.  It can be accomplished by a simple inter-departmental memo or even by a verbal instruction; what’s the big deal?  It’s only a custom that’s being modified; it’s not like a major, official change or anything.   The custom that was modified is the very one exemplified in the opening paragraph; banks, at least two of them, are now posting debits before credits to the accounts held by their customers.   There was no announcement made, no newspaper articles or television reports, nothing on any of the news pages on the web; why should there be?  Legally, this was no different then moving the water cooler a little to the left in the lobby.

Let’s re-visit the banking day of August 5, 2012 and Mr. H’s checking account, only this time, the daily reconciliation will be run with the new modified custom.  It goes something like this:

  1. The reconciliation opens with a ledger balance of $50.00.
  2. An incoming check for $62.00 is posted as a debit, overdrawing the account.
  3. The check is returned to the bank that presented it for payment, with a notification that the account had insufficient funds or what is commonly referred to as ‘the check bounced’.  This leaves a running balance of $50.00
  4. The bank posts a $35.00 debit as a ‘returned item fee’ leaving a running balance of $15.00.
  5. The bank posts a $5.00 debit as a ‘misc. penalty’ based on the bank’s policy of charging a $5.00 penalty if any checking account’s balance drops below $20.00.  This leaves a running balance of $10.00.
  6. The $2,000.00 cash deposit made on that day is posted as a credit, leaving a running balance of $2,010.00.

-STOP- If anyone just thought: “Hey, he didn’t make out so bad; he ended up with more money than the other way.” Go back and do the math again, please.  Let’s continue because this doesn’t end here:

  1. The check that was returned had been deposited by City Gas Co in their general account.  It was sent to City Gas Co by Mr. H in payment of his monthly gas bill.  The Gas company’s bank will now charge the Gas Company a fee for a returned check that is anywhere between $10.00 and $50.00 depending on the bank.  The gas company is notified of the returned check and the fee.
  2. The Gas Company orders Mr. H’s gas service cut off and dispatches a crew to shut off his gas the next morning.
  3. The Gas Company puts the returned check fee that they were charged by their bank on Mr. H’s account.
  4. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $50.00 returned check fee.
  5. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $15.00 late fee for not having paid by the due date.
  6. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $50.00 disconnection fee and notifies Mr. H that it will cost him another $50.00 to re-connect his gas.
  7. The Gas Company charges Mr. H a $15.00 ‘convenience fee’, because it can.
  8. The Gas Company will require Mr. H to put up a deposit of $500.00 as a guarantee of payment on account.
  9. Mr. H still owes the original $62.00 from his gas bill, and has no gas.  His house has all-gas appliances and heater, Mr. H lives in Gnome, Alaska.  It is mid-August, 2012 so Mr. H is lucky; today it was more than likely in the mid- to high ‘forties’.
  10. The Gas Company reports the incidents to the credit bureaus who in turn update Mr. H’s file and flag him.
  11. All of the banks that had issued Mr. H a credit card panic and close his account, regardless of the balance.
  12. One of the banks that had issued Mr. H a credit card not only closed his account in mid-cycle, when they wrote to him to inform him of their decision, they offered to accept settlement payment of $20.00 in lieu of the $80.00 balance on Mr. H’s credit card and the account would be considered settled.
  13. Mr. H’s three major credit card issuing banks, the two department stores that had issued him credit cards and the one gas station company that had issued him a credit card all turned over whatever balance (even $0.00) was left owing when they closed his accounts to their various collection agencies, even though Mr. H had never been late with a payment in his life.
  14. The collection agencies began a relentless telephone persecution of Mr. H; calling him at 7:00 a.m., yelling and screaming at him about being a lowlife and owing money.  They call his work, his father, his mother and pretty much everyone he knows, asking for him, or if anyone has seen him because he owes money.

It is very likely that this entire situation will continue, undisturbed and to a great degree, unnoticed.  It will take us, the general public, roughly two months to assimilate this new little detail, and by Christmastime, it will be simply another normal thing…normal.

Now, in the time when everyone knows that something has gone very wrong; half the world is desperately searching for a previously unidentified event in the recent past that can account for, be blamed for and ultimately be the foundation for the restoration of what was and the other half is bracing for something unspeakably horrible to happen, something that makes now feel like the warm up.  Nobody can predict the future, but there a very good probability that whatever caused the incomparably catastrophic collapse of human civilization’s infrastructure was neither a single event or one that hasn’t happened yet but instead a range of time where many little, tiny, insignificant changes in this mechanism or that system that were nothing more than details which benefitted only a few or even none at all at the expense of everyone, all achieved normalcy.

Personal Note:

Rarely do I personally interject in any math that I’m writing; this is one of those times.  Four days ago, someone that I’ve known for over ten years called me a “conspiracy theorist”, with a straight face – as if he were mentioning the color of the sky or anything else that might be considered ‘obvious’.   A conspiracy theorist?  I laughed for about 15 minutes, hard.  No one, ever in my whole life has called me that.  None of you; my subscribers, readers of the catalogue of calculations an those who follow my work (there are six digits worth) have ever even alluded to anything like that in all of the e-mails that I’ve received, which will require a long life to read them all.  I am about the farthest thing in the world from a conspiracy theorist; I’m a scientist, we don’t understand conspiracies, only facts.  Then I realized how this person could have come to such an outlandish conclusion; they found themselves having to compare (and therefore judge) the world and me, and from that perspective, I can almost understand, but I don’t.  That conclusion is an excuse to not think, to not see clearly, to simply be one more of what we are turning ourselves into:  pussies.  I’ll leave you with this for the moment:  first, the promise that I will answer the riddle of the conspiracy theories in my next post and finally; the image below.

What you are looking at is not a joke or a story, it is an actual button that was worn by the tellers of a particular bank chain between February and April, 2012 and then by the tellers of another bank chain between May and July, 2012.  I’m sure it’s out there somewhere right now.   It’s just a little detail; a promotion that is popular this year, from a certain point of view, it can even be considered ‘cute’ . . . NOT.

A little detail

A little detail.

It’s all in the details.

We can do better.




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Any minute now…

A little boy gets down from his school bus on his way home. The boy saw his mother about halfway down the block and ran, as fast as he could, to where she was.  He jumped into her arms, trembling and with tears streaming down his cheeks.

The boy’s Mother hugged him close and tightly and spoke to him warmly and in the way that only a Mother can.  She said:

-“There, there, my little man.  What’s this all about?  What’s got you so upset?

The little boy lifted his head from his mother’s shoulder and between sobs, managed to ask her:

-“Mommy, today at school I heard some grown ups talking and they said that the world is coming to an end.  Is that true, Mommy?  Is this the end of the world?”

Without any hesitation, the boy’s Mother giggled and then kissed his forehead and said:

-“Come, come now, you silly willy!  The world is fine, it’s not ending at all – it’s only  human civilization that’s collapsing all around us and a lot of people can’t tell the difference between one and the other, but don’t fret my little man, at least now you know and you don’t need to be afraid.”


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