The Sound of Silence and the Fury

Drawing the line between fact and opinion.

A Commentary on Tom Hoobyar’s “Twelve Laws of Life” or No Om, No Ma, No Ni, No Pad, No Me and No Hum.

Posted by Justin Johnson on Thursday, December 18th, 2008


I was surfing Lifehacker and came across this (Advice: One CEO’s 12 Laws of Life, 17 Dec 2008 by Gina Trapani) which led me to this (Tom’s Twelve Laws of Life, 11 Dec 2008 by Tom Hoobyar).

Tom Hoobyar is/was CEO of ASEPCO.

Om: Meditation, Ma: Patience, Ni: Discipline, Pad: Wisdom, Me: Generosity, Hum: Diligence. These syllables form the Buddhist mantra “om mani padme hum”.


So let’s analyze these 12 “laws”, mkay? I’ll start off by saying that… some of these do make sense… and some of them are just self-centered, claptrap crap.




“Inner centeredness comes first; look there for your best self. It is how you will find peace of mind.”

+10 for the idea, -50 for the title.





Don’t smoke, drink in moderation.


I can’t agree that guilt “enslaves” you. It definitely does slow you down, but a small amount of guilt is healthy. Having guilt about what somebody else did, however, is definitely unhealthy, and not fair to yourself.


This is one I would expect from a CEO.

Tom writes,

“We’ve all been taught that we “owe” other people all sorts of obligations, and that we should expect lots of things from them in return. That idea, in one word, is bullshit.”

Tom, your idea, in one word, is bullshit.

For those of you tax-PAYING Americans (those who receive reasonable refunds are also included in this), you’ll know that you have an OBLIGATION to pay your taxes by April 15.

Tom continues on to say,

“We waste an incredible amount of time either doing things we don’t want and don’t have to do, or feeling guilty because we didn’t do something we “should” have done.”

Okay, CEO big-wig… when one of your widgets, or what-have-you, ruins whatever I stick your widget in, I know why you don’t feel bad and why you say you’re “taking it seriously” but not really caring about a thing. You should feel guilty. You should feel guilty your product didn’t meet standards. You should take responsibility and you should feel an obligation to the customer to fix it.

Now, on a more personal level. For those of you mothers and fathers (even the deadbeat ones), you have an OBLIGATION to take care of your offspring/children/darling angels/spawns of Satan, as the case may be.


Everyone listens to his or her favorite mental radio station – W.I.I.F.M., which stands for, “What’s In It For Me?”

Sorry, I’m not familiar with that station, is it on AM or FM? People who sacrifice themselves for others day in and day out must have some signal quality issues or something…

It is a waste of time to criticize others, and a bigger waste to pay attention to anyone’s criticism of you.

I agree with this one, on the face… but, I’d like to add “Don’t criticize the person, criticize their ideas.” If somebody comes up with something that could never work, don’t make it personal.



Carrying grudges ties up brain cells that you could use to make life sweeter for yourself and those you love. So, after you forgive them, forgive yourself for getting hurt – and then LET IT GO!


If you want a happy ending you need to create it.  Think about it. When would “Happily Ever After” start?

I can’t agree. There are many people who live full, rich lives… The problem with happily ever after is that it needs an end. Once you’re dead or near death, you can work backwards and find your Happily Ever After Starting Point (HEASP [tm]). Not everybody will have one, but, I’m sure I can find SOMEBODY on their death bed who has died/will die happy.

There are also people who want to die because they are bored or miserable. For those people,  being on the brink of death is their happiness. When they die, they’ve reached their HEASP. It may not be the real world for these people, however, if you believe in an afterlife, your world is never-ending.


Those who avoid doing anything that requires effort – physical exercise or forgiving or doing something for someone else – grow more narrow and less flexible day by day.  Stunted ambition strangles their dreams and their enthusiasm dies.  By the time they enter “downtown Hell” they’ve got a bad attitude about most things in life. They complain and criticize because “life has let them down.” The truth is life didn’t let them down – they quit trying.

I agree.


If you choose to follow this path, you’ll be in Paradise long before you leave this life.

This is what I mean when I talk about a Happily Ever After Starting Point.



Final Words:

They’re a good foundation… the reasoning behind some of them is something to conjure with but… it’s a good foundation. Tom Hoobyar, I dare say, is a success. If these rules really work, then great and Stephen Covey eat your heart out.


Posted in Life & Living | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Estabishing Brand Loyalty Young? or “Buy me, buy me, buy me!”

Posted by Justin Johnson on Sunday, December 7th, 2008


Gillette has a program which sends free razors (and other goodies) to young men (and at times women) upon their 18th birthday.

My 18th birthday was a couple weeks ago (24 November) to be exact.

I got two razors, in different packages.

Because I got this package, one of my friends will also be receiving something similar for his 18th birthday.

Until I read something on The Consumerist (How Did Gillette Know It Was My Birthday??! and UPDATE: How Did Gillette Know It Was My Birthday??!), I hadn’t the foggiest idea how they got my address (and it was an address I hadn’t lived at since I was in 3rd grade, at that).

Questions to Conjure With:

Is this a good move? Is it a good thing for Gillette to try and establish brand loyalty with the impressionable youths of today? Where did they get my information from and how long have they had it?


I think it is a very good move. Being one of those impressionable youths, I will say that this was a welcome birthday present. There being so many different choices out there, it’s wise for a company to step up and stand out. Because of their decision, I definitely feel some sort of brand loyalty to Gillette now. Their products are very superior compared to other things that are out there. And now, because they sent it to me, one of my friends will be hooked when his 18th birthday comes along. They’ve probably just snagged a customer (if not two customers) for a very long time.

But, are their methods concerning? As The Consumerist article states, they receive their mailing info from a third-party company named “American Student List”. Now, I do remember filling out a survey in 9th or 10th grade and I do remember putting down my old address (simply because I knew they would use it for marketing purposes). The interesting thing I see here is, most 9th graders don’t have the foresight to know what their information is going to be used for. Is it right to have data collected and stored regarding you when you don’t even know what you’re signing? I’ll admit, Gillette is a large company and probably has no malicious intent, but what about other companies that may happen to purchase this list? What will they do with my information?

Final Words:

I like the Gillette Fusion razor. I like the Gillette Mach3 disposable. I never knew what I had been missing, and never would have if they hadn’t gotten me such a lovely present. I’m loyal. I’ve been hooked.

Posted in Personal Care | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Yahoo! Messenger Power User or “Again…”

Posted by Justin Johnson on Friday, July 4th, 2008


In “Yahoo! Power Mailer or Prosperity Through Being Spammed“, I remarked on how I was a Yahoo! Power Mailer.

Now, apparently, I am also a “Yahoo! Messenger Power User”. It comes with the same token things, priority support, more input, and a special icon displayed next to your name on Yahoo! Messenger buddy lists.

According to the Yahoo! Messenger help pages, that means I am in the top 5% of Yahoo! Messenger users.


Is this Yahoo!’s way of drumming up support in view of its steadily declining popularlity? Are they trying to buy the users with token items?

I’ll admit that having a distinctive icon (I chose the badge) next to my name appear on Yahoo! Messenger buddy lists is quite nice, and a good bragging point (*polishes*)… but, what does it really matter?

I will admit, that I do IM a considerable amount… but I definitely didn’t think I was in the top 5% of Yahoo! Messenger users. And I will say that, given the IMvironments, its sleek interface, and how it isn’t that bad of a memory hog, I am partial to Yahoo! as a messenger.

Final Words:

I think Yahoo! should give stock in its company to Power Users. We use it, we make you your money, give some back!

Posted in Internet, Technology | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The Quirks of Jail Sentences or “One Day… One Sodding Day?!”

Posted by Justin Johnson on Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Mike Nifong, the former district attorney who handled that whole Duke lacross rape case, has been found in criminal contempt of court and sentenced to one day in jail. – “Nifong held in criminal contempt by judge, sentenced to day in jail”

Lindsay Lohan, was found guilty of misdemeanor drunken driving and cocaine charges. Through her plea agreement, she was, among other things, sentenced to one day in jail. –, “Lindsay Lohan to serve 1 day in jail in plea bargain”

And then there’s this interesting tidbit from, give Michael Vick a one year jail term, he serves one year. Give him a year and a day, he serves ~10 months. –, “Could Michael Vick Play Next Season?” by Harlan J. Protass, 24 August 2007

Mkay, there’s two problems here:

A. People are getting one day jail sentences.
B. Federal prisoners can get 2 months off a sentence for being in jail 24 extra hours.

Let’s start with A. What is the virtue of a one day jail sentence? So you spend all day in a county/local jail cell. GASP! Hardly, to quote Office Space, “Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison”. You look on the internet, you’ll see varying costs of what it costs to house an inmate for one day, usually between $30 – $100.

Now, I ask again, what is the virtue of a one day jail sentence? I’ll admit, I like nothing better than a good photo op with the main entrance of a jail behind. But, then again, I’m a crappy photographer.

Surely placing people in jail for a day is pointless, unless they are drunk or mentally ill. Akin it to being sent to your room as a child. What did you do? You cried and then you slept your “punishment” away. These people going to jail for a day will probably look better coming out after going in, a good nap never hurt anybody.

What a waste of money.

And now on to B. Who came up with the doof idea that prisoners confined up to one year should serve their time any differently than those who aren’t? Not to even mention it’s a backwards system.

People who are sentenced to shorter sentences have obviously been less contemptable in their crimes, and if anything, DESERVE the same good behavior time credit as your rapist and drug smuggler.

But, regardless of that, a criminal is a criminal and time served SHOULD be time served, but it’s not, it’s some complex algorithm made for maximum debt reduction.

Final Words:
Jail sentences are a farce. You’ll RARELY serve the amount of time you’re sentenced to. Why? “Blah, blah… prisons are supposed to rehabilitate not punish… blah, blah… it costs too much… blah, blah.”

Damn it, these people have done wrong! Stop CODDLING them! They aren’t snuggly teddy bears. They need PUNISHMENT. They need to be discouraged from doing evil. They need to think they’ll be SMITED if they ever commit a crime again.

Hell, they need to be brainwashed. If you can make people join a cult, you should be able to make them not commit crimes!

Posted in Law & Jurisprudence | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Is the Judicial Branch a Root of the Executive? or Hey! That Leaf of Lawyers is MINE!

Posted by Justin Johnson on Monday, August 27th, 2007

Let it be said…. I’m 16. I haven’t even began my first day of AP American Government yet. But I have seen every episode of The West Wing. So, while I might be wrong with my theorizing, you can blame Aaron Sorkin…

Or maybe it’s the fault of the No Child Left Behind Act which makes schools not care so much about Social Studies education. *shrug* Rant for another day.

Lady Justice is typically portrayed blindfolded in this country.

In the United States of America we have the separation of powers and checks and balances and other political doctrines.

The Supreme Court Justices are nominated by the Executive Branch (i.e. The President) and confirmed by one half of the Legislative Branch (i.e. The Senate). The same goes for U.S. District Court judges and U.S. Attorneys.

The job of the President is to see to the execution of the laws of the United States. And to do that, within the Executive Branch, we have the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice has oversight and command control over these U.S. Attorneys who are part of the Executive Branch.

Senator Hilary Clinton said the next attorney general should “care about the rule of law more than he cares about protecting the president.” –, “Even some Republicans happy about Gonzales resignation”

Lady Justice is typically portrayed blindfolded in this country. (Yes, you have read this before.)

Why? Why don’t we have an attorney general who cares about the rule of law?

I’ll tell you why: The President is in direct control of the Judicial Branch.

And I’ll tell you something else: I see NO reason for it.

Why can’t the Judicial “Branch” (more like dying limb) choose their own lawyers? Yes, yes, stop screaming separation of powers in my ear. But really, the Executive Branch should not have the authority to choose this nation’s Federal lawyers AND judges. That’s how you end up with this political agenda mess we have now and exactly why Alberto Gonzales is resigning and on his merry way out.

Picture this: U.S. Attorneys who actually belong to the Judicial Branch. Non-politically oriented. Doesn’t that make sense? Why not give the Supreme Court of the United States some power and let THEM choose who sits in THEIR lower courts.

The Supreme Court has a weak link and no vested interest in politics once confirmed since they can’t be fired, so they are quite obviously the perfect choice. The American people being a somewhat distant choice, but the principle of collective stupidity comes to mind.

Ah, but what about the President’s responsibility to see that the laws are faithfully executed? Yes, well. It’s simple. While the attorneys would chosen by the judicial, they are still expected to act in the best interests of the United States and follow the Justice Department. It’s one of those honor things. Kind of like how the President can control the Legislative by veto and the Legislative can control the President by veto override. It would be a matter of cooperation and a gentleman’s agreement.

Final Words:
It’ll never happen. The Executive will forever control the Judicial. When you put it like that, doesn’t it even sound silly? Justice is totally blind… but in America, a one-eyed bandit shall lead her astray.

Posted in Political Theory, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Yahoo! Power Mailer or Prosperity Through Being Spammed

Posted by Justin Johnson on Saturday, August 25th, 2007

I’ve had a Yahoo! account since 23rd September 2000. Nearly 7 years.

In those 7 years, I’ve sent a whopping 80 messages using it, 4 in 2007. (For comparison, in the 2 years I’ve had a Gmail account, I’ve sent 103.) However, I get about 50 – 100 e-mails a day. 90% of them being spam and the others being newsletters or automated junk.

At 10 AM today, I recieved an e-mail through my Yahoo! account — that I just happened to notice through the Messenger popup, otherwise it would have gone unread for a week — thanking me for being a “Yahoo! Power Mailer”.

Yahoo! Power Mailer e-mail

I will admit, for a while, Yahoo! was my primary account. But, their spam filters are royally lacking and I get a large quantity of spam because of the age of my account and the wide sales of that e-mail address. So, spam filtering is a major concern.

So, I’m being rewarded for being spammed and having suffered with near useless spam filters? I suppose that does deserve a little compensation. And that’s what this is, a LITTLE compensation. What have I gotten? 10 more megabytes of attachment space within an e-mail (that I don’t even use in the first place). The 24 hour support is a crock, because, if the service isn’t working like it should, support over IM isn’t going to fix the problem faster. Kind of like dialing 911 to report a loud party instead of using the non-emergency number. And if I’m a “Power User” like they say, I shouldn’t need basic “How do I forward an e-mail?” help.

But, hark, a notice at the bottom: “Access to these features is available for a limited period of time and may be discontinued at any time without notice to you.” So, in one paragraph I’m a loved “loyal user” and in another, I might not even be worth notifying if you guys decide to change your minds.

Final Words:
I’m going to frame my Golden Inbox Reward and even put in the “Be a Better Power Mailer!” bit. It’s quite inspirational really. You too can prosper through being spammed.

Posted in Internet, Technology | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Tony Snow’s Financially Motivated Departure or “Despite my 6 figure salary, I’m still going broke.”

Posted by Justin Johnson on Thursday, August 16th, 2007

According to this (The Hugh Hewitt Show, 15 August 2007), Tony Snow is planning to resign from the Bush Administration in the future, citing “financial reasons”.

Relevant transcript portion follows:

HH: Your intention to go the distance, Tony Snow?

TS: No, I’m not going to be…I’ve already made it clear I’m not going to be able to go the distance, but that’s primarily for financial reasons. I’ve told people when my money runs out, then I’ve got to go.

HH: How long will that be?

TS: I’m not going to tell you.

According to the statutory required disclosure of White House salaries listed here (National Journal, 30 July 2007), Tony Snow makes $168,000 a year as an “Assistant to the President and Press Secretary”. There are but two people in the White House who make more than him: The President and the Vice President of the United States.

Now, I’m not one for math… but… if you’re somebody as smart as Tony Snow — yes, he is smart, even if he is the Press Secretary for Shrub’s White House — how can you suffer financial difficulty? Especially when you make $168k. I know the dollar is weak, but… really now.

Yes, of course it’s probably a cover up for the real reason he’s leaving but I welcome the change from people who claim they want more time to spend with their families and turn around and get a job that merits a press release.

When will politics become honest? I mean… financial reasons? If you’re having money trouble, why do you quit your job? Unless to get another job. And if you had another job available, you would know when you had to leave and you wouldn’t wait until you were out of money. Right?

Final Words:
People with 6 figure salaries don’t have financial difficulty unless they invested in Enron or, perhaps now, SCO or maybe some mortgage company. Ya know… it’s all starting to make sense. Bad stock decisions will be the downfall of us all.

Posted in Bush Administration, Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Watkins Glen and Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) or Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing but we’ll turn a blind eye when the sponsors like it *wink wink* *nudge nudge*)

Posted by Justin Johnson on Monday, August 13th, 2007

Kevin Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya, after a lap 75 spin, had a bit of a shoving match on the runoff area of Turn 1 at Watkins Glen.

“I don’t think they were fighting,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “They were discussing things.” Said series director John Darby, “I thought it was cool as hell.” – ESPN, “Spins, scraps and crazy fans; Stewart wins wild Watkins Glen” by David Newton. The fight was later broken up by NASCAR officials and another driver.

Tony Stewart, after the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard a few weeks back, was fined, under section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rulebook, $25,000 and was also docked 25 driver championship points for saying the word “bullshit” on TV.

After the altercation to ESPN, Harvick stated, on air:  “I was talking about kicking his ass, because that’s how I felt about him.” However, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Harvick will not be penalized for using the word “ass” on live television. “It doesn’t violate FCC [Federal Communications Commission] regulations,” Tharp said. And Tharp doesn’t expect any penalties to come from the shoving match between the two drivers either. – NASCAR.COM, “Harvick, Montoya nearly come to blows after wreck” by Raygan Swan.

Let us open our copies of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rulebook to Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing).


You mean you don’t have copies? Me neither. As we’ve all come to know, NASCAR does not release its Rulebooks to the public. Shame.

Robin Pemberton’s an ass (*ding*). “They were discussing things.” he says. A discussion… that’s bullshit! (*bzzt* Section 12-4-A: -$25,000 and -25 points) How many discussions do you know of involve shoving? Those are called fights. Two guys had to wedge their bodies in between the two. Nice try at covering, but you just sound like an idiot. A discussion… Pshaw.

And Harvick’s little ass kicking comment… O… M… G. Are you bullshitting (*bzzt* Section 12-4-A: -$25,000 and -25 points) me? You have to be fucking (*bzzt* Section 12-4-A: -$25,000 and -25 points) crazy. *scoff* NASCAR…. what an ass (*ding*). I think that says it all.

So, now we’re left with questions: 

Can anybody explain why a Turn 1 shoving match is NOT an action detrimental to stock car racing?
Can anybody explain — FCC regulations notwithstanding — how talking about kicking another driver’s ass is NOT an action detrimental to stock car racing?

I can! THE SPONSORS LIKED IT! The big clue: “I thought it was cool as hell.” said the SERIES DIRECTOR. And who does he take his cues from? The series sponsors. If the sponsors think it was cool (and, admittedly, it was cool), then the series director will. Both Harvick and Montoya’s primary sponsors are in the same field of business (automotive products), last week we saw the battle of the beer (Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s Budweiser vs. Kurt Busch’s Miller Lite) and this week we saw the battle of oil (I guess somebody will come up with a better name). I can see the commercials now…

Final Words:
Based on the above:

  • Getting out of your cars after a wreck and shoving a colleague is not an action detrimental to stock car racing.
  • Talking about, on basic cable no less, kicking a colleagues ass is not an action detrimental to stock car racing.
  • If I were a driver, I would be out $75,000 and 75 drivers points for the sarcastic/expletive content of this post. I’d probably be on probation too. NASCAR fuckers (*bzzt* Section 12-4-A: -$25,000 and -25 points). Damn it. So much for my dream of being in The Chase.

But really, the keyword in the rule is “detrimental”. Since they aren’t expected to get penalties, their actions weren’t detrimental, right? So, therefore, it stands to reason that SOMEBODY in ‘NASCARdom’ is profiting.

Posted in NASCAR | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Internet Profile Literacy or “I saw ur pro, ur cute, a/s/l?”

Posted by Justin Johnson on Saturday, August 11th, 2007

MySpace (if not every profile service) has options to set the three commonly requested bits of personal data: age, sex, and location (oft shortened to a/s/l).

They’ve recently begun to list the data in the page title, allowing it to display in the title bar.

Facebook has enough options on personal data to where, when filled out completely, you feel like you already know a person. But you have to be somehow connected to them to see it.

More often than not, at some time during a conversation on MySpace, I’ll be asked where I live. Admittedly, what I’ve set as my location (“The Hellish-Hell-Hole, Formerly Known as Oak Park, Michigan”) is a bit confusing. But, you should still be able to figure it out.

Even worse, I’ve been asked how old I am, even though my profile has my birthday in the about me, and my age in the title bar. It’s about there that I block them as being unintelligent. 

I’m sure everybody’s done it now and then, it’s habit from the old days of chatting where all you got was a short paragraph of text in an AOL profile. But, with the development of MySpace, you’ll learn a lot about a person by looking at their background and what music they have on their page.

I’m not the only one annoyed by this. Lately I’ve been seeing literacy tests in profiles. People are beginning to ask that you input some random keyword when you send them a message to make sure you’ve actually read the bloody thing. Smart people. There’s few things more aggravating than being asked “so wut kind of music do u listen to?” when there’s a long list on your Facebook profile, or a 20+ song music player on your MySpace.

And another thing: If somebody asks, “do u have aim or yahoo?”, and you do, DON’T JUST SAY YES! Say yes… AND GIVE THEM YOUR SCREEN NAME. It’s just… simple logic. You’re likely going to give it to them anyways, so, why are you going to fluster them and make them ask “wut is it?”.

Final Words:
Read the profiles before you send them a message. It makes sense. You’ll get to know the person you’re talking to, and you won’t sound like a bloody idiot.

Posted in Internet, Internet Culture, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Fine Dining Comfort Food or “You did WHAT to my macaroni and cheese?!”

Posted by Justin Johnson on Monday, August 6th, 2007

On the Hell’s Kitchen that originally aired on July 30, Gordon Ramsay presented his mother’s version and his version of the comfort food macaroni and cheese.

His mother’s was yellow, presumably from yellow cheese. And it’s his favorite.

He explained that for fine dining, comfort food had to be different. Had to be a little bit more. His was white, with lobster, truffle shavings and aged parmesan cheese.

I love Gordon Ramsay. He’s a good cook and very entertaining. I love my macaroni and cheese. It too is very entertaining. However, after watching the Hell’s Kitchen episode mentioned, I learned the two do not go together.

Ramsay, in his superior culinary style allegedly showed us comfort food, fine dining style.


Macaroni and cheese… with lobster and truffles passed off as COMFORT FOOD!?

Have a look at a picture of the abhorrence that Ramsay insists is “fine dining comfort food” (you’ll have to scroll to the bottom) and then look at REAL macaroni and cheese.

Which makes you more comfortable? I hope you chose the second one. Don’t diss the yellow-y goodness, the creaminess, and the taste to go for some… lobster-ridden biohazard.

Final Words:
DON’T F%#* with macaroni and cheese otherwise you’ll make a culinary disaster… and I don’t think you’ll be able to get away with it like Gordon Ramsay.

Be smart. Open a box of Kraft (or even better, make it from scratch) and indulge. Right now. Go. Stop reading and enjoy.

Posted in Food & Drink, TV | Tagged: | 1 Comment »