Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Property Taxes Undermine the Housing Recovery

It's days like this the Captain decides to fire up a cigar and pat himself on the back.

From CBS Minnesota - Minneapolis housing prices drop the most out of all major cities.

From half a year ago - The Captain lays down some super awesome economic genius of the corollary between property taxes and prices.

From 4 years ago - The Captain's book predicting the housing crash.

But, no no. That's alright. Don't listen to him. What does he know? He's some crazy guy that jumps out of trees and runs into bushes.

Enjoy the decline!

A Lesson In Supply and Demand

Alright Junior, Aspiring, Deputy, Official and Otherwise Economists!

Test time!

Read this and translate it using the chart below!

And a second question young men.

"What lesson did the wonderful world of economics teach us from this experiment?"
My Friend Darren (by Guest Blogger Andrew Donegan)

Andrew is involved in judging prisoner fiction for the Koestler Trust by providing critique and feedback for their work. His blog is Donnie’s Dustbin.

Darren was a recovering addict. When his best friend came around to his flat with some heroin, Darren reluctantly agreed to shoot him up with a small amount. Darren’s reasoning was that if he didn’t, then his friend would go elsewhere and ask someone less trustworthy to do it. His friend also sneaked Darren’s 60ml of methadone from the kitchen too, then overdosed and died. Darren was done
for technical supply. The newspaper headline read: MAN KILLS FRIEND WITH LETHAL INJECTION.

Darren had 2.8 years in Walton jail, Liverpool, to dwell on what had happened. To this very day he gets tearful about the subject and has admitted that he will never move on from the sadness he feels whenever he thinks of his best friend’s family reading that headline. It was an unfortunate accident. His grief and guilt tempted him to suicide, but in his despair he reached out to the bible and found enough sense in it to warrant his salvation.

Four days after he was released, Darren’s mother died. He had also recently discovered that his birth was the result of his mother being raped. He hit the drugs with a vengeance. He was ripped off with the sale of his mother’s house, his childhood home, receiving just £15,000. This he spent in a few short months, racking up a £200 a day habit. 10 white (crack cocaine), and 10 brown (heroin). He
injected into the groin after suffering an abscess the size of a golf ball in his arm. He has the scars to prove it, and at his weakest had to sit down to shave.

As of now, after rehab, Darren is a clean, loyal and trustworthy friend, who has time for anyone. I've seen him assist drunks and tramps in the street on numerous occasions when I've been too embarrassed to stop and help out. Everyone has only kind words to say about him. He maintains a genuine faith and works out regularly, although he does freely enjoy a beer. He is also hilariously funny and never fails to cheer me up. He makes me choke with laughter when he gets tipsy and starts complaining about what's on the telly!

Having this version of events out in the open means a lot to him.

Andrews previous blogs for Jon's Jail Journal:
Review of Hard Time
Big Issue Article
The Scary Fun of Prison 3
The Scary Fun of Prison 2 
The Scary Fun of Prison 1  

Shaun Attwood 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

IB-BWBS ~ It can kill you!

No ...

This is not some new version of irritable bowel syndrome.

IB-BWBS stands for:

Intellectual Bullying - aka - Baffling With Bull Shit

It can kill you.  How?  Because you'll follow down a path that someone "smarter" than you leads you ... ignoring your common sense.

Don't do it!!!

A Beautiful Chart of Destruction and Dismay

How's that hope and change kiddies? Enjoying the labor market are you?

hat tip.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"There is No Higher Ed Without Calculus and Statistics"

Amen brother.

And on an interesting side note for you ladies out there;

most of us guys are neither prince nor military pilot. However, being a hard-working, honest, decent, God-fearing, self-reliant American citizen ought to be enough for any lucky woman.

Elevated Free Fatty Acids Further Impair Glucose Tolerance in IGT but not NGT

High concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) are a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes in Pima Indians. In vitro and in vivo, chronic elevation of NEFA decreases glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. We hypothesized that high fasting plasma NEFA would increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by inducing a worsening of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in Pima Indians.
The subjects were 151 Pima - 107 with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and 44 with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) at the outset of the study.  At the outset none of the subjects had been diagnosed with frank diabetes.  These subjects were part of a study on pathogenesis of diabetes in the Pima and returned for annual visits to have various tests performed.  Of note, offspring of diabetic mothers were excluded from the analysis, thus the NGT group did not include this "at risk" group. 
Read more »
Scandals Plague Controversial Arizona Sheriff (NPR News)

The self-professed toughest sheriff in America is facing a growing number of problems. The latest blow came this week when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced the arrest of three fellow employees. They are accused of helping a Mexican drug cartel smuggle people and narcotics.

From member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Paul Atkinson reports.

PAUL ATKINSON: The one thing you need to know about Joe Arpaio is that he craves publicity. He's regularly on local TV news, cable talk shows, even international media. But the 78-year-old lawman now finds himself dealing with the kind of publicity no elected official wants.

This week, Arpaio held a press conference to announce two of his detention officers and a deputy were arrested for allegedly helping a Mexican drug cartel.

Sheriff JOE ARPAIO (Maricopa County, Arizona): That a deputy sheriff would provide information and associate with these drug and human traffickers is despicable.

ATKINSON: Arpaio says the deputy drove smuggled immigrants to California and even had two suspected illegal immigrants at his home. Arpaio also says one of the two female detention officers is romantically involved with the leader of the smuggling ring and is eight months pregnant with his child.

In light of these revelations, Sheriff Arpaio vows to clean up shop.

Sheriff ARPAIO: So if there's any problems in this office, I'm going to take action. I don't care who they are - top to bottom.

ATKINSON: But the list of problems is getting longer. A local police department claims sheriff's detectives failed to fully investigate 400 sex crimes. Arpaio's chief deputy quit last month rather than be fired after an investigation found abuses of power and inappropriate activities. A financial audit discovered the sheriff misspent $100 million to fund immigration sweeps and investigations into people who questioned his policies.

Arpaio was elected sheriff of Maricopa County in 1992 after a 30-year career in the Drug Enforcement Administration. He runs Arizona's largest jail system, where he first gained attention for banning girlie magazines, serving inmates baloney sandwiches and forcing them to wear pink underwear.

Mr. PAUL CHARLTON: He knew how to play the media.

ATKINSON: Paul Charlton is a former U.S. attorney for Arizona.

Mr. CHARLTON: He knew what policies that he could implement would draw media attention, not only in the state, not only in the country, but internationally. But he was at the same time, an individual - when I was in the U.S. Attorney's Office - who understood what it meant to be a good law enforcement officer.

ATKINSON: Charlton says that changed in late 2006 after a new conservative county prosecutor was elected and Arpaio's focus shifted to illegal immigration.

Mr. CHARLTON: I think Joe Arpaio lost his perspective. He lost his way and began to become more concerned with pursuing his political enemies than he did with doing what's right, than with doing justice.

ATKINSON: Even a member of Arpaio's administration concedes the sheriff may have lost his focus. At a press conference this week, Chief Deputy Jack MacIntyre told reporters the sheriff might have enjoyed spending too much time with the media and not enough overseeing his agency.

CHIEF DEPUTY JACK MacINTYRE (Maricopa County, Arizona): And there are a lot of human frailties and a lot of reasons for it. Certainly, I don't think Joe Arpaio has ever claimed to be perfect.

ATKINSON: Arpaio has admitted as much and says he'll bring in outside consultants to help. But it may be too late. The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division is investigating Arpaio's office for its treatment of inmates and alleged racial profiling during immigration sweeps. And the FBI and local U.S. Attorney's Office is looking into whether Arpaio abused his power by targeting elected officials and judges who publically disagreed with his policies.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eco "Fun" Fest

So I'm driving on 394 which is a main east-west artery out of the Twin Cities. And on one of the billboards I see an brilliantly lighted advertisement for "Eco Fun Fest." I rolled my eyes not because here was yet another example of a municipality (Minnetonka) squandering money it doesn't have. Nor was it yet another example of brainwashing the youth. It's because what kid on this Earth dreams of attending the "Eco Fun Fest?"

Dad - "No, no Disney Land for you little Jimmy on this fine Memorial Day weekend. No, we're going to the "Eco Fun Fest!"

Little Jimmy - "YEAAAAA!"

Reminds me of "Sunday Vacation Bible School" which I was forced to attend in my youth.

What happens to adults when they get older? Do they forget what it was like to be a kid??? Don't you guys remember what it was like when you had that BIG, SHINNY wrapped present for Christmas and when you opened it up it was a stinkin' sweater? Don't you remember just begging and pleading with your folks to take you to Disney World and instead you got to go to "Old World Wisconsin?"

So parents,

adults who are my age and should not have forgotten their youth in the 70's and the 80's,

or those of you who just plain plan on breeding little ones in the future,

lend me your ears!

Will you please knock it off with foisting your political or religious or just plain BORING agendas on your children? They do not want to go to "Sunday Vacation Bible School."

They do NOT want "sweaters" for Christmas.

And they sure as hell don't want to go to "Eco Fun Fest!"

Take them to Disney World.

Take them to Yellowstone.

Take them to a lake and let them run around and get dirty looking for turtles.

Honest to Pete, why do I even have to write this?

Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part I: Define Healthy

After returning from the LC Cruise, Jimmy Moore - arguably the most prominent Atkins-inspired low carber out there these days - scrubbed the weekly weigh-in scroll from his blog and wrote this:

After the Low-Carb Cruise and hearing all the stories of the people in Sweden eating a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet not for weight loss but their health, I've decided to refocus this menus blog by taking the spotlight off of my weight and back on the quality of the food I'm consuming. That's not to say I no longer care about my weight, but it's not the single obsession of why I eat the way I do. Sure, your weight can be an incredible marker for tracking your progress, but your blood sugars, cholesterol, and other such cardio-metabolic markers are much MORE important. 
As I'm tracking my low-carb meal plans, I will likely track my blood sugar levels more than I have been doing because I think that will be more revealing about what my diet is doing for my health.
If you've listened to any of Jimmy's new podcasts (Low Carb Conversations) the whole "health" angle is woven throughout.  I'm going to address some of these in future part(s) of this series.
Read more »

Another 40% to Go

That is of course if you believe economic growth will return to normal.

And debt levels will come back to normal.

And gas prices will come down allowing for more discretionary income.

And the youthful generation will start finding jobs so they can become the new buyers the housing market so desperately needs.

And cities stop jacking up property taxes.

Sure, then it's only another 40% to go.


2: Shaun Attwood at Amnesty International London

1: Shaun Attwood at Amnesty International London

4: Shaun Attwood at Amnesty International London

3: Shaun Attwood at Amnesty International London

6: Shaun Attwood at Amnesty International London

5: Shaun Attwood at Amnesty International London

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Your Child Is Not "Amazing"


Defined by the most convenient link I could find on the internet as:

"1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex"

So let me tell you why I'm writing this.

I get to live vicariously through my pilot billionaire playboy bachelor friend (well, he's not a billionaire, but I just keep upping his status to provide color and drama to the story).  And while he does frequent the occasional bar, he gets the majority of his dates through Plenty of Fish.

Usually when we hang out and have cigars we are both on our laptops or tablets.  Not out of disrespect for each other, but because we can ACTUALLY "multi-task."  And not in the way women claim they can (which means they do multiple tasks at the same time equally poorly but still trump it as an advantage they have over men), but in a way that we can both effectively converse AND tend to whatever internet-related matters call for our attention at that time.  So while I'm pimping out my internet empire he is constantly surfing "Plenty of Fish."

Admittedly it takes some time to find a quality gal on the site, but he usually does and within a week or two he's usually parading the most recent scantily clad pic the latest 24 year old bimbo sent him.  But that's just the thing.

It takes a LOT of time.

So out of morbid curiosity sometimes I look over his shoulder and watch him surf the ladies throwing themselves out there for the world of men to peruse them.

Most are hideous.

Overweight.  Desperate.  Sad.  Typical Craigslist quality.

Then there are those who aren't desperate.  They're sincere, but no catches themselves.

However, what I get the greatest kick out of is the single moms.  Not because they are single moms, but because the VAST MAJORITY of them use a key word in their profile to describe their children;


If I had to estimate it (and I'm being serious here) nearly 80% of the profiles I saw of single moms they attributed the attribute of "amazing" to their child/children.

Which I found interesting.

Because, as listed by the definition above, I should have heard of these kids before snooping over my friend's shoulder.

Your kid is "amazing?"


He/she is able to

"1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex"

Because that's funny, because the handful of single moms I've dated NOT ONE OF THEIR PRECIOUS LITTLE CHILDREN WERE


I was not "amazed" by any of them.

They never affected upon me "great wonder."

They never "astonished" me.

And not once was I "bewildered or perplexed" by the fact they could memorize multiplication tables, dress themselves, or other such accomplishments some deem "amazing."

Matter of fact, if I do the math right, if 80% of children are "amazing" then the word "amazing" means "mediocre."  Or "normal."  Or "nothing special at all."

Did your kid cure cancer?

Did your kid find an alternative to fossil fuels?

Did your kid even self-teach itself to remove a carburetor by watching youtube videos?

Or, just like every other kid, did it just do some cute shit you found endearing and are now going to slap one of those "My Child is a Great Kid at Joe Blow Elementary" bumper stickers on your car?

Here's some advice.  And this advice is not "Oprah" advice (meaning it'll actually work).  YOu may not like it, but it's real advice which means it will really help you.  Which also means, if you can get past my condescending (though I would claim "tired") tone, you'll realize I'm really actually trying to help you as well.

If you're looking to score a guy on any kind of dating internet site, not only should you stop bragging about your average kid, you should start putting the kid in the back seat.

I know I know, "He/she is #1 in my life."

My friend and a million other suitable bachelors got it.  You're kid is #1.  We don't care.

What are you doing for us?

Parading your kid, bragging about your kid, and lying about the "amazingness" of your kid only sends men the other direction because it sends the clear signal the guy is merely secondary or subservient.

So instead, admit it, you screwed up.  Don't hide it.  You had a kid with the wrong guy and now you have to own up to the fact that kid is a huge liability to your romance life.

Don't yell me.  Don't get angry.  That's human nature.  Most men don't care to raise other men's children.  If you don't like that, then file your complaint with the "Department of Reality."

In the meantime, if you're on a dating site to find a guy (which, if you are on the site, your desires are implied), and you really want to achieve that goal then I suggest tailoring your profile towards the guy.  You needn't NOT mention you have a child (matter of fact most men would be upset if you didn't mention you had a kid), but stop telling them how "amazing" your obviously average child is, and stop posing with your child.  It immediately says you only care about your child and the guy comes second.

Terribly sorry, but that's how it's interpreted.  And you've only yourself to blame for being in this position.

"300 is NOT a Date Movie"

Many years ago the Captain was set up by a listener of his radio show with this listener's cousin. Our first of only two dates was a very innocent and kind one on my part because I was simply that. Innocent and nice. I asked her if I could take her out for sushi during lunch.

Fast forward to the present and while enjoying a cigar over a bonfire with some friends, the conversation turns to appropriate behaviors in dating. A friend of mine says, "Yeah, don't you remember that 300 is NOT a date movie?"

I looked at him quizzically because I remembered hearing that before.

Where did I hear that before?

So I asked, "Where did I hear that before?"

He replied, "Don't you remember? The cousin of the girl that sent you that e-mail listing all the things you did wrong on the date?"

I said, "Yeah, but I recall getting lectured for having an older car. Not taking her to 300. You don't still have the e-mail, do you?"

And for the luck of all my readers, my good friend still DID have the e-mail and forwarded it to me so that I may share it with all of you.

Understand this is a treasure trove of insight into the psychology poor men have to deal with. It is empirical evidence of everything you see in the dating world and the socio-psychological observations made in the mano-sphere such as the Rationlization Hamster, entitlement princesses and delusional expectations of themselves and others. It's been about 4, maybe 5 years since I've read this, but my gosh, re-reading it again only provides vindication, if not great insight and wisdom to any poor schlep still having to deal with this insanity. Please enjoy;

First, I want to tell you I have this thing about dating. I can predict pretty much anything that a guy is going to do. I guessed within 2 hours of when you'd call Terri. Guys are predictable. Not just you. So to have an advantage you need to be different. I think a lot of guys got bad advise from married guys who have no clue what it is like to date in the 30's or from a girl that really doesn't want you to find someone so they can use you as their back up if they can't find anyone else.
This being said Terri has not told me all that much information. I just pick up on a lot more than people usually say. So do not judge her for what she may have said because I am just picking out the things that can help you. Plus, I have been prompting her for details.
I really hate to see people single. When life is so much more enjoyable with the right person. If my thoughts are unfinished or grammar is incorrect you need to bare with me because I am having contractions that are a little distracting. I am sure it is not the real labor as this baby seems to not want to come out:)

-You date like you are 20. Dating in your 30's changes/matures. You can take a 20 year old to Applebee's and it is fine but a 30 year old has had time to eat at nicer restaurants and expects more. I am not saying your choice of a restaurant was cheap just showing an example of what is acceptable. Also, the type of person you date expects different things. A waitress who still lives at home probably is fine with a movie for the first date. A woman that has a career, her own house and is indepedant expects more because they give themselves more and will give you more. I am not just talking money things I am talking taking time to think of good things to do. Taking time to do nice things.
- Phone conversations are a great way to get to know people. You should only call when you have time to talk. And after a few dates call just to talk.
-Group dates are for once you have established you do indeed know you like each other and will continue to date.
-After a first date if you want to ask the girl out again you need to call within 24 hours, best if it within 12 hours the sooner the better in most cases. No likes to wait around and figure out if you like them or not.
-Feedback at the end of the date is good. Like I had fun I'd like to do this again.
-Movie dates are for once you are dating (like a month). You can not get to know someone over a movie. Plus 300 is not a date movie!
-First and second dates should be spent getting to know the person so you will know if it is a waste of time for a 3rd date. Personal things should be talked about. What personal things do you know about Terri after a date and couple phone conversations? In 30's if marriage is the goal by date 3 deal breakers should be brought up. Like if there is something you are not ever willing to compremise on. Kids, religion etc. Which I think most things you should be willing to compremise on. Since you really can not predict your feelings in 10 years or how you will feel once you are madly in love with this new person.
-Don't imply you have your whole life planned out already. A woman wants to feel like she can be part of the planning if you were to be together. Not just fit into your plan.
-I am not sure how you are on this one or not but here's some advise if case. Sleep is something that can be put aside to get to know a girl. Girls love when a guy is willing to stay up getting to know them (over the phone or in person). This is an investment in your future happiness. It should be taken seriously.
-Always offer to pick the girl up at her house/work. Let her be the one that decides that you should meet at the place instead of drive together.
-Make a lady feel like a lady. I don't know any woman who are over 30 and single that don't want to be treated like lady. Open doors, pick them up, walk them to their doors, etc. Like the guys in the romantic movies. Women over 30 who are single have had a lot of time to think about "how" they want a man to treat them.
-My husband told me about your cheap car. I think it is great but definitely not for dates.
-Practical and cheap are not for dates. They can be brought into a relationship later once you are actually dating but not for dates.
-The date you have lined up for Thursday sounds bad for a couple reason. It's like well I am already going to be there so just meet me there. There is no room for the date to go long if you have a commitment right after dinner. It sounds like you are just fitting her into your schedule not opening your schedule for her. Woman do not want to feel like you are fitting them it. I am going to suggest you rethink the date and plan something else. Make it special. With no time limits. You only get a couple chances before a woman makes up her mind and you need to use those dates to your benefit. Make her feel like she is a priority.
-Dating is work. It does not come naturally to most people. You need to put time and effort into it since a good relationship could last you a life time. And bring you more happiness than everything else on this earth.

A Memorial Day Message from Big Oil

My evil contacts in Big Oil have sent me some interesting little data and facts that all of you young kids out there can ponder as you drive back home for Memorial Day weekend and upon arriving at home are told by your father,

"Sorry son, no vacation this Memorial Day weekend. Gas prices are too high. Oh, by the way, your mother and I can't afford your next quarter of tuition because we have no disposable income. You don't mind paying for your own anthropology degree do you? Instead of going to Yellowstone, let's break out some board games!"

So here a couple bits of evil propaganda that you can enjoy while you sit at home on Memorial Day weekend playing "Sorry" instead of going to Florida;

Evil propaganda piece 1.

Evil propaganda piece 2.

Evil propaganda piece 3.

Evil propaganda piece 4.

And my favorite, because the tone is so dumbed down that it really exposes the simple-minded nature of those who hate Big Oil - "what's better, more jobs, or less jobs?"

Food Reward and Low Carb Substitutes

Over on his blog, Stephan Guyenet has been unveiling his theories on food reward, setpoint and weight regulation.   I'm not sure I'm really getting how the food reward itself - or lack thereof - re-sets one's adipostat, but that's neither here nor there.  

This is going to be a rather short post from me.  GRIN ;-)

Observations on long term low carb aficionados.  Many:
  • Lose a little or no weight at all - remaining obese or overweight
  • Lose significant weight but plateau out at a weight that is still obese or overweight 
  • Struggle to maintain weight loss and regain despite adherence to the low carb WOE
Read more »
Upcoming Event in Stoke Newington: Shaun Attwood and Gavin Knight Author of Hood Rat

> Shaun Attwood and Gavin Knight
> Stoke Newington Literary Festival
> True-Crime Event
> Saturday 4th June 2pm
> White Hart Pub
> Stoke Newington High Street
> London N16 8EL
> Full price: £4.00

Free tickets for students of Stoke Newington High School. The event is almost sold out.

Just finished reading Gavin's book about UK street gangs, and could not put it down. The poster was kindly designed by Andy, author of the blog Donnie's Dustbin.To enlargen the poster, click on it.

Shaun Attwood

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Price of Oil in Gold

The scramble is on for politicians (and idiotic college students) to once again find a boogeyman to blame for high gas prices. And instead of "evil big oil" or "George Bush," it seems the socialists in the country have chosen this time around (drum roll please);

"Greedy speculators!"

So in addition to;

"The rich use loopholes"
"Republicans just want to give tax cuts to the rich."
"If we just cut subsidies to big oil we'd balance the budget."
"It's corporations keeping us down."
"The rich don't pay their fair share."

you can now add;

"It's because of greedy speculators"

to the list of inane and utterly false premises faux intellectual leftists use when talking politics at parties or social events to make themselves sound educated.

Of course the reason you come here and tell your friends to come here is because you have this thing called "intellectual honesty." You want to know the truth, you care about the truth, because ultimately you know that if society makes decisions based on falsities and lies, it will ultimately collapse. Ergo, you know the Ole Captain is always going to give you the truth. And not just the truth, where like most politicians I say "you'll just have to trust me." No, I spell it out for you in wonderful, empirical charty goodness.

So today's economic lesson of the day is "How Much Would Oil Cost If We Used Gold as Our Currency Instead of the Dollar." Well shucks howdy, here it is all chartified for you by the Captain;

You see, the price of oil REALLY hasn't gone up that much. Matter of fact, the "real" price of gas has gone down. It's more that the value of the dollar has dropped so precipitously that it takes 3 times as many of them to buy the same gallon of gas it did several years ago giving people the impression gas is getting more expensive. But if you were using gold as a currency (they used to do that you know), today's price of a gallon of gas would be $1.36 equivalent.

Now I would go on about how the dollar collapsed and how trillion dollar deficits caused it, as well as social security and medicare undermining it caused it, and how this is more or less the left's fault, but I'm not going to waste my time. People on the right already know the economics behind this. People on the left willfully choose to ignore it and blame it on "those darn evil greedy speculators again!"

Instead, I'm going to go install Active Directory on a computer and make myself a Window's 2003 DNS server. Because those skills cannot be undermined by a collapsing dollar.

Enjoy the decline!

Why Stephan Got Fat

Of course that's a play on the title of Gary Taubes' definitive treatise on obesity in America.

And, of course, the Stephan I'm referring to, Stephan Guyenet, is not only not fat, but rather lean near as I can tell.

But in his recent interview with Chris Kresser, Stephan discussed what he eats.  Stargazey summarized it in the comments:
Read more »

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Death of Marcia Powell 2 (by Lifer Renee) 

Renee previously wrote how Marcia died after being locked in an outdoor cage and denied water by the guards. Some guards were disciplined.

Posted by anonymous:

Fact: Marcia Powell died because she was too stupid to drink from the 10-gallon jug of cold ice water at the back of her 'rec enclosure'.
And the reason there was no cover on her 'rec enclosure'? Because Marcia herself had torn it down on a previous occassion. 

Renee responded:

Fact: Before Marcia died, there were no shade structures on the cage. They were removed because they were sun-damaged, dry-rotted and half ripped off in a storm. Prior to Marcia’s death, the cages had four sides of chain-link fence with chain-link attached to the top. There was a chain-link door with a small opening much like a trap in the door 4” x 12” maybe, so handcuffs can be placed on or removed. So unless Marcia could crawl through a 4” x 12” opening and climb on top of the chain-link roof there was no way she could tear it off.

Fact: Before Marcia died, there was only one water jug kept by the officers control room where they got the water from.

Click here for Renee's previous blog

Shaun Attwood

Monday, May 23, 2011

Why I'm the World's Greatest Economist

In addition to the Asian Currency Crisis

the Dotcom Bubble

the housing bubble

the Dollar Bubble

put this one in your record book of "what the Captain predicted."

From about I'm thinking 3 or even 4 years ago.

And today!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why We Get Fat ~ Fast Food?

I'm on the record with my belief that a goodly portion of those struggling with excess weight got that way by "passive overeating".  It's certainly how I got my fattest in my post-ED years.  

So I came across this study:  
Read more »

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Choose Fishing Instead

If given the choice;

"World's most complicated marriage"



I shall choose fishing.

Triglycerides: Atherosclerotic or SAD-context Biomarker?

Something that's been on my mind a lot over the past couple of years is the meaning of fasting triglycerides in the context of a low carbohydrate diet.  Many, myself included, tend to look at fasting triglycerides and HDL as more important biomarkers and these two both tend to improve rather greatly on a low carbohydrate diet.  But I've always wondered if the reduced triglycerides of LC really indicate a "reduced risk" compared to the generally higher fasting triglycerides of healthy people eating a higher carbohydrate diet.

I blogged recently about triglycerides increasing on a high carb/low fat diet.  Basically, the elevated VLDL in the high carbers was attributed to reduced clearance and not overproduction in the liver.  So I got to asking if it's the triglycerides themselves that are atherogenic or if they are merely indicative of an underlying pathology.
Read more »
A Braining (by Shane)

Shane - Denied psychiatric medication by ValueOptions, Shane turned to illegal drugs financed by burglaries. For stealing a few hundred dollars worth of goods, he was sentenced to eleven years. Shane is the author of the blog Persevering Prison Pages.

Standing in the doorway to my cell, I was about to shut my door when an inmate masked with long sleeves and an orange shirt covering his face entered through the cellblock’s open back door. The masked man was carrying a large river rock. Without hesitation or a single glance at me the man casually walked down the hallway, passed me, and into the day room.

From my doorway, I watched him move behind Bob (conman Robert Owens), raise the rock high above his head and bring it crashing down with a sickening hollow thunk.

Bob fell forward and the man followed, throwing the rock at Bob’s head. It bounced solidly off the back of his head. The man kicked Bob in the head and face repeatedly.

The man calmly turned and casually walked back down the hallway, still not a single glance at me as he passed by and went out of the back door.

Seconds later, a corrections officer entered the same door that the masked man had exited.
Other convicts moved Bob into his cell before the guard entered the day room, but weren’t able to clean up the copious amount of blood covering the wall next to where Bob sat or the pool of blood where he bled unconscious on the floor.
The guard passed by, oblivious, or perhaps uncaring of what had happened.

An hour later, Bob was taken from the cellblock to the Emergency Room.

Rumour has it that Bob, a well-known and highly-publicized conman had gained access to other convicts visitation files at his job in administration, despite his crimes, past prison history, and multiple warnings by the prison population.
Strangely, it was the unit’s female deputy warden who had kept him employed in his position. It is a wonder how she is still the DW considering that one of her CO’s narrowly escaped death or serious injury by the masked man. The guard would have been at serious risk if he had entered the cellblock a few seconds earlier. The masked man was never found.

Shaun Attwood   

Friday, May 20, 2011

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been remanded in custody at New York's notorious Rikers Island jail on charges of sexual assault.

This headline has generated a lot of media interest over the last few days. Crime and Punishment are back in the news again. A man in a Very Important Position has had the indignity of being placed among some of the most dangerous inmates in the US correctional system. The story raises very serious questions and once more the spotlight has been shone very brightly into the dark place known as the penal system in the United States. Obviously, the interest in Rikers Island would be nil if Mr Strauss-Kahn had not checked in, after all people are admitted onto the island complex every day, (average daily population 14,000).

Here in the UK, like many other countries, we have a fascination with jails and prison. Many documentaries are made in prisons, and dramas about prison and prisoners are shown regularly. Is this voyeurism or concern? Probably a bit of both. Over the last week, Law & Order has featured constantly in the headlines. Super-injunctions for footballers, Ken Clarke's offensive muddle on rape. Radio and TV are clambering over each other to feature prison stories. How hard is Rikers? What will it be like for this man inside? Are US facilities really that tough?

Wormwood Scrubs was the venue for this week's edition of Question Time on BBC TV, prisoners were allowed to be in the audience, (surrounded by prison officers), and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke was on the panel apologising once more.

This weekend the two-part documentary, Louis Theroux: Miami Mega-Jail, is being shown again on BBC Two on Sunday 22 and 29 May at 9pm.

One person who knows more than most about life in the US correctional system is Shaun Attwood. As has been well-documented in this blog, Shaun has experienced all that the US jail and prison system could throw at him. The surprising thing is that he has emerged sane and safe. He has a lot to offer in the way of advice for anybody connected with prisons and jails, you could say he was a specialist on the subject. His expertise and knowledge are already being put to good use in schools and colleges around the UK, and he is a tireless campaigner for penal reform. What suggestions would Shaun have for Mr Strauss-Kahn to help him survive his stay on Rikers Island?

Blog admin.

Ah, Is There Anything Better Than Indoctrinated Youth

Ah, only indoctrinated youth can be so uneducated and so brainwashed that they can become so hypocritical, not to mention a threat to free speech and society.

I used to be concerned about the generational theft that is occurring, but not any more. Now I just sit back with the Rumpie and watch the show.

The "Recovery in the Job Market"

From Reuters and CNBC;

"New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, but a rise in the four-week moving average to a six-month high indicated the labor market recovery will remain painfully slow."

Don't you love how they force the premise upon you that the labor market is recovering in the first place?

So once again, to show you why you don't need Reuters, you just need the Captain, I shall show you the claims for unemployment in charty-goodness form;

So now it's time to play "intellectual honesty with the left!"

If you look at our current unemployment claims, you'll see they're;

1. NOT going down, but indicating the potential for a double dip recession
2. Are on par with the worst levels of the 2000-2001 recession
3. Oh, wait, have I heard anywhere from the media about this being the "Worst recession in 50 years?" Oh, no, that's right, George Bush isn't president! With BO in office this now makes the "labor market RECOVERY painfully slow."

Filed under "the cancer is spreading less slowly."

1: Shaun Attwood Q&A at Oriel High School April 2011

2: Shaun Attwood Q&A at Oriel High School April 2011

3: Shaun Attwood Q&A at Oriel High School April 2011

4: Shaun Attwood Q&A at Oriel High School April 2011

Bearded Lady of Guildford Video 2

Discussing jail conditions with Brenda the Bearded Lady. Brenda concludes that prisoners should live in palaces.  

Shaun Attwood

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Paleo v. Neo ~ Some Thoughts

Some thoughts on the best human diet ...

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Bachelor Object Equilibrium

In a previous work of genius I explained to women why men, specifically, bachelors leave things in the car, or on the table or in the doorway instead of just "putting them away." The whole concept was "Bachelor Object Migration," the short version of which is that objects in a bachelor's life cannot just be hastily put away. They must migrate, stage by stage from the trunk of the car, to the doorway, to the table, to the room, and invariably in the closet where it was meant to be.

Eyes were rolled.

Criticism ensued.

But in the end, it's still the bachelor's house and those are the rules.

However, the need for a new Law of Bachelortude has come up and that is "Bachelor Object Equilibrium."

The Captain came upon this brilliant realization when he had a female friend of his clean his house. Previously, when his house has been cleaned, things got "put away."

Where did they get "put away?"

"Where they belonged!"

And where was it "they belonged?"

Where the female friend of mine decided where "they belonged."

I thusly spent the next 3 years trying to find things that were previously readily accessible. I'm still missing some socks.

However, this behooves the question "where do things belong?" And if you have ever visited a genuine bachelor pad, you will realize the answer is;

"All over the place."

Now to the untrained female eye, they think there is no order or structure to this. The bachelor has just haphazardly thrown all of his personal affects across his pad as he farts and belches while walking around in boxer shorts drinking a beer at 1030AM listening to Frank Sinatra. But little do they realize that not only is there structure and organization to this "mess," but it is the OPTIMAL order and structure.

How Bachelor Object Equilibrium works can be best described when a bachelor moves.

The bachelors does not pack his possessions in an orderly manner. He throws everything into boxes. Thus, when he unpacks, he has to unpack every box looking for the items he needs at that moment.

What this ensures is that the bachelor only unpacks the vital and necessary things he needs. This leaves the lesser-needed items still packed and now collecting dust under the stairway in the closet. However, the genius does not stop there.

Whatever items have been unpacked need to go somewhere.


Wherever they are most needed.

This principle is the core to Bachelor Object Equilibrium.

For example, one would contest a fridge should be in the kitchen.

Well that would require me having to go upstairs all the time to get a beer.

Why not have the fridge right next to your computer in your office so when you work, you can simply reach over and grab one?

Take a look at a desk.

My female friend when first cleaning took all the pens I had a-strew across my desk and put them in a cup. Only to have me immediately take the pens back out and put them out across my desk once again.


Because the pens being across my desk is the optimal location. I simply reach a mere 3 inches to the pen on my desk instead of having to painfully arch the foot and a half to pull a pen out of the cup. And, presuming I wish to live such a self-imposed totalitarian, slave-like life, I would have to PUT THE PEN BACK!

Now I just drop the pen right on the desk WHERE IT CAN BE OPTIMALLY ACCESSED IN THE FUTURE.

Or take a look at my tools.

Are the tools located in the tool box?

Heck no!

They tools are located near the objects they fix.

All my computer tools are near my computers and servers as well as my X-Box and LCD projector.

All my heavier mechanical tools are upstairs in the book shelf. Which coincidentally contains no books, but does hold nicely carburetor cleaner and chain oil should I need to fix my motorcycle or cars.

The larger point is that objects in a bachelor's house will NATURALLY find their optimal location, thus achieving "Bachelor Object Equilibrium." With no thought, no structure, no planning, objects WILL naturally find their way to "where they belong." Of course, to women who visit the ole Captain's Pad all they see this as a "mess." But now you ladies know to look a little closer and realize the true genius of this efficient system.

"My Degree is Worthless"

Another Gen Y victim to the education bubble.

And another snowflake to add to the burgeoning mountain of snow that will be sure to turn into an avalanche and come crushing down on the previous generations that lied to them in the future.

Something tells me the catch phrase of Gen Y will be, "Do you like cheap nursing homes?"

Gary makes a good point that is worth listing here;

"Certainly, young people have been handed a horrible situation. However, they voted overwhelmingly for the idiot that is putting the last nails in the coffin of freedom and economic opportunity. The young have been given a deep hole for an inheritance and are busy digging deeper."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


"Equal partner dancing!"

Flashback! High Fat Paleo??

There's a little sea change going on out there folks.

More prominent bloggers than I raising a question that's been on my mind for a very long time.

Was our ancestral diet REALLY VLC and high fat? 

So I tip my hat today to Don Matesz of Primal Wisdom for asking a similar question:

Who Said Paleo Diet Had High Fat Percentages? Part 1

It is interesting to me that the LC triad of Westman, Volek and Phinney cite Eaton in The New Atkins.  It's how I found this paper if memory serves.  

Endogenous v. Exongenous Hormones

I'm going to be using insulin as my example in this post.  Endogenous insulin is the insulin produced in your body by your pancreas.  Exogenous insulin would be that derived from outside the body - e.g. insulin injections.  For the most part exogenous hormones are obtained through some "pharmaceutical" route.  In the case of insulin, subcutaneous injections.

Now I’m sure most of my readers are familiar with the picture below:

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Science for Smart People

I think I may just blow a few minds here when I say, I highly recommend Tom Naughton's recent lecture from the Low Carb Cruise entitled "Science for Dummies Smart People".

I don't normally encourage getting one's science from non-scientists, but I can appreciate the value of learning this kind of thing from a layperson - and in humorous fashion I might add.  For a change, Tom gets this mostly if not entirely right.  Where I have some things to add, it's that Tom does not seem to take or understand his own advice at times.

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Message 1 From T-Bone - T-Bone Appreciation Society

T-Bone - Radiating power and strength, this deeply-spiritual massively-built African-American towers over most inmates. He is a prison gladiator with more stab wounds than Julius Caesar. A good man to have on your side.

I want to show my respects to TBAS. It is an honor to me from you young people who have heard Shaun talk about me at your schools.

Whoever are the leaders at your schools, you must lead by saying NO! to the people who sell and do drugs. Each and every one of you are Beautiful, Special, Blessed, and Strong. You young people are the future. It is up to you to make this world a better place.

I wish Strength and Honor to all who believe in helping those who we are called to help, and those who cannot help themselves.

It is so  easy to do wrong! But when we have a mind to do right, it’s time for excuses or trying to do something like reason with ourselves to do other than what is right. That self-reasoning leads to confusion and disaster. So everything comes down to a matter of choice to do right or wrong.

There is a guy who walks around here knowing that he has power over people and uses it, putting it simply, wrong!

We all make mistakes and we’re told not to lay in them, in other words, if you make a mistake, get up and clean yourself off!

Never look at the color of a person’s skin, look at what is in their heart by the way they speak and in their actions.

Remember to help those who need help. Remember who you are. You’re the ones who can make a difference. That’s why you started TBAS, and you are reading this.

I love you all!

Each-one Teach-one

Steel Embrace – Strength and Honor

Click here for T-Bone's previous letter - T-Bone rearrested.

Links to the Kindle ebook: T-Bone about my time in prison with T-Bone.
Click here for the UK version. 
Click here for the US version. 
Or download to your PC or any other device from Lulu.com.
All proceeds going to help T-Bone in prison- he wants to buy a radio and shoes.

Shaun Attwood   

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Where did the fat in this blood come from? ~ An Ead-iotic Analysis

It was perhaps serendipity to have come upon the subject of recent post on the fatty acid sources of VLDL triglycerides while Dr. Eades was still fresh on my mind from his latest foray of peddling pseudoscience, and  having someone mention Diane Kress' Metabolism Miracle on Jimmy Moore's forum just a short while back.  This all reminded of a discussion on Jimmy's forum over his interview with Kress.  Those discussions with links to the podcasts are:   Part 1 , Part 2.

In that second part, member Vesna linked to "a fascinating post in which he [Eades] deconstructs recent ABC anti-fat news segment."  

That fascinating post was:  ABC’s big meal propaganda, the subject of which is the video I've embedded below:

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Edgemont, South Dakota

These pictures were taken several years ago. They are from the local county fair from Edgemont, South Dakota. The town is more or less a ghost town, but still serves as the county seat and a depot for BNSF. Thusly when they have their annual celebration, more people than you could imagine show up.

I do not like kids (nor do I dislike them), but I thought these pictures were worthy of posting. Frankly, you will see a lot less of cowgirls like this in the future.

And you young men of the SW corner South Dakota better take note of the charming young ladies who in 10 years time will be some of the finest young ladies the country will have to offer in terms of charm, propriety and plain ole spitfireness.

Robert Bruininks is the World's Largest Hypocrite

I was asked to come to the University of Minnesota a couple months back and give a speech on "Worthless Degrees." It was well received, much better than I had expected and you can see a shortened version of it here. However, unbeknownst to would be attendees I had spent the hour preceding the speech at the Unversity's historic archive building pulling the University of Minnesota's president's salary going back to around the 1970's.

The reason why?

I wanted to show the students that even though spending from the government had gone up on higher education in the past several years (thereby presumably subsidizing their tuition) salaries paid to university employees increased at a much higher rate and was the primary cause of their tuition rates going up.

Of course now with the economy in recession, revenues down, and the average private sector Joe taking around a 20% hair cut, you would think the public sector, especially the university, with all of its understanding and kindness and charity would agree to take a cut themselves. Say like 14%.

Not a chance.

President Bruininks is "furious" at the (enter democrat-talking point here) "draconian" cuts of 14%.

So I thought it time now to share with you the same chart and data I shared with youthful students at the University of Minnesota.

Here's the U of MN's presidential salaries compared to the increase in tuition costs vs. the CPI;

Tuition is in blue, CPI in red and the U of MN's presidential salary in yellow.

Gee, I wonder why your tuition is going up all the time, kids?

And on a side note, yeah, Bruininks, you poor baby. How will you ever survive on that $650,000?

The larger point is simply this;

Bruininks is nothing more than a self-serving lying shill. And a bad liar at that. Like most employees and professors at the University of Minnesota, they are not there first and foremost for the kids' education. They are there for themselves. And they have NO problems or moral qualms about hypocritically hiding behind the "noble cause" of "educating the children" if it means they get an extra 14% the taxpayers of Minnesota can't afford.

I could go on, but frankly the chart says it all. Your tuition is not going up because of "evil" republicans who want to kick puppies and shave kittens and cut funding. It's going up because the public sector employees at the University of Minnesota are fleecing you and you have been too damn ignorant for too damn long to spend the hour I did researching the damn data to find out the simple truth. And that simple truth is that the University of Minnesota has become (primarily) nothing more than an elaborate scam of career academians and public sector workers to milk taxpayers and tuition-paying students of as much money as possible all while guilt tripping you into paying perpetually more by claiming it's "for educating the children."

The only question is whether you're going to continue to remain ignorant to this fact and naively continue to "vote for kids" and vote for "education."
Far From Home (by Guest Blogger Big Jason) 

Big Jason was incarcerated as a youth in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Durango jail and the Arizona Department of Corrections Adobe Mountain juvenile facility for assault, attempted burglary, and violation of probation.

Arriving at the unit that would be my future home, I realized this wasn't like the intake unit I had just left. This place had a more sinister aura as reaffirmed by the hardened faces sizing me up. I was in a group of five guys going Unit II. Other fresh meat ended up spread out amongst other units and cottages. Placement into one of these was dependent on your age, crime and threat level. My crimes meant a medium threat level status and gen pop (general population) designation.

The on-duty officer had us line up to assign our cells, giving the crowd that had gathered a better look at the new arrivals. My nerves were on edge. This was my first time doing state time .Some of these guys had been doing this for years. We were in their home, and it wouldn't take long for them to show it.

We went to our assigned cells and my cellie was a black guy named Clarence from BHB (Bounty Hunter Bloods Gang). He had just violated parole, and was in an orange jumpsuit and sporting a red painted pinky finger nail [his gang color]. The cell was dank and humid. The steel bed frame was aged with years of graffiti and primal carvings embedded through out countless layers of paint. A lone stainless steel toilet and sink kept us company.

Day came and went. The small windows let in an orange glow from the sodium lights used to illuminate the grounds at night.

I remember hearing the first whimper and thinking, No this cant be happening. Our cells shared air vents and you could see into the cell next to yours by looking into it. As I got closer and peered in, I caught a glimpse of another new guy being shoved around. I didn't want anyone to notice that I was watching, but the new guy saw me and came to the vent.

He was crying and asked me to get staff for help. As messed up as it was, I couldn't because of the strict no snitching code. Clarence had gotten up to see what was going on also. By the time he arrived, the new guy was being punched repeatedly and pressured to give his attacker oral sex. He refused and ended up being pummeled some more until he collapsed.

My new cellie and I looked at each other in disgust and shook our heads. Part of me wanted to defend this kid, but I couldn't. I retreated to my bunk and tried to process the days events, and what was probably going to happen to the kid one cell over. I knew it wasn't going to be good. The next day proved my suspicion when the kid didn't come out for chow or rec time. The staff took notice and sent the kid to the hospital while his predator cellie was transferred to a gang cottage for the more violent and dangerous offenders.

I wasn’t mentally prepared for what I had witnessed. The feelings of anger I had burned inside me. A cold dark reality had set in: This is my home. These are the people I have to live with.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Scientific Method in the Low Carb Echo-Chamber

I don't know how many of my readers share this impression I have of the low carb online community on the whole, but here it is.  To me it seems this community has fallen victim to the same kind of group-think many have long decried, hanging out at sites where non-believers are turned away.  No differing opinions allowed in such echo chambers.  

The result of which is that we see the sort of repetition of catch phrases that would make a political party proud.  You know what I'm talking about ... when the various mouthpieces making the rounds of the Sunday shows, morning shows and various cable and talk radio shows all seem to have the same speech patterns.

And so it is now that low carb cookbook authors and comedians give speeches on how to critically evaluate scientific studies.  The former individual I'm speaking of is Dana Carpender.  Her speech on the recently concluded Low Carb Cruise (Jimmy Moore) was posted online:  Part 1, Part 2.  (Direct links:  Part 1, Part 2.)
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Recession Medicine - Heroes

Lost Content

Blogger was down for quite some time since sometime last night.  To get things back up they had to "temporarily" remove new posts from some time on 5/11 forward.  Well, as of this post, they have not reinstated said posts.  I'm going to wait a bit to decide if it's worthwhile to reconstruct my missing post - maybe it will show up - but there are also missing comments.  Where I can I'll C&P them when I get a chance.  Just wanted to let you all know this wasn't my doing.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anne Mini Announces US Release of Hard Time

Here's the link:   http://www.annemini.com/?p=15000

Anne kindly took time out of her busy schedule to write the introduction to the US version of Hard Time, and has mentored me over the years. Her blog, Author! Author! is one of the widest read literary blogs in the world, and has the most thorough advice for aspiring authors I have ever seen on the Internet or elsewhere. To anyone who asks me for advice on writing, I always respond, "Read Anne Mini's blog, Author! Author!"

Shaun Attwood

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Myth of Starving Cells

On the heels of my last post discussing Tom Naughton's novel theory on obesity and blood glucose regulation, I'm reminded again of the whole "fatty acids are locked away in the fat cells" - what I'll call the Starving Cells  Myth - of obesity.  Dr. Eades is weighing in on his blog on Taubes' Why We Get Fat and reiterates once again the fallacy that is the locked away fat.  Here's how he puts it:

... A non-obese person eats, uses the energy from the food and stores the rest. During the time between meals and during sleep, the non-obese person draws on the stored fat to provide energy. When the fat cell mass decreases to a certain critical point, the body signals the brain that the fat cells need a refill, so the brain initiates the hunger response. The non-obese person eats, uses some energy for immediate needs, fills the fat cells with the rest, uses the stored energy as needed, and then the cycle repeats.
It doesn’t work that way in the obese. Obese people eat, use the energy required for immediate needs and store the rest. But–and this is the extremely important ‘but’– during the time between meals and during sleep, obese people can’t access their fat stores because their baseline insulin is too high. When they can’t get to their stored fat, the lack of access to energy sets in motion all the same biochemical signals in the obese person that get sent in the non-obese, who have depleted the energy storage in their fat cells. And these signals are converted by their brains into the drive to feed, i.e., intense hunger. They have to eat to provide for their immediate energy needs because, thanks to chronically elevated insulin levels, they can’t get into to their own stored fat, even though it’s there waiting in massive quantities.
Now this all sounds perfectly reasonable, which is probably why so many just accept this as truth coming from an expert and all.   

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Q: What's worse than an education in Human Metabolism from a journalist?

A:  An education in Human Metabolism from a comedian.

Blogger stats are interesting things at times.  It's curious to see where people find this place from.  Following my Insulin Wars series, I was rather shocked to see the Tom Naughton, aka Fat Head, installment shoot up my most read posts list, where it remained for a very long time.  As that series went, that particular post was no big deal.   I had quite a lot of traffic coming from Tom's blog.  What this tells me is that a LOT of people are getting their information from a comedian!  This guy actually has a lecture DVD out now.

This isn't good folks!!

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Guildford Waterstone’s Book Signing

A big thank you to all of the great people who attended the signing, the Waterstone’s staff for putting up with my nonsense, and, of course, special thanks to the three people who assisted, Mum, Charlotte, Josephine and little Simon. We sold 73 copies, establishing a new record at that branch for a non-celebrity author selling a single book.

The day started early, getting up at 6am to pick Mum up at the Mandolay Hotel.

She was unimpressed with the free upgrade to an executive suite: "If that was the executive suite, I can't imagine where they put us poor people."

I whisked her off, half asleep, to the Guildford BBC studios on the University of Surrey campus for a radio interview with Joe Talbot. Mum was the star of the interview. To listen: click here for part 1: click here for part 2.

We arrived at Waterstone’s at 10am to set up. The book sales came thick and fast. I didn’t even get the opportunity to eat a banana until about 3pm, but I did allow Mum a full lunch break, and two trips to the loo, whereas I just clenched my bladder muscle all day long to avoid any loss of sales.

A surge in the people around our display table occurred when a posse of my fellow BodyCombat class extremists showed up, including our charismatic instructor, Tony, whose Wednesday night class at the Guildford Spectrum is so popular he actually has a bouncer on the door – I highly recommend it. Here’s a video of me telling jail and Wild Man stories to some of my BodyCombat friends:

I was really moved by the aunt who drove her niece, Leah, who had seen my talk at Harlington Community School all the way down the M25 from Middlesex as a surprise to the signing. Her face lit up when she walked in.

I had a great chat with these two readers of Jon’s Jail Journal who came from London to the signing.

Although my friend, Brenda, the Bearded Lady of Guildford didn’t show up. I talked to her beforehand and she agreed to this little video as a way of saying thanks to my friend Kathi out of Germany for some earings:

 With Josephine and Charlotte.

 With BodyCombat fanatic, Micky.

BodyCombat crew.

"Shaun, when is the prequel to Hard Time coming out?"
"With all of the talks to schools, I've been unable to make much progress."
                 "Well, you need to get it down because I'm waiting for something good to read!"
"I hope to get it done by the end of this year, but then it'll take up to six more months to get it published."
"You're going to make us wait another year!"
"I need to just stay in more and write and get it all polished up, and eat more chocolate because that really gets my writing flowing. I'll burn the calories right off at Tony's BodyCombat!"              

 With Jessica, the dynamic events coordinator.
 With Helen (from my karate class), and Mary (from BodyCombat)

I kept Mum and Charlotte working for almost two hours after the signing had officially ended. They passed out from sheer exhaustion. Even coffee didn't revitalise them. I demanded the manager, Kevin, do an on-the-spot firing of Matthew, the employee who provided them the coffee as they refused to sell any more books after sitting down - and there was still 15 minutes to go before the store closed! This kind of wanton laziness will not be tolerated at future signings. Coffee earlier in the day is permitted as there is a correclation between Mum's consumption and book sales.
With the manager, Kevin, trying to coax into giving me the keys to the store, so that I could keep it open beyond the closing time in order to sell more books.
Shaun Attwood