The Secret Power of Superman?

superman

I never see Superman drink any boos. I never see Superman eat any food. He’s usually just flying around saving the world. No time for merry making for Superman.

That might be where he gets his power, from not eating all the time. He’s probably so busy fighting bad guys that he skips eating for a day or so. And because of this, the dude is super healthy… he’s Superman.

The human body dedicates a lot of energy to digesting food.

We eat food all the time, everyday.

Hell, I’m always eating. I eat food to pass the time. I eat food just because I’m bored. I’ll look in the fridge because that’s the most exciting thing to do.

The body isn’t designed to eat this much food.

When we were chasing and running from animals in the great and wild plains of prehistory, we weren’t always successful in obtaining food. Humans survived because they were able to sustain through periods of no-eating.

When the body doesn’t eat food and doesn’t have to devote those energy units towards digesting foodstuffs, the body directs that energy to cleaning out the system. The body starts hunting down trespassers, like plaque that is choking your arteries, and destroys it.

When the body isn’t digesting, it focuses its energy on “cleaning the house.”

Get Fast Healthy.

When I discovered fasting I was blown away.

Intentionally not eat food? What kind of crazy thinking is that? But I’d been blown up by an avalanche, my body was devastated from the trauma and resulting surgeries. My ego (or is it the Id?) was crushed, which was great because that meant that my mind was open to suggestion. I was willing to listen to new ideas. I was willing to learn.

That’s when I found out about non-religious fasting.

I wanted my body to heal itself, to hunt down all the bad shit, the drugs and radiation from x-rays, etc., that had built up in my system.

It cost nothing to try it. Water was free. I even saved a little money because I wasn’t eating.

I began fasting one day a week. Usually on Mondays because Monday’s were already a mehh sort of day and it was at the beginning of the week so I could get it out of the way, then have a nice week.

I did this most weeks for about a year. At the end of the year I fasted about ¾ of the Mondays.

Becoming My Own Bank

In 2014 I decided to set up my first Infinite Banking Concept account. This is where you use a dividend paying whole life insurance policy from a mutual life insurance company, to build up a pile of money that you can access at any time.

Before I was sold the policy I had to get a physical for the life insurance company. They needed to determine my state of health to see how much money they’d need to charge me.

They sent a nurse to my apartment to take some urine and blood samples. But a 6.0 earthquake hit Napa during the night before the nurse was supposed to come over. It was my first earthquake and it scared the shit out of me. I was in no mood to be poked with needles so I called to reschedule.

A week later the nurse showed up and took the samples. No big deal. I’d hear from the insurance company in a few weeks.

My buddy that was selling me the insurance called a few weeks later.

“I can’t believe it. They gave you Ultra-Preferred. This is the best bracket they have. They know all about the injuries and surgeries from the avalanche and they still gave it to you. I sell their products and they won’t even give me Ultra-Preferred.”

My buddy calls this “The Superman Policy”. Because I’m qualified for “Ultra-Preferred”, I get to pay a little less for the policy and I get a little more in dividends.

It is important to note: the insurance company gave this to me after I had broken every bone in my face, broke a rib that punctured and collapsed my lung, had a trach inserted into my throat, severed my ACL, had 11 anchors holding my shoulder together, and I probably drink too much.

Give It A Shot

I’m convinced the reason I did so well on the exam is because of the periodic fasting. I could be wrong or maybe that is just part of the reason.

It seems to me that the body has an incredible ability to heal itself, if given the opportunity.
It’s like we have this great toolkit inside each of us that can fix ourselves, that we didn’t know existed.

If you are experiencing any kind of illness, give fasting a try. See what potential lays dormant inside of you.

Remember: I’m not a medical professional, so it’d be good to consult one first.

Always be on the lookout for opportunities that have limited to no downside and some or potentially large upside. No one has ever died eating 6 out of 7 days in a week. It costs nothing to try, all you need is several glasses of water. Fasting can provide benefits that no drugs can match. No one is allergic to fasting.

And if nothing good happens, at least nothing bad will either.

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If You Like Chocolate Chip Cookies, Don’t Mess with Texas

Texas does not like chocolate chip cookies.

Texas does not like chocolate chip cookies.

It seems every few years I move from the East Coast to the West Coast or vice versa. I have made this journey several times. I know the highways well enough.

The southernmost interstate that traverses the country, Interstate 10, passes close to the border of Mexico in west Texas near El Paso. Due to the American government’s war on some drugs, the third world country of Mexico has become a savage land that services the American people’s demand for illegal drugs. Because the drugs are illegal they are highly profitable since no taxes are paid on them. Where there are illegal drugs there are violent criminal organizations that trade drugs for money.

This violence and these drugs first make their way into the States near the Mexican American border. Interstate 10 is a major thoroughfare for this activity. As a result, the US government takes extraordinary measures on policing this highway.

One of these measures is a Border Patrol inspection checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, located on the border of nowhere and nowhere in west Texas. I would say the checkpoint is located in the town of Sierra Blanca, Texas except the only thing in Sierra Blanca is a Border Patrol inspection station.

The extraordinary thing about this checkpoint is that Interstate 10 goes through it. This is a permanent checkpoint that chokes Interstate 10. Every car and truck, commercial or private, has to stop at this checkpoint in the desolate middle-of-nowhere west Texas. This is the only place I’ve ever seen in the U.S. that shuts down an entire interstate.

Usually checkpoints for D.U.I.’s or drugs or whatever, are temporary chokepoints on smaller highways. There is too much traffic on Interstates to bring all the traffic to a halt. This is why the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 10 at Sierra Blanca is so unusual.
I’d been through this inspection checkpoint 10 years earlier. I vaguely remembered that it existed and its location. I was not surprised to see it when I was driving through the middle-of-nowhere, then had to come to a full and complete stop at a check point.

HELD UP AT GUNPOINT

As I come out of the darkness of the Texas summer night into the bright lights of the inspection station, I brought my car to a complete stop before a white line and a large red STOP sign. A serious looking man greeted me, he was not smiling. He was outfitted in a forest green Border Patrol uniform. He looked like a soldier. He was wearing black military style boots laced half way to his knee and he carried some type of automatic rifle slung low across his chest. His torso was padded, he was wearing a bulletproof vest under his uniform, across his chest in white letters were the words BORDER PATROL.

I had the window of my car rolled down.

“Good evening officer.”, I said.

“Are you a U.S. citizen?” the officer said in an aggressive tone.

I didn’t expect such a question. It didn’t make much sense to me, plus I’d been driving through the desert for the last 6 hours, so I paused a second before answering.
U.S. citizen? What else would I be I thought.

“Uh, yes” I replied.

As the Border Patrol officer questioned me, I watched through my rearview mirror as another officer with a German Sheppard walked around the back of my car.

“Ok, pull over for inspection” the officer said.

He directed me to park between the office building and a series of orange cones. I was the only car I saw that was asked to pull over. The other vehicles seemed to stop briefly, then proceed down the interstate.

As I parked my car another Border Patrol officer said, “Turn off your vehicle and get out of the car.”

“Do I need my license and registration?”

“No, step away from the vehicle.”

I got out of my car. I was wearing a t-shirt, a thin pair of shorts made out of a breathable fabric, short socks and athletic shoes. I had nothing in my pockets.

The officer told me to stand in a spot that was 10 yards in front of my vehicle. An officer stood and watched me and made sure I didn’t cross an arbitrary white line on the pavement. I thought, “This will be interesting”, but I wasn’t worried. I looked back as two Border Patrol agents opened the back gate of my car and started rummaging through my belongings. Another agent had a German Sheppard on a leash. The German Sheppard had climbed in to the front passenger seat.

I wasn’t thrilled at having dog hairs all over the seats of my car. There wasn’t much I could do but watch.

I’ve learned how to deal with Border Patrol agents, cops, and highway patrol. You need to be cordial, respectful, and then talk about the most boring shit ever. I started asking what the elevation was in Sierra Blanca.

“What is the elevation here? Is it higher than El Paso? I just drove over some small mountains.”, I asked.

“No, it’s lower” replied the Border Patrol guy.

It’s always a good idea to talk about the weather, they can’t stand that stuff.

“I heard there was flooding in Texas. Will I have to worry about that on I-10?”

“No, that was over 3 weeks ago.”

The idea is to talk about tourist stuff so that the Border Patrol, cop, or highway patrolman will want to get away from you as soon as possible. It’s like bug repellant for those types.

It didn’t work on this occasion.

The officer with the German Sheppard had found something in the cooler full of fruit, energy bars, and a 3-liter bladder of water that I kept in the front passenger seat on the long cross country trip. He found my half full gallon zip-lock bag of made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies.

He comes charging up to the officer that was watching me, with the leash to the German Sheppard in one hand and holding my bag of cookies up in the air with his other. He had a smirk on his face that seemed to say, “I got you sucka.”

When I saw this I was not stoked.

He walks up to me holding my bag of cookies up high and says “You smoke bro?!”

I stare at the cookies and reply “No”.

“I said You smoke bro?!?!” he yelled with more force than the first time.

Again, I look at my beloved cookies. What the fuck is this guy saying? What am I gonna do? Stick chocolate chip cookies in a pipe and try to smoke them? Or is he asking if I smoke cigarettes?

“No!” I reply, enunciating properly so he could understand me.

The accusing officer looks at the bag of handmade chocolate chip cookies for a second and realizes he may have made an error in his line of questioning.

“These cookies are laced with THC!!!” he accuses.

I thought “laced” was a terrible word. Laced? What the fuck? “Laced” sounds like something that is done with crack or meth. Or maybe something industrial food producers put into fast food and junk food. Laced?

This is all fantasy land speculation, this is completely hypothetical–but if those cookies had THC in them, they most certainly were not laced. If those cookies hypothetically contained THC, then maybe they were made with the best THC oil to be found.

Remember what Papa John likes to say, “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza”? Same is true for chocolate chip cookies. T hose cookies hypothetically could have started with the highest quality strain of high altitude hand crafted cannabis to be found on the West Coast.

Then maybe said cannabis was used to make potent ganja butter by the hands of a master chef. Then most assuredly the chef used flour, sugar, butter, and chocolate chips, just the basic ingredients, no preservative garbage, to bake some wonderfully delicious chocolate chip cookies.

Then, hypothetically, I tested the cookies while out playing a game of disc golf and decided the cookies were too strong because after playing two holes I went over to a park bench, sat down drooling on myself, and stared at the clouds for an hour.

I may have told the master chef that the cookies were too strong, that I needed something less potent because I was driving across the country and couldn’t afford to pull over for a couple of hours at a rest stop while my cookies wore off.

The recipe, using the same high quality ingredients, could’ve been altered a few times until they were as Goldilocks would have liked them–just right.

Those handmade chocolate chip cookies were definitely not laced with THC.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about” I said.

“Has anyone been in this car besides you?”

“No one has been in the car. I’m driving by myself across the country and those are my cookies.”

The officer that was making sure I didn’t cross the arbitrary white line on the pavement completely changes his demeanor and becomes mean. He grabs my hands and puts them behind my back.

I realized I was getting arrested.

ROUGHED UP

“This sucks”, I thought. I’m in the middle of bum fuck nowhere west Texas getting arrested at a Border Patrol station.

The officer takes me in to a long white hall in the station and makes me face the wall. He starts asking me my personal information like name and date of birth, that type of stuff. I answer respectfully but I don’t volunteer any info.

Next he tells me to put my hands on the wall, and raise them as high as I can. When I say “tell”, I mean it was like a low volume yell. It was a command.

I put my hands on the wall but I didn’t understand the “raise your hands as high as you can part” so he repeats the command “raise your hands as high as you can!”

“Huh?” I say as I raise my hands up the wall a bit more. Now my face is right against the wall with my toes a few inches away from the wall. My arms are raised up so high my armpits are almost touching the wall.

The whole time I’m facing the wall he was his hand pushed firmly in the middle of my back. I guess this gives him more leverage in case I start resisting.

“Do you have any knives, needles, or weapons on you?” he commands.

“What? No.”

I had left Phoenix, Arizona that morning where it was 110 degrees. It was the middle of June and I was driving through west Texas. I was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of thin breathable athletic shorts, a pair of tightie whitties, below-the-ankle tennis socks and running shoes.

If I had my keys or my wallet in my shorts you would have been able to tell just by looking that something was in my pockets. When I got out of the car they told me to leave all that stuff. I thought it was obvious I didn’t have anything, besides where could I have put it?

Since his one hand is firmly pressed against my back, he takes his free hand and starts aggressively searching me.

Then he takes his hand from my back and puts one hand on each side of my leg. If you’ve ever skipped the x-ray machine at the airport and had the TSA do the manual search, this is similar.

The difference is the amount of force. The officer raises his hands with way too much force and the impact of his hands and my undercarriage, or “nads”, was too much. I coughed, my nads aren’t used to blunt force trauma. Then the officer moves to the next leg and repeats the procedure. I cough again at the uncomfortable assault.

The feelups the TSA give you at the airport are quite pleasurable compared to how the Border Patrol does it.

The officer stands back up and immediately puts his hand in my back again and with his right boot he steps on and crushes the heel of my right shoe.

“Take your shoe off.” the officer commands.

With my hands high against the wall, my face an inch from the wall, and his hand pushing me against the wall, I had no idea how I was supposed to lean down and take my shoe off. I didn’t want to struggle with the guy. I thought it was in my best interests to be cooperative, but everything was happening so fast, and I was confused as to how I was supposed to take my shoe off without being allowed to bend over to do so.

I made the mistake of saying “Huh?” again.

“Take off your shoe!” he yelled.

“Look, I’m trying to cooperate here. I don’t want to cause trouble, but how am I supposed to take my shoe off if you won’t let me bend over to do so?”

The officer responded by crushing the right heel of my shoe even more.

“Slide your foot out of your shoe!”

I was happy to do so because it did not feel good with his boot crushing my heel. I slid my foot out of my shoe.

With his left hand still firmly planted in my back, the officer reached down and picked my shoe up and examined it. I guess he was looking for drugs, weapons, or human trafficking.

After a careful examination he did not find anything except the unique smell that I insert into all my athletic shoes.

After examining my shoe he dropped on the floor and commanded, “Lift up you foot.”

I lifted my right foot off the ground maybe an inch or so. I thought it was some sort of test like they give to people suspected of driving while intoxicated.

He was pissed. I didn’t do what he wanted. “Give me your foot!” he yelled.

I was confused again.

I didn’t know how this process was supposed to work so instead of saying “Huh?” I just stuttered a few times. He realized that I didn’t know what he wanted so he reached down and pulled my right foot up, with the bottom of my foot facing the ceiling. The position is the same if you are trying to stretch your hamstrings while standing on one foot.

With his left hand firmly planted in my back, me standing on my left foot with my hands up on the wall, he takes his right thumb, while holding my right foot, and runs his thumb up and down my sock.

Again, I guess he was looking for drugs, weapons, or humans that I might be smuggling into the country. Again, he found nothing.

The officer dropped my right shoe then crushed my left heel.

“Take off your shoe!”

This time I knew what to do and promptly obeyed.

Next he commanded, “Put your ankles against the wall.”

Now I was really confused. How do you put your ankles against the wall? I can put my big toes to the wall, but I can’t put my ankles to the wall.

Again, I reiterated that I wanted to cooperate, I wasn’t resisting, but I had no idea how I was supposed to comply with his command.

The officer became somewhat reasonable. He could see that I wasn’t resisting and I’m as harmless as I look.

With his hand firmly planted in my back he calmly explained the procedure. I was supposed to twist my leg 90 degrees so that the inside ball of my ankle was touching the wall. Then I was supposed to repeat the maneuver with my left leg, so that the heels of my feet are facing each other about shoulder width apart. The right leg was easy enough. The leg left was more difficult. I severed my ACL 3 years earlier and had surgery to repair it. Even though I’ve done a massive amount of physical therapy it doesn’t work or flex like a normal knee.

I didn’t bother explaining this history to the Border Patrol guy. As I was trying to set my left leg the same as I had my right, I began to wonder how I was going to do this without falling over. My hands were so high on the wall that my armpits were almost touching the wall. I had my head turned to one side so my nose wouldn’t be crushed against the wall. With my legs in the position I’ve already described it was almost impossible for me to keep my balance.

It was as if the officer could read my mind.

“Don’t worry, I got you. I won’t let you fall.” he said as he applied more pressure to his hand that was in my back.

Oh thanks, I thought as I maneuvered my left leg into the position he desired. It was one of the most awkward positions I’d ever been in. If the officer wasn’t holding me up I’d have fallen over.

You are completely defenseless in this position. I guess that was the point. I was put in that weird position to see if I would be cooperative and to display the officer’s dominance. He didn’t do anything else while I was in that position, he didn’t pat me down, he just had me stand there for a while.

When he was satisfied he let me off the wall to stand like a normal human being.

THE INTERROGATION

Next we walked into the large office area adjoining the wall. There were several Border Patrol agents in their green military outfits typing at computers and joking with one another. On one wall was a long bench that ran the length of the room. There was a Hispanic mother and her young child sitting on one side of the bench while a Border Patrol officer sat typing at a computer in the desk facing them.

I noticed that every 2 or 3 feet on the bench there was a set of handcuffs attached to a chain. As the officer walked me to his desk he told me to sit on the part of the bench right in front of his computer terminal that was facing me.

I was a relieved when I realized he was not going to hand cuff me to the bench.

The officer informed that I was being arrested and slid a piece of paper across his desk. There were 3 boxes at the top of the page. I had to check 2.

The first box was informing me of my rights. Instead of verbally reading me my rights, they were written down. I had to check the box indicating that I had read them.

The officer explained the next 2 boxes.

The first one indicated that I would cooperate with the government and they could ask me questions about the cookies. If I cooperated I might be able to get a better treatment.

The second box indicated that I chose the right to remain silent and requested a lawyer. If I did this then the officer couldn’t speak to me about the allegations and couldn’t “help me out.”

I was getting arrested in a Border Patrol checkpoint in west Texas. It was the middle of nowhere. I figured I would sit in jail for a few days before I was able to talk to a lawyer.

I was not happy about the situation I was in.

I told the officer, “I dunno. What do you think? It kinda sounds like I need a lawyer.”

I was trying to play as dumb as possible while also being polite to the guy.

“If you ask for a lawyer then I can’t talk to you and I can’t help you out” said the officer.

I politely checked box number 2.

**Helpful Hint**

In case you don’t know… NEVER TALK TO THE POLICE. This also applies to any other branch of government that can arrest you. Remember, “Anything you say, can and will be used against you.” What they don’t say is nothing you say can be used in your defense.

Do yourself a favor and don’t say anything.

Please watch this video. It explains in detail why you don’t say anything when you are getting arrested.

****

“Ok, he lawyer’d up” the officer announced to the other Border Patrol officers milling about the large open office. They didn’t seem interested enough to look up from whatever they were working on.

The officer takes my license out of my wallet and places it on the desk next to his keyboard. Then he starts asking me the question of name, date of birth, place of birth, social security number, height, weight, occupation, those type of questions.

I politely answer but don’t volunteer any extra information than asked.

“Have you ever been arrested before? Remember, don’t lie to me.”

This is a tricky question for me to answer. Being a young, rebellious, and a fan of alcohol, I made a few mistakes as a kid. Most of those mistakes got taken care of by lawyers and were expunged from my record. The one that stayed on my record was a DUI I got as a teenager.

I figured that’s all they needed to know about.

“I got a DUI as a teenager” I said.

“You’re lying! I told you, don’t lie to me!” the officer fired back.

This is another reason why you don’t talk to the police, they hate it when you lie to them. And they ask you questions in a way that is meant to confuse you and trip you up so that they can yell “Don’t lie to me!”

I stumbled. “Well, I got arrested this one other time but I it was expunged from my record”
“Where?” the officer asked as he peered at the information on his computer screen.

“Stillwater, Montana”

What I didn’t realize is I was dealing with the government. The government collects everyone’s data on everything.

You’ve heard of the NSA? They know that you’re reading this website, they know you buy food at McDonalds, and that you watch a lot of Katy Perry videos on YouTube. The government also knows how many times you’ve been arrested, and whether those instances were expunged or not.

I realized I needed to shut up because I was only going to get myself in more trouble. I realized that they didn’t ask me about another scrape or two I’d had. I wasn’t going to volunteer the information and I knew if they asked I would just lie to them.

The questioning ended and the officer was content to let me sit there and worry while he punched at his keyboard.

After a while the officer said, “Were checking your information against the databases in the FBI, the Dept. of Homeland Securtiy, and the DEA. If you’re lying to me you’re gonna make it worse.”

“Holy shit” I thought. I hadn’t done anything and these guys think I’m some international criminal. I kept my mouth shut.

The longer I sat there the more worried I became. I was in the clutches of the government and the government can do whatever they want to do. There is no rule of law. There is only the will of the physically stronger.

It did not matter that I was not hurting anyone or breaking any laws. It didn’t matter that I was minding my own business. It did not matter that I paid my taxes.

The only thing that mattered was reality. The reality was my future resided in the whims of the Border Patrol.

I realized the situation could spiral out of control.

I remembered hearing a story about a guy who got arrested with some cocaine. The guy didn’t have that much cocaine, but he concealed it inside a plastic box with a bunch of other stuff in the box to try to hide the cocaine. Instead of taking the cocaine out of the container and weighing it by itself, the police weighed the container and all the contents with the cocaine. This weight was of a much greater weight than the cocaine itself.

The suspect then got charged with possessing the weight of the entire object as if it was all cocaine. This made it seem like the suspect had way more cocaine than he actually did and the penalty for this greater weight was much more severe.

I had a large bag of chocolate chip cookies that allegedly was infused with THC. If they wanted to, they could weigh the bag and the cookies and consider it all THC and come up with a large weight that made it seem like I possessed an enormous amount of the illegal plant substance.

They could also charge me with DUI, intent to distribute, resisting arrest. Hell, they could charge me with whatever they wanted to.

I tried not to dwell on all the terrible possibilities.

As bummed as I was, I was kind of happy about how I was handling the situation. I was responsible for the situation I was in and I’d take it like a Stoic, I would face whatever came my way. I tried to use my Dale Carnegie powers of persuasion, I was polite to the mean guys with assault rifles. I tried not to laugh when they talked about my bag of chocolate chip cookies as if they were a dangerous substance.

Several times over the course of the holdup the officers had to call in the situation, either by hand-held radio or by phone to some superior officer. It was funny to hear their explanations. On the phone they would say, “Yeah, we got a Mr. Paulson here with a bag of THC cookies.”

They would always have to repeat that part, then say “No, cookies. Marijuana cookies. They have THC in them.”

This explanation would usually be followed up with, “No, they’re for personal use.”

That was good to hear. I didn’t think they would try to get me on an “intent to distribute” charge. I didn’t look like a Girl Scout selling Thin Mints.

It took awhile for the background checks to come back from the various government agencies. During this time Border Patrol agents would come up to me from time to time and hand me possessions from my car. They gave me my phone and wallet. Then someone brought my emergency cash I keep in the center console of my car.

I became depressed sitting on the bench thinking how miserable it would be to rot in a jail in west Texas. I let out a deep sigh of resignation.

The officer sitting at the desk in front of me did not like this.

“I’m tired of hearing you moaning and moping around. Be quite. As long as you’ve told us the truth and nothing comes back on the background checks, you’ll be free to go. But if you’re lying to us or if you have a warrant out for your arrest, you’ll be going to jail for a long time.”

I sat straight and perked up. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. What? They might let me off? I hoped nothing came back on that background check.

I didn’t mention that the state of California had just suspended my license for letting my insurance lapse. The California DMV had screwed up the paperwork. I moved out of Cali and was a resident of Nevada with legal license, registration, and insurance. California didn’t get the memo, thought I wasn’t paying my taxes and suspended my license. I was tired of dealing with the bozos and gave up trying to correct them. I was hoping that didn’t come back to haunt me.

I sat on the bench and did not say a word.

Time started to slow down as I waited for the background checks. At last the officer informed me that there were no outstanding warrants for my arrest and I was on good standing with the Dept. of Homeland Security, DEA, and the FBI.

“You got lucky. If you had been here this time last week you’d be getting arrested. But, we’re gonna let you go” the officer informed me.

Holy smokes. I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea what he meant by “If you had been here this time last week you’d be getting arrested.” I didn’t dare ask what had transpired in 7 days that would change my status from criminal to non-criminal.

I was stunned that I was going to walk out of that place. And I was proud of how I handled the robbery.

When I was younger, it was known amongst my friends when we went “out on the town”, if we ever were to encounter the cops, that I was never allowed to speak to them. I was always sent to the back of the group and those in our group with better social graces would converse with the police. For some reason, when I would talk to the police, it always ended up badly, usually with handcuffs.

If I had this encounter with the Border Patrol 10 years earlier, I would have gone to jail, guaranteed. Since then life has crushed me. I was forced to admit how weak I was. I was forced to learn. I learned much about psychology and the inherent weakness of human thought. I learned how to consider the other person’s perspective from Dale Carnegie.

The Border Patrol officers had no idea what was going on. They had no idea that they were the criminals. I was traveling along peacefully causing no harm and interfering with no one, and they stopped me at gunpoint. They stole my property. They harassed me.

The Border Patrol agents didn’t know they were engaged in criminal activity. They didn’t know that they worked for a vast criminal organization called the government. They thought they were they good guys.

They probably had a good laugh after work that night while enjoying my chocolate chip cookies.

There was a warm breeze that night as I walked out of the Border Patrol station to my car. I was relieved to be set free and I was also tired. The interrogation took about 2 hours and it was late when I got back on the road.

I drove for an hour more, then pulled over to a rest stop and slept in the back of my car. I woke up the next morning to a vast dusty view of west Texas stretching out as far as the eye could see. As I pulled onto the highway, with 14 hours of Texas driving ahead of me, I thought, “Damn, it’d be nice if I had a cookie.”

I’m not a writer but I write shit. Or… 7 Ways writing benefits you

Start writing!

Start writing!

1. Forces you to think about your thoughts.
Humans are the only animal that can think about their thoughts. This is a weird benefit and often we don’t know what to do with this. Writing helps with this effort. Writing forces you to think about your thoughts and how to express them in a way in which a reader can easily absorb them. It’s like exercise for your brain… and exercise is good.

2. Forces you to become creative.
In order to write, you have to have something to write about. You have to have something to say! What are you going to say? Who knows? Only you know, and if you don’t know what to write about then you need to think about what to write about. You need to be creative and come up with ideas. Again this is exercise for your brain… and exercise is good.

3. Focus.
The best way to get your idea across with writing is to Focus. You want to focus your thoughts so you can have a clear and concise message. You want to cut all the stuff that is not needed in getting your point across to your reader.

4. Discipline.
A famous writer (I forget who) once said, “The easiest thing in the world is to not write.” I agree. I hate writing.

I have attention deficit disorder, I’m easily distracted. Writing is hard for me. It’s hard to stay in one place and try to complete something as easy as a blog post. But I have a blog and the only way anything gets posted on the blog is if I write it.

I have to force myself to start writing, then I have to force myself to finish the darn thing and at some point and post it on my blog. This is a huge pain in the ass for me. I’d rather be rummaging through my refrigerator looking for something to eat. But I have to exercise discipline and force myself to write, edit, and post.

5. Learning.
Writing forces you to learn. When you start writing you will most likely create garbage. You will want to create something better than the garbage you start out with. So you will force yourself to learn writing and to try a lot and to get better at the craft. This takes work and continuous learning.

You will also notice what your audience likes or hates. This will help you to refine your writing and the way you deliver your message. You’ll want to get better so you will learn.

6. Reading.
To write well you need to read a lot. There are no good writers who were not good readers as well. You will need to read far and wide to expose your mind to different styles and ideas.

7. Action!
Writing forces you to act. You have to publish your work. You have to turn in an article, publish a blog post, or finish a book. Your work will never be perfect but you have to put it out there.

These are a few ways in which writing will benefit you. If you take out the word writing and replace it with any project or goal you are trying to accomplish, these skills you learn from writing will help you on your way.

If you are trying to achieve a goal, or create a product, or even climb a mountain, you will first need to think about what you are trying to achieve. You’ll need to map out a strategy. You will need to focus and come up with creative ways to reach your goal. You’ll need discipline to stick to reaching steps that will move you closer to your goals. You’ll need to read and learn about the obstacles in your path and finally you will need to act to take the steps needed to get you where you want to go.

The benefits of the writing process are applicable in many different areas of your life. It’s really about getting work done.

And another thing, once you finish your article or book or create and launch your product, you immediately need to start to work on the next thing.

Once you finish your work it, the process has only just begun.

What do you think? Did I leave anything out? Are there other benefits to writing that you can apply to the rest of life? Let me know at brucepaulson1@gmail.com

Stumbling through life? Try this useful trick.

This was once the most powerful man in the world. He taught me this useful trick.

This was once the most powerful man in the world. He taught me this useful trick.

One of the most useful things that happened to me after the avalanche was the introspection.

I had to focus on my feelings and how I did or did not control them. I learned from Epictetus that I can control very little in life. These things I cannot control are the “externals”. Epictetus said what you can control is your thoughts, actions, and feelings, the “internals”.

Since getting crushed by a wall of snow I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the “internals”.

I currently work in a smoky casino as a bartender.

I make drinks for gamblers that come up to the bar and cocktail waitresses that take the drinks I make from the bar to the gamblers on the casino floor. The cocktail waitresses and I spend our days surrounded by drunks, degenerates, liars, addicts, obese people, cigarette smokers… and other health enthusiasts.

We work for tips. Our income depends on these questionable characters to pay us for making or bringing them a drink. The job of a bartender and cocktail waitress will always involve getting stiffed. It is up to these customers of questionable character to make the decision to pay us for our services.

We get stiffed a lot.

The waitresses will get upset when they get stiffed over and over. They get pissed off. This anger is understandable, we work hard, but it’s not useful. Getting angry never made a customer decide to start tipping.

I try to help the cocktail waitresses using what I learned. I tell them about a quote from Marcus Aurelius’ The Meditations that I refer to often:

So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.

So often we let other people’s behavior dictate our own.

If a customer is shitty and doesn’t tip for service, then the waitresses get pissed off and unhappy. They are letting the customer’s character and actions dictate their own.
This is not a good way to be. Much better to focus on your own actions and character. Focus on the “internals”.

This is much easier said than done. Even though I know this lesson better than anyone, I still find myself falling into the trap of letting other people’s crappy actions dictate my own.

As a bartender at a casino, I have to split tips with other bartenders. It gets confusing.

Everyday you have to keep track of who owes you money and who you owe money to. It’s easy to cheat the system. Some bartenders will be less honest splitting the tips.

One bartender I work with reliably stiffs me or gives me a small percentage of the amount I’m due.

This guy has problems. He will get off work, sit at the bar gambling and drinking for hours, then tell me that he doesn’t have the money he owes me. Or he will ask to borrow some money from me. He will say this with a straight face when he knows I saw him drinking at the bar we work at, and losing money in the slot machines.

It is not a fun situation.

The other day I had money from the night before that I was supposed to split with this degenerate bartender. He owed me money. I figured I wouldn’t give him his cut until he paid me the money he owed me. If he didn’t pay me, then I’d just keep his cut, since he already owed me money.

On the drive into work I was thinking about the situation and became disappointed in my thought process.

I was being weak.

I screwed up on the “internals”. I was letting the degenerate bartender’s character and actions dictate my own. I was ashamed of myself. Because of all the crap I’ve been through, I should have known better.

Marcus’ quote popped in my head:

So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.

I cannot let other human’s bad actions dictate mine. That is the weakness that I must watch out for. I need to control the “internals”.

I walked into work and gave the guy his cut of the money. And it felt great because I realized my mistake and had the chance to change my actions.

I try to relate this idea to the cocktail waitresses when they get upset with customers. “So what?”, I tell them. Don’t let their shitty character affect your own.

They all agree with the idea in theory, but it is hard to implement in their actions.

This trick of controlling your “internals” has helped me greatly as I stumble through life. It has been like a handrail on a staircase steadying my travel.

You might want to try this trick yourself.

This trick might just save your life.

Go Fast. Or why you should not eat.

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It was Monday and I found a new way to dread Mondays.

I would not eat food on Mondays, I’d fast. I’d allow myself some water with lemon in it or maybe a green tea, but that was it. After dinner on Sunday night till breakfast Tuesday morning, no food.

I stumbled upon the practice of fasting while in the hospital recovering from injuries from the avalanche beat down. The winemaker at the winery I was working at came to visit me in the hospital. He brought a bunch of goodies from all the people at work.

Among the “Get Well Soon” cards and books was a Harper’s magazine. The cover article was titled “Starving your way to vigor”. It was an in depth look at the health benefits of fasting.

I was only vaguely familiar with fasting at the time. I thought it had something to do with religion. On certain days the faithful weren’t supposed to eat food from the time the sun went down until it came back up. Or something like that.

I’m not religious so I never paid much attention to it. But I am interested in living a happy and healthy life, so the article caught my attention. Plus my face was broken, mouth was wired shut, and I couldn’t sleep because of the pain I was in, so I read the article on fasting.

Turns out the human body is designed to go long periods without any food. Not only can it go without food, the body actually heals and repairs itself when it doesn’t have to waste that energy digesting food.

By not eating anything, you can greatly improve your health.

I was blown away.

I’d never thought of anything like it before, but it made sense. Our bodies developed thousands of years ago, maybe hundreds of thousands, long before there were fast food restaurants and supermarkets on every corner and Twinkies at every checkout isle.

Our bodies developed when we had to kill what we wanted to eat. If we didn’t kill anything then we didn’t eat anything. Sometimes we didn’t eat anything for days and weeks. The human body adapted to the sporadic nature of our caloric intake.

This was all far out to me. I’d always had at least 3 meals a day; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The concept of not eating was crazy.

After the avalanche I had many surgeries and took a shit ton of x-rays and a shit ton of chemicals to keep me alive. I figured my body was full of toxins.

This fasting thing seemed like a good way to wash my insides clean.

Once I got healthy enough to go back to work I gave fasting a try. My original goal was to go 2 days without eating. After the second day, we had a cookout at work. I didn’t want to miss the cookout so I planned a simple 2 day fast.

I ended up fasting for 3 days. After my first day of not eating I found out that I’d misjudged the day of the cookout at work, it was a day later than I thought. Since I’d already started the fast with the goal of ending it at the cookout, I decided to stick to my plan. My 2 day fast became a 3 day fast.

The fast sucked.

I love to eat. I live by myself and get bored so I go to the fridge and start eating because I have nothing else to do. During the fast I found myself with all this extra time on my hands because I wasn’t cooking or eating food.

Fasting made me a little sad because I’d never gone without food before.

I thought about my thoughts towards food. I realized I ate for more reasons than just to sustain life. Not eating left a lot of time for thinking.

I didn’t tell anyone that I was fasting. The idea is so foreign to most people that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time explaining my reasons to everyone who thought I was crazy.

During the fast my energy levels decreased slightly. I felt a bit lethargic. There were many times I doubted I could make it to the end of my planned fast.

I was hoping that my body was using this time to get all the crap that accumulated in my tissues after the surgeries, out of my body. That was my hope but I had no way of knowing if it worked.

Once the 3 days were over and the cookout at work commenced, I chowed down.

That was a bad idea.

After not eating for 3 days, I think my stomach had shrunk a little. I piled my plate high with food like usual but my stomach couldn’t handle it. I had stomach aches for a few hours. If I were to do it again, I would have eaten a smaller amount to break the fast.

That was the one and only time I’ve fasted for 3 days. Apparently the largest health benefits of fasting occur during the 5th to the 7th day of a fast. I’ve never made it that long so I don’t know firsthand.

Since my initial trial with fasting I’ve done a multitude of 1 day fasts. For 2 years after that initial experience I’d fast one day a week, usually on Mondays. Not every week, but most weeks. But never on vacation. On vacation I like to eat recklessly.

It seems like a good idea to experiment with fasting. It’s a situation with little downside and a potentially large upside.

No one ever died going one day without eating food. By not eating you are at the very least giving your body one day of rest, like a mini-vacation. And everyone likes a vacation.

I recommend everyone to try a 1 day fast. I can’t hurt you. Of course I’m not a doctor so consult a medical professional before attempting.

A 1 day fast is not complicated. It takes discipline. You will think differently about your relationship with food while you are abstaining from it.

And who knows, you just might stumble upon enlightenment.

Or you might realize that you really like to eat and go to the refrigerator.

This Drought Sucks. The Skiing Is Great.

Camping with Chris and Mike in The Scamp.

Camping with Chris and Mike in The Scamp.

It’s April in the Sierra-Nevada mountain range.  The weather is great.  There wasn’t much snow this year.

We decided to travel south and search up high for snow.  We found a nice little range a couple hours south of Tahoe.  We camped at 9,700 ft.  It got to 20 degrees at night and we froze our asses off.

The next day we climbed a mountain in the warm beautiful sunshine.  You can watch a short video my friend Chris put together here.  I’m in the red jacket.

This was my first real backcountry trip since being injured in 2012.  It was awesome to get out and get my butt kicked climbing up a mountain.

I’ve repeatedly said, even in this epic drought… there are still some good days though.

Practical Philosophy: How To Deal With The Angry Driver

What is the benefit of screaming at people in cars?

What is the benefit of screaming at people in cars?

The car horn loudly announces his displeasure.

I look at the man in my rearview mirror again. I’m no lip reader but I’ve watched a lot of TV. I’m pretty sure he was screaming “FUCK YOU!” and “ASSHOLE!” at me. I’m 100% sure that’s what he was screaming.

The sin, the crime against humanity that set off this man’s meltdown was this: I put on my turn signal and crossed into the left hand lane of the road. The guy behind me, in a large Dodge pickup truck, was accelerating. There was plenty of room in the lane I changed into but I was traveling slightly slower than the Angry Guy in the Dodge pickup. My actions caused this man to either gently depress the brake pedal or to lift his foot off the gas.

Obviously I was a terrible person.

Angry Guy reacted to my lane change with such venom, you would have thought I insulted his wife or his mother or both. The guy drove aggressively, getting dangerously close to my rear bumper, having to slam on his brakes at the slightest decrease in speed to keep from crashing into my car.

I felt that heat around my neck that rises when you are in a confrontation.

I saw the truth of the situation.

The Angry Guy has a shitty life. He made the decisions that he made and his life sucks. He probably gets mad at every little thing. He is unhealthy. Like most Americans he probably doesn’t exercise and sweat, which releases pent up energy and toxins. He probably doesn’t read to learn new things about this fascinating Universe we live in. He probably doesn’t sit and wonder at the beauty of life.

Angry Guy probably spends a lot of time sitting on a couch watching TV, complaining, and drinking and eating too much, and blaming everyone else except himself for his problems.

Angry Guy in Dodge pickup truck probably loses his cool every time he operates his vehicle. Angry Guy is a sad sad man.

“Fuck this guy” I thought. I could not let his obnoxious behavior influence my behavior. If I had screamed obscenities back at Angry Guy, then Angry Guy would have won. Angry Guy would have brought me down to his level. I refused.

Often I recite in my head Marcus Aurelius’ quote from his book The Meditations:

“So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.”

It’s such as simple, useful, and powerful idea yet it is very unpopular. It’s in our instinct to react to aggression with aggression. Often that reaction is just giving into weakness. If I had reacted to Angry Guy by driving aggressively and screaming obscenities, then that guy’s problem and character becomes mine. I refused.

That day I’d taken a jog around the lake next to my apartment. I had read pages of a fascinating book (The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin, 700 pages!). I had made my body and mind sweat and I got to experience beauty.

I doubt Angry Guy’s day was anything like mine. His character and actions were not mine.
I chose to react to weakness with strength. I chose to ignore Angry Guy in big Dodge pickup truck. I acted like he didn’t exist.

That may have made Angry Guy even angrier because misery loves company and I left him all alone. All I know is Angry Guy stayed very angry.

Angry Guy got in the right hand lane and passed me. As he was making the pass he rolled down his window, threw his left hand in the air with the middle finger extended, looked at me and screamed “FUCK YOU!” a few more times.

About a half mile down the road Angry Guy turned back into the left lane then maneuvered left again into the left turn lane. All that anger and effort was to get to the grocery store one or two seconds faster. As I passed Angry Guy, who was stopped in the turn lane to the grocery store, the driver of the SUV in front of me honked his horn, raised his left hand with middle finger extended, and yelled “Fuck You!” to Angry Guy as he passed him in the turn lane. The SUV was the vehicle in front of Angry Guy when I turned into the left lane to become the vehicle in front of Angry Guy.

I just shook my head. Anger is contagious. People that get super pissed off at minor driving headaches, like gently applying the brakes so you don’t run into the vehicle in front of you, are missing out on the good life.

I used to be right there with Angry Guy. I used to let minor inconveniences upset me. I always met aggression with more aggression. I made a lot of mistakes.  I could have been Angry Guy if only I had made different decisions.

Being able to remain calm under stress is a valuable skill. I was not able to obtain this measure of patience and calm simply by reading Marcus Aurelius’ The Meditations.

It was not that easy. First I had to wallow in depths of despair and self pity. I knew I wanted to live a better life but I didn’t know how. I started reading. I read hundreds of books.

Then the avalanche crushed me and annihilated my ego. Then I cried a lot and depended on doctors, friends, and family to survive.

Then I read a hundred or so more books.

It is only through the Adversity that I’ve faced that I’ve learned to “not sweat the small stuff.”

The knowledge was gained through experience.

How to apply practical philosophy in your life:

One definition of philosophy is: calmness of temper and judgment.

So how do you achieve calmness of temper and judgment so you don’t end up like Angry Guy?

It’s a process. You’ll need to start by trying to live a healthy and balanced life. You’ll need to work on your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical bodies. This is James Altucher’s idea of the Daily Practice.

You have to work to achieve calm. It will come but first you have to put in work. Reading the works of Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Charlie Munger will help on your journey.

But the most important development comes from the entire process and your self-examination.

2011 Napa Valley Cabernet – A Difficult Vintage… Still Some Good Wines Though

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The summer of 2011 in California was a cool one.  Not as cool as the previous summer, 2010, but still below average.  Everyone thought it would heat up in September like it usually does.

It did not heat up.  Instead it poured rain.  It dumped.  Winemakers were worried about the grapes ripening.  It stopped raining for a few days.  Then it resumed dumping rain on the 2011 harvest.

The grapes came into the winery wet.  The tonnage was down.  Much of the crop didn’t ripen.  Much was left rotting on the vines.  Much of the mediocre juice was sold off in bulk.  One winemaker I know said it was the “worst vintage ever”.

I remember seeing one vineyard in the Livermore Valley.  They left an entire petit sirah vineyard rotting on the vine.  It was a total loss.

Napa Valley is blessed with some of the best weather on earth.  Winemakers usually have to battle grapes that are too ripe.  In 2011 the grapes weren’t ripe enough and they came in wet.

For 2011 wines from California and specifically Napa Valley, you want to stick to the best producers.  This vintage tested every winemaker’s skills.  Much of the mediocre wine was culled from the herd.  In the end there wasn’t much of the good wine left.

The cabernet sauvignons that made it through the selection process are not your average Napa Cabs.  They seem to be a bit leaner and lighter.  The viscosity or thickness is down.  The wines tend to be thinner.

That being said, these wines don’t suck.  They are different from the normal Napa style but still good.  In this vintage I stick with only my favorite producers.  The wines seem to have beautiful aromas, and plenty of flavor, but a thinness that is unusual to Napa Cab.  The wines should have lower alcohol volumes, but somehow, and I have no idea how, many of the wines seem to have their normal percentages.

Don’t write off the 2011 vintage.  Because there was not much wine made, the supply was low, the prices remained high.  There are some beautiful wines there you just have to be careful.

The wine pictured, a 2011 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon from Sequoia Grove.  This wine is typical of how I described the vintage.  Plenty of aromas, plenty of flavors, but thinner than usual.  I really enjoyed this wine.

One recommendation for enjoying 2011 Napa Cabs is to respect them and let them breathe.  This Sequoia Grove took at least an hour to really open up.  It was worth the wait.

If you insist on the classic Napa Cab style of the fruit bomb magical mystery juice, then 2011 vintage might not be for you.  This maybe the forgotten vintage, but if you enjoy Napa Valley wines and can also appreciate a little diversity from the norm, then you will be pleasantly surprised by the 2011’s.

That’s my take on the 2011’s.  What is yours?  Am I right, wrong, or crazy?

Adversity Is What Makes You.

Adversity made me a better human being.  I'm grateful for the lessons learned through Adversity.

Adversity made me a better human being. I’m grateful for the lessons learned through Adversity.

There is no great achievement without over coming great challenges. It sucks, but we need problems, difficulty, we need adversity.

What is adversity?

Adversity is Life. Adversity is nature. From the moment you are born, the universe is trying to tear you apart. This is adversity.

Adversity is overwhelming. Adversity is that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Adversity is self-doubt and self-pity. Adversity is immense pressure. Adversity is being stuck.

Adversity is losing a loved one, losing your health, your job, your freedom.

Or breaking a long established pattern of comfort.

Adversity is the gauntlet. It is the hot fire that is trying to steal your life. Adversity is inevitable.

Adversity is whatever you allow it to be. You can allow Adversity to overwhelm you and you can surrender.

Or you can get to work.

You can start taking small steps that will allow you to endure. The longer you can endure, the more small steps you can take, the better you can deal with adversity. The more you deal with adversity, the better your chances are of overcoming adversity.

Why Adversity is needed.

Adversity is what weeds out the weak.

Adversity causes you to examine your life in an honest manner. Adversity is the spotlight that enables you to see your weaknesses.

Once you know and understand your weaknesses you can begin to change.

Adversity is what forces change. Whatever parts of you that cannot make the change, your weaknesses, will be cut away. The you that endures the Adversity will be a stronger version than before.

Redwood forests need fire to open the pine cones to allow the seeds to spread. The fire also burns away any competing plants and enriches the soil.

Wolves and other wildlife thrive in the radioactive zone around Chernobyl.

The marine life surrounding Bikini Atoll (a small island the US vaporized testing a hydrogen bomb in the 1950’s) is again a thriving ecosystem.

The Everglades is a giant river of grass that needs hurricanes to balance the ecosystem and replenish the land with water.

The variability that visits these ecosystems is the Adversity these systems need to force change and adaptability. These systems would not be able to grow stronger without the

occasional stress tests of Adversity.

Adversity makes you stronger.

Adversity is the mountain you must climb, or the puzzle you must solve, or both, to achieve your goal.

You cannot have success without adversity. You cannot grow as a person without adversity. Think about it.

You can’t experience the gratitude of summiting a big mountain if big mountains weren’t really hard to climb. Sailing across the globe in a wooden ship in the 1700’s is an impressive feat only because the oceans are wild and unforgiving environments. Learning to walk again after a devastating injury is impressive because it takes a massive amount of work and effort.

The beautiful thing about Adversity is that it pushes you to try new things. If you are forced to change and adapt you will have to learn something new that you never thought you were capable of doing. You will have to dig deep. Once Adversity forces you to learn, your newly acquired skills can take you to places you never imagined.

Adversity is experience.

If these things were easy no one would care. You wouldn’t care that you climbed a mountain, sailed the ocean in a wooden ship, or overcame devastating injuries if these things were as easy as going to the grocery store.

No one remembers a trip to the grocery store. They’re easy and forgettable.
I remember every mountain I’ve climbed and every difficulty I’ve overcome. You need Adversity. Adversity burns memories into your brain.

There is no growth without adversity.

Adversity sucks. There is no fun when dealing with Adversity. And just because you are dealing with Adversity does not mean that you will reach your goal. In fact Adversity defeats most people. That is why it is so memorable and special when Adversity is faced, and overcome.

So how should we think about Adversity?

Maybe we should embrace it. Maybe, if we embrace Adversity, it will help us to survive it.

If Adversity is inevitable (it is), and Adversity is needed to reach success or a goal or to grow into a better human being, then maybe we should think of Adversity as a necessary evil.

—————

I look at my battles with Adversity and try to think how it helped me.

I was raised in the South. I was born in Atlanta, and grew up in Florida and the flat hot middle of North Carolina.

Dreams of skiing the big mountains shown in the pictures of Powder magazine would swirl through my head in the oppressive heat of the humid summer.

I picked up and moved to Lake Tahoe where I didn’t know anyone. I lived in disgusting apartments and had shitty jobs. But I learned to ski in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It was bigger and scarier than I ever imagined. The Adversity was intimidating… but it forced me to learn and to grow.

The same thing happened when I moved to Napa Valley to pursue a career in wine. Although this time I was older and wondering what the heck I was doing with my life. I didn’t know anyone. I had no job. At first I lived in some dirty house with a maniac I found through Craigslist. The Adversity was intimidating. I lived and breathed the wine business in Napa Valley. I worked with some great people and learned a lot.

Adversity visited me again when I was crushed by an avalanche. This was the greatest challenge of my life. To deal with that Adversity I needed a massive amount of help. I got the help and eventually recovered. I am better for the experience the Adversity brought. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When you deal with Adversity you learn and gain experience. You can use this knowledge to grow and help you the next time Adversity visits you. And you can take what you’ve learned and use this knowledge to help others that face Adversity.

These changes made under extreme pressure are how diamonds are made out of coal.

This is how Adversity makes you.

Laugh and Learn. 11 Podcasts worth your time.

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I had just become interested in investing in stocks. A friend recommended I check out this radio show on the internet about investing. I was skeptical at first. Then I was hooked. I started listening to the every episode of the show. I was learning a lot from listening to these seasoned investors.

It snowballed. I started looking for other podcasts on investing. I found some I liked and some I didn’t. Then I realized that there were a shit-ton of podcasts out there. Every topic imaginable from investing, to sports, comedy, authors, cooking, cars, gardening, and stuff I can’t even think of.

Podcasts are just a form of talk radio you can find on the internet. They’re cheap to produce. The number of podcasts exploded after 2011. I never listened to talk radio before podcasts and I still can’t listen to an audio book. But I’ve become addicted to podcasts.

I don’t have a TV. I threw it out in 2010. I read a lot of books. I have a fairly boring life. Most days I come home after work I start cooking food. This is prime time to listen to podcasts. Cooking, eating, cleaning up the mess… while listening to podcasts.

I figured I’d give you a list of my Top 11 Favorite Podcasts. In no particular order, here they are:

Wall Street Unplugged with Frank Cuzio – Frank’s a financial newsletter writer. He’s honest, sincere, and smart. I’ve learned about investing and also about life from listening to Frank.

Masters in Business with Barry Rithotz – Forget going to college to learn about business. Go into business… and listen to Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz. Ritholtz is a great interviewer and a reasonable, data driven guy.

The Joe Rogan Experience – Philosopher/Comedian/and a whole bunch of other stuff. I’ve laughed and a learned listening to JRE. This is a long form podcast with the average episode running 2-3 hours. One of the few video podcasts.

The James Altucher Show – I first found out about Altucher from listening to Stansberry Radio. Then I read his excellent book Choose Yourself. Then he started a podcast. It’s good stuff—lots of authors, entrepreneurs. Informative and entertaining.

The Duncan Trussell Family Hour – It took me a while to get used to Duncan Trussell. Now I think he’s awesome. His long rambling rants for his advertisers are hilarious. A comedian that’s goes deep into spirituality.

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn – Lots of entrepreneurs, and other ideas to help start and grow a business or side income stream. An honest dude that tells you how he did it.

Freakonomics – This is the most polished, radio like podcast I listen to. Some real editing/producing work goes into these shows. Author Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt look at the numbers behind everything and come to interesting, sometimes contrarian conclusions. I liked the episode on wine.

The Tim Ferriss Show – Is Tim Ferriss the most popular man on the internets? Maybe. He started a podcast that complements his popular blog. I’ve learned a lot about learning and health listening to this podcast.

Chase Jarvis Live – Found out about Chase Jarvis Live by listening to the The Tim Ferriss Show. Lots of entrepreneurship, creativity, and motivation stuff. Jarvis started out in photography as a ski bum, which of course I found fascinating. Also one of the few video podcasts.

Trend Following Radio – Found out about Michael Covel’s Trend following Radio when he was a guest on Stansberry Radio. Covel talks markets and interviews intelligent minds from finance, to psychology, academia, and anyone he finds interesting.

The Mating Grounds Podcast – Tucker Max and evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller talk dating and relationships. Tucker is a razor sharp guy. He breaks down why men act the way they do when they’re trying to attract women and gives plenty of useful information on ways to improve those interactions. It’s also funny.

You can learn a lot by listening to intelligent people. Because of the internet and smartphones, you can listen to podcasts anywhere at any time. You can be cooking dinner, driving to work, or out on a jog and learn and laugh.

If there is a fascinating podcast that I need to know about drop me a line at brucepaulson1@gmail.com.