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When receiving can be more taxing than giving

When receiving can be more taxing than giving

I have had a fascination with Life magazine for over 20 years. It first started when I was on my way out of Burma in 1994. An American I’d met there, Mike (whom I’m still in touch with now), returned to our Yangon hotel holding an issue from the 1960’s that appeared like it had just been printed the week before, a Life Asia edition the original owner must never have read. Inexplicably, these issues were being peddled on street corners along with Burmese bags and trinkets. Mike had paid just a couple of bucks for his one souvenir issue. 

The power of Life after death. 30 years after these magazines were issued they were boosting Burmese GNP!

I was so impressed digesting Mike’s blast-from-the-past that I beat the streets of the Burmese capital to start my very own Life magazine collection. I picked up only 8 issues at that time. I would have purchased more but I was in the middle of a longer trip and shipping things back to the USA in 1994 from Burma or Bangladesh, my next destination, wasn’t a slam dunk. I later amassed a sizeable collection living in Los Angeles which eventually went into storage in a remote town in Oregon for 7 years.   And I picked up another dozen issues in Australia. Ironically, the issues purchased Down Under, not the ones from Burma and Bangladesh, never made it back to the USA.

[Click the picture to read the rest of this kick ass articlo, okay mate?]

Categories : Misc
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Sorry, most of them will leave.  Even if social networking and e-mail were around decades ago, you still wouldn't be able to save most of those long forgotten friendships.

Sorry, most of them will leave. Even if social networking and e-mail were around decades ago, you still wouldn’t be able to save most of those long forgotten friendships.

For six years and eleven months, I paid a facility in a small town in Oregon to store a number of my belongings. Keyboards. Guitars. A digital music mixer. Suits. A tuxedo. A collection of LIFE magazines. A car. When you tally up the total storage bill over that period, I must have paid close to $7,000.

It never occurred to me when I locked those items away in October 2005 that it would be seven years before I ever saw them again. I would have dispensed with many ahead of time and found alternate means of storage for others had I known this. If you remove the car from the list of items, I cannot be sure the total value of the remaining possessions was much more than the cumulative amount I paid to store them.

When I finally made it back to the facility in Polk County, Oregon in September 2012, the owner vaguely remembered me from seven years earlier and asked what was so important among my items for me to keep paying all that time. People have been to known to walk away from homes when what they owe on the mortgage is more than the house’s value. What could possibly be my motivation in paying out such a high percentage in storage fees? It wasn’t as if I were storing one of Picasso’s paintings or a Patek Caliber 89 watch.

[Click the picture to read the rest of this marveloso article, okay junior?]

Categories : Misc
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Ever heard that your wealth is determined by the size of your network? Well, if you haven’t, you’re hearing it now. This is not a revolutionary idea someone recently came up with. Thirty years ago, Ethernet co-inventor Robert Metcalfe, in his eponymous Metcalfe’s Law, stated that the value of a (telecommunications) network is proportional to the square of the number of its connected users. Knell’s Law, applying to social networks, states that the value of your network is inversely proportional to the amount of time you waste on it on Facebook.

In my article Friendship In The Post Internet World, I wrote about how Facebook has created the new virtual list of friends, the V-list. For the younger generation who’ve only experienced a world with Facebook and other social networks in it, every friend they’ve ever had will appear in their V-list. The rest of us have to take the time to manually dig up these old contacts.

I am now officially declaring that I’ve permanently retired from that task. The digging up of old contacts from long ago for the sake of “catching up” is as over as Charlie Sheen’s next marriage. Been there, done that.

I am all behind building up networks, but real networks, of people whose lives I’m truly interested in, who might be of assistance to me or me to them at some future juncture.  I am not interested in creating vast but powerless networks of Facebook postees I  met once my entire life telling the greater universe about baking chocolate chip cookies as fresh lily white snow falls outside.

[Click the picture to read the rest of this kick-ass article]

Categories : Misc
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Keep In Touch

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I walk down the street, and there’re many people I meet

They say, “Keep in touch.  We’ll have a cup of tea.”

So you write them notes to keep the friendship intact

But you know deep inside that they’ll never write you back

They say they’re lawyers and have jury duty, too

They’re just too busy to write letters to you

So I say that we’ll meet at the corner café

We can eat French food as we chat the night away

But they never show up

I call them up on the phone

They say they’re tired, so I go eat my crepes alone

They’ve got flying lessons and talk shows to do

They’re just too busy to keep in touch with you

When they’re sick in their beds

I say I hope they’re okay

And I mail them a card on every major holiday

The least they could do is think of me sometimes

Because I’m the person who keeps the friendships alive

They’re learning Chinese and Dutch and Ancient Hebrew

They’re just too busy to keep in touch with you

I wish them the best when their kids pass a test

They never do the same to me

They have no interest

I could be tumbling down a cliff, and they’d watch me fall

They lack the decency to return my calls

They have to do their calc and visit Peru

They’re just to busy to keep in touch with you

You know I don’t like having these types of friends

They drive me in alleys and stop at the dead-end

And I’m beginning to think that our friendship’s not real

Because they haven’t realized it’s a two way kind of deal

While they’re discussing poetry, I say to them goodbye

If they won’t make the slightest effort

Neither will I

Dated 23 September 2010. Click here to see a list of complete video and audio content on the Republic. Click here to read the friendship article in which this song appeared.

Categories : Misc, Video
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The Internet has created a new class of effortless friendship

I joined Facebook largely at the behest of my girlfriend, herself a less-than-active member.  Most of her colleagues at the hotel she works at and the past hotels she’s worked at are members.  A month ago we were invited to a going away party for one of her colleagues via Facebook, and we were expected to rsvp the same way.

I was a registered member of Facebook before meeting her, but I never used it.   At that time, my own peers were not early adopters.  It was people fifteen years younger than myself and below (from Generation Y and Z) who became Facebook’s initial supporters.  At my girlfriend’s urgings, I uploaded a photograph and entered some basic information so that two of us could link profiles as “being in a relationship.”

Once I was on, others found me.   The old college physics buddy Brad found me.  My fellow travel adventurer Mike found me.  And a friend dating back to my high school years, Marc, found me.  So did others.  My friend list grew through no active participation on my part.

When Brad, Mike, and Marc first contacted me to invite me to be friends, I was ebullient.  I had thought about all three of them over the years.  I met Brad days after I arrived at Cornell.  He remains the only person I knew from the day I arrived until the day I graduated.  When I took a year abroad in the UK, he transferred to a university in San Diego.  And when I got back to the U.S., he serendipitously transferred back, and we found ourselves in the same engineering physics department.  After graduation, we went our separate ways.  I tried to look him up several times afterwards, but his surname is too common, and Brad isn’t officially his first name.

Mike I met traveling through Burma in 1994.    We started talking on the flight over and became travel companions the entire time.  When I returned to the United States in 1997, I had a wedding invitation mailed to me from Mike.  There was a Washington state address in the upper lefthand corner of the envelope which did not match the address of his trailer on Lummi Island that I had on file.  Sorting through almost three years of mail, I must’ve accidentally thrown out that envelope, my only link to Mike.  Mike’s surname is one of the ten most common in the English language, and his first name was ranked as the most popular for boys for his birth year and the following thirty odd years, according to the Social Security Administration.  Was it coincidence or fate he married a woman whose first name ranked as the most popular for girls for her birth year?

[Click the picture to read the rest of this brilliant article]

Categories : Misc
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Without a nice, sharp point to one’s life, how to get motivated to get out of bed every morning?

Back when I was three, I saw a cartoon movie on TV called The Point. All the people in this little village had pointed heads. One little boy, Obiyo, is born without a point and is therefore banished to the Pointed Forest. There, on his short journey, he encounters a variety of characters who convince him that everyone and everything does, indeed, have a point. Back to his native village Obiyo goes and announces this news to everyone, and as he realizes this, his own previously normal-shaped head sprouts a point. Point made, happy ending delivered.

But does this really apply in the life most of us must lead? Does everything have a point, and if everything does, is the point sharp enough and meaningful enough that we can motivate ourselves enough to get out of bed each morning?

Let me illustrate with a real example. At this moment in my life, I am attempting to sell a detoxification regimen to spas and health clinics around the world. For me to sell to these prospects, I must first locate them, which isn’t all that difficult by using the internet, although it’s still a long and laborious process manually databasing them and keeping track of the last time they were contacted.

The other day, as I was entering in yet more names to my database and sending out fresh marketing letters to others, I asked myself what felt like a very reasonable question: what was the point? Whenever you introduce a new product to a new audience, the initial reaction is commonly negative. Few people want to try anything new. To overcome this barrier, you have to repeatedly approach your audience, highlighting different aspects of the product, until some, then eventually more, try the product.

But let’s get back to the point of what’s the point. In the short run, the point is always the same: money. A wants to sell to B in order to earn money. In most cases, A needs the money to survive. Sometimes, A doesn’t need the money, but is still focused on the making of it because how much one sells determines how successful the business is, and no one wants to be in business to not be successful. Witness Silicon Valley’s serial entrepreneurs. These fellows aren’t short of cash, but no one starts a new venture so as to not, eventually, make money.

[Click the picture to read the rest of this brilliant article]

Categories : Misc
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Good intentions do not always go rewarded

What would you do if you found an unusual-looking wallet, no identification inside, with $600 inside it?   You could take an advertisement out in a paper and ask inquirers to describe the wallet and the precise amount in it to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s their wallet, but this could prove more trouble than it’s worth, with a lot of opportunists coming forth with various guesses just to see if they can lay claim to the cash.

Now let’s say you’re the one who loses the wallet with $600 in it.  You’re on a boat trip surveying some islands, and the wallet accidentally gets tossed overboard.  Since you were only 50 meters from shore when it happened, you consider there’s a possibility you might locate it.  You rent binoculars, snorkeling gear, even hire a boatman to take you back out, all at a cost of $125.  After seven hours of searching, you think you’ve found your lost wallet.   But no.  It’s someone else’s, with no identification, but with the same amount of money within.  You shrug your shoulder, and think how much worse it could’ve ended up.  You could’ve lost the full $600.  Now you’ve, in effect, got $475 of the money back.

A week later, an acquaintance of yours sees the wallet and recognizes it as belonging to a cute girl that he knows vaguely.   You explain to this acquaintance that you found this wallet while looking for your own and spent $125 of your own money in the search.  He assures you that he won’t tell the girl he’s definitely found it until he confirms she’ll pay the $125 finder’s expense.   A few days later he says she’s okay with the $125 and passes your details on to her.  She calls and explains that she doesn’t really have a lot of cash on her right now and can’t pay you back the $125.  Actually, she’s not willing to pay any finder’s expense at all.  She wants the wallet back with the full $600 and expects you to take the $125 hit.  Under those conditions, would you give it back?

[Click the picture to read the rest of this brilliant article]

Categories : Misc
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With over 100 million blogs out there and counting, why should you waste your time visiting Doug’s Republic?

With over 100 million blogs out there and counting, why should you waste your time visiting Doug’s Republic?

Just before I left the United States for the last time in October 2005, my father suggested I start a blog. His girlfriend’s nephew had started one on one of the omnipresnt free blog sites where you can setup a link like I think I did go through the setup process on a free site but just never bothered logging any entries.

It wasn’t laziness that kept me from action. I’ve typed a journal on the computer since 1987. Some of those journal entries span 10 single-spaced typewritten pages or more. Writing a blog entry should take less time than that. Why I let that free blog site age online with no entries was for a much better reason: I didn’t think anyone would show up, and who wants to look for extra reasons to feel rejected?

The Blog Herald lists some stats for the number of blogs active right around the time I was setting up my free blog. Who knows exactly how this guy tabulated his information. His guess was that the United States had 15-30 million blogs back then. Even if he overcounted and there were 20% as many blogs as he estimated, there were still at least 3 million American blogs in existence in 2005, not to mention the millions of blogs hosted in other countries. With the way trends spread like wildfire across the internet, some web ‘expert’ is probably proclaiming we’re up to a billion active blogs. Everyone’s got a blog nowadays. It’s like having an iPod, a cell phone, and a shrink. My cat is pawing on the computer next to this one and setting up her own blog, and rodents won’t be far behind. It’s safe to say that though no one knows exactly how many active blogs there are, there are a lot, too many for you and me to skim. There’s just so much information on the internet today. Most of it is crap, but you still have to wade through it.

‘So why does the world need another blog,’ I thought back in 2005 and still think today. The only people who might visit my blog are people I already know, and I honestly didn’t put any great stake on that. The internet has made it so easy, too easy, for us to share jokes, photographs, and news with our friends and family, too often. It doesn’t take much to be information overloaded just from the people already in your social network. Receive yet another link on Photobucket to glimpse at baby Joey’s latest photo album? You don’t bother going. Get cc’d on an e-mail about checking out a nature video? You delete it. It’s gotten to the point that some people in my address book never send me a genuine personal communication. Everything I receive from them is a forwarded message, sometimes worthwhile, but most times not. If I’m experiencing this, I’ve got to assume so many others are, too. Therefore, why would I truly count on my friends and family to regularly visit my blog if it were just something more to hog up their limited attention?

[Click the picture to read the rest of this brilliant article]

Categories : Misc
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Who The Hell Is Visiting The Republic