Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Braintenance: A Quick Mind Activator and Memory Builder

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Dear Friends:

Here's a simple exercise for activating your mind, increasing alertness and boosting your memory. All you have to do is look at each group of numbers, grap a quick "photo" of them in your mind, close your eyes and recite them back while your eyes are still closed. By the way, when you open your eyes to check the answers against your memory, you are almost doubling the effectiveness of the exercise. Do you know why?

1 3 4 7

2 5 9 4

8 1 3 5

9 4 7 6 3

7 5 4 8 8

6 2 7 7 4

7 8 6 0 7 4

4 9 9 7 0 6

1 6 4 9 2 7


Faithfully,

Douglas Castle

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Are You A Spender Or An Investor?

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Are You A Spender Or An Investor?

Dear Friends:

It's time for a brief but important self-assessment.

Some people spend their time placing blame and complaining.

Some people invest their time finding solutions and solving problems.

Q: Are you a spender or an investor?

Hint: Be very candid with yourself. If you are too much of a spender, you can begin to become more of an investor. And-- when you spend, your resources become depleted, while when you invest (and invest well), your resources grow.

Think about it.

Faithfully,

Douglas Castle
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Tags, Keywords and Labels: spending versus investing, spenders versus investors, Articles by Douglas Castle, TNNWC Group, LLC., behavioral psychology, economics, accretion versus depletion...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Douglas Castle Presents: Fraud of the Week - 05.22.2010

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 Douglas Castle Presents: Fraud Of The Week - 05.22.2010

Dear Friends:

It's not another Nigerian Plane Crash scandal, Burkina Faso unclaimed bank account opportunity, phony Yahoo! account suspension notice, Camelot Lottery winning, or even a plea from a religious woman on her deathbed...it is a poorly-done, grammatically abominable, cut and paste warning sent to me about my Chase Account Online privileges!

Putting aside the fact that I do not even have a Chase Account, someone obviously wants me to log into a phony website and to provide them with my account details so that they can steal my identity.

This type of fraud is so widespread that I receive at least three of these identity theft "lures" daily in my spam box. Do you?
Please don't ever log in to links on these emails. Not even to test them out! Just delete them. If you are still concerned that the alert may be real, refresh your browser, independently log in to your bank's (or other service provider's) website directly from your computer, or call them by telephone and find out.

See the wonderful example below? It is part of the reason that so many people have become suspicious of all email, and of the Internet, in general. Don't help a thief get rich by falling into this type of trap. If the thief is big and successful enough ("Too big to fail"), some government will come in and bail them out at taxpayer expense anyway.

Be adventurous, but be vigilant!

Faithfully,

Douglas Castle
p.s. "Caveat Surfer!"
___________________
FRAUDULENT EMAIL FOLLOWS:



Dear Chase Online Customer:
    Due to several Failed attemps to Access to your Chase® Online Account , we Temporary deactivated your Account for your protection. You have to Reactivate Your Chase® Online Account within the next 24 Hours in Order to Continue using it . 
. Sincerely,
Chase Online® Customer Service
Code #CH905242

Please  Click here to Reactive your account 




       JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC
            © 2010 JPMorgan Chase & Co.             
##############################################


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Labels, Tags, Key Words and Terms: identity theft, internet fraud, consumer vigilance, phishing, TNNWC, Articles by Douglas Castle,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Introspective Philosophical Questions Of the Day - Douglas Castle's Principle of "Determination by Elimination"

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Here they are:

1.  Will you be the inspiration for someone's success? Might you be the instrument for someone's redemption?

2.  Do you trust your instincts and intuition? If no, why not? If yes, why aren't you acting on them, and openly letting them guide you?

3.  Even if you aren't certain where you should be, are you fairly certain that you are in the wrong place? If you are, then why are you staying there? If you want to increase the odds of being in the right place, you must immediately leave the one that you're in if you know it is wrong. Extending this logic, you might generalize thusly:

DOUGLAS CASTLE'S PRINCIPLE OF "DETERMINATION BY ELIMINATION":

"Work with that which you do know to find out or learn  about what you do not know

Faithfully,

Douglas Castle


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Braintenance: Bad Puns For The Overly-Educated and Pathologically Idle at 05.20.2010

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BRAINTENANCE: BAD PUNS FOR THE OVERLY-EDUCATED AND PATHOLOGICALLY IDLE at 05.20.2010

BRAINTENANCE? WHAT? http://Braintenance.blogspot.com

Dear Fellow Brain-Strainers (...brings to mind Hannibal Lecter, doesn't it?):

Following is a collection of horribly highbrow puns for the over-educated and pathologically idle among us. I thank Ronald Banner and Dr. Daniel Benor for these stomach-strainers. You may break the seal with your pencil and begin now...


1. King Ozymandias of Assyria was running low on cash after years of war with the Hittites. His last great possession was the Star of the Euphrates, the most valuable diamond in the ancient world. Desperate, he went to Croesus, the pawnbroker, to ask for a loan.


Croesus said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for it."

"But I paid a million dinars for it," the King protested. "Don't you know who I am? I am the king!"

Croesus replied, "When you wish to pawn a Star, makes no difference who you are."



2. Evidence has been found that William Tell and his family were avid bowlers. Unfortunately, all the Swiss league records were destroyed in a fire, ...and so we'll never know for whom the Tells bowled.



3. A man rushed into a busy doctor's office and shouted, "Doctor! I think I'm shrinking!" The doctor calmly responded, "Now, settle down. You'll just have to be a little patient."



4. A marine biologist developed a race of genetically engineered dolphins that could live forever if they were fed a steady diet of seagulls. One day, his supply of the birds ran out so he had to go out and trap some more. On the way back, he spied two lions asleep on the road. Afraid to wake them, he gingerly stepped over them. Immediately, he was arrested and charged with-- transporting gulls across sedate lions for immortal porpoises.



5. Back in the 1800's the Tate's Watch Company of Massachusetts wanted to produce other products, and since they already made the cases for watches, they used them to produce compasses. The new compasses were so bad that people often ended up in Canada or Mexico rather than California. This, of course, is the origin of the expression -- "He who has a Tate's is lost!"



6. A thief broke into the local police station and stole all the toilets and urinals, leaving no clues. A spokesperson was quoted as saying, "We have absolutely nothing to go on."



7. An Indian chief was feeling very sick, so he summoned the medicine man. After a brief examination, the medicine man took out a long, thin strip of elk rawhide and gave it to the chief, telling him to bite off, chew, and swallow one inch of the leather every day. After a month, the medicine man returned to see how the chief was feeling. The chief shrugged and said, "The thong is ended, but the malady lingers on."



8. A famous Viking explorer returned home from a voyage and found his name missing from the town register. His wife insisted on complaining to the local civic official who apologized profusely saying, "I must have taken Leif off my census."



9. There were three Indian squaws. One slept on a deer skin, one slept on an elk skin, and the third slept on a hippopotamus skin. All three became pregnant. The first two each had a baby boy. The one who slept on the hippopotamus skin had twin boys. This just goes to prove that... the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides. (Some of you may need help with this one).



10. A skeptical anthropologist was cataloging South American folk remedies with the assistance of a tribal Brujo who indicated that the leaves of a particular fern were a sure cure for any case of constipation. When the anthropologist expressed his doubts, the Brujo looked him in the eye and said, "Let me tell you, with fronds like these, you don't need enemas."



Forwarded by

Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABHM
DB@WholisticHealingResearch.com
For more web items of humor, beauty and wonderment
See: Monthly E-Zines and frequent Newsletters of the IJHC and the WHR sites
http://wholistichealingresearch.com/CurrentIssue.html

####

Faithfully,

Douglas Castle

p.s. Next Time -- Sociopathic Spoonerisms!
p.p.s. Bonus picture of me, hard at work (after the credits). Paste me into your scrapbook!


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Bonus Picture (Above)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hand Caught In The Cookie Jar? - The Three Favored Strategies.

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Hand Caught In The Cookie Jar? - The Three Favored Strategies.

Written by Douglas Castle, and originally published in TAKING COMMAND! (http://takingcommand.blogspot.com/)

Dear Friends and Worthy Opponents:

One learns a great deal by studying the antics of politicians and public figures when a scandal begins to unfold about them. I have found that there are three predominant menas through which these pressured, self-important persons address allegations of moral turpitude, and things far worse -- especially when these allegations are true. Here are the three:

1. DENIAL AND DEFLECTION ("D and D") - This strategy is generally short-lived, as it might buy the user some time, but the truth (sadly) persists. The objective is to not only deny the allegations, but to become angry and indignant at the "outrageousness" of the allegations. This must be immediately following by pointing the finger back at the "accusers" and raising the spectre of a political conspiracy by adversarial interests, a vendetta, a means of taking the public's attention away from the wrongdoing of the accusers, themselves.

Exemplary User: Bill Clinton

2. FLAMEBACK AND COUNTERATTACK ("The Big F") - This is the strategy where the user absolutely admits to what he is accused of, claims that it was necessary and justified (usually by greater interests, such as The National Security, etc.), accuses the accusers of being weak, foolish, unpatriotic, traitorous or worse. The user is adamant, and expresses no regrets. He insinuates that anyone who would find fault with his actions, given the "circumstances" is an "enemy of democracy," or "enemy of the people," or an "enemy of progress."

Exemplary Users: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney

3. ADMISSION, APOLOGY AND WITHDRAWAL ("AAW") - This is the strategy where the user admits to the accusations, apologies to his family in a press conference, and withdraws from public service because he either a) does not want any scandal to interfere with the higher directives of his former office, sport, team, etc., or because b) he does not want his family to be tormented and harrassed by news reporters, investigators and other persons who would seek to capitalize (i.e., to earn a living or win a conviction) on his misdeeds. It's always good to do things for the protection of one's beloved family.

Exemplary Users: Too many to mention ... but keep watching the news about politicians who have either fibbed or misled others about their heroic military service... or those who have had a tryst or two with an intern or subordinate...

People are truly fascinating. Especially when high-stakes positions and scandals are involved.

Faithfully,

Douglas Castle


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Facts, Fiction and Exploitation - Things To Be Concerned About - Douglas Castle

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Please Note: This Article was simultaneously published in The Global Futurist, The Internationalist Page, and The National Networker RSS and Daily Email Feed Blog. It has been reprinted in full, and appears here with permission. You may re-publish this article at no cost, and without seeking the author's permission provided that you 1) publish the article as it appears here, in its entirety, without editing, or deletion (re-formatting is permissible), and 2) leave all of the illustrations and hyperlinks live and intact. Thank you.

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---------------
Facts, Fiction and Exploitation - Things To Be Concerned About - Douglas Castle
 
1). If Someone Wins All Of The Time At Any Game Of Chance, The Game May Be Rigged.
 
2). If Someone Claims To Win All Of The Time At Any Game Of Chance, They May Be Lying.
 
3). In The Securities Marketplace, A "Greater Fool" (Or Fools) Must Incur Losses for The Purported Winners to Keep Winning -- It is Rather Like A Game Of Musical Chairs...When The Music Stops, Someone No Longer Has A Seat, And Is Stuck With Overpriced And Unsaleable Investments.
 
4). Big Securities Trading Firms Have Credit -- If They Incur A Positional Loss For One Day, They Don't Have To "Settle Up" With The Bank Until They Have Had An Opportunity To Trade Some More, And Win Back Their Losses (Usually At Somone Else's Expense)... And What If These Large Firms Are Intimately Affiliated With Those Banks? [Conflict Of Interest? Hmmm...]
 
5). Smaller Investors In The Markets Do Not Have The Credit Facilities To Buy Time To "Set Things Right." They Must Pay For Their Losses Immediately, In the Worst Of Possible Circumstances And Lose Their Holdings In A "Fire Sale" Scenario. Then, They Can Never, Ever Recoup Their Losses. These Losses Become Permanent. Large Trading Firms And Their Bankers Get To Lock In A Profit Because Of Their Obvious Credit Advantage.
 
Observation A: The Large Banks ("too big to fail!"), The Trading Firms ("slap them on their greedy wrists!"), An Impotent And Often Compromised Government Are Aggressively, And Perhaps Maliciously [Conspiracy? No -- That's Silly Stuff] Bringing The Public To Its Knees.
 
Observation B: This Is Not Because Of Capitalism. This Is Because Of Encultured, Unpunished, Short-Sighted Greed.
 
Observation CIndividuals, Entrepreneurs, And Emerging Enterprises Must Act Expediently If They Are Not To Become Enslaved. Cooperation and Collaboration Can Be Used To Rapidly Unite And Grow These "Grassroots" Victims Into A Force With Lobbying Power, Resources And Political Clout.
 
The above ends my rant. The following article, which was published in The Daily Reckoning, caught my attention:
 
Goldman's Perfect Quarter
Defying the odds in the "robot combat arena"

Eric Fry
Eric Fry
Reporting from Laguna Beach, California...

While the European Central Bank (ECB) was busy manipulating markets and making headlines Monday, Goldman Sachs was quietly revealing a different story of market manipulation...or something that walks and quacks very much like a market manipulation duck.

In an SEC filing, Goldman disclosed its first-ever "perfect" quarter. The firm's proprietary trading desk navigated the first quarter without producing a single day of losses, the first time it had accomplished such a feat.

How is this possible? Please permit us to offer a simple explanation: It's not.

Imagine a poker player who competes against skilled competitors for 63 sessions of 6 1/2 hours each, then walks away with a profit after all 63 sessions. Would that be possible? Not unless the poker player is holding a stack of aces up his sleeve. But Goldman accomplished this improbable feat. Its trading desk turned a profit on each and every day of the first quarter - that's 63 trading sessions of 6 1/2 hours each, not counting whatever additional shenanigans Goldman was conducting in foreign markets.

There is something wrong with this picture...very, very wrong. And yet, Goldman trumpets this success as an example of something that is very, very right. "This is the first time we have reported zero trading loss days in a quarter," crowed Samuel Robinson, a Goldman Sachs spokesman. "We believe it shows the strength of our customer franchise and risk management."

An alternative interpretation would attribute Goldman's uncanny trading success to the strength of its "political franchise," subsidized risk- taking and various forms of de facto front-running. If, as James Howard Kunstler asserts, the US stock market has become "a robot combat arena where algorithms battle for supremacy of the feedback loops," Goldman Sachs must control the "Supreme Combat Robot." But we wonder whether this robot is abiding by all applicable securities laws, or vaporizing them with his special "Mega-fraud laser beam."

"If you ever wanted to see what a monopoly looks like in chart form," jokes Tyler Durden from Zero Hedge, "here it is:



Daily Trading Net Revenues


"The firm did not record a loss of even $0.01 on even one day in the last quarter," Durden says. "The statistic probability of this event is itself statistically undefined. Goldman is now the market - or, in keeping with modern market reality, Goldman is the 'house,' it controls the casino, and always wins. Congratulations America: you now have far, far better odds in Las Vegas that you have making money with your E- Trade account."

In fairness to Goldman, JP Morgan also produced a perfect quarter of proprietary trading. Morgan Stanley, the relative loser in the crowd, managed to produce a trading profit on only 93% of its trading days.

"The rape and pillage of the middle class was not isolated to Goldman," Durden continues. "JP Morgan also had a flawless quarter. And if the odds of Goldman making 63 out of 63 are virtually impossible in any universe in which risk goes hand in hand with return (but in those in which monopolies are encouraged and bailed out), the coincidence of the two main firms that control the world having a perfect track record is impossible. And since things in reality tend to be zero sum, when everyone makes money, someone may be tempted to ask the question, just who is losing money? And the answer, dear taxpayers, and [Goldman/JPMorgan] clients, is you."

Perfection is either a religious virtue or a devilish fraud, dear reader; it is never a financial market reality. So there's something a little troubling about the perfection achieved by Goldman's (and Morgan's) trader-bots. In fact, there might be something a lot troubling about their trader-bots, as well as their investment-bank- atrons.

Perhaps the truth will come to light in the fullness of time...or in the details of a future SEC complaint.

Goldman acknowledged in Monday's SEC filing that it still faces a large and diverse number of criminal and quasi-criminal investigations. In addition to a bevy of investigations by the SEC, Goldman is facing detailed probes by the Justice Department, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the UK's Financial Services Authority related to CDO offerings and related matters.

"We anticipate that additional putative shareholder derivative actions and other litigation may be filed, and regulatory and other investigations and actions [will be] commenced against us with respect to offering of CDOs," Goldman's filing somberly disclosed, "[These probes] could result in collateral consequences to us that may materially adversely affect the manner in which we conduct our businesses."

Hmmm...we'd guess that the list of "collateral consequences" would include reducing Goldman's trading success from 100% to something much lower. And since trading revenues accounted for 80% of Goldman's revenue in the first quarter, we'd guess that much lower net profit will be another "collateral consequence."
####

In my opinion, this article, while more than a bit sardonic in its tone, is dire in its implications.

Faithfully,

Douglas Castle

 
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Labels, Tags and Terms: probability, rigged games, falsehoods, conflicts of interest, the greed factor, taking versus earning, capitalism, Goldman Sachs, cooperation, collaboration, conglomeration.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Trouble With Time

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The Trouble With Time

I had wanted to get everything finished yesterday. Yet today, I realize that it's already tomorrow. The present moment is so infinitessimally small -- Time seems to be running faster these days -- I find myself wishing that I could extend the present moment for just long enough to get myself "caught up" (a kind of a 'time out' where the rest of the world would remain frozen), flip a switch, and then start the clock again.

Faithfully,

Douglas

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Words Of Caution To The Intelligence Community and to Management - Douglas Castle

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Words Of Caution To The Intelligence Community and to Management - Douglas Castle

Dear Friends, Colleagues and all Others who Honor me by Their Reading:

Trust is a touchy and tricky issue.

Some months ago, several CIA employees and operatives were massacred at an overseas station by a fellow whom they truly believed was acting as their double agent - a "converted" and "reprogrammed" former terrorist operative, who was given the opportunity to work for the CIA by gathering intelligence from his old contacts and reporting back to the CIA. This particular individual should not have been in a position of trust, was not "reformed" (this word is almost a self-parody), was embittered and probably divulged CIA secrets to the persons upon whom he was supposed to be spying. The coupe de gras, of course, was his ultimate murder of his CIA colleagues.

Perhaps he was not converted, reprogrammed or even refocused. He was the most dangerous person to have in your inner circle - the "presumed" convert. This tragedy or poorly-gauged loyalties and misplaced trust is far more common than one would think. In the U.S., we had a massacre of soldiers at Fort Hood by one of their comrades who was an ardent, vocal protester against U.S. Military policy in the middleast, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Place your trust in only a  few very carefully-screened individuals. Test them on small missions and observe their conduct and results. Test them repeatedly and frequently. Take their every utterance (even offhanded, or said in the spirit of jest) carefully. Take their histories and childhood experiences, training and educations into account.

The most dangerous enemy is 1) very intelligent, 2) finds his/her way into our trusted inner circle (some people are amazingly good actors, and possess a natural talent to infiltrate and engender rapport), and 3) has a destructive agenda.

The enemy whom we do not recognize as an enemy is highly dangerous.

The enemy whom we have come to believe is a friend is deadly.

People who are intently devoted to an idea or ideology, or people whom have lost a loved one at the hands of the minions of an agency are not easily converted or reformed. They are deeply programmed, and this programming is further seasoned with an unresolved desire for vengeance (typically Human) which often is more deeply entrenched by the passage of time and a feeling of impotence or helplessness to serve a childhood master, to honor a martyred friend, or to avenge the death of a family member.

A "manufactured" ally --- an "ally" who is seemingly deafeated by emotional or physical torture, and then seemingly "rebuilt" to work for those whom have done him or her serious damage, can be the most crippling force to be unleashed close to home.

The Stockholm Syndrome is not as powerful or as permanent as people would think; however never, ever underestimate the bitterness, determination and lethal motivation of a person who feels that he or she was punished unjustly or unfairly, and never, ever underestimate the persistence of deeply ingrained memories of loss or pain. Hatred can be deeply concealed.

As any well-seasoned sadistic torturer ultimately learns, a victim will sometimes say anything that he or she believes that the captors want to hear in order to simply stop the pain. 

Faithfully,

Douglas Castle 





















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