Friday, December 26, 2008

Neurotypical should not mean "abusive asshole." Don't you agree?

Autism Connect - 'Pattern of abuse of autistic children in Florida schools':
"Alex Barton has opened doors for parents of autistic children to get their message heard, said Palm Beach parent Phyllis Musumeci, mother of a teenage autistic boy.

Alex is the 5-year-old Port St. Lucie boy voted out of his Morningside Elementary classroom in May. Because of his case, the state Attorney General's office began an investigation into how autistic children are treated in schools. The office is trying to set up a meeting to talk with parents and others."
The local news has been all over it, and the local trogs are all over them for calling attention to what they see as a non-issue. And that's where I expected it to stay, frankly.

Perhaps I'm too cynical, perhaps the public outcry - from all sides - truly illustrated the dynamic at work. Or perhaps analysis of the situation from a legal standpoint, in light of IDEA, ADA and simple standards of professional competence was the "Come to Jesus" moment. But the revelation that Wendy Portilla is far from unique in her approach to children is not terribly surprising.

I would go further and suggest that various responses to the situation - accusing the parents of simply being "after the money" or that "kids like that" should be kept away from "normal kids" - show the obvious result of employing abusive assholes. It defines "abusive asshole" as a respectable standard, one to be emulated.

Call me crazy; many have - but I have a problem with "abusive asshole" being seen as "normal." It could explain a lot that is wrong with the US in general and Florida in particular.

Posted by gordongecko on July 12, 2008 at 6:58 a.m.

This entire story has turned my stomach from day one. Only in a society this eskewed would the minority seek to influence the majority. Why should one child be allowed to disrupt an entire class? Unfortunately, liberal do-gooders and the media have been able to make "normal" people feel guilty and "disadvantaged" people feel special. In other words, minority rule. It has become a case whereby the majority should suffer because God forbid you offend one person.

Let me tell you folks, life ain't fair...and people are NOT created equal. This is not and should not be a mutually inclusive society but rather a mutually exclusive society. Punishing a teacher for looking after the interests of 20 students should be rewarded. Instead, we villify her for the sake of 1. This mother needs to recognize one thing. Your child is different. He needs special education.

The fact that this person is most likely a graduate of the Florida educational system, along with the fact that the Florida educational system might not actually understand why that would be a problem is the reason why Fark has a "Florida" tag.

Oh, I encourage you to go read the whole thread to see how much trouble I took to find the one rotten apple in the barrel.

Vaccines, Toxic Speech and Rhetorical Questions.

It’s Time For Vaccine Talk Detox:

by Kristina Chew, PhD on December 26th, 2008

Seems a pity that, on seeing the words “top 10 unfounded health scares,” the first thing I thought about was……….vaccines and autism.

Many speak of a “debate” about an alleged vaccine-autism link and that there’s a “controversy” brewing here, but it’s a false controversy. 2008 saw the publication of more studies refuting a link, and yet there’s been a call for more studies—-among the $1 billion in research initiatives noted in the Strategic Plan of the IACC is an item about the “different health outcomes in vaccinated, unvaccinated and alternatively-vaccinated groups”—so it’s not as if this particular topic is going to go away.

Sometimes, one starts to wonder, will this particular topic ever go away? How many studies will it take to convince those who believe so very much that there is a link, that there really isn’t one?

I love answering rhetorical questions. I grew up doing it in all innocence, now that I understand that it's unexpected and often amusing, I do it deliberately.

I'll leave it to others to put a positive human spin on the issue. Indeed, Dr. Chew does it quite well herself. But I have a certain rhetorical niche and it involves saying things in public that are usually whispered in private. The problem with the latter is that these inconvenient truths never reach the proper ears in any useful way.

Here's your problems. Lennie Schaefer. John Best. Autism Speaks. And an entire industry that sees autistics (or rather their parents) as a community to be exploited. If their rhetoric were directed at any other population, it would be quite correctly named for what it is: hate speech. Nor is it founded in any better science than other racialist theories.

This would outrage me a good deal less if we were not speaking of parents and children and what amounts to the marketing of systematic abuse as "cures."

As Orac puts it:

Because autism is a condition of developmental delay, not stasis, and because it frequently has periods of stasis followed by periods of rapid development followed by periods of stasis again, if a parent tries enough quackery, sooner or later by coincidence alone he or she will be seem to be able to match up a remedy with an apparent improvement.
All the time and money sucked up by these parasites is time and money that could have gone toward positive things that enhance the lives of autistic children and their families. Music lessons. Respite care. Model train sets. Feed a perseveration, build a future - but for heaven's sake, take care of your own sanity first! That way, you can be part of a particular solution, rather than a symptom of a widespread social disease.

What kind of Yo-Yo would buy this?

From the department of "Way cool, but why, dear Goddess, why?" This is actually green tech; you power it by flinging it around like a lunitic, while listening on the - get this - bluetooth headset!

8 Old School Toys That Got Badass Makeovers - Page 2 |

"In the past 80 or so years, the yo-yo has seen some pretty mundane innovations, such as a ball bearing axle for better spin efficiency and the addition of flashing lights, to name a few. But finally, someone has rolled up their sleeves and is ready to fuck shit up all over the yo-yo world. Meet the ReGEN; half yo-yo, half MP3 player and just a pinch retarded.

The most groundbreaking aspect of the design is the fact that apparently just 10-12 throws an hour will provide more than enough juice. Which is good news if you have a long drive to work, or have to take the crowded subway in your daily grind. It also holds up to 200 songs to ensure that your wrist gives out way before your music does.

'But,' we wondered, 'How do you listen to music if you're constantly throwing this little robot?' The answer is wireless Bluetooth headphones. Here's a thought: When the music-listening technology that comes with today's yo-yos is cooler and more advanced than the music-listening technology that came with portable CD players in our day, the youth of today officially rescinds its right to ever complain about anything. Ever."

Emphasis Mine: And get the hell off my lawn!

And yet, there IS hope! (New Trek Movie coming!!)

There's something to keep us going, until it's out in theaters.

TrekMovie Goes Inside The Star Trek Trailer - Shot By Shot [UPDATE: Abrams Gives His Analysis] |

Remember, in the Star Trek Universe, mankind has given up money; instead, everyone is engaged in some form of constant self-improvement.

A lot of us seem to be engaged in that effort these days.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Postcard We Live In

It's hard to describe how amazingly beautiful and how freaking COLD it is here. But it's just stunningly beautiful and I wish I had a camera truly up to the job of showing it off. I have a cheap little 2.1 megapixil camera and it's still hard to NOT get a postcard shot.

As you can see, we are pretty well covered in Canada's favorite white recreational substance. As is said in tourist towns all over the world, "wish you were here." That's kind of a good trick; the flying conditions are bad, I'm not sure what driving is like, but if chains aren't reqired for walking, legally, they remain a damn fine idea.

But man, if you can actually get here, Phoenix Mountain is nearby with just freaking AWESOME piles of this stuff. Or you can just strap on your cross-country skis and take to the local trails.

Don't even try flying. Rent a biodiesel 4wD and drive. Fill it with likeminded friends and you'll get here cheaper and undoubtably in a better mood. Probably even earlier, if the reports on airline travel are accurate.

Today's conditions at Phoenix.
Wednesday December 24th 12:22 pm Base 61 cm ( 24 " ) Fresh snow 7 cm ( 2.8 " )
Last 48 hrs 7 cm ( 2.8 " ) Skies Snowing Heavily Wind Calm Temp -8 °C Runs open
16 of 16

Friday Dec. 19th to Sunday January 4th, 9:30 to 3:30. Closed Christmas Day

January/February: Open 5 days a week, Friday thru Tuesday, 9:30 to 3:30,
plus Thursday nights 6:30 to 9:30

March: Open 3 days a week 10:00 to 4:00

For myself, walking has become excitement enough. But if you are of more adventurous charactor, well, give us a thought here; Accomodations are plentiful, the food is good and the people friendly. Hell, money aside, it's winter. We could use the company.

The snow, of course, speaks for itself, and while it should last awhile, is always best when fresh.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The annoyingly correct Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich is never so annoying as when he's gloating. This is a particularly long and pointed gloat, looking back to his career-stalling battle with the banks in a battle to privatize Cleveland's public power system. It's worth a read, but in a sense it merely underlines the two first paragraphs.

t r u t h o u t | My Battle With the Banks: "Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. Congress voted to give the banks $700 billion, lifting them temporarily out of their sepulcher of debt, while revealing a deep truth about the condition of America's financial powers:

They never had the money they said they had as they constructed their debt-based monetary system which now lies in ruins. Their decisions on behalf of depositors, shareholders and investors were lacking in basic integrity and common sense. Green gods bailing out with their golden parachutes."
To me, the moral of the story is not Dennis' ultimate vindication, or the obvious other lesson - that had he behaved as his political contemporaries of the day on the Cleveland City Council, he would probably now be much better known. But he was unable to pay the price required to avoid the fate of a time in the political wilderness. Moreover, he knew that "the worst that could happen" was not as bad as those on the other side of the table thought.

Sometimes there are more important things at stake than an illusion of prosperity, success or influence, particularly if that illusion is bought with a betrayal of trust. And in this one instance, Dennis' narcissic tendency does serve us; Dennis found himself at a crossroads where he had to choose between an illusion in which "everyone who mattered" would think well of him and the ability to look in the mirror and see the man he wished to be.

Narcissic traits are not bad or good - it's a place, a way of being. It's how you behave in order to fulfill those needs that matter. Dennis likes to think well of himself - but is unwilling to delude himself about the face in the mirror.

An annoying, shrill little man with a track record of being correct on the facts and on the principles. Annoying enough to be shot at. Annoying enough to have made powerful enemies - and tasteless enough to do a public war dance upon their fiscal graves. Oh fortunate sin! It makes him human enough to be tolerable. Otherwise we'd have to found a religion around him.

At the end of the day, when the pennies are counted upon the kitchen tables of the world, money - even the hard money that Ron Paul and his followers swear by as the antidote for the current mess - is simply a symbol for value; of honest effort and honest reward. It is nothing more than a system of notation, and if that system has been corrupted, then the sensible thing to do is to stop using it. The collapse of a system does not mean that real value has evaporated; whatever that was real will still be real, and the people who make real things and do things of real value will still be making and doing.

Belive me; the US dollar is not the only means of accounting. Gold works. Man hours work. Kilowatt-hours work. Pork bellies, diamonds and Euros work. And - whatever we may think of it - bricks of opium, bales of tobacco, barrels of whiskey and kilos of cocaine are all commidies of enduring value; always have been, most likely always will be.

But the most fundamental currency of all is a handshake and the iron-clad-determination to live up to it. All things of real value derive from that, all artificial means of accounting for value are simply a means of allowing the arms to stretch further than they otherwise could.

That is the purpose to money and at the root of it, the reason why we have civilizations and laws and cultures and religions - to enhance, expand and enforce a network of trust. Those who hold power have the responsiblity and the duty to be especially trustworthy; not because of any higher calling, but because that is what the job is all about, and it is such an essential duty that humanity cannot long do without it.

When people start behaving as if they have an inherent right to power and have the inherent right to use it, defend it and expand it at the expense of those who donated it, it is inevitable that they will be replaced, because they become too expensive to be useful. They cost more than they are worth. Loyalty is withdrawn, alliegance evaporates, illusions vanish in the cold light of personal circumstances.

Now, hierarchical structures exist for the primary purpose of keeping the marks in line; keeping those on the bottom fed just enough to to work, without feeding them enough that they can afford the capacity to thin; to keep the donors donating whether they wish to or not, and of course to keep every level of the pyramid below the top bamboozled and ignorant in service to that end.

But that ship - all moral compasses aside for the moment - has sailed into the harbor and sunk with all hands. The genteel conspiracy between the great powers of media, religion, business and government has been exposed as a conscious fraud and a conspicuous failure.

Right or wrong, for good or for evil; they are doomed simply because ...oh, I hate to use such a term, but English is so limited ... because the "global consciousness" has evolved to a point where their tools and techniques can no longer work, and competing tools and techniques offer far more advantage to the vast majority of individuals who would never once be considered for membership in the "power structure." It's not just that they are corrupt failures - although that's the case here in North America - but that even if they were icons of integrety, they are still trying to do things in a way that is out of touch with the needs and capacities of the times.

That evolution is as much technological as spiritual, as much pragmatism as principle; it's certainly not driven by particularly enlightened motives - but as always, the cold laws of ethics define what will work and what will not work over time, regardless of how enthusiatically we wave our flags and incence.

Instead, we look at the choices made in our names by those who are wielding our power and, given the opportunity, start talking to one another about the matter, replicating on the Internet the exact same process that happened in Europe during the Enlightenment in coffee houses and taverns over pipes of "sauced" tobacco.

People are comparing notes. Ordinary people of ordinary means are capable of fact checking statements made today by their leaders against statements made last week and graphing in real time the return on investment of their donated power. Anyone who wants to can fire up a spreadsheet and plug in the numbers. And like all investors, they have every right to expect a positive return on investment. More to the point, right or wrong, wise or foolish - all of them do.

Alas, "western civilization" shows every sign of being a vast Ponzi scheme in the process of disintegration; and not just the one pillar of it - the construct we refer to as "money," but also the false Christianity it depends on to keep the sheep from reading their financial statements, the false politics that is arranged to prevent any real, meaningful positive change for individuals and the false culture created by a corrupt media that depends on very carefully not telling the most important stories of the day.

All these great powers have lost the trust of anyone who has honestly examined the available evidence - and the ability to disciver and evaluate has become pervasive. Increasingly, everyone that can has or will soon. What will happen then? Well, I cannot say for sure. But what I can say is that the consequences will be of far less importance to most people than the doom-sayers invested in the current "pyramid power" scheme would suggest.

Increasingly, the question of whether one should "go along to get along" will become more and more of an obvious choice; aside from the moral dimension, aside from the question of eventual ethical consequence compared with immediate necessity; the point is that there is now a vast array of real choices emerging for real people in real situations in the real world. The false illusion - "Maya," if you will - is falling away to reveal something that is not so much higher and more spiritual, though there is that aspect to it, but to reveal fundamentals.

"Before Enlightenment; hew wood, draw water. After Enlightenment, hew wood, draw water."

The hewers of wood and the drawers of water are those from whom all power flows and who ultimately support all that is civilization. They are the ones who buy the party boats and the Manhattan penthouses. They are the ones who create the real wealth. And they are the ones who can and increasingly will decide with whom and under what terms they will share it.

Our current system depends upon the vast majority of us toiling in some form of slavery; physical, mental, economic. We are held at gunpoint, by guilt, by ignorance, and all of this is due to the fact that our lords and masters are not very good at their jobs; know they are not, and know that if anyone drew aside the curtain to see the Great and Terrible Oz - they would be honestly unimpressed.

Certainly there's not much evidence that the current crop of Oz-wielders are very good at pressing buttons, much less understanding what those buttons actually do, unlike the fictional Great and Terrible Oz who was a master of using the art of humbug to inspire practical ends.

But in fact, whatever we think of those people who currently hold power, and whatever changes this new perception brings, there is something to remember here; we are all human beings, nothing much has changed on that end of things and nothing much can change. We hope we can become better human beings, but we won't become better people by trying to amputate or deny aspects of our humanity for "the greater good," or for any other reason. If there's any lesson to be taken from the last several millenia - I'm looking at YOU, "saints" Paul and Timothy - it's that.

If you are gay, you are gay. As far as I'm concerned, it's simply no longer reasonable to think of homosexual orientation as being a "choice." The only choices come in light of accepting one's orientation as a fact and then acting upon that fact in a way that allows one to sleep at night in good conscience. This is a particular example of a general principle; we all have various pediclictions with potential ethical consequences. If you need power to make your nipples hard, you are in exactly the same situation.

These orientations are basic, and they are either curses or blessings depending on what we do in order to get our needs met. Morality aside - because if our morality gets in the way of doing the right thing, much less understanding that we are doing viscerally wrong things - it must and it will be put aside.

What we need is an understanding that our lusts and needs must be informed; for those who's lusts are either frustrated or unfettered become monsters and parasites.

Our basic neurology defines us in unavoidable ways. Some of us are social. Some of us relate better to abstracts, others to the concrete. Some of us can grow things, others would starve in a garden. We all have sexual preferences - and these preferences vary far more than "conventional wisdom" would prefer. Some of us need power and authority, others of us cannot function without someone without someone capable of creating a context that makes our work meaningful and valuable.

Society is a matrix of trust and while it's possible to lie and cheat, to take advantage of power and position to gain benefits that are disproportionate, unearned and undeserved, there is no free lunch. Ultimately, such people undermine the trust their entire scam depends on and that leads to a general, cyclic housecleaning.

Yes. This has happened before. It will probably happen again. It's happening right now - and that's the important thing to remember here. The people who want to stampede you into supporting their schemes and dreams of staving off their personal disasters do not deserve your support. Nor is this a moral, political, conservative, liberal statement. It's a statement of fact.

They have fucked up. They are asking you to permit them to fuck up at your expense a little longer. They are saying that it's better, somehow, for them to fuck up in known ways rather than to risk the prospect of fucking up in different and potentially more informative ways. Most importantly, they wish to prevent anyone else having a chance to prove they might fuck up less at a lower price - in the face of overwhelming evidence that almost any randomly selected person could achieve that very minimal standard.

You are being asked to send good money after bad - and in every single aspect of our culture and economy; you are being asked to support a social system that has no problem with what happened to ordinary people (who happened to be black) in the aftermath of Katrina. You are being asked to support a petroleum economy that can no longer sustain itself or even replace it's rotting infrastructure. You are being asked to incur unsupportable debt in order to prop up a literally bankrupt monetary system. And you are being asked not to even ask why, much less what possible benefit might come to you or your family.

In terms of faith and religion, in terms of the dominant cultural themes, it's all Gays and Abortion, all the time, and not a damn thing about how, where and by what means spirituality might inform and improve the lives of people outside of the big boxes filled with rotting mutton.

From a pragmatic, moral perspective, I have come to the point where I wonder aloud if it would be such a bad thing if everyone who professes the sort of faith on display at such places as the Wasillia Assembly of God were to disappear. Let us take it as a thought experiment - let us ask ourselves if, were The Rapture they devoutly pray for to occur, would those who remain be better or worse off?

The answer is obvious to me; any religon that is founded on the idea that there are vast swaths of humanity they are doctrinally permitted to visualize writhing in the flames of a fictional hell, encouraged to visualize and celebrate pissing upon sinners from a great height would neither be recognized nor particularly missed by anyone trying to live as Jesus taught.

Anyone who would squander monies donated to a church to do good works upon such a mean-spirited and dishonest exercise as California's Proposition Eight is in no sense qualified to be a worthy steward of God in any way I can bring myself to accept. Any such religion asking for your support, much less demanding it, any leader of such a religion who will not accept the reality that their actions and choices are violations of some of the most basic principles upon which all religions have in common is undeserving of your support.

Religions have a place. They serve, when they serve at all, to inform people as to how to live better than they could on their own; they exist "in order to make good men better."

Should they instead decide to exist to excuse bad acts and encourage fools to act in concerted folly, they will pay a price. If you continue to be part of that group, you will be part of the pool from which that price is extracted.

Ask any Hugonaut. Or for that matter, any member of the Catholic Hierarchy in Quebec old enough to have lived though the Quiet Revolution. Ask them what happens when it becomes clear to the majority of people that they are actually better of seeking advice, guidance and and leadership from others who are more willing to accept the value of tolerance and the virtue of trying to be virtuous instead of merely asserting it while wearing a funny hat.

The thing to understand here is that there are inherent differences between human beings; our different needs and variations in ambitions are the things that make a society work, and wherever society starts to see such differences as a threat, making it impossible for certain sorts of people to live openly, honestly and ethically, to that extent that society will suffer. They will suffer the lack of their honest potential as well as paying the price of them meeting their needs in the way that circumstances demand.

Ultimately, if we meet our needs to the benefit of other people around us, we will be known as good people; if our existence is at the expense of the people around us, well, the "why" of it matters little. You see, there are times when society can tolerate a high parasite load. There are other times in which it cannot. And there are times when society realizes that it's time to shave themselves bald and burn the bedding.

This is a bad time in human history - from the perspective of bedbugs and crab lice. From the average human perspective, though, we can do without crab lice a lot better than crab lice can do without us.

A functioning civil society requires a functional morality that informs and empowers positive moral choices. There are several sorts of people that are particularly valuable and paradoxically, particularly dangerous to society. When society is about to collapse, you have only to look at your political and moral standard-bearers to discern why this has occurred and adjust your own understandings of what sorts of belief structures are ultimately cancerous to you and the people to whom you owe consideration and due regard.

And this brings us back to Dennis Kucinich. Dennis plays the "everyman" in our little morality play; the everyman placed in a position of authority, facing threats by those who think themselves more powerful and more deserving. Dennis is a person who grew up in hardscrabble circumstances; who knows poverty - and who thereby knows that being broke is nothing particularly to fear. Money is simply a means to an end, and if you allow the means to get in the way of the end - maintaining the essential social, family and economic relationships that make for a just, open and functional society, you will have failed.

And you will know that. You see, that's the ultimate price.

Knowing - in the moments of sobriety, between jolts of power, whiskey and religion - that your choices have led you to deep into the Place of Decision, and you, arrayed in all your pomp and your power are on the wrong side. That you have the starring role in your own personal production of Faust. That this IS hell, nor will you ever be allowed out of it. Not, at least, with the trappings and trinkets that dragged you to such depths of foolishness in the first place.

Monday, December 22, 2008

GE Unveils the World’s First OLED Christmas Tree

Recently the OLED research team over at General Electric unveiled the world’s first OLED Christmas Tree! Forging ahead of the usual end-of-the-year slowdown, GE’s Global Research Center headquarters in Niskayuna, NY rang in the holidays with a 6-inch-by-15-ft. OLED system all rolled-up into the form of a tree. And just to be authentic... a few of the lights were out.

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Getting off the Pot: Let's look at the e-Book Business

One very useful aspect of blogging is the ability to put something out into the universe so that the universe - that is to say, friends, family, random strangers - can later say, "and how's that going, Bob?"

I absolutely do not regret having ripped up stakes to move to British Colombia. Greenwood is awesomely beautiful, as I've written in my wife's "Omygod, Omygod, what have we done" blog; "Canadian Communique".

What the heck, here's another image.

From Greenwood, BC, Canada

It's called "My Udder Store" because the the owner's first store is a hardware store. But you don't sell milk at a hardware store. That's why he had to oppen "anudder one." Small town humor. You gotta love it. That's where we have to walk to get necessities, because I ain't driving to Midway or Grand Forks. I have "all weather tires" and by that, they don't mean this.

No Holiday Whining T-Shirt shirtIt's beautiful; like living in God's own snow globe, but it's bloody cold! We are getting our chunk of what appears to be a record setting winter across North America and cabin fever is setting in - despite the blessings of cable TV and The Internet. And, as I've stated elsewhere, finances are strained for the moment.
We have been trying to think of ways to keep our minds and fingers productive and busy, and in order to do that, we both need motivation. Money is one of the better motivations I know for getting up and moving. Well, completely by accident, I stumbled across this: A woman named Melanie Mendelson who makes her living on the internet, writing e-Books. You see, it addresses all the issues both of us have with getting up and doing things. Both my wife and I have Asperger's Syndrome; one of the most notable features of this condition is that we are not natural networkers; we are not energized by social occasions or interactions.

I've even found this to be true in my explorations in Second Life; it's such a good illusion that it successfully replicates the stresses I feel when interacting with people face to face!

Well, Melanie Mendelson has an approach to working around this "neurodiversity issue" and wants to help (for a small, reasonable fee) . I'm inclined to take a chance. Because, well, information is what I do.

Let's talk about the business concept of infoproducts
(a.k.a. e-books). Basically, you sell information. You put
your info in an electronic document, and people pay you so
they can download it to their computer.

Infoproduct business is extremely profitable. An extra copy
of the e-book costs you NOTHING... There is no printing cost
and no shipping cost. You write the e-book once and sell it
over and over, and pocket all the money!

You can write your own e-book in just 24 hours of work -
even if you hate writing! Break down the time slots however
you like, and in 24 total hours your e-book will be ready to

If you spend 2 hours per day, you'll finish your e-book in
12 days. If you spend 4 hours per day, you'll be done in 6

Even a measly 30 minutes per day will get you a finished
e-book in less then 2 months! And after that, you can sell
it over and over, and profit for years and years to come...

The "24 Hour E-Book Writing System" tells you EXACTLY what to do.
You simply follow it, and at the end of the 24 hours you will have
a ready-to-sell infoproduct - period.

To learn more, click here

It's a concept that's crossed my mind from time to time; both my wife and I have things we know that are well worth writing down and the sales copy speaks directly to my concerns about trying to "make it" as a writer in more conventional ways.

We have been looking for an opportunity to turn what we know into a business and a life on a budget of ... well, not much at all.

This is the paragraph that got me to "yes."

Why Am I In The E-Book Business?

Because I am lazy and always seek shortcuts :) Seriously, I just don’t want to deal with having employees, inventory, phone calls, face-to-face sales, etc. Yes, I admit I like to hide behind a computer screen :)

I resemble that remark!

I love creating things. I absolutely HATE having to do the things that would lead toward people buying the things I create. That's the "stopper." I've already had some success with my graphics on t-shirts, even with my inability to market them myself, so maybe she has something I need to know.

I'm hoping that what I already know about making t-shirts will translate into a book, or her approach will apply to my existing t-shirt designs. Most importantly for me; I want to succeed honestly.

All she wants for this information is ... well, the price of a good t-shirt. Hey, Melanie; wanna swap?

The things I need to know about writing e-books are simple; what topics to write on, putting it in a salable format, finding where to sell and knowing how to spread the word.

You could spend years figuring this all out - as Melanie Mendelson herself mentions: it took her five years to get from the idea to the execution, and then there was a lot of brutal hard work between the starting and the creation of a system to take what she knows and turn it into a simple formula.

I don't find writing difficult. What I DO find difficult is organizing my thoughts into a coherent piece. That's what this product promises me. I haven't yet plunked down the money, but I did take the step of setting myself up as an affiliate - sort of a skeptics leap of faith. I will be ordering the system and then following it, but money is tight and I am always looking for a great blog thread.

I thought it would be interesting to write an e-book about something I know well without this system, then order it and write the next one.

In parallel, I'm going to be goading my wife into putting her 20 years of classroom experience with special needs students in general and autism/Aspergers's students in particular to use. And heck, I may have a few insights into that myself. It seems likely that a "users manual" for employers might just come in handy.

I don't need to make a hundred K a year for this to be a successful venture for me; a third of that would do just fine. But in all humility on behalf of my wife, there are people who know far less about what she knows making that sort of money giving bad advice to parents about autism and aspergers. So, what's good advice that works worth?

That, by the way, is about the only thing about sales and marketing my father taught me that was worth remembering. Find a product you don't have to sell. Find one that you can simply plunk down on the table and open the order pad. That's your dream ticket.

That's why I signed up as an affiliate. One of the most conspicuous things about Melanie's presentation is the lack of presentation. As sales copy, it's barely ok. It makes very little effort to "sell" me. But then, if what she is saying is true - it doesn't have to.

So, that's what I'm going to establish here, in a series of posts. Does this system work as promised? If so, well, I'll be happy to attach my name to it. Plunk it down. Open the sales pad. Hand them a pen. The ideal product for the people who need it.

And no, I'm not going to tell you how it works - that would be stupid! But I'll tell you exactly how well it worked for me, and I'll tell you how well it worked for my wife.

And along the way, I'll probably try and sell you a T-Shirt.


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