Voting With Your Dollars

How to put your money where my mouth is.

Voting With Your Dollars

Hey Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your hearts feel as full as your stomachs.

Believe it or not, my wife and I are hearing the pitter-patter of little feet this week–that is, my older sister is staying at our house for the weekend, along with her lovely family.

This week’s issue will be a little different than usual. And what better time to switch things up when you are too? Perhaps you'll read this while waiting in line to purchase a Tickle Me Elmo or perhaps more relaxingly lying on the couch buying this BULLCAPTAIN Genuine Leather Sling Bag with USB Charging Port for a loved one who likes to look stylish and have what he needs, wherever he goes.

Today's issue offers a little history of these pages. Just a fair warning, part of this post is a pitch. Most of you know that is a rarity here. But it's Black Friday, so the timing is perfect. If you're new here, consider it an introduction and rest assured that next week, I'll get back to regular programming.

As far as this week’s news goes, there’s not much you need to know, but I’ll highlight the important stuff.

The Important Stuff

For one, in the Middle East, Israel and Hamas have negotiated an exchange of hostages and a four-day ceasefire. As I explained last week in Easy Solution, a ceasefire is not likely an option, and I stand by my claims mostly, but these events require clarification. They show us that the only way that one can happen is if Hamas chooses one, which in this case involves releasing hostages and not throwing rockets, as they have fired since October 7th, in some cases harming their own people. But for a ceasefire to last, it calls for changing their entire doctrine. It calls for Palestinians to remove Hamas from power, which will undoubtedly involve bloodshed. It calls for rejecting some of the core beliefs of the prevailing religion, which values martyrdom over peace. Calling for a ceasefire is easy, but solving the problems that the region is facing is not, and even this pause is only an opportunity to re-arm, which Hamas has vowed to do.

Benjamin Netanyahu is a failed leader, in my view, but even with their political flaws and untenable treatment of Palestinians, it's no wonder Israel wants to protect its borders with blockades that may be the only thing reducing suicide bombings and worse, more October 7th style attacks. Israel needs to protect civilian lives better than they are, but it doesn't seem to me that the better option is to offer their own citizens to take their place instead.

On the less depressing side of the news (and from here on out, I will keep it light), Open AI, the owner of Chat GPT, announced in a blog post that they fired CEO Sam Altman. Presumably, the board used their own chat bot to write the post, using prompts like “throw our CEO under the bus while stating as cryptically as possible that we have good reasons for firing him.” and “make it sound professional.”

It only took Sam a few hours to start hearing that good Windows 95 boot-up sound as they jumped at the chance to bring on Sam and his side kicks to start a new AI-focused studio at Microsoft – OpenAI's biggest investor. Under the circumstances, while the idea came together almost as fast as AI will destroy the universe, the turnaround was nearly as fast. OpenAI found itself in turmoil in a matter of days after 700 of its 770 employees signed a letter threatening to quit if they didn’t get their boss back. No sooner than Sam could unpack his mousepad and mug, OpenAI rehired him, unraveling their decision and, as it turns out, also the board. A day later, news broke that the board had been informed of a powerful AI discovery that could threaten humanity. And this is why you should never trust artificial intelligence, no matter what tech startup board they come from.

Who Can You Trust?

But there are some people you can trust, and with that, I'd like to share some background about this little thing we sometimes call Inbox Candy.

They say that if you get nervous, you should picture your audience naked. For me, with thousands of readers, most of whom I only know by email, picturing a crowd of inboxes naked is disturbing. I'm usually not nervous in front of a crowd, whether by email or in person, but I can assure you that doing a speech in front of a room full of AOL addresses would be nerve-racking, knowing you can read an email, but you can't read the room.

That's why when I write, I am free to express myself without fear because I won't know how you take it, and if I take anything, I won't be taking it personally if you unsubscribe. I still have thousands of readers and a lofty open rate. When I started this page, it was under cover of night, unshared and unpromoted. I wrote the first post huddled in a poorly lit corner and pushed publish, after which I huddled in the very corner in a fetal position, fearing that someone might see it and uncover I'd chosen the wrong word among homophones or they would find we don't hold the same views on how to use commas, that they'd tell me, and my worse fear, they'd be right.

The very article sat for seven years before it was ever shared with anyone. Meanwhile, I laid awake in dark rooms until the wee hours of the mornings, waxing philosophical about anything ranging from political issues to ontology, to epistemology to religion to whether Mitt Romney was a hypocrite if he didn't wear the magic underwear as a devotee to the Mormon faith.

Honestly, it was exhausting.

That's why I eventually had to start writing, to get it out of my system and then see if anyone wanted to read along. I launched The Lorem Ipsum, by Daniel Herndon, in June of 2021, promoted it in a few places, and eventually started sending it by email. And then you came along. To my surprise, some of you even decided to pay to make sure I could eat a sandwich while typing unscrupulously long sentences, no matter how dangerous it may be to commit such a culinary atrocity on a $2,500 keyboard (a price which, broken down, is $800 for the internal processing hardware, $200 for the sleek case, and $1,495 for the apple shaped logo on the outside and $5 for the tiny little light that shines through it). Rest assured, I never let grease touch these keys and go to waste. No, I will lick it straight off of the console, capturing every morsel of ground beef, every fold of lettuce, and nary a shmear of aioli on the edge of an onion goes unmasticated.

All that to say, thanks to the chosen few who have chosen me with their pocketbooks. Those of you, just enough to fill a small room with space for free snacks, a full bar, and a few brochures about timeshares (how do you think I got the snacks?), deserve more than my thanks, and the occasional paid article.

So, I want to share a programming note with those of you who have made it to this part of the article, which is now over 1,000 words in.

If you've been here for more than a few issues, you're used to receiving my weekly rundown of the news each Friday promptly at 6:30 AM Eastern time without fail. You're also used to receiving my articles on the opposite side of the week with less predictability. Articles of this nature, however unlimited the supply of information, do not grow on trees. But like a tree, they take time and may shed their leaves in the cold of winter. Producing this page for you is hard work, which some do for a living and others do to survive. For me, it's both. So, while schedules will vary based on time and energy, you can expect at least one paid article each month. You’ll still get The Weekly each Friday, which continues to be free.

As always, I try to write columns that are relevant today, but valuable thought content no matter when you read it. I've published articles like 'Plastic Brains,' which explains in Daniel-ese how our brains work and how you might be able to have yours work longer. I've written 'Words Ruin Everything' about how much of our divide is a division of semantics. I've written 'Red Meat Politics', exposing the ways politicians and the media headlines are surly bedfellows selling outrage. I did a deep dive into the history of tipping and its problems today in 'Just The Tip.' I've broken down the myths about corporate greed and destruction in 'Robot Corporations,' or the dangers of fast fashion in 'Dead White People.’ I've warned of the destruction of lawns and the people that own them in 'The War on Weeds.' or a reminder to make room in our lives in the very popular article ‘Blank Space.’ And 87 others besides. This is not to forget the more timely content of the Friday dispatch, of which there are 118 issues.

Most of these articles took hours of research, more hours of writing, and at least an hour of artwork, and yet the majority were shared entirely for free. I don't regret it either. But from now on, the paywall will start showing up more for long-form articles—the total of 95 produced amounts to approximately three articles per month on average. And four more on top, counting The Weekly. Each article, to me, is worth every moment spent on it. But for those in this economy looking for places to invest their money while it's still worth something, investing in the sophist that is The Lorem Ipsum is, by my calculations, one of the best returns for the money, because our hearts and minds are worth more than anything else—but I’m clearly biased since I’m writing this entry right now. It's $50 a year or $5 per month if you make payments because, like insurance, there's always a break for paying up front, but I’m happy for you to pay over time, and pause your membership when you need to play catch up.

Some readers may find that The Lorem Ipsum is one of the few things that shines at a time of year when even the sun itself shines less. If that’s you, there’s no better time for you to convert from loyal reader to Founder of this very publication (that’s what we call those who keep this thing going by subscribing).

And why should you? Because your contributions help cover my operating costs. Because many write about the truth, but few are willing to mess with it when it doesn’t fit the narrative they‘ve already decided is true. Because some sources will ruin your day just by reporting the news. This one makes you laugh because you deserve to be happy even if the politicians don’t want you to be.

Because some publications make you pay. The Lorem Ipsum makes you think. Paying is for those who value that. And if your budget permits, I hope that’s you. Thank you for your support as a reader. This year, I’m thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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