Daily Skew Founders Damian Hospital and Tony Vahl have a unique perspective on life. Although there is an old parable (of if there wasn’t, there is now) about a 100-year old man on his deathbed admitting that at the end of his life, he was no closer to the Truth than he was at 17-years old, Tony and I have uncovered and combined some schools of thought that bring us closer to the “Truth” , more so than billions of other people on this earth.
Tony and I were both raised in New York, and were raised to be nice gentlemen, with big hearts. We have always tried to make sense of why people do irrational, illogical, and hateful things. We take world and local problems to heart.
The following is a brief description of some things we’ve labeled. Some are known to millions, others are creations by the two of us.
The Big Two
These two major schools of thought outline and explain the human condition, more so than any other. The Enneagram is akin to seeing people’s internal computer code and soul. Buddhism explains the cause and practical prevention of unhappiness and suffering. Together, these two philosophies shape the groundwork for everything else.
Enneagram: (E-Gram): E-gram explains…pretty much everything regarding why people do what they do. We used to feel lost and not understand people’s motivations, fears, or levels of mental healthiness. But once we experienced the E-gram in action…the blueprint of the universe was revealed to us. Sounds deep or New Age, huh? It’s not.
Like Buddhism, it needs to be experienced to be believed. We marvel at how much powerful knowledge is readily available for mass consumption, yet people choose not to see the benefits of applying it to everyday experience.
Understanding the Enneagram is like swallowing the red pill that allows you to escape the Matrix. Once you’ve soaked in the details of the nine personality types, you’ll almost expect to wake up with Morpheus standing over you, saying, “Welcome … to the real world.”
The Enneagram is not about labeling; it’s not about what type you are — what personality traits you’re stuck with, like astrology or “official personality tests”. The Enneagram is about escaping the fear-controlled boundaries we’ve set for ourselves. It’s about letting go of our habitual defenses, and understanding that we don’t need them to survive.
The Enneagram is about seeing the world as it really is — removing our biased, preconceived notions, and opening our eyes to the real truth. The Enneagram is about breaking the cycle that keeps us from achieving our greatest desire. It’s about understanding how our greatest fear keeps us from happiness. When enough of us take Morpheus’ red pill … the world might truly change.
Buddhism: Buddhism teaches us that there IS a right and correct way of thinking and acting, regardless of culture or era. And if you CHOOSE to do the WRONG thing…that’s fine…just be prepared for a life (or more) of SUFFERING.
It shows that ignorance is NOT bliss; ignorance is suffering, which is caused by desire, attachment, and delusion, among other unproductive things. The ideals of Buddhism may be very difficult to adhere to in America, but it erases all doubts about what is right or wrong, and EXPLAINS reasons for all human behavior.
If there is every an ethical or moral dilemma in our lives, Buddhism has the ideal right/correct answer.
A key lesson is that everything is always changing and flowing like a river, so getting attached to a certain thing (feeling, idea, materialism, and system) will lead to pain. Finally, Buddhism also offers hope: that one day we can be free from this wheel of delusion and pain if we keep a clear, loving, and positive mind and heart.
Baseball Computer Simulations: (sims) We extracted parts of the Truth from two baseball computer simulations. First, Diamond Mind Baseball (DMB) revealed to us how life is really about statistical probabilities. When Luis Gonzales got a bloop hit off of the best relief pitcher in history to win the 2001 World Series, it seem that it really wasn’t supposed to be like that. But run a sim 100 times, and a few times it would have come up like that! We just happened to see that particular sim in this earth!
DMB also revealed how expectations need to be kept to be a minimum (since nothing can be predicted with 100% certainty). For example, you start your ace pitcher, who didn’t miss a game all season, in Game 1 of the World Series, and he is removed from the game in the 1st inning with an injury. Unrealistic? Improbable? Ask Roger Clemens how unlikely that is!
DMB also breaks down real life occurrences into event tables and statistics, something which should always be considered when analyzed an emotional situation.
Also, since there are billions of people and situations on this earth, many events are just bound to happen to us, and we shouldn’t feel like victims- it’s just a statistical probability.
DMB also has a Clutch/Jam rating, which is applied to players when they are under high leverage pressure situations. Tony and I are well aware of those situations.
DMB has “era adjustments” and “ballpark effects”, which symbolize that everything in life is influenced by the environment and setting (time and place).
Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) revealed how, as being a General Manager and having a bird’s eye view on the development and eventual decline of all players, change and the unpredictability of life is unavoidable.
Number one draft picks and prospects may never pan out; some become Hall of Famers. Legendary players get cut from their rosters, only to languish employed until we pick them up for that one last shot at greatness. You can build a 110-win team only to get swept in a short series. Players refuse to sign contract extensions because they “are in their peak, and would like to test the market”. Free agents may “simply don’t like your organization”. It is a deep, deep game. It teaches us how to manage resources, and setup our own universe…for a change.
Add Total Extreme Wrestling to the list of simulations that are more than what they seem.
Lazy Man Ethics: (L.M.E.) The definition is by allowing things to happen at work that you could prevent, you will keep your job, and even get raises and promotions. As with all of the Truths described here, LME is in every industry, organization, society, etc.
Human nature is to do the least amount of effort, and not to make waves or take risks to upset the status quo. To put it more bluntly, people are a lazy lot, and just want to be left alone and not cause direct trouble. They are deluded when they think “someone else will handle it”, “it’s not my job”, “who’s gonna notice”, “whatever”, “I thought the other department was checking for that”, “I didn’t know”, “no one told me”, “I did e-mail you”, “you never said that”, “I just left it the way it was”, “I didn’t set that up”, “I have a stomach ache today”, “they don’t pay me enough”, “just look the other way”, “I won’t say anything if you don’t”, “let it go, no one’s gonna see that it’s missing”, etc.
LME is about not taking responsibility for your actions, and making assumptions. It’s about not putting any genuine effort into things, just the minimum- if that. It’s about thinking everything is outside of your jurisdiction, and hiding behind excuses.
We have discovered that those who survive actually do practice LME. There are many times when things are truly “just not worth it”, like how Tony and I were almost killed because of someone’s selfishness/laziness when he asked Tony to stop and give the guy’s car a jumpstart.
The sad lesson of LME is that, in this world at least, LME behavior is rewarded and those who take initiative, stick their necks out, do the right thing, speak and stand up for something, create grand schemes and follow through with them, are destined to get hung out to dry. In this legalistic and politically correct society, the true heroes stand alone and are ostracized.
Conversely, although the so-called Powers That Be unofficially force people to use LME, they may, of course, at their discretion hold everyone accountable regardless if they’re going to be sued.
Ockham’s Trilogy: (Inspired by the philosopher Ockham). These are three logical statements, that when applied to any particular problem, will yield logical results. Applying these logical statements to conspiracy theories, rants + raves, opinions, theories, etc. make us more grounded and selective in what to believe in this world of untruths, lies, persuasive arguments, and ignorance.
Let’s use the far-out theory that a civilization carved a face on the surface of the planet Mars as an example:
1) Eliminate the impossible, and whatever is left, however improbable, must be the answer (Sherlock Holmes).
Okay, let’s eliminate the impossible, based on all of our tested theories of all sciences, history, and technology:
a) Ancient Martians existed, and took the time to build a giant face.
b) The face looks Egyptian, implying a connection between the ancient Egyptians and an alien race.
c) There was life on Mars- either aliens or earthlings, and the only remaining thing left is a giant face, as a reminder or message.
Only answer left, however “improbable” is that (if the photo was legit), it’s probably shadows on rock formations.
2) Who benefits? (Batman)
“Who benefits” from this ridiculous theory? People that sell these ideas get coverage on radio shows, web sites, and books. They are fear mongers who love attention, who serve no true productive purpose. They abuse freedom of speech. In this era of disillusionment, conspiracy theories, and godlessness, people are willing to believe that there’s a manmade face on Mars.
The people that push this theory feel important; it’s an ego thing. And, if they have a good agent, they can get a good publisher, maybe make a few dollars. Maybe they get paid to give lectures or speeches at conventions. Maybe they form a membership club and sell dues and crappy merchandise. There are financial benefits to the proponents of this theory. Maybe they sell rights to their book to Ron Howard.
3) The simplest explanation is usually the most likely one, literally “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity” (a.k.a. Ockham’s Razor)
Review the facts:
· No earthling has even been on Mars.
· There is no evidence of any space traveling in the solar system pre-1960′s.
· There are no visible artifacts, ruins, or ANY evidence of any civilization on Mars.
· The alleged photo is ENHANCED, and the “face” cannot be seen if you look through a telescope RIGHT NOW.
· It’s an optical illusion based on the enhanced photo.
Murphy’s Law: A variation of the definition: if there is a possibility of many things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong; if you perceive that there are three ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fourth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
Although this sounds pessimistic and nihilistic, Tony and I are always prepared for the so-called ‘worse case-scenario’. We don’t actually believe Murphy’s Law happens all of the time, but we laugh at the absurdity when it does happen. What does it teach us? It teaches us that when a person really desires something or has high expectations, he will remember the incident more if it doesn’t work out, and blame Murphy’s Law.
Snapshot Joe: We created a character named Snapshot Joe (Atlantic) a few years ago. In a nutshell, Joe was inspired by the sports MEDIA and how short-sighted and very “in the moment” they are.
For example, in the sports world, if a player is hot, the MEDIA treats him like he has always been hot and will always be hot. If a team is struggling, the MEDIA will write it off as being finished.
If the score is 4-0 in the 6th inning in a post-season baseball game, the announcers will start babbling about why the current winning team is better. Yet when the losing team scores 5 runs in the 7th, the announcers will change their tune and talk about the “sheer grit and determination” of the now-winning team, and how they “never give up”.
We were also aware that the non-sports MEDIA are the same way, and so are people in general. Snapshot Joe is much more than satirizing sports announcers or news “analysts”, although that is his main function as we write him.
Snapshot Joe is symbolizes that nothing is permanent, no matter how we like to romanticize that “things will last forever” or how we get attached to things that we mistakenly believe will last- like our government or status in life. He takes snapshots of our current life and makes judgments upon them, like they will never get better or worse. For example, let’s say you lose your job and you found out your mate cheated on you. I could imagine the ‘Snapshot Joe in you’ saying “YOU’RE FINISHED!”
Look back at your life. How many times have you been caught up with enthusiasm where you believed your dreams would come true only to be squashed by unforeseen events, unreliable people, or the devil in the details? How many times have you been hit by such a wave of depression that you couldn’t even move, only to realize that life isn’t so bad.
Snapshot Joe- as a symbol- teaches us NOT to get caught up in current circumstances or present situations. Keep your expectations grounded in reality and understand that your feelings are temporary, and will change.
You have to see how pans things out before making judgments. So many people make snap judgments and rush to conclusions based on the moment. You know it’s wrong.
Unseen Hand: Sometimes it just really seems no matter how well something is going in our lives, ‘Lady Luck’ rolls the dice and a new obstacle or problem rears its ugly head. There’s no such thing as coincidences, and many times Tony and I will joke that it’s like there’s some ‘Unseen Hand’ that pulls the strings.
What does Unseen Hand represent? Well, we know that we are not masters of this reality, and that anyone who is arrogant enough to believe that he/she has total control over his/her destiny or environment is a fool!
The image of the Unseen Hand was inspired by the hand that a comic book character Krona saw when he peered into the creation of the multiverse at the beginning of time in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. That Hand was retconned into being the ANTI-MONITOR’S hand, the most evil comic book villain.
Retconning (short for “retroactive continuity”): It’s deliberately changing previously established facts. In 1985, a comic series called CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS came out. It deleted 50 years of DC comic book history, and created a new earth, in which everyone had no memory of anything previously known.
How does this apply to “real life”? Well, over time society and individuals forget things, and events or people get reinterpreted. This can happen to historical figures, such as Thomas Jefferson, who was retconned from being the brains behind the creation of the United States into taking one of his slaves as a concubine, and fathering children with her; his accomplishments became overshadowed by this retcon.
Think about the war in Iraq. The MEDIA has retconned that Saddam Hussein was NEVER a threat to the US, EVEN THOUGH HE REFUSED TO LET U.N. WEAPON INSPECTORS WITHIN HIS BORDERS. Now, everyone says the war was provoked unjustly.
Retcons happen at your workplace: if someone gets demoted or assigned to new role, over time, the office will forget his/her previous role. “Wasn’t Brian always in Accounting?” Friendships and marriages get retconned all the time, too. One day after 20 years of marriage, your spouse can turn around and say that he/she “never really wanted to get married in the first place”.
Acceptance ™: This is a “drug” that is required to cope with the stress and frustration caused by injustice, raw deals, irrational decisions people make that affect you, inconsistent bosses, unfair rules, and other negative things that happen in your life. Acceptance™:
· Gives you the ability to deal and cope with unjust and unfair situations.
· Helps you exist under less than ideal scenarios.
· Remain calm even when provoked by idiocy.
· You won’t make rash decisions based on current feelings.
· Get along with others and not hold their defective personality traits against them.
· Understand and comprehend the true nature of change and impermanence.
What Acceptance™ is NOT:
· It is NOT about giving up. Only, and I mean, ONLY, when you have exhausted ALL means to deal with a problem, can you finally accept it.
· Do NOT accept everything- Acceptance™ is NOT Apathy™. It does not mean to stop caring or to resign.
· It is NOT saying “I’m done”, “I quit”, “I’m finished”, or “I give up.”
Jumping the Shark: It’s a phrase originating from here that denotes the point at which a TV series/rock band is deemed to have passed its peak, or as we say “entered the decline phase of their career” (we apply it to people, athletes, institutions, societies, and all aspects of culture). When someone or something jumps, there is a noticeable decline in quality, and there too many changes happened to retain the original charm and peak.
We also refer to this as losing “it”, or being “done”. We also use terms like “sploosh” and “flush”. How does this bring us closer to the Truth? It allows us to be more objective and self-critical of our own skills and talents. We strive to remain in our creative peaks as long as we can, but we realize that one day it may be best to hang ‘em up while we’re still good, without jumping the shark.
At the deeper and more important level, we learn from those who have lost “it” (their way in life) and try to steer our own lives in the proper direction, and never give up.
We created The Auctioneer and The Soul Patrol (from The Dream Seeker Universe), which deal with the capture and auctioning of these lost souls.
Founder Vision: Based in the fictional universe of our own Tashman Technologies creation, Founder Vision is the management/corporate style of the Founders (partners who put money up to start the teleportation company). The ownership perspectives are…unique to say the least, and very frustrating to the workers. Here are some examples of Founder Vision:
1) When scheduling projects and/or goals, it is always assumed that the teleportation equipment will be 100% fully functional, efficient, and will only be used for that project, not any other projects that inevitable come in. Additionally, worker production and attendance is 100% excepted.
2) Young workers are not taken seriously or given responsibility. Women and black workers are tolerable.
3) If a Founder happens to pass and see worker resting his eyes for 6-seconds, the Founder will call a meeting and complain that worker sleeps his entire shift and is irresponsible.
4) All production stats are technically invalid, but are used as “evidence”.
5) Compliments and positive reinforcement are not given to workers out of fear that they would demand raises.
6) Raises and bonuses are seen as “non-profitable”.
7) All workers are replaceable, interchangeable, and are a necessary evil.
8) Profit for the Founders is not the #1 objective, it is the ONLY objective.
9) An older worker (age) is seen as more responsible and trustworthy than a (relatively) young worker.
10) Sick days are counted as vacation days.
11) Teleportation equipment must always be running…or else.
12) Prior promises or plans are quickly abandoned the moment there is an obstacle.
13) Cannot see the forest for the trees- details and patiently seeing through big plans are non-existent.
Anyway, Founder Vision has shown us how NOT to run a company.
Buying: “You’ll excuse me if I don’t reach into my wallet and…” We use this term when we are asked to “buy into” a new idea, excuse, reason, rationalization, or explanation from MEDIA reports, ‘experts’, friends, government spin reports, opinion polls, management, speakers, scammers, etc. Usually, we are NOT reaching into our wallets and buying one of these, since we have become conditioned to be skeptical. However, we are open-minded and do listen.
We created a character called The Realtor (from our Dream Seeker Universe) who is a symbol of buying and selling ideas.
Skewing: Tony and I run microfilm scanners for a living. The old style machines were very non-intuitive and cumbersome to setup and operate, and did not handle poor film well. Comparing a person who is stating a far-out [ill-informed/ignorant] opinion is like when an old Dos Sunrise scanner was skewing on the four-image screen … you’d better hit the “Escape” button!
Unfortunately, I simply can’t explain how ugly it looks when a machine would be “skewing” (a misnomer, but who really cares) but the bottom line is that if you have 2,000 little frames on a reel of microfilm, every image is supposed to be saved as one full frame. When the film is bad and/or the machine is set up wrong, the images start to “misdetect” and “cut-off” into many “pieces”. Once that old machine started to skew, you had better hit ESC- and fast!
Well, when you’re eating lunch with someone, and he starts to give you his warped opinion of women or how animals should be mistreated, even though all of his facts are INCORRECT, you can’t help but want to hit ESCAPE and SHUT HIM UP.
In part, we named our website “Daily Skew” in homage to that Dos Sunrise scanner skewing and people’s SKEWED opinions.
Message boards: From the Internet’s infancy, posting opinions on bulletin boards/message boards has always been there. There is a message board for everything, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, from the popular to the obscure. Everyone is an anonymous expert critic who takes his/her hobby too seriously. When 10 people seem to be posting in agreement (usually attacking a well-known person or idea), our theory is that it is really ONE poster under different screen names (sock puppets). For companies or creative artists in an industry to EVER take a “message board opinion poll” or “consensus” is ludicrous and ridiculous.
The amount of whining, complaining, ripping on the message boards (posted by sock puppets) is almost equaled by the amount of apologists, defenders, and fan boys (posted by sock puppets).
craigslist: It seems as if married men like to have anonymous sex with each other. Men or women will perform any sexual act for you for $200. The most sick, twisted, perverted, disgusted, offensive, illegal, filthy, and graphic things are openly posted on craigslist, for children to see. There are some things in society that are best left untouched, but this in an online community where these sickos meet each other.
You may think you’ve seen or heard it all, but I guarantee the dark underbelly of society will shock and revolt you. Of course, if you too are privately a closet freak, you will gladly join this “community” of mentally unstable, irresponsible hedonists.
The craigslist community is made up of many people that you see in public; they’re at the grocery, airport, restaurants, bus, hotels, mall, office, class, street, clubs, etc. They post their outrageous sexual desires, fetishes, and solicitations with 100% immunity from law enforcement.
We’ve learned that straight men are coveted by gay men, that “str8 men” are not really “str8″, and that all traditional labels of sexual orientation have been blurred irrevocably. We’ve learned that people would pay $150 to be urinated on, and dozens of men would line up to consume your feces. We’ve confirmed that women are truly prized and valued highly, where they could charge $300 for a massage or to step on your chest, while men are worth nothing. We’ve learned that even with all the warnings about HIV/AIDS/STD’s people still engage in sexual encounters unprotected with total strangers-FREQUENTLY. We’ve learned that if a prostitute calls him/herself an “escort”, it is legal. But the most important lesson is that people are not what they seem, and to be aware of that during your daily course of life.