Friday, October 24, 2014

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets.

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the MarketsFooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great book full of cross platform insights. For anyone wanting a wider perspective on the odds of everything, this book shines a logical well-thought light on our collective and personal blind spots.

This is a book you read in the pure interest of smartening up.

The rare book I consider a "must read" (even if you think you're smart enough) and beyond this barrage of compliments, "Fooled By Randomness" is the ultra rare literary effort you re-read years later to make sure you didn't miss anything.

B.E. Bristow

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Google Plus Rescue Dog / the Art of Everything

Profile photo>Google Plus Rescue Dog   #why?

I found my little blurb over there today (shivering and cold) and I figured I might as well re-post it someplace more fertile. A place with central heat and running water.

Poetry, Philosophy, and Comedy are buddies. Almost a gang.
I'm very interested in the ART of Everything.
I like to surf (when I can) and ride my motorbike.. For years now I've been writing songs and poems, things you can finish in a day (usually) and at the ripe old age of...not twenty anymore, I can safely say without hesitation that it's all ART. How you conduct your daily business, how you treat people, animals, and the furniture... "style"... Everything matters. Raking leaves is just as poetic as writing a book..that said, I've raked enough leaves for one lifetime.
Go here, Purchase multiple copies and feel warm and fuzzy about it. 
 Then go on a full-scale link binge.

Good Job! "Welcome to Walmart, I love you"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Shadow Boxing The Brockengespenst

Shadow Boxing The Brockengespenst

If a person happens to look up the word “brockengespenst” (a German word with dots over the o) followed by “francophone” and “teratogenic” in close succession, the Googlebot.motivator knows within a few degrees of accuracy that you are most likely reading David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest,” a hallmark of a certain modern ethos and accepted barn staple of the lonely collegiate esthetic… a.k.a. proof that you know big words and stuff… and/or, you have time to read.


‘Time to read’ in a 50-hour work-week society is becoming the new icon of success. Mercedes, Lamborghini and 50-inch rims have finally been overtaken & replaced in full by books (information), a subtle victory for human kind.  Time is the new symbol of affluence.  And rushing around in uncomfortable clothes with a chirping phone and a vibrating smart-watch, pulse-monitor, location-beacon to contend with are beginning to lose favor (style-wise) exposing a slow overdue rotation in the appearances game.

At first, it’s a compliment (this stuff I’m saying) to all involved… to the readers.


On a second look, we find the discerning reader started buying, absorbing, taking in, downloading their coffee, biscotti, batteries, news, and books (in bulk) online, in the privacy and relative security/obscurity of home a long while ago, leaving the freshly literate to fend for themselves…alone, in the physical book store.  


Ten-dollar words, twenty-five dollar books, and four-dollar coffee is living a hand-to-mouth existence in a feeble clump at the sharper edge of town in realtime, today…right now.
The Corporate structure is legally obliged to repeat ANY last quarter successes, electro-prodding the repeat customer mindset to life on the cold steel ‘information age’ gurney.  And while fresh flesh coming through the front door is surely a factor in the modern book store profit model, the book store seems to be locked into an unhealthy relationship with 14-year-olds. An ugly, dysfunctional, company picnic family portrait with “junior” hogging center stage develops on autopilot like the fresh grey blue and yellow fog of a Polaroid picture materializing, becoming a big mysterious box of books producing one allowable question… 

Satin or Glossy?

The children’s books  and restrooms are in the back,  they take up 47% of the store, while CD’s DVD’s, wallets, dinosaur puzzles, stuffed animals, Legos, glow-in-the-dark Frisbees, key-chains, and blank goddamned journal books take up everything right of the equator … & we all know where the coffee is.
What’s left for the adults? (besides the coffee)

You can thank the Lord for “Literary Fiction,” but try to define it and you’ll wind up in the SELF-HELP aisle rubbing shoulders with that salmon-colored sweater guy wearing the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” hat.

There are three feet of “CLASSICS” & three meters of SCIENCE being threatened continually by the nine yards of SPORTS ‘tween the Great Wall of COOKBOOKS and the Leaning Tower of TRAVEL GUIDES.

The MAGAZINES (on angular display) up in the front of the store are the flat dead prisons of yesteryear, the slick volumes of unclickable martyrdom lay unblinking shoulder-to-shoulder with the sad clearance rack being swarmed by paupers like a renaissance musician’s apartment postmortem.

Somewhere in there… in the very center… is a book worth reading.  Hunter S. Thompson parties alone in this thinly carpeted travesty, passed over for teen vampire love triangles and 6-week abdominal videos.

I love books, and I love book stores, but this has become something else, a long-awaited sequel to your favorite movie that starts up with thunder and lightning before you realize the timing is off, the dialog is Disney-approved, the supporting actors have all been replaced, the music’s too loud, and the director’s name is unpronounceable.   The organized nightmare rings complete when you realize (popcorn in hand/ass in seat)…

 A picture is NOT worth a thousand words. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Plant & Fallon

Robert Plant and Jimmy Fallon with an ipad looper app team up with The Legendary Roots Crew for a bit of good fun. Enjoy, B.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I wrote a book! Over a period of two years, closer to two and a half...but let's call it two.
 The name became "AWARE" An Inquiry Into Consciousness...

Book #1 in a series I'm calling,  "Congratulations You're A Robot"   (the original working title).

I'm also exacerbating preexisting search engine trigonometry by adding "a psychonaut adventure" to the top of this thing.  Why? Because that's exactly what it is.

Sometimes you've got to get wordy and there's no way around it.

  I'm sort of a proud papa about this book, and truthfully I'm a little caught off-guard as to how to present it to the world. SO.... here goes...

           AWARE (above)... The banner ad. Good for websites, magazines and the like (so they tell me)

               & THE COVER! (below)  ....  Front and back...  Sweet eh? ...  

 SO... I finished the first draft in April/May...ish... and by June, Julia (my wife) and I finished the editing process. It took a little over a month to design a proper cover and convert the Microsoft Word files into something print-worthy. It was NOT a breeze, but now that I'm through it, I'm already acting like it was easy as falling down.

So I baked a website into existence...  fresh and functional.

Then I made a sacred pact with AMAZON (secret handshakes and blood) Amazon AWARE

I had a word with KINDLE    
AWARE @ The Kindle Store

and even rubbed elbows with B&N (ooooh) I know right?
Barnes & Noble

I realized with a sting that you don't get to be on Apples iBOOKS 'till you own an Apple computer.
Maybe later I suppose... then again, maybe not.

So where does this leave me?  Someplace between the first real attempt to advertise my novel in earnest and the strong urge to sit down and focus on the next one before I forget what I wanted to say in the first place.

 Grab a copy today and tell me what you think.

 I really want to know.

Peace, B


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dupers Delight - Eckhart Tolle

"Duper's Delight" is a term created to describe that uncanny feeling we get when someone is gloating internally about deceiving us. It's classified as a "micro-expression," but sometimes it's not so very micro at all.

Take Eckhart Tolle for instance, a strange little man with mole qualities and a creep factor so large it vacuum seals any room he enters.  Tolle is a self help guru with legions of followers, fans, readers, attendees and whatnot bobbing around in his 3 horsepower wake. In his best seller "The Power of Now" he extolls the virtues of detachment to the extent you get a real sense that he is taking you for a a van.

Also... boredom...
When you are being strung along by a poet, a priest, or a politician, there always exists that familiar circular feeling, "anemic sentences" I call them... literary Cocoa Puffs.

I found Tolle haunting a small audience in a quiet room on YouTube last week, up on stage wearing what I would describe as a "Serial Killer sweater."

Sweater withstanding, the mole-man took his questions from the frothy crowd with a purposefully slow demeanor that stood the hair up on my arms and made me instantly furious.... I don't know why....

It's instinctual, I suppose. I tend to be fairly connected to my animal roots and my roots conferred, gathered round, exchanged glances and lit a few torches on first contact with digital Tolle.

So maybe he's helping people you might say.


But if we were living tribally, I would make him move downstream by threat of force with instructions to rethink eye contact with my children, and what's more, I wouldn't feel the least bit bad about it.

Like I said, it's instinctual. I think he's a creep, call it a skill... 

Ha ha ha...yes, I'm going on and on about somebody I know nothing about.

 I skimmed the book and fast-forwarded through huge chunks of his talk...

I remain totally uninformed about Mr.Tolle, the man, the myth.

 That's the beauty of it...


vintage photo - courtesy NASA archives.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Chasing Addictions (surf flick)

Starring: Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, Yadin Nicol, Parker Coffin, Conner Coffin

A fast paced, modern, endemic, surf movie, for adrenaline junkies and zombie surfnauts world over. The soundtrack aint' bad either. Buy it, Own it, Catch it now!... before it's too late. B.E.Bristow

Available on iTunes and surf shops worth a damn.:


Chasing Addictions

David Parsa, Steve Guerrero & John DeTemple
Aug 9, 2013

The next level in modern surfing seen spreading its infectious influences across the California coast and beyond. Chasing Addictions is the latest release from surf filmmaker David Parsa (LIVE: a music and surfing experience, Absolute Mexico). Witness the worlds best surfers push their abilities to unimaginable heights, on perfect waves of all types from the well-known rippable and often documented locations, to countless perfect "secret" unnamed gems that you may have heard of, but have never seen until now.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Golden Age of Cancer

"The Golden Age of Cancer"

                         The Golden Age of Cancer

I have an interest in the stock market. A fascination, self-developed in high school prompting a younger me to waltz unannounced into a small brokerage office on Main Street, Ventura, California, at the age of 17 to ask the surprised suit-wearing inhabitants about their business.

 I remember them asking me if I was doing a report for school. When I said, “No, I’m just curious,” they (three middle aged white males) dropped their guard and invited me to have a seat behind a desk and offered me a soda or coffee or ice water (they had an arsenal of drinks and snacks). This was 1988, pre-internet boom by a few years, their prime weapons of choice were telephones, lots of telephones, blinking lights and odd sounding micro printers, a strange atmosphere of high energy stress and casual lazy coffee drinking. I was duly impressed by the multiple clocks, showing key time zones labeled neatly in black block lettering underneath, New York, London, etc… strung across the undecorated office walls.

The place felt like a time capsule, something left over from the sixties that couldn’t die. Powerful, effective methods of making money resist change like oily duck feathers. Just three extremely similar men, working in this cave, making calls in suits and polished leather shoes. They each had large, heavy, hard wood desks. I saw signed golf balls displayed under clear plastic cubes, complete with the obligatory kinetic steel balls, tiny bull statues and calenders featuring aerial shots of Pebble Beach. I had to wonder about the suits. I suppose if I had wandered off the street and saw people in Hawaiian shirts and sweat pants, I would have kept on walking. I suppose I can see the logic behind a funny costume. 

One of these fellas was between calls, and was kind enough to fill me in on the day to day operations of a real live stock trading outfit, a real eye opener. I was impressed and left with a head full of entrepreneurial thoughts, grown up thoughts of money and stuff. 
A weird, California version of the business, connected by physical wires across the country to Chicago and Wall Street herself. 
Trading stocks was one of the few vocations I could ever see myself excelling at, I had something close to a real interest. 
A brain at a desk appealed to me, thoughts converted to cash with zero physical movement, air conditioned magic. 
Behind the obvious set design was something close to Palmistry or reading chicken entrails on a stump… and possibly the promise of a BMW. 
Yesterday morning (twenty years later), I was having coffee and decided to have a look at the talking heads for shits and giggles.

The CNBC gang of soapy affiliates were shiny and groomed like pure bred Dobermans trotting the fake, green, grass of dog show hell.  The stock ticker ran its usual cycle and informed me of losses and gains (both imagined and real) while I simultaneously checked my email messages and poured a second cup of french roast.  The professional narcissists were talking, but I wasn’t listening, I know better. They are reliably full of it. We all know it. 
Three cups and a ball is all grown up and swindling in shifts.  
 Some of my personal strategy hinges on deducing fake smiles and reading uncomfortable micro expressions in order to turn them to my advantage. The social aspect is interesting to me, a language I can somehow traverse. A giant, mega media corporations awkward on-camera pause is a leaf on the breeze and a botched segue leaking snarky unintended audio into the world is an OPPORTUNITY large and tall, “The Cattleman’s Code.”  But…

I’ve said all that to get to this.
The busy mumbling in the background came sharply into focus on the last sentence, before the raging volume-boosted Cadillac commercial assaulted my senses.

This is what I heard.

Mumble mumble mumble… something something something, 
“The Golden Age of Cancer.” Smiles all around, swooping left to right boom camera, out of body experience angle, cut to commercial.  

“The golden age of cancer?”  You gotta be kidding me…I had to focus a little to remember what I was just witness to.
They were talking “Big Pharma,” a fuzzy pet name they give to their favorite auntie.  
In spite of the overall country’s flat-lining economy, the nation’s largest drug companies are having a good time.  Selling overpriced cancer treatments to dying people is the new gold rush, has been for some time now I gather.


I’m still feeling ill from it. Those words I can’t throw up, the message I’m unable to purge, the camaraderie and the smiles I can’t seem to unsee… a monster with soundtrack and a graphics team.  
Just another great success story crawling out of my television. 

I guess that’s where we are now… Clubbed over the head when we weren’t expecting it.
The whole country woke up chained to the Black Pearl, singing songs and driving Cadillacs.

Whooping it up in the Golden Age of Cancer.
                                  B.E.B.  June 4, 2014