Legalizing Opioids Will Save Lives

The solution to the opioid crisis? Check out the talk below between Joe Rogan & Johann Hari. Seems so simple, yet the United States is so far away. #butfreedom

More of my thoughts on opioids here and here. And be sure to read ‘Dreamland‘ by Sam Quinones.

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Pro-Women? No.

Being ‘For’ One Group Means You Are ‘Against’ All Others

I do not believe in any “women’s” movement that places the needs of women above all others. Before you lose your Dale and lash out misogynistic (and hypocritical) insults, keep reading. I am not anti-women. I also do not believe in any “men’s movement”. I am not anti-men. I am simply for all humans.

In other words, I do not have an arbitrary affinity to those who were born with the same sex parts as me. Why should I? Instead, I choose to believe in and love all humans equally….regardless of gender! How can anyone make a case for anything than loving all humans equally?

Thor loves women

Being pro-women is synonymous with being anti-men. When we advocate special treatment of one group, by definition, we are then putting all other groups down. In other words, if you are ‘for’ women you are saying you are ‘against’ men. It simply cannot be any other way.

That’s insane!

You are literally putting ~50% of the world’s population down, despite not knowing them intimately, for no reason other than how they were born!

That illogical line of thinking is the definition of bias, prejudice and SEXISM!!

I am not talking about #MeToo or similar women’s movements. Sexual misconductby both men and women – is unacceptable in all cases. I do not condone any type of sexual assault (or any negative treatment of anyone) by men or women at any time for any reason.

In addition, there are men out there advocating for special treatment for men – this is also wrong! All men and women should be equal – no more – no less!

We already know that only true zealots are actually Nationalists and we can say the same about anyone who would vote for the women in the poll below.

Those who talk equality, we are on same page! Equal means everyone equally gets no special treatment! 🙂 Who should get special treatment then? Those who need it...not an entire gender! Altruism can go a long way as we know there is no better feeling than helping others. Meanwhile 99.999999% of us can and should make it on our own.

All human beings are different in an immeasurable amount of ways. No two humans are alike and no two humans should be forced upon each other or anyone else simply because of their sex parts. Some humans will earn more money than others. Some humans will enjoy more leisure time than others. Some humans will suffer more than others. Some humans will thrive more than others. All humans have different skills and therefore all humans will acquire different “returns” for using their skills.

Many of the women’s movements tend to advocate for forced equality in the marketplace. This cannot ever exist in a free market! Free markets are always the best way to allocate resources and they always reward the most deserving human. What could be better than rewarding the human that is most deserving of the reward?!

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Free Will Or Free Market?

Free will is the same as free market. You cannot be for one and against the other.

Anyone who enjoys having the freedom to live their life exactly as they choose (save negatively affecting another) is also a proponent of having a free market. They may not understand why, but they do not have to. Their actions speak and anyone who acts to preserve their own free will by definition also acts to preserve the integrity of free markets.

Since any sane, level-headed human should be able to agree that human free will is a good thing and oppression is a bad thing, we  should also be able to come to the conclusion that free markets are the best for all humans always.

Regulated markets may provide benefits to one group, or even many groups, in the short-term (or even in perpetuity), however economics teaches us that in the long-term unfree markets will always harm the masses. It is impossible to benefit select groups without doing so at the direct expense of all other groups.

If you would not want someone to take away your free will, do not take it away from them by voting and advocating for regulated markets!

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There’s No Line At The Restroom: A Paul McCartney Story From The Archives

Have you ever found yourself reviewing archives on your computer, miscellaneous threads on Reddit or random YouTube videos for hours at a time?

Yeah, me neither.

That said, I recently found myself exploring a long forgotten archive of files that led me to this essay, penned by yours truly on the 16th of May, 2002.

From what I can gather by viewing the document this essay was written as part of an assignment for my Art Education 160 class at The Ohio State University.

While I cannot say that I vividly remember the assignment (or even the concert in the essay) I do recall the class being one of my favorite college classes of all time. We studied art and music history of the 20th century. Thanks to this assignment, I’ll always have this memory of enjoying my first Paul McCartney concert with my parents and sister.

Nicholas Nicastro

Art Education 160

May 16, 2002

Critical Essay One

There’s No Line at the Restroom

On April 29, 2002, I had the honor of spending an evening with Paul McCartney at the Gund Arena.  The Gund Arena is located in the heart of Cleveland, OH, about two hours away from Columbus, and usually plays home to the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.  However, on this night, the arena was completely transformed into a huge Rock & Roll stage and only a hint of a basketball court could be seen. 

From the moment I sat in my seat, I knew that this was going to be an unforgettable night.  The stage was the first thing that I noticed, and it was beautiful.  There were about 20 enormous flat screens above the stage, covering every inch of space.  There was also a huge shroud type piece of cloth hanging from the rafters, which would soon be used in the opening act’s performance.  The opening act was a speechless type of dancing and motioning that blended culture from all over the world.  Men and women alike were painted and dressed up in a way that I had never seen before.  After they finished their act, we all sat anxiously awaiting one of the greatest figures in Rock history.  Around 8:30, it began.  The drums could be heard but still no one was on stage.  Then, behind the hanging shroud, a shadow of a man appeared with one hand above his head holding a bass guitar.  The arena went nuts.  Slowly, the shroud was rolled up into the rafters, unveiling McCartney standing in a great position, ready to rock.  With the crowd still going crazy, he begins to play, and the emotions and excitement in the arena are thick enough to cut with a knife.  Paul ended up jamming for over two and a half hours that night, and through every song, I could barely stay in my seat.  The one thing that I noticed almost immediately was that there was something about this show that was different from any other show I’d ever seen…everyone around me was sitting on the edge their chair, just like me.  No one was getting up to get food, and no one was going to the bathroom.  I couldn’t believe it.  Throughout the entire show, I can honestly say that I didn’t see one single person get up and leave their seat for any reason.  No, the people there that night didn’t have super-human bladders, and no, I don’t think anyone peed in their pants; I just believe that Paul McCartney is that special.  For anyone lucky enough to see him in person, it would be unthinkable to waste time just to go to the bathroom. 

Throughout the night, McCartney played a huge variety of songs, including early Beatles works, late Beatles works, songs by Wings, and of course, songs from his solo career.  Although each song was special and I could probably write a page about each one, there were a few that were particularly special to me that night, and I believe these songs stole the show.  Live and Let Die besides being a personal favorite of mine was a show stopper.  Before even seeing this song performed live, I was always a fan of it and I always believed that no one, including Guns N Roses, could do it better.  The live performance this night proved me right, and then some.  The songs started out with the spotlight on Paul while he was playing the piano.  About 30 seconds into it, as the song starts to get faster, a loud BOOM could be heard, along with fireworks and a light show.  As one could imagine, the Arena went nuts and for a moment, I thought that the venue wouldn’t be able to handle the crowd this pumped up!  Each time the song slowed down, it was quickly brought back up with another BOOM and more fireworks and lights.  Interpreting this song seems easy, but there are definitely many ways the words can be interpreted.  To me, it seems as if McCartney is talking about youth and how they view things.  He’s saying that instead of thinking “live and let live,” that it’s ok to think “live and let die.”  He’s saying that the world is a crazy place and is not always predictable, and for that reason, you have to just accept things how they are and go on with life.  Maybe he’s even talking about his own life experiences considering all that he’s been through.  In particular, the line, “what does it matter to ya, when you got a job to do you got to do it well, you’ve got to give me all I’ve ever had” speaks volumes about his intentions for this song.

Another showstopper was a song that involved only McCartney standing on the front of a stage with a dim spotlight shining on him while he told a story.  As he began to speak, a stagehand brought him out a strange instrument: a ukulele.  The story goes, as told by Paul, that over 30 years ago, George Harrison gave that instrument to Paul as a gift.  As Paul told the story, he began to strum on the ukulele very lightly, and then said that he’d like to play a song in memory of George and as a tribute to him.  The arena was busting with excitement, and as we all began to get quiet so that we could hear what he was going to play.  Something in the way she moves were the words out of Paul’s mouth, and before he even finished the first line, the arena erupted in applause as everyone began to realize that Paul was playing Something, a Beatles song written by George Harrison and a song considered by many to be one of the greatest songs of all time.  As Paul played and we sang along, the giant television screens behind Paul on stage began showing pictures of Paul and George, and for many of us, that was all we needed to begin to tear.  As a final tribute to his passed friend, Paul pointed up with ukulele in hand and motioned to the sky, to his friend.  Something is a beautiful song.  Written for Patti Boyd by George Harrison, Something is the ultimate love song.  Harrison was writing about how words don’t necessarily need to be spoken to convey feelings, that there was just something about his lover that let him know she loved him.  This song very well could have been the best of the night

The last showstopper I’ll mention, although there were more, was during the encore.  After playing for over 2 hours, Paul briefly waved goodbye and headed off stage.  As we sat eagerly awaiting more, the arena began to get anxious and loud.  People were yelling for more, some people were dancing; others were still on the edge of their seat, almost mesmerized from what they’d just seen.  Still though, no one was leaving.  Then, after just a few minutes, McCartney reappeared and slowly made his way to the front of the stage.  Given the level of excitement in the arena, almost everyone had to be assuming that Paul would play a loud, fast, rock song.  However, we’d all forgotten about one classic that he didn’t play during his first set, and as the crowd came to a hush and Paul grasped onto his acoustic guitar, the song began.  Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.  Those 8 words were enough to take the emotion that was in the arena during the break and triple it.  As the excitement came to a peak, it seemed as if Paul was playing and singing and the rest of us in the crowd were his backup vocals.  I’d never in my entire life seen so many people sing along with a song.  Yesterday, besides being a Beatles classic and the most covered song of all time, is a sad love song.  Paul is singing an ode to the past, to a time where he didn’t have the troubles that he has now.  He is singing about losing someone he loved, and how he now longs to be back in a time that she was there.

Judging these three works almost seems unfair – unfair to Paul McCartney, not to me.  Unfair to him that someone like myself, could possible critique some of the greatest music ever played.  Paul McCartney has forgotten more about music that I’ll even know, so it’s almost funny that I’d attempt to judge him.  But, on the flip side, my judgements are all good.  In fact, they are great.  Live and Let Die was spectacular.  Besides the awesome rock music that didn’t miss a note, the sound and lighting show was fantastic.  Something was the “tear-jerker” of the show and although Paul sang it wonderfully, the pictures of George Harrison really stole the performance.  Finally, Yesterday was not only played to perfection, but it was probably the only song in the history of music that Paul could’ve played at that point of the show that would hold all of the emotion the crowd was carrying.  And he did it brilliantly. 

Looking back at the show, I can’t help but think of how unbelievable it was to be in the same room as one of the greatest musicians of all time.  Throughout the night, I kept thinking to myself how lucky I was to be in his presence.  No one single person has ever made me feel so small and insignificant.  The show itself was a complete success, and I didn’t hear one negative thing about it as I was leaving.  I feel that seeing this show has given me something to hold onto since I wasn’t born when the Beatles were around.  Although I could have never seen the Beatles, I still was able to see one of them, and that’s good enough for me.

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Get The Government Out Of Schools!

There is some really good material at the end of this Peter Schiff podcast focusing on getting the government out of the educational system! Skip to the :48 minute mark to listen for yourself! (Be better, keep an open mind!)

Peter does a great job pointing out that virtually every single government led program is inefficient, wasteful and sub parwhy do we think that education is any different?! Think about it: you want the government in charge of educating your kids? The same government that closes down & runs trillion-dollar deficits? WHY?! Would you hire a bankrupt financial advisor to teach you about finance?!

Immediately skeptics want to (incorrectly) point out that the poorest among us would be excluded from a free market “pay only” educational system.

There are at least two huge problems with this illogical thinking!

First, it’s not fair to assume that education would cost anything if left to the free market. For example, how much do you pay Google to use their email servers and search engine? Probably the same amount I’m paying WordPress to host my essays: $0. In the year 1995 when AOL cost $50/mo for 2 hours of super slow internet browsing had someone told you it would all be unlimited super fast and super affordable in the near future you likely would have been skeptical. And, with the benefit of hindsight, you would have been wrong. Free market is not synonymous with expensive or exclusive!

Second, the poorest among us already pay for education. We all do – through property taxes. Anyone of us that owns a piece of real estate pays taxes on that real estate and most of those taxes are used to fund public schools.  For those of us who rent, we indirectly foot the bill by paying higher rents than we would if our landlord’s taxes were lower. If our landlord could pay less in taxes, she could offer our rental at a lower rate, and we could use that savings to pay for education (if needed) and more! If our landlord chooses to pocket the savings and keep our rent high, we can vote with our wallet and rent from her competitor. Free market competition is the only thing that will keep costs as low as possible for us!

A world without a government led educational system is possible. If we truly believe that government led programs are the best for us all, would we not be relying on the government to feed and cloth us as well? To provide us all high paying jobs with great benefits? NO! The government is not here to provide for us! Government is meant to protect individual liberties!

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The Best Way To Win An Argument

What is the best way to win an argument? Easy…avoid arguments in the first place!

As Dale has taught us, there is no good that can come from arguing our point of view. Instead of listening to us, our “opponents” will usually dig-in to their side and begin looking for ways to shoot down our points. More on Dale here & here.

As for argument winning, The Daily Stoic agrees! Below is a copy of their passage from todays email. I highly recommend signing up for their short daily emails for more helpful reminders about how to view the world around us.

One suspects Marcus Aurelius was referring to a particularly frustrating person, some opponent who just would not, or could not, get the message, when he wrote:

“You can hold your breath until you’re blue in the face and they’ll just go on doing it.”

There’s an American expression along those same lines: “Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig enjoys it.”

Both these pieces of advice are worth remembering for the inevitable moments that we find ourselves in conflict or at cross purposes with one of those nutty, obnoxious, stubborn jerks that make up a certain percentage of the population. Although it’s tempting to fight and argue with them, it rarely ends well, because you can’t beat someone with nothing to lose, and it’s impossible to reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place.

It takes great skill to identify irrationality and emotional reactions in other people. It takes a lot of confidence to avoid battling with someone acting out of ego. It requires patience to endure their onslaughts and put up with them in your midst

But if you can, you’ll preserve your happiness and live a much less stressful life. It’s not your job to change other people—and even it were, crazy doesn’t want to be changed. Learn how to walk away. Learn how to de-escalate. Learn how to let other people be themselves and you just do you. It’s a much easier life, you can count on that.

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New Year, New You?

Here are some links for you to make 2019 your best year yet!

Music to inspire you any time of day!

Look forward!

Thoughts to help you through the daily struggles of life!

Desiderata!

Do not let Dale down!

Be better than your previous self!

Don’t worry, be happy!

Live a meaningful life!

Clear your cache and reset your mental health!

Further reading: essays on improving our lives!

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lifestyle Of An Entrepreneur #RequiredReading

I cannot say much more than Chris Jourdan says in his exquisite essay on the psychological warfare of being an entrepreneur.

I’m sharing Chris’ essay in the hopes that it can help at least one person as much as it has helped me. Block off fifteen minutes and give it a read.

If Chris’ writing helps or inspires you I encourage you to pass it along to anyone in your circle who might benefit from his words.

Mental health has been the elephant in the room for far too long. Let’s change that. When we share our struggles and speak up about ways to overcome those struggles we will help others, which in turn helps ourselves.

#RequiredReading

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Celebrating Hefner Nicastro!

They say a dog is a man’s best friend.

They are wrong.

Our dog, Hefner Nicastro, was our best family.

Hefner Nicastro

December 1, 2004 – November 28, 2018

Last week on the evening of Wednesday, November 28, 2018, Hefner peacefully went to rest with the Universe, just two days shy of his 14th birthday. Hefner was lucky that nature and his body told him it was time to go, free from any of the pain that would be caused by his Addison’s Disease, Heart Disease, Transitional Cell Carcinoma and newly discovered pneumonia.

Hefner battled these ailments and others for fourteen amazing years with nothing but dignity and the unconditional love only a dog can give you. Hefner enjoyed a life full of playing, traveling, dogparks, and of course plenty of treats! When Hef could not travel with us, he loved staying at Puptown Lounge where everyone on staff treated him like family! Hefner was a regular at the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center, visiting at least once every 5 weeks for help with Addison’s. As a result he was well-known, well-loved and super spoiled by the staff!

Hefner was surrounded with love and tears by Nick, Jamie, Aunt Gina, and his cousins, Frankie and Lola, shortly before his passing. After a hospital stay on Monday, by Wednesday we knew he didn’t have much more time with us in the physical form (he will live on forever in the digital form). We are lucky that nature was kind, sparing Hef from a slow and painful death and instead giving him the peace and comfort of choosing when he’d go.

Hefner with mom and dad on the evening of November 28, 2018, the night he chose to move on

Hefner Nicastro was born December 1, 2004, and came into our lives just a few weeks later. I have yet to receive a better Christmas gift.

Dec 2014, one month old

Dec 2014, one month old

Dec 2014, one month old

Dec 2014, one month old

For the next 14 years, Hefner would be the best dog a man could ask for. Working from home, he was by my side nearly every minute of every day. Typing this now it’s hard for me to believe he’s not here now.

For the past week I have mourned and grieved and smiled and laughed, taking my time to watch videos and look at old pictures of Hefner. These pics and videos helped ease my sadness, showing me that my dog had a long and action packed life.

However Hefner wasn’t the luckiest one in the relationship. We were. Jamie and I and everyone who loved Hef have done nothing to have earned the time we spent with such a smart, loving, creative dog, with a personality that was one of a kind. I look back at these photos and I’m truly thankful for every minute Hef was by my side.

I have had my moments in the past week and aside from the night Hef passed on, this is the toughest of them yet. I am relying on my stoic philosophy to avoid constant breakdowns, reminding myself that I never had a choice in the matter – Hefner would someday pass on – as will I and everyone who ever knew me.

My psychologist reminded me not to overdo it with the stoicism, that grieving is a natural and important process. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok if I don’t have a huge appetite. These are all normal things a week after the huge loss of such a loved companion. My life story is changing, not necessarily for good or bad, just different. And that’s ok too.

I never liked looking at other people’s posts when their animals have passed away. It always made me go to a sad place where I’d dwell on the inevitable fate that would someday come for us all. However a good friend reminded me through his open letter to his ailing dog that it’s not about us, it’s about them. Since Hefner passed I have realized that he deserves this post and his photo album. Sure they were hard for me to write/compile but it’s not about me, it’s what Hefner earned in his 14 years on planet Earth being man’s best family.

I am forever grateful that we got to tell you how much we love you and how much we will miss you, Hef. There has never been a dog more loving or loved. Thank you for being you.

Your humans, Nick & Jamie

December 2006

Hefner with Frankie, Lola & Spike, winter 2013

12th birthday, December 2016

With Aunt GG, November 28, 2018

Tearing up the car looking for a missing treat!

9th birthday, December 2013

Spring 2017

January 2011

10th birthday, December 2014

Fall 2017

April 2007

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Slow Down. Carefully Consider.

As Dale has taught us, most people love to talk. They usually do so too much and at the wrong time.

Most of the time we should be listening. When it is our time to speak or we have been asked a direct question the common reaction is to race through the green light as fast as possible.

Elon Musk reminds us that when it’s our time to speak, we should slow down and carefully consider what we are going to say. Elon doesn’t talk about this directly, he shows it in his actions. Check out the video – it’s not stalling – Elon really takes 10 seconds plus to start speaking after being a asked a question! My guess is that during that time he’s processing the question, analyzing the data and going over a draft of what he wants to vocalize, simultaneously.

This is inspiring behavior that we can all learn from!

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