Archive for March 2012

The Roofing Business Is a Racket

The main functional purpose of a roof is to insulate — to stop anything from coming in to your house (rain, snow, animals, insects, heat, cold), and stop heat or cool from escaping your house.  Why then does it make sense to make a roof out of thousands of little porous pieces instead of a couple big pieces?  To keep the profits up of roof maintenance and installation companies of course!


According to a government study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, fiberglass shingles have around a 50% market share in residential roofing.  Yet fiberglass shingles require the most maintenance, have the shortest lifespan, and provide the worst insulation of any of the three most popular roofing materials available.

It's simply common sense that a ton of little tiles slabbed over each other are not going to protect a structure from the elements as well as a few big slabs of metal.  So, why do homeowners keep choosing fiber glass tiles?  Well, they do initially cost less than the other materials to install (but this would probably change if the same economies of scale were applied to the other materials), and some do say they subjectively 'look better' than metal.

But, metal roofing can be designed to look almost any way one likes.  In one man's opinion, the fiberglass roofing phenomena is a lot of group think on the part of homeowners and a lot of roofing businesses' self interest at play.

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Being Perennially Late Is Perennially Disrespectful

The old schoolchild maxim goes:

If you're early, you're on time.
If you're on time, you're late.
It's basically saying that if you respect other peoples' time (and time is the most precious resource of all, isn't it?) then you don't cut it close when showing up for an appointment. Unpunctual friends and business associates generally fall into three categories:


  • Disrespectful without care
  • Aloof to the disrespectfulness
  • Aware of the disrespectfulness but claim to be trying their best

Yes, the second category really does exist. There are people of such privilege, and other people with such a laid back 'hippyish' attitude towards life, that they really don't understand how frustrating it is to be waited on. This is because they hardly ever have to wait on other people, or live such an unstructured life that they have few precisely timed appointments. These people must be forgiven and gently educated.

It is the third category of offenders that deserves the most scorn, because the first category is a lost cause. If a friend is continually late, and doesn't put enough of an effort not to be, even if he apologizes, he is implicitly saying, "My time is more valuable than yours." Such arrogance is very ugly, even when it's true. A polite person, however important he may be, would never expose such an ugly side of himself. These individuals need firm reinforcement if one is ever going to feel like he is in a mutually respectful relationship with them.

Tell a perennially late and apologetic individual that you were on time and that you have been waiting. Say it nicely, but let him feel guilty, even if he apologized.

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The Celebrity Drug Addict As an Underdog

Why are we (as a society) fascinated with celebrities who go down the path of drug addiction?  Is it the celebrities themselves?  Is it the rebelliousness of such a mode of life?  Is it because we ourselves like drugs or wish we could be drug addicts?

It's probably not any of the above, because we don't get as excited about regular drug addicts on the street.  And, for some reason we seem to often times be more fascinated by the drug addicted/recovering celebrity than we were about him prior to his participation in drugs.

Each and every celebrity, has a reason for his fame.  It maybe for beauty, personality, wealth, actions, or even our fascination with a lifestyle (Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, The Duggars).  But no matter the reason, there is no such thing as illegitimate fame (an accusation often brandished at Paris and Kim) since by definition a famous person (for a God given reason or not) has successfully attracted notoriety.

Perhaps then it is whatever drew us to these drug addicted celebrities in the first place, that continues to draw us to them once they find themselves in a drug filled predicament.  At least the possibility that the very thing that once drew us, will draw us again.  On some level we wanted to see Robert Downey Jr. act again, Courtney Love perform again, or Rush Limbaugh talk again.

Maybe some of us never even appreciated Robert Downey Jr. that much before he had his issues.  We knew he was regarded as a good actor, and enjoyed his work.  However, we never sought him out.  Once he was beaten down by the tabloids and the real life scourge of drugs though, suddenly we thought, "Man, it's so sad; I hope he gets his life back together."

It's well known that Americans love an underdog, from the 1980 olympic hockey team, to President Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal.  These celebrities are so beat down by the media that we begin to perceive them as underdogs too.  Our natural inclination to support the underdog chimes in, and we think to ourselves, "Wow that person's reason for fame is not so bad.  I'd like to see more of him when he gets better."

That's why drug addiction is sometimes the best unintentional career move a celebrity makes.

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