I had planned to put all of my belongings in storage, to return to the life that I had previously established. But this plan seemed more and more....well....stupid. I could pre-pay storage for an extended period, but if I stayed away longer than I anticipated, how would I make a payment from a different hemisphere? I pictured my belongings being auctioned off thanks to a lack of mail service in, say, Mauritius.
At some point, I decided to sell everything I owned. Furniture. Clothes. My car. Everything. As gutted as I felt doing this, I consoled myself with the idea that this created quite the safety net for me should anything unexpected occur as I traveled.
As ballsy as this might have been, there was a bit of a snag in my plans. Namely, telling my family. Somehow, the date of my departure drew to weeks, then days, then hours, without my saying a word. I had already received a rather unexpected amount of criticism from my friends over my plans. And if these supposedly open-minded peers were suddenly so snarky, what could I expect of my family? As the time of my flight grew nearer, it just seemed easier to forego the nonesense and board the flight.
One of my very best girl friends dropped me at the airport. She saw the tears in my eyes, and knowing my disdain for goodbyes, cleverly told me that there was no such thing. She smiled and told me that she would simply see me later. As I choked back a lump in my throat, literally wondering where my adventures would take me and if I would ever see her again, she pressed a present into my hand as I walked into the airport.
As I stood shocked at her ability to be so smooth at such an ungodly hour of the morning, she disappeared into a throng of people. I was truly alone now. The lump in my throat was growing greater and I took solace in the package in my hand. I opened it to find a silver flask (fitting!) inscribed with the words "All who wander are not lost."
I boarded the plane with a confidence that I didn't know I had, thanks to my girl friend. She was able to find a truism that I didn't even know existed, and fitted my situation perfectly. I had tried to tell my friends for months beforehand that I wasn't running away from anything, rather I was running toward the unknown. But this friend got it in ways that even I didn't. This little reminder came in quite handy for the first legs of my trip, when I was jetlagged, confused, and lacking even rudimentary language skills of my first host country.
Christmas Eve rolled around. I had been away for over a month, and had gotten by with popping into i-net cafes to drop my family a quick note here and there. I had met some really cool kids from seven different countries and we had all started traveling together. It was an amazing group, and I'll tell you that, after traveling together, those people know me better than many friends who have known me for decades.
As everyone was walking to the "phone store" (a modified bamboo shack with one telephone line and a stopwatch) to call their families for the holiday, I was markedly stoic. One of the British boys came to ask me why I hadn't called my family yet. I explained that I had never told them I was leaving, how they were going to be so tremendously disappointed in me for leaving my job and my life to just piss off, etc. etc.
He simply looked at me, shook his head and said, "Well, I don't really care about any of that. Where I come from, you call your family on the holidays. You just call them and you say 'hello.' You don't talk about uncomfortable things, you just call and you just say hello." And without another word, he walked out of my room.
I sat stunned and shamed for quite awhile. And then I headed off to the phone shack. I tremendously fucked the math on the time difference, and wound up waking my folks at four in the morning. They of course thought that something was dreadfully wrong, which worked in my favor. As they shook off the sleep and panic, they realized that my voice sounded fine...other than the poor connection.
My mother finally asked how I was doing in (X) city I was supposed to have been living in, how was the weather, and other pleasantries. I took a deep breath and said, "Well, I'm sure everything is fine there. But the truth is, I'm in India."
There was a palpable pause on the other end of the line, during which I envisioned that I had killed my mother with this news. Convinced that I had given her a heart attack or brain aneurysm, I was shocked when she finally let out a deep, heartfelt cackle.
"Well, of COURSE you are!" she said.
You see, to my mother, it was clearly evident from the time that I could walk and talk that I would be the child who would randomly ring her from the other side of the world on Christmas Eve. And, luckily, she got a vicarious thrill from it.
So too, I offer this story as an explanation, of sorts, for my blogcation. I've been having adventures, many of which I simply haven't been able to share here. Perhaps I've built it all up in my head too much. Perhaps the consequences of writing here really would be far different than the relief I felt at telling my mother I wouldn't be coming to Christmas dinner because I was in India.
But I'm older now and know that I'm not bulletproof. I know there are things that just can't be undone on the internets--an arena that has not anticipated since I could walk and talk that I would perform feats of magnificent stupididy alongside humbling escapades of diving head-first into shallow pools. I also know that life, love, and loss are not meant to be offered up casually, even if one needs to talk about such things.
And so, on any given day, I've chosen silence. My life and its weird adventures will always take priority over my web commentary, even though that has given me great pleasure. I'll continue to check in here, and will try to drop more posts.
In the meantime, I'm on a quest for balance. As I've learned over the years, this is a position in which many travelers often find themselves as they journey forward into the great unknown.
Thanks to all who have stopped by recently to check in and leave notes. I have an unholy amount of email to sift through in this Inbox, so if you dropped a note and I haven't responded, know that I'm getting to it.
I also still owe you the remaining parts of Dustin Haywood's take on Casey Serin, so will get that queued up as well...
I've been out of reach of the blogosphere, inking up my passport with some emergency business travel. I've now done three round-trips from CA to London in the past, what, ten? fourteen? days---I've got no fucking concept of how long I've been away, as the jet lag and life at 30,000 feet is absolute bullshit. My brain is pudding, everyone, so be kind.
A special thanks to a friend that I kept up all night after my first re-entry, even though that person had to take a stupidly long flight that day as well. I can't even tell you right now how absolutely thankful I am for that conversation.
This morning finds me racked with insomnia, yet again, but still not home. Am spending the day checking in with one of our other offices, though I'll be damned if I feel like boarding a flight anytime soon. I really might just rent a car, point it toward Mexico, and buy a surfboard somewhere along the way, never to be heard from again.
Of course, this is the bitterness of jet lag and sleep deprivation talking. Just wrapped what eventually came to be a very nice merger, and once all of this wears off, I might actually celebrate for five minutes before diving head-first into the next thing.
In that spirit, I thought I'd share the most bizarre thing I'd come across in recent weeks. While sitting in an airport surfing around for mindless chum, I came across this. It's best watched with volume on, though you don't need to hear the accompanying music to see that it's truly bizarre.
At first glance, I thought these were some crazed southern California kids doing a circus sideshow version of a talent show. It appealed to me because I did a heap of competitive gymnastics growing up, with the family sitting down at one point to discuss whether I would leave home at the ripe old age of eight to study under one of the world's elite coaches. Obviously, the answer was a resounding no.
But because of this background, I love the human form. I'm constantly awed and inspired by the graceful lines that the body is capable of achieving. Needless to say, I love the ballet--or pretty much dance in any form--and have developed an intense fondness for the works of Cirque du Soliel.
It's never left me. I have a close friend who is a pro surfer with incredible upper body strength. When we're on the beach together, I run up to him yelling, "Let's play Cirque du Soliel!!!" I force him into strange positions, requesting that he then catapult me into the sky so that I may flip and fly, if for a few lovely seconds. He is always afraid that he will break me and, while I'm normally empathetic, I refuse to let his anxiety stand in the way of my fun.
So you can see why I find these girls such crazy fun to watch. Although I'll be the first to say that the thing where the girl's head is on the ground and she squirrels her feet around her body like a bug pretty much grosses me out. Like totally.
After a minute of so-called research, it turns out that these young women are not merely some kind of sideshow wunderkinds of southern California. They are, in fact, one of the latest additions to Cirque's latest North American touring show that will take place through 2008. So that at least explains something.
Other than this brief glimpse into my web surfing history, you guys are going to have to clue me in to any happenings on the interwebs. I've been living an incredibly stressful yet blissfully ignorant existence for quite a bit now, and I think I might be able to take in some of the news between naps :)
The site is mere days old, having launched on the auspicious date of 7/7/07. Yet in three days, the CaseyHaterz forum already boasts over six hundred registered members. The Dude has confessed that he's been a bit astounded by the turnout. Here's what he has to say about the community:
Anyone who's followed the Casey Saga knows, Casey himself labeled anyone who doesn't support his activities a Hater and nothing could be further from the truth. Haterz don't hate Casey, they disapprove of his actions towards his creditors and his family. He meant the term as an insult, but we elevated it to a badge of honor; standing up for what is right.
Casey tries to blame everyone else for his problems, but the fact remains, he and he alone is responsible for any issues he's facing.
Supporterz and Haterz alike are welcome here. We value all points of view and differing opinions. To join the conversation, you must first register an account. Follow the instructions, return, login, and join the conversation.
As The Dude implements new software changes, CaseyHaterz may have been inaccessible for a couple of hours today. If you, like me, are already a registered user and having trouble getting back into the system since the changeover, try the following:
1. Click here to be taken to the CaseyHaterz main page.
2. In the upper right-hand corner, look for the Log In link.
3. For me, my user name and password didn't work. If you're having the same problem, click "Have you forgotten your login information?"
4. This will prompt you for your user name and email address.
5. Within seconds, you should receive an email from CaseyHaterz with the subject line "Request for Password." If you do not see a response immediately, check your spam and bulk folders.
6. Use the temporary password with your already-existing user name to log in.
7. You will most likely have to upload your avatar again.
Good luck and happy snarking!
Of course, I didn't know that at first. And in one of our early emails, my fraud meter went off when Dustin Haywood mentioned that he had sold a significant quantity of homes over the past several years. Considering that he would have to be about the same age as Casey Serin (24, give or take) this is a remarkable accomplishment no matter who you are. Unfortunately, in the context of the Casey Serin story, it is also suspect. I had to ask:
Aspeth: When you say that you’ve sold 45 homes, I’m curious as to what exactly that means. Were they homes you sold for someone else? Flippers? FSBO’s? Doesn’t the California Department of Real Estate require that someone who sells over (x?) number of homes in a year be licensed? Are you licensed?
Dustin Haywood: My father is licensed, I am not. I might get a license in the future, but at this point my activities don't require a license. I spend most of my time generating leads, overseeing the work of our independent contractors, handle tech support around the office, monitor escrows, and a variety of other responsibilities that go into running a business of this nature.
Frankly, since I’d already looked for a DRE license for Dustin, I was happy to get a straight answer from him. (Sorry, Dustin. I’ll admit that I wasn’t yet giving you a lot of credit at that point.) In my defense, who knew that it was possible to get a direct and honest answer in Caseyworld?
Going back to Dustin Haywood’s first appearance at “I Am Facing Foreclosure,” he certainly came across as a huge cheerleader. Casey announced that he was going to work at the “Local Rich Dad” office and the crowd went wild. Everyone smelled another get-rich-quick scam or guru action. Dustin came on to explain some things further:
39. Dustin A.K.A. Rich Dad's son
October 22nd, 2006 at 8:50 pm
Hey, I’m the dorky looking guy in the picture in front of the car. Although I have been following this blog since it started to get really interesting about a month or two ago, this is my first comment as I really haven’t had anything to say that hadn’t already been said over and over again by all of the armchair life coaches out there. Now that Casey has moved into our office I think it is appropriate to add some context to Casey’s story and also answer some of the skeptics out there.
Yes, part of the reason why we are helping Casey help himself out of his mess is because we think other people might appreciate the opportunity to get a “hands on” Real Estate investing education from us at some point. As a reader of Casey’s blog you’ll actually be able to see how Casey’s thinking and real estate knowledge evolves over time and hopefully reaches the level of sophistication required to be successful in this business. We’re not going to muck up Casey’s blog with our BS, even if we wanted to Casey has too much integrity to allow us to do such a thing.
Another major motivation behind our alliance with Casey was his IT skill set that we are starting to desperately need to keep up with the times. Casey has agreed to help bring us up to date in this department over time.
Rich Dad or Cheap Dad?
Whatever Casey or you the reader wants to call him, it’s fine by us. My father is happy to help Casey with or without the attention from this blog. I’m sure his idenity will be revealed in time but he’s not quite willing to out himself quite yet.
The Cheap Dad comment isn’t accurate at all; he’s probably the most generous man I know. We didn’t give Casey a job for a reason: We have exactly ZERO employees and we’d like to keep it that way for now. Everyone is on commission or is contracted out as needed. If I can’t pick up a check every two weeks from my dad, Casey can’t either.
I’ll stop here for now. I’d like everyone who feels like they need to give Casey a hard time to lighten up a little about it, maybe even have a sense of humor about, we certainly do. He’s made some serious blunders this year and has gotten himself in more trouble then most of us will ever face, what kind of person would think it is appropriate to kick a man when he’s down?
Anyway, this blog will continue to be Casey’s creation, not mine. If I have anything to say I’m happy to do it here like everyone else. I think you’ll enjoy the content a whole lot more now that we’re in the picture. I honestly hope everything works out for the best, try to remember: The future has yet to be written, anything could happen at this point and your guess is as good as mine, but if you want my opinion I think this is shaping up to be a great come back story already.
Now before everyone freaks out, please remember that this was in October of last year. Casey Serin had yet to demonstrate a lot of his more unlikable qualities. He hadn’t yet been foreclosed upon multiple times, and he certainly hadn’t fled the country, leaving his wife to answer creditors’ phone calls. I truly believe that Dustin Haywood and his father were (and still are) sincere in wanting to help Casey Serin get back on track.
Aspeth: You and Casey Serin are approximately the same age, yet you have sold 45 homes while he has lost six houses to foreclosure. How did you and Casey approach the same industry with such drastically different results? I ask because that creates such a glaring contrast between the two of you, and puts you in a unique position to talk about the path that you observed him traveling.
Dustin Haywood: Well, when I met Casey in 9th grade, my father was essentially "set for life" financially. He knew the story of my father's success and I'm sure admired the freedom he had. Casey was a pretty sharp guy in high school, he got good grades, graduated a semester early, and as far as I can recall, kept his nose clean. He was able to teach himself a variety of computer and internet skill sets during this time and found decent paying IT work easily right out of high school. At one point, he even helped me get one of my first jobs at a Geek Squad type company that never made it off the ground.
As far as how the two of us approached the industry. I'll start with myself because I got into the business quite a few years before he did. Growing up I never intended to work for my father, I didn't even think it was even an option. In fact, when I graduated high school and started college, he was not actively investing in real estate.
During the year or two I attended college he attempted to start up some of his real estate investing techniques, but those efforts never led anywhere, as he tells it, he just didn't have the same drive to put in all the effort required to get the operation off the ground. Later that year, I was getting tired of college and was anxious to get my career started.
Without knowing if we would have any success, I offered to help my father with all of the tedious aspects of real estate investing in exchange for a percentage of any profit we made, and to my surprise he took me up on my offer. It took nearly 6 months to find our first "deal", meaning your typical fix n flip. Most of our buying and selling activity was between the summer of 2002 and early 2006. We saw the crash coming and got out when we could. We're currently in "buy and hold" mode and probably will be for quite some time. We see some great buying opportunities on the horizon.
In contrast, Casey decided to go it alone. He didn't have a mentor to teach him so he went to a lot of seminars and bought a lot of crap from gurus I explicitly warned him against. He even called me one time while he was attending a seminar to see if he could borrow $50,000 from me for some advanced seminar they were offering for some limited time of course. For the record, I told him no.
The biggest problem he had was that he was literally buying all of his "deals" at the top of the market. His second biggest problem, regardless of what the market was doing, was that he was overpaying, they were at best marginal "deals". He of course went on to make all of the other typical mistakes new investors tend to make, i.e. buying out of state, overpaying contractors, buying too many at once, etc...
Dustin mentioned in an early email to me that “Whatever you have said about Casey, I've said far worse to Casey's face.” I remembered a comment that Dustin left Casey at IAFF. I considered his remarks in November of 2006, and thought it important to include:
101. Rich Dad's Son
November 27th, 2006 at 3:49 pm
Come on Casey; If you’re turning to crap like “The Secret” for answers, you are barking up the wrong tree… again. There is no secret, no magic bullet, and no magic genie that will lead you to happiness and success.
You should be beyond the the Tony Robbins positive thinking stuff by now. (Besides, I think all that positive thinking might have hurt you more than it helped, but that’s just my take) Time to hunker down and do some real personal development. Check out “The Teaching Company” (teach12.com) - Maybe start with some of their economics lectures and go from there. (Science, Philosophy, History etc…)
Good luck, keep fighting, it’s not over yet!
Coming from anyone else, that would quickly be dubbed Haterz talk. So I wanted to ask Dustin what he thought of the term.
Aspeth: On a lighter note.... Casey has called his critics "haterz." The haterz have then called Casey's circle "supporterz" and "cheerleaderz." Do you think either of these labels apply to you?
Dustin Haywood: Funny, you mentioned this. I was probably the original "hater" in the sense that I was highly critical of the path he was taking during the early days of his real estate career. One night he called me asking for $50,000 dollars to purchase some "advanced" real estate seminar. You can imagine my reaction!
As for the actual term "hater" I may have been the one to use that phrase first during a early conversation regarding the comments section. I can't be sure, and it doesn't even really matter, but I've enjoyed using common slang around Casey because he originally spoke English as a second language and is quick to use and misuse his newly expanded vocabulary.
Am I still a Hater today? Probably so, but I still can't help but root for the underdog.
There’s more to this story, but this is already a long post, and there are still some holes that need to be plugged before I can continue. I appreciate your patience while I wait for Dustin’s response, and just want to remind everyone that he’s a successful entrepreneur who’s working his tail off. He hasn't gone all "pro blogger" on us, so he's not necessarily able to answer questions straight away.
Early readers of "I Am Facing Foreclosure" will recall that "Rich Dad" and "Rich Dad's Son" came into the picture in late October of 2006. The premise was that a high school friend's father was a successful real estate investor and had offered Casey Serin the opportunity to work alongside successful entrepreneurs and hopefully learn the fundamentals of business from them.
Casey Serin was to provide some technical support to the business and in return was given free office space. Casey took to calling the would-be mentor his "Rich Dad," after the Robert Kiyosaki book. His high school friend became, by extension, "Rich Dad's Son."
Around the beginning of June, I got an email from Dustin Haywood.
Hi, I'm the character known on Serin's blog as Rich Dad's son.
I like your take on the whole deal and I was wondering if your readers were interested in hearing from me?
Maybe I could help flush the story out for historical posterity as I have had a small yet influential role in all of this.
I haven't had the time to keep up with his blog as much as you and most of the regular readers/posters have, so there will be many things I can not comment on. I also have only seen or spoken to Casey a handful of times since he moved out of my office early this year. I can speak to how Casey and I met and became friends, what Casey was like in school, what renting a room out to Casey was like, how and why we grew apart, exactly how and why I helped him.
Don't expect a lot of venom from me, I still consider Casey a friend and I hope things work out for him.
Just so you know, you are the first and only blogger I have attempted to contact about this. If there is any interest, please let me know.
Me being me, I was naturally cynical and decided to ask a few questions. After all, I've never sugar-coated my belief that Casey Serin is a criminal and should be incarcerated for his crimes. As a friend of the fraudster's, particularly one whose father had played a guru role to Casey (according to Casey Serin, that is) why would he want to make nice with me?
Here's how the conversation with Dustin Haywood started out:
Aspeth: Thanks for the note. To answer your question, yes, I'm sure people would like to hear from you. My question for you is, why do you want to fill in your side of it? Why now?
Dustin Haywood: I noticed just the other day that my identity, along with my fathers had been revealed on Caseypedia and I'm sure elsewhere now as well. Now that we are "out of the closet" sort of speak, I'd like the opportunity to tell our side of the story now that our name is attached to it. I also understand a great deal of people find entertainment value in Casey's saga (I know I have), and I would like to reciprocate some of the enjoyment I've received from the community. I'm also a real estate insider, having bought and sold over 45 homes in the Sacramento area since I got started in this business 6 years ago, not to mention having the opportunity to closely observe my father grow his business during the last bear real estate market of the '90s. In that regard, I might be able to answer real estate related questions as well.
Aspeth: I'm glad you like my blog, but I'm sure that you've read some of my more unkind posts about Casey. So, while I would never expect you to adopt a similar tone, I'm curious why you would want to go through me.
Dustin Haywood: Whatever you have said about Casey, I've said far worse to Casey's face. Casey knows how I feel about his actions, but I see this period of his life as a dark time that many people face at some point in their life but eventually passes. The only difference is that Casey is allowing people to watch and participate on a grand level. I'm sure if he ends up going to prison, living in exile, or somehow pulling through, he'll be a better person because of it. The pressure he's been under the last 6-12 months is an unimaginable burden that has led him to make a lot of bad decisions and hurt of a lot of people around him. I know Casey, he's a well meaning person and a good friend, if anything he's a dupe and a patsy, not a criminal mastermind. Hard to hate someone you pity.
I wanted to go through you because of your intellectual appeal. I share many of your interests and appreciate your sense of humor. As far as your tone, I wouldn't be writing you if I thought it was over the top, you have every right for moral condemnation, as do all the so called "Haterz", but you go a step farther and try to determine what makes Casey tick. That's why I've come to you! I think once people understand what drives Casey, they will be better able to understand his behavior, and perhaps in a way their own. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can think of no better blog then yours to help further that discussion in a meaningful way.
Aspeth: If you've followed the goings-on with other former associates that have come out to tell their version of events, the response from the so-called "haterz" has been overwhelmingly positive.
Dustin Haywood: I have pretty thick skin, but the haterz really don't have a legitimate reason to hate me. I did what any decent person would do by extending some help to a friend in need. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't being completely altruistic as I was also betting my time and money that Casey would bring value to our business sometime down the road. Casey didn't rise to the challenge to put forth the effort necessary to make money for our business, thus he received nothing besides a free office for a couple months, as well as advice and direction, similar to the kind the "haterz" have been espousing and Casey has been rejecting.
Aspeth: There are probably details and minutiae that people will want to know more about. You might not be comfortable with some of those questions, particularly if they relate back to your father’s business.
Dustin Haywood: I'll be happy to answer intelligent well meaning questions about myself and my part in this story. My father is the most ethical, well meaning, squeaky clean person I've ever met, so he has little if anything to hide. If there’s any question about his privacy, I’ll run it past him first.
And since my name is now public, we can use my name. I always thought the Rich Dad moniker was kind of cheesy anyway.
I’ve been corresponding with Dustin for the better part of the past month. My impression of him is that he’s intelligent, well-spoken, and incredibly level-headed. He has responded to every question I’ve asked him in a deliberate and thoughtful manner, sometimes incorporating topics that I wouldn’t necessarily have considered germane.
But in Dustin’s telling, we see a more rounded view of Casey Serin. I don’t know that anyone’s opinion will change from reading Dustin’s take, but it’s a chance to see Casey through the eyes of a close friend—one who obviously still cares a great deal about him, and wants him to succeed.
I do think the ‘haterz’ will have a newfound appreciation for the nebulous character known as “Rich Dad’s Son.” He’s not a character, not a scammer, not part of some wannabe guru family. He is, in my opinion, a hard working, bright person who provides a sharp contrast to the ideals and implementation of Casey Serin.
Did you feel like you were going crazy?
You know?....Particularly when the woman with the question voice?
Just wouldn't stop talking?
You know the one?
Every sentence that came out of her mouth went up at the end?
So instead of making statements, she was asking questions?
And then she tried to talk Casey out of committing suicide?
Because she's had a lot of tragedy in her life?
And, you know, Casey Serin has never alluded to suicide?
But that didn't stop her?
And so, maybe you, like me, felt like YOU wanted to commit suicide?
Were thinking about the practicalities of balancing a shotgun in your mouth and pulling the trigger with your big toe?
Because this fucking person wouldn't shut the hell up?
And while you understood that she was delivering an anti-suicide speech, she was actually succeeding in advocating FOR suicide?
Because the longer she talked?
The more you were convinced you didn't want to live?
And you never knew it was possible to have a more annoying voice than Casey Serin?
But you found someone who did?
And you hope she never procreates?
And so on?
And so on?
And so on?
Oh, and did I mention?
I just say that because....?
Well, I once had a friend of a friend's hairdresser?
And her great-aunt once....?
And even though you've been lulled into some sort of hypnotic stupor?
You still want to blow your own head off in order to make her voice stop?
It's moments like this that makes me question why the Catholics can't understand that THIS is purgatory.....
On a completely different topic, someone who's been referred to as one of Casey Serin's supporterz is coming out of the woodwork.
Sociopaths are the individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder. In her book, The Sociopath Next Door, author Martha Stout points out that "We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but...the chief symptom is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse....they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt."
The author includes a checklist of sorts to identify a sociopath in your midst. "The 6-7 tell-tale signs of the typical sociopath--the irresponsibility, a lack of social-conscience, the inability to accept blame ("Because I didn't know what to do at the time..."), a delusional and overinflated opinion of oneself, ("After me, no one will want you...") attitude, the need to dominate, inability to compromise, the continuous need of affirmation from others, the habitual lying and covering up, and, of course, the complete and utter lack of remorse."
Anyone who's read Casey Serin's "I Am Facing Foreclosure" story will recognize many of these traits. So what are the exact characteristics of a sociopath? A basic overview of Antisocial Personality Disorder shows that:
"The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include a longstanding pattern of disregard for the rights of others. There is a failure to conform to society's norms and expectations that often results in numerous arrests or legal involvement as well as a history of deceitfulness where the individual attempts to con people or use trickery for personal profit. Impulsiveness if often present, including angry outbursts, failure to consider consequences of behaviors, irritability, and/or physical assaults.
Some argue that a major component of this disorder is the reduced ability to feel empathy for other people. This inability to see the hurts, concerns, and other feelings of people often results in a disregard for these aspects of human interaction. Finally, irresponsible behavior often accompanies this disorder as well as a lack of remorse for wrongdoings.
It is important to note that, in order for a conclusive diagnosis of APD, some or all of these traits must be apparent in adolescence. And from Casey Serin's first online Ponzi scheme at the age of 14, we see that the handwriting has been on the wall for over a decade.
This profile of a sociopath offers a clear picture of the sociopath in his daily life:
-Glibness and Superficial Charm.
-Manipulative and Conning.
-They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
-Grandiose Sense of Self. Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
-Pathological Lying. Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
-Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt.
-A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
-Shallow Emotions. When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
-Incapacity for Love.
-Need for Stimulation. Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
-Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
-Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature.
-Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency.
-Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
-Irresponsibility/Unreliability. Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
-Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle. Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
-Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility. Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
Other Related Qualities:
-Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
-Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
-Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
-Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
-Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
-Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
-Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
-Incapable of real human attachment to another
-Unable to feel remorse or guilt
-Extreme narcissism and grandiose
-May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
In regard to their work habits, sociopaths typically do not work. When they do, they are frequently absent or may quit suddenly. They will do this without regard to others' wishes or welfare. They often lie, both to gain personal pleasure and for profit.
Sociopaths may default on loans, fail to provide for their families, engage in high risk sexual behavior. Impulsiveness, failure to plan ahead, aggressiveness, irritability, irresponsibility, and a reckless disregard for their own safety and the safety of others are common traits of the antisocial personality.
For the untold dozens of people who have been trying to help Casey Serin, I'm sorry to tell you that it really is all for naught. Because one of the underlying traits of sociopaths is their delusion that they are better than everyone else, they are incredibly difficult to treat.
"Treatment for this disorder is very rarely sought. There is a limited amount of insight into the symptoms, and the negative consequences are often blamed on society. In this sense, treatment options are limited. Some research has found long term insight oriented therapy to be effective, but getting the individual to commit to this treatment is a major obstacle.
Prognosis is not very good because of two contributing factors. First, because the disorder is characterized by a failure to conform to society's norms, people with this disorder are often incarcerated because of criminal behavior. Secondly, a lack of insight into the disorder is very common. People with antisocial personality disorder typically see the world as having the problems, not him or herself, and therefore rarely seek treatment. If progress is made, it is typically over an extended period of time."
Additionally, this inability to form emotional attachments or bonds with others prevent people like Casey Serin from feeling any shame, guilt, or remorse. This is dangerous because these are the typical filters that prevent most human beings from engaging in actions that will damage those around them.
For those who have repeatedly stated that Casey Serin's critics are too harsh, the reality is that he will only stop this cycle of manipulation, confidence scams, theft, deception and other criminal activity when he is forced to stop. And this means prison. Casey Serin's behavior shows that he is unable or unwilling to stop himself from inflicting harm on his friends, family, or community.
Casey Serin needs to be removed from the population in order to be stopped from engaging in his sociopathic tendencies. If left to his own devices, even with the help and support of those around him, he will only continue to repeat these behaviors, convinced that he is entitled to do so.
Anyone else having an "aha" moment?
In reading or listening to Casey Serin interact with his audience, the conversation always follows a certain, telling, pattern. First, Casey Serin adopts a jovial approach to offset abject criticism. The most recent Foreclosure Friday Fraudcast offers as good an example as any.
Yeah, if you were my brother I would kick your mother-f*cking ass when you came home.
Oh. (laughing weakly) Really? You know what? They might be waiting for me, they might be with, you know, who knows what, so... we'll see."
When asked something he doesn't want to answer, he goes into a repetitive cycle of mirror questioning. This line of questioning is meant to both diffuse and distract the other party. In many cases, it is an attempt to get the other person to talk about themselves rather than Casey Serin:
Because it's not real entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is creating a product or service of genuine value that... is a new invention, is a new, is truly a new way of doing business. Something that nobody thought of before. You know, going out and taking all these loans out, and with the intent of flipping it on the ever-escalating rise of home prices: that is not based in reality, not based in income, it is pure speculation. It just creates damage and harm for people, like me, who -- for Christ's sake Casey, I make over six figures, all right? Full benefits, everything. And I can't even--
Yeah. You're set up nice, huh?
Yeah, I am. And you wanna know why? Because I worked hard--
Sweet cashflow coming in. Yeah.
Uh? Yeah, it's cashflow coming in, because it's money deposited to my account every two weeks.
Doing good, yeah."
Casey Serin also utilizes half-right reflexives, a form of questioning where one posits a half-truth in the form of a question in order to get the other party to agree. Take, for example, this back-and-forth.
But you can receive international calls on it [the prepaid Australian cell], so why don't you write CashCall an email and say "hey, what's up, why don't you try to figure out what's going on, obviously I'm making some sweet income on my ads on my blog right now, so why don't you just garnish my wages?" but, I don't know. Plus, by the way--
(speaking over HeyCasey) That's a good point, that's a good point, can't keep hiding under the rocks for too long, is that what you're saying?....
Exactly, you need to file personal gains tax, which I'm sure you haven't done in a year or so.
Yeah man, sweet! Yeah, I mean, the tax, you gotta pay that sweet tax, I mean, the IRS doesn't mess around, right?"
When backed into a corner, Casey Serin tends to drop his voice to create a false intimacy. This empathetic air is an attempt to diffuse the topic at hand, which I'm sure the Serin family has seen time and time again when Casey is painted into a corner. When Annie called in with some very pointed questions, this is how Casey Serin answered:
Okay. Now, do you feel comfortable-- I can't imagine anybody freeloading like you do, and asking people to pay your way, because that's, you've been asking people, "buy me a ticket", "let me visit your house", you know, "pay for this", "pay for that". At the same time, you're saying that you made two thousand dollars last week, you sent one thousand dollars home just now, so you're making money, why are you freeloading?
Okay. And then, that kinda angers you right? Why does that anger you?"
See what happens there? We've seen this a lot over the past ten months, when he flips something back on the other party--this isn't about me, this is about you. Let's talk about you. After all, everyone loves to talk about themselves.
Casey Serin continues his mirror questions, hoping to throw Annie off topic:
Okay, so it was okay with them. So, you leave on a Wednesday to go to Australia. Two days later it's Friday. Did you have a thousand dollars on the table at home?
Uh, what was that? Are you asking about the timing? When it all happened, or...?
No, no, no! I'm being very clear, I'm being extremely clear. You left to go to Australia on a Wednesday, right?
Um, I think so. Is that what it was?"
Yet when Annie doesn't let it go, Casey shifts into victim mode:
But you said last week you made two thousand dollars! So, last week, where's the two thousand dollars from last week?
Well yeah, I made two thousand dollars, to transfer it, it takes two business days for it to transfer, I mean, that's all process. So, are we splitting hairs here? (ignores Annie's vehement 'No.') You're trying to put me in a corner like that guy on Triple J did."
When Annie still doesn't take the bait, Casey Serin becomes contemptuous and his demeanor shifts to a sense of "you're such a peon you could never understand such complex doings." See for yourself:
No, I'm not putting you in a corner, I'm asking you a very simple question, and the question is, last week--
(interjects) Of course, very simple to you!
(continues) You made two thousand dollars, and then, where, what day did you put that money in the bank? What day did the money clear? And then, what--
(interrupts, exasperated) Annie, what am I gonna do, give an accounting of every minute and every little dollar I spent? I mean, come on. I'm telling you what I did, you don't believe me, you're trying to trip me up somehow, what's the point of this?
I'm not trying to trip you up--
(irritated) Honestly, honestly, you don't believe me! You wouldn't continue asking me if you believed me. You simply don't believe me, which is fine, just say it like that.
Well I don't believe you! And how can anybody believe you? (forges on despite Casey's 'There you go!') You're not giving me or anybody else a straight answer. If you want us to believe you, then you've got to say something that's useful.
Well look, look, I'm not looking at everything, all the figures in front of me right now, I'm telling you what I did. I don't have the exact hours, and minutes, and dollar figures in front of me right now. So I'm telling you what was done, you don't believe me because you think I'm lying, or this and that... but I mean, clearly, that's fine. You asked your questions--
Well you! You have a history of lying. You have a history of--
(chuckling) Alright, alright, fine. Yes, I'm a criminal, right, I'm a scam-- I'm a fraud, I'm a conman, yeah, what else am I?"
Finally, Casey Serin's frustration throws his own game off, and he reveals his sense of entitlement, in a couple of sentences that suggest "I'm smarter and better than you, and good things will come my way because I deserve that to happen."
I wouldn't say that, but going back to the begathon, you begged people and asked people to pay for your, you know, CashCall, 'cause they were calling--
Yeah! And that pisses you off because I'm able to do that! What is wrong with me giving a service for money? Nothing! It's business! It's business."
This is a pattern of manipulation that we've seen time and time again with Casey Serin. First, deflect--make a joke out of a serious topic, then laugh along with it. If that doesn't work, shift into mirror questions in the hope the other party takes the bait and starts talking about him/herself. Combine that with some half-right reflexives to get the other party back on the same page with you.
Round three is to play the victim, asking the other party why they continue to persecute with the repeated line of questioning. And the final straw is to walk away, stating that "you just don't understand" because the topic at hand is obviously too complex for the questioning party to grasp.
And I've always had a vague sense that I'd seen it somewhere before. In reading Caseypedia's excellent transcript of the fraudcast, it finally occurred to me what the missing link most likely is. It's something that I first picked up on when reading through the nightmarish quagmire of Casey Serin's del.icio.us bookmarks, which showed that he was reading up on "How To Read People for Profit."
Since this post is already pretty long, see the next post for the answer...
I posted yesterday about Casey Serin's plans to hustle his way around the globe. And I still stand by the information as it was relayed. There were always going to be two problems with posting that info....first and foremost, anything that originates from Casey Serin is suspect. We've seen him lie, cheat, and steal for the past ten months, even when it directly impacts his own family.
The second issue stemmed from the timing. I knew it was coming out on the cusp...but on the cusp of what was the question. The whole scenario was definitely at a crossroads. In my mind, it was worth publishing in the event that he had decided to persue his harebrained scheme of a worldwide media tour.
I'd rather be wrong about a timeline than read the latest about Casey Serin posting from Japan or Indonesia, lining up new pigeons along the way. And for the record, Casey missing the July 5 deadline was my guess, no one else's.
I can't imagine that, if Casey Serin is indeed home, that it will be a very happy homecoming. The family has to be absolutely livid, his wife exponentially more so. On the other hand, Mark Villasenor is probably dancing with glee.
Will Casey Serin actually meet a deadline and appear in Superior Court to answer Mark's charges? Oh, god, I hope so. Casey seems physically incapable of telling the truth, so if Mark Villasenor is able to provide the court with the documentation that proves Casey Serin's multiple frauds and continued criminal enterprises, it will be an Independence Day of a whole new shade.
I've got to be in the office early today, as a whole slew of meetings and conference calls await. It's my own fault that I let my looser W-2 job get in the way of important blogging. But Rob Dawg says he's got a bombshell to drop today, so the week should start off with a bang.
A few interested parties started forwarding me some information about Casey Serin's Australia trip, several weeks ago. Each one asked that I hold off posting anything about these plans, in the hope of talking some sense into the wayward fraudster. Now that Casey Serin is claiming to be headed directly back home, one of these parties has given the green light to fill in some blanks.
True to form of mining his Inbox for gold nuggets, Casey Serin has been searching for offers of housing throughout the world. He had previously posted on his website, "I Am Facing Foreclosure" that he was open to accepting housing offers from his readers, if anyone would allow him to stay at their homes.
Some newbies bit, thinking that Casey Serin was just a misguided and somewhat lost kid who was probably in need of a hot meal and some words of wisdom. Other offers came from folks who had been following Casey Serin's story for a while, who thought it might be a laugh to meet the "World's Most Hated Blogger" in person.
There are still others, those who have been helping Casey Serin with his website and various other enterprises while he's touring Australia. Casey has managed to keep in contact with them more frequently and consistently than his own wife and family. And even they think that's pretty seedy.
(Note to Casey Serin: You think Mark Villasenor has it out for you? You don't even know the half of it. You're trusting people who shouldn't be trusted further than they can be kicked. The haterz called it from the beginning. But once again, great judgement on your part!)
Showing his usual lack of discretion, Casey Serin started working his contacts to see what he could get. While he's telling the world that he's headed back to California, Casey Serin is actually trying to couch-surf his way around the world.
He felt pretty solid after getting some sweet media attention upon arrival in Australia. He hopes to travel the world, duplicating this media exposure in every country he visits. According to Casey, this will earn him new advertisers in each place he travels, as well as attract some new nefarious business contacts, which we all know by now means collecting some new marks along the way.
While Casey Serin's own wife, Galina Serin, cannot reach him via phone during his travels, those whom he considers to be in his inner circle have had fairly free and unfettered access to the amateur con artist and admitted mortgage felon.
Note to Galina Serin: While your husband is not so inclined to answer his Aussie cell since the haterz leaked the number (yes, it is 042 441 5051, but he's looking for another one now) you can reach him on Skype with the username "caseyserin." Redirect some of those CashCall calls there, and let your husband have a taste of what you've been dealing with in his absence.
There are plenty of, frankly, fools out there who are willing to let Casey Serin come into their lives and homes. So while Mama Serin may be offering a return flight home, Casey Serin has been telling others that he will divert those funds to a different destination entirely.
At this point, don't expect him home for Mark Villasenor's July 5 deadline, or any others. He's convinced that there are untold thousands of dollars (big thinker, he) to be mined from what he considers to be a media tour of the world.
(A sidenote: Until I'd caught up on a few of Rob's posts at EN this morning, I didn't realize that the Serin family didn't have a way to contact Sercasey. I knew there was a lack of contact on both sides, but assumed it was mutual. Had I known, I would have forwarded the phone number and Skype contact to the family via Duane LeGate or Rob Dawg.)
But in real life, many police officers exhibit that they do not have the judgement to carry an loaded weapon in public. Now don't get me wrong. This is not a cop-bashing post. But it is a post to question where we draw the line. What should be done when an officer exhibits behavior that indicates he or she does not have the necessary judgement to wear a badge?
Incidents of excessive force occur everyday in the United States. And every once in a while, those incidents are captured on film for the world to see and judge. Just such a thing happened on June 21, the day now known as "Go Skateboarding Day." This day was created by skateboard advocates, and has been formally instituted by the U.S. Congress.
But in Hot Springs, Arkansas the day didn't go so well. A group of skaters was stopped by a local police officer, who put one of the young men to the ground and held him there by his throat. This image was captured on one of the skaters' cell phones, and two other kids quickly turned on their video cameras.
For those who haven't noticed, the video camera has been a ubiquitous tool in a skater's life since the devices were first available on the shelves of electronics stores. It's always good to have a record of yourself pulling an insane trick that you might not ever again duplicate, film your friends eating pavement as they try to outdo you, and maybe, just maybe, you might eventually get noticed and sponsored.
In this case, the students filmed a disgusting case of a local cop using bizarrely excessive force on this group of kids. The point of contention here seems to be that the officer was trying to stop, or even cite, the kids for skateboarding in a place that wasn't zoned for it. But it ended with police officer Joey Williams grabbing no fewer than three kids by their necks, some of them as young as 13.
The kids' videos were, of course, immediately posted to YouTube. It's not the Rodney King beating by any stretch, but take a look and judge for yourself if this should fall into either category of "excessive force" or "police brutality."
The first thing that struck me is the sheer size difference between this cop and the kids. The second, and the thing that has everyone up at arms, is his putting a 13-year old girl in a headlock, particularly when she looks like she weighs about 80 pounds. Officer Joey Williams has to be at least three times her weight.
AP articles say that the choke hold on the girl actually lifted her feet off the ground. That's obviously some really good police work in action. I also noticed that when Officer Joey Williams had the two kids in a headlock, there was another police officer standing next to him, who obviously didn't feel that the situation warranted his stepping in, as he stands to the side, looking like he doesn't want any part of this.
With nearly a million page views as of this writing, the YouTube video is getting a lot of air time. On the noticed and sponsored
blog, participants had some insightful comments from citizens across the United States and abroad. Some of my favorites:
"...you do blame the cop, for a wildly disproportionate response to the situation. He probably walked by three dozen violations of nitpicky city ordinances before he decided choking a 13-year-old was a good idea."
"So cops are allowed to choke minors who violate a city ordinance? No one in the video was "resisting arrest" -- that little girl surely wasn't. Just because someone may be violating a fucking ordinance doesn't give cops the right to rought them up. Also, isn't violation of a city ordinance usually punishable by fine, not arrest?"
"And nothing in the video indicates that the girl was under arrest when she decided to run....So he put a teenage girl in a headlock without cause.... I think that's over the line."
"I love the "resisting arrest" line thrown in there. As Americans is it not our right and duty to resist unlawful arrest?"
In response to the widespread attention that the video has gotten Mayor Mike Bush told the Associated Press that "Unfortunately, the video shows it pretty good....Bush called Williams "one of 100 best and finest we've got" in the city's police department."
Here's the only really funny part of this story, and one I haven't seen noted anywhere else. Consider Mayor Bush's statement, then read this statement taken verbatim from the Hot Springs website:
"The 99-officer Police Department provides basic police services in addition to various other special community programs such as Drug Awareness, Neighborhood Watch, Personal Safety, Housewatch, and Home/Business Security Analysis."
On the same website, there is a special section called the Mayor's Youth Council. Not surprisingly, no results were found for the search of "police choking."
Officer Joey Williams has been placed on administrative leave (which, if you ask me, is a euphemism for paid vacation) while higher powers investigate the incident. But what more can be said after watching the video? Why should this officer continue to have power, authority, and lethal weapons on the streets of America?
If the way this officer handled the situation is ultimately deemed appropriate, does that give me the right to make a citizen's arrest when someone mouths off? Because by Officer Jackboot McOverreact's standards, this would be disturbing the peace. Can I then throw that individual in a headlock, or push him to the ground and hold him by his neck in the name of persuing said citizen's arrest?
Of course, I'm a "civilian," which is police-speak for "the law applies to you and not me." I thought it would be interesting to see what other officers were saying about this incident, and when I came across some of their comments, my stomach turned.
It's unfortunate that these comments will likely reinforce many people's views that police are corrupt, uneducated, and abuse their powers ad infinitum. These comments are not meant to reflect the feelings or opinions of all police officers on the topic. But out of the hundreds of statements I read, I found exactly two officer comments that were flatly critical of Joey Williams:
"azcop2...Leaving a handcuffed suspect behind while you chase another one? Trying to take TWO kids into custody simultaneously (and looking like a fool in the process? Forget the punks, this cop is in serious need of officer safety re-trainig AND temper control."
"emore66...I dont know...Officer looked foolish...I think you have to pick your battles kids riding skateboards on sidewalk not sure it is worth it...I guess what town you work for dictates..."
Other officers did not give their whole-hearted support for Joey Williams, but their dissent fell largely into the "procedural" category:
"JP1...Even after watching a video that the kids "edited", my comment is that they deserved everything they got. Had this happened with one of my officers when I was Chief, I'd of had some serious talks with parents. (However, I would not have left a handcuffed kid on the sidewalk while I chased off another one. We would have found out who he was and got him later.)"
"lupd...looks like the punks needed more than what they got...that said there were some tactical errors on the officers part, but nothing that would be considered police brutality."
"cpd6a2...completely baited! Piece of crap kids need a major spanking. It was nothing but a big joke for them. Officer never should have left a handcuffed kid on the ground by himself to chase after another. Get help and then deal with the rest."
"DetSgt31...Write the kids' tickets for skateboarding, pull the parents in for raising such brats. The problem lies with the parents also, hold them directly responsible. Maybe a trip to the woodshed for Mom and Dad will get them thinking."
"orchevycop...Wow, skateboarding must be an arrestable offense there. Officer might be in the right, but he need some more training in verbal encounters."
Unfortunately, the vast majority of police officer comments read more like these. In considering the tone and intent of these comments, I think that cities and counties across the nation should begin to seriously consider regular and repeated psychological profiles of their officers.
I don't mean that in a humorous tone whatsoever. The reality is that if cops are thinking this way about their jobs and their concepts of what falls into that category is so incredibly broad-based and out of line, we really need some monitoring in place before we send these people out into the streets to utilize their so-called judgement, while heavily armed, in split-second scenarios.
Again, you may judge for yourself. (A sidenote: between the Mayor of Hot Springs and these officer comments, my overriding sense at this point is that it's a story fraught with poor grammar.)
"cross_rifles: Got to do what ya got to do!"
"OHDEP76...All they had to do was comply in an orderly manner and the situation would never have escalated. The officers may have been on the aggressive side, but within reasonable force for sure."
"88pdx...One easy word to learn: COMPLY!"
"pcpc601...hey turd, ya know what failure to comply is?!? if ya didn't, now you do..."
By far the worst comments, in my opinion, are the ones that advocate "ass kickings" to compensate for what they perceive as poor parenting:
"jcarnes718...I didn't see anything wrong on the Officers part. These teenagers think they can do whatever they want to whom ever. I think an ass whipping needs to be handed down to these punks."
"Bears:...When the parent fails the Police step in to do what is needed."
"Bodie: Nothin' Wrong Here...Nothing wrong here that I see. Kids gotta grow up and take an ass kickin' sometime if parents ain't doin' it it's up to the police. It's the parents tax dollars at work."
I have to say that I find these statements to be chilling. It's easy to chalk this kind of bravado up to officer banter, but the real concern is that these people really think that their job is not to protect and serve; not to keep the peace; not to enforce laws; they're saying that it is their job to kick someone's ass to catalyze certain behaviors.
In watching this video, it seems that Officer Joey Williams falls into this category. This outrageous abuse of power didn't stem from enforcing laws or getting dangerous thugs off the street. It was driven purely from Joey Williams' own ego. He didn't like that the kids questioned his authority and he was going to show them that he was da man.
Because this out of control police officer has not been fired, or heaven forbid, at least suspended without pay, the City of Hot Springs, Arkansas hereby wins the Jackass of the Week Award.
These colorful images represent a fun summer party to some, while others see the images as proof that homosexuality is indecent and immoral. In fact, these images are controversial even within the gay community, as more conservative folk dislike and even resent the more salacious images projected to the world.
What Gay Pride represents can often be lost in the roar of motorcycles and the thumping of club music pounding from floats. In fact, the most telling representations might just be in the somewhat nondescript participants in every Pride event throughout America. Today you will find various churches, public officials and a variety of unlikely supporters marching in the nation's Pride Parades.
During San Diego's Pride Parade, the whistles and cheers come to a still quiet when one group marches down University Avenue. And every year, it can only mean one thing--PFLAG is coming down the street. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is often comprised of senior citizens in t-shirts and knee-length shorts, looking like they're getting ready for a day of gardening or sightseeing.
Instead, they hold up signs that express love for a gay child. Messages on colored posterboard say things like "My gay son Rob means the world to me!" This tribute always quiets the party atmosphere as spectators choke back tears and clap enthusiastically.
The respectful silence is a quiet acknowledgement of the many participants who have been shunned by their own families after coming out. And it is telling that for the thousands of parade participants and spectators, only a very small fraction of these parents are present.
This type of public support for the gay community would have been unthinkable were it not for the event alternately called the Stonewall Rebellion, or Stonewall Riots. Like every quest for civil rights in the United States, the build-up to Stonewall stemmed from the often shocking and bizarre mistreatment of a group of people.
As gay establishments quietly operated in cities across the nation, police conducted regular raids. Simply being on site was justifiable cause for police to fingerprint, photograph, and often publish this information in local newspapers. In New York City at the time, a bar could have its liquor license revoked for "knowingly serving three or more homosexuals at a time."
During the early hours of June 28, 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. While patrons were used to such raids and typically allowed police to hustle them into paddywagons, this time they resisted arrest. Police were outnumbered as the crowd hurled stones and bottles, and officers eventually locked themselves into the Stonewall Inn itself.
As police called for the riot squad--which had previously been trained to squelch Vietnam protests--Stonewall Inn patrons used a parking meter as a battering ram in an attempt to re-enter the bar, and some even tried to set the club on fire. Word quickly spread through the neighborhood and Village locals came to join the rebellion. (Yes, I know...this spot is prime for an "angry Villagers" joke, but I'll withhold out of respect.)
Several hours later, the riot police had beaten, arrested, and dispersed the crowd. But many Christopher Street locals returned for the next several evenings in open defiance to the city and police, with similar results. In all, the Stonewall Rebellion would last for five nights.
While gay activism was not borne out of the Stonewall Rebellion, it certainly catalyzed the movement. A dam had burst and gays and lesbians refused to live by a different set of societal rules any longer. Some historical accounts say that flyers were circulated later in the summer to organize activists. It read "Do you think homosexuals are revolting? You bet your sweet ass we are!"
The following year, the Gay Liberation Front organized a march to be held on June 28 to commemorate the Stonewall Rebellion. That same weekend, organizers in San Francisco held a "Gay-In," while activists in Los Angeles marched in support of Stonewall as well.
To commemorate the 30th anniverary of the rebellion, the Stonewall Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Around the 35th anniversary of Stonewall, some officers on the scene that first night broke their silence and spoke about the events. One policeman called Stonewall the "Gay Alamo," and told the NY Blade that "he likes people who will fight back for themselves, and that night was the first time he saw gay people fight back."
The Pride Parades are about much more than feather boas and flamboyance. Nearly forty years later, the fact that our country heatedly debates topics such as gay marriage is both exasperating yet shows how far tolerance has come since the nights of the Stonewall Rebellion.
If your only exposure to Gay Pride is a brief video clip on your local news, I hope the quickie history lesson gives you a better context of the festivities. And to my friends who are celebrating this month, Happy Gay Day.
One such book that I’ve recently come across is The Professor and the Madman. In truth, I don’t know that I would have picked this one up on my own. I received it as a present, which makes me wonder if the gift-giver might not know me, in this sense, a little better than I know myself.
Subtitled “A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary,” it might have languished on the bookstore shelves as one of the “high-fiber” options that I feel like I should read, but just never get around to doing so. In this case, the gift-giver’s enthusiasm convinced me to dive right in.
And I am so glad I did. Author Simon Winchester takes a topic that could easily be dry and academic, but instead paints a fantastic historical perspective in which the events take place. His descriptions of 19th century England are vivid and insightful, painting an incredible backdrop to a truly bizarre tale.
His look into the creation of the renowned Oxford English Dictionary points out that creating this first English language dictionary was one of the most ambitious literary projects ever undertaken. In a quest to document and track changes to the English language, the first OED was slated to take a decade to complete. Seventy-one years later, the project would finally be published for the first time, its founding father dead for three decades.
The Oxford English Dictionary has continued to evolve, adding words to its pages as we add them to our vocabularies. This enormous undertaking today stands at twenty volumes, 145 pounds, and a staggering price tag to match.
But Simon Winchester’s book isn’t merely about words. It’s about the strange collaboration between Professor James Murray, head of the OED’s oversight committee, and Dr. W.C. Minor--an American, a Civil War Veteran, an expatriate living in England.
When Professor Murray set off to finally meet the good doctor with whom he had been corresponding for the previous twenty years, he found yet another moniker to add to the list, which becomes the basis of this remarkable book.
In the foreward of this book, the Professor sets off on a journey to visit Dr. Minor, and is met at the railway station by a coachman who ushers the guest into a carriage. They pass through rural English countryside, and arrive at an imposing mansion. Professor Murray is shown into a study where he meets a regal man he naturally assumes is Dr. Minor.
“There was a brief pause, a momentary air of mutual embarrassment. A clock ticked loudly. There were muffled footsteps in the hall. A distant clank of keys. And then the man behind the desk cleared his throat, and he spoke:
‘I regret, kind sir,that I am not. It is not at all as you suppose. I am in fact the Governor of the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Dr. Minor is most certainly here. But he is an inmate. He has been a patient here for more than twenty years. He is our longest-staying resident.’”
The author finishes this section of the foreward by telling readers that “Although the official government files relating to this case are secret, and have been locked away for more than a century, I have recently been allowed to see them. What follows is the strange, tragic, yet spiritually uplifting story they reveal.”
Simon Winchester’s lively narrative makes this a page-turning book that winds up being a fairly quick read. Thankfully, he’s produced another novel on the same topic. While I have not yet read this follow-up to The Professor and the Madman, I am excited about the prospect of reading this next book as well.
The Meaning of Everything takes a closer look at what actually went into the creation of such an ambitious publication. We learn about the difficulty in tracking this voluminous creation, in the hands of hundreds of volunteers spread across thousands of miles.
In creating the OED, some sacks of documents were lost in transit after being nibbled by mice. Others were simply misplaced. Once the tens of thousands of documents arrived to their destination at the tin shed deemed the “Scriptorium,” they were hand-sorted into pigeonhole slots. J.R.R. Tolkien was just one such volunteer on the project.
While summertime reading often drifts off into the mindless, Simon Winchester is an author who writes with a vivid, well-paced style. His works offer readers the opportunity to learn about a deeply wonky topic without ever adopting the approach of a textbook. In other words, perfect reading for a quiet evening on the porch with a glass of something cold
I haven't spent a lot of time at EN lately. The sheer volume of posts and comments have been difficult to keep up with. So imagine my surprise when I read through several posts and find Nigel and some Haterz yukking it up.
To clarify, in just March of this year, Nigel Swaby, a licensed mortgage broker who has access to financial and credit software, decided to post the identities of three frequent posters at EN. I don't know if he abused his professional position in order to triangulate his information. But it is incredibly unsettling that someone in this position would do that, particularly considering the "grand offense" that catalyzed his actions. Per Nigel:
"...Finally, one hater impersonated me on IAFF. Unfortunately for him, I knew who he was. So I made a comment at IAFF to clear my name. I “outed” said hater and EN erupted. They emailed my boss and some other people unrelated to my company. They “reported” me to the State board - Your action was childish and vindictive. I have reported you to your state board.
The “outed” hater called me the next day. Do you know what he did? He apologized. We had a good talk about the whole thing and he apologized. He asked me to remove reference to him at IAFF and do you know what? I did.
As far as my boss [at Integrity First Financial] goes, he had this comment - I looked at your post 109 and fell off my chair. Great humor, way to put the dweeb in his place. This whole blog thing is a frickin hoot! Happy traffic!"
So whomever Nigel spoke with apologized for utilizing the user name Nigel Swaby in the comments section of the website "I Am Facing Foreclosure." In return, Nigel Swaby posted pictures and brief bios on these people, who, to my knowledge, don't even maintain blogs...they were just regulars to comment at ExUrbanNation.
Considering this history, I was confused as I read through EN and noticed Nigel Swaby and some of the "Haterz" being pleasant to one another. I decided to poll the audience for answers:
"I'm unclear as to where all the Nigel love has come from of late. Do people have such short memories that everyone has forgotten the outings, the "full of hate" comments, the sneering "I don't like you" bullshit?
I'm just not on board. Because, Nigel, it seems you've been playing both sides against the middle since the beginning. This latest outpouring of hand-holding around the campfire seems to coincide with KC officially kicking you out of his inner circle. So is this just any port in a storm?
I don't see any grand revelations coming from you...merely confirmations of things already proven as fact. Why take so long to divulge what are some inconsequential factoids? Why still pandering (like way back on the SDCIA boards) with the "I'll post that later...patience" routine?"
The first person to respond said, "Congratulations are in order to everyone that caught on early, you clearly are more 'people smart.' Some of us are not. The shame of that is punishment enough, no?"
I can't answer that, because it's a logical fallacy. This isn't about kicking someone when he's down. Because Nigel Swaby wasn't just Casey Serin's biggest cheerleader. He was a vindictive, awful man-child who went out of his way to publish information about prominent Casey Serin critics in the hope of intimidating them into silence.
That's not an "oops!" offense.
In response to my query at EN, Nigel Swaby responds:
I think the change in attitude came from the 2nd haterzcast I called in on. Yes, I supported Casey publicly and privately for far too long. I probably would have continued to do so had he not abandoned his wife. I have a real problem with that.
The change in tone has come in part because people now see me as a real human being and no longer as some sort of character or caricature. I'm an honest person and have been sharing what I can to paint a clearer picture of what's been going on. I've protected Casey in the past when I probably shouldn't have.
Like Mark, Duane and even yourself I now think Casey needs to be stopped. I didn't consider him dangerous before, but now he's hurting real people. He's shirked all consequences to date and now I am doing my part as probably his strongest online supporter to show the world what he truly is: a deluded, selfish child that needs to grow up and face his mistakes."
So, wait...Nigel made a phone call, pulled a few jabs at himself and now it's all Kumbaya and s'mores?
"I Like M. Singh" pointed out that Nigel Swaby has offered no apologies for his previous behaviour, saying
"Please accept this note in support of your comments regarding MR SWABY. We have seen three of his 'outed' publicly "forgive", though not in so many words, MR SWABY's nefarious actions. My response to this is, for one, there remains the nice gentleman with the Scion and the Comics, and two, it was still a wrong act in principle and no public apology has been proffered- only a veiled suggestions that perhaps MR SWABY has grown from this experience, and so on.
I am one of those that MR SWABY compared to rats being shone light upon."
I was interested to hear Nigel Swaby's response to these, and other criticisms that have been levied against him. I asked the following, but not surprisingly, Nigel Swaby decided to lurk rather than respond.
"As I've stated before in my award-winning blog, I've always found it incredibly dodgy that a mortgage lender would befriend and defend a mortgage fraudster. And that was just confirmed with your comment, Nigel, that only now is KC "hurting real people."
Was he somehow not hurting real people by appropriating $2.2 million from various banks? Was he not hurting real people by letting those properties fall into disrepair and fall into foreclosure?
Lawnmower man, I appreciate your point but no, I didn't see any revelations. There had already been much talk of KC shopping for a million-plus w/cashback, even before the Utah trip. To say that speculation over Nigel's boss being "g" is what prompted that is utter bullocks. That speculation has been going on for months...again, it only comes out after KC kicks Nigel out of the clubhouse.
Thanks for the clarification, ILMS. I was wondering if an apology had been proffered for the outings. I mean, Jesus, Nigel...you outed a FED! The idea that someone with gov't-issued professional licensure would do such a thing is beyond the pale!"
Nigel Swaby has tried to make nice with with Casey Serin's critics several times before, most notably when Casey gave him the boot by tossing out their business agreement. In short order, Nigel returned to his petulant thin-skinned ways.
We are often, in life, required to suspend disbelief in order to grasp a clearer picture of any particular situation. For me, I suspend disbelief in the early stages of the relationship. And when behaviors repeat themselves, it becomes easier to determine who the person is behind the social mask.
If someone I knew of but didn't know personally were to walk up and slap the person standing next to me, I would not only form an opinion, I wouldn't avail myself to be party to such a circus again.
In much the same manner, Nigel Swaby could be a multi-faceted person that becomes more agreeable as you get to know him. But based on the past behaviour that Nigel has exhibited, I've experienced all I can stomach, and I'd rather stick with my well-formed opinion than volunteer to be batted about.
First, there were Nigel Swaby's attempts to slough off Casey Serin and make nice with the critics, who saw through his antics as just another attempt to whore for attention and drive traffic to his multiple blog drivel. He straddled the fence between the two camps, eventually switching back to Team Casey, only to recently be publicly disparaged by the Boy Wonder.
Things were quiet along the western front, until a strong wind blew in from the south. Duane LeGate was the next to go public, refuting Casey Serin's troll on the "I Am Facing Foreclosure" site that he was (pout) thinking about shutting down the blog.
Duane offered a great deal of insight into his role with Casey--and what he demanded in return. One of the few strangers to approach Casey Serin without an outstanding agenda of his own, Duane LeGate demanded that Casey start to live up to his adult responsibilities. When Casey continued his dance of deceiving and ignorning, Duane decided to go public.
Casey Serin's brother, Steve Serin, popped up next in a Friday Night Fraudcast. Like Duane LeGate, the guy was obviously trying to rattle his older brother in an attempt to have Casey Serin realize just how desperate his life had really become.
LossMitPro (Mark Villasenor in the real world) started to dance on the dark side after Casey Serin went into supporterz-ignore mode with him. As his moniker suggests, this loss mitigation specialist was working with Casey to get the half-million or so in outstanding payments down to manageable nuggets.
Like all who came before him, Casey Serin fucked this supporter as well. And apparently the new affiliation with Marty Stewart and his vague threats of lawsuits, DMCA complaints, et al, have sent Mark Villasenor into seizures of glee.
Because Mark Villasenor has always seemed to want to have a good fight with someone. And the Marty Stewart-Casey Serin posturing provided him with a great opportunity to flex some legal muscle.
Mr. Villasenor fired off an "I dare you" letter to Casey Serin and Marty Stewart. In essence, it's a response to the copyright claim that the dynamic dumbasses are making in regard to Casey Serin's "brain dump" recordings. Mark Villasenor counters that they are in fact evidence of Casey Serin's multiple crimes, and because of that cannot be copyrighted.
Giving both Casey Serin and Marty Stewart the big middle finger, Mark reposted the recordings for "public inspection." It had been theorized that "LossMitPro" was working, not for Casey Serin, but for his lenders, to ensure that Sercasey did indeed pay his debts. The message on Mark's company website confuses that theory.
What Mark Villasenor has said is that he's chomping at the bit for Casey Serin, Marty Stewart or the combination to sue him. He even says that if they don't sue him that he may initiate a case himself.
While this sounds, and perhaps is, a bit fucking crazy, it seems that Mr. LossMitPro is calling what appears to be a huge bluff. Casey Serin has too much to hide, and sitting through depositions would not only require him to travel back to California from his little hideout in Australia, it would force him to reveal, under oath, the details of all the shady dealings he's been doing for the past year and a half. Perhaps longer.
It's an incredibly interesting twist in the Casey Serin saga. And it will be crazy to see it all play out. Certainly, Marty Stewart may have lost some of his plucky backtalk as the week ends.
While I have no first-hand knowledge, I've heard it said over the past year that if you save the cheerleader, you save the world. I don't know if this is true or not, but one thing long-time "haterz" do know--it really is harder than it looks to keep a cheerleader on Team Casey Serin.