Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thank you, Ayn Rand

I had lunch yesterday with a man who just two weeks previous had been my adversary. His is an attorney, and he and his two attorney partners sat in front of me for two days of depositions lasting 12 hours in a giant lawsuit against me and my company. A court reporter was present while the 3 men asked me hundreds of questions about my finances and operations and taxes for the previous four years. The 3 men were trying to find "hidden" money that they could take from me, my family and my business.
They found no hidden money. There was no hidden money.
The lawsuit was frivolous, and this was implicitly acknowledged by 2 of the 3 men several times. But this did not keep them from pursuing me, my family and my business.
After the 3 men and I settled the lawsuit at the end of the two days of drilling, I walked to the parking lot. The man I had lunch with walked to the parking lot with me to my car and insisted on carrying the heaviest part of the two boxes of paperwork I'd taken to the deposition.
When we got to the car, he asked me to lunch one day. I must've looked a bit incredulous because he quickly said, "I've never met anyone quite like you. I've done hundreds of depositions and seen thousands of pieces of testimony and I've never seen anyone as confident and yet still nice, like you. I want to talk to you for a while about your Objectivism."
Though I was still upset about the deposition and the whole lawsuit, I agreed.
So we had lunch. At a steakhouse, where he picked up the tab, he asked me about every aspect of Objectivism. He poked and prodded looking for inconsistencies. He carried out my explanations to their obvious conclusions. He is a Catholic.
Afterward, he said, "I want to let you know that I have a profound respect for you. I had it at the depositions, and I have more of it now, now that I've met you personally. I still have my faith, but you've given me much to think about. I want to thank you for that."
And I want to thank Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Soylent Green is regulators

I lost $55,000 today.
Well, not exactly. I have been trying for three months to get my real estate franchise operation past regulators in the Marxist state of California, and today I found out from my franchise attorney that a certain regulator in charge of our case turned us down until we explain in greater detail exactly what my franchise operation is offering for people who buy a franchise, and how much training, and whether we'll be offering sensitivity training, and whether my operation will support itself only on the fees given it by the franchisees (evidently, the regulator believes she understands better than I do what I must have in my bank account to stay afloat and continue my services).
Meanwhile, I've got an entrepreneur in Oakland and another in Los Angeles champing at the bit to give me $25,000 and $30,000 respectively for my franchises in those areas so they can start making damn good money buying and selling houses. They've been patiently and professionally waiting three months for the regulator approval!!!!
So far, this paternalistic fascism has cost me $25,000 in franchise fees from a man on Long Island who got tired of waiting for my company's approval there -- not to mention the thousands of dollars I've had to spend on extra audits of my company (above and beyond what the IRS demands) to satisfy regulators, who never seem to be satisfied.
When will this modern-day insanity end? Well, I've got a theory on that one. It will end when the regulator is assured of our sycophancy, of our cow-towing, or our sucking up to her, of our humble appreciation at her expediency and generosity concerning our matter, of our abject rededication to ensuring that she has all that she has asked for and more. Only then, when she knows she's got us firmly and permanently by the balls, with our eyes reddening and our mouths squinched up in pain, will she release her grip just a little bit and maybe possibly allow us to operate in HER state, with the proviso that she will be watching our every step.
I certainly owe her a debt of gratitude. And if I ever meet her in a dark alley, I'll punch her fucking lights out.