July 26, 2011

Metrosexuals in search of politically-correct testicles

Men of the Code founder David Fabricius says of the upcoming Men of the Code event, “The whole idea is that men will gain skills during the weekend that will help them have more confidence as a man.” The Agoge Level 2 Men's initiation is scheduled to take place July 29-31 near Rollns Lake.

Men of the Code: Finding balance

The Union

Next weekend the men of Northern California will be presented an opportunity to explore “authentic masculinity” while becoming a “better leader, husband, lover, father, provider, organic gardener, eco-entrepreneur, forum member, friend, national and global citizen.”

It's a lot to accomplish in one weekend and all of it happens during an event billed as Agoge Level 2 Men's initiation, taking place July 29-31 at a location near Rollins Lake.

The word “Agoge” is said to have originated in ancient Sparta, denoting a “rigorous education and training regime undergone by all Spartan citizens, (except the eldest son in each of the ruling houses). It involved separation from the family, cultivation of loyalty to one's group, loving mentorship, military training, hunting, dance and social preparation.”

Brought to Nevada County by an organization known as Men of the Code, the event is the brainchild of Code founder David Fabricius, a self-described motivational expert who says that much of what will be presented during Agoge Level 2 Men's initiation comes from his experiences growing up in Africa.

“I lived in Africa for 45 years and annually, there is a tribal initiation for the young men who come of age as a rite of passage,” Fabricius said.

“In my professional career as an international leadership speaker, I've traveled to 142 countries and wherever I've traveled in the western world, I have seen the consequences of the lack of a healthy male masculinity initiation.

“In Africa, there is a tribal saying that says, ‘If you don't initiate the young men, they will burn down the village.' When we look at people today, particularly the masculine leadership, we are burning down villages all over the world.”

Fabricius is portrayed on the Men of the Code website as a robust, Indiana Jones type of adventurer, fully embracing life and his own masculinity in all its glory. He says he started Agoge Men's initiation because boys are growing up in western culture without strong role models.

“So many boys grow up with fathers who are absent, either physically or emotionally,” Fabricius said. “Boys have an innate need to be challenged and to be tested and to be validated. The only place where young men can get that today, other than through sports, is in gangs or the military. Typically, the gangs or war machine will provide that.”

The initiation rites Fabricius will provide for next weekend's participants will parallel those he witnessed in Africa.

He says that there, men of a village invite the young men to come out into the wilderness and be challenged spiritually, emotionally and physically by the elders regarding the important secrets and customs of the tribe.

“In this process, the boys of the tribe are typically put through an ordeal, going through a period of darkness, of suffering, of challenge in the wilderness with minimal resources,” Fabricius said. “Then they are given a big test and if they pass the test, typically they are then validated and celebrated and integrated into the community. Men of the Code is aiming to do that for young men, but also for mature men who may have missed out on this in their life.”

Fabricius, 51, says that he has been doing this sort of work with men since he was a teenager. The last 14 years of his life he has traveled the world, working with what he describes as the business elite in many of the world's largest cities. Typically, he takes them for a three-day excursion into the wilderness to develop leadership skills.

“Some of these very wealthy business owners, of some of the biggest brands you can think of, started asking me, ‘David, my son needs to inherit my company, I want to hand the keys of the empire to him, but I do not really believe — though he's been to Harvard or Oxford or some of the finest business schools and has an MBA, etc., etc. — I do not really believe he has that authentic masculine confidence,'” Fabricius said. “So they would ask me to take their sons for some of the initiatory experience.”

On the surface, one might think that Men of the Code to be a testosterone fest, but Fabricius believes it's more about men finding balance in their lives in the modern world.

“We bring men into a weekend experience where we challenge him on every level,” Fabricius said. “We have a man take a very deep introspection of his life to see what's working and not working. We ask him to think about what healthiness looks like in the 21st century.

“Surely it can't be all that macho stuff anymore, but at the same time it can't be all this new age wimpy kind of stuff either. There must be a third and higher alternative.”

Fabricius is not eager to get into the specifics of activities planned for next weekend's retreat, saying that to do so would ruin the mystery and the impact for those who have paid nearly $500 to be there.

Waivers and confidentiality agreements will need to be signed by each participant.

“The whole idea is that men will gain skills during the weekend that will help them have more confidence as a man,” Fabricius said. “This extends into every vital area of a man's life from finance to sexuality. Collectively, we want those who walk away from the weekend to have a new sense of what it is to be a man. We want to help a men identify their core mission and life's work.”

July 25, 2011

Obama the man without a plan


Earlier this month, Moody's downgraded Irish government debt to junk. Which left the Irish somewhat peeved. The Department of Finance pointed out that it had met all the "quantitative fiscal targets" imposed by the European Union, and the National Treasury Management Agency said that Ireland was sufficiently flush "to cover all its financing requirements until the end of 2013."

Which is more than the government of the United States can say.

That's not the only difference between the auld sod and America. In Europe, austerity is in the air, and in the headlines: "Italy Fast-Tracks Austerity Vote." "Greek Minister Urges Austerity Consensus." "Portugal To Speed Austerity Measures." "Even Queen Faces Funding Squeeze In Austerity Britain." The word has become so instantly ubiquitous that Leftie deadbeats are already opposed to it: "Austerity Protest Takes Place In Dublin." For the rentamob types, "austerity" is to this decade what "Bush" and "Iraq War" were to the last. It can't be long before grizzled old rockers are organizing some all-star Rock Against Austerity gala.

By contrast, nobody seems minded to "speed austerity measures" over here. The word isn't part of the conversation – even though we're broke on a scale way beyond what Ireland or Portugal could ever dream of. The entire Western world is operating on an unsustainable business model: If it were Borders or Blockbuster, it would be hoping to close the Greek and Portuguese branches but maybe hold on to the Norwegian one. In hard reality, like Borders only the other day, it would probably wind up shuttering them all. The problem is structural: Not enough people do not enough work for not enough of their lives. Developed nations have 30-year-old students and 50-year old retirees, and then wonder why the shrunken rump of a "working" population in between can't make the math add up.


July 24, 2011

New York Times Passes Gas

By now just about everyone has jumped on board the natural gas bandwagon (see “The Gas Revolution,” April 18, 2011). Its newfound abundance inside the four corners of the United States is proving to be a disruptive factor in the nation’s energy mix. Cheap natural gas adds to the pressure on coal-fired electricity, but also makes wind and solar power much less feasible, even with massive subsidies. Natural gas-powered cars and trucks might offer a way of significantly lowering our oil imports, while at the same time the technology that has unlocked new gas supplies is starting to deliver a substantial increase in domestic oil production, reversing a 30-year slide. Cheap, abundant, domestically produced energy? Naturally all the usual suspects are unhappy about this.

No one seems more unhappy than the New York Times, which was late to recognize the unfolding natural gas story, even though much of it was happening in its own back yard. So late last June the Times published a multi-part series by their gas beat reporter, Ian Urbina, suggesting that prospects for the “gas revolution” are not merely hyped, but constitute the next bubble certain to burst. There’s even an insinuation of possible fraud on the part of the gas industry, of natural gas as a “Ponzi scheme.” And just to make sure none of its readers missed the point, the Times even deployed the “E-word” in the headline: “ ‘Enron Moment’: Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush.” The two stories are more evidence of the Times’s long slide into agenda-driven journalism that excuses shoddy practices, dubious sourcing, and appalling economic ignorance.