Select Page
On Money and the WOTD is Pecuniary

On Money and the WOTD is Pecuniary

Nov 6, 2021


On Money

pecuniary : of or relating to money

Pecuniary first appeared in English in the early 16th century and comes from the Latin word pecunia, which means “money.” Both this root and Latin peculium, which means “private property,” are related to the Latin noun for cattle, pecus. In early times, cattle were viewed as a trading commodity (as they still are in some parts of the world), and property was often valued in terms of cattle. Pecunia has also given us impecunious, a word meaning “having little or no money,” while peculium gave us peculate, a synonym for “embezzle.” In peculium you might also recognize the word peculiar, which originally meant “exclusively one’s own” or “distinctive” before acquiring its current meaning of “strange.”

Rarely have I written about money. Often I’ve described money as something like a bad girlfriend. She comes around often, gives me a good feeling while I have her, but she always leaves, and usually it’s too soon for my needs! Devising some clever plan to keep more of her around a bit longer is my new lifelong goal. Let’s see how we get along.

I’m Going Back to My Words Now

I’m Going Back to My Words Now

Posted by BrianRouley | November 5, 2021 | Foolish, Personal


– in·tran·si·gent
unwilling or refusing to change one’s views or to agree about something.

There was a time, not so long ago, but a lifetime ago now, when I wrote every day. And just to be stubbornly committed to that premise, I kept a dictionary to the left of my computer and a desk lamp dedicated to shining right down on those pages. An article I would write for one new word for each letter of the alphabet per day (sometimes I allowed myself two) and soon I had 26 days of new blog posts on – easy, right?

So, today (which is tomorrow now) begins this journey. And I stumbled upon “intransigent.” Given that it is now 12:21 am, I’m done with this entry. “I disagree.” I’m never done.

Tune in tomorrow (or later today, actually) for more of the same – or better!

Right Down the Line – Change

Right Down the Line – Change

Can we change?
This question is on page 234 of Ray Dalio’s book, “Principles.”

Here is that paragraph:

g. Understand how much the brain can and cannot change. This

brings us to an important question: Can we change?31 We can all

learn new facts and skills, but can we also learn to change how we are

inclined to think? The answer is a qualified yes.

“I’ve changed my mind.” People say this. Usually, it means they’ve made a decision, then they have changed their decision based on new information or perhaps some change in the way they feel. This is the essence of the struggle we all face, the conflict between thinking and feeling.

The easiest illustration I can provide on how one can overpower the other is in the decision to be happy. That decision is made by thinking, and it creates a feeling of happiness. By making that choice you have effectively used the conscious mind to control (or feed) the subconscious mind. In other words, by steadfastly agreeing with yourself on that one decision, your subconscious obediently accepts that as the truth and it starts feeding back that same idea and emotion to you. When people say, “This is a win-win.” I cannot imagine a more lovely representation of that expression than making the simple decision to be happy. You can do this.

This morning, when I woke up for the fifth, sixth, or twelfth time (I wasn’t really counting.), gratitude began in earnest. Knowing all that I had ahead of me, including my next breath, a drink of water, indoor plumbing, a coffee maker, my computer, electric lights, music, and books, more stuff than I’ll ever really need, made gratitude one very long and enjoyable thought process. Gratitude is the first thing on my checklist (mine is named Diwali checklist) and the second thing is “make your bed.” Funny it seems, that I had to bring up the list to remember that second step. 

And, right down the line, following each step led to this writing. This is step 7 and ahead lies Brain Work and Exercise. After that, I’ll enjoy breakfast.

That’s all I have for now. Step 6 was reading and that helped me to get to this step. And, here we are.


The Easiest Game Ever!

The Easiest Game Ever!


“This is the easiest game ever!”

You’ll be saying that. You will say it because you will have made it true. There is only one rule. Two words long, it is a command. Are you ready?

Rule #1 – BE HAPPY.

Yes, it is that simple. The best part is (again) you make it so.

What do you know about games? You know there are rules.

·       You must take your shot before the ball bounces more than once. (Tennis, ping-pong, pickleball)

·       A ball in play must bounce only once (actually, fewer than twice) within the boundaries. (Tennis, ping-pong, pickleball)

·       You must keep your feet inside the lines. (Football, wrestling)

·       You must always protect yourself. (Boxing, martial arts)

·       Keep an accurate score. (Golf, any sport that keeps a score)

·       The pieces can only be moved this way. (Chess, checkers, backgammon, other board games)

Need we say more? You get it, right? Think of any game you know how to play, and you’ll see there are rules. Adapt those, if you like, to your life. At the very least, write rules about how you behave when you are alone, and write rules that govern how you behave when you are with others.

Every game has rules and a way to keep score and a way to become the winner. This is your game. You will win. You will make the rules, define the boundaries, take the risk, get the reward – whatever it takes, you will do it and you will win. What is the reward? See Rule #1 above. It is more of the same – more happiness for you.

The rules define the discipline you must learn and follow to win the game. Even though you can simply choose to follow Rule #1 above, the more clearly you state the rules that govern YOUR GAME, the easier it will be to win it.

You may find some way to regard this as purely ridiculous. You may kick this idea aside and tell yourself rules are for losers. Yep, you nailed it. With or without the rules, you may choose to lose, to be unhappy. Always an option, you may wish to stop reading here, as this book may not be for you…

You are a winner. Because this game is so easy to win, you may discount the reward. Don’t do that.

In case you hadn’t noticed, that was the first negative statement in this introduction. “Don’t!” How many times have you been told that?

Here we are going to turn the tables (you can do that when you are losing at chess or checkers, too) and we are going to make every rule a positive statement to the best of our ability. Almost anything that can be said in the negative can be turned to a positive command.

So, instead of “Don’t do that.” You are going to say, “Do this.”

Go ahead and regard this as purely ridiculous, then learn to enjoy the entertainment value in laughing at yourself. You might just like that. Learn to enjoy laughing at yourself and see how that adds to your joy. More laughter, more joy, more happiness – you are winning.

You say you are a rule-breaker? That’s OK, because you are going to keep score. You want to lie on your score card? That’s OK, too, because you are going to learn to be honest with yourself through discipline and practice. You’ll soon see you cannot fool yourself and then you’ll get more of what you came for – greater happiness. Being honest with yourself pays big dividends! Playing by the rules is how you win big!

Everything you are about to learn here leads to honoring your commitment to yourself. Learning to love yourself and loving to live your life by your own rules may be the easiest path to enlightenment. Your happiness is virtually guaranteed by your own self-directed good behavior. Playing by the rules may never have been so much fun.

If you find one or more of your rules is limiting your enjoyment, change it or them to match your needs. You created this game. You wrote the rules. Your life and your happiness depend on your ability to live within the disciplined guidelines you have set for yourself.

This introduction could continue for another several pages. But it is not necessary. The truth is so plain to see, you might want to just get started now. Break out a pen and paper and start writing rules. See how much you can get done in fifteen minutes, an hour, an afternoon. The only time limit on any of this is whatever time and effort you are willing to put into your rulebook. Writing it down makes it real.

Seriously, just start now writing the rules to your game. Make stuff up and have fun with it. If it helps you to get started, write the rules to a game you already play and modify them to fit your life. It matters little how you begin but do begin. You are at the beginning of your new happy life. At this point, allow yourself to feel the excitement of joy as you create your new, disciplined life. One of the easiest ways to be happy to do something is to say to yourself, “This is fun.”

Unless it is in your rules that you should not feel joy. In that case, play the game any way that works for you. Just write the rules and play now.

Life can be a game. It can be the “easiest game ever” – if you will learn to live with discipline and play by your own rules. You already have what it takes to get this right. The less influence you allow from outside sources, the purer will be your creation.

That creation is and will be your happy life. “The easiest game ever!”

Let It Go

Let It Go


On Punctuation and Grammar: Let It Go

A Guest Post –
by Dominique Fruchtman

I don’t have a blog of my own (as of this writing), so I asked my good friend Brian if I could be a guest poster for the purpose of making this important point. 

About letting things go.

See how that sentence above wasn’t a proper sentence? And yet, I’m letting it go.

Brian and I share the oft annoying habit of being the self-imposed grammar and punctuation police, frequently to the hair-tearing distress of our other friends or anyone who comes within our orbit. Up until now, we couldn’t help it. But Brian recently told me that he is trying harder to “let it go”. He may even have referenced the recent Disney fairy tale Frozen and its Oscar-Winning hit, “Let It Go,”.

I, however, recall a different “Let It Go” from 1984 by an obscure artist called Luba. By chance, I heard a piece of it today that spoke to me:



Is the bane of our existence

Keep it safely at a distance



Is too good to be

Let your hair down

Can’t you see

Let it go

I think this is where we, as humans, need to straddle a fine line: How do you compose a resume that will get you a great job? By spelling everything correctly? By having perfect punctuation and grammar. At the same time, being able to tolerate this on an A-frame chalkboard.

Todays Special’s 

while walking down the street past your favorite neighborhood cafe without losing your mind.

It’s entirely possible that your favorite cook might not be a great Punctuator, but he makes a soup that knocks your socks off, so he is instantly forgiven! Are his chalkboard crimes worthy of crucifixion? Does it hurt his business? Do people scoff and shake their fists skyward, shouting, “This guy can’t punctuate, so he must not be able to make a soup worth a damn! Let’s get out of here.”

Or does it make him charming?

Until recently, I fell into the former category. People’s stock went distinctively down and I found it a severely unflattering trait when someone couldn’t conjugate, punctuate, don’t know how to grammar, or worse, didn’t care. For me, Smart is the new Sexy.

I am intentionally not going to review this post, this hot mess of free association, for structure, grammar and perfection. I am just going to allow it to Be. This post is my contribution to my letting it go. This effort strengthens my belief that there are times when it’s okay — maybe even better than okay — to relax the rules and enjoy life, to give the Grammar Police a well-deserved day off and just Let It Go.

Betting On Jeopardy!

Betting On Jeopardy!

Images source:

If you are an avid Jeopardy fan, you probably know that when it comes to final Jeopardy, the player in the lead often bets just enough to win by one dollar.

Recently, the scores were something like $18, 200 (1st place), $10,800 (2nd place) and whatever was the score for 3rd place. In this situation, 1st place bets $3401, so a correct answer results in a score of $21,601, winning by a margin of $1. Reasoning that 2nd place is betting it all, if that score is doubled, the result is $21,600. Considering what would have happened if 2nd place got the answer wrong, with the end result being a score of $0, a bet to lose the minimum it seems to make sense. This is without regard for the possibility that 3rd place may have enough money to double up and win, if both 1st and 2nd place cannot come up with the correct answer.

My contention is that it makes more sense to bet on yourself answering correctly. So, instead of betting on the outcome of a wrong answer, you would bet to simply maximize your gain, without losing enough money to allow 2nd place to win if he or she bet zero. In this case, a bet of $7400 makes sense. If you are wrong with your answer and 2nd place has bet anything at all and has also answered incorrectly, you will win. If 2nd place bets it all and gets the answer right, then any amount you bet will not win the game for you. Your score, with a correct answer, would be $25,600 – a nice bump up from the $21,601 total you get by hedging. 

  • Over time, you’ll also note how rarely the final betting strategy is the determines the winner.

  • Watch the show for any length of time and you’ll see it almost always makes sense for 2nd place to risk it all to double up.

  • There are times when third place can bet strategically to win the game if the other two players cannot provide the correct response.

  • Do the math at the end and see if you agree, the margin of the lead 1st place has is worth risking in Final Jeopardy! (A greater reward for winning the game.)

  • Note, also, that betting on yourself to have the correct answer (in the form of a question, of course, for Jeopardy!) is a winning strategy in any game.


Join the Movement of Just Be Nice!

Join the Movement of Just Be Nice!

Below is an updated (minor edits) version of a speech I wrote in May of 2017. You’ll notice time stamps in the text, as I had to fit this into a 5-7 minute time frame. Enjoy!

Join the Movement of Just Be Nice

Let there be no misunderstanding about the word movement here. This is not about religious or political movements. And, if you are thinking about yet another meaning of the word movement, we WILL NOT be discussing prunes!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Toastmasters….

A discussion I had had with a friend of mine, led to this idea. My friend feels it is unfortunate that many people feel a need to rely on “some higher power” for help. One example he cites is when people pray for their sports team to win.  

The details of that discussion were probably more colorful than I can share here with you today. The result, included in the title of this speech, was that we should all practice, or be members of the religion of, “Just Be Nice.”

Yes, I know I said we would not discuss religion here.

That’s why the first part of the title of this speech is, “Join the Movement.”

1 minute

 “Now that we’ve cleared that up….” Just remember, it’s a movement, not religion. And, it’s the easiest practice in the world, with no regular attendance required, no prayers, no need for singing ability, no dues, collections, or “Sunday go to meetin’ clothes.” You simply make up your mind to just be nice.


Well, it’s easy. Based on research I’ve done on how to start a movement, it only takes one follower to make me a leader. More importantly, that one follower not only transforms me from a subversive lunatic into the founder of a movement, but he or she now sets a brilliant example of how to jump in and participate at the grassroots level, as the real momentum begins! The possibility of this activity becoming something worth doing has now doubled and twice as many people may be influenced by our collective behavior. It sounds easy so far, right? Well, it is fun, so I hope you’ll try it.

Who, what, where, and when?

This answer may seem simply obvious. The who is you, doing whatever is kind, wherever you are, whenever you have the opportunity. Ah, you say, but where do I find these opportunities. That’s easy, too. Almost anywhere you go or anywhere you are, if there are other people around you, the opportunity to be nice is there. The key is to be open to that possibility.

An observation, more good things happen to me when I expect them to happen. As much as I could avoid disappointment by reducing my expectations to zero, that just doesn’t suit me.

You, perhaps I should say, I’m hoping you, might feel the same way. See the possibility of goodness in everyone you meet and your approach to people will be colored positive by this prejudice. Yes, prejudice can be positive if applied correctly. Prejudge people to be wonderful and you’ll meet lots of wonderful people.


Did you just say, “why?” What are you, some kind of rabble rouser? Are you looking for trouble? I’m sure it’s just as easy to find. Remember that bit about expectations we just covered?

Yes, you may find the world and the people in it meet your expectations. Good or bad, you’ll likely have it your way.

But, seriously, the “because” answer for “why” becomes far clearer after you’ve had some experience with this behavior.

1.   Because you’ll feel better is one of three reasons why you should be nice.

2.   The other two reasons are other people, the objects of your kindness.

3.   And, other people who witness your kindness, who get something akin to a contact high just by seeing your good deeds.

If we had more time, we could go into the serotonin effect and what happens inside the brains of all the people affected by your kindness. The short answer is a heightened sense of wellbeing and happiness. These good feelings are brought on by a rush of a neurotransmitter, created in happy people, as a direct result of your brazen expression of kindness toward another human being. You can almost feel it now, can’t you? Enjoy!

But, alas, the end is near and here comes the “what you can do, what I want you to do, and what I think you’ll enjoy doing.”

Choose one or more of these actions. (1:15)

1.   Start a movement in your community. I’ll give you this speech with my blessings. Use it as is, when I win this contest, you’ll have award winning material to use to continue this movement! Or, modify it, make it your own.

Find your voice and change the world.

2.   Start a movement among your closest friends. Leverage your circle of influence to drive positive change. Same offer as before…. if you like this speech, it’s yours to use, free of any encumbrance.

Find your voice and change the world.

3.   Start this movement personally. Make a commitment every morning when you rise, to go out into the world expecting an opportunity to make someone happy. Your good deed need not be grandiose, dandy or verbose. If you are open to it, surely your spirit will realize this possibility.
Be a single voice of kindness and change the world.

As I close this speech, I wonder how you’ll feel to say these THREE SIMPLE WORDS. So, when I say, “say it with me.” I want you to say, “JUST BE NICE.”
Then you’ll know how you feel.

There is a smile out there waiting for you, it will be for you, due to what you do. All you have to do is (say it with me!):

Just Be Nice!