Archive for the ‘life’ Category

The Evil Years

April 16, 2009

[Complete lyrics from the hip hop portion of Dirty Math]

Dear Abby: My father is a businessman who travels.
Each time he returns from one of his trips,
his shoes are covered in blood-

but he never forgets to bring me a nice present;
Should I say something?
Signed, America

Way way back in 73
The States of America all slept sound

Way way back in 73
But in South America some shit went down

There are 8 million stories in the world economy.
Stories of greed, stories of hope,
Stories of men with means and men with ideas,
This is one of them.

Now Milton was a Chi-town math kingpin,
Preachin bout the gods of supply & demand.
If he had it his way the market would lead.
He despised social government and John Maynard Keynes

Okay, down in Chile, Salvador Allende
Won a fair election saying “Fuck you CIA”
An opportunity for Milton Friedman’s machine
When Dick Nixon cried “Make their economy scream!”

So they spent 8 million try ta undermine Allende but they failed that
Too many people had his back
So the military coup starred Pinochet
Who had Milton in his office by noon the next day

Now shit went insane. In the stadiums
They rounded-up 13,000 people
who’d witnessed their evils
Troopers marched in to wave their guns (guns)
3000 dead, many more on the run (run)
Makin big m-o-n-e-y
Had to liquefy the vox populi
It’s demanded
Now deruglation is expanded,
It’s commanded to cut social spending, understand it?

Now Chile is a clean slate
Cleared by Pinochet
The Chi-town class-mates’
Ideas ruled the day
Chile fell to poverty
And shock therapy
Unemployment overdose
And human rights disgrace

But people at gunpoint learn to obey
When they’re homeless and hungry and dying away
So the Miracle of Chile was mythologized
And Milton Friedman got the Nobel Prize

You either pay American businesses to build American-style highways and powerplants that your people don’t need, dooming your nation to be forever in debt … or you get ousted by a CIA-organized coup.

Which would you choose?

Some folks live by the laws of the wild
Some learn slower and die in the mud
Some stand up to protest for a while
But that’s when the big dogs chew them up

Now John was a bad man
an Economic hitman
Making cash by makin kings a third world con men
Started with the oil plan
Roosevelt in Iran
Overthrew Mossadegh
And Replaced him with Ike’s man

CIA coup d’etat Arbenz in Guatamala
Victim of the red scare and propaganda
The CIA marched in with 400 troops (hooray!)
Colonialism to protect United Fruit
A few years later down in Panan
John got involved in a shipping drama
Torrijos, the man who controlled the canal
Wouldn’t capitulate to the U.S. cabal
He had had this idea to sell the rights to Japan
But he knew all about what went down in Iran
So he predicted that fate for himself, and sure enough
In August 81 his fuckin plane blew-up

But the one
that blows my mind
Totally on of a kind
Scheme to rob a nation’s people
completely blind

It was Indonesia, see
Victim of another coup of CIA

Cleansing time once the left was maligned
Shooting lists were distributed
for which they were pentagon armed and suited

OH rivers clogged with bodies OH hell embodied
But who stepped in to stop the massacre – that’s right nobody.

Turns out
It was all part of the master plan everybody
So hold no grudge
And hold your tongue
This Indonesian story’s far from done
Sure we had the rubber, the copper, and the oil, see
But there was plenty more where that came from
6 years passed
The country’s almost hobblin
So we went back in and sent John the hitman and his staff to ply their stage craft

So it’s an infrastructure
Bullshit kit
They say the poor need highways and electrics

They’ll be in debt forever
The leaders shoulda known better
For the record don’t think they didn’t profit from the metrics

So kill your national pride
And give into our demands or else
We’ll squeeze your land dry and fill it with ourselves

148 characters

December 3, 2008

If there’s a middle ground between radical condensation and thoughtful reduction, it’s probably the Google snippet.

My new bio page.

(Pretty much covers it, no?)

[12/4, Update]:



November 26, 2008

This was just over a year ago now.

Plenty rough.

It was all just an idea and didn’t have a name.

(And AmyD was still platinum blond.)

Change the world (or go home)

November 5, 2008



September 25, 2008

So Wallace committed suicide on 9/12.  Hung himself.

The number of posthumous appraisals written in the short time between then and now is staggering.

Tried keeping up for a bit, but good luck.

If you’re wondering why all the fuss, there’s an exhaustive catalogue of what’s been written so far here.  Dig in.

My personal favorite, by far, was the live eulogy performed by the Available Light crew (plus special guest, Artie Isaac, whose thoughts on DFW you can read here, along with a mini-review in the comments from Advergirl, who obviously knows her lit) as part of the Independents’ Day festival last Saturday on Gay St.

I’d forgotten how funny Brief Interviews with Hideous Men could be.

And how it felt the first time to read (and re-read, a couple times, alternately flipping from the story to the inside blurbs to the back cover’s author pic and back, before going on, trying to make sense) that opening scene from Infinite Jest, my intro to Wallace.

A book which, for a while, I re-read about once every other year.  Losing myself.  Again.  With characters people like Pemulis and that sideways, ‘drine-fueled glance; Lenz with those rats; Poor Tony.  Big Don Gately.  Picking up on stuff I’d missed before.

And then which book I also raved frothingly about to anybody who’d listen.  Friends, family.  People who LOVE to read!  I’d corner them: Read this. And, yet, to this day, I only know of one person whom I recommended/gave the book to who ever actually finished it.  The rest couldn’t hack it or just didn’t get it and gave up.

On some of the most spectacular writing.  Ever.

Anyhow, all that came flooding back on Saturday, at Due Amici, with ALT’s performance.  And though I was lathered up pretty good with sunblock because of the skin thing — and, yes, some did get in my eye, thank you — I’ll confess that there were a couple real tears interspersed in there, somewhere.

And, in my more self-directed moments, I like to think the performance was in some way for/because of me.

So thanks, Matt, regardless if it was or wasn’t.

I’m just glad to finally know an actual fellow Wallace fan in the flesh.

I’m fine

September 24, 2008

Not enough time for a proper post, but it was thin (the melanoma), meaning we caught it early.

Going back in next Friday for a re-excision and some flap surgery — basically removing a 3″ circle of skin from my chest and then making an adjacent incision to free up some skin and ‘move it over.’

What my co-worker just asked me: ‘Will your nipple be in the middle then?’

I don’t know.  Maybe?

Thanks for the prayers, thoughts, and wishes, etc.



September 21, 2008

What a week.

There was, of course, the storm.  And subsequent multi-day power outage.  Etc.

I think probably enough’s been said about that.

The Friday preceding, my favorite writer of all time, David Foster Wallace, was found dead in his home after an apparent suicide.

More on that, later.

And then just this past Friday, after having a couple suspicious-looking moles biopsied, I was diagnosed with melanoma.

Don’t worry; I still look and feel improbably dashing.

Only difference is all of a sudden I’m drinking proper gin martinis, instead of vodka.  Nothing like an early-’30s skin-cancer scare to usher that phase in.

‘OK… so what does that mean?’

What it means is I’ll be meeting with a specialist later this week to determine the thickness and the depth of the melanoma, as well as to see if it’s spread beyond the skin blah blah blah.

(My apologies if you already knew this; I didn’t.)

That’s Wednesday.

Until then, there’s not much else to share.  Except All The Fascinating Stuff I’ve Learned About Melanoma Since Friday:

  1. Although it’s less common than other types of skin cancer, the rate of melanoma is steadily increasing.
  2. In the US, 1 in 65 people will be diagnosed with melanoma at some point in their life.
  3. The risk of developing melanoma increases with age, but the disease also frequently affects young, otherwise healthy people.
  4. Melanoma is the number-one cause of cancer death in women aged 25 – 30 (!).
  5. Early diagnosis is very important.
  6. The best treatment for early-stage melanomas is surgical removal (simple excision). In almost every case this eliminates the cancer.
  7. If it’s spread beyond the skin, treatment options include surgical removal, chemotherapy, radiation, and biological therapy.

And we’ll leave it at that.

Bottom line: Like other types of cancer, it’s potentially serious, yet easily treatable if caught early.  Things get a bit more complicated if the tumor’s thick and the cells have spread, etc.

I’ll post updates soon as I know more.

Until then, I’m enjoying a heretofore unfelt sense of connection with senator John McCain

(That is not an endorsement.)

the collective emotional temperature of the web

June 13, 2008

we feel fine.

could mess around with this for hours — there’s A LOT to digest here — but i’m liking the mumurs and montage setting.

hop out of bed with a smile

May 28, 2008

via my wall from that young isaac retrospective last year.


from the

January 8, 2008


ok, here’s the thing.

i don’t, like, love insurance or the insurance industry, no. (if you think that’s the case, we obviously haven’t met or talked yet, and we should.)

BUT… i’m passionate about people who are passionate about what they do. that’s inspiring to me: people who love what they’re doing. it’s hard to fake that.¹

and what i love, more than almost everything else except my wife, is helping those people. they’re so ‘in’ to what they do, i can’t help be ‘in’ to them — it’s an attraction, of sorts — and all i want to do is get behind them.

and the way i’m best equipped to do that right now — to have the most impact — is through insurance. through, not with.

let me explain.

before, it simply meant we offered all the traditional stuff: proper coverage, a fair price, nothing-is-too-much-trouble service, etc. plus a personal and professional investment from me. and, odds were, if i was compelled to seek you out in the first place, it was because i believed in you, so at some point i probably ended up writing about you here (or here), too.

for me, though, that’s never really been enough.

see, the people i want to work with, they’re not average folk. they might be unassuming, self-deprecating, and humble — yes. but they’re truly exceptional people. doing truly exceptional things. rooted in passion. people like jeni and john and liz and artie, who, each, in their own way, were the inspiration for what i’m getting ready to do now.

so why not, i thought, why not do something exceptional to better serve the people who inspire us? because we’re in the position to do so. and then, maybe, if we do it right, maybe at the same time we’ll inspire others to do exceptional things, too?

so we take the traditional stuff — everything you’d expect from a top-25 independent agency — and keep it standard. but we create a new-model agency specifically for helping those who inspire us so they can hopefully continue to inspire you. that’s where our mission starts. and we tailor our services — shoot, maybe we create new services — for them. just tell me what you need. but, again, that’s still the traditional stuff; we’re just doing it in a nontraditional way.

no, where the rubber meets the road (this is the through part), is that, far as i can tell, the other 3,999 insurance agencies in central ohio are about one thing and one thing only: profit. for me — us — that’s not enough. especially when you consider the position we’re in: insurance is an inherently social business. and by the sheer volume of people we’re in contact with, it puts us in position of influence.

so maybe if we’re public and open about our principles, aren’t shy about mentioning them, and — most important — continue to act on them, leading by example, using insurance not as a tool for profit, but rather as a tool for making things better, for making a difference, as agents of change, maybe by leading our efforts will in turn help inspire OTHERS to find their own way to do the same. just like jeni and john and liz and artie — and most recently daniel — did for me.

just maybe.

¹it also helps, too, if what you’re passionate about is, in some way, interesting. i.e. worth thinking about. and ethical. i.e. not solely about $. and relevant. i.e. of social or cultural meaning. maybe it’s part of a solution? e.g. the local cycling community is interesting to me because (a) die-hard folks were out commuting last week in 15° degree weather and because (b) it’s part of a solution to a number of different problems. likewise, the local crafting community is interesting to me because (a) crafters are so damn creative and because (b) handmade products are part of the solution to a number of different problems. etc. so the five-way intersection of passion and interestingness and ethics and creativity and relevance.

creative director

November 18, 2007

picked up a copy of c-bus magazine over the weekend, and was surprised to find artie’s charming mug staring back out at me. in c-bus? however unlikely, he was in there as part of a four-person panel, and the topic was ‘how different generations of workers approach their jobs and interact in the workplace.’

i’m 29, and work at a mid-sized agency of 17. and though i bristle at the reductive title — it doesn’t come close to capturing what i do — of the four ‘producers’ in our office, i’m the youngest by 25 years. the differences in the way we work and think might best be described as chasmal we’re so markedly far apart.

in the discussion, artie, who’s 47ish, describes himself thusly: ‘…i’m demographically a member of the baby boomer [generation], but i am clinically a member of generation x in the way i think.’ true! that’s just artie, though — a rare and freakishly-evolved species.

he and janine moon (whom i don’t know) hit the nail on the head a couple times in their articulation of the working styles of younger generations. especially artie’s observation that ‘…i don’t think that we’re making 9-to-5 people anymore.’ it’s not that we work less or less hard necessarily, it’s that we work differently.

for me, it means not settling to just ‘work’ or do a ‘job,’ but rather to find — or if it doesn’t yet exist, create — a way to take your passion and turn it into a livelihood, with whom and how you want, on your own terms, the ultimate goal being — at least for me — to blur the line between work and play to the point where it’s just: Life. why does it have to be separate? doing good work and doing Good, with like-minded folk, creating, birthing, building, or adding something new that didn’t before exist. it’s about meaning. how can you live a meaningful, engaged life, if what you do 40 hours of the week has no connection to who you are and what you really care about? if you’ve got the talent and passion, it’s not what you do mon – fri, 9 – 5 — it’s just what you do, period. when and wherever (though, of course, that alone doesn’t define you.) so, technically, yes, i work in the insurance industry, but, clinically, i am not an insurance agent. because that sure as hell doesn’t come close to defining me, what i do or how i think.

and, since i created the new thing i’m directing and passionate as hell about because we’re going to be working creatively to help great people AND build something good, it’s only fitting that my new title’s a more accurate description of what it is i actually do:

i’m your creative director. [ed. note: my responsibilities are much more than just the fun stuff, turns out.]