Photo by Carl Cervantes on Unsplash

It’s been a year and three months since I’ve published anything here on Medium. I just scrolled through my posts from 2018 and 2019. How priorities and perspectives can shift, huh? What a wild ride the last year or so has been.

I see that more than 1,600 of you follow me now. That’s pretty cool, but it also sort of sucks because I know I’m not going to please all of you with each new piece I write — I’m about as far from niche as it gets. I write about a lot of different stuff. Some of you…


An ambitious 31-year-old father’s fight to rise above mediocrity

My son and I

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” — Abraham Lincoln

Very few men do well across the board. Some acquire wealth at the expense of love. Some acquire love at the expense of ambitions. Some earn the respect of others while privately hating themselves. Some find contentment only to fade from the annals of history in short order after their lives are over. Most are mediocre.

The list of things the man who wants to be a great man must do well is long. The more things a man tries to…


Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Joel Karlsson was rich and very sad. He sat alone in his office suite, sifting through the reasons he should not call his ex-wife. The first four digits of the last number for Cynthia he’d known to be working shone on his phone. They taunted him a while before he locked the screen and turned to look out the bay window at the city.

He could see the harsh lines of monolithic buildings jutting above the geometric clutter of the cityscape below and the subtler, softer line of the horizon in the distance. For nearly fifteen years, looking down on…


On priorities and the subtle art of doing one thing at a time

“six white sticky notes” by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I discovered the side-hustler’s dilemma back in middle school shortly after we’d all survived Y2K.

The year was 2001. My friends and I killed time playing Nintendo 64, waiting for the impending release of Diablo II for PC. My parents had recently upgraded the family computer to a next-gen beast with an Intel Pentium 4 processor. I was thrilled despite the lack of any alternative to the sloth-like dial-up internet service available in Rural Ohio where I grew up.

And there was music. Lots of it.

Right around the dawn of the new millennium, music went through a rapid evolutionary…


“shallow focus photography of red and white for hire signage” by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

It’s 2018. If you’re a hiring manager and you’re still relying on a recruiter to send you candiates, you’re already obsolete.

Up until about five years ago, it made sense to let a recruiter weed through piles of generic applications and send you what they thought were the most appealing resumes. But that model is dead.

You hire new people because you have problems you need solved. You understand the problem more intimately than any recruiter ever could, even if you try carefully to articulate it to them. …


On alcohol and the conflation of correlation with causation

Photo by Adam Jaime/Unsplash

In early 2018, Esquire ran this headline: “The World’s Oldest Man Drank a Glass of Red Wine Every Single Day.” Why did the editors choose this headline? Because they know people are enthralled with the idea that drinking alcohol might actually be good for us. Any “evidence” that corroborates the confirmation bias in favor of alcohol’s benefits tends to appeal to a wide audience.

According to 2015 data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 15 million adults in the United States abuse alcohol, but less than seven percent of them receive treatment. In other words…


“person face” by Peter Forster on Unsplash

The Watcher stood outside the intimate circle of the immediate family and close friends and listened raptly to the murmur of condolences. This was the best part. This was what he came to watch. It soothed and exhilarated him. It made it all worth it.

A downtrodden woman broke away from the group and shuffled toward him. “How did you know Steve?” she asked.

The Watcher tore his gaze from the casket at the sound of her voice. “I worked with him at Vernor and Schmidt,” he lied flatly.

“Oh, I see. Thank you for coming,” the widow sniveled. …


“silhouette photography of street” by Frederico Almeida on Unsplash

Jake Rivers drew on his cigarette and coughed. He didn’t even smoke, but he needed something. He leaned against the brick wall in a niche in the dark alley. A cold mist dampened the air and his mood. The package in the front pocket of his hoodie felt like a tumor dangling from his body, from his soul.

He was hungry. His wife and daughter were probably eating right now, home without him. He wondered what Tracy had scrounged up. Yesterday had been ramen and peanut butter sandwiches. It had been ramen, and cereal, and anything else cheap for the…


Monsanto has lost the public opinion battle, but are we failing to ask important questions?

Photo by Scott Goodwill on Unsplash

Bayer got a raw deal when they bought chemical maker Monsanto in June. A few months after the deal closed, a jury found the newly acquired company’s flagship product, RoundUp, caused a San Francisco school groundskeeper to develop cancer. Bayer was ordered to pay the man nearly $300 million. While this case will likely be tied up in appeals for some time, the verdict seemed to solidify the public opinion that Monsanto is the devil incarnate.

At the heart of this long-running public relations disaster for Monsanto is the chemical glyphosate. It’s the active ingredient in RoundUp.

Despite many studies…


“man pointing at white paper using pen” by rawpixel on Unsplash

Neil Raeburn clicked send and felt a pulse of adrenaline reverberate through him. He sat very still and watched the status dialog in the bottom corner of his email program until it told him the message had been sent. He felt anxious and relieved and scared and powerful all at once. He leaned back and exhaled. His office seemed strange to him. Funny how things seemed so different already.

Neil was, or rather had been, a mid-level manager at Delinport Systems. He’d worked at the firm for the last fourteen years. He’d landed a job in content marketing with the…

Blake Gossard, ELS, MWC

Science Writer, Realtor, Economics and Finance Buff, Father

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