Death by Google Maps

Death by Google Maps(You can get the graphic above – Map Marker of Death – on a T-shirt here)

It took a little while to realize I might get shot. If I was, I vowed to write a message in blood to my wife revealing the identity of my killer. With a blood stained finger, I’d scrawl: Google Maps.

I was in Beverly Hills at a speaking engagement and needed to get back to my hotel near LAX. I had tried to rent a car with no success, so I was traveling by bus. I was using Google Maps on my iPhone to navigate L.A.’s bus system.

I followed the directions…

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My first gay bar

I love being married to my wife. And I’m happy for those in New York who will now be able to tie-the-knot. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bill is overturned within the next 12 months by a state constitutional amendment. However, I’m confident that in my lifetime gay men and women across the country will have the right to marry just like the rest of us.

You might disagree with my view on this. Maybe you feel so strongly against gay marriage that you have one of those anti-gay marriage bumper stickers, or you don’t feel the need to examine the issue any further than, “It’s Adam and Eve! Not Adam and Steve!!” Maybe it’s…

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The Rubber Glove

IMG_1715“We have a lack of quality low-income housing in Muncie,” Steve, the city’s building commissioner, said. One night a month the Circles community, which works to lift people out of poverty, hosts a Big View session open to the public to discuss issues that people living in poverty face.

Last night we talked about housing.

“Two week into my job I got called out to a house.” Steve paused and stared at the floor. It seemed as if he was setting up a long story that would include details like where the house was and what it looked like. But then he sat back and got right to it. “A mother was holding her…

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Volunteers are the new city employees

Ask not what your city can do for you; ask what you can do for your city. Chances are your city no longer has the budget to take on certain tasks.

The  USA Today reports that Philadelphians are stepping up as “graduation coaches,” in Nashville citizens are cleaning waterways; in New York volunteers are painting roofs. These are all jobs that city employees would have done.

Twenty-two cities have created positions to recruit and manage volunteers. Has yours?

Asking for help isn’t easy

You couldn’t pay me enough to be in local government right now (or probably ever). Budgets are uber-tight and you’re in trouble if you spend money on something and you’re in trouble if you don’t spend money…

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Jon Stewart hates the news

Did you see Jon Stewart on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace? He was pissed. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him not funny for that long.

“The embarrassment is that I’m given credibility in this world because of the disappointment that the public has in what the news media does,” Stewart said.

“I don’t think our viewers are the least bit disappointed with us,” Wallace said. “I think our viewers think, finally, they’re getting somebody who tells the other side of the story.”

“Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?” Stewart shot back, his voice rising. “The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”

Here are some…

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TOMS shoes: half-assed aid & a bad deal???

toms shoes, pic 2

I’ve written about the problem with TOMS and their critics and about TOMS recent big announcement: selling sunglasses.

Courtney Martin, author of Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, takes the TOMS criticism to the glossy pages of the American Prospect magazine and even quotes me in the process:

Others argue that it’s important to see TOMS, and the businesses it has inspired, as baby steps in public awareness. Kelsey Timmerman, the author of Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes, writes: “The problem isn’t shoelessness. The problem is poverty. … If every person…

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Over the Hill

This weekend I visited King’s Island with my little brother, Alex.  In the above video you can listen to my thoughts on riding roller coasters at 32 or read the essay below.

There’s a slight disconnect between the essay and the video. I wrote the essay about our first ride of the day – the Vortex. The video is from the Beast and is more than a bit shaky. The Beast is the roughest roller coaster I’ve ever been on. As Alex put it, “The Beast is a 3-minute 40-second car crash.”

Over the Hill

The train ratchets up the hill and I have one question on my mind, “Am I too old for this?”

It doesn’t really matter. I can turn around and see…

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Conan to grads: Failures can become catalyst for reinvention

To say I’ve become obsessed with commencement speeches might be an understatement. I’ve watched Tom Hanks talk at Stanford, Colbert talk at a small college in Illinois, and this morning, Conan address Dartmouth.

I’ve given one commencement speech, way back in 2006. I think it went okay. One of the audience members peed her pants and several more picked their noses and ate it. My commencement speech was to middle-schoolers and kindergartners near my childhood home in Ohio. For my efforts, I received an honorary certificate of participation and a pen.

I haven’t done a commencement speech in a…

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TOMS Glasses: an eye for an eye?

“I had a very simple idea with a desire to help,” Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, told the TOMS employees in what appears to be a garage in Santa Monica.

That desire started with giving a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased form TOMS. I’ve offered up my thoughts on TOMS shoes before – shoelessness isn’t the problem, poverty is – and now I thought I would examine the next venture in the TOMS business, which was revealed on Tuesday…glasses.

“With every pair purchased,” he said. “TOMS will help give sight to a person in need. One-for-One…from this day forward TOMS isn’t a shoe company, it isn’t an eyewear company, it is the one-for-one company.”

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