I Love My Nextdoor Neighbors and my iPhone 8, Not Sure About Wordpress’s New Editor

Somebody came up to me at Church and asked, “has your life become boring? I haven’t seen any new Blogs. What gives?” See!?!?!?  People like reading about my shoes, coffee, my hair, and my obsession with headphones. And then someone called me based on a recommendation and said, “will you help me make a Blog, a Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, and complimentary marketing material? I’ve seen your work and your writing and I think you do great work.” See?!?!?? My inconsistency in spelling and grammar don’t mean nothin’ to nobody. And thensomeone asked me to come speak to their class at Michigan State. Oh …yawn …I’ll only be speaking to 500+ impressionable college kids about “reinventing old media.” No pressure. I’ve wanted to yell at some random teenagers for a while, so this is perfect. And then my iPhone7 started acting strange, so I was due for an upgrade, so I got a new iPhone8 today and it’s exactly like my iPhone7, and ya know what, I don’t care. I’m also going without a case, protective glass, or anything. Just a phone. Period. Throwing caution to the iWind. And then I get a notice from Wordpress that they have a new editor called Gutenberg, and I like the Police Academy movies, so I’m in. It’s a Beta test and I’ll assume I’m part of an elite Blogging team and only we were asked to audition the new editor. I’m awesome. And lastly, the real reason I wrote this Blog, and it’s because I love my neighbors. Well, not my actual neighbors, like the people living literally next door to me, on my street, across the street, and behind me. Don’t get me wrong. I have some great neighbors. But if you’re neighborhood doesn’t belong to the nextdoor.com network of neighborhoods, you’re missing out on some of the best entertainment on earth. Like this… there’s a parakeet on the loose. We get alerts from concerned neighbors on topics like this all the time. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to catch a FREE parakeet.

How Can I Ever Know What’s Good For Me?

About two years ago I replaced all butter, vegetable oil, and canola oil with ghee, olive oil and coconut oil. With that triple-play move I assumed I’d solved my cholesterol, Alzheimers, and heart disease issues.

Or did I?

I replaced my peanut butter with almond butter. I replaced my milk with almond milk. I take a daily multivitamin. I added a salmon oil supplement. Started sprinkling cinnamon in my smoothies. Started exercising. I replaced my mayonnaise with an avocado mayonnaise product.

Yesterday my wife said, “I just read something from the American Heart Association that coconut oil is the worst.

So this morning I woke up early and read this, thisthis, and this. I’m killing myself, I guess.

“Coconut oil is 82 percent saturated fat, and studies show it raises LDL “bad” cholesterol as much as butter, beef fat or palm oil. Canola oil, on the other hand, has only 7 percent saturated fat.”

Next I’ll probably hear my essential oils cause skin cancer and that my salt lamp will make me blind.

I like popcorn popped with coconut oil. I think ghee (aka clarified butter) makes my scrambled eggs taste better. A dab of coconut oil massaged onto my beard before shaving, and then another dab on my neck after shaving and a shower, has finally cured my lifelong battle with razor burn and post-shave acne.

Talk about “fake news”.

*sigh* I know the truth. I wasn’t looking to coconut oil to help me live forever. But I did read it made for the best stove popped popcorn, and it does. I read coconut oil has MCT and is good for the brain. I like the smell. I use exactly a teaspoon daily.  I also know excess butter, ghee, canola, or vegetable oil is not as good as not using it at all. Just like I know if I was a vegetarian I’d be healthier than I am as a guy that eats cheeseburgers, steaks, ribs, and bacon.

All in moderation, right?

An expert quoted in the articles probably says it best…

“It’s a moderation thing. People don’t want to face reality when it comes to their own dieting, their own health. They want to believe in wishful thinking. … But thinking you can have unlimited amounts of one particular thing and everything will disappear is not based on reality.”

I wrote this Blog post for my wife.


Not So Sure About These IZOD Golf Pants

When I was younger, I thought IZOD was a pretty good brand. So when I was at Kohl’s shopping for some wrinkle-free microfiber wash-n-wear no-iron dress pants that could, as they say, go from the boardroom to the bar, I thought these Izod golf pants looked like dress slacks but could stretch and be washed and be inexpensive and make me look dressed up. I thought, hey, these would go well with a shirt, tie, and blazer or with a polo-style shirt.

From day-1, my wife has looked at me in them and frumpled her face and says, “I’m just not so sure about those.”

I really do think I’m fooling everyone, but am I? Or are people looking at me and saying, “why is that guy wearing golf pants to work?”

Should I care? In a world where Account Executives wear jeans and logo-Ts to work on days when they don’t have appointments or presentations, or when everyone wears chinos and jeans, should it matter?

This is where our P.C. society (and my current lack of co-workers) fails me. In the old days, if someone dared show up making a bold fashion statement, and it was obviously a failure, co-workers would point it out.  If I showed up to work in a white half turtle-neck and blazer, I’d be helped by co-workers all saying, “what the hell is that you’re wearing?” And it would be the last day for that turtle-neck/blazer look.  If someone wore a blue shirt with a white collar, he should rightfully be mocked and immediately retire that 80s/90s look.

Hence, here I am confidently sitting my Black IZOD Swingflex Stretch Performance Golf Pants from Kohl’s and I believe in my heart I look like I’m wearing wool-blend dress pants …but what if I don’t?

These are the things that stress me out on my commute each day.

Wear Sunscreen. Better Yet, Wear a Sun Hat and Swim Shirt

As a high-performing, type-A person, I like to tell people, “I get more moles and abnormalities removed before 9am than most people do all day.”  I think the Army or Marines used to use that catchy slogan.

Yup. Hate to brag, but a couple spots on my back were deemed, “suspicious,” and my Dermatologist removed them this morning. One needed two stitches. One needed only a band-aid. I’m not worried (OK …well maybe a little until 10 days from now when the labs come back …and when I have to ask my wife to attend to the dressing of my wounds …hot bedroom stuff, right?). I’m primarily of Eastern European descent and don’t really burn while out in the sun. And because I don’t “burn”, in my youth, I didn’t wear sunscreen at all.  And I had a pool in my backyard as a kid. I was born in 1973 so I spent my childhood and teen years in a pool and employed the following sunbathing regimen.

  • Step 1:  In late Spring/Early Summer, go outside without a shirt and BURN. And I mean BURN VISCIOUSLY!
  • Step 2: Deal with the pain of the sunburn and blisters until it peels away leaving a beautiful tan.
  • Step 3: Enjoy your summer.

Me (in a swim shirt) and my daughters

My days were spent in the pool, then laying on the patio “tanning” and then probably riding my bike shirtless, playing kickball shirtless, eating lunch outside shirtless, and pretty much just browning myself constantly like a S’more. As I got older, I got smarter. I learned a perfect tan doesn’t just happen …you gotta make it happen. So I used many bottles of Hawaiian Tropic Deep Tanning Oil (SPF 4) or simply straight up Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil. Can you believe that might be coming back to haunt me?  Notice Hawaiian Tropic used the word “oil” instead of “lotion” or “sun block.”

Could I sue them?

Full disclosure, I didn’t use anything over SPF 8 until my late 20s. People who’ve met me since think I’m a dork with pale skin who can’t tan …trust me …I can tan with the best of the best, but I’ve chosen an alternate path. I’ve chosen a wide-brimmed sunhat (an expensive hat from Peter Grimm, if you must know) and, more recently, swim shirts.

Yes. Swim shirts. I just bought my fourth …a dark blue Speedo …to add another color along with my all-black Champion swim shirt, and my Hunter brand swim shirt. Yes. They’re all long sleeve and, yes, I look completely lame but after the events of this past month which included a biopsy, two mole removals, and a frowny/concerned face from my dermatologist, I don’t care that I’m the embodiment of Jim Gaffigan’s “long sleeve swim shirt” bit (see below).

I don’t even look all that fat in it. Hooray!

What’s my point? Well …I’m as vain as anyone …I promise you. I’m so vain, in fact, I just switched from Kiehl’s Facial Fuel and Eye Fuel products to Rodan + Fields Multifunction Eye Cream and Redefine Triple Defense.  I like when people gasp when I say I’m “45 years old.” Maybe they’re just being nice, but maybe they aren’t, and maybe my detailed, daily, vanity-inspired skin care routine is part of it. Either way, I love when they can’t believe I’m 45 and that I have three kids, two of whom are teenagers.

What I don’t long for is anyone saying, “wow, you have an amazing tan.”

Go ahead. Laugh at me. Or …join me. If you want to know where to get a badass swim shirt, or you need my friend P.H.’s contact info to order your own Rodan + Fields, leave a comment or email me.

I haven’t posted anything in a month since I turned 45. I’m not having a mid-life crisis or anything (I actually went through that already when I turned 40). Nope. I’m enjoying life and now I’m working on ideas and things to make my next 45 years totes amazing.

OK. Now. Like I said. Laugh and get started with Jim Gaffigan.

I Love Don Week Wrap-Up

Another glorious I Love Don Week is in the books and while I only got a few things off my ultimate wish-list, it was the surprises that delighted. But truly, if you meant to buy me something, don’t be embarrassed if you send me a belated gift, card, or call the hotline. What? A hotline?

Yes, my 45th birthday featured the Don’s Birthday Hotline debut …call (231) 660-1491 TODAY because a belated birthday greeting is sometimes better than a day-of greeting (and I’m curious why nobody ever sends a pre-dated birthday greeting …like, no one ever calls a day early).

The Hotline was a BIG HIT …I got EIGHTEEN messages. Some sang in chorus with others, some shared their favorite Don Memory, and some just stumbled over their words because THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE I HAD A HOTLINE.

As always, for those who don’t know me, I do it to be funny. In this world where so many people are worried about the everyone-gets-a-trophy world, and nobody-loses, and Millenials with their helicopter parents, and where old-schoolers lament the look-at-me, center-of-the-universe social media culture where EVERYONE thinks they’re important and that happiness and self-worth is defined by Likes, Follows, and Comments …well, many say it’s a bad thing. I say it’s a GREAT thing. I would move back in with my parents if I could …who wouldn’t!!!???!!!

Anyway, it’s all for fun AND because I have this writing and a content-creation thing I do on the side, it’s all an experiment, as well. I got a call from someone I never, ever, never expected would call the Don’s Birthday Hotline (the caller is 100% not a silly person) and so my experiment and theories and hypotheses all need to be refigured because, when I tell the brands and clients I coach about social media, what I’m telling them might need to be updated.

One more time, my updated wish-list is below. Don’t think because only a few things are crossed off that I didn’t have a kick ass I Love Don Week. My wife made my favorite dinner on Tuesday. We had Big Chief burgers at Duggan’s Irish Pub last night (with dessert). I got an emergency filling on one of my molars. Eighteen people called the hotline. I’m going to see Weezer this Friday. I had a beer yesterday afternoon with an old friend and watched some World Cup soccer. My wife and I had a wonderful date-night.

Life is too short not to have fun if you’re lucky enough to wake up in the morning with good health and your loved ones around you. Last weekend a former co-worker died in a car accident (early 50s). I texted an old friend this morning and she said she hasn’t worked in 4 weeks, just started more chemo, and she’s struggling. Another friend shared how she’s having a hard time dealing with a mother-of-four who passed away unexpectedly (a young mom).

*** Please pray for J.S., S.L., and for J.P.’s soul. ***

This morning, my 11-year-old daughter is off to a commercial shoot. Yes. She’ll be in a TV commercial if things go right and I told her, “go into this production with the JOY you do everything with.” It’s great to be 11-years-old. She smiles when she dances 14 hours a week. She smiles when she does flips in the backyard. She smiles when she plays piano. She smiles when she plays soccer. Joy. Joy. Joy.

Yesterday and for the entire week leading up to my birthday, I just tried to be joyful and fun and positive. I’m certain I annoy the shit out of some people, but mostly I want to be joyful and share my joy and if I did that for even one person, I win again.

Phew. That got deep. Back to narcissism and stroking my ego. My wishlist and then Weezer’s best song ever …”The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” which is my theme song (and the video is hella good).

Love you all.

My Grandpa’s Eulogy

Finally. I’ve challenged myself a few times in my life, but this is something I’ve feared and procrastinated about for years. My procrastination might be going on a decade. In previous posts I’ve mentioned I want to take all the eulogies, wedding toasts, and speeches I’ve given, compile them into a book, and leave it as an heirloom for my kids. Maybe some cousins will enjoy the collection. Maybe a few friends might like it. But my nagging self-doubt says they will all humor me, say they like my stories and speeches and tell me how glad they are I did this, but the minute I’m out of earshot they’ll say, “Don is nuts. Why does he think we care about any of this?”

Is it this difficult for everyone? Yes. I’ve been asked dozens of times to write and deliver eulogies, but I tell myself they’re only asking because they think I’ll have my feelings hurt if I wasn’t asked. Yes. People thank me after each eulogy for being able to take the stories and memories and tell a story they wish they could. But I think everyone who’s ever given a eulogy gets told these same things.

However, reader and friend N.G., and my biggest critic (and biggest cheerleader and supporter) K.K., both told me to stop over-thinking and just do it.

This is me just doing it. I’m going to list my self-criticism and then, below that, is the eulogy …15 years later.

  1. It’s WAY TOO LONG (nobody is going to sit through a 10 1/2 minute video)
  2. The lighting is bad and the audio has an echo. Maybe I should re-shoot it.  As if 10 1/2 minutes aren’t bad enough, my face is in a shadow
  3. I should’ve re-written it entirely to make it present-day. As I recorded it, I messed up tenses and flubbed lines. Nope. I definitely will delete this and re-record it and will only post it when everything is perfect. Ugh. I’m back up to 160 pounds. I look fat on camera. I’ll get back to 150 pounds, re-shoot this, and then post it.
  4. It’s SOOOOOOO self-serving and egomaniacal. Nobody else does this with their eulogies and wedding toasts. I’m sure many people have given great eulogies and they don’t post ’em online. Who the hell do I think I am?

Thank you to the dozens of you who check-in to my Blog every now and then and if you’re a family member, I hope you were able to smile remembering my Grandpa.

I Love Don Week, Day 2

Before you roll your eyes, you might wonder, “why does Don do this stupid I Love Don Week?” The answers might suprise you.

  1. I’m insecure, selfish, and like getting more than giving
  2. My parents spoiled me my entire life and I’m still living in a world most people grow out of after their 8th birthday where a birthday is the most special thing
  3. I write for, Blog for, create content for, and consult brands and businesses and I tell them how they should use video, content, and social media for their brand and because they want their customers and competitors thinking they do it themselves, this is like a doodle pad where I do fun and funny things to show them I know what I’m talking about.

But if #1 and #2 are the main reasons, well, here’s my list again and a little “Welcome to I Love Don Week” video greeting.