America It Happened to Me

Buc-ee’s: I, for one, welcome our new beef jerky overlords.

For the benefit of those of you who’ve never experienced a Buc-ee’s, here’s some video I shot during my first-ever visit to one of these roadside stores that’s best described as “Imagine a Circle K, but on Texas steroids,” or “Picture a Wawa, but the size of a Walmart.”


“What would the Founding Fathers think of all that?”

Comic: MAGA guy in red cap and U.S. flag t-shirt: “No child of mine is gonna learn about men who wear makeup, high heels, and a wig at their school! What would the founders think of all that?” / Founding father in traditional clothing, checking self in mirror: “Oh, have I got some news for you.”
Tap to view at full size.

The Founding Fathers would’ve been confounded by lots of things, from non-land-owners having a vote to dishwashing machines. Appreciate the things they did right, learn from what they did wrong, and don’t fuss too much over the intent of people who were just getting the hang of Enlightenment ideas.

Also worth checking out: How to quit being a wimp and DRESS MANLY like the GOOD OLD DAYS.

It Happened to Me

Sign of the day

Frame sign on wall: “It’s better to be late than to arrive ugly.”

Seen in my room’s bathroom at Hotel Vinache, New Orleans, on Thursday, July 29, 2022, where I stayed on a three-day bus trip from Tampa to Austin for StartupBus Florida 2022.

There are more photos from StartupBus Florida 2022 on my tech blog, Global Nerdy.


You’re not the boss of me, Malcolm Gladwell!

Malcolm Gladwell — who’s been described as “Joe Rogan for people who read The New Yorkeris taking a lot of (richly deserved) dunking for his “Do what I say, not what I do” take on working from home.

In the podcast series “The Diary of a CEO”, Gladwell told host Steven Bartlett that office workers should stop “sitting in their pyjamas” and return to the office and gather in one place in order to have a sense of meaning and belonging:

“It’s very hard to feel necessary when you’re physically disconnected. As we face the battle that all organizations are facing now in getting people back into the office, it’s really hard to explain this core psychological truth, which is we want you to have a feeling of belonging and to feel necessary.

And we want you to join our team and if you’re not here it’s really hard to do that.

It’s not in your best interest to work at home. I know it’s a hassle to come into the office, but if you’re just sitting in your pyjamas in your bedroom, is that the work-life you want to live? Don’t you want to feel part of something?

I’m really getting very frustrated with the inability of people in positions of leadership to explain this effectively to their employees. If we don’t feel like we’re part of something important, what’s the point? If it’s just a paycheck, then it’s like what have you reduced your life to?”

“The Diary of a CEO” seems aimed at the sort of striver that watches videos (home of such classics as “15 Things Poor People Do That The Rich Don’t”) and Gary “Capitalism’s youth pastor” Vee but has an a longer attention span than a goldfish. Gladwell’s schtick — long on storytelling but short on analysis — is perfect for this podcast:

The Dunking Point, part one

Needless to say, the internet was having none of Gladwell’s pampered nonsense. The dunking was swift, harsh, and high-larious.

For your enjoyment, I’ve gathering some of the best tweets on the topic and spread them throughout this article. Here’s the first set:

First of all, the “Diary of a CEO” podcast, where Gladwell gave his terrible take, isn’t recorded at a traditional dedicated workspace, but in the host’s home.

Take a look at the set where “The Diary of a CEO” interviews take place. It’s not a recording studio, but a dining room in a house or condominium.

It’s a rather upscale house or condo with more product placement than you’d encounter in real life, but a house or condo nonetheless. It’s most decidedly not the office environment that Gladwell insists we return to.

The Dunking Point, part two

Let’s enjoy more tweets about Gladwell:

There’s also the fact that Gladwell doesn’t go to an office.

Pictured above: An overused grinder in need of cleaning and maintenance. And to the right of Malcolm Gladwell, a coffee bean grinder and espresso machine.

Gladwell doesn’t go to an office because he doesn’t have to. He had a desk at The New Yorker, but you weren’t likely to find him there:

If you go back into The Guardian’s archives, you’ll find a piece from March 2005 titled My work space, in which he makes it very clear that office work isn’t for him:

“He’s away from his desk” is something that’s now true of New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell. When he wrote his bestseller The Tipping Point, he remained shackled to his desk, mainly from habit. But while writing his new book, Blink, he unleashed his lust for wandering, in New York, Rome and London.

Malcolm says: “I hate desks. Desks are now banished.” He starts the day writing at home, but this is always done from his sofa, using his laptop. “I work better when I’m comfortable,” he says. After a stint on the sofa, it’s out into the world.

“I refer to my writing as ‘rotating’. I always say ‘I’m going to rotate’ because I have a series of spots that I rotate.”

The article goes on to list Gladwell’s decidedly non-office workspaces:

  • A spot in Manhattan’s Lower East Side where “The waiters are all Australian and they play The Smiths all day long which I find so fabulous.”
  • Restaurants in nearby Little Italy, where they let him linger in the middle of the afternoon.
  • Another Manhattan restaurant: the Savoy in SoHo, which closed a few years after Gladwell’s interview.

He also said that he’d love to work at the Monmouth Coffee Company in London’s Covent Garden, which he describes as “warm and idiosyncratic.” And hey — having been there and done some quick coding and developer relations work there — can attest that it’s a decent place to get work done. But it’s not an office.

The Guardian article’s final paragraph tells us about one of the biggest benefits that Gladwell gets from ditching his office desk: he enjoys his job more!

By leaving his desk behind, Malcolm says that he’s been able to disassociate writing from work. “It seems like a fun activity now. Kind of casual. It’s been more seamlessly integrated into my life and that’s made it much more pleasurable. I never want to be at a desk again.

And hey, here’s a photo from his Instagram account that shows him working on his podcast, Revisionist History, in a place that’s very clearly not the office:

Simply put: Office job for thee, but not for me!

The Dunking Point, part three

And now, more dunking:

Even when he shows up at an office, it’s a much better setup than most of us have.

His company, Pushkin Industries Inc., is one of those companies whose name evokes images of “blue collar” and heavy lifting name, but which actually specializes in the kind of white collar work where people have a nervous breakdown when the Nespresso machine is broken (namely, podcasting and audiobooks).

Pushkin lists hybrid on-premises/remote jobs at the time of writing. While Pushkin’s main office is in Manhattan’s Union Square and the job description says that they’ll eventually get everyone back to on-premises work, if Gladwell shows up at an office, it’s Pushkin’s satellite office in Hudson, the small upstate town where he lives:

So when he does show up at the office, it’s the office that’s conveniently close to home.

The Dunking Point, part four

Because there’s never enough: MORE DUNKING!

And finally…

…in closing, here’s the opening theme from the ’90s TV show from which this post gets its title. Enjoy!

It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Sunday morning, August 7, 2022

Sunday’s my day to check the grounds before my daily 10K bike ride.

Aside from some weeding that I’ll need to do over the coming week, the front yard looked good, so I decided to take some photos.

Seminole Heights’ seal, which depicts a two-headed alligatorYou can’t go for a bike ride without a bike. After eight years of pretty regular riding — and near-daily riding since the start of the pandemic — my bike was beginning to show its age. It was getting to the point that it would be cheaper to replace than repair it.

The supply chain for new bikes is a bit thin at the moment, but the local Facebook marketplace had a decent-sized selection. Once I’d filtered out the bikes that people got at Walmart (the bikes are so-so, and they’re usually assembled by the associate who drew the short straw), there were a couple of good picks.

I ended up buying relatively gently-used bike pictured above. It had new brakes and tires, and I got it for less than $200 from someone who lived a few blocks away and rode regularly with my go-to bike repair guy, Jorge, whose business is named Bike Haus (which I highly recommend). It rides quite nicely.

I usually drop by the Seminole Heights branch of Spaddy’s — a coffee trailer with patio area — on weekends for a Cuban toast with cheese and a cold brew with condensed milk.

All in all, a nice morning.

It Happened to Me The Current Situation

You might want to cut back on socializing for the next couple of weeks

Photo of Joey deVilla and friends at “The Sail”, a completely open-air patio.
The scene at The Sail on Monday, July 25, 2022. Tap to view at full size.

Two weeks ago, on Monday, July 25, I attended a send-off party for StartupBus Florida. Despite being in an open-air location on a breezy evening (there was a thunderstorm later that night), five people who were there ended up sick and testing positive for COVID.

Here’s a photo that shows how open-air the party location, The Sail, is:

I’d hoped that an open-air location would reduce the odds of anyone catching the latest COVID variant, which was proving to be very contagious. Here in Florida, the incoming reported cases had remained steady since the beginning of the summer:

Most of us were there for about two and a half hours. Near the end of the gathering, one of the guests mentioned that they’d started their throat had started feeling scratchy and they were feeling a little ill, and I suggested that they go home and test themselves.

And as a result, 5 people got sick. Two tested positive the following day, another got ill a couple of days later, and another a couple of days after that.

My recommendation: You might want to cut back on socializing in larger groups for the next couple of weeks.



Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me

I wore it better

Elon Musk looking like a fatter sadder Hunter S. Thompson in a black cowboy hat and sunglasses
Why go with the “bro-ligarch…”
Joey deVilla posing with accordion and cowboy hat in front of the American Flag ighting display at Voodoo Donut in Austin.
…when you can have the “Joe-ligarch?” (Photo taken at Voodoo Doughnut on 6th Street, Austin, Saturday, July 30, 2022.)