Free Advice & Bad Ideas

The road to riches involves more travel than you might think

A blue and white Mini Cooper drives on a country road in dappled light.
Photo by Aaron Hunt from Pexels

The largest tech firms are buying up small companies at an unprecedented rate. The FTC said the Big Five have made 616 acquisitions in a single year and all fell below the $92 million reporting threshold but were worth at least $1 million. They are doing as part of a larger strategy to acquire skilled employees, patents, or prevent competition. However, 70% of the acquisitions were outside the companies’ core business.

So how can we be a pellet in the path of this “Pac-Man strategy”, as coined by FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter? The key is creating a company that…


A comprehensive checklist to ward off misery

A brown Husky sits in the snow.
Photo by Joey Marrone from Pexels

I have been wanting to get a dog since the passing of Chandler the Corgi in 2009 but my current lifestyle has not permitted it. Even so, my neighbor is fostering a rust and white Husky that is just a doll. Olive’s current caretaker has another Husky and is one of the best trainers I have seen in action. She is not a professional dog trainer but follows strict protocols that make for well-behaved dogs.

I considered long and hard whether I could provide a new home for Olive and this is my process and checklist. …

Religion and Politics

Meet and Greet with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Three speckeled horses stand in the wind under a cloudy sky.
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

What’s with that fourth horse? Death is just mopping up after the other three did all the hard work.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelations describes a set of horses and riders who are to mett out God’s fury and judgment at the end of the world. Some real old testament wrath tacked onto the new testaments like an angry letter to the ex.

These horsemen are unleashed when the first four of seven seals on a scroll are broken. …


Analysis and Interview with Houston Artist Amber Erceg

Street Photography as a genre usually focuses on the human subject in urban settings to create emotion and connection in the viewer. Unlike a typical snapshot, these images are unposed observations where the artist is asking us to think profoundly about meaning.

Before we go further, it is important to take a moment and just take in the art. Allow yourself to process without thinking. Go ahead, take a minute…

A red star shaped mylar balloon floats above an overfilled dumpster.
“Be the Dumpster Balloon you wish to see in the world.” Amber Erceg (2021) Digital image courtesy of the Artist.

“Be the Dumpster Balloon you wish to see in the world.”

Are you the balloon? What does the dumpster represent in your life? Does the ballon represent more for you…

Dispatches from Nerdville

Some hacker tropes are particularly annoying

A more realistic look at a hacker. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Typing fast enough to melt the keyboard is a hacker trope that does not annoy me. I never learned to “touch type” properly and when taking the skills test at Kelly Temps the lady looked at the paper, rolled her eyes, and said “light typing”. On the other hand, I will never forget stepping into “Moose’s” cubicle and thinking he was pranking me with his typing. Fortunately, I saw his screen before I said something stupid and saw he was configuring sendmail at 150 words per minute.

R$* < @ $* .$m. > $* $#smtp $@ $2.$m. $: $1 <…

Modern Ethics

I’m not sitting down, values are for life or they are meaningless

Photo by Nicholas Swatz from Pexels

I was recently forced into a retrospection of my values and their origination when differences surfaced between myself and my mother. The woman that took me to the farmer’s market in the 1960s to hand out leaflets in support of the UFW grapes boycott became a Reagan supporter in the 80s as she became increasingly evangelical. She never supported the new Republicans, referring to Sarah Palin as a clown and Trump dismissively as “that man”, however, her shift on gun control went from requesting my preschool rid itself of “war toys” to carrying a concealed .38 to guard against Antifa.

Women’s Rights

How Texas SB8 really works by looking at the source

Two women hold a sign saying women’s rights are human rights in front of several sureilance cameras.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska & Scott Webb from Pexels

There has been a flurry of news and commentary about Texas SB8 — the Texas Heartbeat Act, possibly the most ironic name ever conceived for a heartless law. Texas has outsourced economic harassment of those coming in contact with a pregnant woman by setting up a bounty system that places all the burden on the accused. Oddly, this law does some sleight of hand to avoid running afoul of constitutional rights and even takes the burden off the state by removing prosecution from the criminal courts and law enforcement.

There have been some incorrect statements about the impact of the…


Our Space Can Define Us

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Living in a small house — not a tiny house

I live in a small house. It is not a tiny house. The tiny house is an extreme lifestyle just above #vanlife. The small house I am referring to stems from the frugality of the 1930s. These homes were built after the crash of ’29 to provide just enough floor space for simple living. These suburban homes, now engulfed by their cities, were built with more variation than the post-war tract homes even if the builder had a particular theme.

Southern California has many of these abodes, the smallest ones referred to as bungalows or cottages. In San Diego, the…

Paul Coogan

Project Manager, Artist, and Data Visualization/Activist Geek

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