Lots of people are being radicalized in this country right now.

You could say there are very fine radicals on both sides.


Ohio State vs. Michigan 2019: My Prediction

Last updated December 1, 2019

Before I begin, let me acknowledge a couple points.

First, this blog has historically had an almost “emo” poetry bent to it so I get this is an odd subject to chime in on.

Second, as I state in my bio, and despite my Michigan roots, I have been an Ohio State football fan from age 8, so yes, nothing you’ll be reading here is objective.

All that said, with a family full of U-M grads, and living in NYC where college football certainly isn’t King, it’s not all that often I get a chance to discuss “The Game,” let alone break down Xs and Os, so here comes an arm chair quarterback run down of how I see the rivalry playing out this year.

Which Michigan team shows up?

Ohio State has literally been running through opponents all season. Even the Penn State game (a season low 11 point OSU win) would have been a different game had the Buckeyes not lost 3 fumbles, including a major momentum breaking fumble as Justin Fields dove for a touchdown up 7-0 in the first quarter. That fumble gave PSU the hope they needed to avoid a blowout.

Despite things looking a bit rocky for the Buckeyes in half two of the PSU game, for the most part we’ve been watching a loaded Buckeye team perform consistently all year.

Michigan football has been another story. The Wolverines have flashed a Jekyll and Hyde personality.

Which version of U-M’s team will show up Saturday?

My take: Michigan rolls over teams that don’t have the ability to move the ball on the ground. Ohio State is not one of those teams.

It’s the run game, stupid

I was at the Michigan / Army game, a 24-21 double overtime war.

Army lost to San Jose State, Western Kentucky, Tulane, Georgia State, and Air Force after barely losing to Michigan.

In the Michigan Army game, Army rushed for 200 yards on 61 carries. Except Wisconsin, no team has rushed for anywhere close to that against Don Brown’s defense this year. You could make the case Army would have beaten Michigan if they’d simply never attempted a pass.

Wisconsin rushed for 359 yards against Michigan on their way to a 35-14 blow out victory.

As the chart below demonstrates, after that UW game, Michigan hasn’t faced another team with any real rushing attack.

U-M OpponentRush RankRush YardsOutcome
Middle TN#5367U-M
Army #3200U-M (2 OT)
Wisconsin #14359UW
ND#5047 U-M
MSU#11154 U-M
Indiana #10497U-M
Ohio State #4264OSU

Facing opponents with no running game allows Don Brown, “Dr. Blitz,” to tee off on quarterbacks.

The result has been an impressive streak of beat downs, with Michigan seemingly on a roll.

But, now comes the logical question.

Where does Ohio State rank in rushing offense?

4th (282.1 yards per game).

The only teams ahead of OSU in rushing offense are the run happy service academy schools (Army, Navy, Air Force).

Has Ohio State faced any elite rushing defenses?


Penn State (#4) and Wisconsin (#9).

Against Wisconsin, Ohio State rushed for 264 yards.

Against Penn State, a team only allowing 74 yards per game rushing entering the game, OSU rushed for 224 total and for 91 yards on its opening drive.

Where does Michigan rank in total rushing defense?


Don Brown’s D allows 104 yards rushing per game. When they get opponents beneath that number, they feast on the one dimensional ineptitude of middling teams.

Getting offenses in third and long obvious passing situations allows Brown to bring crazy pressure. Eventually he gets in the head of the opposing QB and they lose their will.

You saw this last week with Indiana.

IU scored a few times early and then got hammered into submission.

For U-M, the blowouts follow the blitzes and it’s the lack of a running game that sets up the QB crushing blitz packages Don Brown loves so dearly. This has been the blue print for success in Michigan’s current win streak.

Lest you think my running obsession is perhaps a bit reductionist, there are a number of storylines to follow Saturday.

Michigan’s emerging passing game vs. Ohio State’s first ranked pass defense is certainly one.

But at the end of the day, if Ohio State rushes for more than 200 yards in this Game, as they did against Wisconsin and PSU, they are virtually guaranteed of victory.

What will happen in The Game?

I think you’ll see a motivated Ohio State team get just north of 225 yards rushing and beat Michigan 45-24 on the strength of its wrecking crew defensive line eventually rattling Shea Patterson.


Am I reasonable?

“If any man despises me, that is his problem. My only concern is not doing or saying anything deserving of contempt.”

Marcus Aurelius

Are you reasonable?

How reasonable?

Reasonable enough to call balls and strikes as to whether your behavior is “deserving of contempt,” as Marcus Aurelius seemed to believe he could do?

Ryan Holiday’s “The Daily Stoic,” tells us how to deal with “rude and selfish people.”

All the tips assume the other person is rude and selfish.

As I write this, I am experiencing caffeine induced anxiety, which happens whenever I drink too much tea or coffee.

Only a day ago, I was calmer than I’ve been in a long time.

I don’t stay static on any front, I change from mood to mood.

The same can be said for my identity as reasonable.

Presented with two “micro crises” this afternoon, I behaved both reasonably, in a way I am proud of, and less than reasonably, in a way that I am not totally comfortable with.

The situation I am proud of will have someone saying nice things about me.

But a guy in Silver Lake swears I’m a villain.

Who’s right?

Both of them.

Of this much I am sure: the most reasonable people know just how unreasonable they truly are.

As you leave Detroit

As you leave Detroit,

Telegraph Road,

with it’s decaying motels, get drunk shack bars, and appliance stores,

turns into the gentler Highway 24.

With the scars behind you,

far away from the sprawl,

the farm towns appear.

Tidy houses overseeing,

tidy fields.

Highway 24 shines in the summer.

The Ohio state crews,

mowing the median and patching the damage their salt brought the winter before.

Like many,

I’ve left for the places TV endorses,

but those Ohio and Indiana and Michigan roads used to offer me so much.

Lovers and family and true vacations.

Better things than the roads I now drive,

in my now “better” places.

As I sit here today,

it seems my task,

is to once again view those familiar paths,

as good enough.

They aren’t men

For years,

Like a recurring dream,

I’d find myself drunk in a New York City bar,

wishing I’d stayed home,

to build something,

no one would pay for,

in silence.

Even today,

I think of giving it all up,

to drift free in a low rent wilderness,

Where the best women won’t have sex.

These pangs visit at night,

But I still wake up and grind,

for a small piece,

of all the disassembled empires,

chaos has handed down,

since many lines before my Grandfather.

I am running after,

a dying lady,

in a dirty dress.

Friends and enemies,

on either side of me,

nourished by applause.

What does it mean to be a man?

Men arrive when the fleeting longings of their nights,

grow big enough,

to fill their days.


A house like this

Tonight I prepare for bed in a southern mansion house,

with a grand staircase, bedroom fireplaces, and absentee Manhattan owners.

I’ve always wanted a house like this.

To live in a house like this,

to die in a house like this.

But what is a house like this?

If not a stage on which to play your little part,

with those closest to you,

who love, support, and shelter you.

To own a house like this is a blessing.

But one that pales in comparison,

to a happy family.

Because in truth,

a happy family is,

a house like this.

The Tao of Uber

Heaven and earth are not out to make friends;

Thus, they treat all creatures as straw dogs.

The sage is not out to make friends;

Thus he treats the people as straw dogs.

Perhaps this is something like a bellows between heaven and earth:

It is empty, but never exhausted;

It moves, and creatures manifest endlessly.

A lot of words will get you nowhere;

Better to just stay centered.

Tao Te Ching


We can build, and build, but heaven and earth don’t respect the laws of society. Much of what we concern ourselves with on a day to day basis will, ultimately, be washed away.

There’s a lot of talk in the startup community about “changing the world.” While I have tremendous respect for anyone brave enough to build a business, the fact is that companies like Uber and AirBnb aren’t changing the world, they’re changing the transportation and hotel industries for a narrow segment of the population. If you listen to the investors who got in early on these startups, or talk to the founders themselves, you’ll hear a different story.

But where are all these players 100 years from now?

I believe you can admire and support innovators, without taking such a small view of the world as to think they own it.

We don’t own, we all rent.

That reality should force us to work with humility, to accept fortune with humility.

Curating desire

Thus being forever without desire,

you look deeply into the transcendent.

By constantly harboring desire,

your vision is  beset by all the things around you.

Tao Te Ching



Your vision is beset by all the things around you…

Desires that are fed, only grow hungrier. Desire puts our gaze forever on the horizon, robbing us of what we’ve actually been given. In a state of desire, we can’t focus on where we are, only on what we plan to attain.

When we “harbor” desires, the world becomes full of things to desire, and these desires frame our lives.

I haven’t owned a car in awhile, and never paid much attention to different models on the road. After leasing my car, I see models similar to mine everywhere. I’ve tuned into the car “channel.” Now I see drivers with my car, as well as drivers with the bigger better model. “Maybe next time I should get that car, with those options…”

Indulgence of desire sheds light on a million other things we should be desiring, each of them perfect until they’re attained.

This view is echoed in one of the Bodhisattva Vows:

Desires are inexhaustible, I vow to end them

Answering desire changes the way we see everything in the world.

You look deeply into the transcendent.

By contrast, when we free ourselves from desire, we see things as they are. We no longer see things to attain or possess, we see things to experience and enjoy.

And by seeing what we have for the first time, we transcend a common trap keeping us from the state of happiness we hope to achieve by our constant planning to fulfill desire. We can stop deferring happiness.

The ordinary and boring (ordinary and boring because we have it) is the doorway to the transcendent.

To act independent from desire is to act with integrity.

Bhagavad Gita, chapter 2, verse 47:

Your right is to action alone, never its fruit.

Practical application: 

For those of us unlikely to become ascetics, perhaps the goal is to curate desire in a mindful way.

Mindlessly flinging ourselves at desires is a recipe for an unpleasant journey down the rabbit hole, but can some desire be good?

Can we live with mindful desire (goals), without living as slaves to our desires? Is it possible to curate useful desire, while discarding unconscious desire?

Tech addiction backlash?

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 3.58.06 PM

Turns out processed food is designed to be addictive.

Morgan Sperlock shined a spotlight on this years ago in his documentary Super Size Me, but he’s not alone. Consider this quote from Michael Moss writing for the New York Times Magazine:

What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive. I talked to more than 300 people in or formerly employed by the processed-food industry, from scientists to marketers to C.E.O.’s. Some were willing whistle-blowers, while others spoke reluctantly when presented with some of the thousands of pages of secret memos that I obtained from inside the food industry’s operations.

Quite an indictment, food as a designer drug.

If Michael’s claims are true, public anger seems justified. Similarly, the tobacco industry is a unanimous villain for designing cigarettes to be addictive.

Making addictive products, especially when the desired addiction damages public health, is bad. So, following that logic, why isn’t anyone mad at the tech industry?

Do you think it’s by accident that every person on an elevator, or most stopped at a red light, or even couples having a “romantic” dinner, are looking at their phones?

The tech industry designs their interfaces for maximum addiction, just like the makers of slot machines. Consider this quote from a Verge story describing a state called the “zone,” which is a haze many slot machine players find themselves in:

The “zone” is flow through a lens darkly: hyperfocused, neurotransmitters abuzz, but directed toward a numbness with no goal in particular.

Focused with no goal in particular?

Sounds like most people I know on the internet (myself included). What is usually accomplished on Facebook or Twitter other than mind numbing browsing?

Tech business models are predicated on user acquisition and retention. The idea is to keep you on their platform for as long as possible (to look at their ads), and then to bring you back as soon as possible after you leave (so you can view more ads).

The result?

You crave the appearance of the little red flag that is evidence of a new Facebook friend request, or a new Twitter notification delivered to your phone in real time.

Fact is these notices are nonevents 99.99% of the time, and yet we continue checking for them. Checking for email, for new Hinge matches, whatever the case.

This digital addiction can be just as dangerous to our health and wellbeing as bad food.

It causes stress and sadness, destroys our attention spans, robs us of enjoying real moments with people we love, keeps us from sleeping well, causes fatalities on the road, and can even lower sperm count.

Does the tech industry have an ethical duty to design their products in ways that encourage healthy interaction?

Update: October, 23, 2016 – check out this article in the Atlantic on iPhone addiction, very important piece.

Better before more

No matter what we do, most of us want “more.”

Growth is practically a religion in the world of startups. There is a hyper focus on growing businesses, and growing them fast. It’s the same in other industries. My friends who work in salaried positions are always scheming on ways to get more salary.

There is nothing wrong with more, but it’s a mistake to ask for more without first understanding the foundation of more, which is better.

More rarely comes before better.

If you want more, get better.

That will get you more.