Lessons From a Toaster

When it comes to household appliances, I am not usually prone to blanket generalizations. But, in this case, I am going to make an exception: My toaster is way smarter than my coffeemaker. You may find this surprising, since coffeemakers, with all their bells and whistles, are the alpha males of the small appliance community: sleek, powerful, sexy. Toasters, on the other hand, have been around forever – I guarantee you that Harry Truman owned one. And they have barely changed in decades: a couple of vertical holders for the bread […] Click to read more…

It Ain’t The Meat, It’s The Motion

The first job I had after graduating from college was as a bank teller at the Brookline Savings Bank in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have a liberal arts degree.) It was a great job – the best one I ever had, before or since. Fast-paced, varied, independent, and thanks to the fact that at the end of each shift you were responsible for “balancing” all the transactions, it had a built-in means of determining how successful you had been over the course of the day. […] Click to read more…

Three Things That are Wrong With Your Newsletter

As someone who traffics in email newsletters, I receive and read a lot of them. These days, most look very nice. Thanks to the Mailchimps and Constant Contacts of the world, the formatting and publishing part has become relatively straightforward. But the formatting is just the wrapper.  It’s like a movie: sure, it needs to look good. But if the script is terrible, all the special effects and talented actors in the world won’t save it (Spider-Man 2 being the notable exception). When it comes to your newsletter, the “script” is the content. And […] Click to read more…

What I Don’t Know About Brewing Beer

You’ll be pleased to learn that I was not entirely idle over the holidays. Thanks to a “beer brewing kit” given to me by my children, I joined the ranks of other home-based craftspeople and voluntarily spent an entire afternoon attempting to create a more expensive, lower quality version of a product that is readily available in any number of retail locations. I will spare you too many of the specifics, other than to say that beer brewing is a not uncomplicated process. Indeed, over the course of just a […] Click to read more…

The Cold Truth

For twenty years, we had a second refrigerator in the basement. It was a piece of junk – dented on one side with a broken shelf and a small freezer. But it was a handy place to keep leftovers and extra supplies. Eventually, though, I realized something very important: the fridge part was almost always near-empty; the freezer part was jammed tight and never quite big enough. And so, when we moved to a new house, we didn’t take that energy-sucking dinosaur with us.  Instead, we bought a small, standalone freezer: […] Click to read more…