August, Wyoming

I’m sitting here on the banks of the Snake River as it passes through Grand Teton. It’s warm, calm, and altogether as peaceful a place as you’ll come across out west. Dragonflies coast low over the water like pelicans from saltier environs. There are no sounds to speak of, save the cast of fly fishermen in the distance, hoping the scheduled sunset brings with it a trout worthy of dinner and Instagram.

The hills in the distance are more voluptuous and bottle-shaped than their Colorado counterparts. Here, they’re more a show of hospitality, less an episode of American Ninja Warrior.

If these hills had eyes, they would be privy to a view unlike any I’ve come across in twenty-eight and a half years on this planet. Great, jagged peaks looking out opposite these hills, the stereotypical kind a fourth grader would pen as a hand-drawn mental escape from an algebra class. They rise out of a lake the aqua equivalent of The Giving Tree. Water so glassy, you’d think making wake would result in a court date.

And perhaps the most shocking and most enjoyable part about this place is what you won’t find. There are no hyper-bros on selfie sticks doing backflips off party barges. No hunters getting out of an F-350 Super Duty with “sporting rifles” dead-set on shooting an animal worthy of a supporting role in a Thomas Kinkade painting. No enemies, just friends. It sounds about like an Outback Steakhouse slogan, but damnit it’s true. It’s a similar feeling to the one you get stepping into a place of worship or higher spiritual realm. Everyone wants to be their best self. Full stop.

After about an hour of this impromptu riverbank near-meditation, a familiar sound and feeling brings me back to the world I left: my fucking iPhone vibrating, asking me if I’m going to attend a recurring meeting that I’m absolutely not going to attend because I’m on vacation in fucking Wyoming.

I exhale, calmly decline the meeting invite, and glance at my other push notifications to make sure the world is still in one piece. And despite Supreme Leader Un launching some missiles over Japan, it’s still there. Pretty fucked, but there.


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Hey, Tiger.

You are Tiger Woods.

You are the reason, the only reason, I wanted to play golf as a kid. My dad, a used car salesman, and my mom, owner of a regional modeling agency, never played a single round (save some nights of putt putt at the local Hawaiian Rumble). I didn’t have a legacy membership at one of the many golf clubs in Myrtle Beach, nor did I have hand-me-down clubs from siblings.

Just a shade past eight years old, I was hanging out with my mom at a photoshoot at a local bed & breakfast. It was Sunday, April 13, 1997, and I was watching you make history at The Masters huddled over a 13” television while a makeup artist was sitting next to me touching up one of the models.

Instantly, I wanted to be like you. When I got my first cap that wasn’t associated with my favorite baseball/basketball/football team, you can guess what it looked like. When Santa finally adorned me with my first pair of golf cleats, he was smart enough to know I didn’t want a FootJoy logo on them. I never got your Titleist (or later Nike) clubs, but two out of three ain’t bad.

I’m not here saying I wouldn’t be a great golfer if it wasn’t for you, Tiger – because the fact is I’m not a great golfer at all, and frankly never have been. I’ve never broken 80, I don’t play from the championship tees, and I only made the golf team at Myrtle Beach High School my sophomore year as a sympathy selection after trying out (and failing miserably) the two years prior. Shout out to my teammates who played with me that winter, as you all waited patiently on many fairways while I gained an intimate knowledge of South Carolina flora in the nearby woods. But what golf (and you personally) taught me goes way beyond handicap. Vision. Self discipline. Competitiveness. How to talk to a bunch of old rich white guys. You were more of a positive influence on my childhood than you’ll ever know.

And you got this pseudo-only child excited about a sport that could entertain me solo for hours on end.

Just ask my parents, who cringed every time their son – sporting black pants and a red shirt in the middle of a 90 degree summer afternoon – would hook a ball left on the opening tee of the McCollum Family Golf Club [read: home] and accidentally graze a window. Were they terrified of my new summer hobby of working on my swing inside each night, carefully crafting a track for my steel-shafted clubs to narrowly avoid the family antiques (sometimes wearing rollerblades)? Certainly. But did they know golf was ultimately good for me? You bet, and you played a major part in that.

You are Tiger Woods.

For the next ten years, you being in contention on Sunday was as sure of a bet as the CBS coverage being followed by a new episode of 60 Minutes (except on the west coast, as Jim Nance reminded us). Your chip-in on 16 at The Masters in 2005 is the greatest golf shot of all time, and your 72nd hole birdie putt to force a playoff on your bum knee at the ‘08 US Open was just one of the many reminders we’ve been given that your greatness is limitless. You’re Michael Jordan with a collar. 

You are Tiger Woods.

Since that tournament, the 2008 US Open, it’s been a weird ride, hasn’t it?

I remember where I was when details of your personal life were released in ‘09. I was sitting in my Jeep, about to go to class at The University of Georgia. Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” had just played, and a morning DJ was giving Athens, GA, his two cents on the developments. I remember feeling like one of my childhood heroes had been living a lie. I can’t imagine how Elin felt.

Although I forgave you, it’s never quite been the same. Between the injuries, the surgeries, the tournament withdrawals, and now the DUI, I keep feeling like my hero hasn’t been 100% with it. But that’s the underlying problem with heroes: they’re human, not super. You had relationship issues, just like many of us. Chalk me up in that group. You’ve battled an aging body that’s kept you away from the game you love, just like many all who came before you. And you got arrested on a DUI charge, just like 1.5MM do each year.

But that’s where our similarities end, Tiger. Because we’re not Tiger Woods.

You are Tiger Woods, and you need to remember that.

We weren’t on TV playing golf with Bob Hope at age 2. You were.

We don’t hold the record for most consecutive weeks as the #1 ranked golfer in the world. You do. 281 weeks, if you had forgotten.

We didn’t grace the cover of the EA Sports PGA Tour video game for 15 straight years. We just played it. As you.

Oh, and you won some golf tournaments, too. 79 professionally, as it stands right now.

I’m not here to say you owe it to us to come back next season and write your greatest chapter yet. After all you’ve given us, you don’t owe us anything.

But you have to try.

Because you are Tiger Woods.


Filed under Life

Consider The Garbage Man: The Musical

He’s Tom, and I’m Cory.

And we don’t have much of a story.

We’re making ends meet

On the edge of our seats.

We’re garbage men.


We have a helluva truck

With unusable stuff.

The job doesn’t pay.

Another smelly day.

We’re garbage men.


But the garbage man life

Is actually quite nice.

Seeing your family at night.

Watching the sun always rise.

Writing this here ditty

After cleaning the big city

Is all we need.


But garbage men have ambitions too.

Polishing the South Bronx

For the School Of Hard Knocks.

Heads Of Sanitation

For the best cities in the nation.

Hashtag Goalz.


So let this be a reminder to all.

Do what you love and life will be a ball.

Every man’s trash is our utmost treasure.

If we weren’t paid, we’d do it for leisure.

We’re garbage men.

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Proud Dropout?

NYC Dropout
When our friends who’ve lived in New York City for a while bail for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Portland, and other cities, we usually celebrate their time spent grinding away in The Big Apple, and wish them the best on their futures spent elsewhere. But if and when you leave New York, you can’t really say that you’ve defeated it – that you won. In some way, leaving NYC after beginning to shape your career here is quitting – on the city, on the lifestyle, and on the ideology (#NewYorkValues, maybe?). You, in a sense, dropped out.
New York is a different, and oftentimes tough environment to live in. We carry our groceries home in our hands. We do not push our groceries 100 yards to our cars. We’re not saying you’re an idiot for leaving. On the contrary, we’re probably the idiots for thinking this is the #bestlife. But alas, we’re still here, currently waiting to see if this winter storm brings one foot or two feet of snow, checking to see if the L train is still down, and trying to remember if April or May is when it usually gets warm again, while you’re likely researching the pros and cons of buying a hybrid and/0r checking the availability of your favorite wedding venue. Really, you’re probably in a better place. But you did kinda dropout of New York.
But hey, dropping out is nothing to cry about. Zuckerburg did it. Jobs did it. One of my college roommates did it, though he’s not a case we’ll dig into. What I’m saying is, dropping out of NYC is honorable, and something worth celebrating.
NYC Dropout 2
The idea is “NYC Dropout.” Much like alumni attire given to you by your alma mater, but with a bit of edge to say that you’re proud that you said “to hell with New York!”, or something along those lines. If you’re into this idea, hit me up, and we’ll make some shirts. Maybe you’ve got a friend who’s leaving town, or maybe it’s you who’s calling it quits. Either way, rocking one of these could be a fun conversation starter at CostCo and Sonic.
Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 6.25.08 PM


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New York Presbyterian Hospital Spot

When a 93 year old woman says bitch, I listen.

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June 10, 2012 · 10:02 pm

Miller Lite Selects Familiar Song for New Miller Time Spot

Miller Lite recently relaunched their tried and true “Miller Time” campaign with a series of new spots. One of those spots features a very catchy song, How You Like Me Now, by The Heavy. It’s the classic case of a great song becoming discovered by being paired with a high-profile commercial with a heavy media spend supporting it. I had yet to hear of the song or the band before hearing it during a commercial, and after hearing it in the ad I thought about the brand every time I heard the song.

The problem for me (and Miller Lite) is that I first heard this song in the 2009 Super Bowl spot for the Kia Sorrento, not the 2012 spot for Miller Lite.

Why do brands feel the need to latch on to songs that have already been used in very prominent ads? Think about the reach the Kia Sorrento spot had. Don’t you think it would be smart for Miller Lite to select a song that people don’t already associate with another brand? And even if you didn’t associate the song with Kia, you probably had already heard that song by now, right? I think it would have been a much better play for Miller Lite to go with a track that was cool and felt right to listen to before a night out on the town, but had not yet been discovered. If they did that, people would hear the song and associate it with Miller Lite, and they would look at the Miller Lite brand and think, “Damn, these guys are purveyors of awesome music.”

Often times, music gets overlooked during the production of broadcast spots, and that’s not a good thing. When you treat the music selection for commercials as an afterthought, you increase the chance of your commercial becoming an afterthought.


Filed under Advertising

Will time heal Gregg Williams’ wounds?


Former New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams faces a serious image problem right now. When you lead a bounty program that promotes and awards injuring your opponents, people are obviously not going to be very happy with you. Of course, as the old saying goes, “Time heals all wounds,” right? In the case of countless celebrities and athletes, you’re damn right it does. Look at Tiger Woods. He went from an O-zone-piercing high to a burrowing earth worm low.  Of course, like so many before him, Tiger rebounded from his version of rock bottom and salvaged his career. With that said, I think Gregg Williams faces an even steeper uphill battle than Tiger faced. The reason? Gifts. Not monetary gifts, as I don’t think that would have changed Tiger’s public perception for the better, but emotional gifts – memories. Do Saints fans associate the fond memories of the 2009-2011 teams with Williams, or do they associate it with the players? Gifts are why Tiger Woods was sure to get a second chance, and the same reason why it’s going to be tough for Gregg Williams to ever get that chance.

In this day and age, a character issue is not even close to a career-killer for athletes. Even instances of cheating in some cases can be forgiven if the player admits to his or her mistake and learns from it. (Come clean, Roger Clemens.) The reason is that athletes (in a very raw sense) are products that bring millions of people happiness. Tiger Woods fits the mold perfectly.


Tiger Woods cheated on his wife Elin hundreds (if not thousands) of times, and he upset a ton of people who looked up to him, myself included. With that said, he’s the single biggest reason I took up the game of golf as an adolescent. Sure, I lived in a golf-happy town with great deals for kids wanting to learn, but ultimately it was Tiger that made me want to play – his fire, passion and intensity made golf fun to play and watch, even at age 8. I distinctly remember watching the final round of the 1997 Masters, and I remember multiple occasions where I took my pitching wedge into the yard in the middle of 90+ degree summer afternoons in Myrtle Beach wearing black pants, a red polo and a black Nike cap. He was, and still is, awesome. He gave me so many gifts – so many fond memories from my childhood. After the details of his unfaithful personal life became public in late 2009, I wasn’t happy at all, but I knew I would get over it. It has been a little over two years since the scandal broke. Sure enough, I’m completely over it and extremely stoked to watch Tiger face off against Rory McIlroy this week at The Masters.

It’s rare for a coach to have that kind of connection with the general public, although it isn’t unheard of – just look at Joe Paterno. Did the late Joe Pa make mistakes in regards to reporting the child sexual abuse scandal involving his longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky? Of course. Do I think his inaction will hurt his legacy in the long term? Absolutely not, and it’s because of all the wisdom he gave over the years to his players, fans of Penn State and the general public. Like I said, though, coaches like Joe Pa are scarce, and I don’t think Gregg Williams has ever had the likability of a Joe Pa.

Arguably the biggest play of Super Bowl XLIV came late in the fourth quarter when Saints defender Tracy Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and returned it for a touchdown, essentially sealing the Super Bowl for the Saints. When Saints fans think of that play, do they think of the incredible play call by Gregg Williams, or do they think of Porter snatching the future Hall of Famer’s pass and sprinting untouched to the end zone for the game-clinching score? My guess is the latter, not the former, and that is essentially the problem that will make it much tougher for Williams to repair his image than any of the Saints defenders that played under him.


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