This is an actual screenshot from the debate.

The Wrong Answer

During the second and final presidential debate, this happened:

In the following days, I saw a lot of friends posting to Facebook. They were saying things like,

“Hi, everyone. I don’t get on here a lot. And lord knows I don’t like talking about politics. But last night in the debate, Joe Biden said he is in favor of ending the oil industry. Just in Texas, the oil industry employs more than 450,000 people. Those are good jobs. My job is a good job. The oil industry is important. This is the line in the sand. …

Editor’s note: this was originally posted via email on Sunday, September 8. If you’re sad that was so long ago, you should sign up to get these in your inbox when they’re fresh.

Okay, first, I hope you’re proud of yourself. Because of you, I’ve now done this five times in a row, which it puts it well beyond the realm of consistency anyone who’s been following my life for any amount of time might have predicted for this project (not counting the two weeks I was on vacation after issue #1, which obviously one would not count, and anyway…

Editor’s note: this was originally posted via email on Monday, September 2. If you’re sad that was so long ago, you should sign up to get these in your inbox when they’re fresh.

Today is Monday, but it’s a holiday, so it counts as a Sunday. I hope your Labor Day weekend was startlingly awesome.

Feedback on this newsletter is now beginning to outpace worthless small talk as the primary interaction I have with people outside of work, which is a terrific change of pace and makes me look forward even more to writing it.

A common refrain I’ve heard…

On Saturday, my mother turned 65. As is typical for 65-year-old women, she wanted to go sky diving. So we spent the weekend with her in a rented house on the beach south of Galveston. And she jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, as they say.

Despite clouds and occasional rain, we spent quite a few hours on the beach, which felt great. Even after a couple of late nights, a little bit too much beer, and way too many cinnamon rolls, I feel quite recharged. Which got me wondering why beach time is so enjoyable.

The first two…

There’s nothing like a two-week break after the first issue to really get your audience excited for regular content, or so I’ve heard.

I went on vacation to the startlingly awesome and surprisingly unknown white sand beaches, aqua-marine surf, and 75° August days of the eastern shores of Lake Michigan. And I tried to sit down and write you a newsletter, but I was forced into a nightmarish cycle of sun, swimming, beer, sunsets, and late night Ticket To Ride sessions.

Thankfully, I’ve left all that behind and I’m now enjoying yelling at my kids to get ready for school…

Well, hello. I hope you’re having a really amazing Monday.

This is the first issue of Startlingly Awesome and Refreshingly Modest, which is an email newsletter with a super-witty name that you’re now subscribed to. It will come every Sunday, even though this one came on Monday because I like to start things off with a mistake.

I’m launching this thing because I’ve just published a piece I’ve been working on for a while called Stop Hedging and Unleash Your Inner Zealot, which you’ll find below. I wanted to share it with you and that made me realize I have…

A woman dressed in white linen does a yoga pose in a field.

My friend Gregg once visited a pizza joint in Syracuse, New York called Robbie T’s.

It changed his life.

Apparently Mr. T (no relation) is very, very excited about serving pizza to his customers. Abnormally excited. Drastically excited.

You walk in to pick up a pizza. He looks up from what he’s doing, rushes over with a big, genuine smile and gives you two minutes of intense, undeniable, so-glad-you’re-here-you’re-going-to-love-it pizza excitement.

It’s shocking in comparison to most retail experiences. It is by all accounts delightful, and makes the (apparently good but not quite mind-blowing) pizza taste better. …

A preview, thanks to a distressingly relevant XKCD. (From today!!!)

I am a faint shadow of what I am capable of.

In a recent episode of the Hello Internet podcast, educational YouTuber CGP Grey laments a strengthening and seemingly insurmountable attention disorder. The pathology is both individual and collective; personal and cultural.

He has noticed he can’t get started reading a book the way he used to. He chooses one that seems interesting, begins, and soon finds himself doing something else. His brain refuses to adhere to the topic; it’s as if gravity itself is weakening.

His friends and acquaintances insert one-minute pauses into real-life conversations as they respond to…

The folks in the Denver office at Inntopia have named a plant after me.

Now as several people have pointed out, it’s very possible that this is a coincidence and the plant is named Donnie because of some other reason.

I refuse to look into it and will remain verklempt for the rest of the day.

Some people might call this egotism. I call it optimism.

A couple of years ago, a friend sent me an email asking if I had any advice for him. His first baby was just around the corner; I was about 2 years into mine. He was wondering what baby products we’d found useful. This can be quite an overwhelming topic to tackle as a first-time parent.

I was under a couple of pretty intense deadlines, so of course I spent the next hour ignoring work and typing this for him.

Matt -

Just off the top of my head:

  1. Get a stroller with the biggest, most ridiculously huge wheels you…

Donnie Clapp

Startlingly awesome and refreshingly modest. ️

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