Welcome to the Lodge.

This is the internet home of author/Bob Ross enthusiast Sam Neumann. Check out his books up top or the blog below. Or just grab a drink. We serve drinks here.

Farewell, Fluffy Bear

You didn’t always make it easy, but you were a good dog nonetheless. We loved you and you loved us back. I can’t thank you enough for watching over Kristen when she lived alone in that house; to you, it was instinct, same as waking in the morning, but to me it meant everything.

Thought we’d have a little more time, but that’s okay. Nine years is enough. You’ve climbed mountains, swam in rivers, and stayed in swanky hotels. We did everything we could, but it still feels like we didn’t, really. Still feels like we could’ve done a little more.

You were a good bear. A good bear, and that’s what matters. No one else quite got you, did they? I didn’t always quite get you. That’s okay. Nobody needs to get you now. You can just be you now.

Goodnight, buddy, and see you on the other side. I know you’ll be up there, terrorizing kids in that dog park in the sky. They’ll be all right, though; your bark was always worse than your bite.

The Packers Will Not Win the Super Bowl in Minneapolis, and Here’s Why

(This is a post I originally started writing for the Vikings blog to which I contribute, but, for reasons that will become obvious, by the time I finished it was unfit to post there. So I’m throwing it up on here instead, because. It is undoubtedly one of the dumbest things I’ve done.)

The start of training camp comes pre-loaded with natural optimism—have you heard? Every team is undefeated!—but we here in Vikings Land have a special knack for identifying negatives, no matter the time of year. One such wet blanket materialized earlier this week, when Packers CEO Mark Murphy began yapping about the potential for his team to play in Super Bowl LII in U.S. Bank Stadium:

“It’s going to be a lot of fun for all our fans to drive across the state when we’re in the Super Bowl in Minneapolis,” Mark Murphy told shareholders on Monday, via Aaron Nagler of PackersNews.com.

Obvious offseason antics aside, the hated Packers playing in—and potentially winning—the first Minnesota-hosted Super Bowl since 1992 is a real possibility. And, as Drew Mahowald pointed out on Twitter, it’s terrifying. Along with decades of superior relevance and a total skunking in the championship ring department, winning a Super Bowl on the Vikings’ home turf would be another big ol’ W for the Packers in the interstate rivalry. It would also be very Vikings; even without playing in the big game, they would still find a way to lose.

But fear not, purple faithful, because the Packers will neither win, nor participate in, this year’s Super Bowl. I am very confident in this prediction, perhaps as much as 85% confident. One could point to Green Bay’s recent string of playoff meltdowns—dating back to 2014—as reason enough to make this claim. But for me, it’s about something greater. 

Why Group Projects Are Cumbersome & Unnecessary

Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.

And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on the preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.

– John Steinbeck

East of Eden


Triple Down on Your Strengths and Stop Complaining

Good life/career advice from Gary Vaynerchuk (investor in Uber, Snapchat, Venmo, et al). Stop bitching, get to work, and if you’re lucky enough to be good at what you like, you’re in a unique and fortunate position. Capitalize on it.

(If you aren’t a fan of cursing, feel free to loosen your grip and relax for 109 seconds while you watch this.)

Full podcast link here. Worth the time.

Love Cliches to Wow That Special Someone This Valentine’s Day

This V-Day, ditch the old standards and try one of my modern love lines instead:

  • “I love you like white millennials love ‘Regulate’ by Warren G Feat. Nate Dogg.”
  • “I love you like moms loved Oprah in the nineties.”
  • “I love you like progressives love Beyonce.”
  • “I love you like white girls love Ellen.”
  • “I love you as much as Trump supporters love saying ‘it’s not a permanent ban.'”
  • “Life with you is so much better, similar to how each film would be better with the inclusion of Tom Hanks.”
  • “I hope our time apart always goes as quickly as the MLB offseason. Pitchers and catchers report soon.”
  • “I love you like Texans love Texas.”
  • “I love you as much as non-Texans hate Texas.”
  • “Quitting you is harder than quitting Facebook.”


Common Sense Traffic Rules for Which I Will Attempt to Gain Bipartisan Support

Here are the traffic rules I will enact if and when the good people of the 1st Congressional district of Colorado elect me as their representative:

  1. Just wave. When you find yourself needing the help of your fellow man in traffic, to let you into a lane or out of a parking lot, and and said fellow man does indeed let you in, for the love of God, do the decent thing and give him or her a polite wave before being on your way. This driver was not required to let you in, and yet he/she deliberately halted his/her own progress just to let you in front of him/her, in order to fix an unfavorable situation that was almost certainly caused by your own stupidity in the first place. The least you can do is throw up a kind hand in the universally accepted automotive sign for “thank you.”
    Those who refuse to wave are not only outing themselves as horse’s asses, but damaging the public good, as well. When I let someone in in traffic and they do not wave, I am rightfully infuriated, but unfortunately there’s no recourse against the offending party; indeed, I’ve already let them in, so the chance to get back at them for the slight is unlikely to arise. Instead, it makes me want to let motorists in less in the future. Thus, the asshat is worsening the traffic climate for his fellow man.
  2. Turn signal: use it. It’s there for a reason. No, you’re not above it. Just use it and stop making the rest of us guess.
  3. Zipper merge. It’s a real thing, look it up. Turns out those dudes who wait until the last second actually aren’t being buttholes.
  4. Go. My God, could you just freaking go? I mean, seriously. Move. What is taking so long? What. Just go. Moron. Go. Goooooooooooooooo.