To understand our politics, you have to understand our cultural insanities

Grainy black-and-white photo of a UFO flying over a park bench overlooking an urban scene in the distance.
Grainy black-and-white photo of a UFO flying over a park bench overlooking an urban scene in the distance.
Photo: Ray Massey/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Anyone else remember this old map from the 1980s? It was a satirical commentary about Ronald Reagan’s worldview, who, for those of you too young to remember, was the last Republican president that modern Republicans would consider to be too liberal to vote for today.


The joke gets funnier when you join in!

Around January 2021, this joke started to circulate in political circles:

A Jew and a black guy walk into a bar in Georgia, and the bartender says, “What can I get for you, senators?”

In case you’re a bit behind on the news, Georgia had a run-off election for its two US senate seats, where two Democrats won: Rev. Raphael Warnock, a black pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and Jon Ossoff, a documentary film producer and investigative journalist who happens to be Jewish.

For those suffering from Humor Deficit Disorder, the joke is funny because it plays on…


I love the topic of writing, and often write about it. But what I've found in helping others with writer's block is to satirize the very topic itself. This is steeped in a well-known phenomenon in behavioral economics (a cousin of psychology) that people remember lessons best when told through humor, and that humor is a motivational factor.

To that end, I wrote two pieces related to the topic of writer's block. The first is called, "Writer's Block: It's a Good Thing!", which is really just satire, but I've been told it's helped a few writers:

https://argv01.medium.com/writers-block-it-s-a-good-thing-c43ddc270b42?sk=508e69c9e547e57b0ea1e8f67f21a5fe

The second is called "Ok, I Admit it: I’m a Writing Addict", which actually provides very practical advice:

https://argv01.medium.com/ok-i-admit-it-im-a-writing-addict-9a740fc5b8e1?sk=a81dd89f9f547575776706ae7394a2f5


Confessions of a humor columnist

Frankly, it should be a surprise to no one, my addiction to writing. Indeed, I spend an inordinate amount of time either writing, or about to write. It doesn’t bother me at all; in fact, it’s quite fun. But the matter never really got my attention until someone responded to an article I wrote called, “Writer’s Block? It’s a Good Thing!

For context, that article was a highly satirical piece, where I pretended to help people recover from writer’s block using a narrative device that referred to itself in the first person as “Narrative Device.” According to the Narrative Device…


Introducing a new series of articles to help writers, well, write

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you sit down to write something, and you can’t figure out how to start? Or finish? Or fill in any of the words between? How about even coming up with an idea of what to write about? Or why you even sat down in the first place? Do find it challenging to even fill in the memo line on a check?

If so, then you may have a common condition called writer’s block, and many experts believe this is a genetic condition endemic to a particular subspecies of primates called “humans.”…


In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. — H.G. Wells

I realize it’s not a fair discussion when I’m holding a gun to your face. I can see it in your eyes: The fear, the anticipation of what I may do next. You already think I’m crazy because of my politics, and now I’ve got a gun at your face. You’re tied and gagged. Pinned down, I have you under full control. Hold onto that feeling of fear. You’ll need it for what I’m about to tell you.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to lecture you…


A discography of songs from 1979–1982-ish

Shyzgifter. What a funny name, huh? What does it mean? Where did it come from? If you search online for “Shyzgifter,” you get a series of music collection sites for hard-to-find records. Within each you will discover that Shyzgifter is an obscure band from Canton, Ohio under the genre “Heavy Metal/Hard Rock.” Their one and only record was a 7” single from 1982. Not much else is known about this enigmatic group. Yet, perhaps it’s due to the record’s scarcity and the mystery about the band’s name that this one obscure single once commanded…


A Journey Through The Three Stages of Self-Management

Glucose graph of a severe hypoglycemic event
Glucose graph of a severe hypoglycemic event
A Really Bad Night with T1D

There’s an old joke about university degrees: As an undergraduate, you don’t know anything. When you get your master’s degree, your professors don’t know anything. And when you get your PhD, no one knows anything.

This reflects the sometimes strange, anticlimactic disillusionment people have about higher education, but as you can imagine, it could apply to many things.

“Wait!”, you’re wondering. “How do all these relate to the business of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)? You know, the disease that sprung up on me while I was minding my own business gardening in…


Communication, Commitment, Compassion, Compatibility, Chemistry
Communication, Commitment, Compassion, Compatibility, Chemistry
Communication, Commitment, Compassion, Compatibility, Chemistry

Communication, Commitment, Compassion, Compatibility, Chemistry

[ In 1983, I was an undergraduate in the Computer Sciences program at UC Santa Cruz, where my focus was Artificial Intelligence. At the time, the curriculum was a cross-disciplinary program with the Psychology department, and one of the required classes was “The Biology of Learning.” The goal was to explore how the mind learns, and students had to research how people learn within a field involving a social construct. I chose romantic relationship, for reasons explained in the paper below. The concept of the Five Cs is entirely mine, derived from the research available…


A Letter to the Authors of the Declaration of Independence… and Their Response
A Letter to the Authors of the Declaration of Independence… and Their Response

On June 27, 1776, the Committee of Five who drafted the Declaration of Independence were gathered to discuss the document’s latest draft, when a brilliant flash of light emitted from a table in the middle of the room. As the mist dissipated, a small, futuristic device encased in frost sat on the table. As the men stared in shock and anticipation, the lid opened, revealing a small, rolled up scroll of paper. Thomas Jefferson approached the box and unfurled the hand-written note, and read it aloud.

❊ ❊ ❊

Gentlemen:

We are fellow Americans from the year 2020, and we…

Dan Heller

Entrepreneurship, Politics, Economics, Social Sciences, Media, Technology, Biotech, Photography

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