Clean Socks: Boy Scouts 101

I was never a very good Boy Scout. I didn’t have the guts or persistence to see my way through to becoming an Eagle Scout.

I think I set the record for ‘longest tenure at Tenderfoot,’ which was as primary and low end a rank as it sounds.

Boy Scouts Cult of Americana

I quit in ninth grade to pursue girls that wanted my shirt to say ‘Hollister’ instead of ‘Boy Scouts of America.’ That didn’t really work out either.

I was, however, in Scouts long enough to participate in more than a few campouts. With my hometown troop, Troop 140, I camped in two inches of water. Camped when the thermometer read five degrees fahrenheit. And for at least two summers in junior high school, I spent a week at Camp Massawepie in the heart of the Adirondack State Park

Continue reading

Ryan McLaughlin: Perfectionist

This is the first of many ‘Starving Artists‘ profile pieces. If you’re an artist that wants to be interviewed by the COA team and get your craft promoted for free, drop us a note through the Contact form with ‘Artist Profile’ and your name in the subject line, and provide us some detail on why you’re the perfect fit for this concept. 

Today’s artist fixes stringed instruments, but maybe we profile a master muskie fisherman next! Whatever YOUR unique passion might be, we want to help promote it! Without further ado, we present our first profile in this series.


Be demanding his business card commands of you, right at the top.

The way Ryan McLaughlin talks about being a luthier makes you think it’s for life. It’s almost as though the word patience has a hidden definition underneath our lay definition. Ryan reeks of the kind of calm that people coming to peace with a long prison sentence can understand. A calendar that only displays years. Patience without a push notification.

For Ryan, there’s something inherently joie de vivre in the delayed gratification aspect of his craft. A true artist, withholding from the self to the benefit of strangers who won’t die just because you die. Continue reading