Svengali – I couldn’t turn my eyes away

I grew up hearing people referred to as a “Svengali” and had a basic understanding that meant someone who could hypnotize one into doing things they wouldn’t normally.  I never saw the film until tonight… wow.  What a creepy and sad film.

Turns out the character of Svengali is actually based on a character in the book Trilby.  He was such an interesting character that he has entered into the lexicon for a manipulative person.

SvengaliThe film I watched is the 1931 version with John Barrymore as the main character.  I had seen the movie poster before but always assume it was a silent film so put it mentally in my “I’ll watch it someday” file.  It was indeed a talkie and someday was today.

What first appeared to be overacting turned into a mesmerizing, can’t-turn-away character that Barrymore portrays wonderfully. Marian Marsh, as Trilby, was the perfect innocent victim.  The entire film has fully developed and interesting characters throughout.

I was very impressed with the special affects the used to show his eyes when hypnotizing.  It had to be cutting edge effects for 1930.

Barrymore did a great job of making you pity him, detest him and even commiserate with him at various times throughout the film.  It was well written, beautifully paced and visually entertaining throughout.

RATING 9 out of 10

Chris Doelle

Who are your crushes?

We all have them… those people we admire, look up to, envy or just swoon over. Mine may surprise you.

When it comes to fame – I can’t think of anyone that would raise my heart rate upon encountering just because of their fame. There are some folks that definitely would send it peaking, but not because they are famous.

I ran into Wolfgang Puck at a restaurant (of all places) and the friend I was with was beside himself, “Ooh, that’s Wolfgang Puck! Let’s get our picture taken with him.”  He was absolutely giddy over the encounter.  I snapped a pic of the two together and then Puck came over to me, put his arm around me and posed while my friend snapped my picture with him. I’m guessing that is standard procedure when multiple people encounter a celebrity.

I now have a picture with Wolfgang Puck.  Uh…okay? How does that improve my life?

I could relay a dozen other ‘celeb’ interactions, but they are all in the blog so no need. What I wanted to focus on here is not how cool I am in the company of famous people, but instead look at who I really get excited about.

The whole idea for this article is a result of a recent interaction with someone… Paul Sherwen. Who?

Paul Sherwen has been involved with the Tour de France for 37 years – including 7 as a rider and the last 30 as a commentator. I interviewed him for my show Lunch With Chris. As we talked via Skype (he was at home in Uganda,) I was more than a little excited to be talking with this man whose virtual company I had shared for more than 30 years while watching my favorite sporting event.

He is such a gracious person and good interviewee. I think the episode turned out great and I walked around with a big grin for most of the day because it went so well. We talked quite a bit about cycling outside of the interview and he invited me to stay in touch. It was pretty cool.

pink p!nkOkay, a lot of you are like, “Really? Some cycling guy I never heard of?” Rest assured there are some bigger names on my list. Here are the people that would spin me up to be able to sit down and talk with:

  • My hottie list – women I find crazy attractive
    • Charlize Theron, P!nk, Jennifer Aniston
  • My man crushes – guys I would like to hang with
    • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Greg LeMond, Clint Eastwood, Shaquille O’Neal
  • My business/leader crushes – folks I would love to have as a mentors
    • Anthony Robbins, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban

You’ll notice there are no politicians in the list. I’ve been in a room with, shaking hands or produced video coverage of: Bill Clinton, 2 George Bushes, Rick Perry, Donal Trump, a dozen state politicians and more. None of them made me feel like is was in the company of greatness. It felt more like being in the company of one of my friend’s creepy uncle.

Who would you like to spend an afternoon with or maybe share a dinner?

Chris Doelle

Enough, Lance. Let it go

Why do some people never know when to just be quiet?

After the first mountain stage of this years Tour de France, Lance Armstrong felt compelled to cast doubt on Chris Froome. Froome took the race lead after an excellent effort behind a strong team. Lance’s jab via Twitter:


That’s just weak juju, Lance. 

I guess I take this personally because it took me a long time to become a Lance supporter, but I finally did. His story was so fantastic that it was hard to root against him. When he disparaged the actual greatest American cyclist, Greg LeMond, I was upset with Lance but I excused it as his competing spirit causing him to say stupid things. Turns out, it was just him trying to redirect the attention away from his crimes. 

Chris Froome is racing clean and despite the fact that I’m still hoping for a surprise move by 2nd place American, Teejay Van Garderen, I believe Froome and his team are just performing better. 

Lance, let it go. Show some class and move on. There is still much good you can do for cycling, for Amerca, and your legacy. 

What are your thoughts? Were/are you a Lance Armstrong fan? How does this make him look?

Chris Doelle

Are you shaping technology to you?

I can’t overstate how much I love technology.  I don’t like it for the coolness factor or the look at me I have the latest gadget effect. It is something much more functional.

Usually while exercising (cycling, treadmill etc.) I have a lot of time to be introspective.   It is at times like these that I have some of my most inspiring and deepest thoughts.  Don’t get me wrong – this may not qualify :)  It may not be that deep.

I was on the treadmill at the YMCA and the following was happening:

  • My heart rate monitor was connecting with the treadmill to adjust the speed for my target zone
  • My iPhone was recording my steps and time on the treadmill from my pocket and reporting to my MapMyRide app
  • My iPad was connected to the TWC wifi and streaming LIVE coverage of the first mountain stage of the Tour de France
  • My bluetooth headphones were playing an audiobook biography of Elon Musk

Again, it wasn’t about being seen as the ‘wired’ guy on the treadmill, it was about molding tech to make the most of my time.  I could mindlessly watch the news on the TVs in the gym or I could better use that time.

tour de france exercise

The Tour de France app that I have not only streams the race live, but there is so much data that I don’t really need the audio.  I have had a long habit of using drive and exercise time to listen to audio books because it takes my mind off what could be boring otherwise.

How are you bending technology to make your life better?

Chris Doelle

I’m breaking the law right now

meme most interesting blogWhat exactly is copyright law?  What can you do? What will land you in prison? How many years after creation is it okay for you to copy?  Does it matter if you make money with the copy?  Copyright laws have changed a lot since the early days.

Did you know that Disney is the reason that copyrights have changed so drastically recently?  Yes, when the copyright protection was about to expire for Mickey Mouse, Disney lobbied to ‘fix’ that.  The result… copyright became much longer and much tougher.

Copyright law has gone through some major changes since it started. (read Copyright timeline if you want to dig into all the boring details)

Copyright was originally created with the advent of the printing press.  As publishing started, it was a ripe area for people to steal and republish.  The Licensing Act of 1662 in England made it illegal to do that.  The downside of that move was a monopoly.  Suddenly, you couldn’t even expand on someone else’s ideas – you couldn’t create stories involving characters in other’s works.  Nothing wrong with that, right?

Actually, there is.

copyright infringement meme

Posting this IS a prosecutable action

Disney built their entire empire on re-imagining the works of others.  They didn’t create the characters or stories behind many of their biggest films.  These are simply classic fairy tales that they co-opted. In fact, most of what you see on the silver screen and television is a remake of someone else’s story produced without getting copyright rights.  Why is it okay for corporations to play fast and loose with copyright while individuals are crushed for creating a fan film?

Willful breaking of copyright now can cost the violator hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Actually, even accidental copyright infringement has successfully been prosecuted.

You tell me.  Are the current copyright laws a good thing?  Do we need to protect the creators ?  Are they a bad thing?  Do we need to loosen the laws to encourage creativity?  Where do we draw the line?

Chris Doelle

The 100 earns A+

A friend suggested I check out The 100 – a sci-fi television series on the CW.  The show started in 2014 and I had never even heard of it.  I figured “what the heck” I’ll give it a try.

The premise: 97 years after we have all but destroyed the earth through nuclear war etc. and the only survivors are 4,000 people living in space station, they decide to send down people to the planet to see if it is survivable.  They choose 100 young people previously convicted of crimes to be the guinea pigs.

I almost didn’t stick with the show because the first few episodes focused so much on romances, breakups and young adult angst that it seemed like a spin-off of those horrible Twilight films.  In addition though, it has a serious Battlestar Galactica feel too.  In fact, there was enough sci-fi and action to give it a chance.  Boy, am I glad I did.

I am in season two now and the story has gotten much more interesting, intense and original.  This is a good series.

the-100The show is gritty and the cast is very talented.  Give this one a look.

Chris Doelle


Inside Out is Really Dark

I was expecting Inside Out to be a funny animated flick with some uplifting message.  Boy, was I surprised at what I got.

Yes, it had a lot of comedy with a surprisingly large number of laughs aimed at the parents in the crowd, but it left me feeling pretty icky.  Yes, it touched on all the emotions (that was kind of the point of the whole thing) but in its introspection, it seemed pretty negative.

The main ‘message’ in the film seemed to be that to be happy you need to have sadness in your life… what a bummer!  Yes, it was nice that Phyllis Smith‘s character of Sadness learned that she was needed, but when you look at it from the standpoint of your own life, it seems depressing.


Are there still Emo kids around?  If so, they will love this movie.  I just didn’t like it.  I go to films like this for the uplifting messages mixed in with some clever comedy – not to question my life.

RATING 5 out of 10

Chris Doelle

Join me for lunch

Chris DoelleI recently launched my newest podcast, Lunch with Chris. It is a show based on the premise I read in Keith Ferrazi’s book Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time. The idea is that you should use meals as opportunities to meet/greet/share/learn with and from successful people.

In this show, I sit down with “important people” and discuss “important things.” In it, each “season” I ask the same question to a wide range of people – one per show.

The question for Season One is, “if a teenager were to come up to you and ask for your best piece of advice as they embark on their lives/careers, what would you tell them?”

I have a great lineup of guests for the first season – from business leaders, Olympians, public speakers and more.

You can check out the show at the website

You can subscribe to the podcast on Itunes. >>CLICK HERE<<

Do you have an idea for a great question for Season Two?  Let me know.  Do you know someone (personally) that should be on the show?  Put us in connection.

Chris Doelle

Dry shampoo? This is a thing 

I’m sure that sometime over the last year or so you’ve seen “dry shampoo” advertised. Or more likely seen an ‘article’ on Facebook about it.  When I first saw it, I was intrigued. How can you clean your hair without water? Or shampoo?

It got me thinking about how many things we do out of habit just because we see it in the media.  Smoking, drinking, eating too much… Sure, why not shampooing our hair?

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So dry shampoos are basically a spray that you apply to your hair to soak up oil.  In doing so, they clean your hair and keep it from that matted down greasy look.  It sounds plausible to me.

So what is on the horizon in terms of game-changing things we do?  Will things like self-driving cars make us wonder why we ever did something as silly as driving ourselves?  Will those vehicles run on energy we create ourselves? Will how we ingest calories change?  Will our timing of work/play/sleep transform to something that is more efficient?

You tell me – what does the future hold?  I’m gonna go dry-clean my hair.  :)

Chris Doelle

Your time is now, authors

I want to take some time and destroy one of the most pervasive myths in our society. Ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press those with the power to publish have been telling you how impossibly difficult it is to do well.  As a result, the average person has long felt that writing a book was beyond them.   The main reasons are that you are not smart enough or don’t have the time it takes (years) to write something worth reading.

This is just an extension of the myth that hard work is more valuable than smart work or quick work. The idea that you sit and toil for hours and hours still carries a lot of weight in our society. There is honor in sweat. 

But you know what? This is the information age! This is the time of the great leveling. With access to information and tools, the playing field has gotten much more level.  Now, the small guy can compete with the hallowed key holders. 

I really started to get my head around this concept about two decades ago when I had a computer consulting company in Houston. I would have a client pay me to come out and fix something on their computer and often times it was a very simple fix – one or two keystrokes. I would sometimes be asked, “Really, I paid $200 for two key strokes?”

My standard answer was’ “No, you didn’t pay $200 for me to hit two keys, you paid because I knew which two keys to hit.”

  Now to bring things back to Gutenberg. It is my contention that writing the Great American novel is within anybody’s reach now. The tools available to write to edit, research, upload your content to places like Kindle Apple iBooks etc. are unparalleled. And because of this, I now have four books in the Kindle store – how crazy is that? (My Kindle author page)

Whatever you do, don’t take it that I am saying work is no longer needed. In fact, work is likely more important now than it has ever been. To sell that novel, you will have to hustle – really bust your butt.  

It’s not the act of working that has gone away. It is the style of work and access to opportunity that has changed so drastically.  The creation has gotten easier – not the work. 

In fact, this entire blog post I’m speaking to my phone while I’m driving. Tell me it’s not much easier to be published these days!

Chris Doelle