December 30, 2021

And thanks for all the laffs

Of all the tributes to Chris Locke so far, Steve Larsen’s comes closest to capturing the Chris/RageBoy I knew. It’s so good I keep returning to it. Steve knows what it was to experience being hit with idea bullets from Chris’ machine-gun brain, and then riff and co-create the next world-bending or stupidly hysterical (but always catchy) concept. To be one of his co-imaginators of meaningful and meaningless things was a gift I will take forward with me always. When someone truly informs your voice, that’s what happens. 

The last exchange I had with Kat Herding/Chris Locke was a chat shortly before he was hospitalized. I was trying to encapsulate how his obsession with infectious disease disaster movies was another example of how he’s always ahead of his time, given our current global, viral predicament. 

So, I called him “Pre-relevant”.  

“PRE-RELEVANT LOL!! Made me laff more than once!” 

I can’t think of a better final exchange. 

Two pieces of Steve’s tribute are ways of describing Chris and RageBoy that I could not have said better myself if I tried for the next 20 years:

First, what the ride of being his friend was like:

“How can I tell you about that conversation/monologue? Mix up a vat of hard information, coffee dregs, healthy contempt, real world pragmatism, mashed Toxico cigarette butts, visionary eloquence, trailing-off-in-the-haze 60s enthusiasms, pure rage, a sense of mission, Thirteen Ways of Saying Fuck It, a highly-tuned bullshit detector with wires and lights and everything, democratic zeal, arcane rock and roll, a dollop of Howl, a cloud of menthol smoke and a driver with his head in and out of the window, trying to breathe, at ninety or so, bearing down on the Hanging Gardens of Newark”

And second, what it was like for him to get off the ride:

“If Chris had a problem, and this is just my opinion, it was this:  given the brain space and time spent in the future, a place he needed to go, sometimes arriving back in the here and now was difficult and disconcerting.  In his trips to the future, Chris figured out a great many things. He had a clear picture of how certain things would be, what would continue to exist and work, and what things would be discarded.  He used these insights to formulate ideas, products, services, and life in general to describe what life in the future might look like and how it would work. When Chris ‘came back to earth,’ he was troubled to see things around he’s discarded in his head as ‘dead men walking,’ and learned he couldn’t do some things he wanted as they hadn’t been invented yet.”

Pre-relevant. That’s our guy. And it’s only an iota of his legacy. Just wait and see. 

Addendum: My estimate is that Cluetrain and Gonzo were 25 years ahead of schedule. Somewhere in the back of Chris’ brain there was an intricate choreography between the power of connected hearts to cut off capitalism and oppression at the knees, and his obsession with deadly viruses and narcissism. All we needed was one well-placed disaster to set off the powder keg. Here we are folks!

December 24, 2021

Goodbye, Voice.

We’re living in a bad dream
They've forgotten all about mankind

And you were the one they backed up to the wall

All those years ago

And you were the one who imagined it all

All those years ago

-George Harrison

More respect I have for you than any writer of hearts under the sun. I will miss you my friend, my brother, my caped crusader, my Clientology CEO, boss of Jeremy Outterbridge, tamer of the mystic bourgeoise, founder of the town of blogaria’s 2001 homestead, our Uncle RageBoy-Chris Locke-Kat Herding.

I’m not sure what it means to be in this loosely joined online world without your presence. I’m not sure we should be. But for today, we celebrate the words, the laughs, the ripping out of hearts, the incredible brilliance of all we lit up and burned down. 

“Spark to flame, ignite.”

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: Web without end. 

From Chris’ classic Chapter 1 in the bestselling book that kicked business righteously in the ass, The Cluetrain Manifesto:


Chapter 1: Internet apocalypso

Premature Burial


We die.

You will never hear those words spoken in a television ad. Yet this central fact of human existence colors our world and how we perceive ourselves within it.

‘Life is too short,’ we say, and it is. Too short for office politics, for busywork and pointless paper chases, for jumping through hoops and covering our asses, for trying to please, to not offend, for constantly struggling to achieve some ever-receding definition of success. Too short as well for worrying whether we bought the right suit, the right breakfast cereal, the right laptop computer, the right brand of underarm deodorant.

Life is too short because we die. Alone with ourselves, we sometimes stop to wonder what's important, really. Our kids, our friends, our lovers, our losses? Things change and change is often painful. People get "downsized," move away, the old neighborhood isn't what it used to be. Children get sick, get better, get bored, get on our nerves. They grow up hearing news of a world more frightening than anything in ancient fairy tales. The wicked witch won't really push you into the oven, honey, but watch out for AK-47s at recess.

Amazingly, we learn to live with it. Human beings are incredibly resilient. We know it's all temporary, that we can't freeze the good times or hold back the bad. We roll with the punches, regroup, rebuild, pick up the pieces, take another shot. We come to understand that life is just like that. And this seemingly simple understanding is the seed of a profound wisdom.

It is also the source of a deep hunger that pervades modern life — a longing for something entirely different from the reality reinforced by everyday experience. We long for more connection between what we do for a living and what we genuinely care about, for work that's more than clock-watching drudgery. We long for release from anonymity, to be seen as who we feel ourselves to be rather than as the sum of abstract metrics and parameters. We long to be part of a world that makes sense rather than accept the accidental alienation imposed by market forces too large to grasp, to even contemplate.

And this longing is not mere wistful nostalgia, not just some unreconstructed adolescent dream. It is living evidence of heart, of what makes us most human.


I’m sending love and comfort to Selene Locke, Lauren Locke, Jesse Locke, Shanti Locke Villarreal, and Joe Locke. And to Doc and David, Chris’s Cluetrain co-conspirators and OG rage channelers 

November 13, 2021

Penny Snow Dream

How many times you put me

In your back seat,

Listened to me chatter down

Sun-soaked roads

On our way to the park or

The music store. 

This time it’s a dream. 

You are the passenger 

In the car ahead of me. 

In a dream, everything is real. 

Turning the corner,

Some familiar landmarks.

Lined leather gloves, 

Wool caps and winter coats 

Pump gas at the Mobile station.  

Across the street 

Regulars line up for a fish fry. 

Eyes forward now,

blinkers offer a sign

Of what’s ahead.

You turn right

Onto South Clinton

Toward home. 

I try to keep pace

To stop you 

From disappearing

Into what’s next. 

Flash forward:

Next door, I wait for you

Inside a neighbor’s house 

I’ve never seen. 

Rick is there. 

From the bay window 

We wonder

Why isn’t she home yet?

You left so fast. 

I never took my eyes off of you

Until I did. 

Moving the curtain aside

Headlights rounding the corner,

Falling sleet dulls their beam. 

The faceless driver 

Pulls in to your driveway,

Turns on the brights so you

Can find your way.

Through quickening flurries, 

You rise. 

Look how your smile 

Lights the night,

Snow turns headlights into halos.

You walk 

As if you had never stopped,

Climb your porch steps,

Turn to the waiting car,

Wave a thank you, goodbye. 

With a twist of the knob

You are home.