Tag Archives: Brian Williams

Not Funny

June 1, 2015 by

This column was printed in the 2015 May/June issue of Omaha Magazine.

It says right there in an old bio I sent out years ago, “I was once Paul Newman’s bodyguard.”

Okay, I lied.

Or, did I?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell. I mean we start out lying at such an early age. I’ve seen studies where scientists have discovered that spreading deliberate falsehoods is in our DNA.

Or did they?

Maybe I’m exaggerating what they discovered. Maybe I just saw it on Facebook—where I also discovered yesterday that President Obama binge watches Overhaulin’ originally from The Learning Channel.

Which brings up a salient point—if TLC and The Learning Channel run shows like 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives, and Love, Lust, or Run, then is it a lie to call themselves The “Learning” Channel? Maybe they’re truthful. Maybe I should learn from them, even if the lessons taught are at times contradictory and always impractical.

Do we lie because it’s in our nature, or is it nurture? My mom used to tell us kids that if we ate the crusts of our PB&J sandwiches we’d be able to whistle. Now, since I was the only one of my siblings who could ever whistle, did my mom lie to the brother and sisters? They turned out to be bigger liars than I did. Maybe it was the way they were brought up.

I learned to be honest at my father’s knee. My dad once told me, “There are only three things you should never lie about; love, dinnertime, and taxes.” Though he also offered an addendum, “Pay your accountant to lie about the taxes.”

Lying is everywhere.

And the media, well the airwaves and lies go together like chemicals and life. One is not possible without the other. Brian Williams is a liar. That’s what I’ve been told. He lied about his helicopter being shot down in Iraq. NBC suspended him without pay for six months. So, he’s out about $5 million, not counting the side money he made as my stand-in for my L.L. Bean catalogue modeling assignments.

Bill O’Reilly is a liar, though there isn’t enough space here to enumerate all of the falsehoods he’s likely guilty of spreading. What’s Bill-O’s punishment? Higher ratings. Proving once again that venue is more important that veracity.

Of course, we were all outraged by their lies. We all called talk radio shows to condemn Bill and/or Brian. Who we were most mad at depended on whom we most agreed with. We were so mad some of us posted something on Facebook about how scandalized we were…right under our Photoshopped profile pics.

The irony always escapes us.

So, back to my bio, was I actually Paul Newman’s bodyguard?

You be the judge. In 1968 during the Nebraska Presidential Primary campaign, the movie star himself came to town to speak on behalf of “Clean” Gene McCarthy. The organizers needed “security,” so they recruited some tall college students to show up and form a protective ring around the diminutive star. When the predicable surge of hysterical female fans rushed us, and the station wagon tailgate that Paul stood on so as to be seen, I was terrified. I was petrified. No, I was worse that that…I was shy. Despite the fact that I was touched, grabbed, and groped in ways I had never been before (or since) as I stood between the mob and their prey, our adolescent phalanx held. Paul, who remained true to form “cool,” spoke. No one laid a hand on him…and I could write in my bio:

I was once Paul Newman’s bodyguard.

Go ahead… suspend me.


Seth McMillan

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Seth McMillan, is a self-proclaimed “accounting nerd” by day at Infogroup and by night he’s owner and renaissance man of the quirky downtown men’s boutique McLovin on 10th and Mason streets.

McMillan considers himself an intense and multifaceted person, which definitely lends itself to his careers in two vastly different fields. “I am an economics nerd, and I like to read biographies, but I also like to watch stupid teen comedies, and I enjoy people. I think you just need a bit of different things in your life.”

Having his hand in a multitude of pots is something McMillan says is not a new lifestyle for him. “Work is great, and the store is off to a good start, and I’m happy, but it’s a struggle to balance. It’s hard work, but at the same time it’s really fun.”

Originally from East Tennessee, the University of Memphis graduate studied both accounting and music. He earned his stripes in accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers firm in Atlanta before being recruited to act as Director of Revenue Accounting at Infogroup here in Omaha.

His path to Omaha wasn’t intentional, McMillan says. “I knew that I wanted to have a segue job into being an entrepreneur. I saw that I could do all these things in my current job that would help me get the skills I need while I’m figuring out my segue.”

McMillan gives big compliments to his boss at Infogroup for allowing him these opportunities to pursue his passions. “I think he’s very progressive and sensitive to unique situations…and he has a really high tolerance.”

“I didn’t know retail, but what I do know is fun, and I do know how to engage people.”

Since moving to Omaha in June of 2011, McMillan has settled in nicely. “In January [of last year] was when things really started cooking. I bought a truck, a piano, and my partner came into my life. All of these things I’ve always wanted started happening.”

McMillan says he also fulfilled a life-long passion of being an entrepreneur with McLovin. “I had never had an interest in retail prior. It was principal, supply, and demand. I didn’t know retail, but what I do know is fun, and I do know how to engage people.”

Brian Williams, a friend of McMillan’s and one of his best customers, says it’s his personality and passion that have made his transition into his jobs as well as into the community so smooth and rewarding. “It’s his drive more than anything. He puts in a lot of hours, and I don’t know how he does it,” Williams says.

“One of my mottos is whatever you do, add value,” McMillan says. That seems to be his plan not only for his career but as a larger plan for Omaha.

McMillan says that down the road, he hopes to help brand the area south of the Old Market, where his shop lies, as well as brand Omaha as a whole. “We need to recruit more young professionals here, so they don’t move to Chicago, Denver, New York, or Los Angeles. The way to do that is to do cool things here. We need to have fun, and we need to invite more people to the party.”

“He’s not afraid of new challenges like bringing a new business to Omaha,” Williams says. “He’s very driven and outspoken.”

McMillan says what he wants to do is simple. “If I can help take care of people’s needs along with helping elevate Omaha’s cool-factor, it’s enough for me. At the end of the day, it’s about having fun.”