BULK Bag! is the newsletter of’s program, Back to Work.
It features literally unique internet content from the show's hosts, your pals, Dan and Merlin.

Back to Work's 'BULK Bag!'

Drop your cat, comb your hair, and pull up your pants like a gentleman. It’s time for this week's BULK Bag!

Another Week in the Bag

Hey, you’re back again. That’s amazing. Hi.

Well, here comes another week of Back to Work goodies. You know. A lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you’s.

This week, as always, we send giant sacks of thanks and gracious high fives to our friends at MailChimp for kindly sponsoring BULK Bag!

If you’d like, you can also help us thank them, reward yourself, and make Dan and me look really good by signing up for a free (FREE!) MailChimp account at

And, yes, it always bears repeating: we really only want to send This Important Information to you for as long as you’re interested in receiving it. To this end, MailChimp has thoughtfully provided an easy “unsubscribe” link that you can use any time without hurting our feelings a bit. Pinky swear!

Let’s do this thing,

Merlin Mann
on behalf of Back to Work

A Brief History of Dan’s Handsomeness

Let us first stipulate that both host and listener alike enjoy myriad benefits as a result of the audio podcast medium.

This cannily conceived format begets easy access, portability, user control, plus—when played over earbuds at louder-than-advisable volumes—the tête-à-tête of a lively conversation can (mostly) mask the otherwise inescapable din of the tan and bearded man in the adjacent subway seat violently arguing with his subway seat.

But, more’s the pity that such an august platform robs you, the listener, of the profound handsomeness emanating from one of the most beloved voices intimately warbling in your head.

I’m speaking, of course, about that greatest and handsomest of warblers, Dan Benjamin. A man whose empirically timeless handsomeness has served as an inspiring aesthetic beacon for all of the estimated 31 to 55 years in which he’s been alive and broadcasting professionally.

So, at the risk of ruining you for the visual grotesqueries behind literally every other voice you’ll hear in your life, please enjoy this small gallery of photos highlighting a handful of milestones in Dan’s remarkable life of handsomeness.

And, apologies in advance for the many relationships, careers, and remaining tatters of personal self-esteem that these images will surely raze.

With their handsomeness.

Dan's First Broadcasting Rig Glasses Party Time 1979 The name is Bond. Me with the Les Paul (circa 1991) At Panera 110703_Dan Benjamin-244-500px

Selected Video Sampler

Hulk Smash!

Not only does audio rob you of the sublime pleasures of enjoying Dan’s profound handsomeness, it also means you can’t see a lot of the stuff we’re talking about.

As such, tons of neat things get lost someplace in time, space, show notes, and our utterly baffling After Dark bull sessions.

So, just in case you’d missed 'em, here’s a tasting platter featuring a flight of awesome videos that have come up during the last few episodes.

Feature: “Look at Me! I’m Merlin Mann!”

by Dan Benjamin, Back to Work Co-Host

Hey, everybody! Look at me! I’m Merlin Mann, and I can dance and sing!

Whoop-de-doo! I’m Merlin, and I live in San Francisco, and I fly rocket cars with Larry Ellison and Beyoncé, and I like to buy rocket cars for all fifty of the Stanford MBAs who maintain my rocket cars.

Did I already mention, like, a million times that I live in San Francisco? Because I have an expensive private office, and, piggledy jiggledy, everybody! Look at me, I’m a fancy San Francisconista!

Because, hey, I’m Merlin Mann, and I like to make up fake words like, “San Francisconista” that confuse normal people, and then I make Internet sites and never bother to update them. That’s because I’m Merlin Mann and I made 5 billion dollars last week without shaving or taking a real shower with soap! Hey, look at me, I can paste things I found on Wikipedia but never finished reading!

Did I mention that I can dance and sing? I love to dance and sing. Because, I’m Merlin Mann, and I play guitar on TV shows and do fist bumps with Ashton Kootcher and never answer any of my email. I don’t really have to do anything because, hey, I’m Merlin Mann!

Oh, I’m sorry—did you ask me a question? Oh, really? You did?!? Wow, how about that! I guess I’m glad you had to remind me about that like about ninety million times because I’m really distracted and confused…what?…what…what did you say? Oh, sorry I got distracted and confused.

That’s why I never answer normal questions about anything normal because I’m busy making up funny haha jokes about weird things that normal people never even heard of and wouldn’t even care about if they had. Hey, I’m Merlin Mann, and I can do whatever the hell I feel like ALL THE TIME!

And, remember, you better laugh at everything I say, or I’ll make a weird noise that doesn’t even make any sense and just say it whenever I fell like it.

Blurpy-dee-blurpdy-boopidy-doo! Hey, I just made that up and then I said it in a funny voice that’s not even funny to anyone. Blurp blurp BLURP!

Because, hey, I’m Merlin Mann and I buy rocket cars with money that has pictures of ME on it! I make money and I also MAKE MONEY! That’s right. Since I’m Merlin Mann, I make my own money with a home money machine which I own ten of and I don’t actually understand computers and like to eat food on podcasts.

Hey, don’t go yet! I need aaaaalllll the attention, so look at me! Please look at me while I dance and sing. Because I don’t own a comb and I have some weird fantasy about how I think I look like a movie star with stupid hair even though I really just look stupid and I’m not really the star of anything but being stupid Merlin Mann. Blurp blurp skurpity blumpty doooo!

I just made that up just now and said it for absolutely no reason. I don’t need reasons, because I’m in my rocket car in San Francisco throwing iPhones and hundred-dollar bills at normal people with normal jobs who are normal. Yuck! I hate normal things!

Because, hey, I never have to be normal, because I’m Merlin Mann! And I can dance and sing, and, I like to drive my rocket car while I babble forever about a million things I know absolutely nothing about, like, comics, programming, music, history, rocket cars, dancing, singing, life, or anything else that normal people know normal things about.

I don’t have to know anything and everything is fine for me!

Because, hey, I’m Merlin Mann, and I can dance and sing!

BIO: Dan Benjamin is not actually Merlin Mann. Except for when he is.

Highlight: Awesome Fan Art

For some inexplicable reason, our listeners are occasionally kind enough to take time to make new stuff out of our old stuff. Calling it, “Fan Art,” sounds pretentious, but rest assured it is Dan and I who are the titular fans.

Because we love when you guys do this. It’s just the best.

Francesca Buchko (2011)


Thanks, Francesca

Justin Michael (2011)

Thanks, Justin

Chainmail for Manatees (2011)

Thanks, Chainmail for Manatees

Episode 67: “Ad Hoc Bra”

May 15, 2012 at 4:00pm • 1 hour 20 minutes • Short URLWiki Entry

Show Notes

TOPIC: Trying On The Change

This week, Dan and Merlin (who might not have mentioned he didn’t sleep much) discuss the balance between placing nickel bets versus going all-in—or at least thinking all-in.

You might be talking yourself into stasis or change, but if you don’t really try it on first, you may find out the techno and combat boots are nothing compared to living under incontinent grackles.


This episode of Back to Work is sponsored by our friends at MailChimp and Squarespace.

Inscrutable Texts from Dan: June 20, 2011

The First 'After Dark'

Genesis of After Dark

Before it was a real thing, it was a fake thing. Something Merlin made up.

So, if you like the real After Dark series, we think you'll enjoy hearing this very first fake one. After s01e03 (yes, three!)

[Download MP3]

"Oh, Sandy? I loooooooove him."

BULK Bag! Credits & Thanks

Header Image by Brandon Leedy On Twitter

Handsome Photos of Dan in a necktie by Bill Wadman On Twitter

Handsome Photo of Lonelysandwich (via) by Kevin Scanlon On Twitter

MailChimp Patronage by Mark DiCristina & Team On Twitter

Content Czar-ing by Merlin Mann On Twitter Imagineering by Dan Benjamin On Twitter

We'll be back after the break.

Dr. Phil-ism of the Week

“If you live in a tree, don’t be surprised that you’re living with monkeys!”
Back to Work s01e01: “Alligator in the Bathroom”

Back to Work

High Five, Nerds

Thanks, again, for subscribing to BULK Bag!–and for listening to Back to Work. We really love doing it and hope it’s fun and occasionally useful to you.

And, hey, listen. Maybe do us a big favor? If you enjoy the show and want to help other people find us, please consider favorably rating the show and leaving us a little review on the iTunes store.

It really does help a lot.

Copyright © 2012 Back to Work, All rights reserved.
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