Many of you know that as a misguided youth, I was a fan of monster movies and science fiction, but it might surprise you to learn that I also had an enduring interest in what have come to be called “sword and sandal” films that depicted the lives and adventures of ancient heroes.

The heroes included Hercules, Samson, Jason (with his backup band, The Argonauts), Ulysses, et al., as well as their offspring, relatives and casual acquaintances. For me, though, Hercules was the man, and among the big screen portrayers of the son of Zeus, the late Steve Reeves was the cream of the crop.

I can still remember when I first heard about Reeves’ second (and sadly, last) Hercules epic, “Hercules Unchained.” Considering that title, I immediately pictured the big guy wrapped in mammoth steel chains expanding his massive chest and snapping those links like uncooked spaghetti. “How cool will that be?” I thought. To tell the truth, I don’t remember that actually happening in the movie, although it was redeemed for me by the presence of multiple toga-clad beauties. But I digress.

That brings us to the theme of this column–”Guru Unchained”–obviously borrowed from that venerable sword and sandal classic. I am delighted to announce that my guru-like opinions and bloviations, heretofore limited to the pages of National Underwriter, will now also be available on my new blog: ‘>Document Link.

Why “unchained?” Well, let’s just say that as part of one of the most respected publications in the insurance industry, I must operate with a tad more restraint than I might otherwise would in, say, a casual conversation. But that’s what the new blog is–a casual conversation between you and me, and between us and anyone else with an interest in the topics that drive insurance technology.

In my travels across the insurance technology universe, I have had many fascinating discussions and heard many juicy ideas, but not all of them are publishable in a traditional setting. But leave it to me to go non-traditional. Now you and I can wrestle with lots of issues that couldn’t be addressed otherwise. Even off-the-cuff remarks and outrageous assertions are fodder for the new format.

Of course, I realize that not everyone is going to be jumping for joy at the news that I now have yet another venue from which to vex them. But, contrary to what some may believe, vexing individuals and organizations is not my primary concern. Instead, my aim is to encourage–as a talk radio icon once put it–”a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions.” Is that a bad thing? I suppose the answer might depend on who you are in this industry.

The new blog also gives me an opportunity to get to know more of you out there on a speaking basis. Insurance technology is a business filled with many brilliant, knowledgeable and interesting people, and one of my goals in this endeavor is to “meet” as many of you as possible in the place we affectionately call cyberspace.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Insurance Tech Guru blog is designed to be a lot of fun–for you all and for me.

I can’t remember when I last heard a good insurance joke, but such levity is definitely not off limits at . Yes, we will be screening postings for appropriateness, liability issues and just plain meanness, but our goal is to post just about everything relevant that comes our way.

I am also open to suggestions about how we might improve the blog and make it either more informative or more fun–or both. Feel free to post those suggestions, or to comment on the suggestions of others.

Actually, I have a feeling there are some out there who will suggest that the insurance tech guru should remain chained–if not gagged. That’s perfectly okay. Whatever your beef, feel free to air it here.

Yes, the insurance tech guru has been unchained, but then so, dear readers, have you. Let’s hear from you!