Author & Speaker

Writing

Babe Ruth: Know your enemy!

Babe Ruth was a great pitcher before he was a great hitter.  Doesn’t it seem likely that one of the reasons he was a great hitter was because he had been a great pitcher? Playing for the Boston Red Sox from 1915 to 1918, the Babe was probably the best left-handed pitcher in the American League.  He…

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Why Do Babe Ruth Movies Mostly Suck?

With less than three weeks to go until my novel concerning Babe Ruth debuts, The Babe Ruth Deception, I find myself wondering why Babe Ruth movies are so bad.  In fairness, though, not all of them are terrible, at least not when he wasn’t the focus of the film. He played himself in The Pride…

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BabeWatch: Barnstorming Against Negro League Teams

Partly because he loved to play baseball, partly because he loved to spend money, Babe Ruth played lots of exhibition games in the offseason across the country and in the Caribbean.  After his astonishing 1921 season, the formed the Babe Ruth All Stars, which played against multiple Negro League teams, including the Kansas City Monarchs and…

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Theater of the Near-Real: Cop Chases in L.A.

It’s completely weird. They can go on forever, the only time Southern California TV stations never break for commercials.  The first one on Monday morning lasted more than two hours.  Later in the day, a second one lasted two hours. It sounds mind-numbing.  Helicopter cameras track a single car speeding down interstates and freeways while…

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Hamilton’s Pulitzer Prize: Listen to the Words

Now that he’s won the Pulitzer Prize for it, maybe we’ll pay attention to the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, the genre-smashing Broadway hit that costs a monthly car payment to attend.  When we listen to the words – really listen – we can appreciate his achievement. Magic can happen when story and words and…

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Triumph of the Book!

The recent press accounts have been heartening to devotees of the book — which had been disdained as the “printed book” or “hard-copy book,” or even the “dead tree book.”  It turns out that lots of readers prefer reading old-fashioned books to new-fangled e-readers. That’s what college students say.  They want to read a “real”…

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Eight Knockout Reads from 2015

Year’s end brings a geyser of lists of the year’s “best books.”  I choose to modify this approach to report the best books that I read over the last year, since I get to few newly-issued books — pretty much only ones by friends or ones I’m writing a review of.  Otherwise, I’m either reading something…

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Even Woodrow Wilson? The "Purge Moment" Runs Amok

Over the summer of 2015, the argument over displaying the Confederate flag in public grounds galvanized public opinion.  Many conservative Southern Republicans agreed that such displays contradict our basic principles and publicly endorse bigotry.  Even South Carolina, birthplace of secession, relented on the Confederate flag. That argument swiftly metastasized into a full-throated uproar over public…

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Nazi Fatigue

  I need a break from Nazis, Nazism, SS officers, concentration camps, swastikas, and the crazy guy with the toothbrush mustache.  Yeah, this guy.   They’re all powerful symbols, with deep back-story and instant cultural connections that are so useful to writers and movie directors.   And, to be fair, the Nazi era represents a…

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Danger: Constitutional Convention Ahead?

I’ve got a piece today in the Baltimore Sun, warning of the dangers of a second constitutional convention, which a shocking number of state legislatures are proposing willy-nilly.  They need to stop and think. James Madison fought every proposal for a second constitutional convention, warning that it could be the scene of all manner of mischief.  He…

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