(The Blog)

And now for a few words about words (and many other things)...

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What's in a name? (And what's in a naming-rights deal?)

Normally, I don't post here every time I record one of my sports commentaries on KCUR (Kansas City's NPR affiliate). But today, I offer my take on how the kerfuffle (I may not be using that word completely appropriately, but it gets wide latitude) over seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's ongoing travails and public (if you can consider OWN "public") admission of cheating has spilled over into his Livestrong foundation and specifically its naming-rights deal with Sporting KC (whose home stadium was, until last week, known as Livestrong Sporting Park). And what's a name if not a word? As with any word (except, perhaps, "kerfuffle"), when a name is used inappropriately, unintended results may...result.

If you wish, you may find the audio here.




"The Power of Words"

I’m ashamed to say that I am only discovering this online clip now. It’s bad enough that I was a little late to Gangnam Style, but to know that some 15 million people saw this before me hurts more, since it so beautifully expresses the point of what I do. (Thanks to my computer-savvy dad for forwarding it.) This brief, sweet story was familiar to me as a parable—I’d heard it in a speech as recently as this year—but it’s much more affecting in cinematic form. Just watch.  

Full credit goes to Purplefeather Online Content Specialists, the British marketing firm that created the film. If you’re in the market for online content and you live in the UK, by all means, try them first. Otherwise, I’m here.


The play's the thing...

One of my proudest accomplishments was the publication of In Their Company: Portraits of American Playwrights, a "long-awaited compendium of the foremost writers of the American stage, captured through photographs and in their own words," that I completed a few years ago with my friend, the fantastically talented photographer Ken Collins. (And it wouldn't be a properly shameless plug without this link to where you can buy the book, which is here. The link, I mean. The link where you can buy it.)

Having the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with playwrights like Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson, and dozens of others, some of the creative people I have admired most in this world, and ask them why and how they do what they do was an honor and an incredible education. It was also a great compensation: if I wasn't going to be them, I would join as many of them as I could.

So I am particularly proud now to be able to announce that I soon will be a produced playwright myself. I found out this weekend that a short play I wrote was selected to be part of the 5th Annual Six-by-Ten Festival at the Barn Players Theatre. The dates are December 7-9, and I'll pass on more information when I know it.

In the meantime, for anyone out there who's ever actually said, "...but what I really want to do is direct," here's your chance. It would be an honor to work with you...


Welcome to the big leagues?

So I am pleased to be able to say that my first contribution to Yahoo! Sports' online magazine ThePostGame.com was chosen (and as of this post is still featured) as the main story on the home page, and has also spent some time as the lead story on Yahoo! itself. All I can say is... Yahoo!

Oh, by the way, the story is titled "The Blurry Line Between Sports and Assault," and was intended as a somewhat lighthearted look at a serious issue: the boundary between competitive drive and injurious intent that, frankly, can make much of sports appealing to so many fans. But apparently my observation—that throwing a solid object (like, say, a baseball) directly at someone with the intention, or at least full understanding, that it could hit him before he can get out of the way would be considered felony assault in the real world—really angered some people. I am flattered by the fact my story has gotten so many comments; less so by the general themes of their content. I have been called a moron and an idiot (or rather, "a idiot"), as well as both "retarded" and "pedantic." But this is one of my favorites:

how bad is the yahoo writing going to get before they get new people?

Awesome. I have written one article—which at that point had been online for maybe an hour or two—and I am already one of the grizzled old hacks who needs to be pushed aside in favor of new blood.

Ah, well. Guess I'll just shake it off and jog to first.


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