These are keepers. Stories with significance and a bit more of a shelf life.
- Gambling with Cultists (03/14/2021): I spoke with two men who have made thousands of dollars challenging QAnon cultists to bet whether Trump would hold on to power despite losing the election.
- America’s Best Suburb (1/22/2021): I live in New Albany, Ohio. So does a notable billionaire. So too, once, did the notorious sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein. In this piece I try to explain this most artificial and, at times, sinister of places.
- The Proud Boys Come to New Albany (10/03/2020): A hate group decided, for some reason, to march in my upscale, lily white suburb. I decided, for some reason, to meet them.
- “Medallion Status” and waking up from a comfortable sleep (08/20/2020): A book about coming to grips with one’s tenuous hold on marginal fame helped me come to grips with the end of my time at NBC.
- The Pandemic Diary (02/2020-on): The year was consumed by the pandemic. So too was my writing. Between February and June — with a couple of updates later in the year — I devoted 121,927 words to it and what it meant for all of us.
- The Ghost of Police Brutality Past (03/09/2020): I got a ticket from an old cop. Given what he was like when he was a young cop, it’s amazing that he managed to hang on to his job long enough to become an old cop.
- Tuesdays With Anna (03/03/2020): Each Tuesday I take my daughter to piano lessons and we have a cup of coffee. It’s way more special than that sounds.
- Examining Your Luck Tree (02/26/2020): Did you really work hard for what you have? How much did good luck play into it? You don’t know until you really examine it.
- Long Chile, Ohio2, and the Snack Rack (02/14/2020): My kids both went viral. My daughter because of an absurd map she drew. My son because he put a bunch of snacks on an ironing board. It made me realize how weird it is to be a Gen-Z kid. And how lucky I am to have a couple of Gen-Z kids.
- A Supposedly Fun Thing That Was Pretty OK (01/23/2020): I went on a cruise. It was OK. Of course this was before a global pandemic killed hundreds of thousands of people with cruise ships being a particularly effective infection vector.
- Life During Forever Wartime (01/03/2020): As the United States seemed poised to launch yet another senseless and needlessly destructive war of choice, I looked back at the many, many times we have done so in my lifetime and realized just how thoroughly, and destructively it has shaped us.
- Ranking Every Year of My Life (12/31/2019): As 2019 came to a close I decided to take a brief walk through all 46 years of my life and decide which years were cool and which ones sucked.
- The Columbus, Ohio Subway System (11/25/2019): Columbus is one of the largest cities in the country but its transit system is almost non-existent. What would life be like if it had a subway? One man gave us at least the beginnings of an idea.
- Opioids in Baseball: “More people are going to die if this doesn’t get fixed” (10/20/2019): Over at NBC Sports I wrote about baseball’s growing opioid problem, thrust into the spotlight by the untimely death of Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
- The Compound in New Albany (10/06/2019): Billionaire Les Wexner is my neighbor. And his house sits on a 200-acre property that was used by Jeffrey Epstein to imprison one of his victims in the 1990s. I provided an overview for people who might not appreciate how easy that was to pull off.
- The Whistleblower Complaint is Damning (09/26/2019): They ended up impeaching Trump. And they damn well were justified in doing so.
- What Cost Vengeance? (09/19/2019): Ohio lawmakers’ inability to figure out how to execute people reveals that the death penalty is about mere vengeance, not justice.
- Just Say No to E + R = O (08/08/2019): There’s a popular self-help/motivational philosophy sweeping sports and, increasingly, education, and it’s privileged bullshit.
- Jim Bouton: The Patron Saint for Those Who Chafe (07/10/2019): Jim Bouton was more than a ballplayer or a tell-all memoirist. He demonstrated how hard it is for some of us to fit in and what to do when you can’t.
- 33 and Me: Fallen nobility, losing wars, arbitraging the Black Plague and my further adventures in genealogy (06/06/2019): I got into genealogy late this spring and found out all kinds of weird and random things about my family.
- Say no to Nancy Pelosi’s Sad, Cynical and Fearful Strategy (05/06/2019): What good is taking back Congress if the leaders who took it back have no interest in doing anything to fight back against Trump and Republicans?
- Stephen Smith for Governor: West Virginia Can’t Wait (04/30/2019): A promising candidate emerged in my home state’s gubernatorial race. I don’t tend to personally support candidates, but I supported Stephen Smith.
- The Number One Song on Your Birthday Game (01/09/2019): A fun look back at the top of the charts on my birthday over the past 45 years;
- Thoughts on the Midterm Elections (11/07/2018) A blue wave, yes, but only the first step on a long journey back to sane governance.
- The Lies of Brett Kavanaugh (09/28/2018) Brett Kavanaugh lied repeatedly about matters big and small during his confirmation hearing. I catalogued them.
- UNC’s Football Stadium: Memorial to the Leader of a White Supremacist Massacre (09/19/2018) The University of North Carolina has buried the slave-holding and white supremacist past of some of the leading figures in its history. Including that of its football stadium’s namesake who murdered black citizens of Wilmington, North Carolina in a heinous massacre in 1898.
- The Pappy Van Winkle Heist That Wasn’t (09/14/2018) — I spoke to the so-called “Bourbon Bandit,” who stood accused of the greatest whiskey heist of all time. Turns out there was less to the story than that which was first reported. And more.
- Arguments from Authority (08/31/2018) — My daughter’s teacher told her class that she would not trust a sports writer with a political science background. Which . . . yeah, inspired a bit of a reaction on my part.
- Gen-Z at the Old Ballgame (08/20/2018) — Baby Boomers? Gen-X? The Millennials? Pfft. After a night at a baseball game with my kids, I can tell ya, they ain’t got NOTHIN’ on Gen-Z.
- OH-12 special election: a bad outcome but a good result (08/07/2018) A Democrat ALMOST won my heavily-Republican congressional district. After covering this for a year, I offer up my final words on the matter.
- Don’t forget how vile Donald Trump is. Don’t forget who put him in power (07/13/2018) — With a new scandal virtually every single day, it’s easy to forget how vile Donald Trump is. It’s also easy to forget that he is not some unprecedented anomaly who sprung from the head of Zeus. Let us remember what he is and who put him in power.
- It is not “uncivil” to stand against indecency (06/25/2018) — Pundits value politeness, but like Joseph Welch before us, we should call out indecency when we see it and demand leaders and institutions which are moral, ethical and just, calls for civility be damned.
- There are no shortcuts when it comes to building a civilization (06/10/2018) — We used to do public works for the common good in this country. We still should.
- 29 Things About My Trip to England (05/28/2019) — Pretty self-explanatory musings of an Anglophile who doesn’t get to England very often.
- The Gathering Sound (05/27/2018) — I went to England to follow the band James around. To dip on in, to leave my bones, leave my skin, leave my past, leave my craft and leave my suffering heart.
- Happy Birthday Karl Marx? (05/09/2018) — I am not a Marxist, but I play one on the Internet sometimes. Here’s why.
- There’s More to Medicine Than Profit (04/15/2018) — Investment banks worrying that curing the sick is not profitable is an indictment of our health care system.
- Paul Ryan’s Legacy: A Lack of Accountability (04/11/2018) Paul Ryan is retiring from Congress before having to answer for the damage he has done to America. This is the GOP’s standard operating procedure.
- Privatizing the V.A. is Obscene (03/30/2018) — It is the nation’s responsibility to wage war. It is likewise the nation’s responsibility to care for those it sends to fight, kill, die and be damaged in those wars. Outsourcing that for profit is obscene.
- To win elections, appeal to working Americans (03/14/2017) — Conor Lamb, a Democrat, won an election in a deep red district in Pennsylvania. He did it by not hesitating to appeal to working Americans in a plain and straightforward manner. The approach should be followed by every politician, everywhere.
- Great Moments in a Broken City (03/07/2018) — The real estate market of San Francisco and, increasingly, many of America’s largest cities, is utterly broken. That, in turn, has broken the cities themselves.
- We can do more than offer “thoughts and prayers” (02/15/2018) — Sensible gun control is not difficult. If you want to implement sensible gun control.
- “Treat the little mooch and send it home with the rest” (02/11/2018) — A heart-wrenching immigration case in Arizona reveals how our nation is suffering from crisis of empathy.
- Weed and Realignment (01/04/2018) — Nearly two-thirds of the public wants legalized marijuana but politicians do not. How did that happen and what does that mean for American politics?
- Make no mistake: this is class warfare (12/02/2017) — The tax bill passed by the House and Senate is the harbinger of a political realignment, the likes of which we see every 40-50 years in this country, with the new fault line being wealth.
- How a Democrat Can Win OH-12 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 (11/14/2017) — A five-part series in which I outline why I think a Democrat advocating a strong, economically populist message can win a congressional district that is gerrymandered to favor Republicans.
- A New Dark Age (11/02/2017) — What happens to a society when people cannot agree on the most basic of facts? What happens when truth itself becomes malleable?
- The Republican Tax Plan: Built on lie after lie after lie (10/28/2017) — Everyone likes tax cuts, so it shouldn’t be hard to sell one to the public. Why, then, are the Republicans selling theirs with lie upon lie upon lie?
- Yes, a Democrat could win Pat Tiberi’s seat (10/23/2017) — Is it likely that a Democrat could win OH-12? No. But it’s not impossible, especially in the current environment.
- Let us bury Pat Tiberi’s political career, not praise it (10/19/2017) — My congressman quit. He deserved no grand eulogy.
- J.D. Vance joins forces with Steve Bannon (10/18/2017) — The “Hillbilly Elegy” author made himself the darling of both the left and right by claiming to speak for the unrepresented masses of poor middle America. His team-up with the odious, alt-right nationalist editor of Breitbart, however, disqualifies him from being any decent person’s spokesman.
- Gun Violence: A matter of culture, a matter of laws (10/06/2017) — The mass shooting in Las Vegas shows us that our nation’s problem with gun violence is rooted just as much in our values as it is in our laws.
- No, Silicon Valley Cannot “Disrupt” Democracy (07/06/2017) — Tech billionaires entering politics are not magical unicorns changing the game. Stop treating them like they are.
- Trump’s tax plan: A gift to big business, and to himself (04/26/2017) — Republican tax policies are nothing but a giveaway to the rich at the expense of the poor.
- Don’t Fall for Trump’s Infrastructure Scam (03/21/2017) — We desperately need a large-scale infrastructure plan in this country. Donald Trump’s plan gets it completely wrong. There’s a better way. This is it.
- Government is Not the Enemy (03/17/2017) — Ronald Reagan proclaimed government “the problem.” Trump and his followers have declared it the enemy. This is madness. The government plays an essential role in our efforts to attain prosperity.
- Fixing the ACA is not hard. If you want to fix the ACA (03/07/2017) — The Republicans have proposed a plan to replace Obamacare. It’s cynical and doomed to fail. If you really want to fix it, here’s how you do it.
- “Glass House” — The anti-“Hillbilly Elegy” (02/16/2017) — J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” has gotten all of the attention when it comes to the matter of what ails middle America. Brian R. Alexander’s “Glass House” is a far, far better diagnosis of the same disease.
- “Field of Dreams” is Absolutely Terrible (02/13/2017) — Everyone seems to love this movie. They are wrong. It’s super bad.
- Sports and Politics Share Some of Their Worst Excesses (01/20/2017) — You may look to sports as a refuge from politics, but increasingly, sports and politics are beginning to resemble one another.
- Working at Home: Yes, You Have to Wear Pants (11/30/2016) — Some practical advice for those who are lucky enough to call their couch their office.
- Baseball, Breitbart and the Post-Factual Society in Action (11/19/2016) — A case study of how lies become “facts” in the age of Trump.
- Bubbles, Echo Chambers, Facebook and Connection Trumping Community (11/14/2016) — We’re more connected as a society than we’ve ever been before. Yet, paradoxically, there is less of a shared community than there has ever been before.
- Wives, Daughters and a New Dark Age (10/09/2016) — An enlightened age relies on reason and abstract thought to convey information. A Dark Age relies on personal experience and the telling of tales. Our political discourse reveals us to be in the latter.
- Andrew Sullivan’s Breakdown is Not Our Own (09/19/2016) — “Living online” and social media addiction has its pitfalls, but falling into them is not inevitable.
- The Epi-Pen and the Genius of Capitalism (08/24/2016) — A controversy surrounding one product serves as a case study of how capitalism is anything but a meritocracy.
- Hillbilly Elegy: Good Memoir. Crap Political Science (08/23/2016) — The book that has been hailed as the key to understanding America in the age of Trump is full of crap. That people, especially liberals, are eating it up, is ridiculous.
- Birth Rates are Down. So What? (08/22/2016) — The U.S. birth rate is at historic lows. The same people who worry most about it, however, have made it their life’s work to make bringing babies into this world a challenging and even frightening prospect.
- Blackout (3/26/2016) — Memory and consciousness are no match for the defense mechanisms of the human mind.
- How to Grow Old Without Being a Jackass (03/13/2016) — As people age, they are inclined to denigrate the generations which follow them. They really shouldn’t do that.
- Donald Trump, the Overlooked and the Invisible (02/25/2016) — Trump may have tapped into the legitimate economic anxieties of voters, but he has absolutely no plan to ease them. We should build a movement that will, whatever that means for the status quo.
- Baseball and the End of Equality (02/18/2016) — Our society is becoming a less egalitarian one. Not just financially, but socially as well, with people eschewing interaction with one another and actively avoiding ways to meet in either the figurative or literal public square. Baseball serves as a case study.
- Flint, Parkersburg and Beckley: Where Life is Cheap by Design (02/21/2016) — The three towns I grew up in were all poor. They were also all victimized by environmental crimes. This is no coincidence.
- Sportswriters: Start Criticizing Your Colleagues (01/02/2016) — There is a culture in sports writing in which criticizing other sportswriters is seen as a faux pas. This is madness.
- Death to Savvy Political Calculation (11/19/2015) — America is choosing to turn its back on those in need. Some Beltway insiders believe taking issue with that is bad politics. This is madness.
- “We’re not sure WHICH of us puked on your computer, but . . .” (11/15/2015) — A tale of my obnoxious roommates from my freshman year at Ohio State. Man, I miss those guys.
- Kill the Body and the Head Will Die (10/07/2015) — It’s not “punching down” to go criticize toxic ideas, no matter how many Twitter followers those who espouse the ideas happen to have.
- Fuck it, Dude. Let’s Go Bowling. (09/30/2015) — A personal story about my dark history as a bowler and dark present as a guy who goes bowling to fight off depression.
- They’re Rebuilding at the Corner of Michigan and Trumbull (07/23/2015) — I wrote a story for NBC about the transformation of the old Tiger Stadium site in Detroit, made possible by some dedicated volunteers.
- Surrender, or We’ll Bomb Trieste! (07/20/2015) — I was once an unwitting Neocon whose warlike instincts scared the living Hell out of John Kasich. But hey, college was a crazy time for a lot of people.
- Dylan Roof is not Some Crazy Inexplicable Outlier (06/19/2015) — While not every racist commits acts of violence, not every racist who commits an act of violence is some crazy, lone gunman.
- Dispatches from My Amtrak Writers Residency (06/03/2015-06/11/2015) — I was one of 24 recipients of the inaugural Amtrak Writers Residency program. I took my trip in June 2015, going from Chicago, out to Seattle, down to Portland and back home again. I was working on another writing project, but I wrote a lot about the trip as well.
- Baseball, Bourbon and Bullshit (05/27/2015) — Part a review of the book “Bourbon Empire,” part an essay about how people who like baseball and bourbon are big, big fans of making up silly stories to make things sound more interesting.
- The Great Pappy Van Winkle Heist (05/08/2015) — Someone sold a lot of super valuable Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. But why was it so valuable in the first place?
- Media Companies: Get Adults to Run Your Verticals (04/28/2015) — Media companies freak out about their writers creating social media controversies and editorial malpractice. Yet, for some reason, they keep hiring kids with no experience or judgment. Funny how that works.
- How Does a Writer Survive in the Era of Snackable Content? (03/31/2015) — It’s tough out there for an Internet writer. Here are some thoughts about how to make it work.
- Each Day We Awake Slightly Altered (03/17/2015) — Aspirational thoughts about how to approach new days. And how to not get trapped in olden ones.
- Denying the Horrifying (11/26/2014) — When a horrifying thing, like the killing of Tamir Rice, happens, people deny its horror and its significance because they cannot accept that it could occur.
- The Purge (10/17/2014) — Getting rid of old possessions: both necessary and painful.
- Bye-Bye Butterworth Green (08/22/2014) — I moved out of the house where I raised my kids for a decade. It had too many ghosts in it.
- Sports Illustrated Gets Modern Media, Gets Criticized For It (07/12/2014) — When Lebron James went back to Cleveland the media lost its mind over how it was covered.
- I Use Women’s Deodorant and I’m Proud of it (07/07/2014) — Men’s products are sold in Manly Colored Bottles, Boxes and Tubes. Which is silly, of course.
- Entropy, Thermodynamic Equilibrium and the Death of a Big Swingin’ Dick (02/24/2014) — My boss died. It marked the end of an era. For him and for me.
- Jump (01/15/2014) — After my divorce my house felt like the Battlestar Galactica.
- What I Wouldn’t Have Written: A Writer’s Defense of Twitter (09/28/2013) — Some say Twitter kills a writer’s creativity. I disagree.
- Fighting Ghosts on the Glade Creek Trail (09/02/2013) — I needed to hike in the mountains to reclaim the home that was taken from me.
- Just Say No to a Colorblind Society (08/28/2013) — My kids see race. Should I tell them not to? That seems silly to me.
- Going to Wonderland (07/19/2013) — Adventures in Therapy
- 40 (07/14/2013) — Age is just a number.
- Crapalachia (05/21/2013) — A review of the Scott McLanahan memoir. Or fictional memoir. Or “biography of a place. Doesn’t matter what you call it, really, because it spoke to me.
- An Evening at the Thirst Lion (03/01/2013) — You meet interesting people in out-of-town bars.
- A Rube’s Trip to New York (02/21/2013) — I like New York. But I am definitely an Ohioan.
- The Shady Economics of Law School (11/29/2012) — I went to law school. It was an OK thing to do once upon a time, but it’s a racket now.
- I Got Performance Enhancing Drugs in San Francisco (10/25/2012) — During the World Series, no less.
- The Things That are the Worst to Undergo are the Best to Remember (09/16/2012) — Some advice from Ted Hughes about how to reconcile tragedy and survival.
- The Spotless Mind (07/26/2012) — Is it better to live with painful memories or to obliterate them?
- California Stars (06/21/2012) — My first vacation with my kids after my divorce was a cathartic experience.
- The Middle (06/09/2012) — The first few months of watching my kids grow up in a single parent home was . . . tough.
- Goin’ to California (03/27/2012) — Place matters to me. California has always been a special place, no matter what was going on in my life.
- Old Business (02/15/2012) — Writing up divorce documents wasn’t easy, but the old ritual of legal drafting helped make the process easier.
- New Morning (01/24/2012) — I met a girl.
- Shyster: How I Went From Practicing Law to Living My Dream (12/31/2011) — A lot of people ask me how I became a sportswriter. This is the answer.
- Some Other Beginning’s End (10/29/2011) — The thoughts I had as my 16-year marriage and my 20-year relationship came to an end.
- PETA and the 1,000 Buckets of Pig Poop (05/18/2011) — I respect PETA well enough. But when I was a lawyer I had to fight them once. I won.
- And with that you can close the book on Calcaterra (12/22/2010) — The last case I ever worked on came to a close.
- Where’s Home? (11/27/2010) — I’ve lived in a lot of places, so I get to decide where I’m from.
- Boys (10/02/2010) — My son shoved a kid. It created some . . . conflicted feelings.
- The Bike Wreck (7/11/2010) — In 1994 I broke my collar bone in a bike wreck. I still made it to the Dylan show, though.
- Fear and Loathing in the Sunshine State (2/18/2010) — Florida has always been bad news for me.
- Appellant’s Convictions are Affirmed (1/10/2010) — I represented a guy who was sentenced to a looooong time in prison. The conviction was justified. The sentence sucked.
- The Car Wreck (12/26/2009) — I was in a bad car wreck when I was 14. I didn’t get a scratch, though.
- Radio Days (11/29/2009) — I was a DJ at a radio station when I was in high school. It was a gas.
- Jobs I’ve Left: An Inventory (11/23/2009) — I’ve had a bunch of jobs in my life. This is all of them.
- How I got to Ohio (06/06/2008) — People ask me why I live in Ohio. You can thank the Navy and the first Gulf War. Even though I wasn’t a part of either of those things.
- The Great 2003 Road Trip — I took a month-long road trip back in 2003. A few years later I wrote it up in 14 mini-chapters. This page is the introduction and links to all of it.