Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Obama-NBC connection, revealed!

Today in the ol’ email bag, this arrived, presented unedited:

“I’m a nascar fan but I. Won’t watch it on nbc that is a leftist leaning they hate American thAt want are rights and freedoms but the goverment controled network they got there heads so far up Obama ass that if he stops they will come out his mouth. I will not watch anything on nbc.”

Understandable. Lots of turning left in NASCAR. Keep that up, we’ll be socialists by 2015.

Unfortunate tweets, unfortunate t-shirts: here’s the worst of what I wrote this week

I write a bunch of stuff each week. Here’s some of the best … or worst, depending on your POV.

It was NFL draft week, so I whipped up a little story on how NFL draftees need some good financial planning right from the moment they hold up that fancy new jersey.¬† (Tip: Diversify yo’ portfolio.) Also did a slideshow on the worst selections at every single position in the first round … not quite draft “busts,” necessarily, but exceedingly poor decisions. And, since draft fans are lunatics and easy prey, I posted a video of them getting pranked with fake player names.

Hope Solo plays soccer. I know nothing about soccer. But I do know that tweeting out your phone number to 700,000 followers isn’t a good idea.

Game of Thrones author goofs on Jets, gives Game of Thrones geeks a chance to rail on NFL writers. Good times.

My most-read/shared story of the week: Nike stores are pulling “Boston Massacre” t-shirts from their stores. Solid idea.

An openly gay kicker is trying to make the NFL, which would be historic and all. If you consider kickers legit NFL players, that is.

This was badass: Scott Fujita hikes to the top of Machu Picchu, signs his retirement papers there. At age 33. I only slightly hate him.

Hey, Danica: shut up and race.

Thanks, as always, for reading. More on the way.

 

Help a brother (in law) out: Be a part of Never Enough Hope’s new recording session

My brother-in-law Toby Summerfield is the head honcho/maestro/impresario behind Never Enough Hope, a traveling, rotating collective of Chicago-centered musicians that create some of the most intellectually and emotionally challenging music you’re going to hear. And they’re gearing up for their next recording session, scheduled for this June. And they want YOUR help. But we’ll get to that in a second. First, here’s some fascinating material, Toby on how to write for a 30-piece orchestra:

Now. What you need to do is go over to Kickstarter and pledge some coin to help Toby get this next recording session rolling. There, you can hear some more of his music and get a sense of what you’ll be a part of. You can do it, friends. Even a buck helps. And Toby will thank you. I’ll make my sister get him to.

Mint Juleps and Moon Pies postmortem: Talking with Y! Sports Radio

Spent some time talking with¬† John Harris of Yahoo! Sports Radio last night about the gargantuan Kentucky Derby/Talladega article. ‘Twas fun:

 

I’m almost, ALMOST caught up on sleep.

The secret to great writing! It’s right here! Promise!

My daughter hit me up to write about rewriting for her English class. I think she got out of doing homework for this. You’ll note that I backpedaled off some of the words I’d usually choose to use, and I also mentioned Instagram to make it seem like I’m hip to the kids’ fresh lingo these days. Anyway, here you go: the secret to great writing.

People often ask me what the secret is to writing. It’s like they think there’s this little one bit of hidden knowledge that, if you learn it, you’ll become a rich and famous author, beloved by millions who read your books (or at least see the movies based on them). Guess what? There is. Gather round, lads and lasses, and I’ll tell you:

The secret to writing is rewriting.

That’s it. That’s it right there. Sure, there are great authors who wake up and spit out paragraphs of timeless prose, who can roll out of bed and write lines that people will be reading a hundred years from now. But those types are few and far between; they show up about once a century or so. For the rest of us, it’s all about writing something down, looking it over, deciding that some (or all) of it stinks, and tearing it down to build it better.

This isn’t like building a bridge. You get halfway through a bridge and you decide you don’t like it, you don’t get to knock it down and start over. You’re stuck with what you’ve started. But the words you write for your next research paper aren’t written in stone. Heck, chances are they’re not even written on paper at all. Don’t get too attached to them, and for heaven’s sake, don’t just write the first thing that comes to mind and think, “Heck with it. That’s good enough. What’s on Instagram?”

The writing gets it out on the page. The rewriting makes it shine. Ernest Hemingway, an author you may or may not have read but should, rewrote the final paragraph of “The Sun Also Rises” 39 times. One paragraph! Thirty-nine times! He did that because he knew that last paragraph had to be absolutely perfect, to say exactly what he wanted it to say.

(As a side note: Hemingway said that what every writer needs is a very good … well, let’s call it a “garbage detector,” though he didn’t use the word “garbage.” What he meant was that you need to be able to read your own writing and know when it stinks. And generally, if it’s a first draft, it stinks, no matter who you are. Your garbage detector will go off, and you should listen to it.)

So when you’re planning for time to write, don’t just plan on writing your paper once. Plan on writing it two or three times. (You probably don’t need to do it 39 times.) Sure, it’ll take more time. But you’ll get closer to the truth, and — guess what — closer to a very good grade.

Now, you’ll pardon me. I’ve got to go back and make sure this says exactly what I mean hope it says want it to you need to hear.