Now that the weather’s finally warmed up, Marathon Girl and I have taking the kids on weekly family runs again. In the back of my mind I worry that the kids will tire of them but every week they still enjoy hopping on their bikes or climbing in the stroller for a three or four mile run with Mom and Dad. The oldest two enjoy them so much that they’ve now ride alongside me during my morning—so long as they’re awake and ready to go when I’m heading out the door.
Most mornings, just as I’m finishing my weight routine I hear them running down the stairs to see if I’ve left without them. When they see that I’m home, they let out excited cries of joy, put on their shoes, and head out to the garage to get their bikes.
It’s been a nice having the two boys on their bikes with me as I run. Having them with me helps me focus my thoughts on the family instead of work or other stress inducing subjects. It’s been fun to watch their endurance increase with each passing day. A four mile bike rid is no longer a problem for them.
We don’t talk much during our runs but from the big smiles on their faces as we count off the miles, I can tell they’re having a good time riding their bikes in the cool morning air with dad.
The NFL doesn’t have consolation game. Neither does Major League Baseball. Ditto for the NBA and NHL. The NCAA basketball tournament used to until 1981 when someone wised up and realized that third place games are pointless. I thought it might be a soccer thing but after doing some research I realized that Major League Soccer doesn’t have a third place game either.
From a player’s perspective, I’d think the third place game would be an emotional letdown. You came this close to making it to the biggest game of your life and didn’t do it. Now you have to run around on a field for 90 minutes with a bunch of other people who, like you, also didn’t make it to the big one. What, exactly, are you playing for?
From a fan’s point of view, I’d personally have a hard time rooting for any of my favorite sports teams in a consolation game. You don’t root for your team because you want them to be number three. You want them to be champions so you can beat your chest and brag to everyone about how awesome your team is.
In sports, you’re either a champion or you’re not. It’s that simple.
If anyone can tell me why the World Cup third place game is a big deal (KS, maybe?), let me know. And for those who think the World Cup consolation games serve a purpose, how many of you can tell me who won the third place game in the 1994 World Cup without the help of Google or some other search engine? (As a hint, the winner, loser, and score of that game is probably the only World Cup game I know off the top of my head.)
Last week local talk radio jock, Bob Lonsberry, was fired from his morning gig. According to the radio station, the reason for the firing was ratings. Bob’s show had fallen from the Top 10 to 29 out of 32 stations. Unable to keep his mouth shut, Lonsberry posted a 1,300 word rant on his website detailing the firing and planted the seeds for a conspiracy theory that Mike Lee, a GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate was really behind his dismissal.
Of course, being suspicious is my stock-in-trade, and the timing of my termination and the stand I’ve been taking on the looming senatorial primary and the fact I’ve been opposing a candidate [Mike Lee] who made $600,000 from one of our largest advertisers last year, does make me wonder. Strings get pulled in the real world, and politics is hardball, and our program’s effort helped tip the nominating convention, so it’s not impossible that I lost my job in Salt Lake so that somebody else [Mike Lee] could get a job in Washington.
As a talk, sports, and news radio connoisseur and having had a short-lived run in radio business, the one thing I do know about the medium is that it’s like any other business: it’s all about making the station money. You can put on an entertaining show every day but if no one’s listening, then your show gets pulled. It’s as simple as that. As long as you’re the station’s making a profit, they’ll keep you on the air forever no matter how many politicians you piss off.
Years ago I listened to Lonsberry’s program on my way to work but stopped after he spent a good portion of my drive to work talking about inane subjects with his son, Lee, and the traffic reporter, Paige Bradford. It was like listening in on a phone conversation between friends catching up on each other’s lives. It wasn’t even close to entertaining radio. It was boring. Apparently a lot of other people felt the same way.
Sadly, Lonsberry’s conspiracy has found legs. The (Provo) Daily Herald reports that Tim Bridgewater supporters are jumping on the conspiracy theory bandwagon that ratings had nothing to do with Lonsberry’s dismissal. Lonsberry is now sending out robo calls on behalf of the Bridgewater campaing furthing the conspiracy talk. I received one on Friday. Like all conspiracy theories, however, not a shred of proof is offered to back this up. Instead a few events are strung together on the hopes, fears, and emotions of their audience.
If Lonsberry really wants to get back into radio, he needs to shut up and take a lesson from Armando Galarraga about how to handle setbacks with class. You lick your wounds, move on, and live to fight another day. Instead of weaving intricate conspiracy theories to assuage his bruised ego, Lonseberry would be better off to figuring out his next career move. Ten years is a long time to be in the radio business—especially on one station. If his show was as popular as he claimed, other radio stations might come calling. However, the more he rants about his conspiracy theory, the less attractive he becomes as a radio personality and a human being.
The launch of The Third has once again been delayed. As of now it doesn’t have a scheduled release date. For those who have pre-ordered or have been looking forward to reading it, I’m apologize. I was told that the July launch was solid only to have it be pushed back again. I wish it was something I had more control over but the release date is in the hands of my publisher. I’ll let you know as soon as I have some good news.
For those who haven’t read it, I’ve posed the first four chapters of The Third are now available in PDF format. You can download it here.
I’m not much of a soccer fan but enjoy it when the World Cup rolls around every four years mostly because it’s fun to watch many of my coworkers work get into it.
Most of my coworkers have lived in or are from different countries and tend root for those countries. Several cubes around the office are overflowing with the flags of Mexico, Brazil, England, South Korea and other competing teams. (The coworker on my right is a big Germany fan—albeit it without the insanely decorated cube.) Today I even saw few guys wearing soccer jerseys over their regular work attire.
I’d be more included to join the party if Bulgaria was part of the action but, alas, they couldn’t get out of their European qualifying group. I would have been thrilled if they could have pulled off that upset but wasn’t expecting it. The one thing I learned while living in Sofia is that Bulgaria is the Detroit Tigers of soccer. Occasionally they do well but most of the time their fans are resigned to the fact that their soccer team is destined for mediocrity.
The one oddity is that with all the World Cup hoopla at work, no one seems to be rooting for the United States. I think my soccer-crazed coworkers would like to see the United States do well in the tournament (as would I) and would probably root for the US after their other team is eliminated, but their soccer hearts are with other countries.
It does make wonder that if so many coworkers weren’t born or had lived overseas, if anyone at work would even care that the World Cup was going on. I doubt cubes would be decorated with red, white, and blue or people would be wearing US soccer jerseys to work. I know I wouldn’t care half as much (if at all) if I hadn’t lived overseas and been exposed to how seriously the rest of the world takes the sport.
But during this World Cup I’ll put in a half-hearted effort to keep an eye on the US team and hope that Bulgaria qualifies for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Unless you’re self publishing, the cover is one of the few things out of the writer’s control of the final product. Bad covers can make a good book unappealing. That’s why any publisher will contract with or employ talented graphic designers to make their books pop off the shelves. Whoever did the covers on these blogs should be fired.
Just a few bad book covers you can find at that blog are the following.
You can see more bad covers here. Happy looking (or not).
Congratulations to Marathon Girl who completed her fastest marathon time in five years, finishing in a Boston Marathon qualifying time of approximately 3:28.13. I say approximately because that’s what her stopwatch read said when she crossed the finish line. Her official race time, however, isn’t posted on the official race result site for some reason.
We’re contacting them to see what happened. Hopefully we can figure out why her race time wasn’t posted along with everyone else. Marathon Girl wants to run Boston and even though she could run another marathon and quality without too much difficulty, she does want her race time to count in case she’s unable to run another marathon before Boston.
That aside, it was great to cheer Marathon Girl on as she crossed the finish line and to see the smile on her face after she realized how fast she was running again. She trained hard for this marathon and it was nice to see all of her hard work pay off.
Update: The went through the data and found Marathon Girl’s time. It’s officially 3:28:49.2 or about 7:58 per mile! Updated results here.
The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article on how ebooks and other book-publishing technology are shaking up the business model traditional book publishers.
Amazon has taken an early lead, providing service tools for authors to self publish and creating an imprint last year to publish promising authors in print and online.
This month, Amazon is upping the ante, increasing the amount it pays authors to 70% of revenue, from 35%, for e-books priced from $2.99 to $9.99. A self-published author whose e-book lists for $9.99 on Amazon’s Kindle e-bookstore will receive about $6.99 for each book sold. The author would net $1.75 on a similar new e-book sale by most major publishers.
The new formula makes digital self-publishing more lucrative for authors. “Some people will be tempted by the 70% royalty at Amazon,” [Richard] Nash says. “If they already have a loyal fan base, will they want 70% of $100,000 or 15% of $200,000 for a hardcover?”
Digital self-publishing, or “vanity” publishing, is creating a powerful new niche in books. WSJ’s Geoffrey Fowler joins the Digits show to discuss how this is threatening the traditional book industry.
Traditional book-industry players and tech companies are jumping on the digital self-publishing bandwagon. Apple last week announced a digital self-publishing program for its iPad giving 70% of revenue to authors, similar to Amazon’s formula. Last month, Barnes & Noble also announced a service called PubIt!, allowing authors to post and sell e-books online.
While traditional publishers aren’t going the way of newspapers any time soon (though they’re slowly heading that direction), the shift to digital publishing is going to be a boon for talented writers. Published authors with an established fan base can sell their books for less than traditional publishers while making more money per book. New authors in the process build a fan base have another way to market manuscripts that aren’t under contract.
Talented unpublished authors can get around the often lengthy and cumbersome process of finding an agent and working with a publisher. If they have a compelling story to tell, they can immediately start selling books and building a fan base.
Of course not every self-published book will do well. As the WSJ article notes, self published books are generally poorly written and lack an editor’s touch. But in the new publishing paradigm, talented writers can hire editors to go over the book to improve the story and writing.
It’s also makes it easy for authors to overcome the second problem self-published books face: crappy covers. We’ve all be told never to judge a book by its cover, yet we do it all the time. If someone’s going to take a self-published book seriously, it needs a cover that’s going to make people want to pick it up or, with ebooks, at least read the first chapter or two. (And for those who say they never judge books by their covers, would you even consider reading a book with covers like these? Be honest!) Thankfully, there are plenty of talented graphic designers out there who can create a compelling cover for a couple hundred bucks. You have a professional look and copy and you’ve overcome two big obstacles that self published writer and books encounter.
Going the self-published route isn’t the best option for everyone right now. But it’s become a more viable business model for talented writers. That being said, I’ll be testing these new self publishing waters later this summer with a short, niche book of my own.
Last week a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce cost the Detroit Tigers Armando Galarraga a perfect game—one of the rarest feats in baseball. (See video above.)
As a lifelong Tigers fan, I’m used to seeing my team end up on the wrong side of history. (Two other Tiger pitchers have lost perfect games with two outs in the ninth.) But I have to admire the way Galarraga and the Tigers handled the situation.
There could have been long-winded, obscenity-filled rants at the post-game press conference, an appeal to Major League Baseball to overturn the decision, and diatribes about the need for instant replay in baseball to make the games “fair.”
But there wasn’t any of that. At least not from Galarraga and the Tigers organization.
After the game Joyce watched the replay and admitted his mistake and apologized to Galarraga. Galarraga accepted his apology and shook his hand. The next night Galarraga was treated to a standing ovation. Joyce umpired from behind the plate. The Tigers won. Life went on.
In a world full of people who rant and rave when life doesn’t turn out the way they want it to, Galarraga’s reaction was very refreshing.
We live in a harsh, unforgiving world. Life is rarely fair. We work hard and devote our lives to building up families, businesses, and dreams only to “watch the things you gave your life to broken” by our own mistakes or the actions of others. What’s important is how we react to life’s setbacks. Do we complain and give up on our goals or shrug off the disappointment and “stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools”?
Armando Galarraga may have been robbed of his place in baseball’s history books, but his reaction to a very disappointing setback will always make him a class act in my book.
I’m starting to wonder if former writers for The Onion are working at NPR. On the drive to work this week I’ve been listening to a series of sob stories about soon-to-be college graduates who are having a difficult time finding their first “real” job. The headlines on NPRs website read like something straight from America’s Finest News Source.
All joking aside, the story about the aspiring writer, Heather Lefebvre who racked up $85,000 in student loans, caught my attention because there’s a big misconception out there that you need an English and/or creative writing degree to become a successful writer.
Having written a memoir, a novel, and a third book coming out later this year (surprise!) and worked in the corporate environment as a writer for over a decade, I can safely say becoming a writer has more to do with taking the time to learn the craft of writing then going to college or even having a degree.
Writing isn’t like riding a bike where you learn it once and do it over and over again without thinking. Struggling to create believable characters or a unique plot is something most writers improve upon with each novel and spend their lives trying to perfect. You’ll learn more by sitting down and writing your first book then you will in a lifetime of taking writing classes.
As a member of a local writing group I get a chance meet a lot of other authors. Of those I know personally, I’d say half have a college degree. Of the college grads, there are only a handful of English and/or writing degrees among them.
The writers who don’t have college degrees, half of them have attended college and the rest have no college at all. Some of the most prolific and successful writers in the group have little or no college. Instead they were stay-at-home moms who liked to read and write stories and ended up turning it into a full time career.
Just like painters, photographers, and musicians hone their skills through practice, you become a writer by writing and then doing lots of rewriting. A BA in English or a MFA in creative writing doesn’t translate to becoming a published author—even though many people with those degrees think it should.