A lot has happened.

Some updates, in case you're curious.

A lot has happened.
Galileo's Middle Finger is now out in Japanese. I wonder what it says.

I really should be doing my tax prep but obviously that can’t happen until I write a personal newsletter update. And also send out books to all the people I owe them to now that a new (English-language) shipment of Galileo’s Middle Finger has come in. And also clean the coat closet. And maybe the fridge.

I know I’m not alone in hating tax prep, but I especially hate it this year because in 2023, despite all his and my best efforts, my agent couldn’t get me a book deal – we tried three completely different proposals – and I grew depressed. That in turn led to keeping poorly organized records of my business activities. Still, I hate annoying my tax accountant, so tomorrow I’ll do tax prep. (Or the day after that, I’m sure.)

Anyway, here’s what’s been happening, in case you're curious:

Once I got used to the idea that the publishing industry is in the toilet and the only thing they want me to write about are the things I don’t want to write about – gender wars; hatred; cancellation – I realized I might as well work on what I feel like in terms of a book. (#privilege)

So, I’ve been researching a book that’s a sort of sequel to Galileo’s Middle Finger, but instead of being about activists and scholars who are looking for truth, it’s about local news publishers, editors, and reporters who suffer from the Galilean personality.

The main narrative thread takes the reader along the wild ride of bringing local news for ten years in a leftist city with the most maddeningly self-defeating tendencies. For the book, I’ve been traveling around the country doing interviews and also doing interviews on Zoom, and these people all feel like long-lost kin.

Because I haven’t wanted to wait until the book comes out to support them, I started up a new publication called Local News Blues so we could all have a place to speak the truth about what it’s like doing this work.

That’s blown up big and fast. I have big people in the industry calling me and wanting to talk, which I have to say is weird since none of them wanted to talk to me when I was still an actual local news producer. I guess they now think I’m some kind of force to try to control. (How’s that gonna work out for them? Yeah, I agree.)

The news operation I started and ran for about ten years, East Lansing Info (ELi), is struggling with transitions since my departure. The most active board member also quit and then so did the general manager and the development director. ELi has now transitioned managing editors, too. The present staff lost control of both the Facebook and Twitter pages, so…that’s not good. Perhaps it will yet turn around and recover. But everyone’s feeling the need to remind me that what I did mattered, even if it all crashes to the ground this year. For everything, there is a time.

I’ve agreed to three appearances this year so far, all opportunities that feel like chances to visit with and/or work with great people.

On April 9, the day after the eclipse, I’ll be delivering the 2024 Charles Hill Moffat Lecture at the Marshall University Department of History, providing a ten-year retrospective on Galileo’s Middle Finger.

On April 17, I’ll be participating in a debate at MIT on whether sex (as opposed to gender) should be used as the basis of social policy. It’s been a joy to be working with Aaron Kimberly as my debate partner.

In August, I’ll be delivering a keynote address in Nova Scotia for the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport.

Meanwhile, I did something perhaps a little nuts this January and talked my spouse into us buying the house next door to save two trees. You can read about that here.

I’ve also been supporting a great artist I met in Hyde Park when I was headed out to the Point to go swimming, including by setting up a newsletter for him in the last week or so. That’s Courtney Jolliff, and you can read about him and subscribe to his newsletter here.

Finally, in my personal life, now that Dad is gone, I’m spending more time with Mom and enjoying that quite a lot. I feel very fortunate that she’s still in my life and still open to changing her mind as we debate world events, the worthiness of particular philosophies and poems, and how the dishwasher should be loaded. Okay, she's not actually open to changing her mind about the dishwasher, but the rest, she is.

My kid has gotten into the Ph.D. program in Molecular Engineering at University of Chicago and the Ph.D. program in Applied Physics at Harvard University, and his grandmothers are so proud he might just say no to Harvard. Me, I’m just so happy he’s so alive and well and watering my plants in Hyde Park.

I found out about a year ago now that my right leg is longer than my left by about 6 millimeters and a lift in my left shoe has now eliminated all my back pain. Unfortunately, the lift has not fixed my numb right foot, but the numbness hasn’t stopped me running. With the lake not having frozen, swimming is not too far off. Nor is an appointment with a neurologist.

Thanks to all of you who keep in touch. If I owe you a signed book (because you’ve elected to do a paid subscription), I’ll be in touch soon, or you can just hit “reply” and send me your snail mail address and save me a step.

Peace and love,