How to Win a Civil War

In which the author speculates on the finer points of being a human, particularly in the American South.

Billy Jack

At the behest of my son, I've been taking karate for almost a year. It's been a lot of fun and much easier on my aging body than softball, which was comprehensively an injury factory. I've limped off every ball field in Georgia and Massachusetts, I swear.

Hot Chocolate

Oh the sad life of the hot chocolate drinker. A second— nay, third-class citizen in the world of adult non-alcoholic beverages, behind not just haughty and imperious coffee but that hippie strumpet, tea. Good luck getting a decent hot chocolate at any coffee shop this side of Switzerland. You'll be lucky to get a cup of hot tan milk. Most of the time I drain the liquid only to find a cache of bone dry powder trapped beneath a tarry blanket in the bottom corner. Powder! Like I wanted Tang or Kool-aid.

Combat Journalism

The frightened interviewee is pretty much a staple of journalism movies. "I can't talk to you." "I'm risking my life just talking to you." "Talking to you is incredibly bad taste." Etc. etc.

Keep on Bloggin'

Years ago I had a blog in which I weighed in mostly on political topics. It was awful, but it was a good place to drop casually crafted blocks of words I wasn't using anywhere else. I stopped because I was trying to finish a novel, which was also awful.

When Branding Bites

If I may unload a chip from my shoulder, I find Adobe's Creative Suite icons to be worse than useless. I get the cute factor of making them all look like periodic table cells, but it doesn't actually make sense. The periodic table is a system that expresses the periodicity of elements. The abbreviations of the element names serve the expression of chemical compounds in a compact fashion.

This Train

If you're reading this and haven't yet been to The Bitter Southerner lately, go take a look. "This Train Is Bound for Glory, This Train..." is my latest longform missive. Hope you enjoy it.

Rome Braves

I took the wife and kids to Rome, Georgia over the Memorial Day weekend to check out the Rome Braves, the Atlanta Braves single-A affiliate. One thing that strikes you right away whenever you talk about any of the Braves' farm teams is that every sentence starts to look like it was being colonized by the word "Braves," on account of the team's freakish fixation on branding. To wit: the Braves' farm system consists of the Gwinnett Braves, the Rome Braves, the Mississippi Braves, the Danville Braves, the Dominican Summer League Braves, the Gulf Coast League Braves, and the Carolina Mudcats.

Braves vs. Orioles

I wrote this in hopes of publishing it somewhere in Atlanta, but it's shelf life has expired, so here you go world:


Everything’s going to be OK.

That was the message of Wednesday’s unattended game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox. This may seem odd, given the circumstances — the first game in Major League Baseball history to have been played in an empty stadium. Without doubt, it was weird, but the fact of its having been played at all is encouraging.

The Southern Crescent

Hello to everyone I met on my train trip between April 3 and April 9. Sorry I've been such a lazy stiff about posting this.

Anyway, I'm working on a draft of the story and expect to have it finished by around the beginning of May. Then we'll move into editing, and I have no idea how long that will take. If I had to make a wild guess, I'd say the story will be published in late May.

Thanks all of y'all for talking to me and telling me your stories. The whole trip was a gift.

Uncle Billy

William Tecumseh Sherman was a year younger than I am now when he embarked on the Atlanta Campaign. He was responsible for nearly 100,000 men, God knows how many animals or how many millions of dollars of ordnance and supplies, all of which relied for its continued existence on a hundred miles of railway in a hostile country. And he managed it with aplomb.

Me? I can barely manage my bank account.