Spring has sprung…at last…

Wanted to throw some stuff against the wall, scattershot style. Used to work with the legendary Joe Falls at the Detroit News, who would write about cookies, cats, the DH, and Babe Ruth in one column. I promise not to be that esoteric…Joe could do that, because after all, he was in the Baseball Hall of Fame. (God rest your soul, Uncle Joe…)


– South By Southwest 2015: Our “Does Sports Equal Brain Damage?” panel was a success, and glad to have had the amazing experience. It was an intense thing, as we did a Tweetchat, I did some media work, and then the main event, the panel. Learned a lot about how SXSW works (amazing planning, whoa! Like a 200-ring circus), and was amused by some of the PR/marketing stunting around the main tent. Glad we did it.IMG_0027_2

– I caught some grief for this from the non-kitty people on my trip – and you KNOW who you are – but meeting the completely magical Lil’ Bub was up there as a massive highlight. Bub, as her Dude (her cat dad Mike) says – is pure science and magic. So true. She had a meet and greet at an animal shelter in suburban Austin, and she was one of the sweetest, most content kitties ever. And so tiny! Bub did a lot of good for other animals, and I was happy to meet her and give her a kiss on her tiny, tiny head. Rock on Miss Bub. And much love and thanks to the Dude.Joanne and Bub

– Happy to say Michigan State’s Sports Journalism program is coming out of the incubator and into the real. I am continually humbled and amazed by the enthusiasm, talent, and inventiveness of the students who want to go into sports media. And yes, despite all the doom and gloom, I see a strong future for media – especially in sports. You have to be good, have a thick skin, and be willing to work your ass off to succeed. But isn’t that true of anything? You can’t succeed in neurology, baking cupcakes for a living, or being a writer unless you can hit the fastball with the best of them and commit to being the best. It doesn’t come easy, and that is what I think discourages some. They think it is easy, because it is sports. Well, they are learning the truth in my classes, and I hope, making themselves even more fantastic to kick ass in the real world.

So love to all, big world out there. Let’s all kick ass.


Long time no speak!

So can you tell I have been busy?! Too busy to blog? Yep, sorry. But between book writing, South by Southwest presenting, writing and teaching, life has been crazy, but crazy good.

Staying warm and busy…

IMG00264_3I always dream of summer when I see the Australian Open on TV. Sadly, my dream of warmth ends when I look out the window and see the deep freeze of Michigan’s winter. Oh well…3 more months and this ends!

Until the sun turns itself back on for real light and warmth, I will stay in the writing cave and keep working away.

Some good things to give thanks for…

– Thanks to the Medill School at Northwestern University for being kind enough to choose to profile me for their women in sports media series. Humbled to be included with some amazing women.

sxsw-interactive-logo– We are gearing up for South by Southwest! Are you coming to see our concussions and sports panel on March 13? Join us at #SXSWsports!

logo (1)– And come check out Concussionclarity.com…the new website that aims to discuss concussion and sport in a smart way.

A lot of good things. Will keep me warm until I see the tulips pop up!


Wondering…and hoping

spain5 014Spent New Year’s Eve at a lovely gathering (thanks Amy and Karl!), and chatting with somebody who has really made me think.

She had a philosophical point to dissect: is the world getting crazier, or are we being driven crazy because we know about something the instant it happens?

Yes, we are informed when there is a hostage crisis in Australia, a plane crash in Indonesia, or a horrible drive-by shooting that killed a teen near where I live, in near real-time.

But does knowing this information, taking in the terror and evil and random horror around us…is it good for us?

Being virtual flies on the wall comes at a price.

The common refrain from everybody is how busy they are, how stressed they feel, how they never seem to be able to turn off.

We went in a circle, talking about how as media people, we thrive for live events. But is the thriving good for us, or the world?

We need to know what is going on, yes, and being informed is important. But the need to be first, the CNN-esque “we don’t know anything but we are going to keep talking until we do” approach to live news is not good. And the need to be first, even if wrong, by throwing all kinds of crap against the wall (aka the Don Lemon effect), is also bad.

So are we, the media clinicians, doing more harm than good?

Do we care? Should we care?

All deep questions that I do not have the immediate, simple and clean answers for. But I am going to think about them during this year, especially when something happens. How do I approach it as a journalist? How do I approach it as a news consumer?

The truth always is set free

Been doing a lot of thinking about the Bill Cosby situation, because, like a lot of Gen Xers, I grew up watching his shows. Cliff Huxtable was everywhere in the 80s, and the thought of Bill Cosby – a veritable institution – allegedly being a serial sexual predator…makes me really sick.

The Washington Post expose, which had 13 reporters working on it, lays out the sick narrative in extraordinary fashion. The pattern is durable over decades: young, aspiring women who wanted to be actresses or singers, Cosby with a stash of pills, and then the women would be groggy or knocked out during the assault.

In talking with a friend, who is also horrified by this, the question comes up – why now? Why is this all happening now?

Simply put: I see that, we as a society, are now in a place to listen – and believe – these women and their horrifying stories. The same way we are now in a place to listen – and believe – what Jerry Sandusky did. The same way we are now in a place to listen – and believe – what happened in the Catholic Church. The same way we are now in the place to listen – and believe – what happened to elite swimmers at the hands of their star club coaches.

We are now in a place to hear these women leveling their accusations against Cosby. Sadly, because of the passage of time/statute of limitations, we may not be able to bring Cosby to legal justice. But maybe he will suffer the same fate as O.J. Simpson, in that the fall from fame, wealth, and public trust will be a more sinister application of justice than being a jailhouse celebrity.

I hate when our illusions of things we really want to believe are good get destroyed. But it is for the best, so we ultimately know what is real – and what is evil.

So what’s new?

Other than a new job, a new car, half a book done, and Roger Federer wearing Air Jordans?

• I am happy to finally tell the world that I have joined the amazing faculty at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, as their “Sports Journalist in Residence”. It’s a lovely opportunity for me to teach and mentor their sports journalism students, help create new opportunities to expand their offerings, and at the same time, continue my work as a sports journalist and book author. I can bring what I do for places such as the New York Times and teamusa.org into the classroom. I think it is a great fit for MSU and myself, and I am excited to grow and learn from the students and faculty in the School of Journalism.

• The book is coming along nicely, and I will be able to share more about it when it is…finished! Nov. 1…I promise.

• I am involved in helping organize a panel for South by Southwest 2015, and I would humbly ask if you could please vote for it.

I am part of a group, along with sports neurologist Dr. Jeff Kutcher andformer NFL player Ben Utecht, that has submitted a panel discussion proposal about sports and concussions for the 2015 SXSW festival.

The name of our panel is: “Does playing sports = brain damage?”

We want raise awareness about the topic, spur intelligent and medically/scientifically-based discussion, and foster greater understanding about a critically important subject.

How can you help? Please vote for us! The more votes/comments we get, the better chance we have at making the very competitive program.

Voting is easy:
1) Go to http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/32127 to see our proposal.
2) To vote, head to the sign in link in the upper right hand corner of the page.
3) Do the quick sign-up to gain voting access, or if you have voted in SXSW panel pickers before, you can use your previous login/password.
4) Look for the search/vote tab, click on it, and please enter “Does playing sports = brain damage” in the search field. (Or you can search by our last names, or panel number 32127 to find us.)
5) You’re now on our voting page!
6) Register your thumbs up vote, and PLEASE leave a comment why you think this is great topic/we’re great, etc. The comments + a vote show interest.

Until next time, I will be the girl furiously typing away in the corner.


Sticking up for Guy Fieri…

I call Guy Fieri “Gui”, aka French-Canadian hockey player style, to be funny. It’s more my way of making him more exotic, elevating him from being a burned out Motley Crue/Warrant/Whitesnake/Damn Yankees roadie. For as much as his bleached tips and cliches drive me up a wall, I have come here to defend him.

A tiny defense, as you will.

I sense the world is taking an unfair turn, blaming him for the debacle the Food Network has become.

I don’t think that’s fair. It’s not Gui’s fault that the people who program the network would rather do a bunch of stupid reality-game shows than actual food.

Gui was recently trashed in Salon, being blamed for everything. I can’t blame the guy for hosting 6 shows, if they’re offering you the work, and you can do it, why not? Fame is fleeting, and cashing in now is smart. He has a new steakhouse open, and Philly.com liked it. (Cough, cough, sounds like he lent his name to the venture and didn’t have much to do with menu planning. Hence good?) And his website says it is guyfieri.KOM. Save us.

The Food Network remains a clueless bastion of stupidity-chasing. Unless I Gui has turned into the truly all-powerful unseen hand – he doesn’t do the marketing, programming, production or concepting of the once-smart network.

So leave Gui alone – no hanging him for the stuff he’s not responsible for.

So…..what up doe?

Busy, busy, busy. Working on a book, working on big stories, playing tennis, and trying to car shop at the same time!

Have to admit, I am not a fan of car shopping, because I never feel like things are on the level. I know the sales people are doing their jobs, and I respect that. But I always feel like something is being omitted, like a big smoking clue I need to ferret out to get to the truth.

I am one of those drive-the-car-into-the-ground types, with my lovely 2003 Rendezvous probably nearing pasture time. Still runs great, so this is not a car shopping emergency. The last time I went car shopping, I didn’t have a great experience. I had sales people ignore me to speak to my brother (who was along for moral support and his car smarts), thinking he was the dealmaker in the discussion. I had another guy act like he was totally bored.

This time around, happy to see that things have changed. Have been on three trips so far, and every sales person has been engaged, nice, and OK to talk to. So maybe some improvement over a decade.

Still, any way to turn back the odometer on the Rendezvous so I can keep it? Bueller….Bueller?