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Have you missed me? (I’ve missed me.)

In the ongoing whirl of readjustment to Ottawa living, my bride getting back to work, and me coaching junior varsity basketball as if it was played on Mount Olympus, my writing routine has been thrashed. I haven’t been a very productive pen monkey. (Chuck Wendig grimaces in violent dismay and arse-kicking encouragement.) The good recent news is that a quite fine (thank you) American website, The Classical, ran a much-revised version of a piece on my Rugby Daddery and the Adventures of Son the Fourth in learning a brand new game. @classical specializes in long-form writing about sports, stuff that goes beyond the stats and standings. This made me happy.

I should have reviewed the film Whiplash, a disturbing, slightly over-the-top examination of a crazed mentor — in this case, a musical rather than an athletic one — and his perhaps equally nutty victim/protegé. I ate it up, loved and hated the thing, and have been thinking about the making of excellence and just exactly where that line is ever since. Yes, this was at the mighty ByTowne. Whiplash is a claustrophobic, in-your-face depiction of an extreme teacher-student connection, and J.K. Simmons is infuriatingly great as the megalomaniacal mentor. Okay. I suppose I just did sort of review it, but also have wanted to get to a Better Read Than Never review of John Feinstein’s The Last Amateurs, and an account of a brilliant human rights lecture by Payam Akhavan, and reflections on not living in China anymore, and more on books I’m eating, and I haven’t said a word about Ferguson or Jian Ghomeshi or the wars we try to forget or the Toronto Raptors…

…and don’t get me started about my stillborn books. (Thanks for not getting me started.)

The posting pace is about to quicken, I hope I hope I hope. Here’s what’s been going on recently here at, especially for you newbies.  If you’re a strange lurker here, WELCOME! The bits below will help explain how all this works:

In “At First Glance”, just below in this main section, I most recently ruminated on Remembrance Day, the shooting at Canada’s war memorial and Parliament Hill, and the non-fiction and (nearly) recent fiction of Stephen King. Below that, you might want to look at my last piece written from China, a thing that could have been titled “Fear and Loathing on Huangpu Lu”. I probably was more than a few centimetres from death, but I stared at that speeding car from way too close and from the seat of my slightly soiled pants. “At First Glance”, where you are now, is the default weblog of this site, and it’s about everything that makes me stop and write.

In the “It’s All About Sports” section, I wrote most recently about the incredible sustained excellence of a collegiate basketball dynasty that too few know or care about, on the joys of running in Canada, and the afore-mentioned (“long and bloggish”) piece on watching my 14-year-old’s sudden baptism as a rugby player. Reflections on athletics appear to the right in the “IAAS” playground, because ALL the games and all the excuses for sweat-stained excellence interest me. There is much more to sport than dunks and grunts and numbers.

“On Second Thought” was just the spot for a bemused meditation on ballroom dancing, an old lament about tubbiness-and-ice-cream, and my “Letter to My Son, When He Was Only One”. “On Second Thought” contains articles that are sometimes longer, and usually more fussed-over and less time-sensitive. I let readers know in AFG (where you are now) when I’ve posted there.

Also, for those who like quotations, “He Said/She Said” is a growing compendium of wisdom, argument or fun from other minds than mine. I’ve quoted George Monbiot and Richard St. Barbe Baker, those two crazy EnviroBrits, recently.

Please note also that the so free and easy to SUBSCRIBE it’s almost sinful button is still just over there, top right.

JH [dot] com is on Twitter @JamesHowdenIII. It keeps followers up-to-date with what’s happening here, plus the usual Twitter smorgasboard of observations, pass-alongs and faves, and of course you’re welcome. 

Thanks for looking in. Heck, if you followed on Twitter or, even better, had the first few paragraphs of everything on delivered straight to your Inbox by hitting SUBSCRIBE (did I mention that already?), you’d already have known all this. Exciting!

Thanks! Share what you like with friends, and anything you don’t like by emailing writer@JamesHowden[dot]com .

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