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Writing

I've managed to put out a decent body of material over the years. I'll try to organize it here. First, books.

  • The link over on the right will take you to Lingo, a novel I published in 1991. It was mostly well-reviewed, thus: "It makes you think a little, and it makes you smile a lot"; "A delightful romp into a funny but frightening world of high-tech probabilities"; "Hilarious . . . entertaining and thought provoking." These were all from bona fide reviewers, and not from my mother. You can still buy a digital copy on Amazon, and I strongly believe that you should.
  • Another novel, The House on Summer Street, was published in July, 2013. Like Lingo, it is available electronically at Amazon. Click on the link over at the right, buy it, and do your bit to make me a multi-millionaire, one buck at a time.
  • There were also a couple of books in the '80s about elementary game programming in Basic. One was planned for each of the major machines at the time, the Apple II, the TRS-80 and the IBM PC Jr. Only the first two were published, as the Junior didn't survive much past its introduction. Nor should it have. The combined advances for these books allowed me to pay off the cost of my original Apple II+, so it was worth the effort.

Writing books is a mug's game, to tell you the truth. It's a lot of work, and not likely to pay off much. I was lucky with Lingo; it got good reviews and sold okay, and caught the eye of a movie producer who, while never actually producing a film of it, kept paying option money that far outweighed the book money. I have no cause to complain in the least. Still, I tried some other novels, and never really got it off the ground again. That's never stopped me, though, and after I lost my initial momentum, I would still occasionally give it another try. The House on Summer Street was my latest shot at it. The ease with which one can bring out a book nowadays convinced me that I had nothing to lose by sharing it with my friends who might be interested.

It was during a hiatus in my writing attempts that I fell into the debate world. I had no intentions of making a career out of it, but events worked out differently. In the earliest days, with the time on my hands freed up from not pursuing further writing, combined with the fascination of a completely new world of both debate and debaters, I got involved in Nostrum. It was interesting to see its impact on the world it satirized. Episodes came out on a mostly weekly basis, announced via the old ld-l listerver. Plenty of people thought that they were written by two guys living up in Cambridge, as the episodes themselves purported. Plenty of other people thought that this particular person wrote them or that that particular person wrote them, which would irritate me no end when I felt that the particular person mentioned was, in a word, a schnook. I sort of acknowledged authorship when Lingo was first published electronically. I have to admit that, after I started narrating Nostrum episodes and putting them out as a podcast, it was hard for me to believe that anyone still thought that I wasn't behind them. The thing is, I put out a lot of years' worth originally and just got tired of it in midstream, so one day, the episodes ended. Then I got to thinking that they were just languishing and that they could still be popular, so I decided to record them, if for no other reason than that I could. I eventually got tired of recording them as well. But after a bunch of time passed I got the bug yet again and started up a second series, with a batch of new recordings. This went on for a while, and I lost interest again, and after that I strongly doubted if I'd ever get the bug again, but in the immortal words of Fats Waller, One never knows, do one? In this case, Fats was right and one didn't, and Series 3 is now in progress, one way or the other. The whole world of Nostrum is accessible via its own page. There's even more to it than I've said here, and you can get all of it there, one way or the other.

Meanwhile, I do have a blog, Coachean Life. I update it most weekdays with musings and news mostly about debate life. Occasionally I go off on tangents, or reminiscences. Sometimes I get some brainstorm that it should be wildly different than it is, and we all have to suffer through that. In any case, if you go to tournaments and wonder how they're run or what's going on in the back room, CL is the blog for you.

A companion blog to Coachean Life is Coachean Life Coaching. This is a new endeavor, which will tell you everything you need to know to improve every aspect of your life. Posts are usually added once a week on Fridays.

There are also a lot of debate materials that I produced over the years. Chief among these now (2016) is the collection known as the Tournament Director's Toolkit, which presents almost everything the TD needs to know, offering advice and best practices and handouts, whether you're running your first tournament or your hundredth. This gets a page of its own.

As for the rest of my debate materials, the most important/interesting one for people outside the debate universe is From Caveman to Frenchman. For a while, postmodernism was all the rage in LD, which mostly meant that people would find some unintelligible dribble from someone like Derrida and use it as a basis for a kritik. That didn't go over all that well with most people, needless to say. Still, at the time I found the basic subject of Pomo interesting in the context of art. I wanted to put it into some sort of perspective, and realized that the only meaningful approach was narrative in general, applied eventually to art, where pomo is its most relevant. "Caveman" was the upshot of this. Give it a try; you might like it. Other debate writings are also listed over on the right; feel free to ignore them at will.

Buy a copy of Lingo for your Kindle. Buy two. They're cheap.


Now available on Amazon.

Click here for a free audio sample of Chapter One.


Indulge yourself in the world of Nostrum, the high school debate soap opera, "where deontology is more than just an idea, it's a rebuttal." Based on a true story.


My blog, updated almost daily.


Finally, you can live your life the way you're supposed to.


I know a lot about running tournaments, and I share it all here. If you can't find some useful tips here, you're playing hard to get.


These old writings are offered for what they're worth. Many of them are outdated in light of modern practices, but the basic principles remain, at least for novices. Do you really want to start your pre-adolescents on the cutting edge?

  • How to write a PF case Well, you might have a better way to do this, but I didn't.
  • Introduction to Lincoln-Douglas Debate This is a pretty good place to start if you're interested in LD. It talks not only about the mechanics and procedures of a round, but also a little bit about how tournaments work.
  • How to Write a Case (LD) There's a million ways to write cases; this will help with one of them.
  • Introduction to Lincoln-Douglas Debate The NFL's excellent introduction to LD. I'd look at this after the other introductions above.
  • The Modest Novice Every year, from September through November, most LD novices in the northeast debate what has become known as the Modest Novice topic, "Resolved: Civil disobedience in a democracy is morally justified." It's also been adapted by the NSDA, but we had it first (and, for that matter, I claim fatherhood). Learn more here.
  • The Hendrick Hudson Lincoln-Douglas Philosophical Handbook (AKA the Hillary Duff) A fairly complete guide to the basic ethical philosophy underlying traditional LD.
  • From Caveman to Frenchman For advanced students only, written during the height of the postmodernism craze. "From Frenchman to Caveman" takes up where the Hlllary Duff leaves off. (So did Miley Cyrus, but that's another story altogether.) Learn the sources of modern/postmodern thought/theory. Boggle your mind. Amaze your friends. Stupefy your opponents. (Available also as a listen.)
  • Arguing the resolution. Specifically, an argument in favor of so doing, an idea incredibly out of fashion these days in LD. Also a podcast.
  • Research One day I put down my thoughts about research; also available as a podcast.
  • Geopolitics. A general introduction to the subject, starting with the idea of sovereignty, from an old resolution on nukes. The underlying analysis remains viable, leading at the end to a set of standards for international justice. Also a podcast.
  • Top Ten List for Successful Debating I throw this in because, well, why not. It's true.

Below are some vestigial team materials for Hen Hud people.

HHHS Sked

This document explains how we operated the team, how we traveled, etc.

And since we occasionally travel away from the local area, it was a requirement that parents complete the attached medical release forms for their students.
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