The Hurt Locker

July 3rd, 2009

resizedA few months after September 11th, the Department of Homeland Security launched a website called ready.gov.

The site's initial incarnation was ostensibly a series of updated '50s brochures: what to do in the event of nuclear blast (duck and run), what to do in the event of building collapse (duck), etc. (It's since been significantly neutered.)

I found the site (and the entire Department of Homeland Security, for that matter) comical, but also frightening close to home; just two days after watching the towers fall with my own eyes, I ...

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The Hagley Fireworks (Or, In Consideration Of Teflon, Kevlar & The Apollo Space Program)

June 23rd, 2009

resizedAll I knew was that Abbi signed us up for "The Fireworks" back home in Wilmington, Delaware, and that the tailgating started early so I had to catch an early train out of the city and wear nice pants.

"The Fireworks," it ends up, are an annual tradition at The Hagley Museum in Greenville, Delaware, birthplace of the now-behemoth chemical corporation, DuPont.

Growing up in nearby Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (just thirty miles north on Route 202), the Brandywine was a placid, almost mythic place reserved for revolutionary history ...

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Surrender

June 16th, 2009

resizedBy the time I finally powered up my PC precisely 267 hours after logging off for vacation, I'd accrued 1887 emails, 19 voice mails, and 12 Facebook requests.

Four hours later, I'd whittled down those various missives to a crucial total of thirty-two.

Yesterday morning, less than twelve hours after my eight hour GCM-MIA-LGA commute, I strapped on my Asics to shake off the stiffness (and post-vaca blues) with a quick pre-brunch 10k. From Riverside Park to The Ramble, everywhere I ran, everyone was looking at their hands. Blackberries, ...

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Run, Part II (Or, Know Your Enemy)

May 12th, 2009

resizedWho needs the self help section at Barnes & Noble? I have an iPod.

I don't need to tell you that last week was a motherf*cker. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Ask John Edwards, Manny Ramirez, or Allison Iraheta. They all had tough weeks. Heck, ask anyone on Earth these days: economic meltdown, unemployment, foreclosure, global warming, war, famine -- I could go on.

For me, it was the constant (not for attribution, repetition or attribution) barrage of workplace b.s.: knuckleheaded oversight, missed opportunities, fiscal ...

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Broken Glass

May 6th, 2009

resizedSunday afternoon, long after the hangover recovery run, the ham, egg and cheese sandwich, the last cup of coffee and final page of The Sunday New York Times, Abbi and I sat on the couch channel surfing.

In my experience, asking my wife if she wants to watch a documentary tends towards a gentle "No thanks." When I happened upon

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The Death Of The Hero

April 8th, 2009

resizedThe first time I played a proper rock 'n roll venue was in the fall of 1991. Before the audience, the amps, the lights -- before anything, really -- the first thing I noticed stepping onto that dismal, sticky, black-box Lost Horizon stage (don't look for it; it's not there) was a hand-made sign reading "No Smells Like Teen Spirit!"

Nirvana's "Nevermind" was in the process of wrestling the airwaves from Michael Jackson and Guns 'n Roses that fall, a battle first-evident on rock venue stages across the country. Where "Stairway To Heaven" ...

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The Proust Questionnaire

March 14th, 2009

resizedThe Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust (1871–1922), the French essayist and novelist who believed that in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Since July 1993, Vanity Fair has devoted the back page of its magazine to the Proust Questionnaire, in which noteworthy persons such as Katie Couric, Ron Howard and Margaret Atwood answer a series of personal questions. Here, a non-noteworthy person (your truly) takes a pass.

What is your ...

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The Place That We Are In

February 17th, 2009

resizedI'll admit that I was self-consciously aware of my solitude there in the woods adjacent to Chris and Meg's Andover, Vermont, weekend house.

I knew the silence was to be relished, stored away for safe keeping when I needed it.

And so I relished the swish of the snow beneath my shoes, the twitter of birds, and the creak of the trees. I noticed how awkwardly I carried the axe, how poorly I swung it, and how resistant even previously-felled trees were to its blow. I spent over an hour in the woods quietly studying the contour of snow on ...

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When I Look At The Stars

February 6th, 2009

resizedThe trick to growing up, I think, is retaining enthusiasm.

I'm not talking about relinquishing one's critical faculties, I'm talking about retaining an appreciation of all things.

We live in a soundbite-fueled, 24-hour, wide-screen, Technicolor Gotcha! Culture.

Mean girls, hipsters, red carpet takedowns, partisan bickering, magazine snarking -- it all adds up to something awful. It's a wonder anyone has anything enthusiastic to say at all. It's as if showing joy makes us vulnerable.

Example. Yesterday morning, I sat in the ...

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Top Ten Stories Of 2008

December 31st, 2008

resizedWhat with getting engaged, then promoted, and then married -- not to mention honeymooning on the other side of the world and releasing a few albums -- it didn't seem possible that this year could possibly top 2007.

And nothing will ever top that happy day last October.

Still, 2008 gave it the old college try.

I released two albums ("The Invention Of Everything Else," and "Live From Rockwood Music Hall") and spearheaded two benefits ("A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II" and "River Songs").

I spent nearly two months away from home on ...

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