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Time to renovate


As we flip the calendar and enter into 2017, it’s time to give this website a top-to-bottom overhaul. I’ve been writing here at for five years now, and the blog has more or less looked the same the entire time.

You’ll notice a new redesign–and you’ll notice a lot of things missing. I’ve retired a lot of old content and am starting fresh with a mostly clean slate. (There are a few favorite posts from 2016 loaded up into the new site so you’ll have something to read.)

There were two things that frustrated me about the old site: its appearance and its function.

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We are Stewards of the New America

9/11 essay

One of the more poignant stories I’ve heard this week, as the media does its annual retrospective of terror, is an NPR StoryCorps interview with Vaughn Allex, the poor fellow working the American Airlines front desk who checked in everyone on Flight 77. He remembered all of the other people he’d checked in—an older couple, a student tour group—and two men running late, who turned out to be the terrorists responsible for crashing the plane into the Pentagon. His guilt was like a millstone about his neck.

Then there was another profile, this time in Esquire, this time about the iconic photograph Richard Drew captured of a man hurtling through space after jumping from the molten crown of the Twin Towers. Its subject, dubbed “the Falling Man,” inspired a search among that Tuesday morning’s victims to uncover an identity—a name, a story, anything that would fill in the heart-stopping vacuum of space in which he dives death-ward.

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The Art of Building Sand Castles


There’s something existentially good about bringing your children to the beach.

The beach is a homing beacon, a pulse that corrects our attitudes, a constant. Even the first night, after we’d unpacked the van and made the inaugural supply trip and found a simple supper, even then, something compelled us to walk out on the pier, crossing the high tide below us in darkness, around the somber fishermen, their baited night hooks lurking forty feet down, above the sea, gentle and present and lulling us, back and forth, over and over, transfixed.

A fellow plucked a baby shark from the murky sea. The pup flopped about on the pier’s deck a bit until its new master, a grandfather who seemed preternaturally calm about handling even foot-long sharks, bare-handed it. My children gazed on as he pushed the hook back through and untangled his catch. “Want to touch him?” he asked.

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