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Gathering the Magic

If you pick up a copy of today’s Washington Post, you will find my first article for that fine publication, about the card game Magic: The Gathering, the player Lee Shi Tian, and what heroism means in 2020—both in card games and in what we still like to call the real world. I don’t think […]

posted 9 August 2020 in Articles. no comments yet

Alex Trebek: the Man, the Myth, the Mustache

One of the weird things about writing advance obituaries: you immerse yourself in somebody else’s life, striving to get the details right and to sum up the broad strokes of their existence. If you do that right, you’re proud of the results (and likely sympathetic to your subject)—but then you may have to wait years […]

posted 21 July 2020 in Articles. no comments yet

Please Mr. Postman

My first article for Our State magazine–the glossy monthly about the life and history of North Carolina–took me to the mountainous town of Cashiers so I could explore the history of the Grimshawes post office, a shack once reputed to be the nation’s smallest post office. I also got to spend an afternoon with a […]

posted 5 July 2020 in Articles. no comments yet

Ben Day and Aqua Net

In recent weeks, I wrote two articles for the New York Times arts section: one was about daily newspaper cartoonists grappling with how to address the pandemic in their strips, while the other was a playlist of 15 essential hair-metal videos. My thanks to the cartoonists who took the time to speak with me: Lalo […]

posted 18 May 2020 in Articles. no comments yet

Tom Hanks, the Pandemic, and Us

Tom Hanks likes to populate his Instagram with photos of single gloves: one lonely half of a pair, lost on the ground, an object poignantly seeking a partner. But a few weeks ago, the glove he photographed was surgical latex, and it came with a medical report: Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson had suffered […]

posted 22 April 2020 in Articles. 1 comment

Ranking Roger

Congratulations to Roger Deakins, who won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography last night for his work on 1917! (It was his second Oscar, after Blade Runner 2029 in 2017, both of which followed thirteen nominations without a trophy across two decades.) I was rooting for him, not just because he’s amazingly gifted, but because […]

posted 10 February 2020 in Articles, Unpublished. no comments yet

Two Remarkable Women

This past week, I had obituaries printed in The New York Times for two very different, very accomplished women: Marie Fredriksson and Rose Mackenberg. Marie Fredriksson was one-half of Roxette, the Swedish pop group that was intensely successful in the United States between 1989 and 1991; she died on Monday after a long illness. I […]

posted 13 December 2019 in Articles. no comments yet

Back to the Garden

Fifty years ago today was the beginning of “an antiquarian exhibition: 3 days of peace & music”–better known to you and me as the Woodstock festival. I wasn’t there, but I feel like I’ve been soaking in it my whole life anyway. I had the privilege of contributing to a special New York Times section […]

posted 15 August 2019 in Articles. no comments yet

Signs of the Times

Catching up on a couple of recent articles in The New York Times (in the subcategory of articles that are written by me): I wrote about the Universal Music Group giving a facelift to a huge chunk of their music-video catalog, upgrading both the audio and the visual. I got on the phone with Billy […]

posted 5 August 2019 in Articles. no comments yet

R.I.P. Dr. John

Dr. John, the New Orleans singer and piano player so mighty that he exerted his own gravitational force, died last week. I wrote his obituary for the New York Times. (The vagaries of obituary writing being what they are, I actually wrote it three years ago, but I’m thankful that he stayed around for as […]

posted 10 June 2019 in Articles, News, Outside. no comments yet