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Horror film essay in Bloodvine


A piece on 1960's The City of the Dead. "Witch movies—and witch art—often involve pursuit. Witches get people moving. The witches of Macbeth send the Thane of Cawdor on his way. Hansel and Gretel are always in motion, as long as they’re not in an oven, so much so that they must leave a trail of breadcrumbs to return from where they had come. Witch horror films commonly have a mystery component, with a protagonist in the role of detective, to be followed by another character playing detective in search of the missing detective."

Op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle


The value of witches and witching it up. "Witches aren’t obsessed with orthodoxy, as we so often seem to be. We think in terms of blending in, of negating our individuality, stifling the voice within, or at least making sure that it doesn’t go out so that anyone might think we’re…gasp…different."

Hank Aaron op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Celebrating baseball's value king on the fiftieth anniversary of the day he broke sport's most hallowed record. "Actual value isn’t about ego, or so one can rack up social media plaudits. Value is a kind of absolute. Value is always productive, never reductive. Value is a maxing out, and no one a ballfield has ever maxed out like Aaron."

Easter op-ed in the New York Daily News


A man who has died and returned many times. "And so I die. I’m dead then. I accept that I am dead. I don’t fight it. The rock is against the mouth of the cave. But I also know that tomorrow will come, and I’ll start again. I will rise. This day will be over. This death will be done."

Op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on F. Scott Fitzgerald


Easter and the best thing F. Scott Fitzgerald ever wrote. "That’s Easter and its lifelong challenge right there: Discover the extra that you have. That extra bit of humanness that you didn’t know was there. Mine it and give of it. The next act is more important than the last, and there is always a next act if you cede the entirety of yourself over to the creation of one."

Feature on the Beatles' first banger in Best Classic Bands


The ravin', rockin', wailin', "Can't Buy Me Love." "Then we have George Harrison, young man on guitar who takes his first solo on a Beatles single and goodness does he try to set your hair aflame. If you wanted to say there’s a hint—small but real—of what will later be heavy metal, I’m game to listen to you."

Valentine's op-ed in the New York Daily News


How love really works. "What almost no one ever talks about with love is that it’s a choice. Love is an active process of awareness and decision. We can’t love by accident. We love with intention."

Piece on the all-out energy of the Beatles' first US concert


A consideration of dream-come-true in gig form in Best Classic Bands. "But you know what? 'Roll Over Beethoven' registers as soporific after the fact when compared with the performance of 'From Me to You' that follows. It is so apparent that both Lennon and McCartney cannot wait to have their turn to sing—on a shared lead vocal, as it were—that it’s as if they’re in a race to see who can sing the first note, ultimately hitting it at the same time."

Beatles feature in The Daily Beast


The musicality of the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. "The Beatles made beat music—hence the pun in their name. And it was as if here they were making sure no one ever forgot it, never mind that everyone was just getting acquainted."

Bill Belichick op-ed in the Cape Cod Times


A lesson in how to be the best (and how not to be). "When you cease to strive, you come back to the pack. Doesn’t matter if you’re Belichick or Beethoven."

The Many Moments More journal reaches 2500 entries


The longest sustained work of literature in history marks a milestone with an excerpt from "And I Walked Some More," a work that will be in The Solution to the World's Problems: Surprising Tales of Relentless Joy. 

Christmas op-ed in Time


200 years of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" and why you ought to believe in the fellow. "I didn’t believe for a while. Ironically, as life got harder and lonelier, I began to believe again, in a manner beyond the scope of making a list and putting it in the mailbox with extra postage for the North Pole."

Film feature in Bloodvine


Exploring the worthwhile weirdness of 1945's Strange Confession, a Lon Chaney, Jr. vehicle in the Inner Sanctum series. "The picture opens with a horror host, I suppose you could say—a disembodied, talking head, floating in a glass jar on a desk. No explanation—this was just how it was going to be. Heads sans bodies that retained the ability to function—or expatiate, anyway—were a staple of the 1950s, and if you’re familiar with the likes of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, this particular head may seem no more out of place to you than one attached to someone’s neck, only it happened to be a trail-blazing head."

A Beatles piece on their most joyous gig of all


Best Classic Bands feature about the 12/7/63 hometown show at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. "Instrumentally, this isn’t how we think of the Beatles. McCartney’s bass playing on the chorus is as inventive as what we later experience with Sgt. Pepper numbers like 'With a Little Help from My Friends' and 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,' but with the raw brutality of the bass style he sometimes favored on the White Album. As you listen to these musicians play together on 'Boys,' you wonder if it’s the Beatles we’re hearing or the Sonics."

Feature in The Daily Beast on John Lennon murder docu-series


The insight on offer in Murder Without a Trial. "Guns are another subject that for so many people are also discussed and related to in the abstract. Personally, it blows my mind—and I just cannot accept how this okay or wise—that people can walk around armed. It takes but an impulse—and near the end of the doc a psychiatrist calls attention to how impulsive Chapman’s choice was—to take a life. Lives. And yet, sure, show up at the Starbucks with your gun on you, that’s cool. Is it?"

An appreciation of Shane MacGowan in Best Classic Bands


The soul of a writer. "Everything on one side of the street eventually comes to the other, whether we like it or not, and the sacred and the profane ride together. More than that, each is what it is in part because of the other. They are foes, foils, and even companions. This is the sticky stuff of being alive and human, and MacGowan understood it better than most ever have."  

Op-ed for Thanksgiving in the New York Daily News


Confession and epiphany of a Thanksgiving misfit. "I'm not a looking back kind of person. Nostalgia isn't for me. What's next is. Always what is next. As a result, what I'd say that I'm grateful for is untraditional. It might not pass muster at the dinner table, but it does so at the banquet of life." 

Op-ed about A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in the Chicago Tribune


Breaking bread with the Peanuts gang. "Peppermint Patty is earnest. I don’t think very many of us are. To the degree that I’m doubtful who even knows what the word means. Earnestness is a great quality to have. When you do, you’re okay in revealing your enthusiasm. There’s no need to play it cool. Strike a pose. You don’t lead with artifice, but rather your self."

Beatles feature in Best Classic Bands on the aborted Get Back LP


The album that might have been and, for a time, briefly was. "But it’s the vibe that makes Get Back an album that’s almost rustically avant-garde. If the Beatles were ever to toss aside shoes and clothes and make music in field and forest, it’d be this album that would have changed our perception of their final campaign together."

A consideration of the Beatles' "new" single in The Daily Beast


Why "Now and Then" doesn't work. "Beatles art was bracing and new. 'Now and Then' has been posited as a career capper, the final paragraph of the final page. I think that final paragraph counts for a lot. That’s sacrosanct space. You better be all in and entirely in that moment, if that's what you’re going for."

Tim Wakefield op-ed in the Cape Cod Times


On knuckleballs, dancing with the one your brought, and life. "The knuckleball is something that might as well have come from a witch’s brew. I’m not sure anyone has ever mastered it. Perhaps it’s a matter of the knuckleball mastering you. There are barely more knuckleball pitchers (2) in the Hall of Fame than back-up catchers (0). Or baristas or Abstract Expressionists, for that matter."

Beatles feature on John Lennon's "Julia"


Exploring the backstory and various versions of an intensely personal--and universal--song. "The site of the accident was visible from John’s window, so his aunt never told him where, exactly, it had happened, but the boy pieced it together, and to a composite of things to haunt him was added that of roadside propinquity."

Beatles feature in The Daily Beast on the remarkable Stowe School tape


A consideration of the Stowe recording as a crucial Beatles document. "These guys were the best R’n’B band that England ever produced, though they morphed so frequently in their evolution that it was as if the Beatles were in the business of discarding skins as much as they were exploding into new forms—and newly invented forms—of music."

Hank Williams op-ed in the Dallas Morning News


The inspiring, inspirting realness of the songwriter's art on his centennial. "His was an art divorced from time, the same way that human nature is. The sound of Hank Williams is the sound of how humans were at the start, and how humans will be at the end — on the inside, that is."

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