Sunday, February 7, 2016


My new office overlooks the World Trade Center.

I had not seen the memorial, but I do remember when the towers fell. Samuel was three years old, and Ethan was an infant. I was in midtown watching on TV with everyone else in my office. Jen and the boys were at school on West 95th.

The subways were shut down, and it was surreal walking home and seeing some people covered in soot and ash. There were thousands of us walking, and it was quiet. For days there were roadblocks at each end of our block--a police precinct block. For weeks we saw vehicles carrying rubble from the site. There was a metallic stench of smoke and death that lasted for probably a month.

I walked through Ground Zero last week and looked at the reflecting pools and the names of lives lost etched in granite around the perimeter. It struck me that one of the noble things about human beings is that they honor their dead. 

It is ironic that it is counter-balanced by the propensity to kill each other in the name of God.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A moment

On my way home from work this evening I saw a man sitting on a step with his arm around a woman. Her head was down, and it looked like he was comforting her.

As I got closer I saw that she was smiling, and I thought, "Oh, good."

Not that it had anything to do with me.

It's just that we all have a finite number of moments in our lives, and it goes without saying that some of them are going to be shitty.

It's important not to let the others get away.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

New books with Samuel

In celebration of my new job (yay) and my book being on the 2016 Notable Books list (wait, did I mention that already?), I went out and splurged on some picture books. Then I forced Samuel to let me read them to him. He was very patient for a 17-year-old. Thank you, Samuel.

Here's our list, in order of preference:

1. Dragons Love Tacos

This is NOT the last book to read before bedtime, and it's too sophisticated for kids under two. But we both liked the silly humor and action. Our favorite.

2. You Are (Not) Small

This book is great for very young kids (as young as 18 months) all the way through early readers (five or six). It reminded both of us of Dr. Seuss's "Star-Bellied Sneetches," though not quite as action-packed.

3. Is Mommy?

Another very simple book, consisting essentially of asking whether Mommy is tall or short, pretty or ugly, nice or mean, and always answering in the negative. We can see how little kids would find this hilarious, but we can also see how some moms would find it mean-spirited. I told Samuel, "Never buy this book as a gift, unless you want to piss off the mom." He agreed. We are both just too damn nice for this world.

4. Waiting

When I read this alone I thought it was such a great book because it's a sweet, simple metaphor for life. Reading it with Samuel, however, it's clear that little boys like us are unlikely to shout "Read it again! Read it again!" Not exactly high-adrenaline. But a good "final" bedtime book, if you don't want to buy that stupid rabbit-makes-your-kid-fall-asleep book.

5. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

This is an interesting story, but too sophisticated for kids under four, and too many "big" words to be an early reader. It's a good choice for older kids who don't mind a book featuring a toddler, are interested in genealogy, and who still like Winnie the Pooh. In short, pairing it with a great illustrator was a smart move. 

Thanks, Mr. Sam-Sam. You're a good son.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Last day at the old job

Am I really out of here?

I am. Whew.

Come on, elevator that never works.

I feel like John McCain at the end of the war.

Come on, slow people, don't block the exit.

Goodbye crappy building. Goodbye crappy block.

Walk faster. Walk faster.