Personal Essay

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2014 Resolution: Stop Watching Feel-Good Teacher Movies

But in just about every teaching movie, effective teaching is only ever presented as an all-consuming passion, devouring boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, free time and hobbies.  And it’s true: most good teachers do work long hours and sacrifice their time in the evenings and weekends. But consider the cost of this messaging:  If you have to be somewhere between a saint and a superhero pulling investment banking hours for a fraction of the salary, then what kind of sane person would want to sign up to be a teacher? 


The Atlantic Education Channel

Death, Our Enemy

The victorious Christ is not a natural extension of the status quo, the logical next step in a process that began with the first atom exploding outward to create all matter. He is not a geological system or a mathematical equation like the wheeling sun or the tides of the sea. No: The victorious Christ is the greatest disruption, the striking off of shackles from a fettered world.

First Things

Short Fiction/Memoir

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The Roaches of Matrimony

Even now, I see a smirking pair of compound eyes in the sink overflow. I observe an ovate silhouette imprinted on my optic nerve. And in your eyes, my love, I have put the shadows of fluttering wings.

The Curator

Where We Left The Octopus

“You have never killed before,” he said, a statement of fact. “Bring me the corpse of an octopus. One you have killed with your own hands. You will find yourself in this act of bloodshed.”
And he motioned us out the door.

The Curator

Passports Four, Five, and Six Pt. I & Pt. II

For starters, my fifth passport was destroyed by fire. Not a house fire, nothing so tragic as that. I did it myself. Under my own volition. It came in the mail when I ordered it after my fourth expired on my 26th birthday, and I received it, held it in my hands for a few moments, and then threw it into the microwave, upon which it immediately burst into acrid flames.

The Curator

The Democratic Pleasures of the NYC Health Department Rating System

The vain reaching for transcendence furnished, if only temporarily, by the seductions of a totalizing narrative. The feeling of being part of something greater.
And all this attached to that single letter B at the whiskey bar we pass every day.

The Curator


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Best Teacher Timer – Lux Digital Count Up/Down Timer | Lux

“I’m a teacher in a school that uses a lot of timers. And it’s not just for exams – a well-paced lesson sometimes depends on hitting certain timestamps, and nothing can keep you accountable in quite the same way as the humble timer. The simple act of counting down is a surprisingly versatile arrow in the quiver of teaching practices.”


“At school, we need our timers to do just a few things but to do them well. The LUX CU100 scores high marks in all the necessary categories and gets extra credit for its ability to take abuse.”

Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools

‘Amazing Grace’ making its way from President Obama’s lips to Broadway’s stage – Amazing Grace | Broadway Musical, written by Christian Smith

“But are these moments just a comforting and specious fiction, an understandable but false attempt to move us past necessary and uncomfortable racial debates?

“Or could it — just maybe — be prophetic? About where we could be, and are in fact headed?”

The Washington Post

Saccharine Perspiration Blues – A Subtlety | Kara Walker

Sweating ghostly children reflexively working invisible sugar fields and leaking out dark blood onto the floor of the factory that once refined the fruit — well, the fructose anyway — of their labors. I have to admit there is something lovely and aching about that image.

The Curator

In Plain Sight – 12 Years A Slave | Steve McQueen

Both as baleful witness to Northup’s experience and as a metaphor for the chattel system, the scene works awfully well.  What was more foundational to the illusion that was slavery than to reject the humanity of the person standing right in front of you?

The Curator

Nothing But The Blood – Modern Vampires of the City | Vampire Weekend

Ever referential, it would be supremely fitting if Vampire Weekend’s latest located a balm for the metaphysical incongruities of modern life in the same place—a vein.

The Curator

A Film Divided – Lincoln | Stephen Spielberg

This human-scale Lincoln nevertheless maintains a sense of greatness—a greatness that enlarges with his humanity, not diminishes.  It is hard to imagine any actor other than Day-Lewis who can take the best scatological joke about George Washington you’re ever likely to hear and a solemn discourse on the moral applications of Euclid and make them not only believable, but essential to the character.

The Curator