Learning To Walk Again

April 22nd, 2011

Maggie took her first, tentative steps last week, slowly, deliberately and clumsily wobbling across the bedroom from her startled mother to her amazed father.

She waved like a homecoming queen to steady herself, then collapsed on her bottom.

Abbi and I were flabbergasted. Maggie was nonplussed. Still, it was a colossal milestone for all of us.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, "I seek to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future... is precisely the present moment." The passage rocked my world when I read it in college. ...

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Bears Have Thick Fur

April 5th, 2011

When I woke up, the sheets were peeled back, my wife was gone, and in her place a small, toy bear was blurting out to the blurry, inky night, "I'm a bear!"

Abbi burst into the room.

"It just turned itself on," she said in a whispered-frenzy. "And it won't turn off! Maggie's wide awake in her crib."

It was nearly four o'clock in the morning.

The bear was a Christmas present from the grandparents. It was slightly larger then my clinched fist. It's body was hard, red plastic with flashing numbers on it's distended midsection. It's ...

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SXSW: Serendipity, Baby

March 21st, 2011

The best things that happened at SXSW were the least-expected.

Like bumping into then recruiting a former colleague to join me at a live taping Marc Maron's hilarious "WTF" podcast (where he called the seminal music fest, "The Hipster Alamo").

Or wandering into the premiere of "Outside Industry: The Story Of SXSW," a fantastic documentary that ably and entertainingly tracked the festival from its ragtag origins to its super-sponsored present.

Or getting woefully lost running around Town Lake only to blunder onto I-35, then up and ...

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Neil Diamond’s Sequin-Spangled America

March 14th, 2011

I was way out on the edge of The Bronx when the ominous sound of cellos rose in my headphones.

The New York City skyline was like Oz in the razor-wire distance, miles beyond the massive, concrete Bruckner Expressway, past fields of industrial oil storage tanks, rows of rusted railroad tracks and blocks and blocks of empty warehouses. The street was salt-bleached, windswept, and empty, save a lone security guard on smoke break. Bowery Bay shimmered in the pale, late-winter sun.

A church bell peeled three times as the strings swept ...

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When A Moment Changes Everything

March 6th, 2011

For weeks now, I've been listening to David Gray's "When A Moment Changes Everything" on near-repeat fully expecting to get hit by a bus, pushed in front of a subway, or catch a stray bullet at any instant.

It's a simple, hooky, perfectly David Gray kinda' song with a propellant beat, ascending melody, and the sort of broadly opaque lyrics that invite projection.

"The stolen glances broken threads," he sings. "The vision looming in our heads. The years spent running parallel to everything that might have been."

It's just uptempo ...

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The Downside Of The Applause Meter

February 24th, 2011

Last week, I volunteered to participate in a video testimonial shoot for a well-known suite of software that provides real-time web metrics: unique visits, page views, video streams, etc.

Yes, I love the camera. I enjoy talking about my job. And I appreciate the ability to gauge and measure success. But I had an ulterior motive.

See, the rise of real-time metrics and the increasing power of search and social have driven a revolution -- or at least a turbo-charged evolution -- in the creative process.

Where a media organization might ...

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My Sunshine

February 21st, 2011

Difficult to tell for sure, but I think today's the day it clicked for Maggie.

"Oh, that sound I keep hearing from the speakers is Daddy."

Maggie's a handfull. I mean, she's actually quite fun: short on tears, long on giggles and squeals. But she's super-curious and uber-wobbly. Maggie's primary passtime is unloading her bookshelf one-by-one, then moving on to her toy basket. There are a thousand potential bumps and bruises in-between. So if she's awake, she needs a spotter.

I was designated spotter all day; Abs was at work. Mags ...

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Living In The Fish-Eyed Lens, Part II

February 16th, 2011

I was in the frozen food section, just a few aisled off course in the neighborhood Food Emporium (list: coffee, half & half), when I remembered.

"You're not a Juice Head," Snooki said. "You're a Lean Cuisine."

More than 48 hours after the Grammy red carpet closed, it's still coming back to me.

"MTV News' Grammy Pre-Show" was helmed by Sway Calloway, with an assist from "Jersey Shore" star Nicole Polizzi and Rock Editor James Montgomery. I was on hand to Executive Produce.

I've worked a dozen VMAs, Oscars and Grammys, but the scale ...

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Nothing Is Cool

February 10th, 2011

"Are you cool?"

The year is 1996, and -- while I've finally ditched my pleather pants, green lame shirt and blue fingernail polish -- I most definitely am not.

Nightengale Bar is sparsely-populated. My band, Benjamin Wagner Deluxe, is set up in front of a mirrored wall and killing time before our enviable set time (Monday at midnight). We mill between the pool table and bar, swilling free Bud Light (our sole compensation) and joking awkwardly.

Jeffs Leadweight and Roberts (names changed to protect the innocent) and I are an odd ...

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What We Talk About

January 17th, 2011

My buddy Rick recently hipped me to his blog, Past His Prime In NYC. Like me, Rick moved to Manhattan in his early twenties. And like me, Rick is married, and a dad. And like me, his blog often explores the discrepancy between what was and what is.

His most recent post, "You Won't Believe This Story," recalls his Barry Levinson-hued, "Diner"-like youth. "Those were great days," he writes, "full of laughter and excitement. Each of us hoping to live out and then share a truly classic tale. Any yarn that began with "You won’t believe ...

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