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Writer | SFGate, Human Parts, The Bold Italic, Forge, Oaklandside | Editor-in-Chief: PS I Love You. Twitter @dmowriter. Web

“It’s easy to see the beginning of things, and harder to see the ends.”


The assignment was supposed to be simple: a few words to say goodbye. Goodbye to P.S. I Love You, which I took over (from David Smooke) in 2017, and which Kay, Tre, Scott and I are closing down this month; to our readers, whose response to the news that we were closing down has been very humbling; and to our small constellation of contributors, whose words and partnership gave flesh and bone to our dreams for what we always wanted P.S. …

This Is Us

My wife and I adopted a ‘pandemic puppy’ to make self-isolating less lonely. It didn’t work out like that.

A photo of the author’s wife hugging their new puppy.
Alex and Nola. Photo courtesy of the author.

“I think we should get a dog.” This was my wife, Alex, our first night sheltered in place. I was on the couch, in sweatpants, eating a burrito; Alex stood before me in jeans and a black blazer. In the crook of her right arm she cradled a laptop full of research she’d conducted on Bay Area dog shelters. She twirled her free hand as she spoke, like a lawyer addressing the court. “And I think it should be a puppy. A young puppy. Preferably with floppy ears. What do you think?”

“I think it’s a great idea,” I replied…

California’s dreaded fire season is once again upon us, but this year it feels more foreboding

A home in Vacaville, CA is reduced to ashes, Wednesday morning, Aug. 19, 2020.
A home in Vacaville, California, is reduced to ashes, Wednesday morning, August 19, 2020. Photo: Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/Getty Images

Here we are again. The Bay is choked with smoke. San Francisco, viewed from the east, is entirely concealed by it, smothered by a charcoal bog. The Berkeley hills are too. Beyond — everywhere — our world wavers under a hazy drifting skein, eerie as a haunted bridal veil. The horizon is grainy tarnished film. The air, of course, sags with the stubborn smell of campfire, thick with particulates. All around we’re enclosed by foreboding.

One surveils all this while their throat clots and their eyes burn, both from the smoke and from the sadness: Our state, once again, is…

On pay-to-publish schemes and the limitations of thought leadership


Recently Rolling Stone launched The Culture Council, a private, pay-to-publish program designed for founders, executives, and other entrepreneurial types who, in addition to running businesses, also write. (According to its application page, “Candidates must sit in a senior-level position at a company generating at least $500K in annual revenue, or have obtained at least $1M in total institutional funding.”) Predictably, the value that The Culture Council purports to provide is mostly economic. It bills itself as an invitation-only “Community for Influencers” which will help members “increase their visibility,” “inspire future clients,” and “set themselves apart as “cultural trendsetters.” …

Thoughts for a strange Thanksgiving

Adobe Stock

News last week of the development of two covid-19 vaccines gave mankind license to do something it hasn’t been able to do for a long time: imagine a world free of the coronavirus — and, implicitly, of chaos.

The writer and founding editor of Deadspin Will Leitch put it this way: the vaccines have given us license to “Dream of spring.”

This license most have embraced full-heartedly. It’s not hard to understand why. Before last week, the color of the world had been grim. Along with fear of the virus — which accumulated daily, it seemed, like wood smoke in…


It’s a paradox.

This essay originally appeared in SFGate. It was published in July. Unfortunately, it remains relevant.

Last summer I attended a party at my parents’ house in the East Bay. It was one of those casually sun-dappled affairs full of laughter and hugging that today feel like relics of a distant, more curious past, like the Roman custom of socializing in communal toilets.

There were moms linking forearms in circles of gossip, dads chortling over a grill. Tom Petty spritzed the air. Before dinner, my dad and I stole away to smoke a joint. …

Photo courtesy of author

“DAD! Good news. While you were on Twitter, I unspooled the entire roll of toilet paper.”

There’s a theory roundly feared by astrophysicists, NASA scientists, and government leaders alike called the Kessler Syndrome. It foretells the consequences of a collision in Earth’s lower orbit. It posits that — thanks to the many disused satellites, abandoned launch vehicles, Tesla Roadsters, and discarded hunks of space trash that careen madly around our planet at many thousands of miles-per-hour — were some kind of collision up there to occur, it could trigger an unstoppable cascade of additional collisions. …

An unidentified person contemplates the view of the smoke-filled skies in San Francisco on the morning of September 9, 2020. Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The worst fire season in history could usher in a new mental health crisis

Weeks ago, when the fires started, Californians responded with stoicism. We mourned the fire season’s early arrival, bemoaned the prematurely compromised air, grieved for our neighbors whose homes had been lost, and wondered aloud just how the hell 2020 could get any damn worse… but we muddled on. Deep down, we knew it was only the beginning.

Last week, overnight, the beginning got worse. The sky turned ochre, the light diffused in dismal, bloody hues. The sun didn’t rise. …

Quarantine has illuminated my most annoying traits. But that might be a good thing.

Photo: Jakob Helbig/Getty Images

Journalist Rebecca Solnit recently wrote in the New York Times that “every disaster shakes loose the old order,” and though she was talking about political regimes, I’m finding it to be true of personal behaviors as well. Like many Americans, my wife Alex and I are self-isolating at home, and while we’re thankful that our conditions are comfortable (read: we don’t have kids), the unprecedented amount of time we’re spending together has illuminated a few of my more unsettling traits.

I shuddered when these things were first brought to my attention, but now I’m trying to grapple with them. After…

An ode to one of humankind’s greatest structural achievements

Photo: Patrick Tomasso/Unsplash

The Golden Gate Bridge is thought to be many things. To engineers, it’s a wonder; to photographers, a dream. To the poet, it’s an emblem—“the western bookend to the Brooklyn Bridge,” as Michiko Kakutani once wrote. To the troubled, it’s a provocation, an intolerable curiosity.

To all, it’s a source of awe, lending from every vantage the sense that what you’re looking at is not just beautiful, or impressive, but historic. John van der Zee, author of The Gate, called it “the most successful combination of site and structure since the Parthenon.”

To locals, of course, the bridge is essential…

Dan Moore

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