Tepid Feelings about Neutron Clashes

Newbie journalists love to ask where seasoned journalists find their story ideas. I’ll tell you where I find mine: Editors. They have really good ideas and sometimes they’ll just hand them to you. That’s called an assignment, and I take a lot of them. Unfortunately, LWON doesn’t give assignments. So when you sign up for […]

Redux: Watkin’s Lethal Elixr

This post first ran on March 13, 2015.  On September 27, 1937, Susie Mae DeLoach caught her leg on a strip of barbed wire. The wound festered, and the infection spread, eventually reaching her heart. None of the remedies DeLoach’s doctor recommended seemed to have any effect. And by the time her family called Dr. Johnston […]

Chicken Soup for the Hurricane-ravaged Soul

About a year ago, I bought a kitchen gadget. I don’t need more kitchen gadgets, but this one, I was sure, would change my life. It’s called the Instant Pot. It’s a pressure cooker. It’s a rice cooker. It’s a yogurt maker. It’s a steamer. It’s a slow cooker. It does it all. The world […]

A Toddler in Totality

A couple of months ago, I hatched a really good plan. My husband and I would drive six hours into the path of totality without our two-year-old daughter. We would have a relaxing car ride, followed by some nice meals at fancy St. Louis restaurants. But then I realized that no one was available to […]

Snark Week: All Blackbirds Should Be Baked in Pie

Welcome to Snark Week 2017! A peaceful summer day. A glittering, blue lake and a sky full of billowy clouds. And on the path below, a young woman rollerblades. She zips from side to side, enthusiastically mouthing the words to “Baby Got Back.” Then, out of the corner of her eye, a glint of something […]

Cassandra and the Climate Apocalypse

When my mother named me Cassandra, she didn’t know anything about Greek mythology. She had never heard of the princess who prophesied the destruction of Troy. But I inherited some of Cassandra’s attributes all the same. I’m a doom-and-gloom kind of girl. My visions of the future involve illness, poverty, and untimely deaths. Each headache […]

Redux: Behind the Steel Door

This post first ran on February 11, 2015.  In 2011, Yoshihiro Kawaoka reported that his team had engineered a pandemic form of the bird flu virus. Bird flu, also known as H5N1, has infected infected nearly 700 people worldwide and killed more than 400. But it hasn’t yet gained the ability to jump easily from human to […]

Motherhood Week: Indecision 2017

I wasn’t sure I would become a mother. I struggled with the question for years. I fretted about the loss of freedom. I worried I would become someone I didn’t recognize. And then, I found myself pregnant. Nine months later I had a daughter. The early months were harder than I ever could have imagined. There […]