Like Groundhog Day: the Mammogram Story That Won’t Die

Before I begin, a disclaimer: I’m sick of writing about mammography. It feels like groundhog day — I’ve been writing the same damn story, over and over and over again, for nearly 15 years. This is at least the fifth time I’ve written a LWON post about mammograms. (See also: Breast cancer’s false narrative, The […]

Redux: The Compulsion to Count

  Back in 2012, I wrote about my compulsive counting habit. I’m revisiting it now, in hopes of collecting stories from other counters. If you count too, I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment. For as long as I can remember, I have counted. If I’m on a train I might count the […]

A Singular Data Point Is A Datum, You Idiots!

There’s a moment when you realize that you’ve become the person you hate. For me, it happened at the dinner table. I was telling (ok, ranting to) my husband about how my employer, FiveThirtyEight, has chosen to adopt as its house style the usage of the word data as a singular noun. “So you’ve become […]

Redux: Journalists Should Act More Like Scientists

It’s REDUX WEEK! Taking a break from writing, we’re choosing our favorite LWON posts from days of yore. My pick is from Christie and it regards the nature of bending and straightening the truth in journalism. The question of what to write in, what to leave out, and when to apply gentle literary pressure is […]

Stupid Things My Dog Has Done, Part 2. (How to De-Skunk A Dog)

Note: Read part 1 here. Last week, my dog Molly invited me to try a chemistry experiment. That’s right, she stuck her nose in a skunk’s butt. You can guess what happened next. “To fire, the skunk extrudes a pair of nozzles from its rear.” (Caution: this video is graphic. You cannot unsee it. Consider yourself warned.)

Go Occupy Those Forlorn Chairs

It’s summer, and I’ve been thinking of what poet Billy Collins called those, “forlorn chairs/though at one time it must have seemed/a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.” Even situated, as they usually are, to take in the view, it’s hard for those chairs to compete with the attention-grabbing distractions found […]

Snark week: Killer Cows!

Apparently there’s some television extravaganza going on this week that makes it seem as if the beach is a scary place where a shark could attack you at any moment. Don’t believe it. You want a dangerous place? I’ll show you a dangerous place. A farm. It’s not just the little roosters. If you’re worried […]

Postcards From IRL

A friend recently sent me a postcard from her overseas trip. The card reached me long after I’d seen her photographs on Facebook. By the time it arrived, she was back home in Washington DC. Still, I was delighted to receive the handwritten note. The thing about Facebook posts is that they’re broadcast to everyone. The postcard was […]