Abstruse Goose: NUM63R5

As a literate but functionally innumerate person, I hate AG’s title.  I think it’s dumb and silly.  But I thoroughly get why he feels the way he does about that equation.  Really.  What an odd pattern.  Why would it happen?  Would figuring out why it happened  help you understand anything else?  No?  You couldn’t even […]

Guest Post: I Walked Across the Hudson River

Several times a week, I drive over a Hudson River bridge to pick up my daughter from her school in Troy, NY, and bring her back home to the Albany side. Back and forth I go, and every time my eye wanders to the frozen surface below. Even when it’s dark and there’s nothing to […]

The story I won’t tell

I was having lunch with a vegetarian friend recently, when I caught myself wanting to tell her the story. When you’re a vegetarian, a lot of people — friends, distant relatives, complete strangers — barrage you with the story. It starts like this: “Yeah, I tried going vegetarian once.”  During my 13 years as a […]

Kepler on the Moon, Part 2

(Part 2 of 2; Part 1 appeared yesterday.) Harry’s utterance “Damn damn Kepler on the Moon damn damn” immediately entered the lexicon of our little messenger world. I then introduced it to my non-work friends, who likewise adopted it as an absurdist catch-all. For years afterward my only knowledge of Kepler was as a punch […]

Kepler on the Moon, Part 1

My first job, post-paper route, was as a messenger in the advertising department of the Chicago Tribune. As a 15-year-old aspiring journalist (and, yes, underage hire), I thought the experience might be a career path to Woodward and Bernstein heights. By coincidence, the day I started—May 1, 1974—was Watergate Wednesday, the day that the Tribune was the only newspaper […]

A Lungful of Quiet

I’m writing to you from inside an artificial lung. Really. I’m sitting at a desk in a cylindrical, windowless room, 180 feet across. The floor and walls are concrete, and the ceiling, several stories above, is rimmed with an enormous black rubber gasket which sighs gently—up, then down—every time somebody opens the door. No one […]

Mustn’t Grumble

Looking for fun things to do around London? Here’s an idea: Find a Brit on a first date with an expat from New York. Your task could be challenging — Americans don’t know this but British people don’t go out on dates until they’re in a relationship — but there’s every chance some hapless Brit […]