Redux: The Knowledge

 This first ran on Nov. 18, 2011, before Sally took indefinite leave.  We just know you’re missing her so here’s the next best, the redux Sally. A transatlantic phone call ended badly the other day. “You can just turn left at the next light,” I heard my friend tell the New York cab driver over […]

I Dream of Wrigley

I dream of Wrigley. All the time. More and more often. I grew up in Chicago and went to games at Wrigley Field all season long, season after season, and even though I left Chicago 30 years ago, Wrigley Field has never left me. The one-hundredth anniversary of the opening of Wrigley Field last month got me wondering […]

Guest Post: The Art (& Science) of Lefty Portraits

If neuroscientists could pick one idea to pack into a wormhole and expel to the outer reaches of the galaxy, there would be several worthy candidates. Some would probably pick the notion that you can “read” people’s tastes and preferences and even political ideologies on brain scans. Others might banish all talk of “neuroplasticity” and […]

A Hometown Hero, A Foreign Flag

Last Saturday, my daughter and I went to the opening day of Little League season. In our small town of White Salmon, Washington, it’s a day for classic Americana: The players chase their coaches around the bases, the Boy Scouts raise the Stars and Stripes, we sing the Star-Spangled Banner, and a local celebrity throws […]

Abstruse Goose: Electronic Man

AG’s mouseover says, “When I forget to charge my phone at night, my existence feels incomplete in the morning,” meaning I guess that he’s become as one with his electronic devices.  But as I know because I’ve been writing an interminable story about insomnia, AG’s identity as an electronic device is just the God’s truth. […]

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 […]

Guest Post: Painful Lessons

It used to go like this: The nice doctor smiles and checks your heart, ears, and knees, pronounces you healthy, and off you go. Grab a lollipop on your way out! (Doctors used to have candy jars. Dentists used to give out toothbrushes.)  You are not yet 20! Life is good! Then suddenly you’ve flown […]

Does Your Messy Desk Make You a Bad Person?

My desk is a disaster. Let’s see…there’s a pile of notebooks. An extension cord. A Christmas card from Switzerland and a postcard from Oklahoma. Index cards with poems by Wordsworth and Blake. A folder with the notes for a paper I wrote in 11th grade. And the only reason there’s no stack of unread and […]