The Placebo President

As I have occasionally mentioned on this blog, I am currently working on a book on the many ways that our own brains can deceive ourselves. Placebos, hucksters, healers, hypnotists, and con men – it’s all in there. It’s a fascinating subject and one that constantly reminds me to be careful about what I think I […]

Homeopathy Part Two: The Secret Placebo Experiment

If you suffer from low blood pressure or an inability to get bent out of shape, I recommend an evening of fine dining and finding yourself backed into a serious conversation about homeopathy. Difficulty: you’ve been instructed by your spouse to “keep your science in your pants” because it’s a social occasion with extended family, […]

What Happened Next

My husband died.  He wasn’t young any more and was sick and weak but we weren’t expecting his death to come as quickly as it did, within a few days, almost overnight.  He just went away.  Maybe there are worse things than a quick, quiet death. Here’s what happened next. My brother and sister-in-law (who […]

Can We Defend Ourselves Against Brain Tumors?

Eleven years ago this week, my 67-year-old mother died from a brain tumor. It was Glioblastoma multiforme, an insidious fourth-stage cancer that, without treatment, usually kills within three months. Treatment options are miserable for the patient and not terribly effective; for those who opt for surgery and radiation/chemo, the cancer almost always returns within a year […]

Birthdays are Arbitrary and Awesome

Over the past six weeks, my sister and two of my dearest friends have celebrated landmark birthdays (the kind with a zero at the end). These festivities have left me thinking about birthdays. Why do we celebrate them? A birthday represents a lap around the sun — 365 Earth days, or 8,760 hours. But let’s […]

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 […]

The Brain I Wish I Had

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about my bloodlines. Perhaps it’s my impending fatherhood, perhaps I’m just at that age. I’ve been tracing my grandfathers’ heritages back through the Revolutionary War and to the Tudor conquest of Ireland. I’ve planned a trip to Norway, which is my grandmother’s homeland, and hope to […]

Rivers of Noise

Manhattan rattles my ears. Subway lines shake the fine bones inside my head. Cars honking on the street change the way my brain physically functions. When I stayed in the city a week ago I noticed the same as I always do: noise. I live in a quiet place off the grid in Western Colorado […]