The Sock Barometer

    I’ve been losing socks lately. One at a time. I correlate this with my state of life and work: picking up and dropping off kids, scheduling plane flights and cross-country drives, article deadlines, a final book manuscript due tomorrow, a blog post tonight. This week, I’m teaching 15 high school classes on the writing process, why we […]

TSA’s Gratuitous Bun Squeezing

I have a friend named Neda. She is known for many things, but her most striking physical feature is her hair. It is explosive. Thick black curls billow from her head and intertwine to form a wild thicket. Her hair has the tensile strength of woven steel. If it were long enough, it could support […]

Redux: You’ve got mail, you idiot!

This post originally ran on October 26, 2011, back when Donald Trump was relentlessly propagating an easily debunked conspiracy theory about President Obama. As we ponder the triumph of “alternative facts,” it’s worth considering what makes bullshit so appealing and why it’s so hard to debunk.Earlier this month, I gave an Ignite talk at the National Association of […]

The Last Word

March 20-24, 2017 Helen gets thirsty when she sings. Good thing, too, because she spots an interesting bug: One of those times, when I was unscrewing the top of my water bottle, I noticed a brown spot on the chapel wall. I checked again–it was there every time. It looked bug-shaped. True-bug-shaped, I mean, a member […]

My Liver’s Bloody Buddy

Periodically, I get an MRI to confirm that all is well with my internal organs. It’s because at one point some years ago all was not well. As a result of my bodily dysfunction, I now have no spleen, a tailless pancreas, plus ulcerative colitis and weird chronic pain and the beginnings of arthritis in […]

The Last Word

March 13-17   Ann started the week with a Q and A with Sharon Weinberger author of The Imagineers of War, unraveling the history of DARPA, making a secretive weapon-creation agency not so secret, including the rise of the jet pack. Bring your fire retardant pants! Jessa welcomed the new robot overlords, introducing us to […]

Sexist for All I Know

Last night I ran through quotes in my new book manuscript, making sure they were all amply annotated, meaning I spelled the names right. There were a lot of women in this run. For a book on the Ice Age and paleo sciences, mostly archaeology and paleontology, I’d had no trouble finding female researchers to write […]

“Precisely, Sir,” said Jeeves.

“I hear the carrots are delicious,” says 12-year-old Brian. “Would you like to try some?” The elderly lady across the table takes another bite and Brian smiles. They make some conversation and agree they should have lunch together again sometime. Meanwhile Casper, in the house next door, approaches a man. “It’s time for lunch. Let’s […]