The Last Word, November 17-21, 2014

A week with the winter coming, a week with some excellent words. Guest Colin Norman started the week with his final post in his thorough, smart, and elegant series, Affair of the Heart.  He’s been through the medical system and come out the other side, more or less intact, certainly better than when he went in.  Now, […]

Two and a Half Months of Milkweed

About halfway between my apartment and my office is a community garden. In a corner of that community garden is a milkweed plant. I first noticed it in early September, because of the brightly-colored animals crawling all over it. These, I learned from the internet (thanks, internet), are milkweed bugs. They eat milkweed seeds by […]

The Last Word: November 10-14, 2014

More imaging, more problems: Colin Norman’s medical troubles began with his heart. But in this week’s post, an MRI of Colin’s heart shows that his pancreas is wearing a cyst ominously called an intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm. These cysts may be an early sign of pancreatic cancer, but using them to screen for the disease . . . well, that’s tricky. […]

Urban Allies May Save the World

A friend of mine, a fund manager, described his experience of the financial crisis of 2008. His fund was based in one of these mid-town Manhattan office towers they call a Hedge Fund Hotel. In those early days when the crisis set in, my friend could arrive at work relaxed, but then he’d be in an […]

What Destruction Has Wrought

On Monday, a slowly-creeping lava flow claimed its first house on the Big Island of Hawaii. The iron-heavy pahoehoe flow crossed the house’s yard and moved through a wall, sending flames into the 1,100-square-foot structure before continuing on to take down a nearby corrugated shed. This flow has been on the move since it first […]

Abundance of Caution

A little over a month ago, Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan became the first person in the US to develop ebola. In the days before he died, Duncan infected two nurses. Last month, a New York doctor who had been working with Doctors without Borders in Guinea was diagnosed with the disease, becoming the fourth person to develop […]

Dear Time: Would You Please Stop Being So Stupid?

It doesn’t seem right that something as basic as time should be so annoying. No, it’s not time itself that’s annoying. I’ve more or less made peace with the fact that it’s marching on. The thing that’s annoying is when the stupid time keeps changing. In college, I appreciated that extra hour of sleep in […]

Forward by Failure

A few years ago, I decided to take up hunting. This was kind of a big deal, because I’d spent the first decade-plus of my adult life as vegetarian. I became a big game hunter for the same reason I raise chickens — to know where my food comes from and ensure that it’s raised […]