Walking Into the New Year

Well now then.  Here we are.  The first day of another year.  What to do about that? January 1 is a day for looking forward.  Kids mostly look forward, I think.  But any adult knows you make sense of any given situation only by looking back, by remembering.  Memory allows the comparison between then and […]

Guest Post: Reaffirming Reason in Chattanooga

Almost exactly a year ago, as I drove across one of the bridges that span the Tennessee River near my home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a bumper sticker “Proud of everything a liberal hates” flashed before me on the back of a white pickup truck. My stomach clenched. Even now, every time I think about that […]

Experiment Regarding a Garage

I’ve been reading a history book, this one on a subject with so little documentation it needs to rely on eyewitnesses remembering what happened 10, 30, 50 years before.  Which, honest to God, why would you even bother? Science insists over and over and over, eyewitness testimony isn’t reliable – it’s influenced by stress, it […]

Lies, Damned Lies, and Memories

When I was about four years old, a squirrel found its way into our house. My dad and his brother pursued it while my mom and I cowered in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn. Eventually one of the men killed it with a hammer. I don’t remember seeing the corpse, but I have […]

The Flower of Dangerous Love

Between 1975 and 1979, an estimated 2 million Cambodians — 20 percent of the country’s population at the time — died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime. Some 17,000 victims were held in the regime’s most notorious prison, a former high school known as Tuol Sleng (“Hill of the Poisonous Trees”) or S-21. […]

Bold and Italicize Your Way to a Better Memory

Let’s say I were writing a book about the norgletti, a fictional extraterrestrial species, and had the choice of these four typefaces. If I asked you which one would make your reading experience most pleasurable, the choice would be obvious. The first three fonts are brash, clumsy, juvenile and just plain difficult to read. What […]