The Kid Fire

Some years ago I attended a beach barbecue in Juneau, Alaska on a gray summer day. The adults drank beer in a ring around a fire where salmon collars sizzled and talked about the price of boats and politics. The kids ran in a mixed-age herd closer to the surf, clambering over driftwood and getting […]

Forced Fasts and Surgical Risks

A week ago, I found out that the baby I’m carrying is breech. Instead of being head down, she is stubbornly head up, not such a good position for birthing. Since I am only a few weeks away from my due date, it’s unlikely she’ll flip on her own. And if she stays breech, I’ll likely have […]

Top 3 Reasons to Stop Fretting About Being an Old Dad

You probably heard about last week’s Nature study on older dads and autism; it got a lot of attention. The basic findings were fascinating but, in my opinion, far less sensational than what most of the news articles would have us believe. The researchers, led by Kári Stefánsson of deCODE Genetics in Iceland, showed that the average 20-year-old man passes on […]

The Flaming Teapot Dilemma

 Earlier this year, during a reporting trip in West Virginia, I happened upon the tiny Watts Museum, a mining-history gallery tucked into West Virginia University’s sprawling Mineral Resources building. Its advertised exhibit, “Defying the Darkness,” detailed the history of mine illumination. Mine illumination? I pictured engineering blueprints and exhibit cases filled with switches and bulbs. […]

Bed Bug Bugaboo

New Yorkers don’t scare easily. They are blasé about crime, absurdly aggressive behind the wheel, and generally indifferent to even the biggest rats. Even vampires don’t inspire fear. I once saw a pair on the N train in Queens, and no one (but me) batted an eyelash. Blood sucking insects, however, are an entirely different […]

My Coffee Problem

On Friday I woke up too early with a splitting headache and chest pain. This was alarming. In the shower, I tried to come up with a list of plausible explanations, but my mind found only one: the four cups of coffee I drank the day before. I wondered, is this how a heart attack […]