Folks. We need to talk about the coronavirus pandemic. And we need to talk now. (But . . . let’s talk through the Internet or phone—not in person!) There’s a lot of information out there about the coronavirus. Unfortunately, much of it is confusing, contradictory, and/or out of date before it was even published. So today I’d like to highlight...
The consensus seems to be that practical applications of quantum physics work, . . . but no one knows why or how. One up-and-coming practical application is quantum encryption. That’s being touted as a supremely secure way of protecting data. But one person is healthfully skeptical: Tom Simonite, a writer for Wired magazine. He wrote a short piece about this...
The most recent issue of Washingtonian magazine includes an article called “The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness,” by Sarah Ramey. The article is an excerpt from her memoir (which will be released next month, and has the same title) about her persistent, unexplained health troubles. In the article, Ramey explains that she used to feel that she was the...
Remember: no matter how bad things seem, they can always be worse. Did you catch Stephen King’s short story in the most recent issue of Harper’s magazine? It’s ridiculous fun. And true to form. Read it here.
Yesterday I tried acupuncture for the first time. This morning I feel more relaxed than I have all week. Thanks to J.D.M. for repeatedly recommending the acupuncturist to me, and thanks to D.H. for being absolutely relentless in expounding on the virtues of acupuncture and other aspects of Eastern medicine. My health is still at a low point, but for...
Yesterday evening, I was sitting in a restaurant with some friends. The tables were set closely together; it was one of those venues characterized as “cozy.” And it was cozy, but the decor was lovely, and the food was amazing. Coziness is usually fine. A-OK. No prob. Last night, however, the woman sitting next to me was complaining, very loudly,...
Oh heyyyyy, it’s that little rodent, tunneling into your inbox, throwing earthy tidbits all over the place and scurrying over your personal correspondence, munching on your spam, and getting into ridiculous amounts of intellectual trouble. . . . Liza Achilles here, still suffering from my concussion setback, but recovering rapidly. I haven’t been able to do much reading or computer...
I have never seen the river so calm and clear. I had to take a picture. Maybe it will inspire a blog post? A reader of this blog recently sent me this message and photo. Yes, inspired! Let’s take time to appreciate the aspects of our lives that are calm and clear. Further, let’s strive to bring calmness and clarity...
When I share with people that I am recovering from a concussion, the first thing they generally do is offer condolences. The second thing they do is express curiosity. How did I get it?! (Here’s how, if you are feeling a sudden bout of curiosity.) The third thing they do is tell me a story about how they, or someone...
Speaking of ranters, today I’d like to introduce to you a writer I adore. Like me, she writes a blog for people who like to read, write, and think. Unlike me, she doesn’t restrict her rants to Christmas Day. They come all year round! And if you happen to be a writer, she’s def someone to have on your radar....
One A tall, paunchy man stood next to the wall. No one could see him, except for me. I was afraid of him. I tried to stuff him into a large trunk and close the lid. The lid would not completely close. I was afraid, knowing he would emerge again. Later, I was in a bedroom packed with people. The...
Strangely enough, I did not take any writing courses in college. Neither my B.A. in English nor my M.Ed. in English required me to take even a single writing course. There was a writing course requirement for all incoming students at the college (of arts and sciences) within the larger university that I attended; but I passed out of it....
Thank you for the flowers. I am feeling better than I was two days ago, so that’s progress. Today I’d like to share an article I enjoyed from a recent issue of The New Yorker. The author of the article, Cyrus Grace Dunham, describes their ongoing transition from living as a woman (named Grace) to living as a man (named...
This is a true story. I have an amazing handyman. He’s the best handyman in the Rockville, Maryland, area. I’d even venture to say he’s the best handyman in the Washington, DC, area. In fact, heck—I’d choose him over anyone on earth, for building and fixing shit on my property, ’cause I trust him. He built me a chicken coop....
The problem of climate change is disconcerting. Many people are frustrated. They would like to do something, but are uncertain about whether any action they take can make a difference. A couple dozen—myself included—of these millions of concerned people gathered together at a recent Meetup event in my community, Rockville On Tap. The topic of the evening was “Climate Change...
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the mantra improv comics like to repeat: “Yes, And . . .” Washington Improv Theater has a show running through August 4 called Starship Odyssey: The Final Mission (Improv Saves the World). I found it to be, as advertised, a funny sci-fi adventure. And I was astonished, as always while watching improv, by...
Unlike most people I know, I’m not a fan of quotable quotes. More than one sentence is usually needed to fully express an idea. Plus, quotable quotes are often taken out of context and assumed to have a meaning that was never originally intended. And then there is the rampant problem of the misattribution of quotes on the Internet. However,...
Have you had one of those crazy weeks? Are you toiling for an income? Are there kids to feed and ferry around and read fantastical books to? Did something break and need immediate repair? Did you experience an emotional up-and-down ride? Did a long-lost friend suddenly appear in your life? Did your sock get a hole in it? Did you...
Lest you think I’ve abandoned writing about books in favor of writing about travel, let’s talk books today. My next blog post will preview a book about America—promise! But today, let’s linger overseas. Let me first tell you about a famous English-language bookstore in Paris called Shakespeare and Company. It’s located across the street from Notre Dame, it has an...
In full disclosure: Paris and I didn’t groove together as well as London and I did. My trip to London was a dream, from start to finish. Paris, however, was a struggle. This was partly due to the fact that I had already been traveling for nine days by the time I got to Paris, and I was getting tired....
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