Blame It On Rio

Once every four years, we watch over-the-top displays of jingoism, flag-waving, and fear. For two weeks, we get beginning-to-end coverage of celebrities, big crowds and boisterous cheering, with accusations of corruption and cheating thrown into the mix. It’s a special time when the average American sits up and takes notice of things he only cares about once every four years.

I intended to use the paragraph above for a piece about the political conventions, but then I got lazy, then I got distracted, and, well, the conventions were over and I never wrote the piece. The cool thing is, I can use the same paragraph for this piece, about the Olympics. Continue reading

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Fair Enough

I don’t get out of the house much. Most of the time, I convince myself it’s by design, and most of the time, I’m kidding myself. It’s certainly easier to tell myself that I’m making a choice to stay home and write all day, or research markets for my writing, or continue binge-watching ‘Gilmore Girls.’

The reality is more nuanced than that. Actually, it’s not even a matter of nuance. The reality is that sometimes I justfeel too damned awkward to be out in public, due to what I’ve decided to call a neurological quirk.

Technically, it’s a spinal ‘condition’ — or is it an ‘issue’? No, ‘issue’ makes it sound like something I should just talk out, and eventually resolve. And I don’t think of it as a spinal ‘problem’, because that implies a solution, and there really isn’t one which doesn’t involve a risky neck surgery that only has a fifty-fifty chance of making a difference.

So let’s just stick with ‘quirk.’ It’s a quirk that, fortunately, rarely causes me pain, and almost never prevents me from doing my work. The awkward part — and this is the part that keeps me inside on beautiful days — is that this quirk causes me to walk funny. Not ‘funny’ in that people might point at me and laugh, but ‘funny’ as in “Why does he walk so funny? Is he OK?” I’m so wobbly when I walk that it looks like, at any moment, I’m either going to veer into traffic or tumble, ass-over-Keurig, into a broken heap. Continue reading

A Social Media Style Guide for the Far Right (From a Concerned Lefty)

I don’t wade very often into the waters of political argument, and I particularly avoid politics online. I’m opinionated and sarcastic, and I am notoriously bad at letting things go, so it would be far too easy for me to get sucked into some Facebook black hole. The next thing you know, I’m scrolling through hundreds of comments, and comments about comments, and clicking links, and posting links, and then I wake up one day and realize I never finished writing that third book. Continue reading

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A Letter to Dad

Dad,

I know it must seem a little weird to get a letter from me, but I thought it would be good to catch up a bit, since we’ve been out of touch for so long.  It’s gotta be at least . . . fifty years, right? Continue reading

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Huge Science News

incandela

In a development that has rocked the world of particle physics, scientists at a hastily arranged press conference have admitted to losing the long sought-after and recently discovered ‘God particle.’ Flustered researchers in Switzerland released a tersely worded statement about the disappearance of the bosun. Continue reading

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Everything I Know About Book Writin’

The American dramatist Gene Fowler once said, “Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” There’s some encouragement for you.

I wrote and published my first book a while back, and I learned a great deal from the experience. I feel obliged to share what I learned with aspiring writers. The word ‘aspiring,’ of course, is derived from the Latin aspirare, to breathe, which implies that aspiring to write is as easy as breathing. In my experience, writing is more difficult than that, although both, for me, involve some wheezing. Continue reading

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