The Last Word On Nothing

"Science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing" - Victor Hugo

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Why Potsherds Matter

I broke a pot the other day, not just any pot but a ceramic Acoma vessel I inherited after my father died decades ago. I snatched something from the shelf, barely tapping the little seed jar, its mouth big enough for a finger, maybe two. It barely rocked one way and then the other, energy transferring, going off balance. Out of the corner of my eye,...

What the Kids Are Doing

I walk out my front door after dinner to check on the night, and before breakfast to check on the day.  And every now and then, on the porch table, or the porch floor, or the front sidewalk is an arrangement — rocks, berries, plants of some sort. They’re not put there at random, they’re definitely arranged, each rock or plant or berry chosen according...

The many languages of Dog

This post originally appeared in February, 2020. I resurrected it because I figure we could all use a dog hug, in this pandemic time of not hugging folks outside our households. When I return home from a trip, or really from any absence longer than 15 minutes, my dog Taiga greets me with the canine equivalent of pyrotechnics: Leaping, writhing,...

How to Live with Uncertainty: Find Joy in Elephant Heads

This is my first pandemic, and I had no idea what to expect. Which is sort of on theme, because the the overarching feeling I’ve experienced inside the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertainty. Will I get sick? Will my loved ones die? How long will this ordeal last? Will we ever have a vaccine or a cure? If so, how soon? None of these questions have certain...

The questionable ethics of Animal Crossing

The island of Moobopolis (named after my dog, whose face is on the official island flag) The world feels more dizzying every day. Last weekend, I sat in front of my computer, scrolling through article after article detailing massive societal problems: police brutality and system racism; this pandemic; another pandemic brewing in pigs?;...

Saccorhytus coronarius is Your Weird Cousin, Too

It never hurts to celebrate, again, the oddities of life on Earth. Here’s a piece about a discovery reported in 2017 that reminds us of our humble beginnings. Our microscopic relative might have looked like this. The fossil, waaaaay bigger than real life. Let’s get down to brass tacks. Mouth. Anus. Reproductive bit in between. Isn’t that all one...

Sleep Talk With Me

Confession: I, like so many of my fellow Americans, am not getting enough sleep. Blame the baby. Blame the preschooler. Blame COVID anxiety. Blame my doomscrolling. Blame the dog, who threw up a clump of grass next to the bed at 4am. On a typical night, I sleep between six and seven hours with two baby wake-ups. It’s not enough. My body craves...

Kitten Brain

I am writing this post from bed. I can’t get up, because (shhhh) there’s a kitten purring on my chest. We picked her up from the animal shelter yesterday. There were dozens of kittens vying for adoption, but as soon as I felt her nudge my hand — polite but insistent, green eyes steady — I knew that she was ours, and we hers. ...

The Babies Are Cute, But Watch Out for the Parents

To be fair, the blue jay did warn me. I was walking across a green space near my apartment building, bounded by streets and a transit station and criss-crossed by concrete paths and surrounded by roads. A recent mow–the first in months–had left it looking like a hay field. A hay field with a lot of litter. Ahead of me I saw two fluffy...

Fatherhood: From Here to Eternity

This essay originally appeared as part of a LWON Father’s Day series in June 2012. The references to dates remain the same. “My father,” I would say, “is older than the universe.” The line has always gotten laughs. It comes at a point in my public talks when I want to convey how comically recent is our current understanding of the universe—so recent...

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