Conventional Wisdom Ate My Homework

Many decades ago when I was in primary school, we had a thing every year called a “science fair,” which was the school’s opportunity to reinforce the important educational values of shame and confusion.  They never went well for me and are probably one of the reasons why I’m still stupid to this day, but one in particular stands out in my memory.

Here’s the question: if you discovered a foul-smelling box of dirt sitting in an otherwise Continue reading


No Game, No Pain

Middle age snuck up on me.  You might think I should have known it was coming, and I can’t disagree.  There were certainly signs–grey hair, slower thoughts, it started to hurt when I fell down stairs–but one night in particular it struck me that I could no longer do certain things as I had in the past.  (Habitually falling down stairs is an obvious but Continue reading

Man vs. Machine (Spoiler: Everyone Loses)

I once saw a television catch fire.  The best part was that it happened at a dramatically appropriate time in the movie we were watching.  It was almost as though the movie broke the television by sheer force of awesomeness.

Of course, what actually happened was less grand, and a bit more embarrassing.  It Continue reading

With Apologies to Shannon

The summer before 9th grade, I decided to be popular.  Just saying something so absurd probably illustrates how dire were my social straits.  Nevertheless, some other examples will make the situation more vivid.

My brother, whom I love and respect, was quintessentially uncool eight years before me.  I Continue reading