The Cheekiness of Corporate Voices

    Nike Run Club got weird this week. I use the app to measure my speed and distance on runs and have always left the volume on my phone off because the voices of its encouragement sound corporate and insincere. “Wow! Great job,” a faceless trainer-actor will say aloud, if I let him, after […]

The Existential Air Fryer

        I could have devoted last week to work, love, nature, or philosophy. Instead, I poured vast amounts of energy into the acquisition of an air fryer. This has happened before. Not with an air fryer, though: this device, though launched in 2010, is new to me. My purchase thus required diligent […]

Do the Math?

        “Why should I have to study all this stupid math?” the kid grumbled. “I’m never gonna use it.” “You probably won’t,” my husband said. The girl’s mother shot him a glare that would fell a giant. “But math will teach you how to think,” he continued, “and that you will use […]

Found Objects: A Bear With No Name

    A teddy bear without a name feels like bastardy; obviously that does not preclude a royal heart. My old teddy bear is wrapped in tissue paper and tucked safely in a shoebox—an impromptu vessel, like Queequeg’s coffin, that has sailed through the decades and delivered its occupant safely to many new lands. I […]

That Pile of Unread Books Is Called Tsundoku

        Books I wept over, books that changed me, books that explained a tiny chunk of the world so clearly I never forgot—they stand proud on my shelves, in need of dusting but still beloved. Interspersed among them, though, are all the others. Books that were on a grad school reading list—but […]

Fly Away

        Plunking my bundled-up self on a bench, I wait, shivering, for the Great Blue Heron. Lost in reverie at the edge of an icy lake, he stands so still, he could be a statue. I want him to take off, surprise me yet again as those shaggy wings unfold from his […]

The Color of the Year

        The classic vices are sexier, more noir, but I can wallow in color and feel like I have thrown back a fifth of bourbon. Clicking away from the latest streaming sensation without a second thought, I watch, breathless, a presentation from WGSN (the world’s leading consumer trend forecaster) on the new […]

Recipe Stories: Baked Chicken Thighs

    What is there not to like about a shapely thigh? A chicken thigh is almost all meat, has only one bone, is hard to overcook, and can be easily made flavorful in a way that no bland breast can match without marinade or heavy seasonings. The chicken thigh is the canonical chef’s choice. […]