From Pluto to Plutoid

In 1930 the ninth planet was discovered. A month later it was officially christened Pluto for the Roman god of the underworld, a name suggested by an 11-year-old girl. School children added Platte to My Very Elderly Mother Just Sped Up North to help them memorize the planets in order. Fifty years later, another astronomer [Read More…]

Vessel Characters: Pipe, Katniss Everdeen, Jesus

“Think of yourself as a pipe,” suggests M. Robert Mulholland. At one end of your pipe is a flange specifically designed for loving union with God. The other end of your pipe has a flange specifically designed for loving service for others. When the connection is made at both ends of your pipe, then the [Read More…]

The Art of Death: Dulce et Decorum

I remember the first time I stood in front of a Civil War memorial and puzzled out the Latin words that ran across its top: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. That’s the stupidest thing ever written, I thought. Sweet and right it is to die for one’s country? It might be the right [Read More…]

14 Fictions for Surviving Snowpocalypse 2014

When ice turns into vapor without melting first, it’s called sublimation. I wonder what it’s called when millions of Americans murmur a collective complaint, our breath huffing out in white clouds, which waft upward, merge, and dump deathflakes on us. Again. Snowpocalypse. Snowmaggedon. Snowzilla. Snoverkill. Call it what you will, I am weary of it. [Read More…]

The Comfort of a Colonoscopy

Among the most emailed articles in the New York Times this week is about colonoscopies. Apparently, people underwent the procedure thinking they were covered, only to wake up to huge anesthesiology bills that their insurance wouldn’t pay. It turned out that their gastroenterologists chose to use general anesthesia (and anesthesiologists) when a more moderate sedation would [Read More…]