Interrogating Memory, Confirmation Bias and … My Great-Grandfather

After Nell first suggested in early July 2017 I write a book – and this essay popped into my head – I simply wanted to flesh out the separate facets of my film noir “journey” into a larger book, perhaps with a little family and local history for context. But, as everyone who reads this … Continue reading Interrogating Memory, Confirmation Bias and … My Great-Grandfather

Moving, Non-Publication…and Dada?

I rarely break the fourth wall here: personal stories I tell are usually contextualized within some larger theme, like interrogating memory. Today, however, I speak directly to you – to explain why, after 16 posts in 3½ months, I have not posted since June 25. I will not, however, explain why I did not post … Continue reading Moving, Non-Publication…and Dada?

Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing III

In two previous posts (I, II), I described how my wife Nell, our two daughters and I were coping with social distancing and the closure of the public schools in Brookline, Massachusetts until at least April 3, 2020. Other than staying inside as much as possible, we converted our dining room into a functioning classroom … Continue reading Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing III

Interrogating memory: The Beatles, wax museums and a diner mystery solved

To the extent my writing over the last three years has a theme (or perhaps even a brand), it is what I call interrogating memory. At one level, this is just a fancy term for “fact-checking,” as in looking through my elementary school report cards (I am missing the one for third grade[1]) to confirm … Continue reading Interrogating memory: The Beatles, wax museums and a diner mystery solved

A Skeptic is Born

If this blog has anything like a unifying theme, it is evidence-based investigation. In fact, my original stated purpose was to use a careful presentation of data to answer what I felt were interesting—if not always momentous—questions. Sometimes that took the form of challenging conventional wisdom, and at other times it took the form of … Continue reading A Skeptic is Born

When memories defy interrogation

I first used the term “interrogating memory” in August 2017. One month earlier, I simultaneously began to write a book about the roots of my deep love of film noir, underwent genetic testing and initiated a formal request for information about my in utero adoption, backed up by my own independent research An unanticipated side … Continue reading When memories defy interrogation

Organizing by themes VII: Words beginning with “epi-“

This site benefits/suffers/both from consisting of posts about a wide range of topics, all linked under the amorphous heading "data-driven storytelling." In an attempt to impose some coherent structure, I am organizing related posts both chronologically and thematically. In this post, I sketched the winding road on which a 28-year-old man who had just resigned … Continue reading Organizing by themes VII: Words beginning with “epi-“

Visiting Philadelphia: Many questions, but…

My “interrogating memory” project began as a July 2017 conversation with my wife Nell about writing a book in lieu of finding a new position in my two-decade-long career as a health-related data analyst. In my head, I translated her intended meaning (write a mystery—something that would sell many copies) to “I could easily expand … Continue reading Visiting Philadelphia: Many questions, but…

Bipartisanship as patriotism

I started quietly screaming here. But my deep revulsion for what the United States government, my government, the government elegantly outlined in our founding documents, is doing along our southern border (not the northern border with majority-northern-European Canada, mind you) boiled over the other night in this (annotated) 1,000+-word reply to a similar cri de coeur on … Continue reading Bipartisanship as patriotism

Separating the art from the artist

The director David Lynch—who I dressed as this past Halloween—gave this response to a question about the meaning of a puzzling moment toward the end of episode 15 of Twin Peaks: The Return. “What matters is what you believe happened,” he clarified. “That’s the whole thing. There are lots of things in life, and we wonder about … Continue reading Separating the art from the artist