“The Burns woman”: Nell’s grandfather, statutory rape…and Eugene O’Neill

When Nell and I moved to a new Brookline apartment in early July, we unburdened ourselves of a large quantity of – stuff – we had accumulated from Nell’s mother, who has resided in a senior living facility near us since we moved her there from DC in the summer of 2013; a storage unit … Continue reading “The Burns woman”: Nell’s grandfather, statutory rape…and Eugene O’Neill

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

That Time We Seriously Flirted With Joining A Cult

On January 29, 2021, 3½ years after my wife Nell suggested in financial exasperation that I write a book, I put on “outside” clothes, sneakers and my protective mask, then walked down to our local FedEx office. There, I plugged my thumb drive into a printer…then watched in relief and wonder as it printed out … Continue reading That Time We Seriously Flirted With Joining A Cult

That Time My Detective Grandfather’s Partner Was A Total Rascal

On January 29, 2021, 3½ years after my wife Nell suggested in financial exasperation that I write a book, I put on “outside” clothes, sneakers and my protective mask, then walked down to our local FedEx office. There, I plugged my thumb drive into a printer…then watched in relief and wonder as it printed out … Continue reading That Time My Detective Grandfather’s Partner Was A Total Rascal

That Time My Great-Uncle Helped Send a Man To Prison

On January 29, 2021, 3½ years after my wife Nell suggested in financial exasperation that I write a book, I put on “outside” clothes, sneakers and my protective mask, then walked down to our local FedEx office. There, I plugged my thumb drive into a printer…then watched in relief and wonder as it printed out … Continue reading That Time My Great-Uncle Helped Send a Man To Prison

How NOT to interrogate memory: Sybil, false memories and flawed incentives

At 9 pm EST on Sunday, November 14, 1976, approximately 20% of Americans had their television set turned to their local ABC affiliate. What they were about to watch, across four hours over two nights, would win four Primetime Emmy Awards the following spring. It would also change the course of psychiatry for decades, and—at … Continue reading How NOT to interrogate memory: Sybil, false memories and flawed incentives

Happy July 4th! Here is my American story.

Happy 4th of July! Let me first note, transparent in my pedantry, the Declaration of Independence was actually approved on July 2, 1776. Nonetheless, it was dated July 4, 1776 and signed August 2, 1776. Allow me next to relate I was physically born (at long-since-closed Metropolitan Hospital, then at 3rd and Spruce) roughly 1/5 … Continue reading Happy July 4th! Here is my American story.

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

Her name was Elizabeth Short…

At 11:47 pm on January 14, 2019, I parked my black Accord on Salem Street, in front of the ironically-named Brookline Bank; behind where I sat was the rotary where one accesses I-93 from MA-60—or continues along MA-60 into Medford Center. The drive from Brookline, including stops at an ATM and my old Star Market … Continue reading Her name was Elizabeth Short…