I’ve just seen a face

Who’s that? Picasa knows – even after one glance. Facial recognition has been built into Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, since 2009. It’s remarkably good. You type in a name on one picture of a person, and it instantly identifies and labels all your photos of that person. If Picasa isn’t certain who the person is in a particular photo, it … read more I’ve just seen a face

The Monkey’s Paw

Every time I’ve seen a wish granted that didn’t turn out so well, I mutter, “Monkey’s paw.” Be damn careful what you wish for. In fact, just stop wishing altogether.  Maybe you read the short story by W. W. Jacobs, “The Monkey’s Paw,” in grade school, like I did. The story was written in 1902, … read more The Monkey’s Paw

The one-legged grasshopper

When we’re at the cabin, we sit around for hours, reading or just looking at nature. Booger Hollow is that kind of place. Sitting still, outside, gives me the chance to observe lots of insects. So I saw this guy. He was moving along the railing and I got closer to watch. Then I noticed he was … read more The one-legged grasshopper

A cold red cure

Imagine a treatment for pain that is easy, fast, simple, inexpensive, and has zero risks and zero side effects. Sound like science fiction? It already exists, and was approved 15 years ago by the FDA: low-level laser therapy. I’ve had two treatments, and those few minutes of laser did more to relieve my frozen shoulder pain than … read more A cold red cure

The urge to create

“Teach your kids to code,” suggests Eutopia, offering resources for parents to help their kids learn coding. I’m not sure that learning to code would have made my childhood better. Especially if it took time away from my true calling: making miniature villages. The girl in the photo above, in Laos, probably didn’t think she was “working” or “learning.” She just … read more The urge to create

A weekend of tapas

It was all laid out before us: shrimp Diablo, buffalo sausage, Moroccan crepe, lobster bisque, marinated Greek white beans, winter hummus, artisanal cheese, European olives … That was just the first meal. Then there was the shrimp with grits and andouille, filet mignon on eggs Benedict, bourbon-glazed salmon, garlic-roasted potatoes, Key Lime cheesecake, chocolate truffle … read more A weekend of tapas

Four steps of investigative journalism and other pursuits

In 2002, I was asked to give a workshop on investigative reporting for journalists in Laos. I was pretty surprised by this request. Laos was, and still is, a tightly controlled Communist country. And yet, having given up central management of the economy, the party leaders had recognized that its media needed to do a … read more Four steps of investigative journalism and other pursuits