Archive for February, 2009

Meryl and Me

February 24, 2009

As a shy and retiring science writer who has never dined at Spago, I like to think I am above the Oscars and all the glamour, glitz and dreamy diversions that Hollywood offers. And yet every year, for weeks after the Academy Awards, I find myself obsessing over the few movie stars I’ve actually met in real life.

There was the rushed morning at the Greenwich Village espresso bar when the woman behind me, Julia Roberts, watched me wimpishly dilute my coffee with half-and-half. How different my life would be, I now think, if she had seen me down it black. Or if she had caught me taking out a flask — not that I own a flask — and dumping Polish vodka into my brew. Or if I had had the nerve to offer her a swig and we skipped merrily, hand in hand, out of the place together. I’ll have to ask Julia, when we meet again, if it would have made a difference.

[continued on National Public Radio, which reports that Meryl Streep could have had a date with me at the Oscars if she had not been so preoccupied with tomatoes.]


Brain Freeze at the Chessboard

February 20, 2009

Only two Americans have ever made it to the very pinnacle of championship chess, and both of them were crazy.

[So starts my NPR piece, which continues at]