It's Always Something

loose threads from a tightly wound mind.

Nikki Stern

Nikki Stern
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
April 10
whatever sounds good
Sure, come on in
Author of "Because I Say So: The Dangerous Appeal of Moral Authority" ( and "Hope in Small Doses" and busy blogger at


SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 11:58AM

Give It Up

this piece was was originally posted on

I’m undertaking my first solo fund-raising cause by setting up a crowd-sourcing project. The project is on behalf of my friend Greg, a wonderful writer with an amazing life story he’s committing to print in his memoir along i… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 18, 2012 6:07PM

Die Hard


Why do we kill people who are killing people to show that killing people is wrong?
–credited variously to Norman Mailer, Gandhi and other sources

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian gunman who… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 7, 2012 5:14PM

Warning: Moral Hazard

“Moral hazard” originated as an insurance term used to differentiate between accidents caused by nature and those caused by humans. Nowadays, it’s used to judge and misjudge others according to whether we think they’ve assumed undue risk or cost us money.

My eye was caught… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 26, 2012 2:59PM

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I learned today via  New York Times piece that the super-charged, $100,000 BMW-M5 with the twin-turbo V8 engine uses a --gasp--recorded sound to mimic the full-throated roar the driver might expect to hear upon starting the car or pressing the accelerator.

A… Read full post »

JANUARY 19, 2012 10:52AM


inspired by a friend who is discovering how inspirational he is... 

"Sorrow" by Van Gogh via Wikicommons

 No one ever knows what to say. 

"I'm sorry." 

“You’ll be okay.”

“Hang in there.”

Yeah, thanks.

“You’re one of the… Read full post »

JANUARY 10, 2012 2:10PM

The Sound of Silence

I went to see “The Artist” the other day as part of my efforts (not very strenuous) to see the Oscar contenders and buzzed-about movies. Occasionally I digress for the purpose of guaranteed mindless big-screen entertainment, as when I went to see “Mission Impossible:Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 11, 2011 12:49PM

Labyrinth Books: Princeton's Indie Model

Princeton has always had an independent bookstore. Since 2006, Labyrinth Books has filled the needs of both the university and the community, and its innovative approach may offer a model for other struggling outlets. 


Labyrinth is Princeton University’s official partner, ofRead full post »

NOVEMBER 22, 2011 4:18PM

Thanksgiving Memories

The older I get, the less I like holidays--with one exception: Thanksgiving. In part, it may be because Thanksgiving uniquely seems to have escaped the retail frenzy attached to other holidays. Thanksgiving is all about family and food.

That can make for some memorably bad holiday dinners,Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 18, 2011 5:05PM

Death and Life: a Tale of Two Parks

The 9/11 Memorial and OWS occupy two parks adjacent to each other in Lower Manhattan. Otherwise, they couldn't be more different.


 October 17, 2011 seemed like a fine day to head downtown and see the memorial I’d avoided up to and just after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.… Read full post »

OCTOBER 14, 2011 6:07PM

Hear Me Roar

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 2, 2011 4:16PM

The Name Escapes Me

My grade school tormenter reached me through Facebook. Actually, he located me on Facebook via some site called Classmates. I don’t protect-your-child-from-the-dangers-of-cyber-bullyingremember registering on Classmates but who knows? I might have hit the wrong button at some point. The bottom line is: he found me.

“Hi Nikki,”Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 22, 2011 4:58PM

Oh Canada!

A survey conducted post-apocalyptic debt ceiling kerfuffle indicates 82%  of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Congress. Up in Canada, the folks seem to think at least that many Americans are off their rockers.oCanada1

I've just returned from eleven days on the road, traveling by car wit… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 28, 2011 5:44PM

Quitting 9/11

I’ve been imagining the 10th anniversary as marking a big change, in the manner of the event itself: a cleaver that again sunders my life into before and after. Ten years after the attack that took my husband and left me an involuntary member of a group of grieving relatives, I've… Read full post »

JULY 25, 2011 4:04PM

My Circles/Myself

Although I have friinternet-addictedends in the town where I live, I spend more of my free time online, socializing with people, many of whom I haven’t met in person. This is the new normal, where we can morph into hunky superheroes or meet and “marry” our soul mate and start a/… Read full post »

JULY 5, 2011 8:40AM

Hair Today...

Gimme head with hair Hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy, daddy

© 1967 James Rado & Gerome Ragni (lyrics); Galt MacDermot (music)

We are our hair. More than eye color or h… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 5, 2011 1:00PM

Past Perfect

imagesIn an attempt to unclutter my life. I’ve been throwing out papers, giving away clothes and sorting through boxes.  I seem determined to keep my memories consigned to mental cubbyholes. Too much looking back  feels  unsettling.

But the past is never really past, though it… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 6, 2011 10:13AM

10 Things I Wish I'd Said to Obama When I Met Him

Yesterday, as one of a group of selected 9/11 family members, I had an opportunity to meet with President Obama. Although the number of invitees swelled at the last minute and the format changed from a sit-down to a stand-up affair, I had my moments with the man. Problem is, IRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 2, 2011 10:37AM

Ding Dong: The Witch is Dead

Exhausted after a day of stripping three rooms bare in anticipation of a painting crew, I crashed Sunday night around 10:30. The phone rang at midnight and again at 1 AM but of course, I couldn't find it—the phone, that is. So I didn’t hear the messages from the media outlets… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 19, 2011 2:54PM

A Stronger Cup of Tea

You probably didn’t know Sally Goodrich. She was, among other things, a teacher and school administrator; a cancer survivor; wife of a small-town lawyer from North Adams, Massachusetts;  the mother of a young man killed on 9/11; and eventually, a dedicated advocate for Afghan civilians… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 15, 2011 2:57PM

Crying U.N.C.L.E.

My early teen years were a struggle, to say the least. I was ungainly, unsure and decidedly uncool. Eventually, I would attain the even teeth, the carefully ironed long hair,  even an acceptable body shape.  But in 1964, I wanted to look like my older brother's cheerleader girlfriends. More… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 29, 2011 9:41PM

Outside the Boxes

I’m moving.

To be honest, I’ve been promising/threatening to move out of my townhouse for eight or nine years; but this is the year I intend to set my intention into motion.  Perhaps it’s the tenth anniversary of my husband’s death or the fact that I’ve lived alone i… Read full post »

MARCH 10, 2011 9:24PM

Look Up

ciodotenergydotgovOSI first saw the man at the airport. He was on his Blackberry…or maybe it was an iPhone or an Android. He was reading or texting, preoccupied, his gaze never leaving the object in his hand.

All around him were people likewise fixated on their various devices.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 15, 2011 2:41PM

The Phony Widow

The prolific author Joyce Carol Oates has written a book about losing her husband, following in the heart-broken footsteps of many other such memoirs, such as The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Oates’ book, A Widow’s Story, has been generally, although carefully, praised save fo… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 9, 2011 5:59PM

Patent Pending

As I prepare for my entrance into what are colloquially known as “the cranky years,” I’m becoming especially sensitive about the marketing—or lack thereof—of services and products to the senior population. Besides pills, pads, portfolios and various insurance vehicles (i… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 28, 2011 1:04PM

The Kids Aren't Alright


Jan. 27, 2011: The emotional health of college freshmen — who feel buffeted by the recession and stressed by the pressures of high school — has declined to the lowest level sincRead full post »