I wrote 40 stories this year. Here are 11 of them.
1. Shock. Outrage. Resistance. Repeat. Jan. 30, with Monica Hesse. In Donald Trump's America, there may be no more weekends — just an incessant cycle of shocks, of actions and reactions. For the second weekend in a row, Friday to Sunday was wall to wall with resistance and outrage.
2. In Va.'s Trump country, pleas to be heard. Feb. 23. Blackstone's history is that of small-town America: a crossroads settlement established in 1888 and nourished by tobacco and rail, made prosperous by the textile and furniture industries and then gutted by brain drain and the movement of manufacturing abroad. Many residents now commute to Richmond for work. A town hall meeting hosted by a congressman is a big deal for such a quiet town.
3. Tell us what happened, Faye Dunaway! Feb. 28. Halle Berry took Faye Dunaway by the shoulders. "I have to know," Berry said, her ringlets bobbing, in the center of the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at 12:15 a.m. Monday. "I have to know." Dunaway, resplendent in white, answered darkly: "Warren is right, is all I'll tell you."
4. Is Richard Simmons missing? Or is he just dearly missed? March 7. A short drive up into the Hollywood Hills is the Simmons manse. It is the color of buttercream. White Corinthian pillars divide its Grecian facade. The lace curtains are drawn. A Range Rover sits in the short crescent driveway behind a white iron gate. There is no buzzer, and the mailbox — a miniature copy of the house itself — appears to be sealed shut. A red van of star-seeking tourists idles briefly, barely stopping. In the past, Simmons would scurry out of his house to greet the gawkers. He was a particularly friendly mammal on the Hollywood safari. Now, nothing. There's something colorful in the window at the peak of the house. Balloons? One of his many feathered costumes? Is Richard up there, in the attic, watching us now? (Is he wearing a boa?)
5. This is California in the era of Trump. March 23. It is a Tomorrowland state, and Donald Trump is a Coney Island president. This is the California problem in 2017.
6. I am your new robot security guard. The first one drowned. This is our story. Sept. 26. My place of work is called "Washington Harbour." It is a place of brick and fountains and lawyers. My name is Rosie and I am a K5 Autonomous Data Machine. I provide surveillance and security. I am five feet tall and three feet wide and I weigh 398 pounds. I come from a Silicon Valley company named Knightscope that wants to change the world.
7. A place of vast resort. Oct. 5. Mandalay may have some class, but that's only because it has everything. It has "Walking Dead" slots and Elvira slots and a high-stakes slot room that no one ever seems to occupy. It has sushi, Wolfgang Puck, a headless statue of Lenin near a Russia-themed restaurant, a 10-foot statue of Michael Jackson on a 10-foot pedestal in the lobby, a shop named Essentials that sells $60 "Earth-friendly" headphones, and a beach-like pool whose artificial wave system was said to have been operated at one point by a man named Moses. Walking around the casino floor must be what the early stages of Alzheimer's feels like; everything looks vaguely familiar and strangely alien, and you're in a constant state of being vaguely lost and strangely soothed.
8. After the blast. Oct. 10. A scythe of light swept over the ground. The earth collapsed upward around the plant. Fiery hunks of metal and concrete streaked away like meteorites returning to space. A rippling dome of air bloomed from the explosion, crushing the firetrucks, racing out in a wall of pressure, flattening grass.
9. Violence. Threats. Begging. Harvey Weinstein's 30-year pattern of abuse in Hollywood. Oct. 15, with Monica Hesse and others. In 1984, Harvey Weinstein was 32 years old and making one of his first real feature films, on location outside of Scranton, Pa. It was a comedy called "Playing for Keeps," featuring a not-yet-famous Marisa Tomei, and the mood on set was anxious. Weinstein was foul-mouthed and domineering. He sparred routinely with his younger brother, Bob, his co-director. At one point, they wanted to shoot two versions of each scene because neither would compromise his vision.
10. The curious journey of Carter Page. Nov. 15. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team are somewhere underneath Washington, with their flashlights and pickaxes, while the rest of us remain aboveground, peering at the ominous cumulonimbus around Carter Page, scanning every inopportune grin, every halt in his speech, every bounce of an eyebrow. He's capable of both oversharing and evasion, sometimes in the same breath, and our collective paranoia flares: Is he just a goofball, or is this some kind of act?
11. The story of Washington's weirdest traffic circle. Dec. 26. It was the ongoing story of America, in a triangle of misbegotten land: a place between present and future, downtown and out-of-town, between where you are vs. where you want to be. Flowers gave way to railroads, gas gave way to fast food.