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Archive for January 2018

Power to the punchline: Samantha Bee and Robin Thede

This essay appeared previously on WBUR’s Cognoscenti with several great links. A few years back, the marquee late-night TV talk shows played a game of musical chairs, which ended with all five hosting seats taken, by a man, by men. HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” the latest entry in this elite club, also put a male member…

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Is it one word or two? If two, does it need a hyphen? If you want to avoid using an obscenity but need to communicate the word in question, is it better to use ellipses? If so, is “sh…hole” better than “s-hole?” Should quotation marks be mandatory to indicate The Source in Chief? As the…

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A blogpost about the terrible, no good, very bad weather

Most of us grew up with Hurricanes named Mariah, Suzanne, Henrietta, and Inez. I don’t recall much of a kerfuffle in 1978 and 1979 when the weather service decided it was only fair to add men’s names to the mix, which meant that Hurricane Melissa has been followed by Hurricane Norman ever since. (Had the…

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Memories of my mother and the owls

My mother had lived in the one-bedroom apartment for 17 years, and when she died in October, my brother and I assumed that emptying it for the next tenant would be relatively easy—after all, there was no basement or attic to empty, and she had always been a hard core balleboste, Yiddish for “mistress of…

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