Can she feel the same kind of pride in Black Panther that she feels about sharing a genome with Olympic athletes? Black Panther won the gold, in every sense of the word. (Why was anyone surprised by the boffo box office?) Ryan Coogler and team used the standard ingredients of all super-hero movies — barroom brawl,…

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Watching the Olympic athletes in Korea contend with punishing winds and dangerous slopes, I marveled. Those hardy souls who rejoice in snow and ice are a race apart. Most of us are waiting out the winter, wishing it were over, or fleeing if we can. In January, the walls start to close in and by…

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Shakespeare isn’t easy: the vocabulary, the subplots — even the names can be stumbling blocks. Keeping the characters straight in Julius Caesar was a challenge: Cinna the conspirator and Cinna the Poet? Julius Caesar and Octavius Caesar? Marcus Brutus and Decius Brutus? But Julius Caesar was a piece of cake compared to Richard III’s roster…

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I wrote this piece a few weeks ago…. I guess I’ll just keep posting it when this happens again and again and again. In the aftermath of 17 dead in Florida, the reports seem to dwell on the fact that this is the MOST deaths in a high school shooting. Higher than Columbine! Like it’s…

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This essay was first published on WBUR’s Cognoscenti Shakespeare is always timely. Last fall, I sat in on rehearsals for Actor’s Shakespeare Project’s all-female production of “Julius Caesar,” which shone an Elizabethan light on the #MeToo movement. Nothing like a bunch of women wearing daggers to deliver the message that we will be heard. In…

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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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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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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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