On March 24, 2020 twins — a boy and a girl — were born during India’s lockdown to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. They were named Corona and Covid.
The name Corona, which is Latin for “Crown,” was a popular name in the early 1900s, and then slowly declined after 1924. Today, it is ranked 10,485 in popularity.¹ (To compare, the name “Lucifer” is ranked more popular — 8570.)
You might be wondering why anyone would name a child after an event with a death toll. But before you judge, remember that parents today have a tremendous burden to pick the…
While everyone today is fixated on Hollywood catfights, a century ago, writer feuds got tongues wagging. And while actors today may spar in Twitter wars, writers have always exchanged barbed words.
H.G Wells called Henry James “a painful hippopatamus.” John Keats resented comparisons between him and Lord Byron so much that he complained, “He describes what he sees — I describe what I imagine — Mine is the hardest task.” And Mark Twain’s hated on Jane Austen — “I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Clearly, Twain was not a fan.
Family car rides today are so dull. My parents had a pimped-out, wood-paneled station wagon with folding seats. If you put the two back seats down, there was enough room to play Twister.
My sister and I liked the added challenge of careening down the highway while our bodies pretzeled into each pose. Sometimes we let our dog play too. (But not on hot days. He made the circles slippery with his drool.)
My mom and dad now have a climate-controlled back seat with seat belts … for the dog.
“The dog gets a seatbelt? Why didn’t we wear seatbelts?”…
On May 19, 1962, Marilyn Monroe shimmied onto the Madison Square Garden stage, wrapped in a white ermine stole. When she reached the podium, she wrapped her stole around her tighter, teasing the 15,000 audience members before her big reveal. The celebration was to honor President John F. Kennedy’s approaching birthday, and Marilyn was the gift about to be unwrapped.
Peter Lawford introduced her, “Mr. President…the late Marilyn Monroe” — a playful jest about Marilyn’s frequent tardiness. And then, like Aphrodite stepping out of her seafoam, Lawford removed her stole, and the audience gasped. Marilyn was shimmering with 2,500 rhinestones…
There’s nothing more seductive than a reclining Venus. From Henri Matisse’s brightly colored Reclining Odalisque to Titian’s enigmatic Venus of Urbino, a woman needs only lie on her back with a come hither look to invite the gaze of the viewer.
But there’s another reclining Venus with a darker past — the “Anatomical Venuses” (also called ‘dissected graces’ or ‘slashed beauties.’) Her bow-like mouth drops in a quiet surrender to death. Or is it ecstasy? We will never know. Her stilled eyes stare past us with blackened pupils. She does not invite us to look.
And still, we cannot look…
“I am worried Tom* is losing interest. He seems distant lately.”
Without missing a beat, my friend Margaret* responded, “If it feels like he is losing interest…he is. You need to dump him and move on. You deserve better.”
I got off the phone, ready to rally my bruised self-esteem. God damn it, I did deserve better. I will just toss this one away and get swiping again…
But once my ego stopped manipulating my thoughts, I remembered that this is “my echo friend.”
Margaret never asked any questions before offering advice. She never asked — what makes you think…
“Rejection is just someone’s opinion.”
That was the advice a friend gave me recently after a manuscript I submitted to my agent was rejected. She meant to comfort me, but her advice felt hollow.
This was the “opinion” of someone with far more expertise than I have. It felt egocentric to dismiss it. (Btw, my opinion was that my manuscript was positively brilliant. Hers was that it was completely unmarketable.)
But did my agent’s opinion carry less weight than mine?
Whether it is our love life or work, it’s a question we must answer every time we face rejection —…
Three American presidents have been accused of rape (Grover Cleveland, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump). One traumatized his staff by repeatedly whipping out his genitals (Lyndon B. Johnson.) And one insisted on having sex with several mistresses on his wife’s bed (John F. Kennedy).
We would be naive to think these sexual dalliances were driven by libido. They were driven by power. And that power was absolute for one reason — there was no one to hold them accountable for their actions.