May 2012


Two characters—who happen to be dogs—needed for my WIP. Attested by naturalist Pliny the Elder to be  “… of very large size.”  Brought from a chain of islands in the Atlantic to the North African mainland  by expeditionary forces of Juba II, Berber king of Roman Morocco, around 2,000 years ago. Possibly a hybrid of the islands’ indigenous dogs and escaped hunting dogs of ancient… Read More

"My Sword and Sandals, Please!"

In childhood, while many of my friends were off at ballet and tap lessons, I was parked  too close to the Zenith  console, mesmerized — whenever I was lucky enough to find them — by sword-and-sandals pictures. You know, those black-and-white Italian imports boasting muscular heroes,  bouffant-coiffed  heroines in chiffon, and daring fight scenes.  So what the words didn’t match the lip movements? They were… Read More

When You're Smiling ...

Twenty centuries ago, Roman poet and self-styled love expert Ovid wrote that, in order to be sexually attractive, “Women should learn how to hide their blackened teeth.” A difficult trick, but a necessary one in the ancient world because — in an age before spinbrushes, pastes, and flosses, with nothing but the occasional silver pick to remove lettuce (Rome loved its salads, in case you… Read More

All Hail the Mediterranean Diet!

I’m always on a diet: the Mediterranean Diet, which seems to keep me in good condition both mentally and physically.  How simple it and healthful it is: a bit of  meat and poultry, more fish,  a few tasty grains, and plenty of vegetables and fruit. Like this, spilling gloriously from a glass bowl  in Pompeii around 70AD. Though the fresco has faded, the fruit still… Read More