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A 4,000-mile cycling trek for cancer awareness led this young couple to the altar

2nd Star Productions updates this classic with color-blind casting

Aquarium names baby loggerhead

Find it in our new Coloring Corner

Small gardens can yield big rewards

It’s the critical link to your fish

The view was breathtaking — until the sun set, leaving us alone with a guide we didn’t know

It was late afternoon when I caught up with Sharon in the hotel bar. She was the roommate assigned to me by the travel company that ran my 1974 trip to Spain and Portugal. A teacher from New Jersey, she was older than me by 15 years, and, I thought, more worldly wise.     She was chatting with a man whom she introduced as Robert, a ­fellow American. “He’s an archeologist,” she told me. “He’s working on an old castle that’s not yet open to...

It was a school night when I awoke from a deep sleep to my sister’s piercing cry

Mother was away for schooling and Daddy was in charge. He was doing pretty well until the night of the attack.     It was a school night when I awoke from a deep sleep to my older sister Heather’s piercing cry. Our rooms were adjacent and I heard everything: the banging, the fighting, the blood-curdling screams. My sister and I weren’t the best of friends, but I had never wanted anything bad to happen to her.     “Daddeee!” I heard her...

22, alone and 4,500 miles from home

Imagine her: 22, attractive, alone, more than 4,500 miles from home. In a country whose native language is not hers. In a city of five million. On a Metro nearing midnight.     She exits the Metro and, to ease the long climb up the escalator at Gorkovskaya Station, shoves her folded umbrella into the side pocket of her duffle. She enters a moonless night, the White Nights of early summer a memory. Not far from the Neva, she crosses Kirovsky Prospekt bound for Malaya Posadskaya...

Tapping into the Ouija board like a phone line to ghosts

One month before college graduation with a blank future looming, I accepted a coworker’s invitation to a séance. She made it sound like such a good idea.     “A ghost saved my cousin’s life,” Barb insisted. “She warned him against a cross-country bike trip where his friend was hit by a semi-truck two days into the journey.”     She said that ghosts were omnipresent and omniscient. They were trapped souls looking for resolution...

Prepare to be scared

What’s the scardest you’ve ever been?         Our bio-clocks tick in bodies built of ancient stuff, with primal alarms still set. Autumn’s fading light sets off those alarms big time. Three hours had drained from our days between the 15 hours of the Summer Solstice, June 21, and the 12 hours of the Autumnal Equinox on September 23. Soon after Halloween, the night of the spirits, our daylight hours have shrunk to 10, with worse to come. By the...

The loudness of their voices filled the darkness of the sleeping house — A memoir circa 1951

The house breathed noisily around the sleeping girl and dog.     This house was too new for ghosts to have gathered, but floors creaked and walls settled in stealthy metabolism. Blown by the whirring fan, summer-light white eyelet curtains sucked the screens. Outside in the big dark beyond the open windows, cicadas shrilled. When a breeze stirred, enclosing junipers ran their green fingers down the screens’ outer skin.     Inside, the bedroom was hung with...

Twin Beach Players stages to scare

Twin Beach Players is making a habit of scary world premieres. This Halloween, it’s H.G. Wells’ unsettling science fiction novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau, adapted by playwright-in-residence Mark Scharf. Last year Scharf adapted The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to Twin Beach Players’ time and place; in 2013, he gave us Frankenstein.      “I try to keep it simple,” Scharf said, “having an appreciation for the resources Twin Beach Players provide. It...

Dress warmly if you want to get in on the nighttime bite

Darkness had fallen. The scattered fishing boats had headed home with little success. I was alone on the water, and it was a good deal colder than a few minutes earlier, when the sun was shining its last.     But I had dressed well. Zipping up the neck of my fleece turtleneck under a flannel-lined shirt and closing my foul weather coat around me, I settled down to wait.     Arriving just as everyone else was leaving was a little chancy. If the fish had shown up...

Moving rifts on the decline of jazz and a family

“Jazz is life.” So says Jim Reiter, director of Colonial Players’ Side Man, billed as an elegy for a lost love and a lost world. Both jazz and life, he explains, are propulsive, rhythmic and sometimes distorted improvisations where we all riff on the expectations set before us.     Unfortunately, musicians can’t riff on life as easily as they can on a tune, which is the point of this autobiographical tragicomedy by Warren Leight (producer of TV’s...

Here’s the one way to kill kudzu and bamboo

These very invasive species cannot be killed by spray during the summer months. They grow so rapidly that the week killers knock back only the top of the plants and not the roots.     To kill the roots of perennial plants, the weed killer must translocate downward into the roots and rhizomes. For kudzu, you need only to kill the roots. For bamboo, you must kill both the roots and the rhizomes, the underground stems from which new bamboo canes appear.     ...