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** FILE * Theodore Roosevelt, is shown speaking when he stumped the country for William McKinley during the Presidential Campaign of 1900. Roosevelt was McKinley's running mate on the Republican ticket. Speaking loudly and carrying on like. It's a rare part of the 2008 presidential campaign rhetoric that crosses party lines. Democrats and Republicans alike are frequently invoking the words of the nation's 26th president and renowned political maverick. (AP Photo)

A look at Teddy Roosevelt and the birth of the primary process

Sunday, February 7, 2016

If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination for president, over the strenuous efforts of party regulars to derail him, he ought to send a note of thanks to Geoffrey Cowan. Almost 50 years ago, Cowan led a campaign among the Democrats to strengthen the system of primary elections and reduce the power of party bosses. The campaign succeeded, giving the …

Cam Newton took fancy pants where other pros dare not go

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowl fashion Lots of athletes have style, but could they rock the Cam pants? Super Bowl 50 is here and it has a breakout star: the $849 Versace skinny pants of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Newton was snapped last week in the zebra stripe, gold swirl rocker pants as he boarded …

‘When Breath Becomes Air’ details dying doctor’s quest to find meaning

Sunday, February 7, 2016

In his posthumously published When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi gets straight to the sudden turning point in his life: the day the Stanford neurosurgery chief resident looked at a scan showing he had advanced cancer and likely little time left. What follows is a poignant account of his life, his quest to …

New James Dean bio offers cool trivia but nothing new

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The 60th anniversary of James Dean’s fatal car accident Sept. 30, 1955, catalyzed, as major anniversaries unfailingly do, new biographies of the short-lived but idolized actor. In Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, Keith Elliot Greenberg, …

Superb Margaret Thatcher bio sets record straight

Sunday, January 31, 2016

On Dec. 15, 2015, after the Victoria and Albert Museum refused to accept the collection for its fashion archives, Margaret Thatcher’s clothes and memorabilia were auctioned by Christie’s. While the left-wing British press mocked the auction as a …

‘Bad News’ a testament to author’s bravery

Sunday, January 31, 2016

In Bad News, Anjan Sundaram writes that a story’s first paragraph should “contain the essential information and grab the reader, yet be brief.” His own first sentence does just that: “I felt swallowed by the wide road, the …

Carol Goodman delivers thrilling ‘River Road’

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Grief can not only emotionally paralyze a person, making that individual retreat from relationships, but it also can make that person vulnerable to manipulation by others, as Carol Goodman shows in her intense River Road. Creative writing professor …

On my nightstand: ‘Angel of Light’ bursting with frantic energy

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I used to read a lot of Joyce Carol Oates’s novels many years ago. When I recently picked up her Angel of Light novel (1981), I knew I was in for a whirlwind experience and I certainly wasn’t …

Hopkinton students head west in Rodgers and Hammerstein musical ‘Oklahoma!’

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It’s the turn of the century – 1906 to be exact – and the western Indians territories are filling up with farmers and ranchers from the east. Oklahoma isn’t yet a state. So sets the stage for Rogers …

Broadway and Hollywood mix for hybrid musical ‘Grease: Live’

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fox is gearing up to give Broadway a serious dose of the Hollywood treatment. Grease: Live, airing Sunday at 7 p.m., goes beyond other made-for-TV live musicals such as The Sound of Music and The Wiz, both of …

Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament returns to White Park

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hockey players will lace up Friday for the sixth annual Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament in Concord. Despite warmer-than-usual temperatures this week, parks and recreation Director David Gill said White Park’s pond has about 8 inches of solid …

In Oscars crisis, Chris Rock and a microphone loom large

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

When Chris Rock first hosted the Oscars in 2005, the four black actors nominated that year – Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo and Jamie Foxx (twice!) – didn’t escape his notice. “It’s like the Def Oscar Jam!” …

Two Sundance films explore a journalist’s on-air suicide

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

When two movies are released at about the same time on the same subject, the topic is often something silly and big and spectacle-filled, like Armageddon and Deep Impact or White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. But …