Wine & War, France’s Fight to Protect its Greatest Treasure

Nazi soldier in Burgundy Vineyard

There was a time in my life when I thought I hated history. My irritation with the subject developed in high school. History classes were taught by athletic coaches, most of whom didn’t seem particularly interested in the subject matter and I found our textbooks to be completely devoid of…

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Coup in Detroit! Rare Van Gogh Exhibit Upstages America’s Coasts

Van Gogh's Stairway at Auvers

At the end of September, I drove to Detroit to attend a panel discussion featuring two descendants of Vincent van Gogh. Josien van Gogh, Vincent’s great-grandniece, and her daughter, Janne Heling, had come to the Motor City to help kick off a new exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts, titled Van Gogh…

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What’s in a Paragraph? Why Humans Outdo Auto-Translators

Commendation Translation Focus

This week I spent time translating a document for a friend whose grandfather fought in World War I. The document, issued by the French government, recognizes members of a United States Marine Regiment that helped defeat the Germans near the end of the war. There’s only one paragraph to translate.…

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A Look at Cancel Culture’s Trashing of a Remarkable Filmmaker

Smaker filming in Saudi Arabia

This week I listened to an interview with Meg Smaker, a gutsy yet empathetic filmmaker whose documentary, Jihad Rehab, was initially hailed by numerous film festivals and critics, then condemned and dropped like a hot potato. The claim that the film was Islamaphobic is behind its sudden death sentence. After…

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My 10 Best Nonfiction Picks from 2022

Nonfiction November focus image

Since it’s “Nonfiction November” I thought I’d spend some time reviewing my favorite nonfiction reads from this year. I’d say that on the whole, 2022 has been a better-than-usual year for nonfiction—basing that statement on nothing other than my personal experience. I feel like this year I broke through a…

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Jerome Lejeune, the Saint who Stole the Scientific Spotlight

My last post featured the bitter story of Marthe Gautier, a young female doctor betrayed by her male colleagues. In 1957, Gautier was a promising intern in the field of pediatric cardiology. While working in a research lab studying children with intellectual disabilities, Gautier’s ingenuity and dedication led to the…

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Marthe Gautier, Forgotten by the Misogynistic March of History

Marthe Gautier

In the 1950s, a young doctor named Marthe Gautier happened to be the only scientist in Paris who knew how to grow human cell cultures. Gautier had perfected the new, cutting-edge technique after receiving a highly-coveted scholarship that sent her to study at Harvard University for a year. Upon returning…

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