Are you poor?

We talk about the poor and rich and middle class and can even classify people into those categories based on metrics such as income and wealth. But if we ask people directly to describe themselves, my guess is that fewer than we expect will describe themselves as currently being poor. This is because the subjective and objective interpretations of the word are quite different.
[Read more…]

Fast bowling in cricket

I was reading about the large number of baseball pitchers who suffer serious elbow injuries that require something popularly known as Tommy John surgery so named after a famous pitcher. Something known as the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow gets frayed, stretched, or torn during the pitching motion and has to be replaced. These injuries, along with rotator cuff injuries, can occur in even young children playing in Little League games.
[Read more…]

The ‘Free-Range Kids’ movement

We live in an era of fear of all manner of dangers, many of them highly exaggerated. This extends to many parents not allowing their children out of their sight. I have been interested in the so-called ‘Free-Range Kids’ movement, where parents are encouraged to give their children more freedom to roam the neighborhood and not have adults hovering over them all the time.
[Read more…]

On speaking and writing about transgender issues

When it comes to discussing issues of gender identity and transgender issues, I must admit that I tread very gingerly simply because it is so new to me. Even though I personally know six people who are transgender, I don’t feel that I fully understand all the nuances involved and thus am cautious so as to avoid inadvertently saying something insensitive or even offensive.
[Read more…]

When did disaster press conferences become like awards speeches?

Cartoonist and essayist Ted Rall asks a good question.

This is for you older readers: when did news conferences become long-winded acceptance speeches?

I’m too young to remember for sure, but there must have been a time when, after a train derailment or a tornado or a flood or a race riot or whatever, public officials stepped up to the microphones to deliver a status update (“as soon as we learn more, we’ll let you know”), and perhaps some advice to the public (“avoid downed live wires, especially the ones that are sparking, like in that movie The Ice Storm”), answered reporters’ questions and left the stage.

Today’s news conferences are a dreary, undignified mélange of pro forma acknowledgements and sentimental pabulum.

[Read more…]