An editorial note on comments on transgender issues

As long time readers know, I am reluctant to ban commenters but have done so on two previous occasions when it became clear that the people were not interested in a conversation with others but in merely repeating the same points over and over again, thus creating an unpleasant haranguing tone that spoiled the cordial nature of the discussions that I seek to encourage here.

The situation has arisen again with transgender issues where commenter Holms has created a similar problem. The issue of transgender rights is a very important one and there are many issues concerning it that I seek to highlight, partly as a learning experience for me and partly to create a broader awareness. But it has come to the point where I almost dread preparing a post that relates even tangentially to this topic because I know that Holms will once again create the exact situation in the comments that I seek to avoid.

Hence I have made an editorial decision that stops short of an outright ban. For details, please read my comment on the post An in-depth look at the trans experience.

I have not made this kind of partial ban before and am not sure how well it will work. I do read every comment that is posted and will continue to monitor the situation closely to see if any further action is warranted.

An unusual case of identity crisis

We have all heard of stories from fiction and real life of infants switched at birth. But the radio program This American Life had a true story with an unusual twist to this familiar tale.

Jason and Randy are identical twins, with Jason being born first and Randy emerging five minutes later back in 1972. Randy had to spend the first few days of his life in an incubator but after that the twins were identical, so similar that even their parents could not tell them apart. To keep track of which was Jason and which was Randy, their mother Annette dressed Jason in blue and Randy in red. As a backup, she would use blue diaper pins for Jason and pink for Randy.

All went well until they went for their six-week check up to the doctor. Annette dressed them in identical fancy outfits an aunt had sent them but kept the diaper pin system in order to tell them apart. But then the nurse took them from the mother, presumably for weighing, and when she returned she proudly told Annette that they had just started using pin-less disposable diapers (disposable diapers that used adhesive fasteners only came out in 1968) and she had put the boys in them, thus making them indistinguishable to their mother
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ESL not yet dead?

It appears that reports of the death of the new European Super League following the announced intention of withdrawing by the six UK clubs from the project may have been premature.

The Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, said the 12 clubs announced last week as founders of the European Super League cannot abandon it due to binding contracts and promised the project would return soon.

Pérez, whose club is one of three along with Barcelona and Juventus yet to withdraw, said it was not so simple for clubs to leave. “I don’t need to explain what a binding contract is but effectively, the clubs cannot leave,” Pérez told Spanish newspaper AS. “Some of them, due to pressure, have said they’re leaving. But this project, or one very similar, will move forward and I hope very soon.”

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Give that dog a medal! Or at least a biscuit!

During a high school 4×200 m relay race, a dog who had been among the spectators joined in and ran a superb anchor leg.

A pet dog escaped its owners to join the home stretch of a 4×200 metre relay race at a high school athletics meet in Utah. The dog, Holly, can been seen running on to the track to chase Logan high school’s Gracie Laney down the home straight. 

Holly clocked the final 100m in about 10.5 seconds, which is 1 second behind Usain Bolt’s world record, track and field website MileSplit reported. 

The crowd roared as the dog overtook Laney just before the finishing line, almost tripping her over. However, race officials did not award the victory to Holly the dog – the heat win went to Laney with a time of 1 minute 59.27 seconds. 

Holly was guilty of illegal lane changes and a bit of Usain Bolt-level showboating at the end when she eased up her pace alongside Laney before speeding up to pip her at the post. But it was still an impressive performance.

Ugly metaphors and sayings

In writing a recent post, I typed in the phrase ‘beat a dead horse’ that had come to my mind. Then I stopped short and asked myself why I was writing that. While it captured the futility of repeatedly doing something that will produce no result, it is a really ugly metaphor. What I mean by the word ‘ugly’ is not that the metaphor is inconsistent or mixed but that the image it brings up is unpleasant or cruel. The image of a horse that is dead being flayed by someone is abhorrent. So I replaced it with ‘belabor the point’.
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The proposed new European soccer league

UPDATE: Facing a massive backlash, all six UK clubs that had been part of the new ESL have withdrawn, pretty much torpedoing the whole project.. I am amazed that they did not anticipate the fierce reaction.

The world of soccer was thrown into turmoil by the announcement of the creation of a new European Super League of the richest twelve teams in Europe. Three other teams are expected to join them. The new league insists that they will continue to be part of the existing national leagues as well.

According to the ESL, the new format will involve midweek fixtures, with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, “preserving the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game”.

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Follow-up on the Mrs Sri Lanka fiasco

I know readers of this blog have been anxious to know the fallout from the dustup that occurred in the Mrs Sri Lanka competition when the previous year’s winner Caroline Jurie abruptly declared that Pushpika De Silva, the person whom she had just crowned the winner, was ineligible because she was divorced, yanked the crown off her head, and placed it on the head of the first runner up, all before a national TV audience. It has caused a sensation, with even the international media covering it.

Here again is the video of what happened.

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When to know to stop arguing

As the host of this blog, I am also the de facto moderator. I try to do so with an extremely light touch but there are occasions when I feel tempted to step in and lay down the law by banning people or shutting down comments. I have done so very rarely. One such situation is when a thread continues for much longer than I feel is necessary. As is almost always the case in the online world, all useful information and arguments have been presented within the first few exchanges. It should be obvious to everyone at that point that there are only two possibilities: either you are are terrible at making a persuasive argument and have to come back and try making the same point over and over again in different ways or, as is much more likely, the other person is determined not to have their mind changed and is simply deflecting your argument. Once that point is reached, we enter salami-slicing territory in which finer and finer distinctions are made which serve no purpose except that some people feel that they must have the last word or they have lost the argument, which is a fallacy but one that they cling to.
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The Mrs Sri Lanka competition turns into chaos

I had not been aware of this before but apparently there is a parallel competition to the Miss World competition called Mrs World, with corresponding competitions at the national level to select those who will take part. I would normally not have known about it but my sister in Sri Lanka asked me if I had heard about the sensational events at the recent Mrs Sri Lanka contest so I looked it up and, boy, it was a disaster of epic proportions, far outstripping the Steve Harvey debacle from 2015 when he declared the wrong winner in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.

Here’s the story.

Caroline Jurie won the Mrs Sri Lanka competition in 2020 and went on to win Mrs World. The 2021 Mrs Sri Lanka competition was held two days ago and the winner was declared to be Pushpika De Silva. At that point, Jurie created a sensation when, soon after she had done the traditional act of crowning her successor, she returned and forcibly took the crown off De Silva’s head and placed it on the head of the first runner up, declaring that the winner was divorced and thus not eligible.
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