Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Target of Terror

While there have been plenty (far too many, in fact) instances of gay-bashing in this world, this is the first incident which I've heard of that feels like what we normally think of as "terrorism."

At the Outgames, currently taking place in Copenhagen, two bombs were thrown onto the running track at the stadium, injuring one runner. Earlier, three men were beaten on the streets of Copenhagen after the opening ceremonies. The hate, the hate, the hate -- what does it accomplish?

An Affirmation of Life

Reflections on the momentous achievement (despite the ultimate defeat) of Tom Watson in this year's Open Championship by Tom Friedman. Money quote:

"Watson has unique golfing skills, but if you are a baby boomer you could not help but look at him and say something you would never say about Tiger or Kobe: “He’s my age; he’s my build; he’s my height; and he even had his hip replaced like me. If he can do that, maybe I can do something like that, too.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Answer the question, congressman (woman)!

It's a simple question, yet they avoid it. Hard not to get fed up with politicians, isn't it?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Africa Unite!

With the rest of the world.

The completion of a new submarine fiber optic cable will give Kenya and several other East African countries faster, more widespread, less expensive access to the Internet. Which means some huge opportunities for people in those countries to more effectively participate in the global economy. Which seems like a good thing. One of these days, when you call United Airlines, instead of getting someone in Bangalore, you might end up talking to Mombasa.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Labels get a bad rap. Yes, in some instances they can be abused when people allow stereotypes to affect their judgment of individuals based on attributes shared by a broader group. But when they are accurate (and used judiciously), they can communicate a lot of information very efficiently.

This thought comes to me as I apply for an online golf handicap and am asked to choose what sort of golfer I am from the following list:

High Handicapper
Bogey Golf
Low Handicapper
Teaching Pro
Touring Pro

Those are labels that work. Each is just about the right amount of information to determine how good a golfer someone is, and therefore how comfortable you might feel playing a round with them.

I'd quibble about the Teaching Pro and Touring Pro categories. I understand why the service would want that information, but it spoils the climb from least-skilled to most-skilled. At least the inclusion of Teaching Pro does, since I've known several teaching pros who are no longer scratch golfers. Give the pros a different box to click.

Now it was time to label myself. I was tempted at first to select "Mid-80s" for my skill level, but only for a moment until checking "Bogey Golf." I may have had a few rounds in the mid-80s, but I'm a much more reliable 88 or 92 still.

Then it got worse. They wanted to know my personality. But for this far more complex labeling task I was offered only four options:


Which is why the choice was much tougher. I'm definitely competitive. (Oy, am I compeititive.) Certainly not passive. Playful? Yes, but I don't want people to think I'm frivolous. Focused? On golf, yes. In general? Well, I'm not called "ADD boy" by one who knows me well for nothing. Competitive it was, though I worry some might read "competitive" as "jerk who yells at himself, throws clubs and plays head games with you".

As labels, that meager collection doesn't tell you much. How much harder is it to choose 30 or so traits and let people choose three to describe themselves?