TWAIN, STALIN AND COVID

Surprise! The field of statistics links Mark Twain with Josef Stalin—and the two of them with the COVID-19 pandemic. “There are three kinds of lies…” Twain wrote, “…lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Stalin supposedly said, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.” Both statements apply to some Americans’ response to COVID-19’s impact…

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, who go back to 1900, have disappeared. But the team will return next season—under another name. There’s a lesson here. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” says Juliet in Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet.” She references Romeo, a member of her family’s archrival House of Montague yet filled with…

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COMMON NONSENSE

Last Monday, the comic-strip cat Garfield announced, “I’m a rule follower. Rule number one… The rules don’t apply to me.” That’s funny—in a cartoon. In real life, nonsense. That morning, a Garfield wannabe nearly killed me.  I was crossing the street at Lake and Arguello when a red sedan sped through a red light and…

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I TURNED DOWN $5.4 MILLION

I just let an easy $5.4 million slip through my fingers. Foolish? Some people might think so. Because many Americans love a con job. Recently, I received a letter from a “barrister” in London. It promised me the life insurance proceeds of the late “Dr. Darrell Perlstein.” I’d net $5.4 million after 10 percent went…

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WEATHERING THE STORM

Hurricane Ida’s ferocious winds and rainfall hit southern Louisiana hard. Fortunately, my son Seth came out unscathed. Luck? Some. But he was prepared. As for me, preparing for the unknown was a lesson I learned only later in life. Regarding Seth, two months back, he moved from boisterous New Orleans to quiet Prairieville, a suburb…

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