Reflections on etymology, William Safire and the meaning of random

William SafireI missed marking the passing of William Safire, who authored my favorite newspaper column On Language until he became late in 2009 at the age of 79. So let me celebrate his work and how it touched me me, a little bit, now.

Safire inspired my love for language to blossom into good and accurate writing and introduced me to etymology – the topic of his twice weekly New York Times Magazine column for over 30 years. Teen me didn’t know that there was such a thing as etymology. It’s the study of words, and it’s fascinating. Safire’s compelling writing style pulled me right in. Google offers this definition: read more

Free press defender Joe Torres speaks at BCC Oct 2

Joe Torres @ BCC

Joe Torres @ BCCThere are times in history when the story of current events – what we know as news – enters a state of flux. New voices emerge to tell the stories of people and our world that are happening in real time. Today, we see this with YouTube, blogging, social media, community radio and TV. Periods of change can also be times of danger. People’s right to know must be protected and reporters must hold themselves responsible for present facts and truth without embellishment as far as they are able to discern them … in other words, the principles of expository journalism must be upheld. read more

Brazilian citizens are either happy OR removable liabilities

carla dauden on World Cup

carla dauden on World CupI boycotted the World Cup for the the same reasons young Brazilian Carla Dauden explains in her 6 minute video. Carla begins, “No, I’m not going to the World Cup and this is why …” She tells why the World Cup is good for the rich and for FIFA, but terrible and even terrifying for the average citizens of Brazil. Included are 90 seconds of clips showing conditions of oppression and tremendous need in a country that spent billions on the World Cup but refuses to invest in hospitals or medical care and that recently hiked public transit fares up so high people couldn’t afford to go to work. read more