- From the time I was a young boy, I enjoyed reading ancient myths and legends. I devoured the tales of ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient India, as well as the Celtic and Norse legends of antiquity. These stories were not only wildly entertaining, and exciting, they also inspired me to learn more about the real-life histories of these magical, faraway lands. One of my favorite myths is about the “Giant's Causeway,” one of the world's most spectacular natural geologic formations, in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, and how it came to exist. The Causeway comprises some 40,000 columns (some of which are nearly forty feet high) made of basalt and are linked to each other and disappear like steps into the sea -- the beautiful product of a volcanic eruption unknown eons ago.
- Yesterday, my colleague Alex Kaufman commented on the awful case in Dubai of the Norwegian woman who reported her rape to police and was thrown in prison for 'extramarital sex', which is apparently illegal there. He basically argued, not incorrectly, that we should pressure Dubai to change its laws via boycott. And make no mistake, their laws are awful, but while his frustration is fair, the experience of women who are raped here is not that much better. In a recently published a personal essay in VICE, Gina Tron writes about her awful experience dealing with authorities after she was raped.
- President Barack Obama and NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s surprising courtship has led to a great deal of excited Beltway chatter over the past few days, but it should be seen for what it is: scary and strange. Obama fawned over New York’s top cop last week, going so far as to float his name and the title of Department of Homeland Security Secretary in the same sentence. “Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is, but if he's not I'd want to know about it, because obviously he'd be very well qualified for the job,” Obama told Univision’s New York affiliate last week, adding that Kelly has done an “extraordinary job” as NYPD commissioner, Politico reported.
- Tourists should avoid Dubai until it passes new laws to protect women who report being raped. The city’s glitzy hotels and luxury retailers create a veneer of modernity over the desert city, nestled on the shores of the United Arab Emirates. In many ways, Dubai can count itself among the world’s international centers of commerce -- alongside London, New York and Hong Kong. But like the backwoods cast of CBS’s 1960s hit “The Beverly Hillbillies,” newfound oil wealth can put you in league with the global elite before you catch up with its social mores. In the UAE, as in some other countries that use Islamic law, a woman can only help convict the man who rapes her if the accused confesses or four adult men must testify as witnesses.
- I am well aware this is an extremely sensitive and controversial subject and may upset and offend some readers, but here goes anyway. East Indian people are very race- and skin-color conscious. It's a trait that is permanently embedded in our ancient DNA. When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008 (and after he won the election), my Indian friends, acquaintances and relatives made some of the following comments about him: “He has light skin and fine features, he's not really black”; “He talks very well, not like most black people”; “The Democrats chose him because he's articulate, went to Harvard and seems nice and civilized”; “He probably wouldn't suffer any racial problems, nor rejection, in India”; “Why on earth did he marry her [Michelle]?”; “I wouldn't be afraid of him if I saw him walking down the street”; “If he had straight hair, he'd almost look Indian.” The list of far more inflammatory remarks goes on, but I'd be too embarrassed to repeat them here.
- After New York placed Derek Jeter on the 15-day disable list a slow rumbling began calling for his retirement. Many have praised Jeter for all his accomplishments, but said they didn't want to see him fall. And that’s the crux of the problem. We’ve already come to recognize how immense and powerful a player Jeter has became over the past two decades. Now as we see him struggle we realize he is human. The revelation is similar to the first time we realize that our parents are not invincible and are capable of mistakes.
- While Michael Jordan is the standard for players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to measure themselves, it's unfair to judge them on their ability to win as many titles as the Chicago Bulls legend.