February 15, 1995 |
The surprising thing is how infrequently they crawl out from under their rocks. But one of them did. He managed to muster enough skill and energy to dial a telephone and frighten a secretary at this newspaper with his promise to kill me. Perhaps his greatest fault is that he lacked imagination. His vitriol was nothing but a dismal repeat of low-level threats that come from some of life's most unfortunate beings pretending to be a member of the human species. It's not the first time he's called, nor, I suspect, will it be the last.
February 16, 1998 |
Martin E.P. Seligman was a young graduate student in 1964 when he observed the strange behavior of dogs in the psychology lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Instead of jumping to avoid a mild electrical shock, the dogs simply lay down and whimpered. Seligman came up with a novel explanation: The dogs, he reasoned, had learned from previous experiments that they could not escape the shock so there was no point in even trying. Seligman's theory, which he dubbed "learned helplessness," was met with skepticism in the scientific community, which believed that all animals learned only through a system of rewards and punishments.
March 17, 2003 |
As individuals, army ants have almost no brain to speak of, just a clump of neurons inside their tiny heads. Working as a group, however, they rule the Amazon jungles, marching in formation over acres of land and flushing out thousands of insects, even scorpions, that are their prey. The ants move out and then file back in orderly lines, with the returning parties efficiently forming lanes inside the outgoing ants. Iain Couzin, a biologist at Princeton University, has watched army ants in Panama's rain forest and figured out how they do it. Army ants don't follow a leader.
July 15, 2011
RE CHAD Dion Lassiter's July 5 op-ed, "A Cry from the heart on black-youth violence" : The article failed miserably in explaining why some black urban youth engage in destructive behavior. Mr. Lassiter, like many negro-centered right-wing thinkers, began by making a very narrow and subjective statement concerning the recent "youth-mob violence," saying they can't stop because "they are morally and spiritually bankrupt. " But he fails to explain the constant attacks these young black males have historically endured.
June 11, 2011
DEAR ABBY: "Kyle" and I have been good buddies for 10 years. The problem is I'm crazy about his younger sister. She and I have been talking over the last few months. Kyle knew we were talking in the beginning, and he told her to stay away from his friends. I think I understand his reasons, and I tried to talk to him on my own. Kyle said he doesn't want to deal with me calling him eventually about problems that may arise between me and his sister. Now when I hang out with her we have to be secretive.
April 4, 2011
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I divorced after she had a yearlong affair with a co-worker, whom she eventually married. Early in our marriage, I suspected she was having an affair with a relative, which she finally admitted to after our divorce. Now that our youngest son, "Douglas," has become an adult, he is beginning to strongly resemble his "Uncle Joel. " I don't know if other members of our large family have noticed, but when I asked my ex if it's possible that Douglas is not my biological son, she became very quiet.
March 31, 2009
DEAR ABBY: I am writing about your response to "John in Savannah," the 24-year-old man who is unsure how to explain to people that using a belt to discipline his three little girls is different from abuse. Sometimes, in order to teach that actions or behaviors are inappropriate, some form of punishment, whether it's a spanking or a time-out, becomes necessary. I give my children three chances when they misbehave. If they continue, they are punished. They know that there will be consequences if they do wrong.
October 1, 2000 |
After a quarrel with a relative on Aug. 20 last year, Miriam White took a black-handled steak knife from a red Coca-Cola cup in the kitchen of her South Philadelphia rowhouse. Concealing the knife beneath a coat, she ran down 22d Street in the rain. When she reached narrow, tree-shaded Beechwood Street, Miriam spotted Rosemarie Knight, a 55-year-old hairdresser who stood on the steps to her home holding the leash of her dog, Odie. Miriam White did not know Rosemarie Knight.
December 9, 2011 |
DESPITE efforts to define sexual harassment legally, it still means different things to different people. Some conduct now seen as sexual harassment was once accepted, at best, or considered boorish, at worst. Plenty of men over a certain age were guilty of it years ago. Unwelcome advances . . . talking trash . . . questionable banter. This was routine. Some women believed that they had no choice - accepting it as a nuisance that they had to tolerate. Many (perhaps most)
April 2, 2013 |
At 1 a.m. on May 7, 1991, Lenny Dykstra, drunk as he sped along winding Darby-Paoli Road in Radnor Township, slammed his red Mercedes sports car into a tree. The then-Phillies centerfielder escaped with fractured ribs and a broken collarbone. Twenty-two years later, that car crash remains an apt metaphor for Dykstra's life. Laws and limits aren't made for him. Dykstra is a self-powered machine bound for self-destruction. He races through life headfirst, heedless of others, an irresistible force in search of immovable objects.