Sunday, May 23, 2010

When did lesbians take over softball?

It's been nearly 20 years since I lived in America. Lots of things have changed. Still, I find it hard to accept that these days only lesbian women play softball because it wasn't the case in the 1980s.

This all goes back to that Wall Street Journal picture of Elena Kagan. Apparently anyone looking at that picture would have known that Kagan is a lesbian. Why? Because she's playing softball, that's why. I just don't know.

I didn't see the picture before I heard about the controversy, but I would not have associated a woman playing softball with lesbianism. Softball is not a tough game; you do not have to be 'butch' to play. I played quite a bit in the late 80s/early 90s in the mixed-sex company league when I was working for Citibank. I don't think any of the women I played with were lesbians.

When I look at the picture of Kagan all I see is a woman playing in a game at an office picnic or something like that. No uniform shirt or proper footware. Why read anything more than that into the picture?

Of course, the Irish media has picked up on all this nonsense and regurgitated what they're reading in the American press. As far as I can tell not a single Irish journalist has bothered to contact Softball Ireland, despite the fact that there are dozens of teams playing the game here, almost all in mixed-sex leagues. They might have been able to help the Irish Times by explaining that the women who play softball don't fit that or any stereotype.

Maybe there's a grain of truth to this whole 'women who play softball' thing, but all I can imagine is that this will make it that bit tougher to convince women in the office to turn out for the summer softball league.

Friday, May 21, 2010

No shortage of public money in Bray

Aren't we in a severe budget crisis? Aren't government bodies cutting back everywhere? I only ask because I've been wondering for the past few weeks where the money came from to re-landscape the roundabouts in south Bray? They used to be grassy areas, but now they're like half desert and half prairie with a small woodlands area.

Truth is, I don't know which public body paid for these 'upgrades', but it hardly matters. Money's supposedly tight and one of our local authorities - Bray Town Council, Wicklow County Council - thought this a wise investment. I liked the old style roundabouts better. And how long had it been since the last upgrade?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Leaving cert students should have option to take 2 math exams

The Tainaiste has suggested that universities accept students who fail the Honours Leaving Cert in Mathematics. That doesn't seem quite right to me, although I understand where she's coming from - too many students are bailing out of the honours paper and settling for the pass paper.

A simple and equitable solution would be to do the following: let all students take both the pass and honours paper (with an option to skip either). That's not feasible at the moment because the two exams are held simultaneously, but they could be held on different days.

That way any student who was afraid of losing out on a college place all together for failing honours math could take the pass paper as a fall back. There'd be no extra studying required as anyone who has put the work into an honours level course should have no difficulty passing the pass level paper.