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Six Takeaways From Watching a Conversation Among the Deaf

I had occasion to watch a quintet of deaf people have a little social gathering at my neighborhood pool one afternoon last week. Though they also used their voices and formed words, it quickly became evident that their intense and ongoing gesturing with their hands was not due to a common Italian heritage.

Though I could make out an occasional word from where I sat at only a slight remove from them, their speech was not quite clear and it was apparent that they were complementing their verbalization with sign language (or vice versa, actually). I felt a bit like a voyeur as I subtly gazed their way while otherwise keeping my nose in a book, but writers being natural voyeurs, I wallowed in virtually zero guilt as I took note of the following:

1. A couple of people arrived with small ice chests and bags out of which they produced plentiful food and drink...

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Age of Vanity: Ali, Whitman, Facebook & Us

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

—Ecclesiastes1

I was a fight fan in my youth.
On Friday nights, my dad would pop home after his arduous work week with a quart or two of Eastside Old Tap Lager in hand—or when he was feeling flush, the slightly pricier Miller High Life—and we’d tune into the Friday Night Fights hosted by Don Dunphy, whose voice remains permanently etched in my memory. (Exactly where, is what I want to know, and how does memory encode itself into my brain matter to so clearly remember a voice?)

Anyway, this was a weekly ritual, my brother and I sipping RC Colas (cheaper than Coke) and sneaking an occasional sip of beer when Dad went to the bathroom. It went on for years, at least as I remember it, until this very brash and intriguing figure named Cassius Clay came on the scene after he’d won the gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics.

My dad ...

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