Author Archives: Bob Welbaum

The History of Meme

The English language is fascinating, especially regarding the way new words are formed and how meanings evolve. Take “meme.” According to Merriam-Webster, the current meaning is “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) that is spread widely online especially through social media.” But the word itself isn’t new. It actually goes

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Who Needs Divorce Insurance?

Egypt has a problem. Both the cost of living and the rate of divorce are increasing. Egyptian divorces rose by almost seven percent in 2018 compared to 2017; it’s now 2.2 divorces for every thousand citizens, up from 1.9 in 2010. At the same time, the marriage rate has fallen from a little over 10

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Making Fictional Characters Real

Which fictional literary character had his obituary published in the New York Times? I’m thinking of Agatha Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot, whose death was announced on August 6, 1975 (https://www.nytimes.com/1975/08/06/archives/hercule-poirot-is-dead-famed-belgian-detective-hercule-poirot-the.html). Although very popular with readers, Dame Christie found her creation “insufferable and an egocentric creep.” The result was the book Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case. Time

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Kids, Writing, and Time Travel

It’s hard to get kids’ attention these days, especially with regard to creative writing. So what if you could use time travel? 826LA (http://826la.org/) is running with that idea. Its mission statement is “a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers

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Remembering Molly Ivins

August 30 was the birthday of Molly Ivins (1944-2007), a favorite journalist/humorist of mine. Among her musings is “The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.”  She was born in Monterey, California, but raised in Houston, Texas; her adopted state provided plenty

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