Hazy on number of masked Trump rally-goers in Tulsa? Media failed to zero in on the figure

Before President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa this past Saturday evening, I predicted that 2 percent of those in attendance would be wearing masks as a precaution against catching the COVID-19 coronavirus. (You can find my forecast here, on my “Go Figure: Making Numbers Count” page.) Having heard that the capacity was 20,000 at the […]

‘A Beer With Baron’ Marathon Prompts a Round of Reflection

For over a decade, I have had the honor of interviewing some of the most fascinating, accomplished, all-around cool people who hail from Oak Park, Illinois, the community that has been my home for over 25 years. Some guests I had the pleasure of knowing already; others–thanks to the show–I have been fortunate to get […]

How to undermine your lobbying effort in one (cut-and-paste) step

You are passionate about an issue. You inspire and organize others who are likewise passionate. To spark change, you need to persuade someone else—an individual or a group of people—to see things your way. What do you next? If you confuse “like-minded” with “carbon copy,” you may make the mistake of committing cut-and-paste activism. That’s […]

Confessions of a sports trivia nut: recalling my surreal Sports Jeopardy! experience

The question: “What is the most surreal experience I have ever experienced?” The answer: Competing in May 2015 on Sports Jeopardy!, an offshoot of the immensely successful Jeopardy! television game show. Of course, in the inside-out world of the program, the art is coming up with the question to an answer that is already, if […]

Our daily shopping choices: a super-simple way to boost local economy amid COVID-19 era

During this COVID-19 era, any trip through the commercial corridors of Oak Park, Illinois—my community along the western border of Chicago—has revealed its potential as a post-apocalyptic movie set. But here in my town—and wherever you are, within your community—there is a simple mathematical principle that empowers us to revise the script: shop locally, as […]

The power of greater expectations–including when the media lets you down

How do you respond when someone is unaccountable or otherwise fails to meet expectations? Many years ago, a mentor offered me wise words on how to handle these situations. His counsel went something like this: “If you want to yell at them, or give them a piece of your mind, or tell them how they […]

Epic math gaffe by Brian Williams & Mara Gay highlights great need for improved numeracy

When it comes to mindless journalistic blunders, there are brain cramps and then there are lobotomies. Example of a brain cramp: the time in the late-1990s when, as a newspaper reporter, I referred to a high school student as “Dustin Hoffman.” He shared a first name with the famous actor, but not the last name, […]

On heels of outrageous outburst, local newspaper nails it: ‘Setting the bar higher’

Above two letters in today’s print edition of the Wednesday Journal of Oak Prk and River Forest was a most apt banner: “Setting the bar higher.” One letter was written by Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, in which he apologized for Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla’s libelous public attack last week of a resident in the moments […]