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Disks in Rotation:
DVD Pulp Fiction
CD Carousel
Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet
Exodus - Force of Habit
Jane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual
Pantera - The Great Southern Trendkill
Tool - Undertow

Books Lying Open
Grimm's Fairy Tales, The Brothers Grim

Soul-Devouring Worry
All dreams must die, in time.

When I Grow Up:
I will pay the bills before they send me angry letters.

Curse of the Day:
May you sleep the sleep of the constipated.

Friday July 19, 2002
Quote of the Day
Whenever I travel I like to keep the seat next to me empty.  I found a great way to do it.  When someone walks down the aisle and says to you, "is someone sitting there?" just say, "no one -- except the Lord." -- Carol Leifer

Daily Blog
Irregular sleep patterns are dragging on me.

I was up very late Wednesday and Thursday, going to sleep finally around 10am.  I then forced myself up around 2-3pm, hoping that would make me tired enough to go to bed earlier.  It didn't work Wednesday, but did Thursday night, and I crashed just after midnight.  Unfortunately that wasn't late enough, and I only slept until around 4am.  It's now 10am as I type this, I've been up since 4, and I'm yawning and cranky.  Just as well I've got no one to talk to but the rats, since I'd probably be snippy.

I have to work tonight, so I'm hoping I'll be tired enough for a nap this afternoon, or else I'll really be dragging.

It's such a madcap, hectic life I lead.


Creepy story from the UK, one of those "angel of death" murdering nurse/doctor types has been further investigated and his current tally stands at at least 215.  Yes, that's 215+ people he murdered.

Shipman was convicted in January 2000 of killing 15 of his patients with lethal heroin injections and was sentenced to life imprisonment for each of the murders.

But an inquiry into the case, by High Court judge Dame Janet Smith, has found that a further 200 deaths were "highly suspicious" while there was a "real suspicion" he could have claimed a further 45 victims.

I do think about this sort of thing when I see a hospital or doctor, and am glad I've never needed any medical treatment to that extent.  I wasn't exactly eyeing the orderlies when visiting my dad after he had back surgery recently, but the thought did cross my mind.  I read a case study about another woman of this type recently, and have seen others in the past, and they are always so scary.  The almost total lack of oversight in terms of medical care deaths that allows them to kill dozens and dozens of people without any real suspicion is quite disturbing, and half the time they are suspected some doctor or the hospital administrator just fires them, when they move on to some smaller clinic and continue their killing.

My advice is just don't get sick or need surgery.  Ever.  Or if you do, make sure everyone near your body at the time is a close personal friend or relative.

A cool dinosaur skeleton and a weird scientist.

"If you didn't have the fossils, you wouldn't believe that such an animal would have ever lived," Kellner said in a telephone interview from Rio de Janeiro.

"Can you imagine such an animal just cruising over the water and skimming over the surface in your direction? It must have been, really, a vision of hell," added Kellner, of the National Museum in Rio.

An odd version of hell, eh? My vision of the mythical purgatory is more fire and brimstone and shit, and less ocean with dinosaurs, but perhaps they have some different mythologies in Brazil.

I'm sure Slashdot is just in a frenzy about this one, but since I don't read that site, I'll post a link about it here anyway.  There was some sort of conference about digital copyright issues, and not-surprisingly the organizers weren't real interested in the consumer advocates there.  Fair use is taking a beating, it looks like.

Just for an example in contrasts, compare that "right to pirate DVDs" story, which is one of the biggest ordeals we suffer in America, to this one, showing the sort of ordeal you get in repressive theocratic societies.

A Pakistani Christian who claimed he was Jesus Christ and called Islam a fake religion has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Keneth was arrested a year ago in Lahore of violating Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws after he sent a letter to a local imam and others stating that he was Christ and Islam was a fake religion.

Under Pakistani law, only the word of a Muslim accuser is needed to prosecute a non-Muslim on blasphemy charges, which can carry the death penalty upon conviction.

Let's all join hands and thank god for the separation of Church and State with which we are blessed.

itcairn Island (Islands, actually) is a speck of land in the Pacific, famous due to the infamous mutineers of the HMS Bounty landing and settling there after setting Lieutenant Bligh adrift.  At least that was formerly the only reason for its fame.  There is new attention for a much less pleasant reason.

I keep seeing headlines about this sexual abuse (underaged sex, actually) trial that's about to be held against people on Pitcairn Island.  The part of the story that leaps out at you is that there are 44 island residents, and prosecutors are looking to charge at least 20 men in the case.  So you figure they'll basically empty the island of men, and by extension, virtually every single man on the island is some sort of raping pedophile.

Well not exactly.  Lots of the soon-to-be-accused men live elsewhere by now, and apparently some of the alleged assaults are from tourists visiting the island.  It sounds a lot more complicated when you look at the actual facts of the matter.

Pitcairn has long been idealised by the outside world, thanks to its enchanting setting and the lure of the Bounty legend, which has inspired five Hollywood films. But some recent visitors have found it less than idyllic, returning with tales of a claustrophobic, inter-related community riven by petty rows and feuds.

Others say they were struck by the sexual precocity of the island's young girls.

Obviously with just 44 people, everyone knows everyone, and anything the kids get into is going to effect all of them.  How many young girls can there be anyway, with just forty odd people?  Five or six?  It sounds like one or more of them were really bored (has to be boring on a tiny island like that) and got into sex at a younger age than Western civilization currently approves of, probably talked about it to the other girls, and then several of them were willing to give it a go.  Nothing else to do, after all, and he male inability to turn down available tail is universally known.

A Kent police constable, Gail Cox, who was temporarily stationed on Pitcairn, began an inquiry that quickly grew into a major investigation.

I've not read anymore than this article, so no idea if this is accurate but it seems like probably the underaged sex was an accepted (or at least nod and winked at) part of island life, and now some outsiders have found out about it, especially this female cop, and are crusading against it.

Children are more coddled today in Western culture than they have ever been at any time in the past, to my knowledge.  Hundreds of years ago most kids were working full time, just like adults, by the time they were 10 or 12.  People got married in their early teens, girls had 3 or 4 kids by the time they were 20, etc.  Much of the world is still like this, and we hear about some arranged marriage of a 13 y/o girl in Saudi Arabia or India or Africa and think it's so horrible, applying our morality to another culture where that sort of thing is an accepted, regular occurrence.

Which isn't to say that it's good or right or that children should be married and/or working full time before they are 15, but they've done that all through human history.  It's just now that we have sufficient technology and wealth that education is mandatory, and it's prolonged childhood by years and years.  Thus things that were commonplace a few hundred years ago are now outrageous criminal acts, due entirely to changing cultural mores.

The laws are very oddly-applied as well.  If a couple of 14 y/o's have sex it's kids experimenting, and maybe their parents are upset, but the law almost never gets involved.  But if an 18 or 20 y/o has sex with a 15 y/o, it's a huge criminal issue.  Especially if the woman is the younger one, or the sex was homosexual, and never mind if the younger person was entirely willing, has a mature body, etc.

I'm not really saying this is wrong, though I think prosecution of underaged sexual "crimes" should be done with a lot of evaluation and objectivity, on a case by case basis.  Some people at 15 are mature and ready for adult relationships.  Others are immature and need to be protected.  Of course their "lover" should be looked at closely as well.  If it's some 50 y/o guy who is clearly manipulating them and leading them on for sex, then bust his ass.  If it's someone just a few years older and they seem to really like each other, or it's a brief fling that didn't do anyone any harm, then why make everything worse with a big legal ordeal?

Obviously I'm speaking in general terms here, not just about the Pitcairn Island case, where the girls were apparently as young as 5 in some instances.  That's indefensible, of course it's child molestation if the kid isn't past puberty.  And yes, kids that age are very often interested in sex, interested in the other gender's anatomical differences, and I'm sure you could find cultures in the past that didn't have the horror of modern Western society at the thought of children with sexual impulses, but that's taking the permissiveness too far.  Children aren't able to deal mentally with such impulses or concepts; that's why we have laws protecting them and not holding them fully responsible for their actions until they reach a certain age.

You could also argue that the reason kids are so immature today is that they are treated "like children" by adults, given no real responsibilities or burdens, and therefore don't have to "grow up" until they are out in the real world.  And lots of them don't do so even then; you can see articles every week about how many 20-something and 30-something adults still live at home, or moved back there after college.  It's no fun to be responsible and pay your own bills and keep your own house, etc.  Much easier to have someone else do it for you, especially if that someone is your parents.  Lots of people will willingly give up their independence and freedom to lessen their burden in life.

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