a litany of unpleasant karma.

When I got back on Monday, I got all these links and I had thoughts about them. But they're all pretty sad, and that wasn't how I was feeling Monday or yesterday, so I didn't put them in the journal; and it's not really how I feel today, but I had things to say about those stories, so I'll just put them here.

This should be the six hundredth entry in this journal, at least since the server crash in 2001 or so. It's been a healthy thing, I think, as I write only when I feel like it. It lets me keep up my use of language (some times better than others), and it lets anyone who cares get caught up on the less private details of what I'm up to.

I was talking tonight with some friends about The Bad Relationship (2000-2002); my friend was noticing that my ex and I aren't crazy, taken separately. I'd figured that out a while ago, as the only way to reconcile the way she and I were with each other against how we were separately. Locked into the idea that we should be together, we brought out some of the worst in each other. For two years. Ouch.

I cannot recommend enough the book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. It's all about rapid cognition, the snap decisions and judgements that we make on minimal information. It's a detailed and wonderful investigation, which is important because while most of the time we do really well with snap judgements, sometimes we don't, and we can be prepared and make choices about when we're going to listen to first impressions, and train ourselves so our first impressions get more accurate.

And now, the news.

A couple things stand out to me in this awful story, none of which are mentioned in the article, beyond the obvious "Hey, this kid flipped out and killed everyone he knew".

Eighteen, stuck with running the failing family farm in Boondocks, Ohio...not really a mystery why he lost it. I imagine he had everything and everyone telling him not only that running his family was what he should be doing, but also that he should want to do it. I wonder what he really wanted to do with himself, because I would be willing to bet that that wasn't it.

In today's tribute to dumbness, some British doctors want to ban kitchen knives (read the full editorial in the British Medical Journal). I think the authors miss a few points: namely, that it's more than possible, if a bit messier, to kill someone with a smaller knife, or a knife like a bread knife that doesn't have a point; and that, really, if people are inflamed to the point of grabbing the nearest implement to kill someone with, they're going to find something. Chairs, iron pots, cricket bats. I don't think it's the mechanics of killing someone that pose the real barrier so much as the will: it's an icky, nasty thing to do, and if you've already gotten past that, I think you don't have much farther to go.

I wonder if this story about a couple highly suspicious disappearances in Florida can get some traction.

On a somewhat lighter note, here's a prime example of why I hate sports. Sure, teamwork and character-building and whatever, but in my personal experience, and from what I see, for those of us who are a bit off the beaten path, all the good things are well outweighed by the encouragement of group stupidity.