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This site belongs to Drina, 20-something psychology nut who loves rats, painting, and Amnesty International.

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Favorite Quote

"To announce there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
Teddy Roosevelt

So said God

Be merciful
Luke 6:36


Seriously annoying unsuspecting surfers since 2001

September 29, 2004

Banned Books Week

As I found out on What In Tarnation?!?!?, this is the American Library Association's Banned Books Week. Below is a list of the most frequently banned books in the nation. The one's I've read are in bold, and the one's I'd like to read are italicized.

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine (a few)
A Day No Pigs Would Dieby Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James and Christopher Collier

Am I alone in thinking that banning books is not the work of a free society? There is no book on earth that is universally accepted or reviled. There is nothing that satisfies everyone, and from the Bible to Curses, Hexes and Spells, there will be some who want to read it and some who don't. If the content of a book doesn't suit you, put it down, but don't take away someone else's right to read it. Censorship is not the American Way (in theory).

Which of these banned books have you read?

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September 27, 2004

One of the reasons I'm not a fundamentalist

Because satire like this is always inspired by real events.

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September 26, 2004

If I ruled the world

As a kid, my ultimate career goal had always been to become President of the United States. I wanted to rule the country, not for the sake of having so much power, but to bring America back to the principles on which it was founded. My quest for political influence began with a group I started in elementary school called the SOC (Save Our Country). I promply elected myself president (in what other capacity could I possible have served?) and went about the business of saving the United States.

After a few months of unsuccessful letter writing to then-President George Bush, the group disbanded and I gave up my dreams about getting to the White House. I did, after all, have a lot of book reports to write. And, after discovering my intense public speaking anxiety, I knew that a career in politics was just not in the cards. So I moved on.

Years later, the words Madame President still resound in my fantasies, and although I'll never reach such high office, I can easily imagine myself taking phone calls from the West Wing. Luckily, the good people at Nationstates.net have allowed me to run a country of my own. Not the United States, mind you, but the Democratic States of Drinian Arcadia. And no, I don't have to make any speeches.

So in September of 2004 I've found myself as the leader of a new nation. According to the initial report on Drinian Arcadia, I have some work to do on our fiscal policy. The economy in not as robust as I, President Vurbic, would like it to be, but I'm confident that as the nation matures past its infancy, the economy will grow with it.

Holy cow, I already sound like a f&%#ing politician.

As a progressive bastion of political freedom and civil rights, the first order of business for Drinian Arcadia was to pass legisation making voting optional rather than compulsory. Sure, there will be a lower voter turnout, and some groups will subsequently fail to be fully represented at the polls, but this great nation allows its citizens the freedom not just to choose its leader, but to choose to vote for its leader (or not). That's democracy, baby.

In the coming weeks I hope to further outline the formal positions that my administration has taken on the most important issues. Until then, sleep well knowing that should the United States ever regress into a conservative totalitarian regime (which could be just a few years away) President Drina Vurbic welcomes you to a nation where freedom truly rings.

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September 25, 2004

Happy Birthday, Fat Bastard

My pride and joy turns two... you lovely old fart of mine.


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September 24, 2004

Brand name politics

I wonder what our country would be like if everyone voted strictly according to the issues, rather than being swayed by election year propaganda and brand name politics. Anomolous Data just may give us a clue.

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Exasperated by economics

I found this list on Tangled Wib about the disturbing reality of the world's financial workings. According to Wib's source,

  1. International trade is worth $10 million a minute.
  2. But poor countries only account for 0.4 per cent of this trade. Since 1980 their share has halved.
  3. Rigged trade rules cost the developing world $700 billion a year, according to the UN.
  4. Income per person in the poorest countries in Africa has fallen by a quarter in the last 20 years.
  5. The three richest people in the world control more wealth than all 600 million people living in the world's poorest countries.
  6. Nearly half the world's population (2.8 billion people) live on less than US$2 per day.
  7. The prices of many poor countries' key exports are at a 150-year low.
  8. The world's 50 poorest countries have less than three per cent of the vote at the International Monetary Fund, an institution whose financial decisions spell life and death for ordinary people around the globe. Just one country - the US - has sole veto power.
  9. At one full meeting of the WTO, the EU had 500 negotiators. Haiti had none.
  10. After one round of trade negotiations, rich countries calculated that they would be $141.8 billion better off, while Africa would lose $2.6 billion.

Do we carry no responsibility to do better than this?

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September 22, 2004

Why I'm not a best seller

Last night my old roomie, who also happens to be my most loyal reader, suggested I write a book entitled, The way the world should be, according to me. Kind of like what Rush Limbaugh wrote a few years ago, except not as evil.

You know, throughout all of my years blogging, I never thought about writing an actual book. I'm not a writer. I mean, I blog, sure. But blogging is really different than sitting down and writing a book. Blogging takes about five minutes of my time, and each post can be as long or short as I'd like. Sometimes I only write a single sentence, mostly because that's all I'm capable of writing coherently.

Could I possibly find enough to say to fill an entire book? And what about all of the other prerequisites? In order to write a book, it's imperative not just to have a lot so say (strike one) and considerable writing skills (strike two), but also have a readership base. And I don't. Strike three.

Old roomie, you youself do not constitute a 'base.' I'm sorry.

So writing a book isn't even an option for me. Especially considering that virtually everything I write (excluding, perhaps, past posts regarding in-class bouts of narcolepsy) can be summed up by a single, solitary sentence. As I mentioned before, sometimes that's all I'm capable of. But really, sometimes it's all I need. And if I did (in all of my sadistic barbarity) decide to impose a published volume on the unsuspecting masses, this is what I would have to say:

The world will never be as it should, but we can live as we should. And we ought to, um... you know, live as we should.

Okay, so those were actually two sentences, both poorly constructed, and extremely vague. This is quite typical of my writing style, to which my old roomie could probably attest. I just don't have it in me to write anything terribly coherent or insightful. And that, my friends, is why I'm not a writer. I'm a blogger. And damn proud of it. And so is my readership. Thank you, Stephanie.

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September 21, 2004

Those crazy de-materializers

The local news carried a story yesterday about a family across town that recently advertized their garage sale in the local paper. Okay, no big deal, right? Well the garage sale wasn't actually a sale, nor was it held in their garage. The family was inviting strangers to come into their home and take everything they had, save for their clothes and personal care junk. For free.

They were de-materializing.

My first thought was, are they crazy? What kind of person gives away all of their belongings to leave behind bare walls and empty rooms? No coffee table? No framed poster prints? No even an ottoman? What?

The explanation they gave was that they didn't want to get sucked any further into the whirlpool of American materialism. They didn't want their lives to revolve around things and stuff --acquiring more things, better things, collections of things. They wanted clean space, no clutter, and nothing to distract them from the true meaning of life, which doesn't involve so many things.

They seemed really normal when interviewed on television; I didn't get any fundamentalist cult-vibes from them. They even joked about being able to rollerskate in the living room after the furniture gets hauled away by the neighboring materializers (I'm assuming they kept the skates, those sneeky little bastards). They were just like... you know, me. A sane family, as far as I could tell.

I have to admit after the shock wore off, I began to really admire them and what they were trying to achieve -independence from the church of buy this now. As much as I love my computer (though a new one would be nice), books, and pyramid-shaped candle holder, it would be nice not be Crate & Barrel's personal bitch for once. I seem to do everything the advertizers demand of me: walk into the store, spend some time browsing, find all items cute and trendy, buy unnecessary things. Yes, Master.

Could I ever de-materialize like that crazy Lakewood family? I don't know. I doubt it. The American lifestyle just might have sucked me so far enough into that whirlpool (or is it a cesspool?) of materialism that I will always horde my things and stuff as though my life depended on it. All I can do right now (without prompting an anxiety attack) is try to focus on the true meaning of life despite all of the things I own. Maybe someday I'll be able to wean myself off of Crate & Barrel.

Or just pray they go out of business.

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September 20, 2004

Election year duplicity

Proving there is no place for honesty in American politics, a mailing has recently gone out to rural folks warning that if Democrats are elected to public offices in November, they will ban the Bible. That declaration is so absurd that addressing it further will only insult anyone capable of reading through this paragraph.

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September 19, 2004

Does mercy matter anymore?

Surfing religious websites can be a perilous venture for someone like myself. Most of the time I end up closing my browser window after two or three minutes feeling discouraged and frustrated. In today's Christian America it's become popular to condemn all those who don't subscribe to the modern doctrines of millitant authoritarianism, autocratic politics, and rampant animosity.

According to today's most vocal of Christian gurus, unless you demand the right to force school children to pray, you're anti-prayer. If you refrain from launching daily verbal assults on people who are liberal, Muslim, or gay, you're anti-morality. And God forbid should you not support the war in Iraq. Not only are you anti-Christian, but you're also a terrorist sympathizer.

Every now and then I find a ray of hope, like when I learned more about the Quaker tradition or when I stumbled across the Sojourners website, but it seems as though groups like that are few and far between.

Where are all the people who care more about mercy than killing those Muslim bastards? Is the existence of such a base just my own wishful thinking? I'm terrified that it could be, but I have to believe it's not. I just can't accept that.

Last week I posted about the Amish, and how wonderful it was to find a group that actually cared about forgiveness and justice. The Amish faith did not focus on power or vengeance, and their leaders were actually humble (holy cow). They provided such a stark contrast to the outside world's Christian obsession with controlling everyone. But the Amish are virtually invisible in today's society, and have little impact on anything that goes on in the country. How perversely ironic is it that those who embrace a genuinely Christian mindset are drowned out by imposters who don't?

I suppose things haven't really changed much. While Christ was out communing with whores and tax collecters, the religious elite were fiercely disparaging his ministry. It should suprise no one that this would continue into modern times. I mean, look at the reaction Tony Campolo got when he gave President Clinton spiritual counsel... he was labelled a heretic for daring to get near such an 'evil sinner.' Sound familiar?

Christ was smeared by the religious leaders of his day in part because he broke so many rules. He forgave sinful people yet scorned the self-righteous. He told people to love their enemies, do good to those who hurth them, and give to anyone who asked. He never ran for office on a platform of stripping non-members of their civil rights or waging military attacks on distant countries. And his work cost him his reputation (and his life). The religious world was hostile to his message.

Two-thousand years has done little to change that reality, only a lot of the hostility today comes from Christians themselves. I should just accept that and move on. Still, I just can't help feeling discouraged. Why must it be this way? Why?

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September 18, 2004

Rewarded faith (and patience)

It was a little over a year ago when I had first posted about my college roomie and her struggle in finding a post-graduation job. Being an education major in northeast Ohio comes with a price, usually the cost of a U-Haul and rent of a North-Carolina apartment. There just aren't many teaching jobs available up here.

Anyway, the advice I gave her (in my infinite wisdom) was to have faith and patience that her career was going to happen; it was just a matter of when. Getting a classroom of her own was simply inevitable, and all she needed to do was keep focused. Of course, it didn't hurt either to have a little faith. We have friends in high places. Very, very high places.

Yesterday, my old roomie's faith and patience paid off, as she was offered a full-time teaching job at the school she had been subbing at the last few weeks. So it took a year and some change, but alas, it's happened (did I just use the word alas?) Way to go, my old roomie, and you-know-who that helped her get there (wink wink up there).

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September 16, 2004

Al Franken and the lying liars

A few days ago I picked up Al Franken's new book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. I've been a huge Franken fan since his days as the saccharine 12-stepper Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live (my class at St. Robert Bellarmine adopted as our motto Smalley's famous saying, You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you --we even had it printed on our graduation programs).

The book was intended to be an expose on how conservative politicians and media have created an image of moral superiority while engaging in the same type of behavior they criticize so heavily, namely, lying. Franken, a meticulous fact checker, catches the political right in deceptive reporting practices, specious reasoning, and flat-out bald faced lies. Doing it all, of course, in his smart-alecky-comedian kind of way. Being of the politically progressive persuasion myself, I probably enjoyed it more than would the average neo-conservative. But truth be told, the best part was not the exhibition of Washington's dirty laundry, but the sheer comicality that had me busting a gut every other page. It was really that funny.

Of course, the unveiled hypocrisy was no reason to laugh, but the book really didn't tell me anything I didn't know --politicians, regardless of political affiliation or proclamations of godliness, lie. And sometimes, it's the ones that make the biggest hissy fits about immorality that do it the most.

Lies also includes some great stories, plays, and cartoons. Here's my personal favorite, entitled The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus, which takes a satirical look at the shameless use of Christianity to promote unjust fiscal policy. Here, Supply Side Jesus is contrasted to the real Jesus Christ, who seems less concerned with extolling the virtues of trickle-down economics than he is with living for love and mercy. To me, it makes the 'political Jesus' of modern American Christianity look awfully shallow. And I'm willing to bet, that was Franken's intention. Who knew a non-Christian could understand the mission of Christ more than the perpetually preachy loud mouths he lampoons in his book?

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September 15, 2004

I've been spam-bombed

One of the joys of having a blog is reading people's responses to your mindless rambling. Even when the comments are nasty, I enjoy hearing from people who took the time to chew me out. The one exception (an incredibly annoying, irritating, and frustrating exception) is those God-forsaken spammers that use my website as a means of advertising cheap phentermine, online casinos, weight loss pills, and Texas hold-em poker. I spent the last 40 minutes deleting one by one every last comment from those cheap mother puckers that I could find, all spammed in the last two days. There were hundreds of them.

There has to be a better way of doing this. Isn't there a form validation program I could use to make sure these guys don't suck away my website? I don't want to blog about them anymore... I want to blog about me. No more ads, just self-centered whining and incoherent editorials. Help?

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September 13, 2004

Life of the Amish

Over the weekend, my old roomie and I took a day trip to Amish country down in Sugarcreek, Ohio. We hopped in my car early in the morning and drove straight into the year 1700. There, we bought some fudge, took a bus tour, and learned a lot of really interesting things about Amish culture.

The biggest holy crap moment came when we were told that Amish couple typically have about 12 children. Are you kidding me? Twelve? Come on now, is that really necessary? I can just imagine having a decade-long pregnancy.

The Amish are a pretty strict bunch, refusing to wear anything red due to its worldliness, working long hours tilling the land around them, and travelling everywhere by horse and buggy. That's not something I could (or want) to ever do, but I find it admirable that so many choose to endure that kind of grind despite living in the midst of modern techonology.

Even more admirable, in my humble opinion, is their attitude toward war and violence. Gun owners, freedom lovers, every last one of them... but they refuse to take up arms against other people. Such peace-loving Christians are hard to find these days.

Rock on, Amish.

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September 10, 2004

Some peace on 9.11

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September 09, 2004

Getting to the important details

The real Friday Five is no longer in operation, but I decided to keep the fire going with a little Q&A; of my own. These were always a hoot and I miss writing stupid things about myself that nobody wanted to know. I call it the Sonafide Six. Okay, here it goes:

1. My most bizarre talent: Doing the splits (didn't think chubby girls could do that, huh?) and spotting Beetles on the highway.

2. Two things I'm actually good at: Playing psychotherapist with all of my boy-troubled friends, and drawing bubble letters. I've had that one down since the third grade. Boooyah.

3. The three things I'm worst at: Cooking, decision-making at Blockbuster, and public speaking (...damn anxiety).

4. One thing I want to get better at: Playing tennis. I'm a wild child on the court, hitting the ball skyward into the neighboring nets. It's something I have to work on before Rosie and I hit the courts again.

5. One talent I lack that makes me insanely jealous: Singing. I wish I could sing, but I can't. I sound like a tone-deaf croaking frog... not so nice. Joss Stone is the main focus on my envy.

6. Something I'm happy I can't do: Gymnastics. Chubby girls don't belong on a balance beam. This I know for sure. I tried. And failed.

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September 07, 2004

Invasion of the body snatchers

My body has been invaded by unwelcome, microscopic guests, and I'm counting down the hours until I can use both of my nostrils again. Since I can't breathe, talk, or think clearly, I'm spending my time curled up in a blanket and watching Klara's movies and wasting precious time on the web reading 9/11 conspiracy theories.

So far, I've gotten through The Usual Suspects, though I have to admit I don't completely understand the plot. Maybe it's the cold medicine, I dunno. Whatever. Benicio del Toro was in it so I'm not going to complain. Next is Ocean's 11. What else is there to do? Try and read my incredibly overdue library book? My eyes can't make out the letters. Right now, I'm content to watch all of these grossly overpaid movie stars show me their acting chops. Go Benicio.

Sneeze. Cough. Yack.

The little brat that passed me his germs has got another thing coming. I think maybe a Charley Horse is in order, or a big fat wedgie. If only I knew who it was. I would give this God-forsaken cold back to him, too. Sickness, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

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September 06, 2004

Tata, djesu ribs?

Labor Day. The day we don't labor. Of course, for me, many days are days I don't labor, because I'm still in hot pursuit of a satisfying, well-paying job (or any job, for that matter). Anyway, like every Labor Day, my dad made some pretty kick-ass ribs for the family to enjoy. As a recent retiree, he doesn't labor either, so it gives him some time to perfect his rib-making skills. Quite lucky for us. Yum yum.

Since many of us had time on our hands to do everything but labor, today was also a day we spent time with family and caught up with far-away friends via modern techonolgy. I found out that Tom finally proposed to Tini-beanie down in South Carolina yesterday.

And on this day, not only do we not labor, call friends, and eat ribs, we also honor those who labor each and every day, working hard to keep their families (and the rest of the country going). The laborers built this country; they are this country. And, as the list of U.S. casualties of the war in Iraq near 1,000, let's also remember that their labor (and their danger) won't end until we bring them home.

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September 04, 2004

A plunge into politics

Today marked the very first time ever that I attended a large political event (save for the mock debate staged by my junior high teachers back when I was a pre-voting youngster). My old roomie and I took a mini road trip down to Akron to see Senator Kerry and hear him repeat in person the soundbites we've heard on CNN many times before. Despite the predictability of his speach it was an exciting and historic day for me; the man who could be president stopped into my neck of the woods to speak to the hometown folks.

Senator John Kerry at Akron's Firestone Stadium

The two of us took some pictures of the event, though the hot sun and the crush of the crowd made it difficult to get many good shots. We weren't that far from the Senator when he spoke, but there were also a bunch of tall guys in front of us. You know, there should be separate section for tall and short people at these things.

The day was special for me not only because I got to see John Kerry, but aso because of the other people that were in attendance... John Glenn, one of my father's most admired public servants, was there. Dennis Kucinich, Cleveland's native son, also hung out, as did Stephanie Tubbs Jones. There were strong feelings of local pride evident in everyone who participated, and the tone of the event was very hopeful. What a time to be a young adult in America...

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September 03, 2004

Shades of Columbine and 9/11

Far removed from the misery in the rest of the world, I've spent the last week worrying about getting a job and finding a date for Karen's wedding. And while I waste my time concerned with these things, people around the globe are finding themselves in the midst of terror. What's going on in that little head of mine right now?

Today, scores of people have been killed in Russia. We live in a world of unceasing violence, and yet I go about my business trying not to notice it. What's wrong with me?
I've met the world's misery with complete avoidance. I don't watch too much TV anymore, because there's always a new tragedy waiting for its special report on CNN. Not to mention, television of late has become a showcase for crassly insolent pseudopatriots mocking servicemen with purple heart-covered band-aids. But my avoidance extends way past the tube; I manage to escape the newspapers and websites touting the evil dujour; I need no reminder of the world's rampant hatred. This isn't apathy, it's oversaturation. So what am I to do about that? Keep worrying about my paycheck-less September and dateless October? I don't know. Pray for the people of Beslan, Russia, who have just lost their loved ones in such a violent and horrific way, and hope this doesn't lead to further destruction. That's about all any of us can do right now.

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Drina/Female/21-25. Lives in United States/Ohio/Cleveland, speaks English and Croatian. Eye color is brown. I am also creative. My interests are painting/psychology.
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