March 1st, 2005

Fishy Circumstances

Health, Wealth, Folly

News articles frequently make me thankful for the quality of life I've enjoyed everywhere that I've lived. Whether or not I'm in a country with nationalized health care, there are hospitals widely available for my use, should I need them. Public libraries abound, even if their budgets are tightened. And thus far in life, I've been pretty healthy.

Two articles in the last few days have made me particularly aware of all of these positives in my life. One article involves a personal connection. Rob Borsellino is a family friend who was diagnosed in the last few months with Lou Gehrig's Disease. He's the second family friend in a year with this diagnosis. It's a heart-breaking condition, slow nervous system deterioration. There's no cure.

The other article dealt with a situation on such a large scale I struggle to wrap my mind around it. All of the hospitals in Turkmenistan are being closed, except for those in the capital. That's the worst of it, and mandated by oil-rich Turkmenistan's idiosyncratic head of state. But there's more: "At the same time, the president has also ordered the closure of rural libraries, saying they are pointless because village Turkmens do not read."
Fishy Circumstances

Odds and Ends

  • ultrascichick has safely arrived in Los Angeles. Her cat behaved quite well during the weeklong cross-country drive. Her snake was as hungry as he's ever been when they stopped in Los Vegas. She encountered a freak hailstorm and blizzard in New Mexico - otherwise, the trip went smoothly.
  • It's been a day of wrong numbers on both landline and mobile. One of them is a repeat caller. As of 8 am, I didn't have a son he could talk to, and the situation hasn't changed as of 4.
  • I've spent the last two days scanning in loads of images for my dissertation. It almost feels like a vacation, since I can listen to music at the same time! Even better, the task is automated enough I can play singalong music - Dar Williams, 883, State Fair.
  • I have a box of Wonderful Things which arrived in the mail today. They're extra-special chocolate truffles from Vancouver.* It's a hard life, having to eat Wonderful Things!

Lastly, I have an odd dilemma. I have five free songs I can download from iTunes, but there aren't many songs which fit the right profile for me to get them from there. For most music I don't have and want, I'd rather buy the CD and have full, unrestricted copying rights. You don't have to tell me how flexible the iTunes rules are - they aren't flexible enough for my tastes. So far, Sting's "Desert Rose" is the only song I can think of that I'd like to have and am willing to not have indefinitely. Any other suggestions?

* DC Duby were very obliging about my international billing complications. They only acept PayPal, but were willing to have me send them an email with all my mailing details, then issue me a payment request. Oddly, I have the free iTunes songs because I had to close and reopen my PayPal account in order to pay for the truffles.