I'm flabbergasted. I just learned that my father, age 84, is out in the brutal cold today, bell-ringing for the Salvation Army.
He's had numerous, serious health crises over the last two decades, but has nonetheless logged thousands of hours of charitable work since his retirement. He's done both the brain work and the hands-on stuff, including but not limited to blood drives, clothing drives, food drives, soup kitchen, outreach to teens, writing, teaching (seniors) and organizational work. The news that he's standing outside bell ringing today is not one I expected.
He'd be quick to add here that my mom does her share, which is true.
DENVER — In a letter to prosecutors released Friday, the parents of accused Aurora movie theater killer James Holmes are asking for his life to be spared. Holmes faces the death penalty in connection with the 12 shooting deaths at a suburban Denver movie theater in July 2012. Jury summons last week were sent to to 9,000 potential jurors for a trial that's expected to begin in earnest in the spring or early summer. In their letter, Holmes' parents say their son suffers from mental illness and begged prosecutors to agree to a plea deal that would see him locked up for life and spared execution.
Cue the pitchfork and torch crowd.
I don't wish mentally ill children on anyone, but if there were some number of mentally ill people that had to exist, and I got to pick who gets them, I'd lift them off all the exhausted parents who have them and give them to the self-righteous internet commenters crying out for more blood to be spilled.
54k is a historical high point for the number of views of my flickr account in a single day. Nearly 42k of those views were for the dog photo in this post. It appeared to me that the dog got more views than any other photo on flickr that day... except for a photo of three cats that edged out the dog by about 500 views. Still, on a per-pet basis, the dog trounces the cats.
Today, the dog has garnered another nine thousand views.
I've been binge-listening to the wildly popular program, Serial. If, somehow, you haven't heard about this documentary podcast, here's the lowdown from Wikipedia.
Season 1" is an investigation into a 1999 Baltimore murder. [co-producer and host Sarah] Koenig has said, Serial is "about the basics: love and death and justice and truth. All these big, big things." She also has noted, "this is not an original idea. Maybe in podcast form it is, and trying to do it as a documentary story is really, really hard. But trying to do it as a serial, this is as old as Dickens." Episodes are released weekly on Thursday.
Hae Min Lee was an 18-year-old student at Woodlawn High School. Lee was last seen at approximately 3:00 p.m. on January 13, 1999. Her corpse was discovered on February 9 in Leakin Park and identified two days later, with the case immediately being treated as a homicide. Lee's ex-boyfriend Adnan Musud Syed was arrested on February 28 at 6 a.m. and charged with first-degree murder, which led to "some closure and some peace" for Lee's family. A memorial service for Lee was held on March 11 at Woodlawn High School. Syed was found guilty of Lee's murder on February 25, 2000 after a six-week trial, and was given a life sentence despite pleading his innocence.
The podcast also exposes the challenges to finding the truth when faced with complex and unknown motives, conflicting judgments of character, various cognitive biases and the limitations of eyewitness memory.
The subject matter is dark, but Koenig avoids sensationalism in her thoroughly engaging presentation.
Retriever emailed an interesting article about pros, cons, hopes and doubts associated with the increasing use of ketamine (the party drug Special K) in the treatment of depression. You can find that article here.
Promising research findings have led to off-label prescription of ketamine for depression and clinics that provide extremely expensive infusion therapy for those who have not found help with other treatments. Lots of caveats, but I'm glad that another option may be opening up for those who find nothing else that helps.