I've been recently reading several things on the news that puzzle or irritate me.
Start with the biggest thing - the killings in Virginia.
Now that the video has been unearthed, the newspapers blame all and sundry for not noticing earlier that the guy was about to blow and should have been locked up. While there certainly was evidence of that fact, it is kind of hard to put all the signs together. It isn't as if he was the only student ever to complain that everybody hates him and to profess his hatred of the world. Comparing himself to Jesus is absolutely crazy, IMNSHO. He says with his death he wants to make a point like Jesus did. Well, but Jesus didn't kill 32 other people before he died. And his message wasn't exactly "I hate the world and now you'll pay!"
Also, apparently if there were more weapons in the US, this wouldn't have happened. Because if a student starts shooting others, it is clearly the best solution for all students to have guns.
Sure, a student with a gun could have stopped the guy. A student with a gun could also kill 32 others, as has just been proven.

Also in the news, the case of Emilio Gonzales. Now that is tricky.
In Germany, it is almost impossible to make sure you are not kept alive indefinitely by machines. Even if you make a will stating you don't want doctors to keep you alive, they are not bound by that, it's their own choice.
I have an organ donor's pass and sincerely hope that the possibility to get their hands on a bunch of organs in really good condition will make the doctors switch off the machines if I'm dead.
That said, it comes as no surprise that I think the hospital is right to want to let the child die. Probably they do it because of the money. But even aside from that issue, what is supposed to happen? The child can't breathe, he can't eat, he can't communicate. If it wasn't for the machines, he would be dead.
In one newspaper, his mother was quoted as saying she wants him to die naturally. Well, how is he supposed to do that? His being alive now is not natural.
I know it's easy enough for me to say that, as Emilio is no more than a name and a picture for me, I'm not his family. But I think it would be better if they would let him go.

Yesterday I heard a report about one of the French candidates for the president's office. That guy used the coalition that is governing Germany right now as an example! His point is that instead of dividing themselves up in left and right, they should work together, like the Germans forced their two major parties to work together. "La France de toutes les forces", I believe was his slogan.
That's very interesting and a little funny. In Germany, many people see the coalition of the two largest parties as a failure and say they never wanted it. They say that nothing gets done and the government lacks a distinct profile.
It's interesting to see how others view an internal situation. It would probably be a good idea to get other's input regularly, just because we ourselves tend to be too close to see the big picture. If you're staring at a single spot of bark on the trunk, you will never notice if the tree's growing.

On a probably less serious note, Germany's finally managed to be top in something! We are officially the fattest Europeans, even beating the Brits in that. 3 out of 4 men and 50% of the women are overweight or obese. *applause*
Keep going like this and we'll beat the Americans at the game.
Also, isn't it good that we don't have kids anymore and vast areas are more or less deserted because nobody wants to live there? We might yet need the room simply to move.

Not quite as breathtaking as that: I finished moving the journals yesterday. Now my hands are raw and it seems I can't get the dust off, my face feels as if I've been scrubbing a brush over it - my skin doesn't really like prolonged contact with dust, and some of the journals hadn't been touched in years, probably decades.
I am now ready to start on cataloguing the donations. I still need to move some of the books again to use up the available space - there will be lots of free space on the shelves but then I inted to fill that with new books soon - and then we're set.
That is, if the organisation that is supposed to sell our old journals will finally get cooking and we can get our storage room back for use. We have parts of shelves, almost two bookcarts full of stuff we're going to archive (school history for future generations) and general things we need to keep to put in there.
I also need to send our server to Bonn to get repaired, and then it has to be set up in what used to be the minion's office and is now going to be another storage room.

Next week, I think I'll have to scrub the floors where there used to be shelves. There are distinct dirty marks on the floor and the cleaning person does so bad a job she usually doesn't even pick up the "normal" dirt. This is a task that requires getting down on hands and knees and doing some scrubbing, and she would never do that. It would be of no use if she tried, she moves in slow motion anyway and in the time it would take her to get down on her knees, the library would likely have evolved into a self-cleaning organism.
So, with these plans in mind, I can't help thinking of what one of the soldiers always asks me: Was it really worth it to go to Uni for this?

I'm on vacation!
That was rather tricky. The captain wasn't at work last week and the sergeant said he'd put my application for leave on his desk. But the sergeant apparently signed it himself, so when I asked the captain whether he had agreed, he had no idea what I was talking about and was thoroughly pissed that nobody had told him.
Later, the sergeant came over to tell us that the captain told him to leave everything to him in the future as he was the head of the department and all that.
Okay, but
a) the captain tends to be absent more than present
b) the sergeant is his deputy.
So what's the big deal? Are we supposed to wait for months at a time before we know if we're allowed to take a vacation because he's off skiing somewhere? Idiot!
And he's a horrible boss at that. After three months of not being here, you'd think he would make a tour around his department to see how things are going. But no such thing! I've never seen him once since he's come back. I probably see the major and our general more often than I see the captain. The major at least comes up to the library regularly to see how we're doing, and the general drops in if he's in the building. Yet my immediate superior can't find the time. What's wrong with that picture?

Anyway, I'm home to do a bit of dog- and dad-sitting. Keep them fed and happy.
I'll also take the opportunity to buy a few last things from IKEA, and I also need some summer shirts or blouses, something a bit more professional than a regular t-shirt yet light and airy so I can wear it at 35° Celsius in the library.
Googlemail was so kind to link to an AskYahoo page about the well-known phrase "The American dream".

The original text by writer and historian John Truslow Adams contains the following quote:

It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

Just saying.

Just as the Declaration of Independence talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not Mercedes, a fancy house in the suburbs and the pursuit of a great career.



August 2012

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