Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon

Though Nancy Pelosi was right to give Rangel’s call for a draft a swift kick there is something to be said for an idea that has been tossed around before of two years of national service. That service could be in the regular military, the Coast Guard or some kind of urban or conservation work. A program some time down the road where regardless of family income, race, or religion high school graduates could serve their country and gets some real world experience in dealing with different kinds of people.

There is a lot of pressure in our society to live a certain kind of life. To be married and have children is one of the strongest social pressures. We’ve all read the studies that tell us married people live longer. Yet marriage or having children is not is not a community decision regardless of what our culture pundits tell us or whatever the current trends. Some people do quite well alone and I have always wondered about the pressure that family and society puts on those people. They’re made to fell as though they are failures or weird. If in most respects they are leading a relatively happy life why not respect their individuality. In movies and television being single has become a cause for concern, comic at best or a kind of malady in need of a cure. What happened to individuality and respecting the choices of the individual. Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle: For Some People, Intimacy Is Toxic

It is practically an article of faith among psychotherapists that an intimate human relationship is good for you. None other than Freud himself once famously said that health requires success in work and in love.

I’m not so sure. It seems that for some people, love and intimacy might not just be undesirable but downright toxic.

Not long ago, a man consulted me about his 35-year-old son, who had made a suicide attempt.

“I was shocked, because he never seemed depressed or unhappy in his life,” the man said of his son. “He always preferred his own company, so we were relieved when he started to date.”

He went on to tell me that he and his wife had strongly encouraged their son to become engaged to a woman he was dating. “She was perfect for him,” he recalled. “Warm, intelligent and affectionate.”

Everything seemed to be going well until, one day, the father got a call from his son’s girlfriend. She had not heard from the son for several days, so she went to his apartment and found him semiconscious in a pool of blood. He had taken an overdose of sleeping pills and slit his wrists.

This struck me in light of the holidays and the annual wave of depression that hits so many people. Why would family or friends highlight those things that single people already have a sensitivity about because of a lifetime of family expectations and social pressure to live up to what they all claim is the one and only acceptable norm. You must be with someone to be happy.

So many of our rights have taken a beating in the last six years that this story seems almost like something from the odd and unusual news department, U.S. Copyright Office Issues New Rights

Cell phone owners will be allowed to break software locks on their handsets in order to use them with competing carriers under new copyright rules announced Wednesday.

Other copyright exemptions approved by the Library of Congress will let film professors copy snippets from DVDs for educational compilations and let blind people use special software to read copy-protected electronic books.

All told, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington approved six exemptions, the most his Copyright Office has ever granted. For the first time, the office exempted groups of users. Previously, Billington took an all-or-nothing approach, making exemptions difficult to justify.

“I am very encouraged by the fact that the Copyright Office is willing to recognize exemptions for archivists, cell phone recyclers and computer security experts,” said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney with the civil-liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Frankly I’m surprised and pleased they were granted.”

But von Lohmann said he was disappointed the Copyright Office rejected a number of exemptions that could have benefited consumers, including one that would have let owners of DVDs legally copy movies for use on Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod and other portable players.

The new rules will take effect Monday and expire in three years.

That is bad news for video iPod owners. It is my understanding that one can make a back up copy of a DVD, why it can’t be backed up to an Apple computer and transferred to an iPod seems to be one of those esoteric exceptions that people are getting a little fed up with in regards to digital rights management.

“It is quite lovely being single, and I much prefer it.” – Anna Held

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” – Barbara Jordan