ME and Ophelia

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Internet makes it simple to forge a new social order

Happily, it looks like one can link direct to The Times online without readers having the trouble of registration. To test if a link breaks after several days, I am pointing to a list of articles I have been reading today. The paper is delivered here at the crack of dawn each Sunday morning.

Note the article in Doors by Matthew Wall who finds that the immediacy of the web is making it simple to forge a new social order.
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Count themselves blue

Anti-Bush bracelets say, 'Count me blue'. After spending 10 days in London with friends who were outspoken about their disdain for President Bush's policies, Berns Rothchild came home wishing she had a way to show the world she didn't vote for him. Here's her great idea: Tag 'em All!


Berns Rothchild displays several of her "Count Me Blue," political bracelets, Jan. 13, 2005, in Miami. Rothchild is selling the bracelets on the Web in packages of 10 for $20, and plans to give part of her profits to UNICEF. (AP Photo/J. Pat Cart)
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Dooces and don’ts

The dismissal of a bookshop worker has raised important questions for web enthusiasts. Read full story that links to the Bloggers' Rights Blog.
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One in five aged 65 or more is alone for more than 12 hours a day

A report by the BBC today says older people in the UK are often living in isolation, a charity has warned - putting them at risk of depression and ill-health caused by loneliness.

It makes you wonder what the church is up to these days. My local church has never contacted me. When I first moved here four years ago, and in order to make contact with my local church, I ordered the monthly parish magazine which is hand delivered to my door. Also, over the years, as a way of being part of the community, I have sent donations for various local fundraising events. But that is the extent of contact. Nobody from the church ever calls or stops by to say hello. People always seem to be so busy and in a hurry. An elderly gentleman who delivers the magazine waves to me through my window and says hello but even he is always in a hurry because his disabled wife awaits below in an electric car.

Somedays, like today, are terribly lonely making me feel like a tearful prisoner being punished in solitary confinement. Days and weeks can go by without anyone visiting or phoning. Even on the phone people are too busy and in a hurry to have any conversation. And then as always, several people visit and phone within the space of hours or a few days of each other, making it tough for me to handle afterwards, setting me back for days. Afterwhich, as usual nothing again for weeks on end. Workmen are the same too, they all seem to turn up at once.

I know I shouldn't expect anything from anyone because I can't put myself out for others or keep on top of things. For the first time ever, I did not write any cards or give gifts at Christmas. I have missed a few birthdays, something I've seldom done in the past, and can't keep up with replies to emails or write thank you notes. I can't explain why, just can't manage.

All I seem to be managing to do is blog. It takes me all day to do one post. It's just too lonely not blogging. But some days I wonder what is the point of it all. I have posted almost daily on Darfur for the past 8 months but 10,000 a month are still dying. Congo is worse. Northern Uganda is just as bad. What am I doing, worrying about people in Africa, when I can't even communicate with friends, family and people here. Nothing I am doing is making any difference. It all seems like a complete waste of energy. Today I am feeling very sad. Everything seems so pointless.

Right now, I have to think real hard to recall when I last saw somebody, apart from my cleaner each Tuesday for two hours which doesn't count as a visitor because she doesn't speak while concentrating on work. Let's see. Apart from the grocery delivery on Tuesday, my last visitor was on December 29, for two hours. The visitor before that was on December 23, for 20 minutes. Here is an excerpt from the BBC report:

Age Concern said over 3.5m older people lived alone, many without regular visitors or opportunities to get about. A survey of 1,000 adults for the charity found that one in five people aged over 65 spent more than 12 hours of every day alone. The same age group was more likely than any other to be alone 21 hours a day. The study also found that a quarter of people over 65 do not have a best friend.

"Over 3.5m older people live alone and many do not have regular visitors or any opportunity to get out of the house," said Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern England. "It costs £15,000 to set up and run a local befriending scheme to benefit 50 isolated older people over a year," he added. Tesco has adopted Age Concern to be its "charity of the year" for 2005, and hopes their partnership will raise over £2m to fight poverty and isolation among the elderly. The initiative will be launched at Tesco stores at 1100 on 17 January.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 1/16/2005
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