It's all too much these days. Earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, rising oil prices, season finales. Sometimes I get kinda down this time of year- specifically when I remember that it's been quite some time since the first days of summer signalled anything more than a change in footwear. This Saturday will be my 30th birthday. I'm being rather ungraceful about it. (Even, dare I say, mopey?) Oh, I know it's just a number - but I feel like wallowing. At any rate, there's more than just a big birthday glooming up my outlook.

In a USA Today article by Greg Toppo, "Childhood lead exposure linked to adult crime" he brings to our attention a new link between violence and lead-poisoning. Now we may have a reason for the degeneration of some Baltimore neighborhoods (that bon mot is all mine, people.) The conclusions drawn by a research team out of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine are based on long-term data from a childhood lead study in the city of Cincinnati: "elevated prenatal and postnatal blood-lead concentrations are associated with higher rates of criminal arrest in adulthood." While this is not totally surprising - um, we all pretty much knew that lead in the water and make-up is what made those Romans go bonkers - wait you didn't know that? The EPA will tell you all about it in Lead Poisoning: A Historical Perspective.

In an AP article that I pulled from MSNBC.com, it's gonna be a bad year for tornadoes. According to The National Weather Service "2008 is already the deadliest tornado year in the United States since 1998 and seems on track to break the U.S. record for the number of twisters in a year." Worse yet, these babies have been super strong, with 21 so far having been rated a 3 or 4 and the one that hit Parkersburg, Indiana was rated the near-mythical 5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. Scary, no?

And Africa - oh, Africa. As I sit here surruptiously slurping down a (very small!) bowl of Tin Roof Sundae, I'm reading about the dire situation in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Can you truly imagine what it means to be starving to death? According to Jeffrey D. Sachs, a Columbia economist and top United Nations adviser, "These places aren’t on the brink. They’ve gone over the cliff.” The U.N. has declared large parts of Somalia a humanitarian emergency, (that's like a shade higher than famine) and it seems so hopeless.

Hmmm, looking back on these things, I'm starting to feel kinda dumb about my whine-fest. (Aw - you knew that would happen, didn't you?) Okay - 30! Yay! (You don't have to believe that, but maybe if I say it enough, I will.) It looks like tomorrow will have to be a post about my many, many blessings. (It is after all, "O'Joy" of my life...)
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