Jon Venables has been busy

The media has thus far put forth the following “facts” about Jon Venables:

He is engaged to be married
He couldn’t get into a close relationship with a woman
He worked “a minimum wage job”
He worked at a fast food restaurant
He worked as a bouncer
He went on vacation to Norway
He started using all kinds of drugs after his release from custody
He got in trouble for cocaine possession
He was recalled because of his drug addiction
He was recalled because he kept going back to Liverpool, the city where he committed his crime
He was recalled because he got in a fight with a coworker
He was recalled for possessing child porn
He was recalled because he kept telling other people who he really was
He was recalled for committing a “sickening sex attack”

I suppose next they’ll say he became a movie actor and was recalled because he slept with the Queen. This Skoob News article says it best:

With the truth about the reason for child killer Jon Venables’ reincarceration unlikely to be revealed anytime soon, I can exclusively reveal that Britain’s notorious tabloid press have taken a leaf out of this Spoof writer’s illustrious book and simply made the headlines up.

Satire aside, this is a good editorial about the media coverage.

Random web surfing

I am very interested in languages and was happy to discover a Yiddish Wikipedia the other day. I would like to learn the Yiddish language (in part because of my Holocaust studies, in part because it could land me a good job someday) but taking a class in it is not an option this year. I was thinking, if I really worked at it, I might be able to learn to read Yiddish using the Yiddish Wikipedia and a Yiddish grammar and Yiddish/English dictionary. I’m not interested so much in speaking the language but being able to read it.

Anyway, I wound up having a look at a list of all the languages with Wikipedias and (in my opinion) it makes for a diverting half-hour or so. Many of those languages I hadn’t even heard of. And the number of speakers doesn’t necessarily correspond to the number of Wikipedia articles — plenty of Wikipedias in African and Indian languages were tiny, even though those languages have millions of speakers. I’m guessing it’s because many people in Africa and India are illiterate and/or too poor to get on the net.

I do find myself wondering about the Pennsylvania Dutch Wikipedia as well as the Anglo-Saxon one. (A) The Amish do not use the internet and (B) Anglo-Saxon has been dead for yonks, and unlike Latin and Greek it doesn’t even have a body of literature or anything (except for Beowulf).

I can sort of read the Norfuk one. That language, a weird blend of nineteenth-century English and Tahitian, is spoken by only about 600 people, mainly on Norfolk Island in the remote South Pacific. Unsurprisingly, there’s very little on that wiki.

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering, why do I think Yiddish would get me a good job? Well, there are boatloads of old books written in Yiddish, and few people can read them anymore. Further, if I wanted to go into Holocaust research, the ability to read Yiddish would be a huge asset. Last spring the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum advertised an opening for a research position, for someone who could read Yiddish, and offered 80k a year. In other words, Yiddish could be the key to getting me the heck out of Ohio. And Ohio State teaches it, as well as Indiana University and a score or so other colleges scattered across the country.)

I’m sick with the sniffles right now and am kind of bored to death. This concludes tonight’s completely unrelated tangent. Now I’m going to bed.