Last night I read a story that gave me the chills. Imagine yourself as a young man serving in the Filipino military and being posted, with seven others, to a halfway destroyed WWII-era ship that sits on a reef in the middle of the South China Sea.
It’s a pretty lonely, and spooky, experience. Days are spent fishing to survive, and nights are spent alone, or playing cards and singing karaoke. Just the eight of them, together, day in and day out. A satellite phone is used once a week to talk to family members.
Filipinos are desperately trying to hold on to the contested ground, known as Ayungin, as the Chinese set their sights on overtaking the reef by surrounding the ship. Why? The prospect for oil and natural gas is great.
I read the story in the hard copy of The New York Times Magazine. I was delighted to discover today that the Times has a really neat photojournalistic presentation of the story on their website. Check it out here , and you’ll feel like you’ve actually journeyed to the desolate place.
In other spooky news, the Glendale school district in California is paying a firm $40,000 to monitor the social media posts  of middle and high school students.
The Rolling Stone had a disturbing piece  a couple of weeks ago about the hidden war on gay teens. The story is set in Georgia, where taxpayers funnel their public dollars to private religious schools that engage in disturbing tactics to marginalize the LGBTQ community.
And finally, Halloween just isn’t Halloween if you haven’t taken a couple of minutes to do the Monster Mash.