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1:51 am EDT        77°F (25°C) in Dearborn, MI

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A-friggin'-mazing. It's practically 2:00 am and the outside temperature is still well up into the upper 70s (or mid-20s for you metric-loving folk). Blame it on King George the 43rd and his Republican minions who are causing this global warming by weakening environmental regulations, such as those that pertain to the release of gases that trap more solar heat in our atmosphere.

A happy ending … or is it? Zach Stark, the Tennessee teenager whose story I first reported here on June 19, appears to have returned home and made a post on his blog. This obviously comes as a huge relief to many people, myself included, who worried that the influence of the LIAR concentration camp would cause Zach to harm or kill himself or others. However, a lot of other people aren't so sure about it, and they suspect something far more sinister is going on here: namely, that Zach did not make this August 1 entry in his blog of his own free will, or did not make the update, period (i.e., he either typed the update under duress, or his parents or a LIAR got hold of his password and made it for him). I honestly think the latter possibility is nothing more than the feverish imagination of a few loony conspiracy theorists, but there could very well be some element(s) of the former possibility at play here.

I'm not going to waste a ton of time pondering, pontificating, prognosticating, and ruminating </Nym language> here, but let's consider the dynamics at play here. Zach has just spent two months in what amounts to a mind-control program, completely at the whim of his parents. It should be very easy to see how he would have come out extremely fearful of his parents, given what they did to him in early June — basically abandoning him to the LIARs. Furthermore, given that Zach's blog was the source of the whole uproar in the first place, you have to bet that the LIARs and Zach's parents are carefully monitoring every word, and threatening Zach with another six weeks of LIAR camp if he writes anything they don't approve of.

For all I know, Zach could very well be trying to say that nothing has changed and that he is as gay (and happy, and independent-minded) as he's ever been, but I must say that his post seems to be a rather cryptic way to make that point. Perhaps it is because I understand what it's like to have parents who try (or have tried) to control your every action, and even thought, that I suspect this may be the case in Zach's family. I freely admit that I, an outside observer who only knows anything through the Internet, may well be wrong, but something smells just a little bit too fishy here for me to ignore that possibility.

Some of the commenters on Zach's blog have suggested he create a new blog over which he has extremely tight access control (e.g., a "friends-only" LiveJournal), and ditch his current MySpace blog, to keep not only his parents — but also a lot of people he doesn't know — from reading it. This honestly might not be a bad idea, if he wants to more or less disappear from the public spotlight, and also have an outlet to express what he truly feels free of outside influence.

It's like I said here on July 28: anybody who wants to express him/herself freely online is totally entitled to do so, as long as crime or incitement to crime is not involved, and those who don't like that can close their browsers and keep their mouths shut — or go create their own webspace to make their point of view known. It is in this spirit that, as a result of the whole brouhaha stemming from my July 19 entry, I have configured my server to deny access to this News section to certain IP addresses associated with users who have shown an almost-unhealthy obsession with what I write in this section. Rather than doing what I did in January 2001 and taking the whole thing down from public view, because I was more afraid of my parents' reaction then, I am going on the offensive this time. I am making full use of all the tracking tools at my disposal, and if I don't like the behavior I observe from certain users, those IPs will be banned. Simple as that.

I think I'll finally have something to do later on today. If I wake up early enough, I might try to fit in my trip to Columbus this afternoon; after that, I may get to see my friend Joe for the first time in several months, back up in a far less sucky state. Thursday brings the usual pair of psychiatric appointments in the morning, and then I should have three days to do little or nothing until I return to work on Sunday.