If you are sick of singles bars and blind dates, there is always the romantic netherworld of the lonely - the 'In Search Of' ad. For example, healthy males might be attracted to an Internet ad placed by Ruby Gill, who says: 'Come on big boy and love me! I know you're out there . . .' It is clear Ms Gill is someone you can take home to mother, since she describes herself as 'loving, sincere, strong, passionate, faithful and wanting to share my love'. But before you buy a dozen red roses and head off to her place of abode in Texas, bear in mind you may have a little trouble gaining entry to hand them to her. Ms Gill may be loving and sharing, but she is also locked up in a high-security prison in the Lone Star State. Then there is Edward D Rimka, whose advertisement is worthy of Homer. He writes: 'I pray for a mythical Prometheus to steal fire from the Gods and return to banish the darkness in my prison' - the prison being not merely metaphorical, but a maximum-security slammer in Detroit. Rimka is honest enough to add he is doing 15 years for violent armed robbery. These and hundreds of other jailbirds are barred for security reasons from using computers which will allow them anywhere near the 'Net. But they are now able to look for potential soulmates through a new web page service aptly titled Cyberspace Inmates. Sensing that even the nation's felons deserve love, the web page was launched eight months ago by a Missouri housewife, Rene Mulkey, who is perfectly law-abiding but appears to have an unusual interest in the criminal. 'I know this sounds strange, but I don't care for your typical husband who comes home and finds wife in bed with someone and kills them,' she said. 'I want to know what makes Charles Manson tick.' Manson, the famous Los Angeles mass murderer, would himself love to let Ms Mulkey and the whole world know what makes him tick, because he revealed to a shocked audience during a recent parole hearing (he failed, by the way) that he is designing his own web page. Prison authorities rushed to make it clear there was no way they would let a dangerous psychopath like Manson place his thoughts on the Internet; but it seemed he could quite legally get in touch with Ms Mulkey for help. She charges inmates US$10 (HK$77.40) a month to design and place their romantic ads on her site, and any e-mail received for the advertising parties is gathered up and forwarded to them by letter. They can then reply through her. She started advertising her service the hard way - by becoming a pen pal with several inmates - and now gets scores of new inquiries. They sure start them young in some American schools - and we are not talking about the alphabet. Two separate incidents last week in the Washington DC area managed both to raise questions about what parents let their children get up to, and whether society has any idea how to deal with it. A row has erupted about what is being called an 'orgy' among a group of nine to 12-year-olds who were left unsupervised in a room at a primary school. When a teacher entered the room, he found the lights off and children engaged in what has been described as oral sex. The incident hit national headlines when House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for the school's headmaster to be dismissed for failing to report the matter to parents until the media picked up on the story. The headmaster also enraged parents by referring to the sex activity as 'consensual'. Mr Gingrich was so incensed he even offered to provide federal scholarships to send some of the children involved off to private schools. In DC, juveniles cannot be charged with sexual crimes. But that is not the case in Arlington, Virginia, where a nine-year-old boy was arrested by police the same week and charged with assault after allegedly rubbing his crotch against a nine-year-old female classmate. While the boy does not appear to have been doing anything you would not see in a routine rap video on MTV, the police did not view things so lightly. When read his rights and asked for a statement, the boy should have done the normal American thing and demanded to call his lawyer. Instead, he burst into tears and asked for his mum. You have to hand it to New Hampshire. The doggedly independent-minded state is not called the Granite State, nor is its motto 'Live Free Or Die' for nothing. But the picturesque, almost completely white parcel of New England is running up against charges of racism for one act which is perhaps taking its bloody-minded spirit too far. New Hampshire is the only one left of the 50 states which has not recognised murdered black civil rights leader Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. Moves to establish a Martin Luther King day in the state have been voted down 10 times by state legislatures. New Hampshirites do not seem to mind at all that while the rest of America gets a day off in January, they have to go to work; at issue is the people's refusal to be told by Washington what to do.