Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Little Things

When I was growing up, my parents -each in a different way- taught me to pay attention to little things. “If you do a thing at all,” my Dad said, “do it thoroughly.” I was taught to leave any place I’d been, looking better than before I’d been there. That’s why on every camping trip, our campsite was cleaned before and after we’d inhabited it. Completely swept of leaves and rocks, down to bare dirt (mostly so’s the tent would sit flat), Dad set up the “perimeters” of our outdoor living space in a neat and orderly way. His outdoor kitchen was his pride & joy and no one but he did the cooking (and Mom never complained!) It was always my job to create a small, artful arrangement of wild flowers, leaves, or stacked stones for the center of our picnic table and it was left for whoever had the campsite after us. Dad was ahead of his time when it came to Earth Day. We’d go on walks to pick up trash and debris just to make the world a nicer place. If he were alive today, he’d have his name on one of those Adopt-a-Highway signs seen on every California highway. He also took the time to teach me the names and spelling of the trees, the flowers and birds we’d encounter along the way.

I can still be an annoying know-it-all in that way if I’m not careful.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Full Moon 1/19/11

"It's a marvelous night for a moon dance..."

Is the moon as beautiful tonight where you are as it is here?
Truly amazing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Webcam Modelling Offer

So, I get this unsolicited email in my Spam folder:

"Break into the biggest industry on the planet and start earning great money from the comfort of your own home as a webcam model! Women of all shapes, sizes, styles, and personality types are doing it. Top models in the industry are earning any where from $1,000 to $4,000 per week”

WOW, I’m getting excited here:

“The bottom line is anyone can do it, and anyone can be a big success. You don't have to have 'traditional' great looks, don't have to be a computer genius, and you don't have to make a huge investment to get started. Men from all over the world are shelling out huge dollars EVERY SECOND to watch a variety of unique beautiful women perform live online. Would you like to take advantage of this opportunity and get your piece of the pie?”

Oh and here’s the catch, there’s ALWAYS a catch:

"What you do need is a fun outgoing personality; you should feel comfortable in front of a webcam in your own home, and have the desire to make huge money as a webcam model!"

Oh, whoa there Nellie,

But you want me to WHAT? Dance with “toys” sans clothing? In front of my webcam for strange men? You want me to give up my dignity, self-respect and privacy for $1,000 a week? (everyone has their price)

Biggest industry on the planet? I thought pot farming in California was the biggest industry on the planet?

Keep your piece of pie, I’ll bake my own thank you!

Censorship and Banning Books

Mark Twain himself once said: "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."

Every year, during the last week of September, I get downright giddy (no, not because it's my birthday), it's because at this time the library world celebrates "Banned Books Week." During this week, libraries all over the country celebrate our freedom to read and have open access to information, and serve to educate patrons about the importance of the First Amendment, specifically drawing attention to the harms of censorship.

Take the current controversy to “sanitize” the story of Huckleberry Finn, a blistering critique of the hypocrisy and brutality of slavery and the norms and values of white society, as seen through the eyes of an innocent, Huck Finn. The book is actually an anti-racism work of the first degree: a white boy realizes that a black man is human. While today, the use of the “N” word is absolutely unacceptable, in its proper literary content - as if Twain was poking us with a very sharp stick just to see us squirm - it adds to the time period and issues in the story. To edit it out would be insulting to the writer and to the potential reader (imagine “Roots” without the beatings and racial slurs).

It is dangerous to rewrite history in this way. How can a person, especially children & young adults, know how far we have come if he/she does not know where we came from? One of the most important aspects of education is learning how to think critically and sanitizing "Huckleberry Finn" will take away provocative discussion and analysis. We need a novel like Huck Finn to understand a more modern novel, like “Beloved” for example, in order to think critically about why a mother would murder her own child rather than see her suffer a life in slavery.

We’ve truly lost our sight & our vision when we want to take apart literary works that have had such historical significance.