Summer always holds the promise of leisurely swims in the moonlight and tall, cool drinks sipped from Tiki mugs. There’s been little of that this summer. I don’t know how each year I manage to forget that - for parents - summer means the kids are home and you have to entertain them. I refuse to let the child rearing be done by the computer, PlayStation or the TV and that means I have to step up. Whiny as I may sound about having to put aside my personal projects for a few months, parenting does have its rewards. This summer we’ve managed to sew dolls and teddy bears and their respective accoutrements; we’ve learned to knit and crochet and even knitted squares for Knitty Gritty’s "A Square - Show You Care" drive which takes contributed squares and assembles them into blankets for the needy. It's a good thing they only asked for a square because that is about the extent of our knitting skills for now. We’ve created some stylish hats using the book Saturday Night Hat.
Aside from crafting, we’ve enjoyed reading aloud a wonderful trilogy called His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
It’s an older series but full of subversive, anti-authoritarian messages and well worth reading. Although there is a movie version coming out this year, I would highly recommend reading the books because it appears that New Line Cinema has bowed to fear of a religious backlash by toning down or eliminating any references to God or the Church. It seems that the book's message of courage in spite of overwhelming odds was lost on the producers. How ironic.
Movie Version of Controversial Novel Being Toned Down
Fans of the Philip Pullman novel His Dark Materials have expressed outrage over news that director-screenwriter Chris Weitz has removed references to God and the Catholic church in the movie. New Line Cinema, the company producing the film, has "expressed worry about the possibility of perceived anti-religiosity." The studio had told him that if the references remained, the project would become "unviable financially." He remarked that he had discussed the matter with Pullman, who had told him that the role of the Authority (God) in his book, could be transformed into "any arbitrary establishment that curtails the freedom of the individual." The religious villains in the film, he said, "may appear in more subtle guises." He added: "you will probably not hear of the 'Church.'" One fan posted a message on the website calling the changes a "blatant cop-out to the Bible Belt of America."
Aside from mommy duties there are other friends and family that need care and attention. We went out to California to visit the in-laws for Father’s Day. Imagine my father-in-law’s surprise when he picked up his L.A.Times on Sunday morning to find his daughter-in-law scantily clad in an article about the very talented Jenny Lens. I wonder if he thought "my poor son married a strumpet," or "my clever son married a strumpet."
August 1977, photo by Jenny Lens.
Alice Bag, Dottie Danger (Belinda Carlisle), Hellin Killer and Pleasant Puss Gehman.
For the 4th of July we did the patriotic thing and went to see Sicko. It made me want to move to Canada, but only for a minute. I felt better after I went online and sent an email to Senator John McCain using this link. It was bad enough thinking that people all over the world disliked us for being greedy and ethnocentric, but now I realize that they’re laughing at us for allowing our government to rip us off. As one woman in the movie put it (I’m paraphrasing here) "You Americans are afraid of your government; here (France) the government is afraid of the people." She’s right - when I was in France recently during their elections, the government was hurriedly putting up barricades because they were worried about how the people might react if they were displeased with the results of the elections. We need to make our government more afraid of us than of losing their corporate perks. Michael Moore is preaching to the choir here; I’ve been a proponent of socialized medicine forever. The movie was really good and if you haven’t seen it, you should. Be prepared to be pissed off.
And speaking of getting pissed off, I received a letter from a friend on MySpace telling me about a place I’d never heard about before called the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. The place houses the children of people who are awaiting trial for violating immigration laws. The children are housed in prison-like conditions, with limited access to medical services and education. As a parent it made me sick to hear that these children are being torn away from their parents, relatives and friends to be housed as inmates in a detention center. As a former teacher, it made me angry to hear that these children are being deprived of an education. But as an American it made me wonder where the fuck our humanity has gone. What part of us has died that would make it ok to treat little children like criminals?
Mini doc on Hutto by the ACLU.
Just when things start to seem really bleak, something comes along to restore my faith. On 7/7/07, live concerts and gatherings were held around the world to raise consciousness about the issue of global warming and demand that our politicians take action now. Even though Live Earth didn't feature my favorite bands (except for Spinal Tap!!!) I could appreciate the message and was inspired to make some changes in my own life to help save our planet. Summertime is here and it's about time for things to really heat up.