Friday, March 12, 2010

Thoughtful Words From Corey Feldman About His Friend's Death

Rob and I are not terribly fond of celebrity "news" shows. This is why you won't see a tabloid or gossip magazine anywhere in our home. We don't watch Entertainment Tonight and have never looked at TMZ either as a program or website and I loathe Perez Hilton and these other celebrity leeches who thrive on the type of viciousness we are supposed to leave behind on the playground when we grow up. There is, in our opinion, nothing entertaining about ripping apart another person, shoving their private lives under a microscope, simply because they have talent or are attractive enough to gain our attention in the first place. What Feldman says below is eloquent and true.

I appreciate the fact that everybody [in the acting community] really cares and is trying to show their expression of sorrow right now. But at the end of the day, Larry, where were all these people the last 10 years, the last 15 years of Corey's life? … Where were all these people to lend a hand out, to reach out to him and say, you know, you're a legend, you're an amazingly talented, wonderful person who's really never gone out of his way to hurt anybody other than himself. He was there for his mom and he took care of her. He's always been a good person.

…In this entertainment industry, in Hollywood, we build people up as children. We put them on pedestals. And then when we decide that they're not marketable anymore, we walk away from them. And then we taunt them and we tease them. And things like TMZ, outlets like that, where it's acceptable in society—it's okay for society, as a whole, to poke fun at, to point fingers at, to laugh at us as human beings. Why is it okay to kick somebody when they're down? I don't think it is. And I don't think it should be tolerated anymore.

…He had nobody to turn to. I was one of the few people he had left in his life. You know, you see these people making great statements and that's wonderful and I hope they're all there for the memorial. And I hope they're all there for the funeral. But where were they during his life?

And that's something that I believe that everybody in this society needs to hold themselves accountable for. I think that we all need to grow up. And we need to think about every time we laugh at somebody in the tabloids, or every time we poke a finger at somebody and say they're a joke or they're fat or they're a drug addict or they're washed up or they're a loser, we need to look at ourselves and say, who am I?
—Actor Corey Feldman, on Larry King Live last night, discussing the death of his best friend, Corey Haim. Video here.

PS:  You notice how I didn't link over to any of the above mentioned gossip monger websites in my introductory tirade?  This was a conscious choice as I do not want to encourage nor support those people.

PPS:  Here are some Corey Haim movies I like.

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Friday Randomness

This is an interesting twist on the traveling journal—a cooperative artistic endeavor.  I’m curious to see how it turns out.  (I’ve long wanted to do something like this but can never find a sucker . . . erm . . . a mutually interested party.)

This mother writes about using Reiki with her autistic child, saying it is an invaluable tool for her son and her family.

This page has two slideshows—two artists altering books.  And now I wish I knew how to draw better because I would love to take a poetry book and illuminate the pages with my own visuals.  (Note:  Slideshows + vertigo = very bad experiences . . . I actually could not tolerate watching more than a few images of these.  So if there is anything offensive, I apologize.)

I think this is a fun idea, something to make on a rainy weekend with children or something.  I don’t know that I would have done the pages the way this person did but I still think it’s a cute idea over all.

Journal prompts for Pre-Writers?  Yep.  And I think it’s a great idea! 

Check out the Mead ® Primary Journal—Half Ruled Page which can easily be used with the above linked prompts.  When I was little, my mother would have me tell her stories which she would write out for me.  Then I would draw pictures of the story on the other side of the page.  I even once “wrote” and illustrated a fashion magazine.

Diabetes on a budget may not be easy but it isn’t impossible.  This article shows some low-cost choices for healthy eating.

With that said and shared, I am furious that this diabetes website also seems to be recommending Bob Greene’s book on diabetes. 

Please read my review for this book to see why I find this so utterly distasteful.

This woman’s artistic expression is wonderful and I found myself just scrolling through her blog, enjoying each new image. 

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus with Decorations by Mark Burgess (in the tradition of A. A. Milne and Ernest H. Shepard).  The House at Pooh Corner by Milne ends with Christopher Robin leaving for boarding school and this book picks up with his returning home for the summer.  Ten chapters written in the style of Milne follow and a new character is introduced, Lottie the Otter. 

The stories are good enough but they don’t have the inimical charm of the originals and often in trying to sound like Milne, the prose comes off as forced.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with the stories although I applaud both Benedictus and Burgess for having a vision and fulfilling it.  The inventors of VHS and Betamax also had shared visions and we all know how that turned out.  And the characters, especially the more familiar ones, came off as mere caricatures of themselves.  Nothing new is added to the characters themselves and the one note seems to be the only one any of them strike.  Lottie in particular seems a superfluous addition since she seems more like a composite of the other characters—Owl and Rabbit in particular—than she is a character in her own right that adds something to the community dynamic with the woods.

For the Pooh purist, this book will be as much an insult to the original as Disney’s off-shooting from the original text to make a variety of ridiculous movies and television programs.  For the Pooh lover, the reader who appreciates such playful looks at Pooh as The Tao of Pooh but mostly because the authors leave the original pretty much alone, this book will be unnecessary and easily avoided.  Mostly these stories are for the reader who is desperate for more Pooh or who has never fallen madly in love with the originals.  As for me, I fall somewhere between purist and lover.  I cannot read the last story of the Pooh books without crying so hard I cannot read the text on the page.  None of the stories Benedictus wrote made me cry.  Nor did they make me smile or even laugh.  An A for effort and even an A for execution because the tone of the prose and illustrations is good but somehow the overall effect is disappointing.   

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Second Acting and Broadway Shows

Last night I was reading a book (I know, this shocks so many of you!) and in it Liza Minelli describes “second acting the shows” because she didn’t have enough money. 

For those who don’t know, second acting a show is where a person will linger during intermission, mingling with the other people who have stepped outside to have a cigarette between acts.  Someone who couldn’t afford theater tickets themselves could then walk into the theater with the other theater goers and at least see the second act.

Hence, second acting the show.

My mother used to do this.  I never asked her what shows she saw but she once told me that, before I was born, she would go to the theater where there was a show she wanted to see and just walk in with the other audience members as if she belonged.

This stirred up memories of my own theater going moments so, in no particular order, here is a list of those shows I clearly remember seeing.  If I remember one later, I’ll come back and update.

Cabaret (original production but probably not the original cast)
The Wiz (I actually saw this several times because people kept taking me)
Godspell (I saw this with Pia)
Dracula (starring Frank Langella--I also saw this one with Pia)
Harold and Maude (opened 7 Feb 1980—closed 9 Feb 1980 . . . ouch)
The Fantasticks
Feiffer’s People (an off (or possibly off-off) Broadway production inspired by the works of Jules Feiffer)

Here in Georgia, I also saw (with Rob)

For the sake of keeping this reasonable, I am not including ballet, opera, or other stage type productions.  As I said, I may have forgotten something and hopefully I’ll come back and rectify what I inevitably left off.  Should I do so, I’ll asterisk (*) the addition with a date added note.

Oh . . . and for the record, I myself never second acted a play although I did see a show or two standing room only.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

International Women's Day

Today is International Women’s Day.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing. 

As I was lying in bed pondering this—that there is a day in which everyone in the world is supposed to think about how women are raped and abused, that there are still countries where women are treated like chattel and where girls are mutilated to be made more sexually desirable—and I realized that I live in a rarified community of friends and family because I know that the men and women in my life are not ignorant of these things.  Not at all.

Then my mind wandered, as it occasionally (almost always) does to when I was in grammar school.  There was a boy there who would torment the girls.  Typically, in grade school, the boys dominate one side of the schoolyard while the girls hover around another. At my school, the girls had the smaller area while the boys had the larger.  I suppose it was because they ran around more while we girls played in small groups, rarely spreading far or wide.

But this boy who tormented us was not protecting his territory.  No.  His intention, when any girl moved apart or away, was to knock her down, to fall on top of her, and to pretend to have sex with her.

As an adult, there are certain realizations I have about this child’s sexualization, recognizing that it is not normal for a six-year-old boy to understand, even in a mocking manner, what sex is.  That he was acting out in a pseudo-rape of his playmates is obviously the consequence of some truly horrifying events in his own childhood.

All I know is that he terrorized us girls and there was nothing so horrifying as the thought that he might single you our unless it was the actual event occurring.

That boy didn’t follow me from grade to grade and eventually I was in a different school and altogether.  By middle school, things hadn’t changed very much, however.  I remember walking through the corridors of school with my books clutched against my chest because boys would try to grab your breasts as you passed, especially when going up and down stairs.  Even though I had nothing of which to speak, those hands didn’t seem to mind, had a life of their own, and holding my books close became so natural that I still find myself doing it as a habit, shielding myself against some invisible hands.

Not that holding books protected me or any of the other girls.  Our butts were still fair game and you couldn’t hold one get of books against your chest while protecting your ass as well.  And the first time a hand found its way to brush against your crotch as you descended and some anonymous boy’s hand ascended, the shock was like a slap in the face as you realize that there are not enough hands, not enough books, to hide yourself behind.

I suspect I was not alone in learning to avoid the stairs as best I could, to travel when traffic was its lightest, to find ways of simply not being noticed by anyone at any time.  Just in case. 

And here’s the thing—I don’t think any of us ever complained.  I don’t think any of us ever spoke out about that little boy or about the endless stream of hands in the corridors and stairways.  We just took it, assumed it was par for the course, a price we paid for having breasts and bodies that invited violation.  Were we too young to know better?  Were we already socialized to believe that “boys will be boys”?  Were we already learning to keep quiet, to assume culpability because of what we were?

I don’t know.  And I honestly don’t know if International Women’s Day makes a significant difference.  But I commented on a post someone else made that perhaps on this day someone who is ignorant of these issues will be made aware, that they will be shocked and appalled that little girls are sold into sexual slavery and that even as I sit here I can’t think of a single place where a woman is safe from being sexually assaulted so long as she has an orifice to be filled.  And maybe today, on this day, one girl or woman will be reminded to say something, to speak up, and to risk everything so that the truth about what is happening will no longer be a secret.  

And if it takes a whole day for even one person to become aware then it is absolutely worth it.  

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