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And the Oscar goes to…Flipper?


Every year my husband and I watch the “Oscars,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences award ceremony that honors everyone involved with the best films, actors, directors, and all who create them. It’s like our Superbowl. Don’t make fun of us; we just really like movies.

We haven’t seen as many of the movies as we’d like, and every year, we inevitably say, “Gee, we should really watch more documentaries! That looks like a great way to have your heart ripped out!”

So, this year, watching the film clips of the category Documentary (Feature) the nominees were:

  • Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
  • The CoveLouie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
  • Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
  • Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa
  • Two piqued our interest – “Which Way Home” and “Burma VJ” especially. “Which Way Home” is about Mexican immigrant children who have been separated from their parents and must go on a quest to reunite with their moms and dads. Note the word CHILDREN. “Burma VJ” is about the political unrest in Burma, and that is superlatively the greatest understatement I have ever typed. Others looked interesting and important, of course: “The Cove” is about dolphin slaughter in Japan.

    The dolphins won.

    The dolphins?!?! Not the orphaned children? Not the man who risked his life to tell an important story? Not the whistle-blowers who are bringing vital information about food to the world? DOLPHINS?!

    Now, before you start pouring red paint (or worse) on my fake fur, I am not against animals. I believe that the day that animals are treated as humanely and equitably as humans will be a day of rejoicing, celebration, evolutionary progress, and peace on earth, lion and the lamb, the yin and the yang.

    Perhaps this is that “safe bet.” It’s safe to promote the safety of dolphins, intelligent water mammals we have personified into creatures far superior to humans (which may be true) who can’t speak for themselves (true only in terms of we can’t understand them, but they do communicate) and if we decrease the amount of species-ismwe ourselves will raise our collective nobility to the same circle as our cetaceous friends.

    Note to students: The reason how dolphins can be drowned is because they are not fish; they are mammals and breath oxygen, and share other mammalian traits.

    Note to the Oscars: I’m too busy building background knowledge, explaining the difference between a fish and a dolphin during a teachable moment.

    Note to the documentarians: Congratulations. But next time I want the kids to win.

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    Read on.

    I stumbled across this blog awhile ago: “…and we also read.” URL:

    Its premise is to capture people reading, all over the world.

    When I visited this morning, the Live Feed included:




    Petaling Jaya, Kual Lumpur

    Johor Bahru, Johor

    Ulm, Baden-Wurttemberg


    and those were the ones just on the screen.

    This young man was waiting to get an x-ray because of his headaches: he was reading Richard Pryor, an American comedian, to pass the time and hopefully to laugh, to get his mind off of his health problems.  I can’t tell from the post where he’s from, but it’s not the United States, (although we tend to think we are the center of the universe).

    reading around the world

    One can only guess at what the center of his universe is. Perhaps he has a girlfriend he’d like to marry; perhaps he helps support his mom and siblings; maybe he just gets migraines occasionally, and the doctor will fix him right up.

    Notice: he could be playing a GameBoy, or PSP, or watching movies on 3-G phone. But he’s not. He’s reading a book. Richard Pryor passed away in 2005; and I can tell you, although his humor was definitely R rated, he was really funny. He had many personal demons of his own, as many comedians do.

    The founders of this blog are on a mission: to find and photograph people reading, all over the world, for many different purposes. They’re not teachers (I don’t think-there’s nothing on their blog that would suggest this), they seem to be interested in people reading, and their reasons for reading; perhaps they are interested in others’ burning questions, and this is theirs:

    Why do people choose to read?

    Make sure you have that choice, too, and that freedom.

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    Brain matters.

    Tim Burton Mars Attacks!Yes, Martians have attacked your brain! Well, not really. But being a teenager has. I have suspected and known most of this all along, but Miss C sent an article that really articulated (said it well and clearly) what is happening with your minds. I don’t mean to treat you like over-sized toddlers, but I must confess that many of my best parenting techniques derived from the time I had small children, and I draw on this knowledge to be a better teacher of young adults.

    You need to learn about this, too, for your own care and maintenance:

    • You do need restful sleep.
    • You need healthy food, exercise, water, and laughter.
    • You need to read, think, consider, and ponder.
    • And you need to stay far, far away from addictive substances.

    From National Public Radio:

    More Vulnerable To Addiction

    But that’s not the only big difference in teenagers’ brains. Nature made the brains of children and adolescents excitable. Their brain chemistry is tuned to be responsive to everything in their environment. After all, that’s what makes kids learn so easily.

    But this can work in ways that are not so good. Take alcohol, for example. Or nicotine, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy …

    “Addiction has been shown to be essentially a form of ‘learning,’ ” Jensen says. After all, if the brain is wired to form new connections in response to the environment, and potent psychoactive drugs suddenly enter that environment, those substances are “tapping into a much more robust habit-forming ability that adolescents have, compared to adults.”

    So studies have shown that a teenager who smokes pot will still show cognitive deficits days later. An adult who smokes the same dose will return to cognitive baseline much faster.

    This bit of knowledge came in handy in Jensen’s own household.

    “Most parents, they’ll say, ‘Don’t drink, don’t do drugs,'” says Will, son number two. “And I’m the type of kid who’d say ‘why?’ ”

    When Will asked why, his mom could give him chapter and verse on drugs and teen brains. So they would know, she says, “that if I smoke pot tonight and I have an exam in two days’ time, I’m going to do worse. It’s a fact.”

    See? Your brains want to learn. That’s why if you get bored in school, it’s your brain’s fault. It’s looking for stimulation, for excitement. But don’t go to false and dangerous ‘entertainment.’ That’s how you kill your brains.

    This is a good news/bad news kind of thing: the good news is I know you want to learn new things. It feels right, even at my age. I try to keep my own brain flexible so I don’t get “old-minded.” The bad news is you blame me when you’re bored sometimes. Think about all the television and movies you watch, and all the other media “intake” you do. You are training your brain to be bored. You need to read more, because this will get your brain connected to YOUR LIFE – not the lives of the fake people in the electronic box. You need to write for the same reason – you should control the script for your life, not have someone else write your story for you.

    Just think about it, that’s all I’m asking.

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    Girl power.

    Burqa_1_wideweb__470x444,0Reflecting on yesterday’s post, I was thinking about why I shake with frustration when girls fight.

    I remembered that March is National Women’s History Month,and like all “national day of’s” or “national month of’s” I’m not sure it takes on much significance or impact. I’m not suggesting we don’t still need it – I think any time there is a disparity between one group and another for arbitrary reasons such as whether or not they were born with certain reproduction organs or the amount of melanin in their skin warrants an awareness. And if we are still at the place where girls are fighting one another, intimidating, harassing, and using tactics of emotional torture that would embarrass John Yoo (look him up), then, girls — you should be doubly ashamed.

    Half of our planet is comprised of women (duh?!). And though we have struggled to get past the vapid, impulsive reputations of Pandora, Eve, and Coatlique, somehow we managed to produce passionate, inventive, and creative souls such as Frida Kahlo, Elizabeth I of England, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sarojini Naidu, and countless others.

    Frida Kahlo

    Did you know:

    Women still get paid less per men for the same job?

    Women can’t vote in many countries, and it took a very long time for women to vote in ours.

    Women who have better access to quality health care and reproductive choices have better, healthier lives, and so do their children, and then so do their families, and so do their countries.

    Migrant Worker

    From the Library of Congress:

    About This Year’s Theme

    Writing Women Back into History

    The overarching theme is “Writing Women Back into History.” In celebration of their 30th anniversary, the National Women’s History Project will be highlighting themes and honorees from previous years. Each of these past themes recognizes a different aspect of women’s achievements, from ecology to art, and from sports to politics.

    Lewis and Clark

    Writing women back into history sounds like an admirable, ambitious theme. And yet, in the hallways, bathrooms, and glances across classrooms, girls are engaged in small-time guerrilla warfare and tearing each other down. Is this the history, the legacy you want to leave behind? Message to girl bullies: You have your little power now. You are the Queen Bee. You have your friends (rather minions) because they are scared of you. I know it feels right, and it’s fun. I cannot imagine what you think you’re getting out of hurting other girls. What are you competing for? A boy’s admiration? I can promise you, as a mother of sons, the boys that give you attention don’t respect you, because you are ignorant to your own potential, kindness, and self-worth. Sure–you can start rumors, hurt reputations, and threaten physical and emotional violence to whomever gets in your way. I knew you when I was 14, and 24, 34, and now. You never change, and shame on  you.

    Fairy Godmother helping CinderellaIf I could do one thing for young girls now, I would wave a magic fairy godmother wand and create self-confidence based on authentic achievements. I know so many kind, caring young girls who are genuinely gifted and beautiful, inside and out. These girls are going to grow into the women who mantle the burdens and joys of motherhood, marriage, and progress. (And, shame on me for writing this so darn early in the morning – I’m not suggesting you are limited to motherhood and marriage -NO! Don’t be limited by anything, no one or nothing! It’s about choice!) You already have the magic inside you. Just like Dorothy: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.

    Be strong, girls – you have more power than you think.

    Glinda the Good Witch