Another special-needs mom making a difference:
If there are more parents like this guy, we might just stand a chance:
Robbie Coltrane in Cracker Season 1, "To Say I Love You" - starts at 03:30. Evil is only exciting to those who lack substance.
I'm looking forward to seeing this:
Says Mike Porath:
As a parent of a child with special needs – in our case, a daughter with Dup15q syndrome – it’s often hard to explain to others how our family dynamic works.
Yes, our daughter has challenges, but she also brings so much good out of us and those around her.
“Where Hope Grows” shows how a young grocery clerk with a pure heart impacts those around him. Oh, and he happens to have Down syndrome. The film did such a nice job of showing the person, not the disability.
When I got home, I emailed my friend Milan Chakraborty, who produced the movie. There was a specific line in the film I really liked, and I couldn’t remember quite what it was. He wrote back:
“I don’t know it exactly, but it goes something like this…
“You look around (a cemetery) and on every tombstone you see two dates. A birth date and a date of death. You’re guaranteed those two dates. But in between those dates is a dash. It’s what you do with that dash that counts. Make your dash count.”
I encourage you to take an hour and a half to go see this film while it’s still in theaters. No matter what you may be dealing with in life, watching this film will help you turn your attention to what really matters – making your dash count.
"Not everybody is capable of great athleticism. Not everybody is capable of high academic learning. But everybody that I know, especially every child, is capable of self expression."
In this TED Talk, Rupert Sheldrake identifies what he calls the ten dogmas of modern science - and I think he's pretty spot-on with many of them. What's interesting though is that scientists don't seem to like being called dogmatic, so TED's scientific advisors recommended that the video be removed from distribution on the TEDx channel.
Here's what the folks at TED have to say about the controversy:
At TEDxWhitechapel on January 13, 2013, Rupert Sheldrake gave a provocative talk in which he suggests that modern science is based on ten dogmas, and makes the case that none of them hold up to scrutiny. According to him, these dogmas — including, for example, that nature is mechanical and purposeless, that the laws and constants of nature are fixed, and that psychic phenomena like telepathy are impossible — have held back the pursuit of knowledge.
TED’s scientific advisors have questioned whether his list is a fair description of scientific assumptions — indeed, several of the dogmas are actually active areas of science inquiry (including whether physical ‘constants’ are really unchanging) — and believe there is little evidence for some of Sheldrake’s more radical claims, such as his theory of morphic resonance, and claim that the speed of light has been changing. They recommended that the talk be should not be distributed without being framed with caution. Accordingly, we have reposted his talk here, with the above cautionary introduction.
If you watch the video, you'll see that it's clear he is expressing his opinion about the scientific community and its culture. Nowhere does he make any actual scientific claims. And if he had, and if those claims had been grossly erroneous, surely a correction would have sufficed. But the scientific advisors aren't objecting to errors in Sheldrake's presentation, they are objecting to his questioning of their assumptions, just as they object to his questioning of the constancy of the speed of light (he does not, as the advisors claim, assert that the speed of light has been changing, he simply raises the question as well as questioning the methods by which it has been tracked.) Those advisors don't sound very scientific to me.
Well I've gone and done it. Today, after what must be nearly 40 years, I went and watched "J.T."
For those who didn't grow up in the '70s, J.T. was a film that was played around Christmastime every year when I was growing up. Any description of the story would make it sound cliche, formulaic, or corny. It is neither of these. It is one of those films that is so perfectly written and beautifully crafted that it seems simple and easy - as if no effort at all went into making it. But it is filled with wonderful little moments, has big themes that could easily have been made clunky or preachy, a flawless script (written by Jane Wagner) and an absolutely beautiful performance from a very young Kevin Hooks.
I was surprised to find that a couple of things weren't precisely as I had rememberd them, but the impact of the film was just as powerful as it was back then. No, if anything, it was more so. It's a lot harder to watch this film as a mother to a seven-year-old son who loves animals and who is beginning to confront harshness and meanness in the world, than it was to watch it as a child.
I'm not going to say anything more about it. Just that it is probably the best Christmas film ever made and I can't begin to fathom why it does not seem to be available on DVD. You can get the book here, and you can watch the entire film on YouTube, here.
Oh and make sure you've got a box of tissues handy.
Tom Woods interviews Jay Richards, co-author of The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom that Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot. Richards quotes Tolkein as saying that his "...political opinions lean more and more to anarchy, philosophically understood meaning abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs."
Richards also talks about the implicit Christianity that imbues both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. On a side note, I find it amusing that the Christians who advocated burning the books of J.K. Rowling missed out on the obvious Christian values that were the foundation for her works. The Harry Potter series has much in common with Tolkein's work, and this unspoken Christianity is one of the strongest features of both. It's funny how easy it is for so many "Christians" to miss out on their own message when it doesn't come in the right packaging.
See the full interview:
Nine years ago tonight, we learned that our unborn baby Miles had died at 39 weeks the previous day. (It is also, by sheer coincidence, the official Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.) Each year, we honor his memory in some way - often it involves me spending a few days doing marathon Buffy watching in bed and making chocolate-chip cookies (and eating them). Always it includes lighting the Miles Candles, which I just did tonight.
Earlier tonight, I went out to put the garbage out and I found the October Elves hard at work on our front porch. This is what they left us:
Thank you October Elves!
...but missing this is one of the big ones. What the hell was I thinking???
WHAT. THE. HELL?????
UPDATE: I guess I should consider myself fortunate that I got to see illicit videos from Kate Bush's first live concert in 35 years before Youtube pulled them.
From the article:
The police informed Westby that they were responding to a report of burglary, and said that they stopped to question the man to see if he had anything to do with the incident.
Westby did not back down, and demanded that the officers tell her the address of where the report came from. When they provided her with the address, she informed them that they were blocks away from the alleged crime and weren’t even in the right neighborhood.
She then informed the officers that she is an attorney and that they did not have the right to detain him. After threatening to report the officers, she picked the man up and carried him away, saying to the them “please leave our neighborhood.”
Westby then said to the officers as they were driving away, “Just because he’s black doesn’t mean he’s here to rob a house. He works for us. He’s been in this neighborhood for 30 years.”
Westby later said that “You got a white woman and a Hispanic woman standing up for a black man against two black cops…It was shameful how they behaved. And if it were Columbia Heights, or some other neighborhood, it’d probably just be worse. It was very interesting, in the sense of getting a picture of how black cops treat black people…And how humiliating that was for him. And how they were treating him just like a dog.”
This incident shows how important it is for people to stick up for one another and start recording and asking questions when someone is being hassled by a police officer. If there was just one person like Jody Westby on every street, this world would be a much safer place.
"Since this paper has come out, some people think I'm a crazy conservative against legalization," she says. "I don't think anyone should go to jail for using marijuana — people can do what they want — I just want them to know what's happening to the brain."
I just love, love, love that it's the people against decriminalization who need to be on the defensive now.
From his last TV interview, in 2001:
"...the Twentieth Century, with all its non-interactivity and its kind of totalitarian forms of control from the top down, will suddenly seem like a sort of nasty memory. I think the technologies of the Twenty-first Century are basically recreating on a much larger scale the intimacies of the human experience."
I really miss this guy.
It's not really my story. It's a story a friend who worked in the film industry told me. He'd worked on many many sets, with many well-known actors. One he remembered had been kind of a pompous ass. He had his people send a memo out to the entire crew, asking them to please not approach or speak to the famous actor. Robin Williams was a little different my friend said. One day at lunch time, he came down to where the crew were eating and tried to foment a mutiny, crying out "we'll storm the gate!" He played around with them for a while and then I guess they went back to shooting whatever film it was.
And it just makes me wonder: Why is it never the assholes who kill themselves? Why is it always the good and kind people, the sensitive ones, the ones who light up other people's lives? Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there are just as many jerks offing themselves but we just don't notice it as much, or care as much. I don't imagine there are any studies comparing asshole suicides to non-asshole suicides, so I guess we'll never know. But it seems to me that the people waging wars, torturing prisoners and shooting unarmed kids are not the ones who are wracked with self-doubt and depression. They should be, and if there was any real sense to the universe, they would be. But they're not. I don't imagine that famous actor who sent around that memo is either.
And who knows - nobody can know what's inside the mind of a person they know only through their performances and the media and stories other people pass on. But I don't see much evidence to make me think that the people committing real crimes against other people are troubled by their actions. And I'm sorry for now turning this into a political post. It's just that there an awful lot of people out there who have every reason to be tormented by demons. Robin Williams just wasn't one of them.
Very exciting. From their webpage:
Camphill is based on the acceptance of the spiritual uniqueness of each human being, regardless of disability, or religious or racial background. It is the conviction of those who work in Camphill that beneath any outer physical disability, emotional disturbance or failure of motivation, each individual's being remains unimpaired and whole.
Inspired by this ideal Camphill communities offer those in need of special care a sheltered environment to meet their educational, therapeutic and social needs.
In our communities the volunteer co-workers and those with special needs share all the work that has to be done - household tasks, gardening, land work, and crafts. Everyone helps and works side-by-side, each learning from the other.
The cultural life is very strong; the rhythms of the farming year, of the seasons, of the celebration of the great yearly festivals have a special place in the life of the communities.
In this environment of creative idealism and personal striving those in care thrive and develop.
Living spaces and buildings are designed and constructed in the light of Camphill's therapeutic insights - with an eye to shapes and colours. The care of the land is central to community life, as is the growing of healthy and untainted food.
Camphill Communities of Ireland is part of an international charitable trust working with people with intellectual disabilities and other kinds of special needs.
In Camphill our residents share their home, spiritual and working lives with those who are motivated to meet others as individuals needing support and recognition for what they are, and not as carer and cared for in the conventional sense. Most of the people providing support to those with disabilities are volunteers, coming locally or from abroad.
Camphill is a way of life, where each person according to ability contributes what they can towards the well-being of the other.
Pioneered by war refugees in Scotland almost 70 years ago, Camphill today numbers over 100 communities in 20 countries. In the Republic of Ireland, 18 communities of varying sizes and settings are home to around 500 people, plus a number of day attendees.
Each person with a disability supported by Camphill has different needs. Camphill has responded by establishing centres that cater to those needs and by constantly adapting itself to meet changes in those needs.
At the core of the community is the recognition of the dignity of people with mental disabilities, giving less importance to the material equivalent of the work that is done by those who care for them as part of the giving and sharing in communal life.
The different communities in Camphill include:
And there are other Camphill Communities around the world.