Saturday, February 26, 2011


We went to see Kodo last night at the IU Auditorium.

This show was on our short list when we ordered our season tickets, but got cut because we had seen it before and the budget just didn't stretch that far. Then an ice storm ruined our plans to see Blue Man Group on February 1st. The Auditorium was generous and offered complimentary tickets to one of three shows (Kodo, The Chieftains, or the Joffrey Ballet) for those who weren't able to go to Blue Man Group due to the storm.

So, we did get to see Kodo's One Earth Tour (although we are bummed we missed Blue Man Group). And it was awesome!

First up was Sakaki, featuring a solo dancer. It must be all the time I've spent with Chris, but the light reflecting off the dancer's white costume lit the auditorium. The dance was based on an old Shinto ceremony, according to the program, and also served to cleanse the auditorium.

Stride was a very fun piece, featuring cymbals and many of the taiko drummers dancing while drumming. What a great way to begin, after the cleansing ceremony! This was followed by Chonlima, which featured four drummers along a line of drums.

In Miyake, which had three of the big drums with two drummers each, I noticed that one drummer was a 'southpaw'. Five of the six drummed with their left shoulder toward the drum, but the sixth had his right shoulder toward the drum. It was a very athletic performance and I could see some similarities to martial arts or even yoga movements (makes sense that they would be related.)

My favorite number of the first half was the final one, Monochrome, played primarily on small, high pitched drums. It was like a rain storm! The quiet tinkling of the seven small drums gradually increased from a tinkling 'drizzle' into a wild 'monsoon', with three bass drums providing a thunder-like presence. And the bass drummers? Great ab control.

After intermission, we were treated to five more performances.

Jang-Gwara was a cymbal piece, followed by Sora, a very upbeat song. For fans of the Marching Hundred, the four drummers playing the same bass drum was reminiscent of the drum line in Sing Sing Sing. A quiet interlude of Kumo no Namiji, with a singer, flute and drum, covered while the stage was set for the highlight. Before getting to that, I'd like to note that the singing was very similar to that of Native Americans.

And the highlight: O-daiko, on the biggest taiko drum. Two drummers, in loincloth-like outfits (covered the essential), played the big taiko. I was spellbound by the play of muscles on the performer we could see. Yes, he was mostly naked, but it was really a revelation to see how he played. And I'll admit he was in really good shape, which I certainly didn't mind.

The finale was Yatai-bayashi, and then we were treated to an encore rendition of Sora with the whole company. There were a total of thirteen performers, three of whom were women. And if after reading all this, which is sort of dry, but I wanted to remember, you would like to see highlights, Kodo has a little teaser of a promo available on YouTube. It has bits of several of the songs from this tour.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My 4 year old likes the dentist

He wants to go back.

Wil had his first dentist appointment. I decided to schedule one because his preschool has been learning about 'community helpers', including dentists. I also was noticing some plaque on his teeth, so thought it might be worth a try to get his teeth cleaned. A search of our dental insurance network indicated no pediatric dentists, so I set up an appointment with the family dentist Chris and I see.

Over the weekend, I started telling him that he was going to see the dentist on Monday. I didn't want to start too early, but a couple of days of prep seems to be about right. I explained that the hygienist would clean his teeth kind of like I do, only she has special tools. I told him he would need to sit still while she worked, but then his teeth would be nice and clean. He seemed to accept the information; his only worry was that he didn't want a bandaid. I reassured him that the dentist doesn't give bandaids.

At the dentist, he settled into the chair with little protest (he didn't want to leave the waiting room toys). Once he realized he would be able to watch TV (tuned to the Disney channel!) he quietly sat. The chair tilted back, allowing a good view of the TV over the chair.

The hygienist, Karin, counted his teeth. She showed him her scraping tool and explained what she was going to do. As long as she didn't block his view, he let her scrape away at the plaque on his teeth. She let him feel the air puff out of the hose before using it to clear debris off his teeth. Next she showed him the toothbrush, letting him see how it spun, and asked what flavor of toothpaste he would like. I helped him pick grape (I think the number of choices was a little overwhelming and was interrupting his TV watching.) He really liked the hose for rinsing. She squirted a little water on his teeth, then let him spit into the hose. Yep, did that a couple of times. Finally, she flossed his teeth.

Sam sat quietly on a stool watching the TV most of the time, occasionally asking to see what was going on. He liked the little cup that filled with water.

After Karin was done, she let him play with the big teeth and toothbrush while he waited for the dentist to come check his smile out. He had a lot of fun playing with the toothbrush. The dentist came in; he lay back on the chair and opened wide. The dentist declared his teeth in great shape with nice spacing.

Sam climbed up on the chair and got a 'ride' into position, opening his mouth to show Karin his teeth, once Wil was done. Then it was time to pick a treasure from the treasure chest. Both boys picked tiny bone dinosaurs.

Wil really likes the clean feeling of his teeth. After a snack this afternoon, he told me his teeth were dirty and he needed to 'go all the way back' to the dentist for another cleaning. He's asked a couple of times to go back. He was disappointed when I told him he had to wait 6 months. I asked why and he wants to play with the big teeth and toothbrush. But, if he wants to go back, having had a positive experience, that's great! If he wants to get his teeth cleaned so he can play with the big teeth and toothbrush, I'm not going to argue.

I called the dentist's office to let them know he had a really good experience and wanted to come back. I figure they probably don't hear that too much.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sad state of government affairs

A lot has been happening politically lately. I have strong feelings about a few things and would like to try to get my thoughts in order.

First, the House recently voted to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. The sponsor of the bill doesn't like abortion. Fine. But Planned Parenthood is prevented from using their federal funding to pay for abortions anyway. The funding that has been cut covers a lot of preventive care including birth control that would prevent those unwanted pregnancies that end up being aborted. Um, aren't we trying to reduce the number of abortions? Because making affordable access to birth control more difficult actually does the opposite. Someone is harming a lot of people for a personal vendetta. Much of what federal funding to Planned Parenthood covers are mammograms and other screenings. We'll all end up paying more for expensive treatments for diseases that could have been caught earlier. Because, don't fool yourself, we all share the costs in the long run.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Republicans have also been trying to redefine 'rape'. They don't want women to be paid fairly (by blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act). All the blog posts about how the GOP hates women? There's something there.

And don't forget that the Equal Rights Amendment has still not passed. It sits 3 states shy of ratification before it becomes part of the Constitution. And without it, as Justice Scalia recently remarked, every right women presume to have, with the lone exception of being able to vote, is really just a privilege granted because no one has challenged any in court. With the current trend of legislation coming from the GOP, it's only a matter of time before they try to take away every right we think we have. We REALLY need the ERA to pass once and for all. (It is expected that it will be reintroduced in Congress in March. Contact your Senators and Representative and let them know you support it.)

Frankly, I don't understand how so many women support some of these Republican politicians. It certainly isn't in their best interest. I'm all for fiscal restraint. But those who tout themselves the loudest as wanting to cut the budget also seem to be those who do the opposite - either by wanting to cut taxes or by increasing spending on defense or a pet project. Republicans often claim to want small government, but they really don't, not when they want to make government more intrusive into personal lives. If you really want to cut government, stay out of people's bedrooms.

And don't get me started on all the folks on the 'religious right' who thump their Bibles, insisting we all follow their idea of morality because 'this is a Christian nation' (it's not, but that's another discussion). These same politicians and religious leaders often are the ones caught with their pants down, supporting mistresses, paying for prostitutes, denouncing gays while having gay love affairs.

I'm tired of the hypocrisy. I'm tired of the rich getting richer and protecting each other while making it increasingly harder for the rest of us to get anywhere. Part of the purpose of government is to protect the weakest, providing services so people, our fellow citizens, have food to eat and shelter over their heads. The tiny amount in the budget spent on some of these social service programs is a drop in the bucket compared to some of the programs Republicans refuse to trim, including defense. Yep, can't cut funding for a new plane that is not needed, but we can unfund a lot of programs that actually do some good.

I really could go on and on. This is by no means an endorsement for Democrats. I don't like much of what they do either. I just wish some of our elected representatives could grow up, get off the playground, and actually do something rather than just fight along party lines. But until the electorate decides they want smart people to represent them, that probably won't happen.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Last Message

This is a short piece of fiction using a character from a short play Chris and I wrote. I wrote this based on a prompt from The Red Dress Club. The prompt was to write, in 600 words or less, about a lost article of clothing found in the back of a drawer or closet, including what it is, how it was found and why it is important to you or your character.

A Last Message

Betty sighed as she opened the doors of the armoire. This was a task she had been dreading since her beloved Jim dies. She knew she could postpone it, leaving his things exactly the way they had been, trying to fool herself that he was still there, but she wasn't very good at lying to herself.

Piles formed on their bed - no, her bed now, Betty had to remind herself - as she sorted. A small pile of things to keep was dwarfed by the growing mound of clothing to donate. She moved methodically from shelf to shelf, then drawer to drawer. A trash bag slowly filled with unmentionables and things too worn to pass along. Finally she opened the bottom drawer. She pulled out a pile of socks, then swept her hand toward the back of the drawer, making sure it was empty. Her hand brushed something soft and silky. Pulling it out of the drawer, she found a pale blue scarf.

Her breath caught and tears welled in her eyes as she held the filmy piece of material, rubbing it between her fingers without realizing it. She lowered herself to the floor, her legs suddenly too unsteady to support her. As she quietly cried, she smiled in memory: she had worn this scarf tied around her pony tail the first day they met, back in 1956.

She hadn't thought about that scarf in years, hadn't even realized it was missing. Hadn't it been cleaned out of her own armoire ages ago? And her Jim had kept it, treasuring it. She had always considered herself the romantic one, but in his own quiet way Jim had outdone her.

After a time, Betty reached for a tissue to wipe her eyes. She clutched the scarf to her chest as she blew her nose. She sniffed one last time... and a sense of peace came over her.

"You always did know just what too say," she said to the empty room. "I miss you. But I'll be ok."

She carefully folded the blue scarf and set it on Jim's pillow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

To my Valentine

Neither of us are huge Valentine celebrants. Small gestures each day say much more about our relationship than hearts and flowers once a year.

This year, we shared a heart shaped pizza from Mother Bears with the boys. At home. On Sunday (Chris has to teach tonight). It was a great low-key way to acknowledge the day. I mean, heart shaped pizza! Delivered to our door!

I don't need flowers (the cats would just eat them) or chocolates (my waistline doesn't need any help). I certainly don't need jewelry. Besides not wearing much, I'd rather not run up the credit card bill. Because nothing says "I love you" like going into debt we'll have to pay off for the rest of our lives together. (Hey, you take your romance where you can get it.)

That's not to say people shouldn't celebrate their romance. If you love Valentine's Day, go for it. But if you don't care, it's just another day. And this year, the first day to file federal taxes if you use certain forms. To me, that's a much better reason to celebrate.

Yep, I spent some time this afternoon filing our taxes. To me, that was worth celebrating. And we can celebrate ever more when our refund comes in. If anyone is looking for a free online filing site, try FreeFillableForms.

Ok, I will admit I made a Valentine that I tucked into Chris's laptop bag. I was helping the boys make Valentines; I really couldn't just ignore the crayons and construction paper, could I?

I think maybe Valentine's Day is more for kids than adults. It comes with too much pressure as you get older. The simple joy of a Valentine wears off as we get older. Somehow, the innocent no-strings-attached expression of love and caring gets put aside when we start to actually fall in love.

So here's a little poem for my Valentine.

I waited lots of years
to find my one true love.
You came along
quite by surprise
when I wasn't looking.
You've made my life
quite complete.
You are my best friend.
I can't imagine life
without you by my side.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kickstart Chris's project!

Chris's first film was entirely self-funded by us. It made a bit of a dent in our pocketbook, so for his next film (he is making 3 short films for his final degree project), we decided to take a stab at using to raise some of the money.

Filming for Project Z-6463 is set for mid-May, so he is trying to raise $900 by May 1st. More about the project can be found here, at his Kickstarter project page, which was just launched today.

How does Kickstarter work? you ask. Well, here are the basics.

Kickstarter is a website that helps raise funding for creative projects. The creator of the project decides how much money they think they need and a deadline to raise it by. If the goal is reached by the deadline, they receive the amount raised (which can be more than their goal). If the goal is not reached, no money changes hands.

How can you pledge to this or any other Kickstarter project?

  • First, you need a free Kickstarter account. you need an account because they need a way to keep track of who is pledging how much. 
  • Payments are made through Amazon payments accounts, so you also need one of those (if you don't have one, they walk you through setting one up when you pledge). 
  • They do a good job of explaining why and how in their FAQ.
Why should you pledge? Well, you really don't have to, but we would really appreciate not breaking the bank. If you do pledge, you will see that there are several rewards you can receive, depending on your commitment level, just like if you pledge to PBS or NPR. The very basic reward, for a low $10 pledge, is a copy of the completed movie on DVD (both 2D and 3D versions.) Think of this as a way to prepay for something you might like to see. If you always dreamed of having a movie credit, there are a limited number of opportunities to become an Executive Producer, with a $100 pledge. Take a look and see if any of the rewards are something you would be interested in. Once again, if you would like to find out more about his project (it's the zombie mime script for those who have been waiting since the Script Development Series readings), you can find it here.

While you are at Kickstarter, you may want to look around and see if there are any other projects you would like to back. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Some really cool renewable energy projects

Just because I thought these were cool, I will share:

SolarWind bridge. Awesome use of space! And it's pretty. I like that this is useful and artistic.

And related, here are two links to solar roads. What a great use of roadways. DoE contract (2009) and Oregon solar highway (2008)

And if you've driven up I-65 to Chicago recently, you are sure to have seen the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm there. Here's a fact sheet about the installation.

And in the realm of home wind power, I love the Jellyfish wind turbine. Clarian seems to really be working on the affordable home market. With solar too.

I know there are many many examples of great projects. Feel free to share in the comments because I love reading about things like this.

Really, energy sources don't have to be all or nothing, one size fits all. National Geographic has had some great articles on an efficient, integrated grid for the whole country that would use renewable energy such that places that produce a lot of solar or wind power could share it with the rest of the country. (The interactive map is really neat.)

Some NG links:
Home energy
Solar power
More solar energy
21st Century grid

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

That's not art

This morning expletive-laden flyers appeared in the Telecommunications (and possibly other) building on IU's campus. The fake-blood spattered documents have created a bit of local Twitter storm with discussions about art and free speech. The police were called because of the threatening nature of the 'manifesto', although the current thinking is that these are part of an art movement called Cinema of Transgression.

If you click through and read the manifesto posted at IU (strewn with a lot of profanity) and the original manifesto (not strewn with profanity), there are some similarities, but they are not the same. I can see the link between the two, but they are very, very different. And the circumstances surrounding each is different.

Besides the lack of profanity, the original Cinema of Transgression manifesto is relatively non-violent (other than one reference to blowing up film schools). It is well-written and eloquent. This new manifesto is nearly unreadable in places. In my opinion, a need to use so much profanity shows a lack of creativity. It is easy to swear; getting your point across without profanity is much harder. Spattering a page with fake blood (when it concludes with the statement that 'there will be blood') can be construed as threatening, especially in these times.

We live in a different world now than we did in 1985. I don't blame someone for getting the police involved. Too much scary stuff happens. There have been too many shootings at schools, including colleges and universities, for anything that comes across as threatening to be taken lightly. Virginia Tech (2007) comes immediately to mind, and Northern Illinois University (2008). There is an implied threat in the manifesto. I don't think I'm the only one to see it that way.

Some have posited that this is a free speech issue. And it may well be. But there are points where freedom of speech ends. Click through to that link for some really good info, but a few places where freedom of speech is limited include 'clear and present danger'; fighting words; slander and libel; obscenity; time, place and manner. I think it is more than possible to consider that this doesn't necessarily fall under free speech. Even if it does, it is not the best way to get the point across.

So is this 'manifesto' art? I don't find it particularly artistic. It's not even original. It's a rehashing of a piece from 25 years ago. Does anyone else see the irony of complaining that current movies and art are not creative, 'manufacturing the antithesis to all things forward', while at the same time ripping off something probably created before the perpetrator was born? Sorry, but that's not art. By the definition of art in the manifesto (not soft, not passive, not mute, not apathetic, hard, active, transgressive), this isn't art either. Yes, it got a reaction, but that doesn't make it art. People react just as strongly to a lot of things that are not art (especially when they feel slightly threatened.)

If you have a complaint about the quality of work coming out of the school, and you think it is worthless, then go find another school or find your own way. If the 'establishment' sickens you so much, why are you part of it?  If you want to be original, go be original. And don't just post anonymous flyers insulting people. No, this isn't art; this is a a whiny diatribe. And who wants to listen to whiners? If you want to change things, then create what you consider real art. And don't support Hollywood movies with your money if they offend you so much. (They aren't all bad. And a lot of independent films are seeing the light of day. The bar to entry has been lowered by new technology.)

On a personal note, when I started seeing the tweets, I was a little scared. I wondered if some disturbed person with a grudge might be ready to go on a rampage to get their point across. I worried about Chris and all the other people I know who spend a great deal of time in the Telecom building. I called Chris to see if he was there, worried that if someone were really angry about current technology he might be at risk. He's on the cutting edge, specializing in 3D.

I don't ever want to get that phone call. Yes, images flashed through my mind, picturing the worst. A chill ran down my spine until Chris answered his phone and let me know he was not in danger. I obsessively checked Twitter for updates, feeling some reassurance that this appears to be an 'artistic' stunt. But there's that little piece of me that doesn't feel safe. There's a small bit of innocence that has been bruised. The fear is subsiding, but it will take time to completely go away.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Artistic endeavors

Chris and I have both taken a turn into artistic ventures lately. He's working on filmmaking and I've been trying my hand at writing. 

A few friends and I have started a writers group, meeting once a month to share and critique each other's work. Our first meeting in January was mostly to figure out how to make this work, so next week will be the first time we actually share feedback. I posted to the group my short play and the prologue and first chapter of my NaNoWriMo novel that I mostly wrote in November. My parents have actually read the full first draft of the novel and my short play has had one reading with critique, although I have expanded it since then.

It's harder than you might think to share something you created. I'm baring a little bit of my soul by letting other people read what I've written.  Every word comes from within me. I let myself get into the characters as I write, which can lead to interesting emotional moments.

The first reading of the play was tough. It was well-received, but that first time, hearing what others had to think, hearing the actors read it..... well, I was a wreck. The play itself makes me cry while I'm writing it. Hearing it put me back in that emotional place. And then the critique came. I was happy that everyone understood what I was trying to do; I was thrilled that they wanted more. So, part of my revising on that is to expand it into a full one-act play. 

No one had read any of my NaNo novel until my parents, who loved the story. Now more people will be reading it and I'm hoping they all enjoy it and understand the story I was telling. I think it's a good story. The key is going to be polishing the writing. That's what I hope the group can help me with.

His first short 3D film wrapped in September and he's still tweaking the editing. His second 3D film is currently in preproduction. He's hoping to do some casting later this month. We're also looking at trying to use to help fund it. While the budget it very low, not having to rely entirely on our checking account would be a great help. So if you ever wanted to be part of a movie, watch for your opportunity! 

The second film is going to be a lot of fun to make. Each reading he has had while developing the script has produced laughter and delight. I think a lot of actors are looking forward to auditioning just to be a part of it. 

He's also working on a short documentary. Yes, it will also be filmed in 3D. That is his thing, after all. These are for the final project for his masters degree in video production. You can find out more about what Chris is doing at his 3D/4K blog.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Losing community (or, what's wrong with Meetup's redesign) made some changes to their design recently. The vast majority of feedback I have seen has been negative - just about everyone hates it. I don't think the negative response is just because things change. I really think it is because the changes are bad.

  • First, the front page of each group is now a list of upcoming meetups in a HUGE font. Scrolling waaaay down, past the next five meetups, you can find recent activity (message board discussions, new members). The old format had a column with recent activity and a column featuring the next meetup and listing the next few and last few. 
    Why is the new format bad? In my opinion, firstly, it is ugly. Secondly, I find this method of displaying upcoming meetups unwieldy and not very useful. Thirdly, it is too easy to miss recent activity with it buried waaaay at the bottom of the page. Just to highlight, in the Hoosier Mamas, I am not planning to attend any of the next 5 meetups. Displaying all that information front and center is useless to me.

  • Let's talk about the calendar. I'm sure some of my web designing friends can comment intelligently on this and even cite reputable information, but here is my aggravation. Once I navigate away from the front page, to find the calendar of events, I click a link in the left-hand column. If I want to navigate to any other pages I frequent (message boards, photos), I click on links at the TOP of the page. Why? Why are the menus split? This is not user-friendly. I think it is poor design. Either put them all on the left or all on the top. (Thankfully they have reverted to displaying 2 months on the calendar view after complaints about a single month view.
  • RSVP's are not as useful as they used to be. We used to have the option of responding 'maybe', a very useful option when your group is full of moms with young children. The organizers used to have the ability to decide if a meetup could have only 'yes' or 'no' responses or if 'maybe' is viable. Now, Meetup has taken that flexibility away. 
  • Also in RSVP's, once a meetup with a limited number of spaces is full, the only option appears to be the waitlist. If I don't plan to attend a full meetup, I have to put myself on the waitlist and then update to no. I no longer have the option of choosing either waitlist or no from the beginning. Why? Why would they take that away? I don't want to receive update emails about a meetup I'm not going to. I also like to see a clean calendar (yes, I'm a little OCD that way) so I hate seeing meetups I haven't responded to. I WANT to say no. Now I have to trick the system to do so. 
  • A final part of the redesign I don't like and which has caused problems: automatically including a Google map of the location with each meetup. At first blush, that seems like a great idea. Until you realize that sometimes Google maps is wrong. I know of several addresses which don't display correctly on Google maps but do on Mapquest. Forcing what may be incorrect information right onto the front page is problematic. Better to make that an option.
It seems as if TPTB assume every group functions the same way and that just isn't the case. I'm sure the logic behind some of the changes is that this site is called Meetup and the meetups should be the prominent feature. But a large part of our group (and I would guess many groups) is the sense of community. We are losing that by forcing it to be all about the physical gatherings at the expense of discussions and welcoming new members to the fold. 

Besides making for an ugly and less useful site, the redesign actually takes something vital away. They have broken something that didn't need fixing. And from the responses I've seen on the forums, they have no desire to listen to complaints, even though one of the top requests is to have the option for a group to use either the new or old format. Is Meetup becoming the next Facebook in regards to poor customer relations? Seems that way.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is breastfeeding overrated?

Today a friend shared an interview with the author of a new book about breastfeeding. The author, Joan B. Wolf, is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.

I have not read the book, but the interview brings up some interesting points. I know a lot of breastfeeding advocates will be up in arms about this, but I think it is worth thinking about what she says.

Ms. Wolf states that studies linking breastfeeding to an amazing number of health benefits are misleading. I'm not going to try to rephrase her response (read the interview linked above). I have to say, she has a point about causal relationships. Without studying the data from the studies in question, if her assertion is true about the way research has been done, then questioning the results is valid. That is the point of science.

Breastfeeding is tough. Yes, it is natural. But that doesn't make it easy or instinctual. I've had experience with both a child who refused to nurse and one who was a natural.( For the record, my formula fed child weighs less and has fewer health problems than my breastfed child, who has asthma. So much for that bit of the benefits of breastfeeding.) Sometimes breastfeeding works beautifully and sometimes nothing will make it happen. And we mothers put guilt on ourselves and each other if we have problems.

We've been so brainwashed that we must breastfeed that we leave ourselves little choice if it doesn't work. It's very emotional to be a new mother. Not enough sleep, hormones running amok, sleep deprivation induced psychosis.... and then we have to be the sole food source for this tiny life.

It's rather like some of the phenomena noted in "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan. Mothers so need to be the 'perfect' mother, sacrificing everything for their child, that they can't admit there are other ways.

It's wonderful if someone can breastfeed, and enjoys it. But sometimes it doesn't work out, for whatever reason, and those mothers who can't or don't breastfeed are made to feel that they are bad mothers. They aren't. Formula these days is much better than it was when I was a child. Babies survive and thrive just fine on formula.

I just wish the guilt and judgement could end. We all do the best we can, choosing what is best for our families. Making women feel guilty is unproductive. We all want what is best for our children. Sometimes we can't give them the best so we give the best we can. And I think that's a big part of what this is about.

Maybe the best isn't what we have been told and maybe it is. But do we need untested claims? What purpose does it serve to make breast milk into the wonder food it is being described as? If the benefits of breastfeeding do turn out to be marginal, I think it would be healthier for society. My reasoning is this:

A lot of mothers will still choose to breastfeed because it is a free source of quality food for their babies. A lot of mothers will want to breastfeed because there is a trend toward natural products, etc (midwifery and cloth diapers are experiencing a resurgence). But those mothers who can't or don't want to breastfeed will feel less pressure and stress about their decisions and may have fewer mental health issues.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kids' movies part 2

After my last post, I thought I should talk about a kids' movie that I think does things very well. It is so much easier to portray violence (it's easy and uncomplicated). Relationships are tough. So I really want to give kudos to "Cars".

What does "Cars" do really well? It builds relationships and friendships between and amongst the characters. It is obvious that the cars in Radiator Springs are friends. And Lightning McQueen learns about friendship throughout the movie. Starting with Mater's persistent and matter-of-fact overtures of friendship, McQueen sees that relationships can be generous and kind, that friends help each other, that competition and winning aren't everything.

McQueen sees the contrast between Chick's mean behavior causing accidents and the King's sportsmanship. He goes from lonely, not having any friends to invite to the big race, to having his new friends volunteer to help him as his pit crew simply because he needs them.

What better message could a movie give? Relationships take work, but they don't have to be hard. And "Cars" really shows that.