Posts Tagged ‘children’

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Found objects — Agere sequitur credere

November 3, 2012

Slam, slam — oh, hot damn. I love the confidence of this li’l Unlikely G.

Fight Club Friday: So old school that she’s bringing back consumption

September 30, 2011


Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999).

I can’t believe that I’m even raising the issue of immunizations in this public venue, because I know it’s like setting a loaded pistol on the table, but I have been feeling very, very strong Ways about a Thing that happened to me recently and this is my journal, and other than posting up my old Playboy paraphernelia, venting is what my journal is here for. I need to share. If it makes you hate me, then, well … we must henceforth agree to disagree on this matter and remain friends in all other ways. Also, you’re an idiot.

Last week, I had a tuberculosis test and clearance performed by my doctor to satisfy the requirements of a new job. (Result: I am not consumptive. Huzzah.) During that same week, I had a training in a nearby city to which several of my new colleagues and I drove together. In the car, I innocently remarked that I was waiting for the results of my TB test but joked that I was probably in the clear since I hadn’t visited Dickensian London lately.

One of my new colleagues — let’s call her Annette, although that is not her name — then snorted, folded her arms, and said, “I haven’t done that. I don’t believe in immunizations. They can’t make us get them.”

I chuckled nervously and said, “Pretty sure you have to do it in order to work with kids in this state. And it’s not an immunization, technically; it’s just a test for tuberculosis.”

“Tom [not her husband’s name] and I haven’t immunized any of the kids,” she said, because why should she respond to the logical thing I had just said? “You know that those shots cause autism, right?”


TB ward. My grandmother’s twin died in one of these.

This was the wrong thing to say to me because I’m close to several children with autism spectrum disorders and their mothers, and I do not personally know a single well-informed parent or guardian of an autistic child who buys this. Yes. Yes, autism is caused. It can’t possibly be due to genetic and neurological factors that we simply don’t yet understand.

I love Jenny McCarthy as much as the next guy (more, probably), but, come on: like I said, this might make you hate me, but there is zero — zero — evidence, as the American Association of Pediatricians, the American Medical Association, and even the American Psychiatric Association have repeatedly reported, that there is a link between autism spectrum disorders and vaccines required by public schools in most developed nations — required because they’re intended to protect our children from the communicable diseases that have, in the past, devastated infant and child populations. Let’s be scientific for about half a second, all right?

And this is a test. For tuberculosis. Who objects to that? Realistically, who in the name of easter seals objects to being simply tested for freaking consumption, in order that you do not spread it to little children who will die of it?


X-ray of pediatric tuberculosis in a near-morbid case. For the record. Jesus Christ, Annette.

At this stage of the conversation, I backed out, because when I’m offended, I freak out and shut down. However, another woman in the car said tentatively, “Annette, you know, whooping cough is really bad this year. There’ve been deaths.”

“I know, but I just don’t believe in immunizations.”

The driver and one of our immediate supervisors, who had minutely shook her head through most of the conversation, then said, “The school is actually asking for pertussis shot records during re-enrollment. Didn’t you get the kids their shots?”

“No. If everyone else has them, then it shouldn’t be a problem,” Annette snapped, and rolled her eyes. Because, you know, we’re the tiresome ones.

Wow.

I don’t believe in immunizations.

That’s okay, Annette — smallpox believes in You. What a straight-up cunt.

People landing on this by searching the internet for blogs about links between autism and vaccines in order to start a fight or brag about your opinion, you may officially commence hateration.


via.

… But please know that if we don’t know each other and you start talking a bunch of bullshit about obscure studies that no major, legitimate sources support, and acting like you for-sure know a speck of a jot of a modicum about what causes autism, which people who’ve gone to college for over half your life cannot yet figure out and are dedicated to trying to concretely discover rather than accept mediocre malarkey in order to feel like there is a satisfactory scapegoat to make it all better, I am going to probably make fun of you. Not even kidding. I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve grown sick of sugar-coating my opinion of other people’s ignorance. Especially when it might make a child, whether I know him or not, gravely sick. Get ready for a whole lot of “go fuck yourself.”

Heinlein Month: “If This Goes On —“

July 4, 2011


via.

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.


Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything — you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

(Robert A. Heinlein, If This Goes On — . Novella serialized February to March, 1940, in Astounding Science Fiction. )

Flashback Friday: Pricklypear li’l G and couch fort bravado

June 24, 2011

This entry originally appeared in slightly different form on October 28, 2009 at 1:45pm.


Photographed by Sally Munger Mann.

Me, she had dispensed from joining the group; saying, “She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation, that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner — something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were —– she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children.”


via.

“What does Bessie say I have done?” I asked.

“Jane, I don’t like cavillers or questioners; besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent.”

(Charlotte Brontë. Jane Eyre. Cornhill: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1847. pp. 3-4.)



Worst. Christmas. Ever.

Do you remember the positive indignation of adult severity in the face of your early self-expression? I think the knife really twisted because you knew they were just flying by the seat of their pants, arbitrary jerks running scared, threatened by your stabs at mastery. They had no more particular power or experience than another kid facing you down in a play war.


Another by Ms. Mann.

Don’t forget that. Every person who attempts to wave some type of banner of authority in your face is probably prickly-sweaty under the arms and hopped up on 90% couch fort bravado. Poke their pile of cushions with a stick and see if it tumbles down.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Fear and love

February 7, 2011


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Vonnegut month: Welcome to Earth and ramblings about kids

February 6, 2011


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“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

(God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. p. 129.)

Everybody’s always preaching on about what the world is coming to and how everything’s changed and children aren’t being raised right anymore, and perhaps that’s so in more cases than it used to be, but, when I am with my kidlet and her friends or I’m in the classroom teaching and interacting with children, I don’t generally find these bell-ringing end-of-days declamations of “oh-kids-these-days!” too be true at all.

If “kids” seem as a group to behave in a way that runs counter to previous societal standards, that is not reflective of their motivations, but of their parents’ lack. If they act out in a way they did not do twenty years ago, it’s because they’re being allowed to be fed bullshit from the television and other media by people too lazy to lift a finger to defend their minds from rot.

Children are still people, and as long as we continue to try to teach them to be compassionate and to love, they will have the same things in common with the people of history (who were never any of them that great to begin with, don’t be fooled) that every other generation has done: love, sex, passion, greed, honor, and the whole scope of personal emotions. Kids cannot be cut off from the birthright that is human feelings by technology — only we, and our attitudes, can cut them off from that.

Dickens December: Where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing

December 23, 2010


Port-au-Prince, Haitian children in costumes for a Christmas pageant.

Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was rich.


Hathaway House orphanage. Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA. Dec. 23, 1948.

In almshouse, hospital, and jail, in misery’s every refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing, and taught Scrooge his precepts.

(Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol. The Second Stave: The Ghost of Christmas Present.)

I hope that wherever we are, no matter our faith or circumstance, we do not in our little brief authority leave an embodiment of love for our fellow man out in the cold. Don’t bar the door. Let him come in and know you better.

Dickens December: If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population

December 22, 2010



“Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”

“I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”


“No, no,” said Scrooge. “Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.”

“If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,” returned the Ghost, “will find him here. What then? ‘If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population’.”



Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.

“Man — ” said the Ghost, ” — if man you be in heart, not adamant — forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is.”



“Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be that, in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh, God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”

(Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol.)

I believe that last quote to be one of the finest things Dickens ever wrote.

All photographs by William Gedney, taken in Kentucky in 1964. Special thanks to the fantastic Selvedge Yard, right here on the wordpress, for making me aware of this set’s existence.

E.E. Cummings month: “My sweet old etcetera”

August 27, 2010


via

my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent
war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

for,
my sister


via

isabel created hundreds
(and
hundreds) of socks not to
mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers
etcetera wristers etcetera, my


via

mother hoped that

i would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my


via

self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera
(dreaming,
et
     cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

(E.E. Cummings. “My sweet old etcetera.” is 5. New York: Liveright, 1926.)

is 5 was a collection of satirical and anti-war poems which Cummings wrote during his time as an ambulance driver in France during the Great War. That’s when he also began working on his novel The Enormous Room.


via

The above letter of August 15, 1918, is transcribed:

“My Darling little sweetheart,

Just a few lines hoping that my letter finds you in the best of health, I’m very well at present and my family the same, Well loving, you see I’m faithfully thinking of you,

You know I love you very well my little heart, I am never loving anyone else,

If you are killed I will stay with you all the time and with my little baby if you give me one, I hope to see you very soon,

So will leave you now with my best remembrances from all my family,

Best love, from your loving little sweetheart, wife very soon.”

The beautiful and painstakingly artistic letter has recently become part of the Love and War exhibit at the Australian War Memorial, who are asking anyone who recognizes the couple, a Martha Gybert of Saint Sulpice, France, and the Australian soldier to whom she writes, to notify them as to what became of the two. They believe the letter may have made its way to Australia because it had either come over from France with the bride, or was returned with the soldier’s body and other effects. Obviously, the hope is that it is the former explanation. More info here.

Yesterday, in lieu of my previous service plan for the 100th birthday of Mother Teresa, I was called in to substitute for my ill colleague again. So, during the time the children write in their journals, I had them instead follow a basic form letter and write thank you notes, with drawings, to soldiers who will be serving in Afghanistan. The Cappy (he has been promoted now but calling him the Commie seems … “off”) is hooking it up because he knows the unit and the chaplain to whom I’ll be sending the letters, for which I’m so thankful. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea that ended up working out much better than I could have imagined; I initially thought it was hackneyed but I hadn’t counted on the children’s reaction to the letter-writing. The kids were genuinely fascinated by the project, and we traced over the world map in the classroom to demonstrate the countries their letters would cross before they arrived in their recipients’ hands.

I was surprised by how engrossed they were in the idea and how the details of why there are U.N. forces in Afghanistan at all seemed so revelatory to them. (I stuck mainly with the line that there are bad people there who are keeping the good people in the country from having the resources they need to succeed, so we and other forces are trying to help the good people get their country back from the bad; like, how do you explain the complexities of involvement in Afghanistan to fourth graders? Even explaining it to ourselves is problematic.)

When a girl told me, “My grandfather is a vet. He lives with us now,” and I said, “Oh, was he in World War II, or Korea?” and she replied, with a look at me like I was deranged, “Vietnam. My uncle was in the first war in Iraq,” I realized that these nine-year-old American children have grown up with the Towers down and all manner of skirmishes and action in the Middle East as a matter of course. They were so “in to” the project because the idea of a military presence in the Middle East, with attendant nightly television news reports of suicide bombers and attacks on bases, is so completely de rigeur to them as to be almost meaningless; unless someone in their life has been personally touched by the violence, it is just another part of the buzzing adult world that surrounds them.

For most, this was the first time it occurred to them to put a physically human face on stories that are a regular — and regularly ignored — part of their daily lives. This was a first time of actual connection, emphathetic thought and prayer for people serving around the globe in wartorn places that are just names on television for the kids.

For my part, I’d been concerned, because it is a parochial school, about taking care not to conflate patriotism with a love of God because that can lead down such dangerous behavioral and judgemental alleyways, as well as being always wary of the wavering line between informed support and general jingoism. But I was surprised that, beyond drawing war planes and helicopters or crosses and flags, the kids wanted to know more about the actual lives of the people who would be receiving their letters: I learned something, too, from this project, and that was that I can be as guilty of stereotyping an abundantly adamant yellow-ribbon-sporting, SUV-driving fellow citizen as I suppose they might be of me, who approaches an understanding of conflicts in what I thought was a less black-and-white way. I don’t know it all and neither do they. These kids drew their symbols and wrote out their dutifully trite declarations of support, but it was from a place of real love, and curiosity, and empathy. They are the next generation who will decide how to successfully negotiate international conflicts, and they are not a lost nor entirely manipulable cause. It was a very sobering and educational experience for us all. Probably more so for me than them, but I am glad that they seemed to have derived a real pleasure from the project.

Daily Batman: Ladies on the go

August 24, 2010


Selina Kyle by Tim Sale, via laurenmoran on the tumblr.

I have often thought what a melancholy world this would be without children, and what an inhuman world without the aged.

(Coleridge.)

Finally have some time to sit and wool-gather today after being on the go a lot in the last week or more, planning some stuff for later this week, seeing to things for my daughter and grandmother, and spending time with friends. Though I have been busy and a little frazzled, I can at least take comfort that it’s been for some of the most worthwhile of causes. And my daughter and grandmother do give me good laughs. Just picturing us walking through the grocery, with each one with a hand on either side of the cart as we squeeze down the aisles, makes me smile. My grandmother likes to throw chips and bodice-ripper novels in the cart, and my daughter is famous for slipping in candy bars and coloring books. I have to watch them like hawks. In a good way.

All in all, I may feel like I’ve been gone over with a rolling pin — but I am not unhappy to feel that way.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: 19 Man

July 14, 2010

Last year my friendoh’s rad son came up with a superhero who was made out of number 19s and was named, appropriately, “19 Man.” That drawing has been lost to time so he made me a new one.

19 Man has a sidekick and a nemesis who has his own sidekick, and they all have kickass pets. Please click to enlarge and enjoy the awesome creativity. I especially like Mustache Dog — the very combination of the words of his name is something like “cellar door” or “fiddlesticks;” it pleases, yes?

I think I’ll start including some of my daughter’s work in liberated negative space as well. Like Picasso said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Daily Batman: Permanently inked ghosts of childhood

April 20, 2010

Bat tat, too.



Girls Like A Boy Who Reads … comics! Thought it was time for some rare female fan service up in this piece — wink-wink. You’re welcome. Photo via iheartbatman on the tumblr, very cool bloggy-blog.

The way they were, inaugural edition: Mickey and Jayne

December 1, 2009

Wrestler and former Mr. Universe and Mr. America, Miklós “Mickey” Hargitay and actress/sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, carousing on the beach at Santa Monica, circa 1958-59.


Captured by vintage glam, fun, and cheesecake photographer Peter Gowland, likely with the assistance of his adorable wife Alice (they are a beautiful partnership).

The story goes like this, or so it is said. One night, Jayne Mansfield was attending one of Mae West’s famous burlesque shows (she idolized West, the original dirty blonde, and rightly so). She saw Mickey Hargitay in the crowd and when the waiter came to take her order, she said, “I’ll have a steak and that man on the right.” It was a stormy relationship, full of make-ups, break-ups, and affairs which, given how famous the blonde bombshell and the bodybuilder were, could not help but be public. The pair were tabloid fixtures until the jumping cartoon alarm clock of their marriage finally wound itself down and petered out.


Onstage in 1961, via Vintage Vegas on flickr. Mickey and Jayne had a show there at the Arabian Room called “House of Love.”

The couple divorced in Juarez, Mexico in May 1963. The Mexican divorce was initially declared invalid in California, and the two reconciled in October 1963. After the birth of their third child, Mansfield sued for the Juarez divorce to be declared legal and won. The divorce was recognized in the United States on August 26, 1964. She had previously filed for divorce on May 4, 1962, but told reporters, “I’m sure we will make it up.”

Must have made it up indeed, temporarily. Actress Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), the youngest of their three children, was born earlier that year.


Via Muscle Growth Lovin’ Femme, unsourced, undated.

Jayne had several failed marriages and dead-end relationships following her final divorce from Mickey. She was killed in a car accident in 1968, along with Sam Brody, her boyfriend and accused child abuser. She was not decapitated; that is pure gruesome urban myth. Three of her children were in the car with her, including Mariska, but they survived with minor injuries.


Ditto credit to above

Mickey Hargitay married Ellen Siano several years after he and Jayne divorced, and remained married to her the rest of his life. She raised Jayne’s children as her own in the wake of their mother’s tragic death. Mickey died of multiple myeloma in 2006.

Pricklypear li’l G and couch fort bravado

October 28, 2009


Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre:

Me, she had dispensed from joining the group; saying, “She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation, that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner—something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were—she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children.”

“What does Bessie say I have done?” I asked.

“Jane, I don’t like cavillers or questioners; besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent.”


Do you remember the positive indignation of adult severity in the face of your early self-expression? I think the knife really twisted because you knew they were just flying by the seat of their pants, arbitrary jerks running scared, threatened by your stabs at mastery. They had no more particular power or experience than another kid facing you down in a play war.

Don’t forget that. Every person who attempts to wave some type of banner of authority in your face is probably prickly-sweaty under the arms and hopped up on 90% couch fort bravado. Poke their pile of cushions with a stick and see if it tumbles down.

Of teeth and little girls

October 4, 2009


“Kidlet lost a tooth tonight and didn’t swallow it.”
“Hey! alright! That’s good.”
“I know, right? She’s making huge strides.”
“Not swallowing your own teeth is an important lesson for any Irish kid to learn.”


“Meh, let her do what she likes. If she wants to swallow it, well, it was always hers to begin with.”
“Did you ever swallow one of yours? I’m pretty sure I never did.”
“No, I didn’t, but you know she likes to do things her way.”

This is so. My kidlet dropped another tooth tonight, and this is the first of the three she’s lost that she hasn’t managed to promptly swallow. Adding to her Irishness is the fact that she lost her first at the pub. Proud moment.

As for the aftermath, I have so many things to say about the Tooth Fairy that there is not a proper place to begin. Another day, perhaps.


By AnaelvsMuriel on deviantart

May you live in interesting times: a.m. accordion edition

September 30, 2009

Interesting day on my hands, lots of irons in the fire, pleasure and business both to be tended to. Picking out flowers with Miss D now that some of the wedding details are settled down a bit, have to go to DMV later to register my car and get Californny plates now that Oregon is looking to be forever and firmly in the past (stomach lurch, eye twitch; ah, psychosoma, how I’ve missed you! but not). However, whatever happiness, anxieties, and mix therein the day brings me, I have the comfort of knowing it’s started out right: with an accordion.

I dropped kidlet off for kindergarten to find a little concert going on, complete with a bucket for change (seriously, could we please get a better budget for education in this country; we are teaching our children to busk for their hot lunches at this point) sitting at the feet of the smallest ones. They were playing “Hot Cross Buns” and I’m not afraid to say it, they seriously picked up some funk in there. Thanks, chitlins!

Let’s make this day happen!