Archive for December, 2009:
I have an extra special treat for you this holiday week. I was recently asked to do an interview on TruckStar Radio – a show for people who drive for a living and do a lot of listening to the radio. They LOVE audiobooks and they really wanted to know all about the AudioMovie of RESONANCE.
The Chipmunks have a new movie out and, like many chipmunk additions before, it’s often inappropriate. The last movie inspired my kids to sing “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me.” Ah, yes! The Pussycat Dolls – because singing anything in a squeaky voice makes it okay for kids.
The Chipmunks aren’t the only ones who have crossed the line. Many, many venues are feeding kids adult material in glossy kid tones. KidzBop ads feature one adult song after another and then have karaoke sing-a-long tracks to be sure your kids know the words.
It’s not just music either! For years, movies have been making unsavory stories into kid-fare, too. (I’m talkin’ to you, Disney!) The story of Pocahontas isn’t for kids – she didn’t paint with all the colors of the wind. She was likely the lover of a much older, married man. And many state that her knowledge gave the English the information they needed to wipe out the native people. So get your daughter a costume and pretend that Pocahontas helped eradicate racism!
There was an Anastasia movie as well. The only thing in its favor is that this movie was poorly executed and very few kids saw it. While there is new recent evidence suggesting that the real Anastasia died with the rest of the Romanovs, the stories about her escape were harrowing at best. The cleanest versions had her sheltered by kindly country folk in a Nazi-Germany-like culture. Others had her trading with soldiers – sex for shelter. Some say she yanked her own teeth to destroy a dental record match and most had her ending up in a mental hospital. But apparently if we give her a talking bat for a friend (or some crap like that) it’s all good for kids.
Four years later
Steve slumped onto the couch, the same one that Patsy had left them. Though Drew thought of the things as left behind by Lydia, Steve had always considered them bequeathed by Patsy. But the couch was tired and sagging. And so was his heart.
His mother had begun talking to him two years ago. She didn’t ask about boyfriends and he didn’t offer. No one had ever stuck anyway, so why hurt his mom with things that weren’t going to matter in the end? But this was the first time she had spoken of his father.
Dad had cancer, and to his shame, Steve had cared. The man had been bitter and thrown him out just for saying he was gay. Nevermind that he had been gay all along. His mother had stood by the old man. In the days after they kicked him to the curb, he had waited for them to simmer down, instead he saw them piling his things in boxes and taking his stuff to Goodwill. Worse, he had seen pictures from when he was a child taken out with the winter clothes and his bike.
His mother had stopped and even fought with his father after a few days. But she hadn’t called, hadn’t tried to find him. Even his younger brother hadn’t stood by him. No, Phillip had gotten mad at him for breaking up the family and making mom and dad fight.
No one had cared about Steve. So, when his mother called and said his dad was sick and wanted to make things right, Steve had yelled. “He doesn’t get to love me on his schedule! I am his child.”
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One year later
The knock at the door was a surprise. All the kids came and went without knocking and most of their friends did the same. Drew didn’t think anyone had knocked on Patsy’s door in years. And that was how she still thought of it, even as she pulled the door wide open on her surprise . . . it was Patsy’s house she stood in, lived in. And Patsy’s work she continued.
“Jason!” Drew almost moved to throw her arms around his neck, then remembered that she wouldn’t have given or accepted a hug during the years she’d known Jason. He wouldn’t expect it from her and would likely pull back if she tried. “I haven’t seen you in . . . almost ten years!”
Her smile grew as he darted a small one at her. Probably his best effort. Drew remembered how he had grown up. The same way she had, booted from one house to another until she had landed here with Patsy. Jason hadn’t.
“Hey Drew.” He seemed reserved, but interested in her house. So she covered the awkwardness with chatter showing him around and pointing out a few nice things that had belonged to Patsy. Lydia had sold them everything in the house . . . probably just because she was too lazy to bother cleaning it out, but it had pleased Drew and Steve.
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2 years later.
Steve and Drew sat side by side on the old couch. Though the crocheted throw was as ugly as it had always been, he wanted it. Drew simply wanted to cry in the room that had once been hers. But Lydia was here now. And Lydia was a reminder that the room had never really belonged to her.
Though Patsy’s family milled about, the conversation turned only occasionally to what an amazing woman she had been. Instead, they all asked Lydia what she was going to do with the house.
“Like I know.” Perfect in an expensive black dress and matching heels, Lydia shrugged. “I was expecting her to leave it to one of those foster kids she had. I wasn’t enough for her when she was alive, why would she give me anything now?”
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It seems that simply participating in the holidays isn’t enough anymore. No, now we have to be able to talk about them and understand them with each other. So, I offer a small handful of holiday terms and advice to help you get through the season!
Black Friday – an offensive term for the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving Thursday. Stores are now advertising using the term ‘Black Friday’. There are two schools of thought as to how this term came about. 1) this is the day businesses move from the red into the black. If this is the reasoning then it would be more honestly called ‘just give us your money day’.
2) stores are so crowded with shoppers that people have actually been killed in stampedes that resemble the panicked buffalo of the old west. If this is the reason for the term, then everyone who smiles at the camera and suggests that we all come out for a “Black Friday Sale!” should be lined up and shot. No wait, they should be trampled.
Protest insulting advertising while staying safe, stay home.
Thanksgiving – 1) a gluttonous American holiday that celebrates conquering a native people and taking their land. Pass the corn!
2) a gluttonous American Thursday that used to signal the start of the ‘holiday season’