Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dahlia Lithwick on the mentally ill in jail

I'm reviving this somewhat moribund blog to post a link to an article by Slate's Dahlia Lithwick on a mentally ill man who died after four months in jail awaiting trial after stealing about five dollars worth of junk food. She cites the indifference of the public to the issues of the mentally ill, which I have been aware of ever since many mental facilities were closed in California way back in the 1970s with the idea that the mentally ill would be best served by outpatient facilities. Living in a California town that, due to climate, coast and a mostly tolerant attitude, I am well aware of what was hoped for and what actually happened. Like many things in this country at the current moment, there is a sort of stasis in relation to how to deal with, think about or treat the mentally ill.

Lithwick always writes lucidly about matters of law. She reminds us that our own apathy about resolving things is part of the problem. Here is her article. It's called Make This Death Not in Vain. And here is a little background history on this sorry state of affairs from the New York Times.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Peter Pan

I watched the "live" musical of Peter Pan on NBC last night. (By the time we saw it in California, anyway, it was recorded.) This in itself is not incredibly surprising as apparently a lot of people did. What's a little stranger is that I actually watched two Peter Pans last night. This is because a Slate review I happened to read just after led me to a YouTube of the Mary Martin production of 1960. The whole thing. I was only going to watch the beginning to see how they compared, but I ended up watching it all. A long marathon isn't usually my style of television watching, but the current show left my brain wondering about the same/different feel that pervaded my experience. Because it is some ways very faithful, and in some ways very different.

I enjoyed the current show, and Allison Williams and Christopher Walken have nothing to be embarrassed about in their performances. That said, Mary Martin and Cyril Richards set a very high bar which I don't think they quite achieved. Oddly, the mechanisms of flying were much less apparent in the original and I thought that the crocodile was much better. And I thought the costumed Nana gave more to her role than the real dog cast last night, though that was not its fault. You can see why the current production wanted to modify the slightly cringemaking scenes with Tigerlily and the Indians (why was she blond?), but there too I found the dance scenes quite interesting despite this. And the whimsical dancing animals had been left out last night, which I think was a loss. In general, the new songs added to compensate for leaving out old ones didn't really do much for me, and it was a loss to leave out the role where Martin showed her range, playing a boy masquerading as a woman with very impressive range. And personally I liked the Lost Boys being played by real boys, and not admittedly talented adult dancers.

Anyway, through the wonders of modern technology, I herewith present the whole 1960 show. This version is, I think, colorized. In the hoary past that is childhood, we watched it in black and white and I don't remember the magic of it being diminished one iota.

Without further ado,  I give you Peter Pan.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sea otters and healthy ecosystems

Reviving this somewhat lagging blog to share a short video about how sea otters are helping in the restoration of eel grass at Elkhorn Slough right here in the Monterey Bay region and why this is so important. Passed on after a discussion on biodiversity at the Penny University by our go to guru on these things, Grey Hayes.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ebola: Case vs. Case

I'm reviving this somewhat moribund blog to post about some things that need no comment from me. Or the comment lies in the fact that I post them. This one will be about a Slate piece on why one Ebola victim in the U.S. is talked about in a different way than another. Here you go.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Send a message of support to victims of domestic and dating violence

Through TakePart.com, I just learned of a campaign that Verizon is sponsoring in which you send a message of support and Verizon donates three dollars towards domestic and dating violence prevention for every message sent. You can read all about it here, but don't dilly dally, because it only goes through Friday.

 Here's the message I sent:

"Don't give up on yourself, no matter how bleak the situation seems. I was just reading how Nora Barnacle was savagely beaten by her uncle for 'disobeying' him and fled from Galway to Dublin without looking back. Guess what happened to her? She met James Joyce and became one of the most famous muses of all of literature. You just never know."

What will yours be?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Adopt a black dog

I actually was quite upset to find that there may be some sort of discrimination against black animals when people are choosing pets. Or at least so says this recent Slate article . We had pets of many hues when I was growing up, including a calico cat named Mata Hari. But our dog Midnight was one of the sweetest animals, and who could forget our cats Sugarfoot and Twinkletoes? Admittedly, most of our pets came to us by happenstance rather than choice, but still--I don't remember wishing they were of some lighter hue.

I don't live in a place where I have an option to have pets and frankly I don't miss the responsibility, but something about that article really made me want to go out and get a black dog. Why isn't there some equivalent of Black Beauty to be a kind of poster child for the cause?

 The image is from a company called Mulberry Interior Design which apparently is not averse to using dogs in their photo shoots. A nice touch, I feel.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

nickel slots

Yet another interesting piece over at the Opinionator, this time from Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. She's talking about how the advent of slot machines in more and more communities is really a detriment to the poor.

I'm not much of a gambler, and I'm not saying that that's necessarily a virtue. There are some cases where being less risk averse is better. Some might say that the losses of a gambler are on their own head. But as someone who has spent far too much time playing computer solitaire in the last couple of days, I can't really get down on anyone else's compulsions. Read the article and see if you don't feel like these businesses are preying on people's weaknesses. You can read it HERE .