Entries from blogs tagged with “Community news”
My youngest son, Michael, has a fascination with pie. A few years ago when he was six or seven, my husband let him write the digital signature for paying with credit at our local lumberyard. Instead of writing his name, he scrawled "I like pie." So that was the signature on the printed bill! Michael is the baby of the family. He is ten years younger than his oldest brother and seven years younger than son number two. He is a freckled redhead with warm brown eyes that twinkle with mischief and merriment. He's smart and he loves a good joke. We have all laughed at his antics since he was just a baby, which has only encouraged him. At 11, he is still funny. His teachers even tell me how much they appreciate his sense of humor.The other day Michael asked his dad how to change his log in password on the computer. His dad told him how to make the change. Today, when my husband tried to log in to the computer, his password wouldn't work. When he clicked the help button, the hint for the password was "food." So he entered "pie." Apparently, Michael changed all of our log in passwords to his favorite food!
The first thing my 3 year old said when he woke up this morning was, "can I get on the computer?" He wasn't interested in pancakes or trains or puppy dog tails but an electronic contraption with a plug to the outside world. Granted, I just recently signed him up for a trial period an educational website designed for preschoolers, but this level of enthusiasm was a bit disturbing. Having two little boys in the house, I have mentally prepared myself for the day when I'll have a couple of teenagers upstairs glued to a gaming system. But I never thought it would start so soon. Perhaps it is a result of my gender, but I've never quite understood how guys can spend so many hours of their lives on computer games. Okay, so maybe it was kind of fun watching my brother do Mike Tyson's Punch Out on the old Nintendo, but other than that, this phenomenon has escaped me. It just seems like a lot of wasted time.My son is remarkably computer savvy. He can drag and drop better than my mother can and navigates his bookmarks with surprising ease. And sure, I have been strict about setting time limits and only allowing him to do educational programs, but I still wonder if this is a good thing. Yes, he's gaining some technical skills and practicing his letters and numbers, but I can easily see how this could become a crutch. There aren't too many activities my son is content to do on his own, but his computer is one of them. And as a mom trying to juggle creative ambitions, it sure would be easy to let him be on there for a little more time as I finish up some projects, right? But today was a beautiful day. So, I turned off the computer and took the kids to the park. So, yeah, the Play Station days will catch up to us someday, but for now I have two little kids to cherish and play with: unplugged.
Paraguay is a little known (in the USA) South American country snuggled between Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia with a rich artistic tradition that is celebrated in an exhibition of over 150 works currently at the Mulvane Art Museum of Washburn University in Topeka. The exhibit is open through April 13, 2008.This exhibit includes cultural artifacts of several indigenous peoples. Tools, water pots, sandals and spears are just a few examples. But Paraguay is not just a romantic tropical or sub-tropical country. A 2007 human rights calendar published by Museo de las Memorias is a graphic reminder of abuses of past dictators. This museum is part of an old police station that was used to torture political dissentients and is dedicated to keeping the memory of these events alive.There are several works by artists who struggled for artistic and political freedom during the repressive dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989). Carlos Colombino is one of these artists whose work of that era is highly symbolic. His El Supremo not only refers to Paraguay's first dictator but to a long line of repressive governments. This work shows a head emerging from or submerged in a landscape form constricted with rope.Other, less troubling aspects of Paraguayan culture are represented. Nanduti is delicate lace work that seeks to emulate and go beyond the intricate spider webs that inspired this craft. Nanduti is the word for spider web in Guarani which is the other official language of Paraguay with Spanish. Nanduti is represented in the exhibit with several handmade examples and by other works that pay homage to this tradition such as the contemporary works of Alfredo Miltos. In this exhibit, as in the artistic expression of most cultures, the traditional and modern are intertwined. A very interesting modern artist is Maria Gloria Echauri who takes pictures of peoples lower legs and feet and superimposes them on maps representing the movement of people to find work.The exhibit is titled, "Visual Encounters with Paraguay: Forty Years of Kansas Paraguay Partnership." Kansas and Paraguay have been partners since the 1960s as part of the Partners of the Americas program. Through the years there have been and continue to be a variety of exchanges including education, agriculture, medical, and arts. Much of the work in the exhibit is from the private collection of Kansans who have traveled to Paraguay as well as from the Spencer and Mulvane Museums of Art.Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, Interim Director of the Mulvane Art Museum is the curator of this show has done a masterful job of presenting the breadth and depth of Paraguayan art. She states, in the exhibition catalog: "Visual arts, like music, are powerful communicators of a people's history, cultural identity and values across boundaries of language and political borders." Her presentation of the works is a testament to her ability to enable the art to communicate. The catalog is trilingual, English, Spanish and Guarani. That may be a first for Kansas and Paraguay.
Where is it?
What is it?
Yes, the image is small. A hint or larger image each day.http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... #2http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... #3http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is it?
What is it?
Who was it?
The full image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is the front of Thomas Barber's monument:
January 31st Our dam speaks with a mighty roar,Day by day-hour by hour;Our dam speaks for a mile most days,A sound ignored all the more,For its constancy perpetual,Holding forth his mighty power;Dog and I walked the levee one day, usual;Suddenly the dam's voice was not there in my mind's haze,Unheard where normally his voice is good, The dam was not speaking? The voice still, no voice vestigial, My ears heard not his roar;Dog looked me in the face, as still I stood,An answer to this puzzle seeking;Then, A snowflake gently rested on my nose, As if in reply: 'sound is lost in snows;'a slow and easy snowfall, Weathermen called it a dusting,And no wind gusting, A so Gentle snow, muffling the dam's mighty growl;I imagined mashed potato clouds filled the sky ;After walking much more,his familiar drone-my ears modulated,This fine snow made the levee More than usual cozy;I returned to my neighborhood,With echoing train whistles,And icy beard bristles;Snow and dam penetrated.
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is me in the homemade sandwich board. On Wednesday I walked Jayhawk Boulevard for 1.5 hours between the Kansas Union and Hock Auditoria trying to catch the noon hour rush from class to lunch. I was looking for a few good volunteers. Being many years older than most people on the street I got lots of strange looks.That RPCV on the button stands for Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. I was one and like so many others it was a fantastic and life changing experience. I served in Paraguay which is also part of another U.S foreign policy program called Partners of the Americas. Like Peace Corps, Partners was another President Kennedy initiative. Paraguay is partnered with Kansas and that partnership is still going strong after 40 years but more on that at another time.The event I was trying to get students interested in was Thursday evening and included recruiting for Americorps and Teach for America as well as the Peace Corps. There may have been as many RPCVs there as recruits. That is because it is such a powerful experience that most RPCVs want to share their experiences and encourage others to do the same. One recently returned volunteer served in Turkmenistan and as a result came back to seek an advanced degree related to Central Asia. One volunteer in my group is now working in a not for profit housing organization on the south side of Chicago using his Spanish learned during his service in Paraguay. These are just two of thousands of stories.I talked with several young people who were interested and showed with their questions that they were apprehensive. Twenty seven months away from friends and family in some country with another language is quite a commitment. Yet every RCPV related wonderful stories of learning a language, adapting to another culture and making friends that became family away from home. One person who served in the 1970s told of continuing to visit 'family' in Central America more than 30 years later.Programs like the Peace Corps and Partners of the Americas may be the most effective United States foreign policy programs. Not that volunteers have a large impact on another country but because people in one country come to understand those in another. I was once told that Senator Fulbright said that he favored any foreign policy program that reduced nations to people. I agree.
I'd never been to a political rally before, but something about this election year made me think it just might be time for me to take an interest. So, when I heard Senator Obama was going to be in Kansas City, I rounded up the necessary babysitting and registered online for a ticket. Easy, huh? Well, not exactly. The rally was supposed to start at 5:45 and doors opened at 3:45. I got there at 4 o'clock and entered a packed foyer for the Municipal Auditorium. It was a sizeable crowd, but I figured once we could spread out in the auditorium it wouldn't be too bad. I should have known better. About 20 minutes later, a distant voice informed the crowd that we would be filing in from one side of the room, so now was the time to form a line. Now was the time? How can you form a line in a room that was packed with people?By some stroke of luck, I just happened to be on the side of the room that was entering. And this Obama crowd was a pretty tame and civil bunch. No one pushed or shoved their way toward the opening we were filtering out of. Hey, I was almost crushed at a Bauhaus concert once, so this was a piece of cake, right?Again, not exactly. Unbeknownst to anyone in the crowded room above, the small opening we were filtering out of did not signify the end. It was the only the beginning. What awaited us was a labyrinth of horrors designed to torture Obama supporters and undecideds alike for the next hour and a half of our lives. We were ushered through a long line in a parking lot only to discover that this line did not lead to a destination but was a loop that would come full circle. The looks of horror on people's faces and the "oh my god's" were only amusing when you were on the returning side of this circle.After 45 minutes of this rat experiment maze, we were thrilled to be back inside the building. Then we discovered there was yet another loop to go through! At this point, I began to wonder what had happened to me in the last eight years of my life. Waiting for Peter Murphy was one thing, but doing all this to see a senator of Illinois- what was wrong with me?http://worldonline.media.clients.elli..., we I made it to the auditorium just before Governor Sebelius and Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri took the stage, looking like the Obamettes. Sebelius was much more animated than she was the night before. Jon Stewart would have been proud. And Obama? He was a great speaker, and I soon forgot about the waiting. (I wonder if you could say the same thing after waiting for Mitt Romney). But I may have been paying too much attention to election coverage because a lot of Obama's talking points were familiar to me. I was not swept away in quite the same way I was when listening to his Jefferson Jackson speech on the radio. http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... really responded to his idea of getting rid of income tax on seniors making under $50,000 a year. And his comments about including pre-existing conditions in health care coverage got the crowd riled up after his personal story about his mother.The part that I found most memorable was when he spoke about the Kennedy endorsement. He said it was not so much a passing the torch from the Kennedys to him, but from their generation to the next generation. This sentiment really resonated with me as I was amazed to see how much of the crowd here tonight was made up of young people. My generation has grown up in the shadow of the 60's. We contrast that time of conviction and passion with the malaise that we feel about our current state of affairs. We are rather cynical about our government, but have yet to have our spirit awakened to do anything about it. Tonight, Obama called for us to end this cynicism and look for a new hope (he's talking Star Wars here: he must speak to us, right?)I have a new respect for the people you see on CNN at these political gatherings. So, sure my feet hurt and yes, I witnessed an an asthma attack and a near fainting in which Obama himself had to intervene to get the woman a chair. But, ultimately, I think it was worth it to make the headlines personal and take an active part in something rather than just watching it on television. A Bauhaus concert it wasn't. But a piece of history? Maybe. http://worldonline.media.clients.elli...
The 8 Wonders of Kansas sponsored by the Kansas Sampler Foundation were unveiled by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today. I believe they are a good representation of Kansas. However, my suggestion, located right here in Douglas County, did not make the list.I suggested rocks, more specifically pink boulders found along the Wakarusa river valley.According to Glacial Geology, the pink boulders were recognized in northeastern Kansas by the French explorer, De Bourgmont in the early 1700s. Their origin was a mystery until 1868 when Louis Agassiz visited the area. He was a controversial scientist who popularized the concept of a recent Ice Age in earth history. He correctly identified the pink boulders as erratics transported from as far north as the now Minnesota region by an ice sheet.The following is a quote from Glacial Geology of the Kansas City Vicinity:"Along the edge of the ice lobes, glacial lakes were dammed in pre-existing valleys, and meltwater floods eroded spillway channels around the ice margin. All these features serve to identify the effects of glaciation in the region. During the late Independence glaciation, ice lobes advanced farther south and locally blocked the Kansas and Missouri River valleys east and west of Kansas City. Numerous meltwater spillways were eroded and glacial lakes filled and overflowed along the maximum limit of glaciation. These spillways are preserved as valleys parallel to and south of the Kansas and Missouri river valleys. Some of these spillways were later filled with sediment and others remain open valleys today. A good example is the Wakarusa River valley in Shawnee and Douglas counties, Kansas."From the quote, one would conclude the large number of red granite rocks in the area were brought here by the glacier and then dropped as it melted. They are beautiful, all sizes and very heavy.The Wildlife and Parks hunting area in the upper region of Clinton Lake is available for hiking. On the northern hills of the river valley, Minnesota granite rocks, protrude from the grasslands. They may appear flat in the grass but may be massive in size underneath. The rocks located near the bridge on the north end of Massachusetts Street were harvested in this area.Skye, the boxer, indicates the size of the rock. Granite rocks would not make Kansas a tourist hot spot. On the other hand, how they were transported and left here is amazing. I would consider it a wonder of Kansas.
Where is it? What is it?This is visible from one of the main streets of town (as defined by me). Each day or so I'll add a larger image or hint. Some complained last week that the image was to small and blurry. I confess, I'm trying to make them hard enough so that it will take at least a day or two to identify them. The previous 4 pictures were guessed quickly. FYI, here's a recap:
- 5th comment
- 3rd comment
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However, I am amazed that subjects of the pictures were identified so quickly. Nonetheless, I'm trying to make them harder.Here is this week's image first image:
The final image:
This house is just north of East Heights Early Childhood Family Center.Cody has done it again.
On Friday, Nov. 9th, Drake University played a basketball game at 4:30 P.M. (ET) against California-San Diego. The game was played at California-San Diego. Drake won, 81-63. One of the Drake players, Bill Eaddy, played for one minute. He had no free throw or field goal attempts. You can find all the box scores for that game online.Sometime ago, I don't know exactly when, the city of Lawrence built a roundabout at the intersection of 19th St. and Barker Avenue. I strongly suspect the construction involved a number of workers and took several weeks,, maybe more. I would also guess that it cost over a hundred thousand dollars. With some effort, I'm sure I could find out more about this project.I can find minutes from a city commission meeting in 2000 where the the roundabout was mentioned. I can also find information about the city budget process. The city budget for 2007 is available online. I don't see the 19th & Barker roundabout mentioned so it must have been built before then.To be honest, I don't really care that much about when the roundabout was built. I would be interested to see how much it cost.Am I the only one who thinks it ironic that detailed information about a basketball game is so readily available, yet informtaion about our local government and the millions ($67 million if I read the budget correctly) it spends is so much more difficult to obtain?I do commend the city commission in making the budget available online. The school board should follow suit.Show me the money, where it goes, and that it is used effectively, or don't ask me for more. We are each responsible for overseeing the actions and decisions of those we elect. Those elected officials should make it as easy as possible for us to do that.Even if the city and school district each needed to add a person who's only responsibility is to make the budget and financial information available to us, I think it would be money well spent.
I was recently sent an email that consisted of quotes from famous persons. It was a pretty slide show of profound sayings by historical people, some I actually recognized before their names were shown. The quotes were thoughtful and I know that I've seen several on the "Inspirational" plaques but one jumped out to me. "It is remarkable what can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit.--Harry Truman." My mind immediately went to the current political campaigns. It has been a source of warped comedy to me how people complain so about the Christmas season lasting too long because items are in stores in October but don't seem to be fazed at how long the candidates have been running for the Presidency. I understand how the election process works. I know how states choose their delegates. I understand about the conventions. By the time of the conventions, let alone the election itself, candidates will have been electioneering in some form for two years. Doesn't that strike anyone beside me to be slightly excessive? No candidate can fully say what he or she will do once in office because there is no one person that can make the changes by themselves, not even the President. The strength of our governmental checks and balances determine that one person cannot make all of the decisions. A candidate can say what he or she feels is needed to be done and how it could be implemented but they never do that. The campaigns talk in generalities but some are better at that than others so it does seem that solutions are being given but if we listen closely, they aren't. Call me cynical but why can't the candidates take a much shorter time to not tell me exactly what they want to do? If a candidate can't convince me that he or she is the best person for the job in six months, why do they think that two years will do it? Oh, wait a minute. I think I used to use this tactic with my Mother. If I keep talking about what I want for long enough, maybe she will tune me out just enough to finally say yes to make me stop? Especially if I look nice doing it and say just enough of the right things that I know she likes to hear occasionally. Yes, now I think I get it. Only thing is, I remember this didn't work very well with my Mother. She told me that she was getting tired of hearing about it and so the answer was no. But my Daddy, he was another matter. He would say yes. Guess it depends on the audience. As I listen to the candidates, more and more I am wanting to hear a candidate that appears to have the bigger picture for the country instead of what one party has or hasn't done or will or won't do. As I first mentioned, when credit for accomplishing what is needed is not the first priority, many things can be done. Politics has never been a group hug but it has shown times when the greater good was the priority. I don't think that I would be the only voter that would recognize that candidate and feel that , finally, I have a real choice.
Growing up as Kansas flatlanders, skiing was on water in the summer.It was the early 70s when a friend suggested we try snow skiing at Mont Blue, a busy little ski slope southeast of Lawrence. Always ready for fun, we jumped at the chance.Mont Blue had a base house with fireplace, refreshments and ski rental. Equipment fitted, we headed out to the "mountain." To get to the top, we grabbed the towrope and hung on. Once there, we proceeded to fall and slide to the bottom. Laughing all afternoon, we got better and were hooked on skiing.Mont Blue was the beginning but the Rocky Mountains had better snow. Quickly discovering a ski vacation is expensive, we managed to find ways to make it affordable for our family. These are my suggestions.First, it is helpful to find at least one other family with a similar interest to share lodging as well as food. Our children have many happy memories from these trips with friends. Take a lunch to the slope in a backpack. Sandwiches, cheese, fruit. candy bars and sodas taste wonderful after a morning of exhilarating runs. We "hide" the backpack in a snow bank and retrieve it at a designated time. Most all warming houses on the slopes have seating for picnickers. Do this or pay $6 to $8 for a hamburger.Ski rental is cheaper as a package away from the slopes. Equipment malfunctions will quickly ruin a day of skiing especially if the rental store is two hours away. Make sure there is a satellite shop or the store has an agreement with a rental shop near the slope. No need to purchase fancy clothing. Ski pants are affordable and any warm coat will do. Always layer. Toasti Toes help with cold feet. Mittens are warmer than gloves. If you are a first time skier, plan on at least a half day of lessons. It is money well spent and may include a lift ticket. Lift tickets are a major expense. Breckenridge is now charging $80 a day. Check some of the lesser-known slopes. They might offer a family discount. Right now a $10 purchase of gasoline at a Phillips 66 in Colorado will get you a voucher for a buy one, get one free lift ticket on Sundays at Copper Mountain. Grocery stores in Denver offer discounts also. An article recently on Arama.com entitled Discount Lift Tickets - Learn what Colorado Ski Resorts Do Not Want You to Know! has additional suggestions. Finally, be adventurous. Keep a good attitude and have fun. Don't give up after the first try. It gets easier. There is no feeling like swishing down a slope with breathtaking mountains as a backdrop. Suddenly all the planning is worthwhile. Since our first try at Mont Blue, we have visited slopes in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Three of our five grandchildren, all under eight years old, skied for the first time last week. We still laugh coming down the slopes-all three generations.
Stories My Grandmother Told Me premieres at the American Heartland Theater in Kansas City this month. The review wasn't very favorable, but reading about the play brought back childhood memories of time spent with my grandparents. I loved visiting my grandparents. When Grandma came to pick me up, I knew that she would keep me for several weeks. She would only allow one granddaughter at a time to stay with her so I knew that I would be the sole focus of attention while I was there. Every visit, she cut my hair and took me shopping for new clothes. I hated the hair cut. It looked like she put a bowl on my head and cut off any hair that stuck out and my bangs were ridiculously short. I could hardly wait until they grew back in. I would pull on them constantly trying to get them to grow. My sister said that I was lucky. Grandma gave her "permanents" when she was a little girl. My grandparents lived on a farm in Holden, MO. My grandfather farmed, raised cattle and kept horses. He and my grandmother rode horses in parades and horse shows. Gramps was 6'4" tall and Grandma was 5'1". They made quite a pair! Being a bit plump and on the short side, my grandmother had a hard time reaching the stirrup to lift herself into the saddle. She had a very gentle horse named Dan that she trained to "stretch out" so that he was low enough for her to be able to get into the saddle. Dan was the only horse my grandparents would allow me to ride by myself. Often during my visits, Gramps would have a new buggy for me to try out. He'd attach it to one of the horses and lead the animal around while I rode in the seat, grinning from ear to ear, having the time of my life. Gramps would also take me for a ride on the tractor and let me steer, only to pretend that I was losing control and we were headed for the pond. I would squeal and Grandma would yell at him to stop that before somebody got hurt. It was all in good fun though.My grandparents were also antique dealers. The house and the barns were full of antiques. They called their shop Granny's Antiques. They took me with them when they traveled to auctions. These trips started before dawn, at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. This was long before the life-saving benefits of seat belts were known and I would stretch out in the cab of the pick-up truck with my head in one lap and my feet in the other. Grandma was partial to fancy glassware but Gramps loved to restore furniture. Some people think that refinishing and restoring devalues antique furniture. I disagree. The way that Gramps stripped off the years of dirt and old varnish to reveal the beautiful wood underneath was like magic. He would sand until it was smooth, apply stain and then varnish. He also taught himself how to cane chairs. I marveled at his endless patience as he caned chair seats. That is painstaking work! When I was about five years old, I was outside with Gramps. He was working on a piece of furniture and watching me watch a hummingbird. The hummingbird was about a foot away. I was sure that I could reach out and grab it. Gramps read my mind. In his orneriness he encouraged me. "Go ahead, try to catch it," he said. I so wanted to hold that hummingbird, but I was hesitant. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to catch it, he egged me on. Ultimately, I didn't reach for it. I could tell from his chuckle and the glint in his eye that Gramps was just having fun with me.I miss my grandparents. I am grateful to have known them and for the memories they created and lessons they taught me. I am a better person because of their love and guidance.These are just a few of the fond memories I have of my grandparents.What fond memories do you have of your grandparents?
The Fox channel had its debut showing of "The Moment of Truth" Weds. evening following American Idol.
The show works something like this: pick a contestant and ask them fifty personal questions behind the scenes to get to know them and their vices and flaws.
Next, hook them up to a lie detector test in front of an audience, their spouse, their friends, and even their employer. Then comes the fun part as the contestant is asked the first six questions, which answered truthfully puts 10,000 dollars in their pocket.
It isn't as easy as it sounds, however, because some of the questions are down right demented! Some random questions from last night's show were
:"Are you addicted to gambling?"
"Are you currently a member of the hair club for men?"
"As a personal trainer, have you touched a female client more than was required of you?"
"Have you used the internet to flirt with other women?"
"Have you stolen a peek at another man's privates during a shower?"
"Have you had a sexual fantasy during mass?"
"Have you gone through a co-workers belongings without their knowledge?"
"Have you delayed having children because you don't think your spouse is your lifelong partner?"
The friends/spouse/employers have one out - they can push a large button that is centered between them (one time only) if they do not want to hear the person answer the question that was asked. The problem with that is it will be replaced with another question and the other question just might be worse then the first.
After the initial six questions, that can earn the contestant 10,000 if answered correctly, the next five questions, if answered truthfully, can get the contestant up to the 25,000 dollar mark. The higher you go, the harder and more revealing the question. Answer all 21 questions truthfully and you have $500,000 in your pocket. You may not have a job to go back to, your wife, husband, and friends have probably abandoned you, but you decide how important money really is in your life.
This show is destined to be a hit - audiences love to see people squirm in the hot seat, see their lives (and their friends and families lives) destroyed right in front of them - and the contestant most probably will end up leaving with nothing.
This reminded me of the games we played as teenagers: truth or dare and twenty questions.
Would you risk it all and tell the truth for $500,000?
Juno is one of the latest movies to portray a young girl who gets pregnant and in a matter of minutes goes from considering abortion to deciding on adoption. Ellen Goodman in a recent column about these films considers the message they send to 13 year old girls.Actually Juno's decision is rare. According to the Children's Bureau (a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) less than 1% of children born to never married women are relinquished for adoption. According to Planned Parenthood more than half of teen pregnancies result in birth so most young women keep the child. Many of these mothers become school dropouts and live in poverty. That is another story.Juno's decision to find an adoption family while not rare is unusual. There are between 118,000 and 127,000 adoptions per year in this country. Nobody keeps good statistics on Juno's type of adoptions but it is considerably less than the 500,000 that are through state child welfare agencies. In Kansas the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services reports that there were 715 adoptions during the last fiscal year. I am not sure that is our share of the national total.When Juno meets the potential adoptive parents she flippantly asks why they don't go to China where it is easy to adopt. I wouldn't give away her line which is very funny. Adoptions from other countries represent about 15% of the total. Many of these are from China. As an adoptive father I wish that they were more frequent. The Urban League in a report on foster care and adoptions states that there are 100,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption. In Kansas, SRS reports that there were 853 children awaiting adoption at the end of the last fiscal year.Juno's search for adoptive parents is at least haphazard and amounts to looking through the classified section of a local free paper. The prospective parents look wonderful. Both parents are good looking and their home suggests that they have plenty of income. As the story develops flaws are hinted at that become real but again I wouldn't spoil that for those who have yet to see the movie. Did she pick the right parents? That is a question that looms large over the field of adoption. There have been two recent articles in the Journal World that represent two contrasting adoptive families. A January 14 article reported on a Haysville couple who adopted a girl and the father sexually assaulted her. A January 20 article reported that a Lawrence native was appointed an appellate judge who has a passion for children, has been a foster parent and has adopted 3 children.In the Haysville tragedy SRS apparently did all that they could to find a safe home for the child. They conducted a more complete investigation than Juno but failed. The truth is that there is little anyone can do to predict the outcome of an adoptive placement. Background checks for abuse or criminal behavior are helpful but far from foolproof. It is simply not possible to predict the outcome of a decision to approve a family for adoption. Fortunately the Haysville adoptive outcome is rare. Adoptive families work out as well as other types of families. If you haven't seen Juno, go before it leaves town. Talk to your 13 year old daughters. Support adoption.
Let's face it, there aren't that many young actors in film these days that are genuinely good at their craft. So, it hurts to lose one of them.The 70's had DeNiro, Pacino, Nicholson... but what about our generation's leading men? Sure, there are some interesting guys out there like Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire, but they're a little soft. Can you really imagine either of them carrying a film like "Five Easy Pieces?"Heath Ledger was more than just a pretty face. The depth and subtlety he displayed in "Brokeback Mountain" was powerful stuff. His emotion was not felt just in dialogue but in his strong silence as well. I think he could have had one of those careers like Johnny Depp; balancing roles between thoughtful dramas and blockbusters while leaving a trail of memorable characters in his wake. Was it the Joker role that did it to him? The drugs? Depression? Who's to say? It's just another senseless death in an industry that could use more true talent like his. Guess we'll just have to give that "Five Easy Pieces" remake to Ryan Gosling.
Dear Honest Answer,Where have you been lately? Don't you know it's election year and I'd like to see more of you? Okay, I understand why you've been a bit reclusive. When you come out of hiding, you tend to get criticized. But really, aren't you being a bit thin skinned?Sure, I saw the presidential debate in Las Vegas when the democratic candidates were asked what their greatest weaknesses were. And, yes, it was because of you that Senator Obama was criticized when he said he wasn't good with paperwork, as if that somehow made him an ineffective leader. But that doesn't mean you're not wanted. I would have liked you to stick around for the other two candidates' replies, no matter how amusing the responses were without you. I have to wonder what the point of asking questions is if we don't want you to be there. In college, I went on a job interview at a bookstore and was asked if I saw myself having a career as a bookseller. Of course I knew it was in my best interest to say yes, but then you came around, Honest Answer. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. (Okay, so the moment didn't have the same poignancy as when Martin Donovan turned down the television repair job in the Hal Hartley film "Truth," but at least I walked out of there with some self respect). Certainly, there are ways to spin answers to questions without having to lie. Obama could have said that he cared too much or I could have waxed poetic about my love of literature being an integral part of my longterm ambitions. But ultimately, what's the point?If we are going to send you an invitation, Honest Answer, we should welcome you to the party. Sure, you can be a little hard to deal with at times, but without you we wouldn't know what to believe.
I started this with the idea of mentioning the production of "Mere Mortals" by the the E.M.U. Theatre, a fund-raiser to support the EMU and Ecumenical Christian Ministries. Before I go farther, I hope you consider supporting both the EMU and the ECM.And the title "We Don't Have to Like it" is NOT about the production. It's about other things. But if you just want to support the EMU and ECM, you can stop right here, go to the link, find out when and where it is, and just go.Anyway, if you're still with me.....as I did a little searching so that I could write something without appearing as clueless as I actually am, I found a few things. One of them was the link in the first paragraph.......and that got me to thinking....and that usually means trouble.I've heard a lot of the same stuff you've heard about the Oread Inn development and I realize that I don't really know that much about it. Or the neighborhood. Or the economic benefits to Lawrence. Or maybe a whole lot more...Even if I did know more, I don't believe everything I read or hear.There are, however, a couple of things I do know. I've been through that area and I sort of know what it's like. I just kind of like it. From what I can tell the E.C.M. does more good than harm. Maybe a lot more... But it seems to me to be a benefit to the community.The other thing I know is I just don't like the idea of an eight story building there. Even if it is a modern, attractive building. Especially if it's a hotel that will probably cost more than I'll ever be willing to spend to stay there. No, I just don't like it. And I don't think I "have" to like it. And I don't think I need to know any more about it to not like it.If someone were to tell me that I don't know enough, that it will help care for sick and hungry children, then I would admit that I'm wrong and I don't know enough.But I don't think that is the case. So I think I know enough. And I am not for it. And it will take someone with a lot of important reasons for me to change my mind.Now...I don't really like to be "against" things, my personal philosophy is to be "for" things. So I could say that I'm "for" the E.C.M. or "for" preserving that community. But, in this case, I have to be honest with myself and just admit that I'm against the Oread Inn development.Oh, I realize it will probably be built. And it may even end up getting the land where the E.C.M is now. Twenty years from now it may well be a landmark of our community.Maybe I won't even mind it so much then, if I'm around.But I don't like it now. And I don't have to, and the reasons I have are good enough. I hear you asking, "What's the point of all this?" I know you are, because that's what my wife asked me.It's not that I'm against the Oread Inn (although I am).It is that we can't understand everything. Even I can't and my mom says I'm the smartest guy in the world. So I'm suggesting that we do the best we can and that we try to be fair and unbiased while trying not to oversimplify things.In the end, though, I don't want to feel bad because I can't understand everything about everything. I don't think you should either.And even though I have limitations, my opinion is still important. It might even be valid. But regardless, it is still all right to express it.
Here is this week's first picture. It might be anywhere (in Lawrence). It might be anything. Guess if you think you know it.No hints this time, in a day or so I'll add an ever so slightly larger image.
OK, here is a slightly bigger picture.
Obviously the first small image wasn't hard enough. Here is a still larger one.
Come on. I know you can't wait. Here is an even larger portion of the picture. Only one more to go.
And the complete picture, of Hobbs field: