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Showing posts from April, 2007

When reality TV goes right...right into your own psyche

I like the show, Little People Big World. I like it because it's first a show about people, a family, that is done in a true documentary way. There isn't any interference from the show makers to create some lively drama, no artificial situations...or at least it doesn't appear to be. I like it second because it's a show that teaches me about a way of life I wouldn't otherwise know anything about.

I find myself alternately surprised to consider something little people have to face and sympthetic because I know how something feels (e.g., parenting issues, life situations, remodeling challenges, time management and balancing acts, etc.).

If the Roloffs' intent was to demonstrate that (and I loosely quote something repeated at the beginning of each show) little people can do everything anyone else can do, just in a different way, they've succeeded. If they want people to get to know them, and have the show morph from a program about little people into a program a…

What if it was about overconsumption instead of obesity?

Gwen recently wrote Blubber, a post that deals with perceptions and new tactics of dealing with obesity and weight.

She informed us about

a school district in Wyoming that has become aggressively involved in the health of its overweight students. The story led with a snippet about a sixth grade girl who is 5’2” and weighs 179 pounds***. When the school sent home information about her obesity and offered help in the form of an after school fitness and exercise program, her parents were offended. “Brittany has always been teased about being fat,” her mother responded. “And this didn’t help. And it’s not that she’s really that fat; she’s just large boned. We all are. This is Wyoming. We’re a meat and potatoes kind of family.” The school generated 200 letters that targeted overweight children; less than 25 families accepted the offers of help. One of the mothers who did respond positively said something like, “It’s not that I’m blind. I can see my child is overweight, but I don’t know what …

Hamartia

Greek-based tragedies always include a protagonist with a fatal flaw. In fact, it's probably high school literature teachers' single favorite question: what was [name of character]'s fatal flaw?

MacBeth loved his wife too terribly well.
Achilles had a heel.
Antigone had hubris.

But it's never quite that simple, especially not on a literature exam, which historically includes the terse instruction: elaborate.

Aristotle had a solid definition of what comprised a tragic hero. In summation:

* Hero must suffer more than he deserves.

* Hero must be doomed from the start, but bear no responsibility for possessing his flaw.

* Hero must be noble in nature, but imperfect so that the audience can see themselves in him.

* Hero must have discovered his fate by his own actions, not by things happening to him.

* Hero must see and understand his doom, as well as the fact that his fate was discovered by his own actions.

* Hero's story should arouse fear and empathy…

The Blues Sisters present Rubber Chicken

What da ya want for nothing? ... a rrrrrrrrubber chicken?

We're in the car Monday morning on the way to school. It took the usual act of Congress to get ready and get in the car. So we're in the car, and Patience is clutching her show and tell, the rubber chicken (pictured above).

We're big fans of the blues around here. We're also big fans of the absurd and ridiculous. (I mean, really, look at that chicken.) The thing about being a big fan of something is that it rubs off and comes out in your life in unexpected ways, such as songs your children sing about rubber chickens, in the car, on the way to school.

Bow bow bow...

(Um, do that again)

Bow bow bow...

Have you ever heard of a rubber chicken? A rubber chicken is the kind of chicken you squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze and an egg pops out of its butt, hee hee hee...

Bow bow bow...

CHORUS (Patience): Butt butt buttbuttbuttbutt CHICKEN BUTT oh the chicken had a BUTTTTT and an EGG POPPED OUTTTTTT of its butt cuz he haaaaasssss noooooo UN…

Ah mercy, mercy me...a week of mercy

Hello!

Welcome to a NEW WEEK. A new week of MERCY and KINDNESS.

This is the week when we all change what we do and how we do it, or improve on the improvements we are all already making. I say this because you know, it hasn't been going all that well in our world lately. Last week in particular.

This is the week when we shake loose the shackles of fear. I mean REALLY shake them off. We don't just say "go on in spite...can't let them win." I mean CUT IT LOOSE. Quit being afraid. Quit checking the current security alert level. Quit looking suspiciously at brown skin or worrying about any Muslims. Quit thinking anyone can be an extremist. Quit hunkering down in the sameness of us.

This is the week when we reach out with love and compassion. Smile at your checkout lady, ask how her day is...her family. Make eye contact with your fellow human beings, and give a slight nod (if you're up North) or a friendly howdy (of you're down south). Let them know you acknowledg…

Finding mercy

"He who needs mercy finds it," says Jalal Al-Din Rumi, a 13th century poet, jurist, and theologian. Born in an area now Afghanistan, Rumi is considered one of the greatest Sufist poets, whose works such as the Mathnawi continue to influence the Persian culture (Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan) as well as the world through multiple translations.

In the Masnavi, Rumi addressed the challenges of life: faith, hope, love, doubt, mercy, evil, reason, truth and so on. In my translation (EH Whinfield, 1898), Pain and Mercy sit side-by side: Pain first, Mercy second. Rumi originally had Mercy before Pain. However, I think Whinfield's reorganization did not detract from Rumi's original intent. Instead, I believe it shows in great relief a key concept Rumi wanted his reader to absorb. Rumi wrote:

Pain is a treasure, for it contains mercies;
The kernel is soft when the rind is scraped off.
I feel keenly my own fallibility, and thus I feel compassion when another falls.
For from ab…

Awful Friday: The Gunman in the Building

Quick update for folks emailing and calling me re. the gunman in the building

Addendum to clarify: I do not work in this building or there. However, a number of family members and friends do.

So far I've managed to reach most family and friends. All are safe. Luckily quite a few family members were not on site today for one reason or another. Most are now offsite. One friend is there, in the building in question, however he is in a secure location and is safe.

The hitch is there are meetings in this building, so people who would not normally be there are there.

If we hear anything further I'll let you know.

Thanks for the care. Julie

P.P.S. The kids saw this live as it began. There isn't a way to keep it from them. I welcome any suggestions about how to address this situation with them. Right now all I've said is a man who is mad is locked in the building and the police are working out how to get him out. Patience has asked about all the people we know there, especially fa…

Eyeful Friday

Quick Roundtable Update:

I added a new participant to the Roundtable in Part I. Check out what CeCe wrote!

Gwen and Jen have some great ideas for additional roundtable participation. I've added those in as Ideas 6 and 7 in Part 2.

Quick Pursuit of Health update:

I live. I live in stagnation. It's been a rough physical week for me. Had several flares. Couldn't exercise. Enough said.

And, now a present for Atypical:

























all text and images copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

The Justice and Forgiveness Roundtable: Part 2 A New Challenge for a New Day

Painting by Emily Carr (Canadian Expressionist Painter, 1871-1945). She toured through aboriginal villages of Canada, and specialized in painting totems...trying to capture these before the art died out and the last ones were appropriated or destroyed.

Part 1: The initial challenge is still open. I just want to put the idea of part two out there for consideration. So feel free to continue sending your posts through Friday and I'll add the link to the list. Also feel free to continue adding comments, thoughts, etc. If you modify your original post, let me know and I'll put an UPDATED note next to your link.

Jen has reminded me that it is time for the next step. I've been chasing all of the posts and comments, trying to discern which paths are cleared, smooth and easy to travel versus which ones people are struggling to traverse.

There are several avenues we could lay for the next step...let me throw out some things I saw repeatedly, and you tell me what strikes you, interests …

The Justice and Forgiveness Roundtable

Once upon a time, I subscribed to the League of Justice approach to life. I believed I was obligated to right every wrong. I thought forgiveness was for sissies, and justice via the legal system was a necessity. I was angry, and I considered it a righteous anger, fuel for needed improvements in the world.

Just slap a white tunic with a red cross on it over my head and call me Crusader.

This was my response to Not Being a Victim. I'd been gotten before and by gosh not only would I never be gotten again, I'd work my tush off ensuring that nobody else got gotten either.

Instead of being stuck in a dysfunctional psychodrama in which I alternated between trespassee and trespasser, I set myself to the side in the role of avenger.

Then one day, in my hometown of Pleasantville, I awoke and the world was color. I realized that life wasn't a cheap melodrama in which we are locked into caricature roles. I grew to understand that instead we have complex characters, and the vantage point f…

The Rape of the Ear...but I was soooo asking for it.

I need to take a brief break from the roundtable preparations to confess that...well...last night I had PURE thoughts about Sanjaya. No, don't trouble yourself shaking out your ears. I said I thought NICE things about Sanjaya.

1. I did not think he was the worst singer/performer last night. You heard me correctly: Sanjaya was not the worst. For the record, Chris was, IOO (that's "in our opinion"---"our" being me and my husband who now, after lo so many years, do share one brain). And let the record reflect it is my husband's best guess that Chris is slotted to go next.

2. Friends. God help me. Last night, I found myself almost liking Sanjaya.

Why?

Please.

The reply to the write-in question. That was hilarious, "I'd like to see Simon Cowell sing Shiny, Happy People to display his true personality."

That was like Bush level awesome unimpeachable backhanded slam. WABOOM!

What could anyone---including the aforementioned Shiny, Happy Person---do but l…

Join the roundtable discussion: Justice and Forgiveness

I just got a few email questions asking me about this roundatable discussion, what it was, how it worked, etc. So I thought I'd put up a brief explanation (brief for me, guys) explaining it better than I have. But of course, feel free to ask me if I need to explain more/better.

About two weeks ago, Mary-Lue asked me an amazing, challenging, thought-provoking, and intriguing interview question: Which is of greater necessity - justice or forgiveness?

Everyone had such great thoughts on this topic---but without adequate space in comments to fully develop an idea---that the Hump Day Hmmmmm was born.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 18, if you'd like to join us (and I hope you do!) write something about justice and forgiveness---any thoughts you have; feel free, for example, to answer the question, or feel free to go free form, whatever works for you---and post it to your blog.

Send me the link to your post (comment to me here with a link or email me at j pippert at g mail dot com) and I…

It's a cold comfort

Another catastrophe devastates us all with its unecessary tragedy today. 33 dead at Virginia Tech.

I can only imagine how the people lined up against the wall and executed, or hunted down, felt. I hope I never know, I hope my children never know. I hope we always only can imagine. And this, this thought, is exactly what every person, every parent hopes.

Today, some lost that hope. And that may be the least of the loss.

Gwen said she's so glad to know it's people who kill people, not guns. She begs us to consider the damage the Virginia Tech murderer might have inflicted with a knife.

I said good point.

Jen said God has been noticeably absent.

I said, "It is a tragedy beyond words.

I will say...God gave man freedom of will. This was not God's will; it was man's will. God was not absent. I am sure God was more present than ever. But he will not remove freedom of will. I am sure God was more anguished by heart than any of us, and that's both saying a lot, and very, ver…

Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative publishes Porn for Women

At some point, someonesomewhere was talking about Sexy Men and What Women Want. I said I know full well what this woman wants, and it isn't some sexy young man sidling up to me at a bar trying to entice me into joining a fitness club.

If he was in his dress whites while doing the aforementioned sidling, and then murmured, low and sexy, "I'm a fully vetted, licensed and endorsed fabulous childcare provider...let me care for your children while you recline on your bed and alternate between reading and napping. I cook, clean, and tidy up behind myself and the kids, too. Plus I'll solve that pesky little potty training regression you've been dealing with, and if you like, I can fix the hitting and tantrums in the two year old." Now we're talking!

Apparently, that this is what women---young and old, rich and poor---want is no surprise whatsoever.

The Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative (did you know there was one?) recently published Porn for Women.

98 …

The irony is that hell froze over...on EASTER

That's it, folks. I've hit the big 35 lbs gone. I was going to celebrate by flashing briefly a photo of myself from the fashion show---preferably in the gold sparkly suit (so not me)---but my friend keeps citing "work" and "busy" as reasons for not emailing me the photos she took.

Yes, so busy we had time for a two and a half hour lunch yesterday. ;)

To assuage your disappointment, I will instead flash a brief series of photos of the kids from Easter.

Before the photos, I need to provide a confession, a caveat, and a note.

One confession: I forgot my camera and so my mom used hers for all the photos---this is a problem for everyone because it meant my inner bossy control freak kept annoying us all.

One caveat: My children hate the camera, HATE it, and ABHOR being photographed. Every single photo in which they look at the camera involved a bribe. Suffice it to say that unlike in years past when I confiscate all candy, they got to keep all candy.

One note: The chil…