Friday, August 29, 2008

Doing the happy dance....over politics?

I am so excited I can barely sit still. High five's all-around....well, I'm the only one in the house right now and Caden is asleep so high five to you in cyberspace! Heck, let's throw in a belly bump while we're at it. That's what I'm talking about!!! Gov. Palin is McCain's running mate!!!!!!!

Alaska governor Sarah Palin is a supermom with five kids ranging in age from one to 19 years old. Her oldest is in the Army and preparing to ship to Iraq. She took only 3 days off work after having her youngest, a boy named Trig who happens to have Down syndrome. Can you see Trig playing in the White House? In the Oval Office even? How about on the lawn at the White House Easter Egg Hunt or Christmas tree-lighting? She sounds like an amazing woman with a beautiful family, quite an array of hobbies and accomplishments, received a prenatal diagnosis, is considered a maverick politician (ooohhh, I really like that part) and this will do SOOOOO much to bring awareness to the disability community. You go, girl! You make Trig and Caden proud.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LL Cool C

My son is now Lady Love Cool Caden. We went to a summer festival put on by a local fire department and Caden started dancing to the bluegrass band. Then a cute girl ran up and grabbed his hands to dance with her. It wasn't long before her younger sister cut in and suddenly Caden was the center of a sibling battle. Like most men, he seemed a little confused by what the problem was with the girls but he just kept dancing through it all.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gifts 2 deadline approaching

Submissions for the second volume of Gifts are due in just under 2 weeks on Sept. 1. For more information on submission guidelines, visit the Gifts website.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tale of the Box Office Sales

Tropic Thunder had an opening weekend of $26 million in box office sales. Compare that to Stiller's Night at the Museum (not one of his better films) which opened higher with $31M or Downey's Ironman which opened earlier this summer with $99M in sales. The previous summer comedy released, Step Brothers, also earned higher sales with $30M its opening weekend. Heck even Mummy 3 (there was a Mummy 2???) earned $42.4M. Not as successful as one would expect with all the big name stars in TT and its huge $100M plus filming budget.

I'm just saying.

Michael Phelps is the man!

And not for the eight reasons you already know about. Click here to see another reason to admire him.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Heebie jeebies

I took a picture of this dragonfly because I thought it was cool the way you could see the leaf behind it through the wings. I had my point-and-shoot camera with me so I was actually pretty darn close to the subject to get the shot, no zoom lens or anything fancy like that. I was very worried that the dragonfly might attack me but fortunately it stayed in place till I got the shot. It was only when I returned home, uploaded the pics to my computer and took another look at this shot on the screen that I saw the GINORMOUS SPIDER hanging onto the leaf under the dragonfly. Do you have any idea how freakin' close my head was to that thing????? And you know it was a man-eating variety! I nearly passed out when I realized it had been there. Does anyone else have itchy skin after looking at this? AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Courtesy cards

Courtesy of Dave Hingsburger. Please print some up (he has offered permission) and pass them out as a polite educational tool whenever you hear the r-word being used. Or you can request free copies to be sent to you courtesy of Active Grey Matter . We're all about courtesy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Never go full Stiller

Get your "Never go full Stiller" tshirts right here!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Remembering John Mark Stallings

The Bear Bryant museum has posted a video tribute on its website for John Mark Stallings, son of former Alabama coach Gene Stallings. The video is 9 minutes long and may give you misty eyes. The video was from a news segment 11 years ago after Gene Stallings published his book Another Season which describes his loving relationship with his son. Johnny, who was employed at the museum, died on Aug. 2 from complications of a congenital heart defect. Johnny was 46 and Down syndrome. The Alabama athletic training facility is named after him as he was a very popular supporter of their football program, accompanying his dad to every practice and game.

“I had a whole lot less tolerance for the gifted and a whole lot more tolerance for the guy that wasn’t quite as gifted,” Gene Stallings told a reporter in January of 2008. “With Johnny, I saw him struggle to walk, struggle to kick a ball, struggle to do everything that he did. So, I had a little tolerance for the guys that had to struggle.
“If you had talent and didn’t lay it on the line, I didn’t have much tolerance for you. The less talented guy can’t play on Saturdays. But he can get you ready to play on Saturdays. I wanted the guys who played on Saturday to have an appreciation for that guy who got them there.”

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Blunder of Tropic Thunder

In a matter of days, the new Ben Stiller movie called Tropic Thunder will be released with the tagline "Once upon a time, there was a retard". There is an entire scene between Stiller and Robert Downey Jr., who is in blackface no less, about the portrayal of a mentally disabled person by Stiller's character. Downey's advice to him was "never go full retard." For more thoughts on the offensive content of the film, go here.

I recently saw an interview with Downey. He admitted that they were concerned how their black audience would respond to his character, a caucasion playing a black man, and that he would not have played the role if it were not "morally sound." Not once in their pre-release marketing frenzy has there been a mention of how the disabled audience and their loved ones would respond to the film or if Stiller's role were morally sound.

I don't mind the word "retarded" when used in its proper clinical setting, such as receiving a diagnosis of mental retardation. But I cannot stand to hear how the word has come to be used in everyday usage. Always derogatory, always a pejorative. It is just as offensive as the n-word. Imagine if the scene had called for Stiller to advise Downey's character to "never go full n*****". Heads would roll and rightfully so. But where is the outcry for the most vulnerable amongst us?

I have thoroughly enjoyed Ben Stiller's work in the past. I've even been a little worried about why potty humor is so funny to me. I can probably tell more dumb blond jokes than anyone you know (my defense is to out-do anyone who so thoughtlessly tells one to me). BUT .... I can defend myself. It is not funny to make fun of a class of individuals who may not be able to defend themselves. That is cruel and heartless.

I had an occupational therapy student from a local college spend time with Caden last semester. I was over the moon when she asked me what the phrase "mongoloid" meant. The word has been so phased out, that her generation is completely unfamiliar with it. I was hoping the r-word was going that direction as well. I was wrong. If this movie proves as popular as most by Stiller, then a whole new generation will employ the terminology. I look at my beautiful son and wonder how long before he hears the r-word and feels its pain. He deserves more respect than that. I wish other people felt that way, especially those in the ever-influential entertainment industry. Like the saying goes, society will be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable people. We can do better.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A(nother) sign that my baby is growing up

Yep, he's doing rides by himself! We are season pass holders at Hershey Park and for the last 2 summers, we've only done the kiddie rides that allow adults to ride with the children. That leaves out a large chunk of rides that are for children only. Usually when I ask Caden if he wants to do one of these attractions like the mini-carousel by himself, he signs "all done". But one day, he decided he was ready. Here is his very first ride alone and you can see he loved it. He got mad when it ended so we got back in line and he rode again. He's a big boy now!