Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 1, 2014

Library plans Wacky Wednesdays

Jun 13, 2013

Need a place to go to get out of the summer heat? Don’t want to let boredom win this summer. Come to Wacky Wednesdays at the Washington Public Library! There has been some confusion about Wacky Wednesday’s due to a couple of schedule changes. So, here is the schedule for Wacky Wednesdays for the rest of June.

June 19: Participants will watch "Night at the Museum" at 1 p.m. (Younger children must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older.) Feel free to bring snacks and a drink to enjoy while you watch the movie. (Drinks must have a lid.)

June 26:– The library will be having game day. Grades one through five will meet from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Grades six through 12 will meet from  1 to 2:30 p.m. Game day will consist of fun board games and PS3.

Participants don’t have to sign up to come to Wacky Wednesdays — just come and have a great time.

Wacky Wednesdays will continue though out the summer. The July schedule will be coming soon.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jun 15, 2013 14:28

With Father's Day on Sunday, there is good news and bad news. Fathers who care are making a huge difference in this country. How do I know? It is estimated that close to 40 percent of all those incarcerated in the USA did not have a father in their childhood home.

"Half of all children born to women under 30 in America now are illegitimate. Three in 10 white children are born out of wedlock, as are 53 percent of Hispanic babies and 73 percent of black babies." According to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, children from single-parent families account for 63 percent of all youth suicides, 70 percent of all teenage pregnancies, 71 percent of all adolescent chemical/substance abuse, 80 percent of all prison inmates, and 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children. The illegitimacy rate in America has gone up 300% since the seventies.

"Man Of Steel"

by Kevin McCullough

The "mixed" reviews surrounding the debut of the new motion picture franchise "Man Of Steel" are both amusing and disgusting.

The film is without question the greatest Super Hero film of the modern era, maybe of all time.

The story line is all heart, the special effects are more seamless than anything in recent memory. In this epic you constantly find yourself caught up in this heart wrenching story about a kid, who while struggling to figure out who he is in narrative flashbacks, simultaneously sees the evidence of good and evil all around him, and knows he must somehow make a difference.

True Superman fans will sense the authenticity not seen in a Superman effort since perhaps the original writers came up with the concept, and new comers to the story will be caught up and whisked away in the classic parable.

The reviewers that, perhaps broadly oppose the mere values and messages of the Superman story, will of course find flaws with it. It doesn't bow to the alter of political correctness. There are perhaps (at most) two obscenities in the entire script, and the story is completely absent of nudity, sex, or other moral envelope pushing. Yes in the modern film industry, the creators have done the unthinkable. They garnered the talents of Christopher Nolan and Zack and Deborah Snyder, made a completely acceptable film for the family, allow it to tell its authentic story, and don't much seem to care what the critics or the academy think. This film deserves consideration for best picture.

"Man Of Steel" without question will be the number one money maker at the box office for the year.

We could point to any number of reasons why this film works, but perhaps one of the most offensive things to critics, but by far is of singular importance to the film in ways that few will dispute, is Clark's two dads.

Clark Kent/Kal-El a.k.a. Superman, has not one but two men of distinct honor, fidelity, integrity, and moral uprightness that speak into his life in the narrative. Portrayed by Russell Crowe (as his father from Krypton) and Kevin Costner (as the moving Jonathan Kent), the father figures in the film portray far more than what the American entertainment complex usually allows men--especially fathers--to exhibit.

These men are pillars in their families. They both make decisions that consistently demonstrate provision and protection for those in their care, and unapologetically they lead their families--with humility--to make decisions that are not emotionally easy, but that at their core are truly just, good, and right.

These men are pillars in their communities. They both demonstrate the character-birthed foresight to speak truth to those who need it, regardless of how unpopular it may be. They both prove to be such men of strength that their recognition and appreciation of their communities is recognized from local high school bullies to the sitting reigning council of Krypton.

These men are pillars to a watching society. Both men sacrifice their own welfare for the good of the greater world, their families, and even for Clark/Cal. Both men create memories or holograms that serve as a continual source of guidance and council for the man that Clark is becoming, and the mission he was masterfully created for.

One gives up Clark, knowing he is the only hope of salvation for the universe, thus he sends him to earth. And it is there where the other adopts Clark as his own flesh, teaches him all that he is capable of and lives faithfully before him, to give Clark the foundation he will need to be the saving force of all mankind.

But wait, this sounds vaguely familiar.

Of course it does.

The narrative of the Biblical text claims that God the Father -- who in many places throughout scripture takes the name of "El" (the name of Superman's Krypton family) -- sent His Son, who would also have questions about His role in the world as a child, grow up as an alien to those around Him, see the evils and injustice of the world--and work miracles to correct them, and eventually be the literal salvation of humanity through His ultimate miracle of defeating death.

Yes I suspect one of the reasons some entertainment critics have been so unfair to the legitimate greatness of this epic masterpiece is that they are too overcome by an allegory of another story that they have not settled in their own belief system yet.

Shame on them, for withholding true analysis because of their own petty weaknesses as critics.

It is not a mistake that the original creators of Superman had these two towering figures of men in Clark's life. I'm grateful that new generations will now see the contributions fathers can and should be effecting in the lives of every child they raise.

The mission of this Superman may not have been to help restore faith in the traditional family, and fathers doing their God-given part to provide and to protect those they love.

But it is a side effect that I am grateful shines through with abundant clarity in the biggest blockbuster of the decade!



Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jun 15, 2013 11:51

The 2012 Norton Writer’s Prize: Daniel Penny of Grinnell College for his personal essay “Seven Layers of Compressed Plywood.” The judges praised Penny’s powerful use of similes and metaphors, humor and juxtaposition to describe both the joys and dangers of skateboarding. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and currently attends Grinnell College. This fall, Daniel will start his first year at Columbia’s MFA program in creative writing.

 

There is no spot like the Brooklyn banks, which are not, in fact, in Brooklyn at all, but rather at the base of the famous bridge—on the Manhattan side. I spent a number of sun-soaked hours there, joyously wiping out. It is a place you would never find if you did not skateboard, a series of red brick waves rolling out beneath the bowels of an icon. And we moved along those rough-hewn bowels. Hordes of dirt-smeared, spindle-legged boys, holes in their shoes and shins bumpy with the reminders of tricks not quite landed. My own shins still have the feel of rocky ice only partially obscured by a new snow, uneven and somehow unvirginal even in youth.

          My parents bought my first board at “Toys R Us.” The wheels were a soft, cheap, Barbie kind of plastic and spun so slowly that they would catch on the jutting edges of the pavement. The stubborn sidewalk did not allow for the languid cruising I’d seen on TV; those kids lived in California, where the sidewalks were made of silk and little skaters addressed their soul-patched dads with an off-hand “Dude.” Puttering up and down the only smooth strip of sidewalk on my block, I began to take notice of other kids and how their skateboards looked decidedly beaten up. I concluded that it must not be cool to keep a board in pristine condition, so I scratched it along the edge of our front steps, scraping the paint off of the underside to suggest that I was grinding. I can’t imagine anyone was fooled.
           For my fifth grade graduation, my parents bought me a real skateboard, the kind that comes from a real skate-shop run by the guys with over-sized ear-plugs and well-practiced slouches. The board’s underside was black with red vertical stripes suggesting driblets of blood. A large screaming skull emblazoned with the logo “Phantom” sat in the center, as if to say to other skaters, “This kid is really bad.” (At the time, I looked like a fat Kurt Cobain with a dorky helmet and needed any help I could get.) That night, I found out that the skull glowed in the dark when, after waking from a dream, I saw the disembodied ghoul floating by my door.
           I loved that board, but I did not treat it very well. In my attempts to manual, I would scrape my board along the sidewalk like a two-by-four on a sand-belt, barely keeping my two front wheels off of the pavement before the tail would pop back up. This process slowly wore the tail down, first peeling away the paint, but soon reaching the last layers of the plywood, effectively sharpening the thing into a jagged, splintery point. I complained to my parents that I needed a new board, then promptly forgot about it when the seasons changed, giving it the occasional glance when I had to dig my ice-skates out of the back of my closet.

          Throughout middle school, I expressed great contempt for people whom I deemed posers—kids who wore skate-shoes and other apparel in order to advertise their identities as “skaters” to the rest of the student body—but who, in reality, either did not skate or were far less adept than they claimed to be, rattling off made-up sounding tricks featured in Rocket Power. Even worse, there lurked a more slippery type of individual: the swindlers who swore they wore the puffy status symbols simply because they were more comfortable than other sneakers, posers who refused to admit they were posing at all. I despised them especially.
           I was a huge poser. I wore the big puffy shoes and the baggy sweatshirts. I bragged about landing this trick or that trick, feats which I’d only accomplished with my tattooed avatar in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. I imagine Dante would have reserved a pit in the eighth circle of hell for posers like myself, where Malebranche will crush our bodies under giant plastic wheels and stretch them into fleshy half-pipes. They will grind their trucks on our spines and their radness will fill us with envy.

           No one understands the pleasure of defacing a public monument like the son of an art-historian. Every afternoon in spring of my freshman year of high school, I’d roll down to the 9th Street entrance of Prospect Park. In the center of the entrance stood a granite edifice with a bronze façade of Marquis de Lafayette next to a well-endowed horse, a beacon for skate-rats all around Park Slope. A large knee-high curb jutted out from the statue, and the smooth pavement surrounding the monument attracted ne’er-do-wells from all over our posh little corner of Brooklyn.
           I came to this ritual alone because none of my friends skateboarded, in part because I had virtually no male friends. The kids at the monument were not at all like the boys who went to my school: bookish, well-mannered and well-dressed. These boys were bad. They wore over-sized Colt 45 T-shirts and perpetual casts on their arms. They did not do their homework. Girls sat around the semi-circle of benches on the periphery of the buttery cement that paved the entrance to the park, licking their lips and waiting to slink off with the best boys into some bathroom or dark corner of Prospect Park’s forested folds. I’m not sure how many kick-flips were required to pique their interest, but it seemed pretty clear that only the oldest, most apathetic-looking boys ever found out.
           On hot days, these chosen few would just sit on a bench watching the rest of us struggle to land the most basic tricks. Hunched over and shirtless, beads of sweat making slow progress down their backs, they’d finish their cigarettes and snap their boards into their hands with effortless little kicks. Not muscular like the guys at the Y, but rangy, all rippling tendons and impressive happy-trails. With little warning, the alpha-boy would rise from his park bench throne, push the strings of damp hair out of his face, and saunter a few feet to gain enough speed for whatever he’d planned. We would all stop what we were doing and stare intently. The board would slap onto the pavement and growl faster and faster. An unmistakable pop of plywood. Connection. Pulled along the ledge as if a string were tied to the nose, trucks tearing across the bloodied stone lip. And then the landing, knees like the shock-absorbers of an ATV, squatting low and then rising with a grin that defines self-satisfaction. “Like, whatever, brah.”

          I landed nose-first on the curb across the street from my house. A livery cab had clipped my leg and knocked me off of my board, thankfully sending me in the direction I was already moving rather than under the car. I turned to watch the white Chrysler brake, sparks flying out from under its wheels as the axles of my board groaned and snapped. What was left of my board had become lodged underneath the bottom of the car and the neoprene wheels, which I’d purchased only two days earlier, had melted into semi-circles from the friction. They left two green streaks on the pavement, as if luminescent snails had been racing down the block and then gotten squished just before the finish line. All of the neighbors came out to kibitz and accost the driver, who must have sensed things were turning sour and decided to skedaddle before anyone took down his license plate number. Someone called an ambulance, and because I was fifteen and my parents weren’t around, I had to take a nine-hundred-dollar “cab” ride the seven blocks from my house to Methodist Hospital. My mother told me I would never skateboard again. After the swelling in my nose abated, I went skating the next week.
           It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t skateboard, much less to mothers, why I would continue to throw myself into such dangerous circumstances. What is it about skating that I found so attractive? I was fifteen, no longer hanging out at the park monument like a Levi-Strauss studying some new tribe. Instead, I had begun to skate alone, pulled out of my apartment down New York’s streets like a paperclip drawn by a magnet. I was playing by myself, dancing “a mocking song on the spirit of gravity.” Nietzsche probably didn’t do very much skateboarding in his day, but I imagine that he would get the gist of it—total self-ablation, a sort of transcendence, however brief and illusory. Carving through the hot black tar, I didn’t think about anything, didn’t care about anything. Just the present, the trick I was doing, the ledge I wanted to launch off of. Standing on the corner waiting for the patrons of a Washington Mutual bank to get off my stairs, an opportunity presents itself and I hurtle towards the steps I’d been casing for weeks. I wasn’t interested in the money inside, but the handicapped-accessible ramp, which ended abruptly with four big steps that seemed to call out like a concrete siren. I was in the air—knees up like a child frog-hopping at a picnic—and then hitting the ground, landing bolts. I kept rolling. The term “skate-obstacle” is a misnomer. The stairs, curbs, benches, and rails of New York did not seem like things to be overcome.
           Some years later, I find myself sitting in the passenger seat of my parents’ Volvo, a silver station wagon my best friend and I drove to California and back. The sun’s setting over whatever pretty mountains are in New Mexico, and I’m looking out of the window, staring at the guardrail that wraps around these buxom turns. My friend turns to me and asks whether I actually want to listen to the Diane Rehm show, or can he just switch it off. I don’t answer him because I am imagining what it would feel like to grind on a metallic snake at 65 miles per hour, and what might happen to my face if I fell off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcrbDYe4qL4

 



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