Wednesday, January 03, 2007

It's like Horton Hears a Who.

Recently I have been provoked to think about the things going on right under my nose; things that I rarely have noticed, and worse, almost never thought about. For example, I finally watched Transamerica and finished the first season of Oz. (Apparently I am on some sort of disturbing male frontal nudity kick.)

That being said, I want to very highly recommend these shows. They both feature segments of the population that are little considered and completely misunderstood. The under recognized aspects of our penal system ties together with weird ease to homelessness, the sex industry, and transgender 'disorders.'

In Oz you see the ugly elements of jail. This is not Prison Break. This show makes you really think about how our jails work. It isn't a show about innocence or guilt. It demonstrates the tragic nature of raising our poor to be criminals and then attempting to rehabilitate them by placing them in the most dangerous and debilitating environment conceivable. It is a nature show, a survival drama, a testament to the horrors and beauties (but mostly the horrors) of the human spirit.

Watching Transamerica and seeing the trials of homelessness, abuse, and transgender 'disorder' was incredibly revealing. It was a raw and sad film, but left you with hope, even in our screwed up world. And it was still funny.

Facing demons, fighting for existence, fighting to live with yourself, just striving for bare survival in a stark world- Transamerica and Oz can be a double feature.

I should mention that you should brace yourself for graphic sex, and in the case of Oz, extremely graphic violence.

And while I'm on this train of thought, today I went to a local community forum on school lunches. Having grown up facing poverty issues, it is extremely important to me that our public schools are feeding 2 healthy, nutritious, and filling meals a day to our children. For a lot of kids, these are the best and in some cases their only meals.

At the forum, I learned a lot about federal school lunches, from the history to modern legal issues. The federal school lunch program came about shortly after WWII when it was discovered that our troops were not nutritionally sound and the government had abundant American grown crops available.

Today there are strict dietary rules and tricky thinking behind our student lunches. For 2$ a day a student receives a stealthily healthy meal. Everything in our school lunches looks like fast food, but has never been fried. There are no transfats, everything is low fat, low sodium, and low sugar. It's broccoli in pizza-clothing.

I was amazed to find out the amount of work school districts are putting into feeding our youth. I would like to salute lunch ladies & gentlemen for their work to prevent childhood illness, promote future physical health, and increase student academic achievement.

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