[WARNING: Disturbing photos in this article] If you’ve seen the viral photograph of the 5 year old boy, dazed and covered in blood and dust, sitting in the back of ambulance in Aleppo, here is some direction on how you can help and where you can donate money…“So, as the photo of Omran gets circulated over the next few days, by all means, share it. Get angry. Get sad. Just try to stay feeling that way. Because as is the case with so many other iconic photos that epitomize the scope of an unspeakable issue, this one could, just by the end of the weekend, get filed away as “tragedy porn.” These are the types of stories and images that are so horrifying, we almost mindlessly consume them. But, then what?”


Between August 12 – 14, four trillion gallons of rain fell in Southeast Louisiana leading to 20,000 people needing to be rescued and several people who lost their lives and yet the media coverage was dismal and most articles about the flood have been about the poor media coverage. Here is an interesting diagnosis of what makes for “worthy reporting” when it comes to national tragedy…“In order to achieve the goal of coverage, those of us who care about the heartbreak in southeast Louisiana are forced to package it in those narrative frames of entertainment and historic loss in order to get anyone to care… and that to me is the larger tragedy. The tragedy is that strong, loving, cohesive communities, because of their strength and resilience, cannot be celebrated and assisted at the same time. That in order to be worthy of attention the very fabric of societal order has to have been sheered away; news media requires scenes that look like a zombie apocalypse, not scores of hometown heroes trying their best to rescue one another.”

For more examples of white privilege in action, see #LochteGate…“I will be glad when all people would admit that white privilege is an incessant thorn in America’s side. It has gotten to the point that white men can do disorderly things and be dismissed as troubling teenagers. What is even sadder is the fact that these actions are nothing new. Ryan Lochte’s situation are dream circumstances for anyone with a pale complexion. In the end, white privilege has made being a white swimmer the popular occupation for those to escape true punishment for their transgressions. White privilege has become a moral get-out-of-jail-free card in the global society.”

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Some real gems in here…“1. I don’t play with my kids. Neither did my parents; they worked a lot. It was up to me to entertain myself or fight with my brother. And now? Let’s face it, I have way too much to do. If I can get ahead on house cleaning and laundry, I’ll do games or crafts. I’ll sculpt Play-Doh and have a tea party, because really, who doesn’t love a tea party? But for the most part, it’s kind of why we had their siblings — and by “kind of” I mean it absolutely is why.”
Looking for some apps that get kids outdoors (other than Pokemon Go), here are 4 STEM tools…“Playground Physics is an inexpensive, intuitive way to get students out of their chairs and learning about physics in real and tangible ways. Students use an iPad to shoot video of any motion, whether it’s their friends running around, or tennis balls flying across the schoolyard. The program then measures variables like speed, position, direction, energy, and force. Any controlled experiment is fair game, with the potential to empower kids’ learning and encouraging curiosity. Younger students can have fun tracing motion, while older students can work out the calculus involved.”

An inspiring read with some great excerpts from Bird by Bird about the urgency of your creative life…“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.”
After a study in global parenting, a mother realizes that expected developmental milestones are actually not universal and mostly shaped by culture…“It’s natural to compare our children and fret over their development. We are encouraged in the United States to look at a child’s expected milestones and make sure they are meeting them on time. It wasn’t until I started researching global parenting that I discovered how many of a baby’s and child’s stages and milestones actually aren’t universal. What we expect of a child at any given age is influenced and shaped by culture. Viewed through the prism of culture, some notions of “normal” look totally different.”


1. I saved the rest of the kid’s leftover mac n’ cheese just for you.
LA families, if you haven’t yet been to the drive-in movie theatre this summer, check out the Vineland Drive-in which is playing some terrific, current family-friendly movies.  If you are looking to dodge the heat, the Annenberg Space for Photography has a breathtaking exhibit, Refugee open through August 21. There are also some fantastic art exhibitions around town including Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life at The Broad and James Turrell’s Light Reignfall at the LACMA. In & Of Itself is in its final extension at the Geffen, so be sure to check that out.  If you have any dinosaur lovers in the home, mark your calendars for the Natural History Museum’s first annual Dino Fest September 24 -25. 
Picnic-goers and theatre-lovers can check out The Tempest at the FREE Griffith Park Shakespeare Festival or the FREE Shakespeare by the Sea productions happening around Los Angeles. More Shakespeare festivals include Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum lineup.   The Odyssey Theatre is currently rehearsing for Go Back To Where You Are and The Suitcase is at Echo Theater Company through August 25. For families in the valley, check out Sam Harris’s HAM: A Musical Memoir at the Pasadena Playhouse.  For the kiddos consider Theatre for Young Audiences coming up at South Coast Rep. Also, Snowhite at the Santa Monica Playhouse has been extended through September 25. For some outdoor cinema in a truly spectacular location, check out Cinespia’s lineup at the Hollywood Cemetery or for Long Beach residents check out Moonlight Movies on the Beach and for Westside residents there is Cinema Under the Stars at Westwood Village. Be sure to check out free Summer Nights in the Garden at the Natural History Museum. If you have some Pokemon Go gamers in your house, check out the Pokemon Go walks in National Parks led by National Park Rangers. Also, the Long Beach BBQ Festival is this weekend.
NYC theatre-lovers can pack your picnics for the 54th Annual Shakespeare in the Park festival at Central Park or Socrates Sculpture Park’s International Film Festival this summer. Currently, the New York International Fringe Festival is running until August 28. Also be sure to check out the Hallett Nature Sanctuary – four acres in Central Park – reopening after a massive restoration project. The section has been closed since the 1930s. If it gets hot, check out Edgar Degas’s lesser known printmaking career at the MoMA or MADreads at the Museum of Art & Design. Also, for children’s theatre, the New Vic Theater has some incredible shows coming this fall, starting with a fresh production of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.