As a young man, the late author penned a powerful and moving letter about the two choices we have in navigating this life – swim towards a goal or float with the tide…“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare) And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.”


If your spouse has ever lobbed a general complaint to which you’ve vigorously defended yourself by attaching a narrative of your own devices to deflect said complaint that was never actually meant for you, then this is an article for you…“Storytelling helps us all impose order on chaos—including emotional chaos. When we’re in pain, we create a narrative to help us make sense of it. This story doesn’t have to be based on any real information. One dismissive glance from a coworker can instantly turn into I knew she didn’t like me. I responded to Steve so defensively because when I’m in doubt, the “I’m not enough” explanation is often the first thing I grab. It’s like my comfy jeans—may not be flattering, but familiar.”


The experience of trauma is not only kept in out memories but in our bodies, in our senses, and in our responses to stress which often cuts us off from reaching out for human emotional connection, the exact thing we need to heal ourselves…“In trauma survivors, Van der Kolk notes, the parts of the brain that have evolved to monitor for danger remain overactivated and even the slightest sign of danger, real or misperceived, can trigger an acute stress response accompanied by intense unpleasant emotions and overwhelming sensations. Such posttraumatic reactions make it difficult for survivors to connect with other people, since closeness often triggers the sense of danger. And yet the very thing we come to most dread after experiencing trauma — close contact with other people — is also the thing we most need in order to regain psychoemotional solidity and begin healing.”

Just as Obama’s presidency did not usher in a new post-racial America, we should brace ourselves now for the onslaught of sexism a Hillary Clinton presidency will surely bring…“So goes progress: Two steps forward, one step back(lash). As the culture changes, people resent that change and start freaking out, others look to exploit their fear, and things can turn really, really nasty on their way to getting better.”


An 8-year old girl from a military family wrote to President Obama, expressing her admiration for him but also asking him to bring more spunk to the country like wearing a tie-dye shirt to something important. The President responded in kind…“Thanks for the fun letters and suggestions. You seem like a great kid, and I can tell you’ve got plenty of spunk to help keep our Nation strong! While I don’t know how the First Lady or my daughters would feel about me wearing a tie-dye shirt in public, I do know that one of my greatest responsibilities as President is ensuring your generation can thrive — and that includes making sure you can live in safety and reach for boundless opportunity. I know things happening around the world can sometimes be worrisome, but we can make real and lasting progress if young people like you focus on growing and learning and keep speaking out about important challenges our Nation faces. As long as I serve in this Office and beyond, I’ll continue fighting to ensure kids all across our country are limited by nothing but the scope of their imaginations and the size of their dreams.”


A tongue-in-cheek parallel of back-to-school in the 70s versus today. A lot more boloney and twinkies, a lot less pictures and monogrammed school bags…“2. On the night before the first day of school (that would be the Sunday night after Labor Day, of course, you know, mid-September) throw the kids in the way back of the station wagon and drag them downtown to Eckerds, K-Mart, Ames, Dollar General, Drug Fair or the like and hurry them over to the back-to-school area to pick out a lunchbox. Make sure to tell them get a move on because you don’t have all night for them to make a damn decision. They need to get in bed by eight and yes, they’re going to miss the Wonderful World of Disney if they can’t decide between The Fonz and Dukes of Hazzard. Good Lord, why is it so hard for them to pick? Tell Kimberly if she can’t make up her mind between Holly Hobbie and The Bionic Woman then you’re going to pick Pigs in Space and you don’t want to hear another word about it until June. Grab a composition book for each of them and a pack of pencils too. That’s all they need. Remember to save some grocery bags so they can cover their textbooks with them after the first day of school. 3. Buy yourself a pack of Virginia Slims on the way out and smoke three of them on the way home.”


A father pens a powerful letter to the CEO of Mylan, maker of the EpiPen, about the beautiful and strong community they are exploiting…“Our community members would never wish this on you because we have seen the horrors of anaphylaxis first-hand in our loved ones. We’ve noticed the hives as they begin to cover their bodies. We’ve held them as them vomit and struggle to breathe. We’ve seen the fear in their eyes as their blood pressure drops. We’ve watched in horror as our loved ones turn blue. We’ve clutched our overpriced EpiPens in shaking hands and plunged them in into our children’s legs. And we’ve waited, while on the phone with 911, hoping that the epinephrine will work and that we’ve acted fast enough to save our children’s lives. We didn’t ask for this life. EpiPens are not a luxury for us. They are the difference between life and death. There’s another thing that I know about this community. If you were having an anaphylactic attack and one of us happened to be nearby, not a single one of us would hesitate to grab our obscenely overpriced EpiPens and administer a life-saving dose to the very person who has put this medicine out of reach for many of our fellow community members. This is the character of the community that you have exploited for years, Heather.”

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LA families looking for some fun exhibits and shows around town should look no further than the Natural History Museum who will be unveiling their new Butterfly Pavilion from September 16 -October 16 and will be hosting their first annual Dino Fest September 24 -25. If you want to get into the Halloween Spirit check out Guillermo del Toro’s surreal exhibit at LACMA. 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.   Some great youth theatre is coming up this fall with Theatre for Young Audiences at South Coast Rep. Also, Snowhite at the Santa Monica Playhouse has been extended through September 25. Also, this weekend is the last weekend to catch two amazing exhibits at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. Come for the art, stay for the food trucks! If you are trying to get in your outdoor cinema before everyone closes up shop, Cinespia has some amazing films this weekend including Hitchcock’s The Birds  and Tony Scott’s 90s cult classic True Romance.

For NYC families looking to dodge the sticky heat, 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.