Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Purple Shirt, A Boston Terrier, and "Fuel"--A Wednesday Journal


Short Takesfrom Wednesday:

--I wore my lavender shirt and purple tie today, as part of a Spirit Day recognition, designed to show support to troubled gay youth, and commemorate the ones who lost hope and ended their lives.

In the course of my day, as I traveled to different parts of campus, I saw others in purple shirts, jackets, hair bows, lapel pins. Most of these were, as expected, counselors and campus activists, those who organized the event through Facebook, or the usual free spirits who are on hand any time they are called upon for symbolic support of gay issues.

What struck me most was the matter-of-factness, a smiling self-consciousness, and no self-serving reverence,  misplaced anger, or drama. We were seeking out kindred spirits, looking for as much support as we were giving, and it was subdued and comforting.

In line at the campus coffee shop was a tall young man with a purple graphic t-shirt.  When he sat down, he sat alone, apart from everyone.  I got my coffee and took a small detour tell him how much I liked his shirt.  I never expected such an enthusiastic smile and hearty "thanks"!  I didn't see him again during the day.  But I think the emblem, and our connection, was the spirit of the thing.

I revised yesterday's post about "Honoring Gay Teen Suicides".  My opinions are the same, but I got past the awkwardness in my expression, and I think it reads better.  I hope you will read it again, or for the first time, and let me know what you think.

A good friend at the college is also a dog-lover.  I was amused by his stories about his Boston Terrier.  I of course love all dog breeds.  Basset Hounds have a lock on my heart; but Mark and I also have a soft spot for Boston Terriers and bulldogs. In fact, any floppy-eared dog; dogs with unfortunate builds with lively personalities (like Dachshunds); or any dog with a sad demeanor that masks a joyful personality, will always have a fast friend in us.

I can understand why my friend would get an extra smile in his eyes as he talked about his dog.

I was reminded of our first visit to Boston last year.  Within an hour of our arrival, we encountered a lonely Boston Terrier who was waiting for his person to finish shopping.  We approached, and he greeted us with a wiggling tail and a big face-lick.  I took a picture which I love:


The college Activities Board arranged a screening of the 2008 documentary film "Fuel", followed by a lecture and question-answer period with filmmaker Josh Tickell and his wife, producer Rebecca Harrell.  (Click HERE for a link to the "Fuel" web site.)

It was a full house, mostly students whose attendance was a mandatory class assignment, and a sprinkling of involved staff and faculty.  The Q and A was lively and engaging.  The film was successful in presenting its message, which was compelling, challenging, yet personal, and often fun. 

The tone of "Fuel" is energetic and upbeat, designed to persuade viewers of the benefits of clean energy sources, and to advocate for practical, low-cost, and clean solutions to the decades of problems caused by the oil industry. 

It is nothing if not comprehensive, almost overwhelmingly so. There is a generous spirit and enthusiasm, presenting us with a colorful and amazing plethora of data, graphics, interviews, history and interpretation of it,  sobering problems and exciting and practical solutions that have been blocked by powerful interest groups (oil) for decades.

I never considered, for example, that John D. Rockefeller, President of Standard Oil, might have introduced legislation for Prohibition as a way to block Henry Ford from manufacturing an engine that ran on ethanol.  (With alcohol banned, oil retained a healthy monopoly on transportation).

It is hard to watch "Fuel" and not be convinced that the solution to break our oil-dependence is available now, relatively easy to make available, and in our best interests.

After seeing eye-opening documentaries about American public education, the global financial crisis, and the oil industry within two weeks, it's depressing to watch our current political candidates campaign on issues that don't really matter, distract us with negative advertising, and politicize matters of heart and personal philosophy.  These so-called issues are an insult to the electorate they purport to represent.

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