TAKING A ‘NET VACATION’
If you have missed my Blog for the past few weeks, it’s because I’ve been on a ‘net vacation’, a recommended activity for all people like me who live on the Internet. Moving house a month ago, it took 2 weeks for my FLOW internet to be re-connected and once again I have been reminded of the enormous change in my working life that has come with Bill Gates’ Microsoft personal computers and the World Wide Web.
Plugged out from the life-giving supply of digital connection to the outside world, I recall the pre-Internet days when Jamaica was surrounded by invisible walls that only enabled communication with others via expensive long-distance calls and snail mail that took 2 weeks to reach its destination.
One learned Patience and Faith in those days, when one was forced to maintain a fully paid-up relationship with the only telecom company, as overdue bills resulted in not only a large re-connection fee but also payment of an increased ‘deposit’. As such costs were sometimes even more burdensome than the unpaid service charges, many persons simply sighed and remained unconnected.
The freedom of the Internet came to Jamaica in the early 1990s, and we scrambled to learn HTML so we could build our own websites to promote ourselves to the world. The ease of email made trips to the Post Office obsolete and suddenly one could write to Bill Gates as easily as to our family and friends overseas.
Accompanying my son at the Awards Weekend in Los Angeles for the winners of the 1999 ThinkQuest International Student Website Competition, I met Jaron Lanier – the man accredited with inventing the Internet. You can imagine my pleasure to discover that he has been dreadlocksed since his teens, not as a Rasta, but as he says: “… because that’s how my hair wants to grow.” Made me love the Internet even more.
As the internet was reconnected and I hastily logged into my mailboxes at Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail, my Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, I sent out a silent message: Thanks, Jaron Lanier. May your tribe increase!
I used the time while offline to rebuild my Jamaica Media Productions company website and have now uploaded it to a new address. Those interested may visit http://jamediapro.jahweb.co.cc
Had a lot of time while offline to read some books and share reviews of two US novels for children that impressed me.
PROFESSOR ANGELICUS VISITS THE BIG BLUE BALL
Author: L.B.B.B. Ward
Publisher: MumbleFish Books, New Jersey, USA
As Zak, his friend Ivy and his dog Ziggy go fishing one day, they are surprised as a visitor from space – Professor Aquius Botanicus Angelicus – descends in a big water bubble. The Professor has come to Earth – the Big Blue Ball — searching for clean water to refresh his spaceship and he persuades the children to help him find some.
The journey around the Big Blue Ball in search of the world’s most precious commodity is long and desperate, but filled with imagination, discovery and friendship, as the travelers discover that acid rain, global warming, chemical and industrial pollution, drought and diverted rivers have made clean water a scarce global resource. The story is a vivid description of the peril the world faces as our water resources are depleted, and is told in a easy-to-read manner that will captivate children of all ages. I can see the adventure appealing to teenagers reading it themselves, and can be easily read to and understood by young children.
Moral values are imparted as the story progresses. In one adventure searching underwater, they are arrested by the Shark Patrol and brought before the President of the Underwater Confederation of whales and sharks. Commenting on the store of missiles and guns Professor Angelicus tells him: “Things have gotten out of alignment here. Hate makes more hate. Only love can make love. If the residents balanced their body, mind and spirit, the Big Blue Ball would be better balanced.”
On another occasion, Professor Angelicus is suffering from lack of water and the children wonder how to restore him. Ivy suggests: “Maybe we should pray. I read that when people pray, rays of light rise up toward heaven.”
Towards the end, Professor Angelicus and the children arrive at the Great Council of the Land of Sparkle and see before them the Living Mural of Eternity featuring the Great Leaders of Kindness. Imagery such as this book presents can inspire young people, while providing adults with a foundation on which to teach important moral lessons and guide them into adult maturity with positive values.
THE BIG BLUE BALL is available at Amazon, and also from Professor Angelicus website links at MySpace and http://professorangelicus.com.
Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents; it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
Readers of THE BIG BLUE BALL will appreciate this Native American proverb that begins THE LOOSE END OF THE RAINBOW. The book is also from the USA, this one set among the Native American first citizens, otherwise called Indians. Summarizing the story, all adults in the village suddenly disappear, leaving White Eagle and Paints-With-Words, both 17. They lead the children of the tribe on an epic quest across ancient America, on a journey in which they are challenged by hardship, injuries, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes. Luckily for the Tribe of the Innocents, the two young leaders have been gifted with special powers, and unexpected allies emerge.
In a dedication to “All Children, Red, Yellow, Brown, Black and White”. author D.B. Pacini explains the book’s title:
“There are two ends of the rainbow. One is the end where there is a pot of gold. The other is the end where there is not. On that end, the sun also shines brightly after the rain, but the water-washed glorious colours spill loose upon the ground. This is the end where artists bend to dip their paintbrushes, where love promises never to die, where unicorns give rides of little fairies with tiny flowers in their hair. It is the end where talking animals, talking trees, talking rocks, and talking bees have spirited conversations. It is the end where songwriters write songs, the end where storytellers journey through time to find the beginnings of their stories, and the end where dreamers dream their most amazing dreams.”
With a premise such as this, there is much in THE LOOSE END OF THE RAINBOW to satisfy those who seek literature that uplifts the spirit and assists the struggle for the victory of Good over Evil.
The book contains many footnotes that explain in greater detail many aspects of Native American life and culture, and this makes the book an educational experience that fills in some of the blanks left by Hollywood’s ‘cowboys & Indians’ movies. As one reviewer states: “Pacini’s enchanting story reveals her love for children and her respect for North America’s original residents.”
Book available at Amazon, MySpace/DBPacini and http://www.singingmoonpress.com.
Looking forward to the premiere of “Redemption of Paradise’ the new feature from Antigua starring dancehall diva Macka Diamond. Full review in next week’s SPOTLIGHT.