Public Notice

Public Notice is noticing that spring is in full swing with so many kid-friendly opportunities to make community spirit grow.

We Travel the Spaceways

We and the lad have been taking in that brilliant PBS series Life Beyond Earth, which explores the question of whether or not we are alone in this elegant universe. The mini-series is produced and hosted by dashing über-nerd Timothy Ferris, who first sent us swooning back in the early Eighties with his equally brilliant Creation of the Universe. An ex-Rolling Stone editor, Ferris (a scientist and a journalist... oooh!) has a truly engaging way of bringing science to the great unwashed -- and as far as that discipline goes, our mitts are clearly smudged with interest, but alas, also ignorance. Professor Ferris (UC Berkeley) was the guy behind the record that was launched aboard the Voyager interstellar spacecraft in 1977, containing sounds of Earth and encoded photographs. He was also one of the journalists selected and to fly aboard the space shuttle in 1986. Anyway, the point of this rambling fan rave is that the content of said exposition had us reconsidering our closely held life view that we humans are but wee, insouciant specks catching a ride inside the pouch of some giant cosmic kangaroo. Not that these reconsiderations had us convinced of beliefs any less humble. (We are still quite impressed with the significance of our universal insignificance.) What it did have us wondering was, why would anybody out there want to talk to us? Sure, we have a beautiful planet to show them, and we certainly have proven our curiosity for planets other than our own, but look at the state we are in. We still plunder our Earth Mama for short-term gratification every chance we get. We still treat each other like complete crap. We still find war a viable option to solving disputes. We still control resources for political, as opposed to humanitarian, purposes. We still raise our kids to be as ignorant as we are. Anybody out there of equal- or greater-evolved status would scoff, laugh at our lack of progress in the compassion and wisdom departments. Plus, once we find these kin, what then? Our own history has proven over and over again that our interactions will probably be less in the interest of pure science and more to usher in yet another age of colonization and hostile cultural/biological takeover. We have a lot of work to do to be worthy of introducing ourselves to even the simplest of single-celled beings out there. KLRU has been running the two-parter for the last few weeks and will do so again next week (Sun-Mon, Apr 23-24, for you eager tapehead-types). KLRU-TV, or 471-4811.

On the Kid Tip

Okay, truth. The rant above is steeped in something deeper. See, this month is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The only hope we have to improve as a species lies in our future. Interestingly, all of this week's head's up are about kid, kid-related, or kid-germane events.

  • Celebrate Kids Art Show features works created by kids served by our local Austin Children's Shelter and CASA of Travis County. The show runs through Tue, Apr 25, in Barton Creek Square, lower level, outside JC Penney. 459-2272.

  • Kidsfest is this Sat, Apr 22, 10am-3pm at the Zilker Hillside Theater. It's a day filled with Easter egg hunts, music by Joe McDermott, entertainment by Capt. Connie, pizza, a fishing pond, and more, more, more. Admission is one new or gently used children's book for the Half-Price Books Half Pint Library at Children's Hospital of Austin. 832-4000.

  • Once those adult teeth are in, it's all over. No more Tooth Fairy. Nope. Once you start losing those teeth, forget the quarters under the pillow; you'd better start saving for a new plate. Which is why it's so darned important to get kids to learn good dental habits early. Manos de Cristo Dental Clinic provides services to folks who otherwise have no access to dental care, and the Jack Sansing Dental Clinic serves HIV-positive patients. The Tooth Fairy 5K Fun Run, this Sat, Apr 22, 9am at Auditorium Shores will benefit both of those very worthy causes. 472-9255.

  • Camp Braveheart, the three-day camp for kids (6-16) grieving the loss of a loved one, is offering two sessions this summer. The camp, offered by Hospice Austin, will be held in Wimberley Fri-Sun, June 9-11 and Sun-Tue, Aug 6-8. 342-4700.

  • A three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. will be on display in Austin this weekend, Fri-Sun, Apr 21-23 at the Cook-Walden Capital Parks, 14501 N. I-35 (Pflugerville exit, northbound; Howard Lane exit, southbound). Opening ceremonies for the Vietnam Wall Experience 2000, Fri, Apr 21, 2pm, will feature a tribute to local Gold Star Moms, those who have lost a son or daughter in service to the U.S. 251-4118. end story
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    This is the last Public Notice ever.

    Kate X Messer, Aug. 31, 2001

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    "Public Notice" talks about friends and the end of this column.

    Kate X Messer, Aug. 24, 2001


    Life Beyond Earth, Timothy Ferris, Creation of the Universe, KLRU, Child Abuse Prevention Month, Camp Braveheart, Hospice Austin, Volunteers, Austin Children's Shelter, CASAof Travis County, Vietnam Wall Experience 2000, Gold Star Mothers, Kidsfest, Half

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