Produced by Gary Drevitch
JESSE JACKSON WAS KIND ENOUGH TO SEND A CARD: "MAY YOUR BABY GO FROM THE OUTHOUSE TO THE PENTHOUSE"
Less than an hour after hospital staff sent home a California mother-to-be because she couldn't deliver her baby, she "had the baby in the toilet after feeling the urge to use the restroom."
She yelled out to her husband, "I think I'm having the baby."
Her husband yelled back, "No you're not, honey. Come back to bed."
A few seconds later, Richard Robles III emerged face up in the toilet.
They should have named him Bobby Michael Robles.
WE JUST LOVE SMALL FELLOW'S FRUIT TUTOR. SHE'S REALLY BECOME LIKE PART OF THE FAMILY.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute wants you to know that some "simple kid-friendly training in good nutrition" can in fact get preteens to eat better:
One key: Don’t forbid the foods that children find yummy, but teach balance — that there are “go foods” for every day, “slow foods” for a few times a week, and “whoa foods” to eat only once in a while.
good, but we just don't see ourselves adding "whoa foods" to our
lexicon. Though there may be a Million Dollar Idea in opening up a
specialty food shop for husky kids called "Whoa Foods Market."
IN HIS DEFENSE, THE UNDERCOVER COP HAD SAID THAT HER TURN-ONS INCLUDED "MIDDLE-AGED TEACHERS, CLASSICAL MUSIC, AND TODDLERS WHO LIKE TO WATCH"
It's an all-too-common story: A Queens middle school teacher was charged with soliciting sex with a minor after arranging a rendez-vous with a 13-year-old girl he met on the Internet, although she turned out to be an undercover cop. What's odd about this one is the detail that the teacher brought his 14-month-old son to the assignation, which led to the insult-to-injury charge of endangering the welfare of a child.
IN OTHER WORDS, KIDS SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED IN THE FRONT SEAT UNTIL THE AGE WHEN THEY REALLY WANT TO GET IN THE BACK SEAT
A major new study strongly recommends that car manufacturers warn drivers not to allow children under 14 to sit in the front seat, because of "the risk of serious preventable injury" from front-seat air bags in an accident. Current guidelines call for keeping kids in the back seat until age 12. The study further claimed that parents should not use a child's height or weight to determine their readiness for the front seat, as the air-bag risk does not alleviate until the changes in muscles and bones that come with puberty.
SO, FREAKONOMICS GUYS, HOW'S THAT NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE COLUMN WORKING OUT SO FAR?
.... one question about car seats is rarely even asked: How well do they actually work?
.... Perhaps the single most compelling statistic about car seats in the NHTSA manual was this one: ''They are 54 percent effective in reducing deaths for children ages 1 to 4 in passenger cars.''
But 54 percent effective compared with what? The answer, it turns out, is this: Compared with a child's riding completely unrestrained. There is another mode of restraint, meanwhile, that doesn't cost $200 or require a four-day course to master: seat belts.
For children younger than roughly 24 months, seat belts plainly won't do. For them, a car seat represents the best practical way to ride securely, and it is certainly an improvement over the days of riding shotgun on mom's lap. But what about older children? Is it possible that seat belts might afford them the same protection as car seats?
.... no matter what you control for in the ... data, the results don't change. In recent crashes and old ones, in big vehicles and small, in one-car crashes and multiple-vehicle crashes, there is no evidence that car seats do a better job than seat belts in saving the lives of children older than 2.
And now, counterpoint. From the Associated Press, July 28, 2005:
GARY, Ind. - Rescuers searched a river Thursday for a 2-year-old girl who flew out the window of her mother's SUV and plunged 40 feet into the water after her mother lost control of the vehicle ....
The crash came as family members returned to Gary from a birthday party in Chicago .... Jatama flew out the window ....
People in the SUV said the girl was wearing a seat belt, but investigators found no child seats in the vehicle, state police Lt. D.R. Tackett said.
Rescuers searched the waterway for more than two hours Wednesday night under helicopter searchlights and returned after daybreak Thursday.
YOU KNOW THAT JOKE YOU TELL EACH OTHER EVERY TIME YOU TAKE A
PICTURE OF THE KIDS IN THE BATHTUB? "OH, HONEY, WE'D BETTER NOT BRING
THIS FILM TO THE PHOTO SHOP!" WELL, YOU'D BETTER NOT.
After six months - six months! - in prison, a North Carolina man who tried to develop a photo of himself kissing his newborn on the belly
has been released and reunited with his kids. His wife, arrested for
taking "sexually explicit pictures," was released much earlier but
until now had been kept from having any contact with her children.
The couple "said they are happy to be reunited with their children
and to leave their legal troubles behind them," which, except for their
forgetting to mention their pending lawsuits against anyone within a
three-state area of this case, is exactly what we would have said.
ANYONE OUT THERE ASPIRING TO BE "THE COOL MOM" IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, WE HOPE THIS ISN'T WHAT YOU HAD IN MIND
GOLDEN, Colo. - A woman who told police she wanted to be a “cool mom” pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges Monday for having sex with high school boys at parties where authorities said she supplied drugs [methamphetamines] and alcohol.
FD AND SMALL FELLOW AT THE MOVIES: "MARCH OF THE PENGUINS"
We took Fellow to a movie theater for the very first time Saturday to see "March of the Penguins," and it was a smashing success - other than his falling asleep about two-thirds of the way in. Still, he retained enough of the storyline (alert: spoilers ahead) to recount it to his mom when he got home.
And we enjoyed it ourself. Critics have mostly praised the film, but some have said the narration anthropomorphicizes the penguins to an unjustifiable extent. However, when you see a mother penguin lose her baby to the cold, and then try to steal another mother's baby before being deterred by a larger group of her neighbors, that's enough "like people" to justify the emotional voiceover, at least for this viewer.
Most fascinating to us was seeing how Fellow showed he understood death and how and why it happens as he recalled details of the movie. In the documentary, when the narrator (Morgan Freeman) says a penguin baby exposed to the elements could die, and then it happens, it's a clear connection and a preschooler can grasp it. It can later be discomfiting talking to the preschooler as he tries to directly apply the life-and-death lessons of the wild to the human world, but it's an important step toward understanding.
Still, the best part of the "March of the Penguins" experience was when Fellow woke up the next morning, padded over to sit with us on the couch, and said, "Daddy, thank you for taking me to see 'March of the Penguins' .... I forgot to tell you that yesterday."
Fellow also wants everyone to know that he saw the movie in "Room Number Five" at the theater.
MORE PENGUIN MEDIA
PS: The "March of the Penguins" Web site features a fine "Kids Aracde" section including downloadable coloring sheets and a 10-page activity guide. It's nice material, although Fellow already advised us, logically, that he would not color in his black-and-white penguin outlines, because they were already "penguin colored."
Also, at the book store this weekend, we took a look at a book-and-CD combo called "Without You," by Sarah Weeks, which has no connection to the film project but shares the subject. The book, which has lovely illustrations, portrays the relationship between a father emperor penguin and his utterly dependent egg/chick during the weeks leading up to and immediately following the baby's birth, when the mother has left them alone to go to the ocean and feed. The text is uninspiring, and so we wouldn't recommend the book for kids who haven't seen "March of the Penguins," but for those who have, the structure accurately echoes the plot of the documentary and it could serve as a good refresher for the story.
MAMAS, DON'T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE LITIGIOUS SKATE PUNKS
A Brooklyn woman who fell off her skateboard in Manhattan last year and ended up being literally branded by the letters on a searing hot manhole cover has decided to sue Con Edison for "negligence, carelessness, recklessness and culpable conduct," for the outrageous act of putting a manhole cover on the street.
Is it us, or does one not sign an implicit contract with society when one decides to hurtle down the street on a skateboard, the gist of said contract being, "Listen, folks, I'm going to be traveling in a fundamentally unsafe and unsound manner for a while. Just want you to know that anything that happens to me from here on in, that's just my bad."
DAVID, WHY DON'T YOU STICK TO JUSTIFYING ECONOMIC DISPARITY IN AMERICA, AND LEAVE THE HACKNEYED OBSERVATIONS ABOUT SMALL CHILDREN TO THE PROFESSIONALS?
The heat's easing up on Karl Rove, a reliable rightist has been appointed to the high court -- all is well in America, giving the New York Times' new-blood conservative David Brooks the opportunity to write on an overlooked topic of national import -- children who disrupt his first-class flights:
Anybody who thinks it takes a village to raise a child has never sat near a crying baby in first class. In these circumstances, if it were up to the village, somebody would be stapling the brat's mouth shut and somebody else would be locking mom in the overhead storage compartment ....
The children are now completely out of control and are behaving as if they were raised by feral wolves ....
The final hour of the flight is aptly captured by Picasso's painting "Guernica."
David, stop it, you're killing me! Stapling a toddler's mouth shut? Locking up moms? Kids raised by wolves? Giant Spanish bulls running up and down the aisles of a plane? Oh, Monsieur Brooks, the great Moliere himself would surely doff his cap to you. You, sir, are a wit for the ages. Surely, no parent who reads your delectably subtle bit of satire would ever dare impose their unruly tot on your first-class compartment again! Mission accomplished!
HE HAS ONLY ONE SPEED. IT'S, UM, INTESTINES OUT
He's 54 now, but kid health educator and "Captain Kangaroo" veteran Slim Goodbody still fits in the bodysuit and still entertains kids and creeps out adults nationwide. For no apparent reason, MSNBC has updated us on Slim's whereabouts.
LORD, SAVE US FROM THESE GIANT BABIES WHO WILL SURELY DESTROY US WITH THEIR SUPER STRENGTH
Just weeks after a Wisconsin woman gave birth to a 13-pound, 12-ounce girl, a Kentucky mom produced a 14-pound, 3-ounce daughter. She immediately announced plans for a yard sale to sell all the baby clothes and bedding she received at her shower.
AMONG THE OTHER ERRORS IN THE NICKELODEON REPORT: THE MEXICANS DID NOT IN FACT ATTACK THE ALAMO WITH GREEN SLIME
Alamo partisans are attacking Nickelodeon for one of its 50-second "My Back Yard" shorts, which claimed that the battle of the Alamo was fought so "white farmers could keep their slaves." Historians who consulted on the project had advised Nickelodeon that although slavery was one issue that led to the Alamo siege, it would be simplistic and reductionist to describe it as the primary reason. To which the producers apparently responded, "Simplistic and reductionist? You think that's a problem?! Have you ever WATCHED our network?"
YET ANOTHER REASON TO LOVE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
Military recruiters are running into stiff resistance from parents when they come calling at public schools to encourage teens to enlist. Lucky for them, the surprisingly versatile No Child Left Behind Act mandates their access by law:
As recently as 2000, said one former recruiter in California, it was necessary to dig through the trash at high schools and colleges to find students' names and phone numbers. But No Child Left Behind mandates that school districts can receive federal funds only if they grant military recruiters "the same access to secondary school students" as is provided to colleges and employers.
So although the Garfield [parents association] voted last month to ban military recruiters from the school and its 1,600 students, the Seattle school district could not sign on to the idea without losing at least $15 million in federal education funds.
Still, even with their protected access, recruiters have a hard time overcoming the pernicious influence of free-thinking parents:
In an interview last month, Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, commander of Army recruiting, said parental resistance could put the all-volunteer force in jeopardy. When parents and other influential adults dissuade young people from enlisting, he said, "it begs the question of what our national staying power might be for what certainly appears to be a long fight."
But if recruiters can't attract a volunteer force large enough to fight all the countries that look at the president the wrong way, how will the military fill out its ranks?
THERE MUST BE A DRAFT HERE SOMEWHERE, BECAUSE THIS REPORT IS CHILLING
Are you like us? Were you shocked to read in that last item that military recruiters once had to resort to picking through the trash at schools and colleges to find the names and addresses of local teens? Turns out, that's not a problem anymore:
The Defense Department and a private contractor have been building an extensive database of 30 million 16-to-25-year-olds, combining names with Social Security numbers, grade-point averages, e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
That's right, the database includes GPAs. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to which end of the class rank gets called on first?
Even though the Pentagon started assembling this database in 2002, but didn't get around to telling anyone about it until last month - in apparent violation of the federal Privacy Act, "which requires that government agencies accept public comment before new records systems are created" - Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S. C. Chu says to wipe that smirk off your face:
"Congress wants to ensure the success of the volunteer force," he said at a reporters' roundtable in Washington. "Congress does not want conscription, the country does not want conscription. If we don't want conscription, you have to give the Department of Defense, the military services, an avenue to contact young people to tell them what is being offered. It would be naive to believe that in any enterprise, that you are going to do well just by waiting for people to call you."
THE SHOTS CAN'T PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN FROM DAVID S.C. CHU, BUT MENINGITIS IS A START
Children who are 11 to 12, students entering high school and college freshmen headed for dorm life should [get the new meningitis shot], federal health officials and the American Academy of Pediatrics announced Thursday. Although meningococcal meningitis affects only about 3,000 people nationwide each year, it kills one-fifth of adolescents who get it.
The new vaccine was approved in January, and one shot covers a child for 10 years. Are you on the fence? Dr. Carol J. Baker, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, offers all the motivation you'll need:
"This is a very bad disease ... It’s very rapidly progressive in adolescence. You can have an adolescent in a shopping mall at 2 in the afternoon, in the emergency room at 6 in the evening, and death by midnight."
"MY NAME IS PAPA SMURF. I'M THE PRESIDENT OF UNITED SMURFS LOCAL 35, AND WE ARE SHUTTING THIS WORK SITE DOWN. GARGAMEL IS GOING TO HAVE TO BUILD HIS HIGH-RISE SOMEWHERE ELSE."
Are you thinking that America has gone insane? That the president and his cadre are setting the country back 100 years? That you and your family should consider moving moving to one of the supremely same countries of northern Europe? Like, say, Iceland?
Think again. A recent survey finds that a majority of Icelanders not only believe in elves, they believe they’re as close as next door, and that when they put their supernatural minds together, they can stymie the loftiest plans of mortals:
After two different bulldozers repeatedly and inexplicably malfunctioned, and local television cameras failed when trained on the hill, though they worked elsewhere, the crew halted the project. "We're going to see whether we can't reach an understanding with the elves," Jon Ingi, the project supervisor, told Morgunbladid, a Reykjavik newspaper, at the time. Local elf communicators were called in to arbitrate, and after a while, work resumed.
FD.COM WILL RELEASE RESULTS OF A SIMILAR SURVEY NEXT WEEK, FINDING THAT DAUGHTERS WHO STRONGLY DISAPPROVE OF THEIR PARENTS HAVING SEX ARE LESS LIKELY THAN OTHERS TO MAKE IT TO ADOLESCENCE
Today's Science Times highlight: "A new study has found that adolescent girls who have good grades and girls who perceive that their parents strongly disapprove of their having sex are less likely than others to contract sexually transmitted diseases by the time they reach young adulthood."
Which is, of course, good news. On the other hand, "The predictors did not apply to boys," who maintained an interest in nailing anything that moves no matter what their parents told them.
IT TAKES A TOUGH MAN TO MAKE A TENDER CHILD
The National Fatherhood Initiative this week is sharing excerpts from a book by Chik-Fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, "It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men." In the excerpt, Cathy advises parents to teach respect in their children, promote trust, develop their common sense, and help them establish "A Good Name":
Children and teenagers seek an identity, a name, larger than themselves to call their own--a family, a peer group, a troop, a team, a company--and they adapt their behavior to fit the group. Dads, model integrity and humility to your children. By doing so, they will try to model your behavior in their relationships--producing the fruit of a "good name."
The sentiment is valid, but we're not sure how many folks are going to take advice about producing a good name from "Mr. Cathy," the guy who came up with "Chik-Fil-A."
ALSO, THE PONTIFF SAID, THE BOOKS ARE TOO FREAKIN' LONG
Lining up to buy the new Harry Potter book this weekend? Just don't do it on the way to church. The new Pope, Benedict, offered his judgment on J. K. Rowling's series a couple of years back:
those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly ....
Although Benedict told a correspondent, "I can gladly allow you to refer to my judgment about Harry Potter," somehow we don't think his review is going on the dust jacket.
OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS OVER. BUGS BUNNY HAS PUPILS AGAIN
Warner Brothers went back to the drawing board to redesign the characters in its upcoming bastardization of the venerable Looney Tunes franchise, "Loonatics Unleashed." As we've discussed before, the beloved characters - Bugs, Daffy, Taz, Wile E., and Road Runner - will appear in the new show as superheroes defending the Earth in the year 2772. The initial designs were so scary, they inspired an online protest which appears to have convinced the WB to alter the characters before the show debuts to mostly negative reviews this fall.
But let's leave the last word on this sorry incident to one of the WB's own senior executives:
"I think there was a misunderstanding," said Betsy McGowen, the senior vice president and general manager of Kids' WB. "They thought we were updating and changing the original Looney Tunes. We love Looney Tunes the way they are." She added: "We always thought of these as new and different characters. We always thought about this as an extension of the exciting brand, not a replacement. O, my dark master, I have failed you! Your reign on earth shall not come in this millennium! As I drive this dagger into my heart, my liege, forgive me! As I return to you in the netherword, forgive me!"
BUT WE WOULDN'T WANT TO HAVE HAD OUR SECOND-GRADE TEACHER TWO YEARS IN A ROW. SHE TOLD US WE WERE "SING-SONGY" WHEN WE READ ALOUD, AND MADE US CRY
Looping is on the rise in schools across the country. No, teachers aren't playing the same Discovery Channel videos in class over and over again so they can grab a smoke. They're staying with the same group of kids for two years, to boost continuity, reduce review time, ease fall transitions, and offer better-targeted help to struggling students. It sounds like a great idea to us, except for the obvious risk of kids being stuck with a subpar teacher for two years.
BUT DON'T BELIEVE THE RUMORS THAT HAVING IT DONE TWICE MAKES YOU DOUBLY SAFE FROM AIDS. MAN, DID WE LEARN THAT LESSON THE HARD WAY.
Male circumcision reduces the risk that men will contract HIV through intercourse with infected women by about 70 percent, according to a study reported in The Wall Street Journal.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT JUST LINKING TO THIS ARTICLE IS GOING TO MAKE OUR SITE COME UP ON ALL THE SEARCH ENGINES FOR PEOPLE SEEKING "SCHOOLGIRL SKIRT SEX."
A British high school is under fire for its ban on girls in skirts. The move to gender-neutral dress, administrators say, is meant to "enhance all of our pupils' overall educational experience."
Outraged parents, who want to avoid buying new wardrobes for their daughters, and who suspect that the ban is illegal, are consulting with a human-rights lawyer. One mom, who desperately hoped not to be quoted out of context, told a reporter, "My daughter doesn't like wearing trousers."
OUR PROBLEM WITH ALL OF THESE STUDIES IS THAT, AS A CHILD IN THE 1970's, WE WATCHED APPROXIMATELY NINE HOURS OF TV A DAY, AND WE TURNED OUT JUST DY-NO-MITE!
But we'd be remiss if we didn't report on the latest news on kids and TV: People who watched too much TV as kids achieved lower educational levels as adults, and kids with TVs in their rooms score demonstrably lower on standardized tests.
“While this study does not prove that bedroom TV sets caused the lower scores, it adds to accumulating data that kids shouldn’t have TVs in their bedrooms,” said Dr. Thomas Robinson of Stanford University. Sit on it, Dr. Robinson!
“While this study does not prove that bedroom TV sets caused the lower scores, it adds to accumulating data that kids shouldn’t have TVs in their bedrooms,” said Dr. Thomas Robinson of Stanford University.
Sit on it, Dr. Robinson!
HAVE A DIP IN HIS HONOR THIS EVENING
Mike Yurosek, the inventor of the baby carrot, died a few weeks ago, having made a major contribution to hummus lovers everywhere:
In 1986, he was harvesting 2,500 tons of carrots a day and throwing away 400 tons because they were misshapen, bent or broken. He set about to find a way to use the discarded carrots and perfected a way to shave 2-inch segments into "baby" carrots, an innovation credited with changing the entire industry and boosting sales of carrots by 35 percent.
It was that easy. And let that be a lesson to our children: When life gives you troubles, chop them up into little two-inch pieces and then see what you have.
ADVICE WE HOPE YOUR FAMILY WILL NEVER HAVE TO USE, BUT WORTH NOTING IN ANY CASE
Gary Wolf of Wired magazine reviewed some of the conclusions of those studying how, when, and why people got out of the World Trade Center on 9/11. One indisputable conclusion appears to be that those who disregarded the advice of local authorities fared much better than those who followed it. In the future, Wolf advises, "Disobey authority."
In a connected world, ordinary people often have access to better information than officials do .... the people inside the towers were better informed and far more knowledgeable than emergency operators far from the scene .... News of what was happening passed by word of mouth, and fellow workers pressed hesitating colleagues to continue their exit .... This is the real source of homeland security: not authoritarian schemes of surveillance and punishment, but multichannel networks of advice, information, and mutual aid.
THIS ISN'T SO RELEVANT FOR US, THOUGH. WE KNOW THAT WHEN TINY GIRL GETS SENT HOME FROM NURSERY SCHOOL, IT'LL JUST BE FOR WHACKING SOME OTHER KID IN THE HEAD.
But the rest of you should read this article, print it out, and mail it to your nursery-school director, because it proves what you've always suspected: Preschools too often jump the gun and send kids home for showing symptoms that aren't contagious.
SHOESHINE BOY, YOU'RE HUMBLE AND LOVABLE. DISNEY, YOU'RE NOT.
Disney announces plans for a live-action "Underdog" film. It will be produced exclusively by people who never saw the 2000 big-screen version of "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle." Like Gary Barber, for example, who says of his doomed-from-the-start project:
"Anything where you have a dog in that superhero context, that's appealing on a global basis ... Those films do very well, and there's no better brand than Disney for this kind of movie."
Disney says it plans to keep several elements of the classic cartoon in its new film, such as, well, its name, and dog-faced TV news anchor Sweet Polly Purebred. But everything else will be thrown in the hopper:
In the feature script, by Joe Piscatella and Craig A. Williams, a diminutive hound named Shoeshine gets superpowers after a lab accident. When he's adopted by a 12-year-old boy, the two form a bond around the shared knowledge that Shoeshine is really Underdog.
Yeah, that's pretty much how we remember it.
AFTER A SPLENDID WEEK IN THE OHIO COUNTRYSIDE, THE KIDS ARE
REFRESHED AND READY TO RESUME GETTING POUNDED BY THEIR MIDDLE-SCHOOL
It's another banner summer at Camp Quest, "the first summer sleep-away camp in the country for atheist, agnostic and secular humanist children."
While we admire the camp's slogan - "It's Beyond Belief" - some
of the kids admit they'd prefer a little more volleyball, a little less
Tomás Aguilar, 16, a Chicago native, thought the presentations on famous free thinkers like Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, could have used more balance. "Fred paints them in only a positive light," he said of the program director.
Oh, Tomás, but you should just hear what they're saying about Turner across the lake at Camp Bible ("Ohio's Best Summer Camp - Without a Doubt!").
ELMO 1, COMMUNITY COLLEGES 0
David Broder's column the other day is well worth reading, as it details the cuts which needed to be made in the budgets of the departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Labor, in order to restore the $100 million in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which so many of us had demanded. Yes, Big Bird will be back, along with many other programs for both young and old, but the moeny had to come from somewhere, and in this case that meant lower funding for job-training, community colleges, and similar programs for needy families. There's a civics lesson for the kids.
And here's another: LA Weekly reminds us how much PBS still lost in this round of budget battles - about $100 million - and how much credibility it still has left to lose.
WE'VE DESIGNED A NEW PLAYGROUND PROTOTYPE BASED ON THESE RECOMMENDATIONS - KIDS CAN CLIMB A SET OF SIX STAIRS, THEN SIT DOWN QUIETLY
MSNBC handed over some of its valuable Web space to a consumer-product safety expert whose guidelines for safe playgrounds disqualify every one we've ever taken the kids to.
IF THE VOICE OF "CAILLOU" SHOULD EVER PASS AWAY, PBS HAS OUR PERMISSION TO LEAVE THE CHARACTER MUTE
The recent deaths of almost everyone involved with doing the voices for Winnie the Pooh characters inspired Slate to take a look at how producers replace the voices of beloved characters when these situations occur. Of course, it doesn't always work out. Has anyone heard the voices being used for Kermit the Frog these days? They don't come close to Jim Henson, and every time we hear one of them, it just reminds us that he's gone.
IF KEEPING SMALL FELLOW OUT OF THE MILITARY REQUIRES US TO SURRENDER OUR RIGHT TO DEBATE ISSUES OF WAR AND PEACE, JUST LET US KNOW. WE'LL SIGN THE PAPERS RIGHT NOW.
Also in Slate earlier this week, Christopher Hitchens examined the extremes of the Iraqi war debate in which blowhards like John Gregory Dunne refuse to "break bread with a man who favored war but was not willing to sacrifice his own son." Hitchens goes on:
The fathering of a grown male child does not entitle you to exclude from the argument anybody who is not thus favored. A childless person is not prevented from speaking in time of war. Nor is a person whose children are too young to serve. Nor are those of enlistment age, who are unlikely to have sons of their own. Nor is a person who has disabled children. One could easily extend the list of citizens who have exactly the same right to opine on their country's right to fight—or not to fight ....
Nobody has to join the armed forces, and those who do are old enough to vote, get married, and do almost everything legal except buy themselves a drink. Why infantilize young people who are entitled to every presumption of adulthood?
EXCEPTIONS ARE: "I'D BE A BETTER DAD, IF THEY EVER WENT TO SLEEP, IF THEY ATE WITH FORKS AND SPOONS, IF THEY STOPPED GRABBING OUR EYEGLASSES ... "
Our friends at the National Fatherhood Initiative are attempting to catch a ride on the WWJD/LiveStrong rubber bracelet bandwagon with this sleek little number. It carries their "No ifs" slogan, as in:
Have you ever thought, "I'd be a better Dad, if I had more money...
if I had more time...
if I had less work to do...
Dads, the reality is that your children need you -- no matter what! There are "No Ifs" when it comes to being the best Dad you can be.
"No ifs"? Well, it's not exactly "Where's the beef?" but maybe the guys who came up with it have kids who refuse to go to bed, too.
"Choose breakfast. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family ... Choose your future. Choose breakfast ... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose breakfast. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got Cocoa Puffs?"
General Mills, the people who brought you Trix, Lucky Charms, and Honey Nut Cheerios, demand that your kids Choose Breakfast. Their new national campaign comes complete with "aspirational" TV commercials and a solemn pledge that combines the grammar of the national anthem with the structure of a note passed in third grade:
I, ______, hereby promise to choose a healthy breakfast and to be active each and every day to help me get going and have energy for:
* favorite activities and hobbies
* weekend family stuff
Lest you be misled, this campaign has nothing to do with promoting General Mills' fine line of presweetened cereals. Kids can eat whatever they like for breakfast. However, if they happen to choose Trix or Cocoa Puffs, the company has found a scientist willing to applaud their decision:
“Those who would criticize the sugar in presweetened cereals need to look at the science,” said Susan Crockett, Ph.D., Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. “Cereal, both presweetened and nonsweetened, makes up less than 5 percent of a child’s daily sugar intake. But in return, a bowl of cereal with milk provides a wide variety of important nutrients including calcium, iron, folic acid and B vitamins all for about 120 calories per serving.”
In other words, shame on you for frowning on Trix. Don't you know it's better than nothing? Silly rabbit.
LOCAL SCHMUCK CHUCK'S BIG CATS RUN AMUCK
A 10-year-old boy is in critical condition after being attacked by a lion and tiger which a local businessman kept on his used-car lot. And that should just about do it for Chuck Mock's BestBuy Auto of Little Falls, Minnesota.