Suc30034PICTURES ARE READY

Click here, or on the "See the Kids" link at the top of the page, for a fresh dozen or so photos of Small Fellow, Tiny Girl, and Little Guy enjoying their summer.

As always, scroll to the bottom of the page for the latest images.


ONLINE HUMOR MAGAZINE CAPTURES DESPERATION OF SUMMER CAMP COUNSELORS

Counselors at Wallalongabanka Sleep-Away Camp say a potentially dangerous outbreak of homesickness has been contained in Mallard Cabin, where campers infected by "sudden acute attacks of missing their parents" were safely quarantined Saturday before the disease could spread. . . . Mallard Cabin group leader Mike Essl. . . . confirmed that the bodies of the four campers who succumbed to the homesickness outbreak were incinerated according to CDC guidelines.

COME TO FD STATE U. FOR MODERN DORMS, NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING INSTRUCTORS, AND A POWERFUL ALUMNI NETWORK. (FAT CHICKS NEED NOT APPLY.)

There's been a virtual avalanche of research this month on the profound effect obesity has on the physical, emotional, and apparently academic lives of young people. Now comes word from a University of Texas researcher that obese girls have a harder time getting into college than their svelte peers:

Using college enrollment as a measure of academic success, University of Texas at Austin sociologist Robert Crosnoe found that obese students had a worse experience at school than their thinner peers and were less likely to attend college, and that the effects of being overweight hurt girls far more than boys.

Obese girls were only half as likely as non-obese girls to go to college after high school, and were even less likely to enter college if they went to a high school where few other students were overweight, says Crosnoe. But obese girls who went to high school with a sizable overweight population — where heavy girls represented about 20% of the student body — had normal odds of attending college. "The more it makes you stand out from the crowd, the worse it is," says Crosnoe.

HOWEVER, IF YOU SHOULD EXPERIENCE CIRCUMCISIONS LASTING LONGER THAN FOUR HOURS, CALL YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY

Refuting decades of locker-room speculation, researchers have determined that circumcised men experience no less sexual sensation than those with original-recipe phalluses. If you're like us, you immediately wondered how researchers came to this conclusion, and perhaps imagined that a comely research assistant spent long nights "in the field" hopping from Semite to Gentile and back again, videotaping every encounter for the boys back in the lab to review. Sadly, that wasn't the case:

The study, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, looked at a group of 40 men, half of them circumcised. Using sensory testing, the men were monitored at two points on the penis and the forearm while viewing erotic films. Thermal imaging was used to measure sexual arousal.

THE SAME PARENTS OFTEN PACK THEIR CHILDREN'S LUNCHBOXES WITH EMPTY BOXES OF ANIMAL CRACKERS AND SEND THEM TO THE PLAYGROUND WITH DEFLATED BASKETBALLS, SO THEY CAN TRULY EXPERIENCE WHAT LIFE IS LIKE FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE

Tristate area couples working out issues with their own emotionally withdrawn parents are apparently joining the movement to throw birthday parties without presents for their kids. As the Times reports:

In part to teach philanthropy and altruism, and in part as a defense against swarms of random plastic objects destined to clutter every square foot of their living space, a number of families are experimenting with gift-free birthday parties, suggesting that guests donate money or specified items to the charity of the child’s choice instead.

The Times had no trouble finding people who thought the trend was ridiculous, from Miss Manners, who insists that "you can't spend other people's money," to other observers who correctly envision a future where parents compete with each other to send the most money to the trendiest charities while their kids continue to doodle away on a four-year-old Etch-a-Sketches.

Might we suggest, though, that if parents really want to teach their kids about philanthropy, why not skimp a little on appetizers or goody bags at the birthday party and then set aside, say, $50 that a child can then donate to a charity of his or her choice, after a discussion of options with mom and dad? Or why not encourage a kid to go through his or her bedroom the week before their party and choose some never- or lightly-used toys and books to donate to family programs in the area? Both would help kids associate their birthday with a time to be thankful for what they have and express that by sharing their good fortune. And—it would still allow them to get presents from their classmates.

One thing the avant-garde parents are forgetting is how birthday presents can help kids bond with their classmates, especially when they become old enough to pick their friends' presents on their own. We know that Fellow and his first-grade pals often discussed the presents they got each other—and sharing their favorite board games, or baseball or Pokemon cards with each other at birthday parties helped the boys learn more about their common interests and come closer together, even if it meant a few less dollars for the Central Park Conservancy.

Ratatouille_sm_01WE GUESS THIS EXPLAINS HOW THE COMPANY COULD PRODUCE A 110-MINUTE MOVIE ABOUT A PARISIAN KITCHEN WITHOUT A SINGLE GITANE IN SIGHT*

In the most explicit announcement by a Hollywood studio, Chief Executive Robert A. Iger said Wednesday that [Walt Disney Co.] would snuff out depictions of smoking in Disney-label films.

* [PS: Are we the only ones who were a little uncomfortable with the premise of this movie? We mean, it is about a rat, who cooks food for unsuspecting people, and who is helped in that endeavor by all his little rat friends. We know, the whole idea is the triumph of this little guy who overcomes the most deeply ingrained stereotypes to become a hero. But there are actual, you know, health reasons why people try to keep rats out of their kitchens, and, sure, cute rat and all, but we didn't see any little latrines installed for the climactic scene when Ratatouille's army of cousins take over the restaurant's kitchen. Maybe it's all just Pixar's way of saying, We're so much the gold standard for animation right now that we could make a cartoon about a rat chef and still do $300 million in worldwide box office. So maybe its next movie will be about a cuddly pedophile who defies all odds to run London's most popular day-care center? Speaking of which. . . ]

IT JUST KILLS US THAT THIS GUY'S SITE IS GETTING MORE HITS THAN FREELANCEDAD.COM NOW THAT IT'S BEEN FEATURED ON PAGE ONE OF THE TIMES

The search for the self-described pedophile in the large-brimmed black hat commences nearly every day here, with findings posted on chat rooms frequented by mothers. . . . And yet unlike convicted sex offenders, who are required to stay away from places that cater to children, in this case the police can do next to nothing, because this man, Jack McClellan, who has had Web sites detailing how and where he likes to troll for children, appears to be doing nothing illegal. But his mere presence in Los Angeles — coupled with Mr. McClellan’s commitment to exhibitionistic blogging about his thoughts on little girls — has set parents on edge.

July 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Subscribe to RSS

THE PRICE OF "WRONGFUL BIRTH": $21 MILLION

A Florida couple's first child, a son, had his disabling genetic defect misdiagnosed, so a doctor employed by the state told the family their future children would not be at risk. But the doctor was horribly wrong, and now the couple's second child, another boy, has been born with the same disability, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome. Among a host of problems, the two boys cannot communicate with others. The parents sued the state, claiming that:

[h]ad the disorder been correctly diagnosed, a test would have indicated whether the couple's second child also was afflicted and they would have terminated the pregnancy. . .

Now a jury has awarded $21 million to the couple, though since the verdict went against the state, and state law limits claims against its agencies to $200,000, the Florida legislature will have to pass a special law to pay the family. Sadly, we don't love their odds.

49362mHEY, IS DISNEY.COM MAKING FUN OF OUR KIDS?

Disney.com sent us an e-mail about a clearance sale this morning, so we rushed to order some priced-to-move branded items, including a pair of Power Rangers PJs for Fellow, which was promoted with this line:

     He'll save the world every night in his dreams!

BABE IN THE WOODS (INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE KIDS)

Good help is especially hard to find in the Syracuse area, where a 20-year-old is up on charges of several counts of endangering the welfare of a child after she left the four girls she was babysitting to meet a pal in the woods and pose for some nude pictures.

A man fishing saw the children crying and called police. When police arrived, the oldest girl — a six-year-old — told police that "Aunt Michelle" went into the woods to take "nasty pictures."

1967: SUMMER OF LOVE.
2007: SUMMER OF SCHNORRERS

Time Out New York/Kids' cover feature this month lists 50 things you can do for free with the kids in New York City during the month of August. The list rehashes many of the old reliables (this just in: public parks and pools are always free) but also provides a valuable public service by telling you when many typically non-free city attractions offer free admission (South Street Seaport Museum, third Friday of the month; Jewish Museum, every Saturday morning; Bronx Zoo, Wednesdays; Botanical Garden, Wed. and Sat. AMs). See the complete list here.

ADDING INSULT TO INJURY, THIS WAS THE FIRST ARTICLE WE READ AFTER WAKING UP AT 5:30 AM WITH A MASSIVE LEG CRAMP FROM A TWO-MILE WALK ON THE BEACH THE NIGHT BEFORE

FD and family recently went on vacation to Cape Cod, while still providing you the reader with the sporadic posts you've come to expect from the House of Ideas. Toward the end of our week away, feeling heavier and more exhausted than when we left home, we cracked open the paper and found this:

All Child-Play and No Workouts Make Dad an Unfit Boy

. . . . A first-of-its-kind study released in May by the University of Pittsburgh concluded that parenthood demonstrably reduces physical activity, while marriage has only a negligible effect. . . . Men, in particular, were affected.

WHEN GOOD AUDUBON SOCIETIES GO BAD

Sanclocator2Speaking of our vacation, here's one of the highlights: A family hike around the grounds of the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary. The popular self-guided Goose Pond trail works like this: You pick up a pamphlet at the main desk, which has text corresponding to 49 numbered posts throughout the walk. If you're doing the trail with kids, they might do what Fellow and Tiny did—run ahead and locate each numbered post. For example, while we were reading about #12: Lichens with Fellow, Tiny was already down the path, calling out, "Here's 14! Here's 14!" We looked up and saw her leaning against post #14, which was covered by leaves in clusters of three. Sure enough, according to the pamphlet, it was Rhus radicans—poison ivy.

Now why would an Audubon Society leave poison ivy growing directly onto its trail path, without at least posting a sign maybe 10 feet in front of it saying, maybe, Don't touch? Why, on a self-guided tour clearly intended for families, would they set up a scenario in which kids could unknowingly touch poison ivy? Well, we asked those and other questions to some passing Audubon guides, who seem never to have considered the problem and had no particular thoughts on it, other than to advise us to bring Tiny back to their HQ for a thorough washing. Back at the visitors' center, Loving Mother confronted the station's director with the same line of inquiry and got at least some acknowledgment that it was less than brilliant to have the poison ivy so poorly marked. For which she thanked them as she entered the ladies room and began scrubbing Tiny's legs. (Update: She did not have a reaction to the plant.)

WHAT WILL CHINA PUT IN ITS CONSUMER PRODUCTS NEXT? NO KIDDING—FUNGUS? WOW, THAT WAS JUST A RHETORICAL QUESTION, BUT THANKS

In a related development, China's Ministry of Health announced Wednesday a recall of two brands of diapers made by manufacturers in the northern province of Hebei, and in Fujian province in the south. It did not say if the diapers had been exported, but said the brands were popular in rural areas. A spot check of rural shopping centers revealed that batches of infant diapers sold under the brand names Haobeir and Jinglianbangshuang contained excessive amounts of fungus, a statement posted to the central government's official Web site said. It did not say how much over the limit the diapers were, or whether they had caused problems for any children.

July 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Subscribe to RSS

HELL'S PLAYGROUND?

Earlier, we speculated in this space about what Frank Gehry might have to contribute to the field of playground design, other than perhaps millions of dollars in cost overruns and shiny titanium surfaces that may burn holes in toddlers' heads on clear, sunny days. In a New York Sun piece this week about elite architects taking on slide-and-swing commissions, local architect and playground authority Richard Dattner opines:

"The jury is out on all of this, and the jury is the kids. . . Starchitects are very good at the grand dramatic gesture that has everyone gasping but it may or may not work as a kids environment. If a kid gets impaled on the sharp edges of some Zaha Hadid-designed playground architecture, well, it won't be quite a successful environment."

Funny!

CHANNEL ONE-TOO-MANY

In Advertising Age, ubiquitous media commentator Simon Dumenco looks at Channel One's recent content deal with NBC News, which will probably, and unfortunately, save the floundering in-classroom news service (now owned by Alloy) from oblivion, and we couldn't agree more with his basic thesis: Who cares where Channel One gets its content? It still forces students to watch two minutes of commercials each day on school time:

. . . [S]ince the start, controversy over the two minutes of commercials (within a 12-minute daily broadcast) has roiled the network . . . . [I]t's faced on and off bans in various school districts and entire states, including New York, California and Rhode Island.

. . . . Today's teens, of course, grew up in a culture hypersaturated with advertising, and many are virtual walking billboards for brands themselves. So what's the big deal, right? . . . . Well, no. There are plenty of other avenues for marketers to reach teens effectively on their own time . . . . Advertising on Channel One seems like asking for trouble.

Anyone who's ever seen a complete Channel One broadcast in a classroom, as I have [and as FD has] knows how truly weird and disturbing it is to see ads for Snickers, Clearasil, Gatorade, Taco Bell and the Army -- all of which have been among Channel One's biggest advertisers -- in an educational context.

No matter how you spin it, you can't ever escape the feeling of, This ain't right.

RECALLS! WE GET RECALLS! WE GET LOTS AND LOTS OF RECALLS! RE-CALLS!

Hasbro's Easy-Bake Oven is being called back to the shop for the second time in a year, as girls are still getting their hands caught, and burned, in the oven's opening:

Since the February announcement, the company has received an additional 249 reports of children getting their hands or fingers caught in the ovens, including 16 reports of second- and third-degree burns. One burn required partial amputation of a 5-year-old girl’s finger.

Meanwhile, Gerber's organic rice and oatmeal cereal is being recalled because of a risk babies might choke on the product, a spokesman said on Monday. Apparently, the cereal's too lumpy. No, really.

July 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Subscribe to RSS

THE FD.COM MUST-READ ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Gretchen Morgenson launched an all-out attack on the makers of Magnetix and other dangerous micro-magnetic toys in the Sunday Business section of the Times. As we've discussed a couple of times in this space, the horrific stories of children who died or became ill after swallowing these powerful micro-magnets has turned us off the toys for good. We got rid of the Magnetix we had in the house and continue to advise all of you to do the same. Morgenstern's article reveals, disturbingly, that despite the widespread problems with these toys, toymakers are still sold on micro-magnets (produced in China) and continue to use them in toys. That includes Canada's Mega Brands, which still manufactures (an allegedly new and improved version of) Magnetix (in China), and was somewhat less then cooperative with the feds during the product's 2006 recall. For example, they never got around to telling retailers to take the defective version of the product off of store shelves, where they could be easily found a year after the initial recall. The new version of the product is now labeled as unsafe for children under 6.

The small, overburdened staff of the long-since-gutted Consumer Product Safety Commission continues to investigate Mega Brands, but:

. . . Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and chairman of the Senate subcommittee on financial services and general government, which has jurisdiction over the Consumer Product Safety Commission [said]  “When a company is selling dangerous products in America and refuses to cooperate with the C.P.S.C., we have few laws and few tools to use to protect consumers.”

COLUMNIST'S KIDS DISCOVER WORLD IS FULL OF PEOPLE JUST AS RICH AS GRANDPA

New York Sun parenting columnist Sara Berman (full disclosure: the daughter of the newspaper's half-billionaire co-owner Michael Steinhardt) was recently saddened that her son after visiting a friend's house in Bedford, NY, felt jealous of the other family, claiming that it owned "the best house I have ever been to," and even had "the best art" on its walls.

"The trick is to be happy with what you have. It's one of the hardest lessons to learn in life," I told him. "Even I'm still learning it, Jacob. Someone will always have more than you," I said.

. . . My husband said that if he had been with us, he would have pointed out to Jacob that material goods don't necessarily bring happiness — and that practice, hard work, and accomplishment are much more likely to bring a lasting sense of fulfillment.

I told him that I did try this tactic. . . It went in one ear and out the other. "Mom," he said seriously, "there is always someone who has more than anyone else: Someone who is at the tippy, tippy top. That's where they are. At the tippy, tippy top."

Yes, there is. But fortunately for young Jacob, it's grandpa, and mommy's in his will.

AND NOW, YOUR OBLIGATORY "HARRY POTTER" POST

Potter650In anticipation of the release of the final book in the "Harry Potter" series (reviewed in today's Times by the speed-reading Michiko Kakutani), the paper asked several writers and artists to speculate on how J.K. Rowling might wrap up her tale of hormones and wizardry. We were most intrigued by the submission from Andrea Deszo, a professor at Parsons/the New School for Design, who apparently dropped off a generic Halloween card he found at the malls' Hallmark shop, along with comments indicating that he'd possibly never read a page of the books, but still had a deadline to meet:

I envisioned scenes from an apocalyptic battle. Strung together in a nonlinear visual narrative, they are meant to set a certain mood. I intended to offer points of departure for the imagination rather than provide a concrete answer to the question of how it will all end.

Points of departure, indeed.

WORST COMMENTARY ON LIFE AS A NEW MOTHER EVER

We spotted this headline on a story about oft-injured former tennis star Lindsay Davenport the other day:

Davenport mulls comeback after birth of first child

July 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Subscribe to RSS

ALSO, TALL CHILDREN FREQUENTLY FORCED TO DUCK SLIGHTLY WHEN ENTERING A ROOM

Overweight children are stigmatized by their peers as early as age 3 and even face bias from their parents and teachers, giving them [quality of life scores] comparable to [children] with cancer, a new analysis concludes.

This new study, combined with AP reporting on past studies, shows that a range of people have been willing willing to stand up and beat the self-esteem of fat kids like a pinata:

The stigmatization of overweight children has been documented for decades. When children were asked to rank photos of children as friends in a 1961 study, the overweight child was ranked last.

Several studies showed that overweight girls got less college financial support from their parents than average weight girls. Other studies showed teasing by parents was common.

As a (happily) former fat kid, FD can only weigh in with: Duh. But articles like this one make us feel pretty good about our own mom and dad, who never stigmatized us and did not link their financial support, limited as it was, to our meeting any BMI benchmarks. Also, much as we realize we shouldn't care about these things, we're admittedly thrilled that Fellow and Tiny are, so far, on the less-weighty side. We don't wish a junior-high locker room on either of them as husky preteens.

CONTINENTAL EXPRESSJET, OPEN YOUR CHECKBOOKS AND PREPARE FOR LANDING

Here's another small-child-kicked-off-a-plan story, this one from Houston, where a flight attendant for Continental ExpressJet recently demanded that a mother and her 19-month-old son be removed from her plane because the boy would not stop repeating, "Bye bye plane!" during her safety talk and other preparations for takeoff. Before demanding their removal, however, the saucy stew actually suggested that the mom tranquilize her happy child with a dose of Benadryl. Other passengers have confirmed that the boy was not crying or throwing a tantrum, and that none of them had complained about the child's talking. Nevertheless, mother and child were deposited back in the terminal—even though the boy had fallen asleep by the time the plane returned to the gate to expel him. The family's luggage, which remained quiet throughout the ordeal, moved on to Oklahoma City without incident. The family is, not surprisingly, considering a lawsuit.

Update: Hey, this kid may be the early frontrunner for FD.com Kid of the Year. Here's the report from his appearance on Good Morning America:

. . . . While Kate Penland explained her child was well-behaved on the Continental Express flight, little Garren kicked, wiggled and squirmed out of his mother's arms. At one point he climbed up on a coffee table and rifled through Sawyer's scripts. When Sawyer handed him a model Space Shuttle to distract him, Garren rolled it off the table and onto the floor.

WAL-MART TO KIDS: STEAL ALL YOU WANT—UNTIL YOU TURN 16

If you're about to turn 16, we'd advise that you rush over to your local Wal-Mart TODAY and drop something worth $24.95 in your messenger bag. The gargantuan retailer, concerned about the dent shoplifting appears to be making in its bottom line, has dropped the age at which it will bring charges against first-time offenders from 18 to 16. (The store will also not prosecute first-time offenders of any age if they've lifted goods worth less than $25.) Perhaps publicity about the previous policy had encouraged a wave of 17-year-olds to the superstores seeking to cash in on the company's guaranteed amnesty?

NO, YOUR FAMILY'S ANNOYING BECAUSE ITS MATRIARCH WRITES COLUMNS LIKE THIS ONE

This week on Slate, Emily Bazelon navel-gazes the question, "Is our family annoying because we own a Prius?":

. . . [a recent marketing survey on Prius ownership] also made me worry about how my kids perceive our family Prius ownership. Do they think we're doing our small bit to save the Earth, or are they imbibing a look-at-me smugness?

Good question. We guess it depends on whether the kids are reading your articles on Slate.

BLOWING THE LID OFF THE ALUMNI FUND

Also on Slate this week, Joel Waldfogel writes about why alumni parents give to their alma maters:

Why do alumni give? The cynics will like the answer provided by a new study by Jonathan Meer of Stanford and Harvey S. Rosen of Princeton. It offers persuasive evidence that some alumni give to their schools in the hope of raising the chance of admission for their children.

Waldfogel reports that the study finds that alumni parents are 13 percentage points more likely to give than childless grads and that, predictably, donations rise as children reach application age, then stop altogether when a child is rejected by the school. The study also indicates that universities take advantage of the slim hopes that giving will boost a child's chances to draw more cash out of its alums. Our own experience (OK, our own plotting) indicates that universities also must benefit from the volunteer hours of less-wealthy alumni who hope their time spent on various committees will pay off in ivy-covered dreams come true for their offspring. Fellow, Tiny, and Little Guy's parents have been highly active alumni since they began breeding. Check back here in 2017 to see if it's all been worth it.

THE 2007 AMUSEMENT PARK DEATH WATCH CONTINUES

A 4-year-old boy drowned Thursday in a wave pool at the Paramount Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, while closer to home, Rye Playland suffered its third death since 2004, though eyewitness accounts appear to blame the victim in this one.

Saturday, a 16-year-old Wisconsin girl died after falling 40 to 50 feet from a ride called Air Glory while attending Lifest, an annual Christian music festival. Here's how Air Glory works: ". . . a crane would hoist up a person or people in a sling, and at the top the person inside pulls a ripcord. That drops the person or people and they swing back and forth. But for some reason after the cord was pulled, she fell to the ground. . ." Can't imagine how that ride could have gone wrong with a redundant safety system like, "Sure hope that cord works!" (This AOL article comes with a photo essay of recent theme-park tragedies.)

July 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Subscribe to RSS

WE DON'T KNOW WHETHER TO BE MORE OUTRAGED BY THE ANTI-SEMITISM OR THE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT (OK, WE DO)

470mickey0_2Farfour is dead. The Mickey Mouse clone who starred in a children's mini-series preaching Islamic world domination on the Hamas-run television network in the Palestinian territories was brutally murdered by an actor portraying an Israeli official in the final episode of "Tomorrow's Pioneers." It was a truly stunning finale even David Chase wouldn't have dared to script. As the Times reported, the show's teenage host told horrified kids watching at home, "Farfour was martyred while defending his land," and was murdered "by the killers of children."

The Disney company has apparently had no official comment on the blatant use of its signature character's image, but Walt Disney's daughter has called Hamas "pure evil" for using the black-tie-and-tail-clad mouse to further its war against Israel by encouraging kids to take up AK-47s. Even rival Palestinian faction Fatah said, "Children's nationalist spirit must be developed differently." But according to a follow-up report:

A Hamas television station that last week killed off a Mickey Mouse lookalike who urged children to fight against Israel will use other famous characters to further [its] Islamist agenda, station officials said on Monday.

So what's next? Dora the Martyr? Snoopy shot down by the Israeli Air Force? One does, in fact, shudder to think.

July 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Subscribe to RSS

HELP WANTED: BUS DRIVER. APPLICANTS MUST DRINK, SMOKE, TELL DIRTY JOKES

New York City is finding its next generation of school bus drivers in a retraining program, Red Hook on the Road. But the prospective drivers don't plan to hear the three cheers of young voices for long:

Once she is qualified, Ms. Castillo said, she will seek a job with a school bus company, and later with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the public buses in New York City. “The M.T.A. pays more,” [she] said.

THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE PARENTAL-THEMED CARTOON OF THE WEEK

Please bring your entire life to a halt to check this out.

BUT THE BOY SAID HE REALLY WANTED TO GO TO WORK THAT DAY WITH HIS UNCLE, WHO DOES BREAST ENHANCEMENTS

It was Take Your Son to Work (And Let Him Do Your Job) Day in the Indian state of Tamil Nedu the other day, and so Dr. K. Murugesan allowed his unlicensed 15-year-old boy to perform a Caesaream section, reportedly on a relative, in an apparent attempt to get the boy listed in the Guiness Book of World Records (which, for the record, said it would not recognize such an attempt in any case).

. . . local media quoted an unfazed Murugesan as saying: “What is wrong with my son performing surgery, when a 10-year-old can drive a car and a 15-year-old can get a medical degree in America?”

Wow, my man's been watching way too much "Doogie Howser" . . .

DAVID BROOKS: MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FOR NOOKIE SINCE 2007

Did anyone else catch Brooks' loopy-as-all-get-out column the other day? It's about how sex education, like all values education, is doomed to fail because the premise is based on "a false model of human nature."

There is no central executive zone in the brain where all information is gathered and decisions are made. . . . Once we've perceived a situation and construed it so that it fits one of the patterns we carry in our memory, we've pretty much rigged how we're going to react, even though we haven't consciously sat down to make a decision.

David, can you give us an example?

Women who live in neighborhoods with a shortage of men wear more revealing clothing and are in general more promiscuous than women in other neighborhoods. They probably are not conscious of how their behavior has changed, but they've accurately construed their situation (tougher competition for mates) and altered their behavior accordingly.

Wow, that really makes sense. Women who sleep around don't have poor values. In fact, they probably don't even know that they're sleeping around. Cool. Can you hit us with another one?:

When a teenage couple is in the backseat of a car about to have sex or not, or unprotected sex or not, they are not autonomous creatures making decisions based on classroom maxims or health risk reports. Their behavior is shaped by the subconscious landscapes of reality that have been implanted since birth.

You see, now, it's times like this that we regret no longer being a teenage boy. Because when we were in the backseats of cars all those years ago, the best line we could come up with was, "I promise I won't tell anyone," when what we really should have said was, "Come on, baby, I really need it. I wish I didn't, I really do, but it's not like I'm an autonomous creature making decisions here based on classroom maxims, you know? My behavior is shaped by the subconscious landscapes of reality that have been implanted in me since birth. It's fate is what it is. So come on back here and let's do it before I have to get the car back to my brother."

July 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Subscribe to RSS