Produced by Gary Drevitch
DID JIMI EVER PLAY VERMONT?
On vacation at the beach (no, not that one, this one) this week but continuing to post . . . we found ourselves at a suburban Super Stop & Shop, with a selection so large and aisles so wide, we stayed four-and-a-half hours. The will-snapping acres of ice-cream cases even inspired us to coin a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor: Purple Hazelnut. Or have they done that one already?
IF ONLY THEY JUST WHISTLED THROUGH THE GRAVEYARD
We had cause to be at a cemetery the other day, but could not find a way to prevent the suddenly quite mischievous (and noisy) Tiny Girl from literally dancing one gentleman's grave without making a scene, which of course we couldn’t do amid all the serenity. FD was raised never to walk on any individual’s gravesite under any circumstance and has tried never to violate that. Others have said it’s cost of doing business for the dearly departed.
So we went online seeking a verdict from a more established parenting or religious authority, but were stopped cold by the discovery of sites offering cemetery etiquette guidelines to "taphophiles," who we gather are fellas who just enjoy cemeteries way, way too much. We’ll offer no link, as the sites have been deemed Not Safe For Not-Creeping-You-the-Hell-Out-at-Work. In fact, we didn’t even look past the Table of Contents, one section of which offered "Alternatives to Vandalism and Theft."
THEY WERE RAISED BY KEEBLER ELVES
They celebrate America’s independence a week early here at the beach, and so we were treated to a really quite fine fireworks display on Sunday night, a perfect evening marred only by our overhearing this snippet of conversation between two smug licensed-character balloon salesmen: "You know it’s just, Baby cry, Mommy buy." When this reporter spread the news of these shockingly callous comments, Nabisco immediately offered each salesman a marketing vice presidency.
Loving Mother brought Tiny Girl to the NYU Infant Action Center yesterday to take part in an experiment known as "Infant-Mother Negotiation of Motor Risk." Unfortunately, Tiny refused to participate, although she did provide some startling results for the lab's related study of Cheerio eating. As it's been reported to FD, after several attempts to get Tiny to walk up the lab's ramp without Loving Mother holding her hand, or at least to stop screaming, the experiment was called off. The lab staff then took Tiny's picture, stamped it "Do Not Admit," and hung it in the lobby guard's booth.
Fortunately, FD had recently reported on the lab for the New York SUN, and had seen the preliminary results of this study. A toddler is asked to repeatedly go up and down a ramp as her mother sits off to the side encouraging her - or discouraging her - from walking. Assistants adjust the ramp's angle throughout the experiment. When the ramp is obviously safe, the toddler will pay no attention to her mother telling her to stop. When the ramp is obviously too dangerous to climb, the toddler will ignore her mother telling her to go. Only when it's difficult for the toddler to tell if the ramp is safe will she pay attention to her mother's commands. The good news: Even toddlers do a pretty good job figuring out for themselves what's safe and what isn't. The bad news: Even at 18 months, they're prepared to discard their parents' advice if they don't like it. But we knew that already. ("Small Fellow, I really think you should go to the potty now . . . No, it looks like you have to go right now . . . You should listen to me!")
"ESPECIALLY FOR KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES"
I was flipping through the NY DAILY NEWS this morning, in search of today's Six Flags Great Adventure token,** when I came across . . . The Mini Page. If you grew up with The Mini Page, as I did, it may come as a shock to discover that Betty Debnam's baby is still around. This week, Betty takes kids inside Philadelphia's Independence Hall, room by historic room. It's not as hard-hitting as when she went undercover to expose workplace safety violations at Hormel back in '77, but it gets the job done.
** [Collect 5 tokens from different papers this week, and up to six of you can go to the park for just $19.74 each. FD ought to have alerted everyone to this on Monday; apologies. But if you have access to back copies of the DAILY NEWS, say at your local OTB, there's still time to get your discount.]
JUST LIKE REAL TRIATHLETES, THEY PEE IN THEIR SHORTS WHILE THEY RUN
Organizers of this weekend's New York City Triathlon promoted the event yesterday with a 10-foot-long "Triathletes of Tomorrow" race in Central Park. Unlike the original Games, in which athletes competed out of love of the sport for a sprig of parsley or some such, the 11-month-old winner took home a prize of three cases of diapers because, as we all know, kids need incentives.
However, should there someday be a real NYC Kids Olympiad, I'll stand ready to enter Tiny Girl in the Biting event, Small Fellow in the Whining competition, and the kids as a team in the Synchronized Bathing meet.
A cream made from human breast milk can eliminate warts and potentially treat skin cancer. Which is great news. All I hope is that the Swedish researchers who made this discovery were intentionally studying the properties of breast milk under laboratory conditions and that this isn't one of those miraculous-accident discovery deals because I would not want to hear the details of that.
("Dear New England Journal of Medicine: I never thought it would happen to me. It was the most amazing, once-in-a-lifetime discovery - and a night I'll never forget. But before I get to the juicy details, let me tell you some background: My wife had been breast-feeding for about five months and I'd developed a nasty case of genital warts. Then, one night, she put the baby to sleep early and came into the living room wearing nothing but a flimsy nightie and carrying a full Medela freezer bag . . . ")
AT HIS FIFTH BIRTHDAY PARTY, LEX LUTHOR GAVE HIM A MYSTERIOUS GLOWING GREEN STONE
It seems the Germans have a musclebound, five-year-old Superboy in their midst. Though it sounds like the most accurate analogy isn't to Kal-El, but to one of the X-Men. Get this:
The discovery . . . represents the first documented human case of such a mutation. Many scientists believe the find could eventually lead to drugs for treating people with muscular dystrophy and other muscle-destroying conditions. And athletes would almost surely want to get their hands on such a drug and use it like steroids to bulk up.As for the kid, "Doctors worry he could eventually suffer heart or other health problems." On the bright side, government researchers have promised his parents that while of course they plan to keep the boy captive for years in their subterranean lab, they will insert some nifty adamantium claws in him.
Since this is fundamentally a service blog, I feel obligated to offer some advice: Should your own child suddenly develop superhuman powers, keep it a secret, raise him well, and sew him a nice costume.
"'CAUSE HE'S NICK BURNS, YOUR COMPANY'S PLAYGROUND GUY"
To the couple who lay on a playground bench getting in touch with themselves for a half-hour tonight while I pushed their toddler on a swing ("More swing, Daddy!"), kept her from tossing Tiny Girl's toys in the sandbox, and made sure she didn't kill herself on a jungle gym set. . . "By the way, YOU'RE WELCOME!"
RESEARCHER TO FELLAS: SCRATCH AWAY!
This study shows that men aren't necessarily depressed, or even upset, when they refuse to talk about their feelings with their mates. They're just really poor company. It's a valid point, but I guess I'd take the results more seriously if the lead researcher didn't say things like, "I'll just be doing my guy thing, and the women will be, 'Why aren't you talking to me?'"
"LITTLE CHILDREN," INDEED
FD had been meaning to pick up tom Perrotta's latest book, "Little Children," since its glowing reviews came out several weeks back. We've been a fan of Perrotta's since the early 90's, when we agreed to publish an early short story of his in a Scholastic classroom magazine and downed several pints to seal the deal.
One of the things we liked most about the new book (besides the fact that it apparently features a stay-at-home dad having some meaningless sex) was its inspired cover, a pair of Goldfish crackers squaring off on a well-manicured lawn. So you can imagine our surprise when we finally went to purchase it yesterday and found two crumbly chocolate-chip cookies where the Goldfish should have been. What's the story? Let's just say you should never cross Pepperidge Farm, "because Pepperidge Farm remembers."
Anyone planning to use Goldfish on the cover of their nursery school classroom's yearbook: You've been warned.
"SHE'S JUST ABOUT TO CLOSE THE LIBRARY!"
No one appreciates the library until, on a rainy Friday, they pack up the kids, race up the street, and find the doors closed due to budget cuts. No, the NYPL can't afford to keep its doors open six full days a week. But, you know what, the children's room is always the cleanest, most welcoming and most secure spot in any library building, and the system never stops cranking out great reading lists for kids. The Summer 2004 "Read White and Blue" list is available now, and is well worth a look.