ALL SHE WANTED WAS TO

ALL SHE WANTED WAS TO DRINK HER COFFEE ON HER PATIO, WATCH HER KIDS PLAY, AND KEEP THEM OUT OF RACIALLY DIVERSE SCHOOLS. IS THAT SO WRONG?

This must-read article offers some insight into how hard people will fight to get their children into the right school district. As the Times reports (and people wonder how families allow themselves to look so bad on reality shows?), the Kiefs bought a home in a Westchester County development believing they'd be able to attend a nearby public school built by the Rockefellers and featuring an Olympic-size pool. Instead, they were callously assigned to a perfectly good school in Tarrytown, NY, with a majority minority student body. (One can almost hear their daughter standing at the train platform beside her father, plaintively singing "Far From the Home I Love.") Mrs. Kief speculates at the close of this priceless artifact that if every suburban home buyer had to worry that he was not, in fact, in the school district he had chosen, "There'd be anarchy. There'd be rioting in the streets." Overturned Ford Explorers burning in front of City Hall, soccer fields laid waste . . . it's a nightmare vision undreamed of by the makers of "The Day After Tomorrow."

(Of course, we're not saying we wouldn't be outraged if the same thing happened to us. . .)


GAME THEORIES

We've been trying out the "Junior" versions of everyone's favorite word games here, and we're delivering a thumbs-up for Scrabble Junior. The game's inspired innovation is its two-sided board: One side has blank squares (but no double word scores or letter values) for older kids to place their own self-spelled words on the board, but the other has a couple of dozen words printed right on it. Kids match letters to the words, spelling them as they go along. It's a great pre-reading game, it requires a bit of strategy, and since one only gets points by adding the final letter to a given word (words must be filled in in order), a child has a great chance of actually winning. Thumbs down, however, for Boggle Junior, a muddle of a non-game in which kids simply get a stack of cards with three- and four-letter words and eight letter cubes. They peek at each word's spelling, then find the right cubes to replicate, which is not entirely without value, we suppose, but for the same payoff, save a few dollars and just pick up "My First ABC Alphabet Card Game," a deck of simple spelling cards from Briarpatch.


FD.COM TAKES YOU BEHIND THE SCENES

We watched the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade join the route from our viewing station on a "balloon block." While Kermit, Clifford, and Big Bird impressed us with their girth and Spongebob electrified the crowd by sheer force of celebrity, for our money the most intriguing characters on the block were the three new Weeble "balloonicles," brand-new combination balloon-vehicles. When the announcer called for the Weebles to "Join the parade!" one Weeble had, while not fallen down, certainly sagged. The poor deflated fellow was pushed to the curb while the show went on and his Weeble brothers took their positions on Central Park West. But then, after several other balloons, bands, and floats moved into position the third Weeble miraculously picked himself up off the turf like Warren Beatty in the climactic scene of "Heaven Can Wait," raced past a New Orleans high school band and the giant Charlie Brown balloon (which it recklessly bumped, if you ask us) and joined its comrades just moments before they passed 77tht Street and the official start line of the parade. Needless to say, Small Fellow cheered this Comeback Weeble with great enthusiasm. And when the block was clear of corporate spokesballoons, we went inside to watch the rest of the parade on TV. Ah, holiday tradition . . .

November 19, 2004 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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