HEY, KID, DON'T GET ANY

HEY, KID, DON'T GET ANY FUNNY IDEAS. (NO, REALLY, DON'T GET ANY FUNNY IDEAS. FUNNY IDEAS'LL KILL YOU. JUST ANSWER THE QUESTIONS ON THE TEST AND MOVE ON TO THE NEXT SECTION.)

The Learning Resources Time Tracker is apparently the hot toy this season for parents eager to train their four-year-olds for a future of dreary standardized tests. You can program the tracker to alert your child that time is running out on whatever makework task you've assigned him. And, at $34.95, it's truly a bargain, unless you consider that, while this thing looks like a bargain-basement sex toy, tiny sand hourglass timers are available for $1.79 at stores everywhere for your creativity-squelching needs.


IN ANOTHER STUNNING DISCOVERY, TEENS WERE FOUND LIKELY TO SLIP ADULT VIDEOS UNDER DOCUMENTARIES AS THEY APPROACHED THE COUNTER AT THE VIDEO STORE

A University of Florida researcher has discovered that young people may be hesitant to buy condoms for the first time because they are embarrassed. But wait, there's more: Young men reported being less embarrassed than young women. And are you sitting down? Young people of both sexes sought out sales clerks of the same sex, tried to buy other items to distract attention, and kept an eye out for other customers while making their purchase. Wow, groundbreaking stuff. Thank you, University of Florida.


DON'T LET YOUR KID READ THIS STUDY

He'll only use it to justify the B grades on his report card. Or, worse, use it to prove to you that his low test scores are actually a result of his being ultra-high-functioning.


TARGET: SANTA CLAUS

We have been big fans of Target's "Ready. Sit. Read." program since it started several months back. As part of the program, once a month, Target buys half-page color ads in the New York Times and other papers to run a crossword puzzle for early readers. We've done every one of them with Small Fellow. What's especially nice about the puzzles is that each has only eight clues and almost all of the clues can be answered just by looking at the large image that accompanies the puzzle. (Example: How many dogs are sitting on the chair?) So the child doesn't need to bring any prior knowledge to the puzzle. It's a pedagogically sound approach, one that Target has chucked out the window for its December offering.

The image for the puzzle is Santa Claus (actually, just "Santa") reading to a little girl and a group of elves. And here are some of the puzzle clues:

Santa lives at the ____ Pole.
What animal pulls Santa's sleigh?
What do elves make in their workshop?

The only way a four-year-old (like, say, ours) could answer these questions is if he's been taught the Santa story. Which, of course, most kids have. But not the little Semitic fellows like Small. And so we have to pass on this one and drain our reservoir of good will for America's second-largest retailer.


FEDS TO KIDS: DROP DEAD

Well, not exactly. But they are taking money earmarked for kids' flu vaccines and using it on adult treatments instead. Insert your lifeboats on the Titanic joke here.


NOW IF ONLY THEY COULD INVENT SOMETHING TO SIMULATE GRANDPARENTS GETTING PHONE CALLS FROM THEIR FAMILIES, THEY'D REALLY BE ONTO SOMETHING

But for now we'll have to settle for vibrating pillows that make grandma feel like she's getting a hug - from an android.

December 22, 2004 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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