SO, IF WE HAVE THIS

SO, IF WE HAVE THIS RIGHT, WHEN WE'RE LEFT HOME ALONE WITH THE KIDS, IF WE TURN ON THE TV, THEN EVERYBODY'S HAPPY

More stunning revelations from the world of science: For most adults, watching TV ("The Real Gilligan's Island" not included) is more fun than taking care of the kids.


HUMPTY DUMPTY WAS PUSHED

All of the best childhood science happens in England. According to its Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers recently compared the violence in an hour of nursery rhymes to the violence in an hour of demon TV, and found the rhymes to be much more violent. The authors' point was not to ban Mother Goose rhymes (though they'd get no argument from us on that) or to get kids to watch more violent television programming,* but to make the point that everyone needs some perspective, historical and otherwise, on the issue of violence, kids, and the media.

FD is a case study. We were tragically desensitized to violence at an early age by the nursery rhymes our father sung to us:

Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird won't sing,
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring won’t shine,
Papa’s gonna buy you a bottle of wine.
And if that bottle of wine goes flat
Papa’s gonna whack that liquor store &!*# with a bat.
And once that packy store bastard dies
Papa’s gonna order you some pizza pies.
And if those pizza pies come late,
Papa’s gonna have to negotiate.
And once Papa gets to that pizza place,
He’s gonna rearrange the owner’s face.
Now here’s five bucks.
Go get yourself some comic books.
Papa’s gotta get to the club.
* (Last night, the consequences of an out-of-character 6:30 p.m. Tiny Girl catnap was that she was up with us at 10:30 watching an unusually explicit installment of "Law and Order - Criminal Intent," which opened not with the traditional "L&O" "madre de dios" moment - a cleaning lady finding a corpse in a hotel bed - but with a woman, foaming at the mouth, who gets hit by three different cars, one of which we see drive over her prone body. At which point Tiny Girl asked, "What happens with the people and the car?")


BROOKS TO LIBERALS: START #@&*ING

The Times' conservative columnist David Brooks recently chastised blue-staters for not having enough children. We're doomed to several more cycles of electoral defeats, he argues, because we godless liberals aren't nearly as fertile as our country cousins in the red states. The numbers make his case: In November, President Bush won the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, while Kerry took the 16 states with the lowest rates.

But Brooks assures us that we have nothing to fear from our new barefoot-and-pregnant overlords:

Natalists are associated with red America, but they're not launching a jihad. . . . What they cherish, like most Americans, is the self-sacrificial love shown by parents. People who have enough kids for a basketball team are too busy to fight a culture war.

OK, David, then explain to us why evolution is under fire in schools in at least four states and why your family-friendly red principalities are moving to force educational publishers to define marriage in their materials as being between a man and a woman, even where no contrary definition had been offered.

An alternate ending to Brooks' column is: People who have enough kids for a basketball team are too numerous to ignore at PTA meetings. So watch your back.


HEY, MAN, WE GOT NO TIME FOR YOUR ALGEBRA. WE'RE BUSY TRYING TO REPOPULATE THE BLUE STATES!

In case you missed it, the annual survey of student abilities in developed countries around the world recently proved (again) that American kids are slacking off in math, with scores above Mexico's and Indonesia's, but way behind perennial mathematics powerhouses like . . . everyone else.

Should we be worried that our kids can't solve calculus problems like the boys from Singapore? We say no. High-level math is like swimming. The US is a big country and it doesn't require a huge percentage of able swimmers in the population to be able to dominate international competition - as it does - and it doesn't require a huge percentage of math stars in the population to produce a sizable bloc of the world's leading math thinkers, which it also does. A couple of weeks back, the Times took a look at the pros and cons of worrying about our international math rankings, and essentially agreed with this outlook.


ON NEWSSTANDS NOW: LONDON BRIDGE IS . . . LINE!

In the current issue of Parents magazine, we have an item on the Dads page about singing to your children, or, more specifically, finding the lyrics to the long-forgotten songs you really WANT to sing to them. The article is not available online, but here are a few resources we mentioned:

* The National Institutes of Health has produced a "Sing-Along Songs" Web site featuring the lyrics to hundreds of children’s, patriotic, and Broadway songs, complete with music so you can learn karaoke-style.

* Mama Lisa’s World has an ongoing mission to collect great children’s songs from cultures around the world. The Web site offers lyrics side-by-side in English and foreign languages, as well as music files for singing along.

* Each of the four CDs in Walt Disney Records’ classic "Children’s Favorite Songs" series contains about two dozen children’s tunes, from "Home on the Range" to "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt," an FD favorite, all gently sung by the Disneyland Children’s Sing-Along Chorus ($6.99 each at Disney's online store).

THE FREELANCEDAD.COM FREELANCE DAD SIDE PROJECT OF THE MONTH

When you type "education" into Google, the first listing you get is EducationWorld.com, "The Educator's Best Friend." This encyclopedic site for teachers recently added an area for parents and kids, to which FD will be a regular contributor. Check Education World at Home each month for fresh FD and non-FD content for your pro-education home.

December 23, 2004 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

Comments

I like reading articles and leaving comments of how I feel, Good job

Posted by: Kids Songs | Nov 25, 2009 3:14:26 AM

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