ON NEWSSTANDS NOW: YOU'VE GOTTA FIGHT -- FOR YOUR RIGHT -- TO A BIRTHDAY PAAARTY!!

Freelance Dad, writing as Gary Drevitch, has a few articles on newsstands and in pediatric waiting rooms this month. The first is the cover story from the May issue of Nick Jr. magazine, on wrangling your preschooler's birthday party. (Full article not available online, but it looks a lot like this.) The piece begins with an official Small Fellow Anecdote:

How important is a child’s birthday party? My son, [Fellow], 4, began dictating his guest list three months in advance. He wanted us to invite his entire nursery-school class, all of last year's pre-nursery class, and a certain 13-year-old cousin from New Hampshire. But wasn't New Hampshire too far away? “No, Daddy," he said. "She can fly on an airplane and get here very quickly!” Clearly, children place a high value on these parties .....

What we found interesting as we interviewed parents and party planners across the country was how many told us that they saw the preschool birthday party as a great opportunity for parents to drop off the kids and then take off on their own for a couple of hours. And yet, here in Manhattan, no one EVER just drops preschoolers off for a party - we all stay right there until the bitter (and often sticky) end.

Maybe in communities where everyone drives, it's easy to drop kids off and then speed to the Megalo-Mart; maybe outside the city, more people have parties in their homes, where all those extra moms and dads would just get in the way. In any case, it appears to be a major disconnect.

(By the way, Fellow continues to devise grandiose plans for his birthday parties. He now envisions the New York Hall of Science in Flushing as the ideal destination for his party. As we talked about it one morning, we told him it might be hard for all of his friends to get themselves from our neighborhood to deepest Queens. "It's OK, Daddy," he assured us. "They can all rent cars!")

ALSO ON NEWSSTANDS NOW: SMALL AND TINY MONKEYS ON OUR BACK

We have an item in the May issue of Parents about the risk of back injury for dads who carry children on their shoulders. (Article not available online.) To make a short story short, the risk is real. Once a child hits about 30 pounds, they should stay off your shoulders for good. The threat to your balance, the weight on your neck, the pressure on your spine - it adds up to a cocktail of pain.

Fortunately, at about 30 pounds, your child should also be old enough to be carried piggyback style, with their arms around your shoulders and their legs around your hips. (Think of it as carrying a fidgety, not especially water-resistant backpack.)

It takes a little getting used to, but it's more efficient and it saves wear and tear on the back. (There's a reason firefighters rescue people by carrying them on their hips instead of their shoulders.)

LAST NEWSSTAND ITEM: VIDEO GAMES YOU CAN ACTUALLY PLAY

Finally, we have an item in the June issue of Parents (not available online, but the issue looks like this) on the boomlet in retro video game systems. Unlike almost all new games on the market, the old Atari classics are, one, easy to play, and two, fairly non-violent. So they make a fine introduction to video game play for dads who want to take the risk of having no conversations with their sons between the ages of 8 and 14.

Dedicated correspondent that we are, we researched the story intensely, sometimes until 2 0r 3 in the morning, as we reacquainted ourselves with favorites like Asteroids and Yars’ Revenge, got a needed fix of Galaga, and reminded ourselves why we never much enjoyed Centipede or Pac-Man.

ALTHOUGH WE SUPPOSE THAT IF A UNITED STATES SENATOR CAN TAKE TO THE FLOOR AND COMPARE THE FILIBUSTER DEBATE TO PALPATINE'S TAKEOVER OF THE EMPIRE, A STATE LEGISLATOR CAN COMPARE MOUNTAIN DEW TO DEMON RUM

The Connecticut legislature yesterday banned certain soft drinks and junk foods from public school cafeterias and vending machines, apparently without taking the time to question how they were allowed in there in the first place. The ban is neither universal nor internally logical - high-calorie juices are still allowed in vending machines, for example, as are high-fat french fries, hot dogs, mac-and-cheese, and other lunchroom staples.

The floor debate was lively, with several legislators discussing their own childhood struggles with obesity and bribery, and others predicting a Prohibition-era-style black market in Coke and Kit Kats:

[Republicans] predicted that children would find ways to subvert the bans, much the way Prohibition failed to stop the flow of alcoholic drinks long ago .... Republican opponents said there would be widespread "bootlegging," as Representative John W. Hetherington of New Canaan called it.

"If I was in high school and had a case of Hershey bars, I may be in the parking lot seeing what I could do," agreed Richard O. Belden, a Republican from Shelton.

Oh, Rep. Belden, it staggers the mind to imagine what you could do in an elementary school parking lot on a hot day with a case of Hershey bars . . .

GRADUATION DAY IS ALWAYS SPECIAL AT DEAR OLD DOUBLE STANDARD HIGH SCHOOL

We offer this item from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

A pregnant student who was banned from graduation at her Roman Catholic high school announced her own name and walked across the stage anyway at the close of the program. Alysha Cosby's decision prompted cheers and applause Tuesday from many of her fellow seniors at St. Jude Educational Institute. But her mother and aunt were escorted out of the church by police after Cosby headed back to her seat.

"I can't believe something like this is happening in 2005," said her mother, Sheila Cosby.

But wait, there's more!:

The father of Cosby's child, also a senior at the school, was allowed to participate in graduation.

WHAT'S THE "ROLLER COASTER LOOPHOLE"? IT'S A LITTLE-KNOWN CLAUSE THAT SAYS FREELANCE DAD DOESN'T GET ON ROLLER COASTERS

Slate officially kicks off Summer of Fear 2005 with this piece on scattershot state and federal regulation of the amusement park industry. For example:

The state of Florida ... inspects all permanent rides, unless the company that runs the park employs more than 1,000 people—an exemption that leaves out self-policing amusement parks like Disney World, Busch Gardens, and Universal Studios.

Yeah, that's what we want to do: Put our lives in the hands of the people who green-lit "The Pacifier."

AND, NOW, A LITTLE BIT OF SACRILEGE ABOUT THE WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY

Let us preface this comment by noting that we are members in good standing, that we wear the T-shirts, and that we visit the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Central Park zoos many, many times each year. But when these guys did their aerial survey of the Bronx campus, did they happen to notice how far visitors had to walk to get from one animal to the next?

THE TROJAN FELLOW

Dads, have you ever been in this situation: In a strange city, feeling the call of nature, and facing only a row of restaurants with "Restrooms for Customers Only"? Here's our advice: If you have your Small Fellow with you, you can easily enter the establishment, ask the maitre d', "Can I please take him to use your bathroom?," then stroll right in. Works like a charm.

May 18, 2005 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.

The University of Florida, Florida State University found that physically attractive people almost instantly attract the attention of the interlocutor, sobesednitsy with them, literally, it is difficult to make eye. This conclusion was reached by a series of psychological experiments, which were determined by the people who believe in sending the first seconds after the acquaintance. Here, a curious feature: single, unmarried experimental preferred to look at the guys, beauty opposite sex, and family, people most often by representatives of their sex.

The authors believe that this feature developed a behavior as a result of the evolution: a man trying to find a decent pair to acquire offspring. If this is resolved, he wondered potential rivals. Detailed information about this magazine will be published Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In turn, a joint study of the Rockefeller University, Rockefeller University and Duke University, Duke University in North Carolina revealed that women are perceived differently by men smell. During experiments studied the perception of women one of the ingredients of male pheromone-androstenona smell, which is contained in urine or sweat.

The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

It has long been proven that mammals (including human) odor is one way of attracting the attention of representatives of the opposite sex. A detailed article about the journal Nature will publish.

Posted by: elargoreefs | Nov 16, 2007 2:57:02 AM

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