FROM THE LATE SHOW'S "TOP 10 SIGNS YOU'VE CHOSEN THE WRONG DAY CARE CENTER"

3. An eight-year-old boy brings a handgun to the center, pulls it out of his backpack, and accidentally shoots a seven-year-old girl. (Yes, officials say the girl will survive her injury.)

AND NOW IT'S TIME FOR AT THE MOVIES WITH SMALL FELLOW AND TINY GIRL

Wonka11 If you'll allow us to break the fourth wall for a moment, this past Sunday was a momentous day for Fellow, as he gamely participated in his first-ever official chess tournament, run with a solid level of professionalism by the PTA of PS 6 on the Upper East Side. Competing as the youngest player in the kindergarten/Grade 1 section, Fellow finished among the bottom four of the 33-student group, but maintained high spirits, held his head up (even when the eventual age-group champ dispatched him inside of five minutes - in his first game), and proudly claimed the medal awarded to all primary-grade participants. And the tournament had the effect predicted by his chess teacher - Fellow now wants to play chess every night, eagerly preparing to return to the tournament circuit in February with better results. (We'll see.)

Anticipating (wrongly, as it happened) a stressful, demoralizing day for the Fellow, we promised him all week that when he returned home from the tournament, he could finally watch his new DVD of the original "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." And so he did. Now, as we mentioned the other day, we just completed reading the Roald Dahl book, and Fellow knows the soundtrack CD by heart, so he loved the movie, even as he pointed out every departure from Dahl's original. (Now we understand why they've made the Harry Potter films so lockstep-faithful to Rowling's prose . . .)

At the end of the movie, in a display of perspicacity that may presage a career as a film or book critic, Fellow quickly pointed out what has always so clearly been the major flaw of the adapted screenplay - that Charlie and Grandpa Joe drink Fizzy Lifting Drink when they were specifically told not to, nearly killing themselves, and yet Charlie still wins the factory. Fellow latched onto the inherent unfairness of this.  Throughout our reading of the book and watching of the film, he and Tiny Girl (who is still seeking reassurance that the girl who "blew up like a blueberry" was OK) expressed a much higher level of empathy for the four "bad" children than the average grownup or Oompa Loompa would. If those kids got kicked out of the factory, Fellow demanded, why not Charlie?

And why not indeed? Yes, the screenplay provides somewhat more drama than the book by putting Charlie's chances of claiming the big prize in play, and forcing him to redeem himself by returning the Everlasting Gobstopper, but when three- and five-year-olds are spotting the flaw in your solution, you've got to believe there could have been a better way.

LET THEM ROLL! LET THEM ROLL! LET THEM ROLL!

According to the deeply troubled Weekly Standard, "a church-based homosexual rights group" called Soulforce plans to crash the sacred heterosexual fertility rite known as the White House Easter Egg Roll by staging a "family visibility action." According to an e-mail the group sent to members earlier this month:

"On April 17, 2006, when the White House lawn is opened to families for the Annual Easter Egg Roll, imagine if the first 1,000 families onto the lawn were LGBT families . . . . there will be no going back."

Soulforce is urging its families to stand in line the night before to ensure that they'll get in, and to wear "non-political" T-shirts identifying them LGBT.

Won't someone put a stop to this? Apparently not, according to the Washington Post:

On conservative chat rooms, some critics of Family Pride suggested the White House could make the egg roll an invitation-only event . . . . Other critics said conservatives should mobilize to outnumber gay families at the egg roll.

But at the end of the day, the White House will apparently let all families have their turn on the lawn, no matter which way they roll. Susan Whitson, Laura Bush's press secretary, said the administration has no plans to restrict admission: "All families are really welcome to attend." She later did not add, "But of course we will be collecting home and mobile phone numbers from all visitors and plan to begin the wiretaps as soon as they leave the property."

January 24, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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