MOUNTAIN DEW? MOUNTAIN DON'T!

Following up on an initiative last August to voluntarily limit the sales of non-diet sodas in schools, the largest soft-drink bottlers have signed an agreement, brokered in part by Bill Clinton's personal foundation, to stop all sales of non-diet sodas in high schools, and all sales of sodas of any kind in elementary and middle schools nationwide.

Which is wonderful news, really, but the agreement leaves high-sugar, high-calorie drinks like juices and sports drinks in school vending machines. You're next, Gatorade.

WE'RE CURRENTLY SEEKING AN OVERNIGHT PRE-K FOR TINY GIRL

The Times City section this weekend endorsed full funding of full-day pre-K classes for the 34,000 city kids currently enrolled in half-day public programs. (Some city schools do offer full-day pre-K already; it's not uniform.) Study after study has demonstrated the short and long-term benefits of full-day pre-K, especially for kids from underprivileged backgrounds.

Not to rain on the parade, but our own experience and instincts tell us that if the city in fact converted all of its half-day pre-Ks to full-day, it might face an influx of middle-class parents suddenly seeking seats in the programs. Many middle-class families, confident of the benefits of full-day pre-K, but committed to public schools, send their kids to private nursery schools before enrolling them in public-school kindergarten classes. If the city began offering more full-day pre-Ks itself, there could be new, heated competition for those seats as middle-class parents rush to the free programs. We're not saying the city shouldn't go to full-day pre-K, we're just saying that if it doesn't simultaneously increase the number of pre-K seats, the programs may stop helping some of the families it's designed to benefit.

CAN WE SUGGEST A SIMPLE SOLUTION: STOP CALLING DRINKS MILK THAT AREN'T REALLY MILK

This space has already discussed some of the many reasons parents should not substitute soy milk for cow's milk (excepting in cases of food allergies), most of which relate to potential long-term health problems. But (with the same exceptions) parents who feed newborns soy milk or rice milk (which is made from rice and sweeteners, fortified with calcium) apparently risk giving their children old-school, Third World diseases like rickets and kwashiorkor (you don't want to know). From Newsweek.com:

The problems associated with rice and soy milk are most pressing in kids younger than 2 because they don't eat as wide a variety of food as older toddlers. . . . "We're only seeing the tip of the iceberg," says [Kelley] Scanlon of the CDC, who estimates that up to 80 percent of kids with milder cases of malnutrition may not be properly diagnosed. "[Parents] don't recognize that something that's called milk is not necessarily infant formula," adds Bob Issenman [of] McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. . . .

The good news is the nutritional problems are often reversible. Those feeding rice- or soy-based beverages to children younger than 5 should see their pediatrician if their kids exhibit bowleggedness and delayed crawling and walking (symptoms of rickets) or distended bellies, lethargy and growth failure (kwashiorkor).

A PRINCE AND A PUPPY. SOUNDS LIKE THE START OF A LOVELY CHILDREN'S BOOK. EXCEPT, IN THIS CASE, NOT SO MUCH

Prince Henrik of the Danish royal family (charitable cause: ending animal cruelty) appears to have barked up the wrong tree when he recently told an interviewer that he loved dogs, particularly if they are "delicately sliced, lightly fried and served on a plate." Henrik was raised in Vietnam, where dog was a sometime delicacy, and while he has no inhibitions about eating dog, today this "passionate animal lover" is honorary president of the Danish Dachshund Club. He may not just be the president - he may also be a client:

The remarks are understood to have reopened a royal mystery surrounding one of the royal dachshunds which disappeared in the 1990s.
It was never found despite a national search.

CONSERVATIVE PARENTS, START YOUR LAWSUITS

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (what, you expected Dallas?) has launched the nation's first program to "direct safer sex advice to young people through text messages on their cell phones." Which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "booty call." Kids can text the city about issues like condoms, STDs, and similar concerns, the idea being that since they don't actually have to talk to anyone in person, they'll be less shy about getting the advice they need. Which makes sense. What makes less sense is that the replies from the city are actually composed in text-message lingo, like  "if u hve sex, u can get an STD + not know it. Chlamydia, gonorrhea=no symptoms most of the time Dropin get chcked FREE."

Is the thinking that kids are so daft that they wouldn't pay attention to potentially life-saving advice - which they asked for - if the message was written in actual English? And does anyone really want to get scary news in text-speak?

Yr date was LOL but now u have STD :<

WHEN MUSEUMS GO WRONG, IT'S ALWAYS THE CHILDREN WHO GET HURT

Environmental writer and seasonal football pundit Gregg Easterbrook returned to ESPN.com this week with a special edition of his column, "Tuesday Morning Quarterback," analyzing the recent pro football draft. Easterbrook's columns are known for two things: their crushing length and their wide-ranging tangents. In the interest of sparing you from the former, we'd like to leave you with this sterling example of the latter, about his family trip to the new National Air and Space Museum outside Washington, D.C.:

In Space, No One Can Hear You Yawn: I took the Official Kids of TMQ to the Smithsonian's new National Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport in Virginia. We saw lots of planes, including an SR-71 and, poignantly, the Enola Gay. We watched the Imax movie "Roving Mars" -- "Presented as a Public Service by Lockheed Martin" -- about the Red Planet rovers Spirit and Opportunity. But wait, "Roving Mars" depicts sound in space! This flick, blessed by NASA and featured at the Smithsonian, has an animated scene in which the rocket propelling the Mars probes has left Earth's atmosphere yet makes lots of loud noises as its engines fire and its fairings disengage. The noises add to the Imax theatrical touch, since Imax theaters have lots of bass. But even my 11-year-old, Spenser, leaned over and whispered, "Dad, I thought there was no sound in outer space." If the Smithsonian can't get this kind of detail right, how can we believe its exhibits are accurate?

May 3, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c423c53ef00d8356149d669e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference :

Comments

The comments to this entry are closed.