SADDEST STORY OF THE WEEK

Regular readers are aware by now that Loving Mother is carrying our third child, a boy due in about three weeks. Both Fellow and Tiny were December babies, so this has been our first exposure to the special miseries of a third trimester in the midst of peak summer heat. But for another New York-area woman, seven months pregnant with her first child, heat exposure during a Red Sox game at Fenway Park proved fatal. Her son was delivered safely, however, and survives her.

SHE CARRIES A BABY AS GRACEFULLY AS SHE CARRIES A TUNE. . .

0801_barbara_smLongtime FD.com favorite Barbara Brousal, slinky sidewoman in the Dan Zanes ensemble, is eight months pregnant, just like Loving Mother. Dare we dream that when we head over to the maternity ward in a few weeks, there she'll be, in the next bed, moaning mellifluously through her contractions, or humming sedately as her epidural kicks in? Yes, we dare . . .

On a less actionable Dan Zanes note, if anyone out there hasn't picked up the new CD because maybe you had kinda started to get the idea that all the Zanes CDs were pretty much the same drill, and your collection of three or four was enough -- Sorry. You need to get Catch That Train. The "Loch Lomond" duet with Natalie Merchant is sublime, Brousal's latest Spanish-language composition, "Mariposa Ole," is sweet and precious, and even Father Goose scores (for the kids) with  "Choo Choo Ch' Boogie." Add Tiny Girl's favorite, the African theme "Pigogo," with The Children of Agape, and our own favorite, the ancient and absolutely fierce "Grey Goose," with the Kronos Quartet (yeah, we know!), and you've just got a Hell of a lot of album for the money ($12.99 on Amazon).

EDITORS IN A POD(CAST)

A_podcast_hpOur friends at Parents magazine (full disclosure: we've written a number of pieces for them) have unveiled their first-ever podcast, available here or on iTunes. The first installment focuses on overweight kids, as one of the publication's senior editors discusses the dilemma she faces trying to encourage her own husky son to get in shape. It's worth a listen; please let us know what you think.

WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT OUR SOCIETY (OK, ABOUT US) WHEN WE READ THE HEADLINE, "GIRL SCOUT LEADER CHARGED," AND END UP RELIEVED THAT ALL SHE DID WAS STEAL THE COOKIE-SALE MONEY?

A Girl Scout leader has been charged with stealing $5,000 raised by a central Ohio troop through cookie sales and other fund-raisers. . . . “Five thousand dollars is a lot of Thin Mints,” Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost said.

Geez. Good luck finding a sympathetic jury.

FOR BETTER OR WORSE, THE FUTURE

Pearson PLC imprint Scott Foresman has shocked the textbook industry by capturing nearly half the California elementary-school market with its technology-based social-studies program. (Full disclosure: We had a hand in producing one of its competitor's programs.)

What began as a long-shot attempt last year. . .to sell California educators digital materials to teach social studies has become reality in what could be the first large-scale step to eliminate books from classrooms. . . . about half the state's elementary school students will learn about the American Revolutionary War and Thomas Jefferson using an interactive computer program. Chief Financial Officer Robin Freestone [said,] "It's a major breakthrough. . . We managed to launch something for schools that didn't need a book."

The rest of the industry, Reuters goes on to report, is expected to scramble to catch up (full disclosure, etc., etc.), and probably will do so, as there's no proprietary technology involved. But parents of today's preschoolers should expect their kids to bring home plenty of non-book-based school materials in the near future, and if that troubles them (as it probably should), they should speak up now.

August 3, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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