WE'VE WRITTEN TURNER NETWORK OURSELVES, DEMANDING THAT IT STOP AIRING ALL EPISODES OF "CHARMED" THAT GLAMORIZE DANGEROUSLY BAD ACTING. BUT IT HASN'T DONE A THING

Images_4 Yet one complaint from a British viewer of Turner's semi-classic cartoon network, Boomerang, about cigarette and cigar use in a pair of old "Tom and Jerry" episodes, led the company to scour more than 1,500 old toons, including Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, to eliminate scenes that "glamorize smoking." (Is there ANY scene involving Shaggy that doesn't glamorize smoking in some way?)

There have been no recent complaints about anvil-dropping, cat-skinning, or dynamite-tossing, so other than the episodes featuring smoking, the remainder of the Tom and Jerry oeuvre remains intact.

THE DAY-CARE CENTER HAS RELOCATED TO THE SITE OF AN OLD INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, WHERE THERE SHOULD BE NO TROUBLE AT ALL

Fascinating story in the Times the other day about a New Jersey day-care center that was, incredibly, built on the site of an old mercury-thermometer factory, and the long chain of finger-pointing and irresponsibility that led to kids spending their days at a toxic site no one had ever cleaned up, which is especially troubling given that "mercury vapors are heavier than air and therefore more prevalent near the floor, where children nap and play." Here's a sample:

The state's Division of Youth and Family Services, which licenses day care centers, has also been criticized for not discovering the site on the environmental department's public list of contaminated areas. But Kate Bernyk, a spokeswoman, said the division was not required to check that list, and is required to ensure only that day care centers are free of lead, asbestos and radon gas, not mercury.

WINNING ISN'T EVERYTHING - IT'S THE WRONG THING

Romney1_195 If you're like us, you pay little attention to the uplifting stories of the scrappy young stars of the Little League Series, which concludes tonight. But there was one recent Little League incident worth noting:

Back in June, in Bountiful, Utah, the championship game of the Mueller Park Mustang 10-and-under league came down to (inevitably) the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Red Sox had a player, Romney Oaks, whose growth was seriously stunted by a malignant cranial tumor at the age of 4. The frail player had only collected a couple of hits all season and was required to wear a batting helmet in the outfield. But, still, he's the kind of inspiring youth sports story you often hear about on Primetime or 20/20. So in the final inning of the championship game, the Red Sox, down by one, had the tying run on third base with two outs, and their best hitter coming up. So, if you're the Yankee coach - and you happen to be a complete tool - what's your strategy? That's right - intentionally walk the tough hitter to get to overmatched little Romney Oaks, who, with tears in his eyes, meekly struck out to end his team's season.

This article from espn.com got a variety of responses to the Utah scenario from coaches and players inside and outside of Little League, and many of them agreed with the Yankee coach's move - after all, the Red Sox did put Oaks in the lineup. But many also thought that there must have been a third way - like, if you're going to walk the other team's best hitter, then walk Oaks, too, and let the next guy up decide the game.

But our favorite reply was from Mark Pearson, a 12-year-old pitcher for New Hampshire's Little League World Series entry. What would he do if his opponent's best hitter cam to the plate with Romney Oaks on deck?

"Well," he said, a smile spreading across his face. "I'd just strike him out -- then I wouldn't have to worry about it."

SLATE TO NUT ALLERGY KIDS: DROP DEAD

We're sure that Emily Bazelon thought that her recent piece about "overbroad" institutional responses to children's peanut allergies would be thought-provoking and counterintuitive. And it is. Which is about the best that can be said for it.

At the risk of sounding heartless and bratty, though, let me try to make the case for better-calibrated, more-moderated responses to nut allergies. Parents who ask for more accommodation than their kids really need do a disservice, I think, by making the rest of us unsure of when we need to strictly comply. It's a form of crying wolf. Or at least that's how it has felt to me on occasion. One summer, my older son Eli, then 4, got sent home from preschool with a stern note, because the granola bar I'd given him for a snack was made at a factory that processed other products that contain tree nuts. The next day I sent Eli with a plastic baggie full of cheese crackers made by Annie's, the organic pasta company. Their factory stamped out organic macaroni and crackers, I thought—no nuts.

But the father of the boy in the class with the nut allergy wasn't so sure. He asked me to take the crackers home. I'm sure this seemed like a minor concession to him. But to me, it seemed unfair and a little ridiculous. My son and his son didn't sit at the same snack table. They'd never shared food. His son's allergy had never been triggered by airborne particles, and it was no longer particularly serious. And if I couldn't give Eli his crackers, then he wouldn't have a snack. For the second day in a row. So, there was a cost, however small, for doing as asked.

I left the crackers with Eli. They provoked no allergic reaction in his preschool classmate. When I got home that night, I checked the Annie's box. There was the telltale warning: "Produced in a facility that also manufactures products containing peanuts and tree nuts." So, what's the moral of this story—that I'm inconsiderate, or a reasonable risk-taker?

Um, the moral is that you're inconsiderate. Next question?

IF IT SEEMS LIKE WE ARE REFERRING YOU TO THE JEWISH WEEK EVERY FEW WEEKS TO READ YET ANOTHER ARTICLE ABOUT PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN HOLOCAUST RESCUERS WHOSE STORIES YOU SHOULD SHARE WITH YOUR OLDER CHILDREN, WELL, THAT'S BECAUSE WE ARE

301_left The little-known story of how a Unitarian couple from Boston risked their lives to spirit Jews out of Nazi-occupied Europe is gaining a new urgency.



A FEW THOUGHTS FROM DAY #3 OF CHILD #3

Images_3 - We don't anyone to get alarmed, but Little Guy is very possibly a Vampire Baby. He sucks our neck with abandon, he sleeps only during the day - never at night, and the smell of garlic repels him.

- Fellow and Tiny have found the funniest comedy routine in history. It goes like this: When the baby cries, each of them copies the baby, pretending to cry, and doing their best to mimic his volume and tone. It's really quite hilarious, it cracks them both up. Yeah, they're adorable. We're really going to miss them after we ship them off to the Citadel.

- We're the father of three now, and, as we've perhaps protested too much, we're not one of the "crazy parents." And yet. Yesterday, we let Little Guy and Loving Mother share some nap time by taking Fellow and Tiny on some errands, and then to our hair salon, where we sat them down in the waiting area (at the front of the shop, with a door open to the street) with a couple of black and white cookies as we got a much-overdue trim.  But when we were led to the seat where we'd get our cut, we realized that the kids were too far away, and perpendicular to us. As much as we tried to work our peripheral vision, they were in a total blind spot. And it was noisy in the shop. And there was that open door. And, we'll tell you, as calm as we are, as confident that we've properly taught them how to sit and wait and not run into the street, it was about the most stressful haircut we've ever had. The good news was the kids were still there when we were done - and the hairdresser did a great job trimming our eyebrows.

NOW THAT WE HAVE THREE CHILDREN, WE'RE GOING TO DO ALL WE CAN TO KEEP FROM HAVING A FOURTH. TO THAT END, FROM NOW ON WE'RE GOING TO KEEP THIS STORY FRESH IN OUR MIND EVERY NIGHT WHEN WE CLIMB INTO BED

60 Puppies die in Mass. tractor-trailer fire

August 28, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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