51s2a704b3l_aa240_AND NOW, HERE'S MORE ON THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE'S
HIDDEN SURPRISES (LIKE LEAD PAINT)

Slate piles on the RC2 Corporation, makers (well, offshorers) of Thomas the Tank Engine toys, with an Explainer column detailing the kind of product testing they apparently did not do before shipping the lead-painted trains from Chinese factories to American stores.

THIS IS THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY. THANK YOU FOR RIDING WITH US—OH, AND NO FAT CHICKS

The ever-prolific Lynn Harris, a longtime friend of FD.com, writes on Babble this week about her lingering resentment that so few of her fellow New Yorkers gave up their subway seats for her last summer while she was waddling about town eight months enceinte. The article sounded eerily familiar to us here, because Loving Mother expressed the same complaint throughout her three pregnancies, down to this exact observation of Harris':

Now, for some even more puzzling nuance. If anyone did offer a seat — which did happen, on days when there was a partial eclipse, a unicorn sighting, and alternate-side parking suspended — or when, finally, I started asking ("Would anyone mind offering me a place to sit?") — the Samaritans appeared in this order of likelihood:

    1. an older woman
    2. a younger woman
    3. a man of color
A white man? Not on the list. Didn't happen. Not once.

By the way, Freelance Dad gives up his seat for pregnant women all the time—especially if we're riding with Loving Mother, and if we're fairly certain that no one else in the car is going to give us their seat first, and if we're not this close to the end of our book. . . Hey, let's move on, what say?

 

61lj34gmyl_aa240_LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A RELEASE DATE!

Our long national nightmare is almost over. The Complete Muppet Show: Season Two DVD will be released on. . . August 7! The package (left) features all 24 episodes, on 4 discs, plus bonus features. Guest hosts include Julie Andrews, Rudolf Nureyev, Jaye P. Morgan, Peter Sellers, John Cleese, and our all-time favorite, Zero Mostel. Also: Look for a Very Special Episode featuring Edgar Bergen.

Book it on Amazon or your favorite online retailer now.

FINALLY, THE ARTICLE YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR (IF YOU'RE FELLOW'S MOTHER)

The Village Voice goes out on a limb this week to answer the question, "Gay adults like to say they were born that way. So where are the gay children?" Fellow's mom would say maybe one of them is living right here at FD.com headquarters. (We're reserving judgment.) However, the Voice article doesn't quite answer the question of Where the Mini-Gays Are, or how to spot them. Also, for our money, the piece gets sidetracked by an oddly bitter-sounding debate about whether to label effeminate boys transgender or gay. ("Rather than go ahead and acknowledge that a kid might be gay, adults these days are quicker to suggest that a dress-wearing Daniel or dragon-slaying Tamika was born in the wrong body.")

Anyway, the piece does have a little fun with the Little Red Schoolhouse before it trails off:

. . . . Whether they're saying they're gay or just embodying elements of a gay sensibility, kids who seem so queer so young thoroughly unnerve parents and educators from every walk of life. Parents come to the LGBT Community Center worried about their kids' sissy behavior. Others fret that they've "gayed" their own children.

[Elaine] Winter, the Little Red principal, is reluctant to talk about whether her kindergartners might be gay. "I would never make a presumption like that," she says. "What a child does at four may be different from what a child does at six." This is coming from one of the most progressive educators in New York, the head of a school that actively supports LGBT-headed families, encourages its youngest children to explore nontraditional gender roles, and has a float in the Pride Parade.

The school's director of diversity, Sharon Dupree, a lesbian, is more comfortable talking about the sexual orientations of her students. "Some young people four or five years old might be aware that something is different," Dupree says. "But they don't have the language at that point, or the knowledge, to express that difference. They might say, 'I want to be a lesbian because I want to be best friends with Lisa,' but they're not connecting it with sexuality."

June 21, 2007 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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