Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Now THAT'S What I Call "Fighting Irish"

As I try to avoid any stereotypes, I report that a recent study concluded that one third of Irish parents would like the right to smack their kids around.

The government has been trying to ban corporal punishment for a while, which would probably be like banning excessive alcohol consumption. (Note: I would have written that part even if it weren't about Ireland. Probably.)

My brother and I were hit when we were kids, and when Mom would threaten to smash our heads together or put us through a wall, we truly believed that those things could happen. (Fortunately, they didn't.)

Despite the occasional tight wrist-grab-in-anger, I haven't had any inclination to smack or slap or spank the kids. To be honest, a large factor, besides the big-person-beating-on-a-little-person thing, is the fact that hurting the kids really would make the short-term situation worse than it already it. "I'll give you a reason to cry," is a phrase I heard often, and it really didn't make much sense then, even though the idea floats into my head during some of the more recent whiny moments.

Because, let's not forget the wisdom of children, also in evidence in the poll "Children respondents believe that smacking stopped bad or dangerous behaviour but had no long term positive effects."

No kidding.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Morning Video Welcome: "None Some All"

Good morning! I doubt that kids have trouble understanding the concept of some versus all versus none, but just in case, Jim Henson — as the 1970s version of Bip Bippadotta — is ready, with the assistance of several well-known Muppets, to help.

A couple of my favorite characters (like Guy Smiley and a round blue-faced guy from the "fat blue" Muppet family) appear, though they don't say anything, and Cookie Monster finds a way to steal the show,

Was anyone else frightened a bit, especially at a young, when Bip bops right into the camera at the very end? Still freaks me out!

Friday, June 25, 2010

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Cartoons for Everybody!

If you haven't heard about it already, a number of blogs are blog-reacting to an article in the Wall Street Journal that claims that "good parenting is less work and more fun than people think."

The nuggets of wisdom from the author, Bryan Caplan, an economist, include "Parents also strive to turn their children into smart and happy adults, but behavioral geneticists find little or no evidence that their effort pays off" and "Once you realize that your kids' future largely rests in their own hands, you can give yourself a guilt-free break."

I'll admit that I don't read as often to my kids as I should. In fact, sometimes (OK, a lot of times) I'll lay in bed with them and watch a cartoon on YouTube instead of a round of Dr. Seuss. Granted, I try to show them the classics, like a Looney Tunes favorite or one of Tex Avery's best, so in my mind it's an education...uh, of sorts.

I occasionally feel guilty about this, but now, thanks to Bryan Caplan, I can rejoice:
If you enjoy reading with your children, wonderful. But if you skip the nightly book, you’re not stunting their intelligence, ruining their chances for college or dooming them to a dead-end job. The same goes for the other dilemmas that weigh on parents' consciences. Watching television, playing sports, eating vegetables, living in the right neighborhood: Your choices have little effect on your kids' development, so it’s OK to relax. In fact, relaxing is better for the whole family. Riding your kids "for their own good" rarely pays off, and it may hurt how your children feel about you.
Meanwhile, Caplan argues that you shouldn't be afraid of having more kids. Of course, if we went beyond two children, we'd (a) have nowhere to put the new one(s) (unless we crammed them into the already tiny bedrooms, (b) Jenn and I would — no matter how much reading or how many cartoons were washed — go insane, and (c) one of the kids would have to be sold.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Morning Video Welcome: "It's the Plumber..."

Here's yet another one of those "if you're around my age you've seen this one and now it's stuck in your brain again" videos.

This one is from the old Electric Company, which I never quite enjoyed as much as Sesame Street. The story is, the plumber drops by to fix the sink, and a parrot sends him into cardiac arrest.

The part I love best is how they actually show the guy convulse and collapse, complete with the X's for eyeballs. And they say today's cartoons are violent!

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Also Known as "Smelly Dad's Day"

I haven't worn cologne since college, and that was only because my brother handed me a jug of Benetton because everyone was a Polo man back then.

The only other time I wore anything perfume-y was in ninth or tenth grade, when my parents bought us small bottles of English Leather for Christmas, and I applied too much, and Cindy Silverman, who was like four lockers away, was all, "Ew, are you wearing cologne?," which compelled me to pour the rest down the drain.

When I was re-gifted that Benetton juice, I applied it very sparingly — just a damp fingertip's worth. When I either lost or ran out of the stuff, I never wore cologne again. To me, cologne is for guys going to the club or men who are old enough to grow a decent mustache, but apparently it's still a viable Father's Day gift. (Not too many dads are hitting the clubs.)

Fortunately, my kids haven't bought me (that is, my Jenn buying on their behalf) any cologne yet. But if they want to buy me a tie, I have no problem with that. I wear ties. Just include a return receipt.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just in Time for Father's Day!

In case you'd forgotten what a wonderful dad Joe Jackson was to his children, the man half-responsible for giving the world Latoya has finally solved the mystery of who killed Michael.

It was his wife, Katherine!

At least that's what he told News of the World. He probably first accused Tito until the newspaper paid him enough to point the finger at his spouse.

He told the paper, "I said [to Katherine] this would have never happened if you had went and been with him."

Maybe Joe is right. Maybe plenty of things wouldn't have happened to Michael if only Katherine had been with him. Maybe Michael wouldn't have been addicted to painkillers. Maybe Michael wouldn't have had questionable relationships with boys. Maybe Michael would have had a normal childhood, rather than an abnormal arrested development. Maybe Michael wouldn't have been beaten all the time by his own father.

Maybe none of this would have happened to Michael if Katherine had been with him. But maybe none of it would have happened to Michael if Joe wasn't with him.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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Monday, June 14, 2010

When the Shoes Can House Goldfish, It's Time to Worry

Take a look at this photo.

This is Suri Cruise. She's, like, 4 years old or something. Does her choice (that is, her mom's or dad's, or Xenu's choice) of footwear bother you? If it does, you're not alone.

Personally, I think the whole getup is kinda strange. What offends my eye most is the fact that the bag and the clothes do not match, not to mention that Suri seems to be dressed not like a preschooler, but a midget.

Sure, Suri likes to wear heels, as this photo I stole from the Just Jared site proves:

I'm more impressed than outraged over the high-heels-on-toddlers thing, considering my own daughter has trouble navigating in a pair of Crocs.

Monday Morning Video Welcome: The Mirror Scene From Duck Soup

[I just noticed I posted this clip back in November, when the whole family was feeling sick. We're feeling better now, but I have no regrets about posting this clip again. It never gets old.]

Good morning! As most of us know, while jokes can become stale and dated, sometimes funny is funny, even if it's nearly 80 years old.

And I'm not talking about Grandpa.

Duck Soup is considered the best of the Marx Brothers films (some would argue in favor of A Night at the Opera). The plot of the film is irrelevant to enjoy this clip, one of the more famous movie scenes in history. Harpo (I believe it's Harpo, not Chico) is dressed as Groucho, with cap, pajamas, and mustache, and breaks a large mirror while fleeing his doppelganger. Groucho investigates, and a silent, brilliantly choreographed hilarity ensures. [Spoiler alert: Chico eventually shows up and ruins the fun.]

I often sift through YouTube for things that have made me laugh as a kid, hoping that my kids share the same sense of humor. And sometimes they do, and maybe they'll pass along this clip to their kids on their thin-as-a-hair iPads or whatever my grandkids'll be using.

And the circle of comedy continues.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Maybe I Can Make My Toddler a Champion Competitive Eater

Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old trying to set a world record as the youngest girl to sail around the world, is currently missing. Obviously, we hope she's safe.

Whenever I read about some overachieving whiz kid prodigy, most of the feelings I get are negative. Jealous that I never had that kind of success and that it's not my kid taming the stock market at age 8 or launching a successful clothing line at age 2. Inadequate as a parent in that I should be doing whatever I can to give my kids a head start over their peers, and I haven't forced a golf club into the womb or played six different Rosetta Stone CDs in their cribs while they slept. Resentful that my parents were like the 99% of other parents who raised their kids to be normal kids. Worried that I'm already sending my kids down a path of perceived mediocrity.

But anyway, even though I don't understand the point of being the youngest girl to sail around the world, I still hope the girl is safe.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Mother Said, "Spoohw!"

Here's a little tale of caution. A woman wanted to name her kid "Nevaeh," which (sigh) is "Heaven" spelled backward and an increasingly popular name for reasons I just don't quite understand.

(That is, I understand that you want to name your kid "heaven-spelled-backward" but I don't know why anyone would want to do that. Seriously, just name the kid "Heaven," which is bad enough without flipping the script. Would you name your kid Epoh or Evol? Granted, those two words sound like names for Ewoks, but "Nevaeh" belongs in the sequel to Avatar.)

I digress. Anyway, this mother explains that she was afraid that people would mispronounce the name, which is really just a made-up name in the first place, so she went even further down the "make my kid's name as special as she undoubtedly is" road by tagging the baby with an alternate spelling of the name.

Say hello to baby Nevae.

Putting aside my objections to the whole thing, I actually think her desired pronunciation, neh-VAY, is achieved with this spelling, but she claims, "Now everyone completely mispronounces it." (She doesn't explain how.) The likely problem is that "ae" thing going on, which looks much like a seldom-used ligature that can be pronounced a few different ways.

But let's be real here: Lady, you not only gave your kid a moronically trendy name, you also changed the spelling so it no longer spells the original word backward anymore!

Unless, when you die, you plan to go to Eaven. Read more...

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Morning Video Welcome: Billy Boy

Good morning! Today's video is a classic Tex Avery cartoon that is quite memorable not because of the omnivorous goat, but of the Daws Butler-voiced, pre-Huckleberry Hound wolf character with the peculiar speech impediment.

Friday, June 4, 2010

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Take Me to Your Leader, I Mean Father

If you're looking for a new set of parenting hints, Wired's list of tips based on sci-fi cliches is as good as any.

I don't watch a whole lot of sci-fi (or SyFy, for that matter), but I have a feeling that Jackson will be getting into it as he gets older. He's already into Ben 10, which is a show that I don't think would have been on my top 5 list at his age.

Jackson's almost the same age I was when i first saw Star Wars, so I'm looking forward to showing him at least the original trilogy. I haven't really watched any of the films since he was born, so I'm curious how I'll interpret all the daddy issues, now that I'm a dad myself.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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