Butterfly Art Barbie’s huge honkin’ tattoo isn’t new

30 04 2009


Barely nineteen-year-old Favorite Daughter is graduating with a perfect grade point average and all sorts of scholarships and honors Saturday night, before starting upper division classes in her major at FSU May 11. But is she thinking about that? No, she is not. She is thinking about a tattooed Barbie doll she couldn’t live without when she was nine.

So this is not new and not news!

FavD in a new blog essay blows her mother’s theories (not to mention memories) of what in retrospect must’ve been a key child-rearing moment but seemed like mere child’s play at the time, all to hell — and all in an alluring, plastic-footed shopping basket.

And her poor mom has the feeling this cognitive dissonance in our divergent perception of shared family reality isn’t just temporary, like a doll’s toy tattoo, but a new permanent reality for mom to live with, ack!. . . 😉

Can You Go All Day Without Hitting a Child?

30 04 2009

Stop Every Kid Hitter You Can — Teach ‘Em a Lesson!

April 30 is Spank Out Day, which you likely know if you read at Snook, Bore Me to Tears, Deanne’s, Doc’s, Daryl’s, COD’s . . .for example, the gentle, devout and seldom-political D wrote a post last year that in our present tortured identity crisis as a nation, breaking our own sternest rules to justify literal torture and then escape ITS prescribed punishment, is ever more ironically true:

I am amazed at how blind people are to the dire ramifications of hitting children. Where is the public outcry for this?! Where are all the support ribbons on the cars? I’m just not seeing it.

What I do see is a more violent, angry world than the one in which I grew up. I see a world where people feel the need to carry concealed weapons to work. I see a world where families are so disconnected that teenagers are sent to boot camps where they are further abused and sometimes killed. Can anyone really deny that we are perpetuating and endorsing the lesson of “might makes right” when we rule over our children using physical punishment?

On Christianity, Fundamentalism, Spanking and what
constitutes Child Abuse

This also is the time we annually observe the National Day of Reason, which last year was one day after Spank Out Day, May 1, and this year falls on May 7 (it’s always the first Thursday of May.) So come, let us reason together. . .about spanking and abuse, about human belief and behavior and all their truth and consequences, private and public, personal and universal.

Does this mean child beating has become both corporal and capital punishment?

And then there is “school” —

. . .In the old days, they were unregulated, run in many cases as private idiosyncratic fiefs. Punishments were meted out for the slimmest of reasons, often at the whim of sadistic teachers; and, according to former students and teachers, many schools Read the rest of this entry »

President Obama: Two Pictures Worth a Hundred Days

29 04 2009

My two favorite photos of the First Hundred Days:



Time Isn’t Your Problem, Glenn Beck

28 04 2009

As Anti-Abortion Irrationals Block Sebelius Despite Lives at Risk:

Fox News commentator Glenn Beck says “Whoa Nellie” on acting too fast.

“There’s no need to go all Tim Geithner here and confirm people just because a crisis is looming,” he said. “This government likes to push things through so you don’t have time to think.”

After years of listening to his “thinking” and dedicating my own thinking to trying very hard to understand his, it’s clear to me: time isn’t what he and his audience need, to think any better.

And all the time in the world can’t help me understand why actual human lives don’t matter in “pro-life” thinking. . .

Young Son’s Pipe Band Kilt, as Promised

27 04 2009






Remember I showed you a close-up of his “sporran” last week?  Young Son’s pipe major has been impressing upon him that the whole outfit is a military uniform, so just for fun, I checked out the official U.S. Coast Guard Pipe Band Uniform regulations for an example of how one properly wears this intriguing item about which none of us ever learned in school! Read the rest of this entry »

Computer Program to Take on Jeopardy

27 04 2009

If we don’t really know how to teach kids like humans, maybe we can at least teach computers like humans? 😉

Computer Program to Take On Jeopardy:

I.B.M. plans to announce Monday that it is in the final stages of completing a computer program to compete against human “Jeopardy!” contestants. If the program beats the humans, the field of artificial intelligence will have made a leap forward.

I.B.M. scientists previously devised a chess-playing program to run on a supercomputer called Deep Blue. That program beat the world champion Garry Kasparov in a controversial 1997 match (Mr. Kasparov called the match unfair and secured a draw in a later one against another version of the program).

But chess is a game of limits, with pieces that have clearly defined powers. “Jeopardy!” requires a program with the suppleness to weigh an almost infinite range of relationships and to make subtle comparisons and interpretations. . .

“The big goal is to get computers to be able to converse in human terms,” said the team leader, David A. Ferrucci, an I.B.M. artificial intelligence researcher. “And we’re not there yet.”

Purdue U for Understatement? One for COD and Meg

27 04 2009

“Mr. Karpicke, of Purdue, agrees that scholars should be sensitive to real-world complexities. ”


Seriously, this is for all Thinking Parents, not just to pick on Purdue but on all college professors, so lofty in their scholarly certainty about what students (literally, studiers) should be doing and how they should be doing it . . .if the masters don’t really know, is College just some elaborate professional hazing ritual, some sort of scholastic alchemy? Read the rest of this entry »

Jason Bay best trade evah??

25 04 2009

Sure looks good to me!


Happy Birthday, Strunk & White

25 04 2009

Cue the music and release the balloons for the half-century celebration of E. B. White’s revision of his English professor’s original Elements of Style, all decked out in a new golden anniversary edition.

NYT’s Room for Debate blog invited a shortlist of honored guests to pay tribute (but what a churlish, surly bunch, not one appreciative admirer in the bunch, methinks they oughtn’t be invited back!):

“”If people would stop touting it as the Indispensable Book and using it as a weapon, we wouldn’t have to annoy them with our attacks.”

* Geoffrey K. Pullum, professor of linguistics
* Patricia T. O’Conner, grammarphobia.com
* Stephen Dodson, languagehat.com
* Ben Yagoda, professor of English
* Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl

One shudders to imagine how such company would behave should Miss Manners include them in her golden anniversary observance . . .

Nursery University

24 04 2009

I’ll let Snook’s regular commenters have a crack at this before adding my own thoughts:

“Nursery University”
First Preschool, Then the Ivy League
Published: April 24, 2009

Following five Manhattan families as they navigate the cutthroat competition for elite nursery school spots for their pampered progeny

. . .The movie’s educators and “application consultants” ($4,000 for seven meetings, thank you very much) may debunk the belief that these schools are essential for the Ivy League bound, but try telling that to the frazzled parents. Anxiously speed-dialing for applications and preparing for the all-important family interviews (“Tell them you like the New York Times crossword puzzle,” one father jokingly advises his winsome toddler), otherwise sane adults succumb to anger and frustration.

“We’re used to getting what we set out to get,” says Heidi, an entrepreneur determined to save her son, Jackson, from “a public school in Harlem.”

Cut to Harlem, where the Ragoonath family, immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago, share Heidi’s determination, if not her ability to finance it. Read the rest of this entry »

Gators in the White House — AGAIN!

23 04 2009


It’s not quite Susan Boyle but here’s a feel-good video from the White House Public Liaison Office, ending with President Obama saying, “Give it up for . . . the Gators!”

Barack Obama receives a Florida football jersey while hosting the reigning college football national champions. Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images

Tim Tebow and Company:

The national champion Gators are headed to Washington, D.C., where they will meet with President Obama at the White House on Thursday. Sen. Bill Nelson extended the invitation at halftime of the game. The Gators also went after winning the national championship in 1996 and 2006. . .

If your state is currently debating a “Tim Tebow” sports participation law for homeschoolers, or if you just bleed orange and blue, see also:

Homeschooled into the Heisman?

Did I Mention, GO GATORS?!

Education, or Championship of Tax Dodges, in BCS?


Florida head coach Urban Meyer hugs quarterback Tim Tebow just before the trophy presentation after the Gators defeated the Sooners 24-14 for the the BCS National Championship, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 at Dolphin Stadium.  JOE RIMKUS JR. / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Florida head coach Urban Meyer hugs quarterback Tim Tebow just before the trophy presentation after the Gators defeated the Sooners 24-14 for the the BCS National Championship, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 at Dolphin Stadium. JOE RIMKUS JR. / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Tebow, Spikes Will Fight Complacency for Three-Peat

Restraint and Seclusion: School Is Not Supposed to Hurt

22 04 2009

For Mrs. C and for Thinking Parents everywhere: Restraint, Seclusion of Students Attracting New Scrutiny

One way to address the issue, he said, would be to require debriefing after each incident “with the idea that our programming is not working if we need to restrain or seclude kids. So what can we do to change what we’re doing?”

Read the report in pdf form here: School is not supposed to hurt