Thursday, October 31, 2002

HYPERSENSITIVE COLLEGE LIBERALS: The University of Tennessee's chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity was suspended last week in a stupendously absurd decision to protect all the University's other students from being subjected to the insensitivity of students who would dare to dress up like the Jackson 5 in an air guitar contest. According to the report, "last week's appearance of Kappa Sigma members in blackface was insensitive and offensive to those who work tirelessly to improve the climate of understanding and diversity on campus." I can't bear to think of how many people will be deeply offended tonight by the insensitive mockery of children all over the United States dressed up as someone they're not.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Despite the arrests, many mysteries remain, including the motive for the attacks. The pair had been living in Washington state, and it is unclear why they allegedly chose to make the Washington, D.C., area their shooting range. Their relationship is also unclear, and it is unknown whether one or both are suspected of having pulled the trigger in the attacks. -- WaPo.
Why would anyone attack the greater D.C. area? I mean, why of all places would you attack the nation's capital? That's about as farfetched as attacking New York City. I wonder if the FBI has determined yet whether these men traveled to the D.C. area intending to kill? I don't know. It might take a long time to figure that one out.

Monday, October 21, 2002

KIDDIE MUSIC: My son loves music, which means I rarely get to listen to NPR in the car any more, but I guess that's one of the sacrifices you make as a parent. (And at least I don't have to listen to Daniel Schorr.) Usually we play whatever music I'm in the mood for, which results in my three-year old absurdly crooning that he is a "man of constant sorrow" or admonishing "Tom Dooley" to "hang down his head and cry." But sometimes we have to listen to kids' music. As any parent knows, most music marketed to children in wretched, especially when sung by children. Most parents, me included, ooh and ahh at their own children's off-key singing, but listening to someone else's children sing is more than most people can stand for long and stay sane. (Somewhat analogous rules apply to changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, and nursing: for my children, yes; for your children, no way.) For several months we suffered from prolonged exposure to Wee Sing America (which at least played patriotic music) because it was the only thing that kept my son happy in the car. Finally, in desperation, I went in search of kids' music we both could enjoy. I've now found three albums that meet my criteria, which are: (a) my son asks to listen to them; and (b) I don't lose my mind when he does again, and again, and again .... These godsends are: Capitol Sings Kids' Songs For Grownups, The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides, and No! by They Might Be Giants. Squeamish parents beware: some of these songs revel in the earthy side of childhood, like "Godfrey the Sickly, Unemployed, Amateur Children's Magician" (it involves making a root beer float with stuff from inside of Godfrey's throat; Godfrey ends up in a strait jacket), or "Don't Wipe Your Face on Your Shirt" (Dad's worried about what the neighbors will think if they see his sons with mucus on their shirts). Of course, your kids will love them.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES: We have one of those Russian matryoshka (nesting) dolls depicting Russian leaders from Tsar Nicholas through Boris Yeltsin, which our son loves playing with. Boris, the largest doll, got dropped and cracked at some point, but the rest of the dolls are fair game for toddler play. We've taught him to say that Stalin "was a wicked man" because "he killed lots of people." But he's learned even more than we realized: yesterday, he came up to me and said, "Mama, Boris Yeltsin is a broken man."
POST-MODERNISM DEFINED! "[U]nreadable, jargon-clotted theory-sophistry ...," as in "Goodbye to the deluded and pathetic sophistry of postmodernists of the Left, who believe their unreadable, jargon-clotted theory-sophistry somehow helps liberate the wretched of the earth. If they really believe in serving the cause of liberation, why don’t they quit their evil-capitalist-subsidized jobs and go teach literacy in a Third World starved for the insights of Foucault?" -- Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer, p.1, October 14, 2002.
SEWANEE FLUFF PIECE: As a graduate of a small, not-widely-known university, the University of the South (aka Sewanee), I'm usually thrilled when my alma mater or one of its alumni gets mentioned in a national publication. It's been especially fun to follow the film career of a one recent Sewanee alumnus in magazines like US and People (even if his career path briefly crossed that of Britney Spears). But this recent write up of Sewanee in Newsweek made me shudder -- and not with excitement -- both because the author thinks the best thing he learned at Sewanee was how to get schnockered like a "gentleman," and because Newsweek would publish such a poorly written fluff piece. This fluff piece doesn't do credit to either institution.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

THE NEWEST ADAMS: Philippa Jane Adams was born at 4:56 p.m. on Saturday, September 28, 2002, weighing eight pounds, four ounces and measuring nineteen and one-half inches long. She's doing great and so am I, though I never thought breastfeeding would be as difficult for the first fews days with a second child as it was with the first. Her big brother is absolutely wonderful as well and hasn't wanted to give her away yet.
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