At last a website that understands the way that I think. Superlinguo has a post suggesting alternative names for everyday things [^]; bread is raw toast, and kittens are cat puppies. That all makes way more sense, and confuses people a little bit.
There is another let children be children article in the LA Times, by Rosa Brooks:
All in all, “going out to play” worked out well for kids. As the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg testified to Congress in 2006, “Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles. … Play helps children develop new competencies … and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges.” But here’s the catch: Those benefits aren’t realized when some helpful adult is hovering over kids the whole time. Remember ‘go outside and play?’ – Los Angeles Times.
Sure there are risks, but as Rosa points out, what about the risk of heart attacks and other obesity related health problems in these house-bound children. The other thing that spring to mind is we have very vocal people in our society upset about cage-bound, battery farm chickens – but there is only a small a relatively unheard group speaking up for children!
Is this a sign that there is something wrong in society?
No Ball Games
About a year ago I posted a link to an article in Orion Magazine about getting children out into the great outdoors. Well I have just stumbled across a whole website devoted to the same topic, FreeRangeKids [^]. This site is written by another American, Lenore Skenazy, a New Yorker no less!
A furore erupted when Lenore wrote an article in The New York Sun about leaving her 9 year-old son in downtown New York to find his own way home in broad daylight:
Half the people I’ve told this episode to now want to turn me in for child abuse. As if keeping kids under lock and key and helmet and cell phone and nanny and surveillance is the right way to rear kids. It’s not. It’s debilitating — for us and for them. FreeRangeKids [^]
As Lenore points out that in 2006 115 children were abducted in America, out of a population of 300 million! Now don’t get me wrong, the fact that 115 kids were abducted is still 115 too high; but there is a greater chance of being struck by lightning.
With almost continuous media coverage of these events, like the Madeliene McCann disappearance, this very small possibility remains at the top of everyone’s minds. We take precautions to avoid being struck by lightning, and we should look after out kids – but don’t wrap them in bubble-wrap! There needs to be a point where parental responsibility and independent thinking by the child meet.
Frankly, I’m intrigued! Who in their right mind came up with the idea of cupcakes made with beer? But by the look of it they are going to worth a go sometime. Apparently this is a slight adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe, which uses Guinness in the sponge mixture and cream cheese icing.
Big City, Little Kitchen – Beer Cupcakes! [^]
No it’s not mediaeval battle amour that I don’t like, it’s the sort that can clog-up your inbox. It can range from the sickeningly sweet to vitriolic all in the one document.
I know that chain letters pre-date the internet and email, and probably even chain mail. The only way of dealing with it is the same as we would a virus – send it to digital purgatory. It is everyone’s duty to break the chain, and save your friends some bandwidth.
The sentiment in this one, the Irish friendship wish, is laudable enough. There is no threat of terrible consequences for failing to forward it (in this version), and the promise of good luck, etc if you do. The sentiment would be even nicer without the tacky how much luck, and how fast you get it at the end. If you really care about someone enough to send this go and buy them a fridge magnet, or a T-Shirt (with “been there, done that, got the t-shirt!” printed on the back). If you do think that it will brighten-up a friend’s day do that person a favour and trim the crap off of it first! Remember the Golden Rule [W] – “do to others what you would have them do to you.”
The Urban Legend website has a nice spin on this email here [^], with an in-depth analysis of each line of the “wish”. Sophos [^], the anti-virus and -spam vendor has another version of this email and advice that: “Forwarding unsolicited chain letters wastes time and bandwidth.” Sound advice indeed!
Oh, did you want to read it? Sorry I’m not going to post it, it has already polluted the internet enough, I am not even going to link to it!