Saturday, June 30, 2007

A New Low: Part II

Behold the Fruit Loop straw:

Kellogg's Cereal Straws are straws lined with powdered sugar-cereal dust that kids can drink milk through. It makes the milk taste like the sludge left at the bottom of a cereal bowl.

And the thin line between child and garbage receptacle continues to erode.

A New Low: Part I

A new low in celebrity baby obsession: Celebrity Baby Blog marks the debut of Henry Daniel Moder's hand.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

An idea whose time has come?

The "Entitlement Slayers." Says the founder of this high-concept career counseling firm:

This is a generation...who have heard, from the moment they came out of the womb, that they are great and can do whatever they want. These kids have been helped, coddled, nurtured, told that they can do no wrong. We give them a dose of reality.

Of course, this "dose of reality" comes at a cost: $3,250. So parents shell over thousands of dollars to readjust their over-entitled children's sense of entitlement. Anyone else see the irony in this?

Here's a novel idea: don't spoil your kids.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Paci hall of shame.

Repeat offender, Violet Garner Affleck.


Britney files a restraining order against her mother. Point deduction for heavy-handed conservative parenting. It might work when they're kiddies, but when they're big enough to fight back, look out.

Vacation is so five minutes ago.

Haven't you heard? Working 24/7 is in vogue, at least according to Michael Bloomberg. Says Bloomy:

“If you’re the first one in the morning and the last one to leave at night and you take fewer vacation days and never take a sick day, you will do better than the people who don’t do that. It is very simple,” he says. (The mayor also said he’s raised two daughters who have turned out very well, “thanks to their mother, no thanks to me.”) He praised his father, William H. Bloomberg, “who worked seven days a week his entire life until he checked himself into the hospital to die.”

But never fear, Yahoo Hotjobs is looking out for us all. The ball and chain is keeping you from taking your well-deserved vaca? Have a donut break.

Good thing Teddy K is looking out for us!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Say it isn't so.

Splash has pictures of Britney wearing her wedding ring, the inference being she's back with Kevin Federline.

Daddy's little [fill in the blank].

A Yale researcher found that congressmen with daughters are more likely to favor women's rights, including reproductive choice. Wow that's nice, I think. I infer that daughters may inspire the congressmen-fathers to respect female autonomy, or maybe having a daughter causes the fathers to empathize with women.

Conservative commentator, Debbie Schlussel, has a different opinion:

Congressmen who are liberal are more likely to have slutty daughters. And therefore, they are more likely to support abortion for selfish, personal reasons.

Okay then. But how do we explain the Bush twins versus Chelsea Clinton? Oh forget it. The excerpt is so patently biassed and dumb, it doesn't deserve a reply.

On a different note, I'm struck by Schlussel's website. Specifically, her picture. Nice glamour shot! Did she get that done at the mall? Some one wants to be a conservababe. Where's the dignity in this, and why do smart women care so much about babe status? Rachel Marsden (formerly, of Fox's Red Eye) is another example. See link. (Scroll to the middle for the picture from her now-defunct web lounge.) Not to mention the mother of all conservababes, Ann Coulter. It's worth noting that the websites of their liberal female peers are not similarly littered with glamour shots. And male commentators from both ends of the political spectrum seem to be above this type of marketing as well.

What's the deal, ladies? You're bright women (albeit, with batshit crazy political leanings). You don't need to market yourselves as cheesecake. And, specifically, with respect to Schlussel, isn't it ironic that some one with such repressed views about sexuality (woman who has premarital sex = slut), appears to be trying to appeal to the male basic instinct?

Attention Internet Shoppers

50% off sale at Banana.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Scooby Doology"

Another demerit for scientology. John Travolta has expressed the opinion that psychotropic drugs are to blame for the Virginia Tech shootings. It has also been reported that Travolta is in denial about his son's autism, because scientology doesn't consider autism an illness for which treatment is appropriate. In the wake of Travolta's latest remark, one blogger is questioning whether scientology is worthy of its "logy" suffix:

There is absolutely no science to anything they do and the suffix “logy” denotes a field of study or academic discipline, which I swear to God does not apply to reading a bunch of fictionalized sci-fi books. Otherwise we would have an overwhelming amount of fake religions like “Hobitology,” “Scooby Doology,” or God save us from the redneck beliefs of “Hee Hawology.”

In my view, Scooby Doo compares favorably to L. Ron Hubbard. Maybe Travolta should give Scoobs a shot. Can't be any less rational than the g-d at whose alter he currently worships.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Buzzword of the Day: "Hybrid Mom"

A hybrid mom is part SAHM and part working mom. Confused? Me too. But now there's a whole new maggie dedicated to

The maggie defines its target demographic as follows:

Hybrid Mom (hy brid mom, n.): An adult female who has discarded outdated and unrealistic conceptions of motherhood. She is parent, wife, volunteer, and sometimes entrepreneur, all in one. Known for her strength, sense of humor, and flexibility, a hybrid mom is actually a fusion of roles that suit her own individuality.

Wow, neat. *cough*gimmick*cough* And based on the volume of stuff they're peddling on their website, some one believes these Hybrid Moms have a fair amount of disposable income!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another reason to hate Thomas the Tank Engine...

The old reasons:

1. It's a racket. Anyone with a toddler son knows that Thomas is like crack for boys. And anyone who's actually purchased Thomas-branded anything knows that it's a racket. The trains start at $20 a piece. My family has spent hundreds of dollars on this stuff.

2. The stories are not kid-friendly. We have a book, which is a compilation of Thomas stories. In one story, The Deputation, Sir Topham Hatt threatens to turn one of the trains to sheet metal. No joke. At the last minute, he changes his mind and spares the train. Sounds more like Extermination, with a Schindler's List ending.

3. Poor female representation. Most of the train characters are male. The female characters are spouses or supporting parts.

And the new reason:

4. James is toxic. Lovely. I actually own toxic James. My little one has James in his mouth all the time.

Update: Sign here to let the Consumer Products Safety Division know they have to do a better job.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The "nefarious chicken finger pandemic."

New York Times derides the standard fare on the kiddie menu. I second the complaint, but I'll be vulgar about it: what passes as kiddie food today is pure crap. Mac n cheese, hot dogs, nuggets and fries. Little, if any, nutritive value.

However, I will give credit where credit is due: props to Mickey Ds for adding apple dippers to the menu. If you don't use the caramel, you actually have a healthy side dish, or snack.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Awful buzzword of the day: "planful"

E.g., planful employees would not be adversely impacted by Guiliani's health care reform proposal. Says Guiliani:

“Health insurance should become like homeowners insurance or like car insurance: You don’t cover everything in your homeowners policy. If you have a slight accident in your house, if you need to refill your oil in your car, you don’t cover that with insurance. But that is covered in many of the insurance policies because they’re government dominated and they’re employer dominated.”

Here's to being planful and to Rudy's proposal. Carving out things like quality-of-life drugs (e.g. expensive allergy and GI pills) from the system will bring costs down. There's an inverse relation between cost and access. As cost decreases, access increases. Hence, his proposal would have the effect of increasing access to health insurance. Seems like common sense to me.

Back-to-school condoms...

...on sale at Wal-Mart.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Get paid to be a baby vessel.

$500 for the first, $40,000 for the fifth. For real, in Japan. Ready, set, breed.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Good news for blondes.

Turns out you're smart after all, Jessica Simpson notwithstanding. What, then, accounts for blonde jokes - where do they come from? The New York Times reports:

If blondes are perceived as more attractive, then being blond may create valuable opportunities that do not require onerous investments in education and training. The dumb blonde stereotype may thus stem from the fact that blondes rationally choose to invest less than others in education and other forms of human capital.
Lest you think this is a gender-neutral generalization, it is not. It's predicated on the idea that men are drawn to looks and women to status and money.

Get it? Blondes don't pursue education because they'd prefer to marry well.

All this reading and typing. MY HEAD HURTS!!! Silly me, I'm married. I forgot I'm supposed to turn my brain off. Bad me!

All Work, No Play for Many, Study Shows

Report suggests workers excessive hours. Ya think?

Who knew?

The term "dingo" is the male equivalent of "cougar." See, e.g., Ron Jeremy is a dingo. But what does "hedgehog" mean?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Winnie shows the boys how it's done.

Danica McKellar, the actress who played Winnie Cooper on the Wonder Years, has a book coming out in August: Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math. You go girl! And way to show up Kevin. Fred Savage's post-Wonder Years career is a patchwork of failed sitcoms.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Angelina: "Brad and I will retire in a few years."

I'm so with her on that one. In my dreams. Angelina on the juggle.

"You think she works the pole?"

Another sexist gem, compliments of the MSNBC primetime lineup. It joins a pantheon of sexist remarks made by Keith Olbermann, described here by Rebecca Traister:

This year Keith Olbermann became a favorite of the left-leaning set. But some viewers may have been taken aback by his willingness to speculate about whether Paris Hilton has ever received a face full of ejaculate, or by the e-mail he sent to a viewer in which he called colleague Rita Cosby "dumber than a suitcase of rocks," or by the blog penned by a former lover of his alleging that the cable anchor doesn't use condoms and that after manually bringing her to a faked climax, he crowed, "This is the finger I use to write the show." I wonder if it's the same finger I use to flip off Keith Olbermann.

No more tears.

If you bathe your baby every day, you may be giving your baby skin problems. (Suck it, type A moms and germophobes!) Turns out you should only bathe your baby once or twice a week.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The mother of all battles.

Working mothers versus stay at home mothers.

Men versus women.

Married versus childless.

Imagine how much energy goes into these battles. Wasted energy.

On the other hand, Penelope Trunk touches upon what I perceive as a worthy battle - the battle between the y0unger and older generations. She writes:

For the first time ever, this generation will not be more well-off financially than their parents. What should we make of this new finding? Does this mean the American Dream is no longer attainable?

Probably not. Because this statistic is just a magnified section of a much larger picture – of the great generational shift taking place in America since Generation X became adults.

The shift is in the definition of the American Dream. Our dream is about time, not money. No generation wants to live with financial instability. And we are no exception. But finances alone do not define someone’s American Dream. Especially when our dream is about how we spend our time.

Is it any wonder why we value time over money? Answer: we value time because it's been robbed of us. We're drowning out here in the workforce. We take little, if any, vacation, and when we do we bring our Blackberries. We work 60 hour workweeks. We're stressed out. The shift in values that Trunk accurately perceives represents a backlash.

The problem is the older generation - senior management. They're the ones perpetuating the problem. They worked like a slave to line some one else's pockets, and now they want payback. They paid they're dues, and now they're looking to collect.

Here's a novel idea: each of the other constituencies listed above - men, women, parents, childless individuals, even SAHMs - should band together and revolt against the older generation. Work/life policies that benefit only one constituency are perceived as an entitlement and breed resentment. Childless workers become resentful when their married counterparts skip out early. Men become resentful when women are given a pass on long hours. Instead of fighting against each other, each of these groups should unite to effect a change in work/life balance that benefits all employees. After all, everyone deserves sanity.

This looks promising.

Support the Balancing Act.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Liberal Versus Conservative Parenting: Hollywood Smackdown

In the left corner: Kathy Hilton and Dina Lohan. Both mothers pursued careers in entertainment before their daughters were successful. Both lap up the attention bestowed upon them as parents at every opportunity. And both have been accused of failing to set limits on the behavior of their daughters.

In the right corner: Lynne Spears. Lynne appears to have applied a heavy hand when she observed Britney Spears doing recreational drugs in the wake of her marital separation. By most accounts, she colluded with Kevin Federline to strip Britney of custody of her children if Britney didn't complete rehab - a pretty coercive move and an extreme act of limit-setting. So I'm fairly confident that the label "conservative parent" fits Lynne.

And??? Who wins the smackdown? The jury is still out. Give it a year and see how the daughters fare. But if we were to judge them for their performances in 2007, I'd say they're all losers.

A few theories:

  1. Nature versus nurture. Certain individuals are going to self-destruct regardless of their support system. I don't discount the possibility that Linday would be out of control regardless of her dysfunctional support.

  2. Dina and Kathy are enablers. "Lindsay is so misunderstood," Dina says in the wake of a drug scandal in which Lindsay was photographed getting coked up. She's excusing her daughters behavior, clearly more concerned with PR repair than her daughter's well being. Kathy, by contrast, seemed more concerned about Paris' legal bills than the fact that her daughter flagrantly disobeyed the law.

  3. The imposition of Lynne's repressive values caused Britney's rebellion. Britney probably grew up in a chorus of "don't drink", "don't smoke", "don't sleep with boys" and "be a good girl." We all know girlfriend held onto her virginity just as long as she could! Then Britney endures two years of what one imagines was an oppressive marriage. (To what may be the world's biggest loser, no less.) So she went out and partied a little when she got her first taste of freedom. Who can blame her? She was emancipated! Maybe if Lynne were a little more understanding and tolerant, Britney might not have gone over the edge.

  4. My Mom is cool. The liberal mothers have the edge when it comes to being friends with their daughters. (I know, their job is "mother", not "friend.") Kathy and Dina are still close to their daughters, in the wake of their scandals. Britney, meanwhile, has cut her mother out of her life. Being the bad guy doesn't make one popular. But Lynne Spears may well not be in this for popularity. I think she's in this for her daughter's well-being. Too bad that, out of the three of them, Lynne is the one who suffers the most. But life isn't fair.

Update: Perez Hilton is reporting that Lynne Spears will be on the view on Wednesday. Wonder is she'll comment on Dina and Kathy.

On the other end of the spectrum.

I make no secret of my dislike for conventional mommyblogs. Too many stories about some one else's kids. Snooze.

But this is too far in the opposite direction. A relatively new parenting site, Offsprung, has established a blog in its webring dedicated to the intersection and politics, called Unsprung. Sounds like a great idea, in principle. The problem is they recruited Amanda Marcotte as blogger. You might remember her as the blogger who inspired a shitstorm in the blogosphere when John Edwards' campaign hired her as a blogger. Amanda is neither a mother, nor does she have a real job. (No, blogger doesn't count.) How can she possibly understand policy issues that impact working parents?

That said, I think the childless perspective is valuable. We need to be reminded that the world doesn't revolve around us and our children. And that not having a child is a valid life choice. Babble does a good job at providing the childless person's POV.

But Marcotte's blog is not a childless person's POV. She doesn't try to contrast her views with those of a parent; rather she tries to skew the subject matter of her posts to be interesting to parents. Like if her diatribes include the words "reproductive choice" or "education" in them, we're going to be suddenly interested. I think Marcotte fails. Judge for yourself.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Shopping While Working

(My favorite hobby.) Vicki's is having its semi-annual sale.

Elmo is so five minutes ago.

Cute gives way to sophisticated designs, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The all important family dinner...

We all know that family dinners are a great way of connecting with the children. But apparently the benefits don't end there. As part of its Lean Plate Club series, WaPo reports: meals "are associated with better dietary intake, including eating more fruit and vegetables, drinking less soda pop and eating less fat -- all the things that we want to promote," says Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and a lead investigator of Project EAT.

And it gets better. The same study indicates:

They're less likely to be overweight. They perform better in school and are less apt to engage in risky behavior such as taking drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or engaging in sex.

Got that? You want your children to be smart? Sit down and eat. Yup, that simple. Family dinners are all that AND a bag of crisps.