Posts Tagged ‘family’
Cambridge, MA (AP) – Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have announced the results of a multi-year effort to define the ideal hour at which children should be put to bed, including confirmation of a long-held assumption that a “golden window” exists during which children who cooperate with parental bedtime directives will enjoy happier, healthier lives.
A team consisting of thirty-five researchers across the country who are also parents of young children examined data regarding a cohort of 70 youths from the ages of six months to eleven years. They found that the best time for children to be tucked into bed was in the range of 6:45 pm and 7:30 pm, and even earlier if Mom or Dad had something special planned just for the two of them. The researchers published their findings in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
According to the article, the benefits of adhering to this bedtime scheme include, but are not limited to: more frequent and more plentiful desserts; fewer occasions for parent-administered discipline; an easier time getting ready for school in the morning; more generous allowance; and a significantly decreased likelihood of getting grounded.
“This study essentially corroborates everything we’ve been saying for a long time,” said Dr. I. Sedso, a Columbia University professor of physics and father of three who was not involved in the research. “Our experience,” she said, referring to the informal studies undertaken by colleagues with small children at home, “bears out that the household functions at peak efficiency when children have dinner at about 5:15, have a bath or shower, change into pajamas, brush teeth, and are ready for maybe a bedtime story and to be tucked in by 7 pm, 7:15 if a lice-combing is necessary,” she said in a telephone interview.
The study is the most recent in a series of MIT efforts to define and quantify various aspects of the parent-child dynamic. A report released in February noted the character-building benefits of taking out the garbage even when one has already removed one’s shoes, and the myriad positive effects on one’s long-term satisfaction inherent in keeping that racket down.
The research is not without its detractors. “We believe studies of this nature are a priori biased,” claims Houston-area ten-year-old Greg Niedermeyer. “They fail to account for the negative social impact that adhering to, for example, an early bedtime, exerts on the life of a typical schoolchild.” Niedermeyer also criticized an earlier study that found only positive outcomes for children who finished their vegetables, noting that only losers ate Brussels sprouts or beets in any form.
Niedermeyer pointed to a conflicting set of studies conducted over the last year by children at various elementary schools in Texas, Vermont, Indiana, and Florida, which found a significant correlation between later bedtimes and freer access to candy. “It’s clear that from a happiness point of view, liberal parental attitudes are key. The studies indicating otherwise suffer from a prejudiced set of assumptions, among them that whatever a parent wants is ipso facto desirable.”
Adult researchers, in turn, have assailed the schoolchildren’s research as agenda-driven, and noted that it was all underwritten by manufacturers of unnecessarily sweet breakfast cereals and of violent video games masquerading as educational tools.
Woodmere, NY (AP) – A local man who experts say must have a chemical imbalance of some sort has grown increasingly excited during recent weeks as a planned get-together with cousins, parents, and siblings approaches.
Gary Innes, 37, of North Woodmere, has inexplicably shown greater and greater eagerness since the reunion was finalized in July, and exhibits no signs of awareness that such a positive orientation toward one’s relatives is widely considered weird. According to several neighbors, Innes has repeatedly mentioned how happy he was to be able to see his older brother again, seemingly oblivious to the fact that older brothers, as a rule, are not supposed to be viewed in a positive light.
Similarly, his iterative mentions of getting together with his parents has sent waves of revulsion through this bedroom community, where, as in any normal place, parents are seen at best as a necessary evil, and at worst – and most commonly – as a neverending source of awkwardness and shame.
“He seems so normal, so harmless,” said a neighbor who requested anonymity to forestall any further strain in what will soon be a stilted, overly formal relationship, at least from her end. “What sort of traumatic, depraved childhood did this man have that he sees absolutely nothing wrong with feeling close to siblings and parents?” she wondered.
Indeed, says Stephen Strohmayer, a fellow member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in nearby Hewlett, the attachment and affection that Mr. Innes feels for family extends even to the unthinkable: he apparently has warm regard, even admiration, for his in-laws. “I just can’t wrap my head around it,” said Strohmayer, who has appealed to others within the parish to come together to find a way to set Innes straight.
Lucille Bergen, another church member, even attempted to offer support for Melissa, Gary’s wife, gently probing to see whether Melissa felt perplexed or confused by Gary’s easy relationship with her parents. “She looked at me like I was the one from Mars, not her,” recalled Bergen. “I’m afraid he’s got her brainwashed or something, and she doesn’t even want to live in reality anymore. She seems to think it’s preferable to live in a world where family members love one another,” concluded Bergen in disbelief.
Eyewitness accounts indicate the extent to which Gary’s freakish world view has affected Melissa. Reports from other relatives indicate that at Christmas dinner last year, Melissa was seen smiling easily and embracing Gary’s parents, and alcohol was not served. The most serious, severe disagreement of the evening involved a spirited, good-natured discussion of favorite TV shows from the 1980′s, in which Melissa touted the virtues of MacGyver and the Inneses stood by their choice of Cheers. Not a single arch comment about the former’s child-rearing choices, sartorial habits, cooking, or lifestyle choices was recorded.
“I know it must be eating her up inside, to have this grotesque, supportive dynamic with her in-laws,” says the neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous. “It must be a Stockholm Syndrome kind of thing, where she’s adopted Gary’s espousal of outlandish family ideas as a sort of defense mechanism so she doesn’t have to deal with the manifest wrongness of it all.”
Fresh Kills Landfill, Staten Island (AP) – Environmental groups and parents came together this week to raise alarm over the worldwide accumulation of projects that children bring home from day care, day camp, preschool and the early years of elementary school.
A new movement calling itself Don’t Employ Take-home Regalia In Teaching Us Stuff (DETRITUS) has issued a warning to local and national governments, admonishing them to do something to prevent children’s art projects from taking up any more valuable space in the nation’s homes, gardens, bedrooms, and storage facilities, which are already filled to capacity.
“Every parent struggles with the notion of disposing of the unwieldy, crude, and poorly conceived pieces of junk that their children bring home from nursery school or kindergarten,” said Polly Styrene, a DETRITUS representative. “But they must always confront the guilt that comes with throwing away anything at all, lest the poor children then get the feeling their parents care nothing for all the work that went into those pieces of crap.”
The accumulation of old projects has reached crisis proportion, DETRITUS warns. “Following a generation and a half of children bringing home seasonal decorative project after seasonal decorative project, parents do not even have the option of handing off any of these so-called objets-d’art to grandparents or other relatives, who spent their own children’s younger years saturating their homes with all that worthless junk, and have no remaining space to display or store the monstrosities.”
The DETRITUS statement outlined several crucial measures that must be implemented immediately if people are to avoid being pushed out of their homes by styrofoam, construction paper, sequins, wooden skewers, cardboard, cotton balls, toothpicks, stickers, glitter, gift wrap, matchsticks, feathers, yarn, plastic bottles, paper fasteners, ribbons, picture frames, popsicle sticks, plastic and paper cups, small jars, egg cartons, pipe cleaners, doilies, tissue paper, corks, socks, buttons, Elmer’s glue, stamps, beads, cellophane, milk cartons, crepe paper, beans, fabric swatches, plastic laminate, pom-poms, lanyard, dried flowers, empty thread spools, drinking straws, aluminum cans, modeling clay, little bells, rhinestones, bottle caps, flags, toilet paper rolls, key rings, signs, puff paint, tinsel, coffee stirrers, plastic containers, rubber bands, washers, dry elbow macaroni, colored sand, corn kernels, shoe boxes, old compact discs, colored pebbles, twist ties, foil, paper bags, disposable plates and bowls, papier maché, string, sealing wax, and other fancy stuff.
First, teachers and day-care workers must be barred under penalty of law from initiating any new projects, starting immediately. That would effectively reduce the creation of new problematic creations to zero. Strict enforcement would be necessary to ensure that no children would be instructed to make, for example, Christmas tree ornaments, Halloween decorations, or Mothers Day cards. Resistance to this measure is expected from teachers and others who work with children, who will be forced to engage in activities with their charges that do not involve permanent additions to this civilization’s archaeological record.
Second, government-supervised efforts must be made to eliminate some of the clutter already congesting America’s households, beginning with projects that no one ever uses whose creators have long since moved out or forgotten them. Local police forces will be tasked with ensuring, by force if necessary, that each household with children in its jurisdiction parts with at least 20 such projects over the course of the next two years. Power plants will be required to begin burning these objects to produce electricity and thus reduce the space the items occupy by an estimated 40,000 tons per month. The requirement to switch to art-project-based fuel will remain in effect until the availability of local art garbage falls to acceptable levels.
Third, In order to soften the sentimental blow, families will be allowed to apply for a team of archivists to document, photograph, and record clips of pieces that meet certain minimum criteria of nostalgic or sentimental value before their worthless crud is destroyed.
“We have to act now, before we are inundated by more crap,” said Styrene. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to a school meeting, where the teacher has made sure each kid made some useless thing to welcome each parent,” she added through gritted teeth.
What used to be Phoenix, Arizona, August 4 (AP) – Human civilization ceased to exist this morning (Sunday) after Jon Swarz, 4, of Scottsdale, was not given what he demanded.
While Jon’s mother was preparing a wholesome lunch consisting of homemade broccoli pizza and a side of carrot sticks, the pre-K student requested a chocolate ice cream cone. His mother, Beth, gently refused, reassuring Jon that there would be plenty of time later in the day for a treat, but now was time for lunch.
Unwillling to accept this rebuff, the junior Swarz continued to agitate for the creamy frozen delicacy, proclaiming the he was uninterested in lunch and wanted a chocolate ice cream cone forthwith. His mother set down the carrots she was slicing and threatened to send the young man to his room without lunch if he continued to behave in such an unbecoming manner.
Details are still sketchy on the events that then occurred, but the available evidence indicates that as soon as Jon discovered that his wishes would go unfulfilled, massive earthquakes struck major population centers and volcanic eruptions flooded low-lying regions with deadly hot lava. In this initial apocalyptic wave, approximately 800 million people perished in fear and pain.
Almost immediately afterwards, when Jon was on his way to his room, several asteroids the size of Iowa, with one more of them at least as big as Montana, entered Earth’s atmosphere and impacted at points in the Americas, Africa, Northern Europe, Japan, and eight locations across China. While living things directly in the paths of these interstellar rocks were incinerated even before direct impact, the kinetic energy and atmospheric disturbances wrought by the asteroids resulted in conflagrations that consumed thousands of square miles of woodlands, farms, and residential areas throughout the world. This second episode of destruction claimed an additional three billion lives. Among the victims were Jon’s parents, who failed to foresee the calamity that would be the inevitable result of refusing to honor their son’s wishes.
As the earthquakes and fires continued, the entire world’s nuclear stockpile detonated simultaneously, leveling all remaining cities, melting the polar ice caps, and inundating coastal regions up to fifty miles inland. Radiation poisoning quickly set in among the few surviving humans, condemning them to a brief, miserable time until death claimed them, as well.
Although this is the first time that the human population has been completely wiped out as a result of a preschooler not getting what he wanted, there have been several close calls. In 1980, Melanie Carter, 3, of Montreal, sneaked into the living room and turned on the television set in defiance of her parents’ explicit instructions to go to bed at once. Ms. Carter’s initiative narrowly averted the sun transforming into a red giant and making life on Earth impossible.
Similarly, in approximately 2500 BCE, a deluge of Biblical proportions erased all human life except for one family. That catastrophe occurred when one of that family’s sons was ignored by a parent who was too busy building a wooden boat to properly address little Ham’s request for an extra bit of pigeon steak with olives. Only when that need was finally met did the waters begin to recede in earnest.
Only ten generations later, four cities in what is today the Dead Sea region were annihilated by fire and brimstone when a young woman was refused some salt with her flatbread.
Prospects remain unclear for a reestablishment of human life on Earth, but public opinion seems not to be in favor of such a development, as it would most likely entail another plague of people with an overgrown sense of entitlement.
Chicago, IL, April 24 (AP) – S, an infant born early last week, is already dreading the lifetime of hearing about the discomfort and trouble he caused his parents in the day leading up to his birth.
“I can’t wait for it to kick in,” remarked the nine-day-old, grimacing at the thought, or possibly at nothing. “You’d think world events, or actually amusing things, would make better fodder for conversation, but no, it’ll be decades before discussion of my mother’s experience with me peters out.”
His mother is expected to regale friends and acquaintances with the 34 hours of labor preceding S’s delivery by suction in the wee hours of last Sunday. After the postpartum period, when talk of the labor and delivery is typical of any birth aftermath, the mother’s relatively unusual travails will continue to be described when she wishes to contribute to a conversation about childbirth, or when she wishes to half-jokingly explain her child’s tendencies or behavior.
S’s fears are well founded, says Columbia University cultural anthropologist Beth Nossentrik. “The difficulty of a labor and delivery is a reliable predictor of the number of times the experience will be brought up in conversation,” she explained in a telephone interview. “For each additional hour of labor, a mother can be expected to tell her story an average of eleven times per year in the first four years, with the number gradually decreasing – unless she subsequently has more children, in which case the number actually increases by two until four years after the last child is born.”
According to Nossentrik, other factors can add to the number of times the narrative is rehashed. In this case, she says the fact the labor went on that long without a Cesarean Section being performed has the potential to add anywhere from six to eight occasions for relating the story over the next two years, and twice per year on average after that.
Chicago-area family therapist Hedda Schrinker concurs. “The statistics are pretty robust in that regard,” she said in an e-mail. “Mothers tend to want to share the unusual aspects of their childbirth experience. What I would also add is that the numbers tick up again slightly when she is about to become a grandmother, and do not really come down again,” unless she eventually suffers a stroke or other debilitating condition that removes her ability to communicate coherently.
S’s parents also feature the additional augmenting factor of friends in multiple far-flung places who will need the story repeated to them individually, as they will not be in position to hear it collectively. Shrinker has attempted to reassure S that his situation is not unique, and that many other perfectly dysfunctional parent-child relationships have weathered this sort of repeated rehashing.
“He kind of whined when I said that,” admitted Shrinker. “It reminds me of when I had my second daughter…” she began.
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New York, NY, April 19 (AP) – Responding to increasing pressure from parents, the Bloomberg administration announced this morning that it will begin penalizing people who offer advice to parents without being asked to do so. Additionally, people whose unsolicited remarks include implied or outright criticism will be subject to further fines.
At a press conference on the steps of City Hall, Mayor Bloomberg introduced the initiative, which he called Urban Parent-Youth Operation to Urge Restraint in Scolding (UPYOURS). UPYOURS, approval of which in the City Council is all but assured, will take effect in time for the more pleasant spring weather, when children and their parents return to playgrounds en masse, often attracting “helpful” comments from others.
“It’s high time we defend the good citizens of this city from the scourge of harassers,” said the mayor. He cited statistics compiled over the last decade which document a fourfold increase in the number of uninvited parenting critiques or remarks within the five boroughs. “As the most responsive administration this city has ever seen, our response is UPYOURS.”
Neighborhood parent associations had taken note of the increase and began petitioning the city to address the problem. “We parents have enough challenges living in this city,” said Getta Wayfromme, a Park Slope mother of two preschoolers. “Between the mommy-child yoga, the swimming lessons, the interrogation – I mean vetting – of possible caregivers and the shopping for stylish accessories, it’s tough enough as it is. We don’t need people implying that we’re not already giving our children the very best, let alone saying it outright.”
Not everyone is pleased with UPYOURS. Sharyn N. Karen, 54, of Williamsburg, says she has seen enough parents to know which ones are doing fine and which ones could use some helpful guidance. “People don’t like to admit it, but they need other people,” said the childless, single artist. “It’s just good that there are people such as I to helpfully correct the errors of others’ ways, such as when they fail to impart when to use the phrase, ‘such as I’ instead of ‘like me.’”
Other provisions of the city ordinance include: greater leniency for advice-givers who have children the same age as the parent receiving the comments, all the more so if the children have been playing together for more than thirty seconds; additional fines for belittling or dismissing the anxiety of a parent over his or her child’s possibly fatal food allergies; and mandatory jail sentences for lecturing on the benefits of cloth diapers or for treating breastfeeding in public as objectionable.
At the press conference, Bloomberg praised the parents who first proposed UPYOURS. “This city has always benefited from citizens who understand where public action is necessary and where things are best left in the realm of the individual. As this administration has made clear before, it is not the place of other individuals to tell people how to live their lives.”
“That’s the city’s job,” he said.
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Originally posted January 7, 2012
Let’s not beat around the bush. Grandma isn’t getting any younger, and she’s no longer the independent woman we once knew. It’s time to make her remaining time on Earth easier by putting her in an Assisted Dying facility.
I hate the term “nursing home” just as much as you do, Jared. It’s far too euphemistic a phrase for a place that slowly sucks the will to live out of a person by immersing him or her in an environment characterized primarily by decaying minds and bodies. We should just call a spade a spade – and I do not refer here to the pinochle and bridge games with which Grandma will occupy her afternoons until the endless, grinding routine drives her into depression, malnutrition and death.
We know Grandma has a hard time getting around ever since she broke her hip, and she needs help just to do basic housekeeping. Well, at an assisted dying facility, they have staff dedicated to those tasks just to drive home the point that the residents have outlived any usefulness and might as well croak.
There’s also the matter of her hygiene and medical care. I admire Grandma’s mental acuity as much as the next member of this family, but we must honestly confront the question: can we rely on Grandma to take the right pills at the right times, and watch out for undesirable interaction between medications? And what about foods that make the medication regimen trickier? Would we ever forgive ourselves if she were to make a mistake, or forget she’d already taken that day’s dose, and wrought unspeakable havoc on her already failing metabolism? I doubt any one of us does not see the merit in having someone else watch over her, patronizingly doting on a fiercely independent spirit as if she’s a bumbling preschooler, to the point that Grandma no longer sees life as worth living.
Truth is, Grandma’s been lucky. She hasn’t suffered from incontinence as much as most people her age. So she won’t even have to worry, initially, about needing an attendant to change her and wipe her, what with her restricted mobility and all. But that time will come, and we don’t want our dear Grandma to be left lacking where other seniors have to experience the indignity of surrendering personal hygiene to a condescending, able-bodied assistant who habitually uses locutions such as, “Oh, are we ready to have our diaper changed?”
It’s settled, then. Wanda, you and I should sit Grandma down and try to convince her this is the only realistic option. We have to stress how tough it is on us, having to devote so much time and energy to her care, time we should be using to take care of our own families and needs. She needs to see reason – that we cannot by ourselves make her wish to expedite her exit from this world. We need her cooperation.
That way, instead of squabbling over her estate, we can preemptively spend it on her stay at the assisted dying facility.
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Carter, who generally reacts negatively to portrayals of women as sex objects, decided for Beck’s fifteenth birthday to indulge the boy’s predilection for action-oriented entertainment. She discreetly asked Phil Layshio, one of Beck’s classmates, to handle the online registration and payment for World of Warcraft, an online multiplayer role-playing game. The friend, who knows a side of Beck that he never shows his prude of a mother, misheard.
Instead of a world populated by questing fighters, magical demi-humans and fantastical creatures such as dragons, Carter has signed her adolescent son up for a virtual experience in and around a brothel.
Upon signing in for the first time, Beck will be asked to choose the role of whore, pimp, customer or human trafficker. He will then select a class for his character, which determines the socioeconomic circles in which that character will move during play. The character can gain skills, experience points and in-game money that can be redeemed for training to acquire more skills, for basic expenses related to the sex industry, or for bribes to government and law enforcement officials to turn a blind eye to the character’s dealings.
In addition to other online players, Beck will interact with non-player characters, which are programmed to provide the characters with information, challenges or services necessary for the completion of various tasks. In World of Whorecraft, those NPCs, as they are called, include drug dealers, police officers, gynecologists and treatment counselors of various kinds, as well as paramedics, junkies and the occasional teenage runaway.
The game has various modes, and the user may choose to play in various distinct eras: before AIDS; before syphilis; or before the latex condom, for example.
Carter has expressed excitement at having her son discover what she believes she has given him. “I can’t wait till he receives the ‘Welcome’ e-mail on his birthday,” she gushed. “I know he loves this stuff, and I’m just thrilled I can show him I appreciate his pastimes and want to support him in them. He thinks I know nothing about this game and what teenage boys like to do – I can’t wait for him to see who it’s from, just to see the look on his face!”
Experts are divided regarding Beck’s reaction. “This can’t possibly end well,” said Sophia Liu, a social worker with the Skokie, Illinois, municipality. “This poor kid is going to be scarred for life, always seeing his painfully clueless mother when he wants to focus on any other woman.”
Chase Esses of Detroit Family Services disagrees. “If there’s anything that dissuades teenagers from immersing themselves in porn, it’s parental presence. This woman may have inadvertently caused her son to avoid unhealthy perceptions of human sexuality for the rest of his life. He’ll be much happier that way, and his relationships that much stronger,” he said.
“Assuming he doesn’t kill himself on the spot when he realizes what has happened,” added Esses.
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You thought you could trust your little children, didn’t you? I’m here to tell you you’re a fool.
You’re a fool.
With that out of the way, let us examine what happens when one makes unwarranted assumptions about one’s child’s behavior. Especially when those assumptions make one’s life easier. But in fact are so untrue as to make one wonder what the hell one was thinking. If at all.
Here is Figure A, which lays out the typical morning ritual of attempting to prepare a sandwich for our dear daughter to take with her to kindergarten.
The figure does not show the histrionics that accompany each refusal, which no two-dimensional medium can adequately convey. It is left to the reader’s imagination. Considering the reader’s online habits, he or she should have no problem conjuring up vivid images, if you catch my drift. Sicko.
All well and good, or as well and good as could be expected. Until last week, when the complaints suddenly ceased. Thus Figure B:
Notice the complete absence of complaints or histrionics. This being our third child, we should immediately have listened to the powerful alarms sounding in our brains – much in the way the silence emanating from several children can only indicate something catastrophic in the works – but this being before seven o’clock in the morning, our brains much preferred to leave those alarms in abeyance. SO much more civilized at that hour.
In fact, a chance conversation with another parent at drop-off revealed that Figure C more closely represents reality:
Key line from one of the parents whose child had eaten the white bread: “Could you buy whole wheat instead?”
At the very least, we have now settled into the familiar, if less than ideal, status quo ante, with the added bonus of an almost daily whine: why don’t we send our kid with chocolate spread sandwiches?
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Chicago, IL (Reuters) – Concerned about the effects that exposure to violence, sex and gore can have on the impressionable minds of children, the Union Methodist Church has published a “family friendly” edition of the Bible. The new version has selected only those portions of scripture that its editorial team deemed non-threatening to youngsters, and it numbers a dozen pages.
“We are responding to the concerns of parents everywhere that they have less and less say in the ideas and images to which their children have access,” said Alicia Censor, the head of the editorial team. “Yet few of us ever considered that every Sunday we were undermining our own sensibilities by exposing our children to page after page of horrible ideas.”
So a group of church members volunteered to put together an abridged version that would offer parents and educators tighter control over what their children read and hear. Under the guidance of Pastor Rob Eublind, the team spent the better part of six months sifting through the Bible and retaining only those passages that do not mention nudity, sexuality, bloodshed, vivisection, corruption, or questionable behavior of any sort.
They therefore omitted the entire second chapter of Genesis, for example, in which the first man and woman lived unclothed, and the series of “begats” connecting Adam to Noah, and then Noah to Abraham, in order to avoid the question of how all that begetting took place. Cain’s murder of Abel was also removed, because of the killing itself; the mention of Cain “knowing” his wife; and several verses later, the mention of Lemech and his two wives, which could prompt uncomfortable questions regarding the sanctity of the monogamous family unit.
In some cases the team expunged entire books, such as Leviticus, which extensively details the slaughter and dismemberment of animals. They also gave the Song of Solomon the editorial ax, with its constant use of erotic metaphor.
Congregations and relieved parents have already placed orders for hundreds of thousands of copies, and RePress, the publisher, will have to produce a second run, as they only anticipated needing about twenty thousand. Fortunately, the new Bible is small, and shipment is inexpensive.
Eublind expressed satisfaction at the outcome, and pride in his congregation. “Sometimes the situation is so dire that even the leadership is paralyzed – but then along comes someone who stands up and takes action. It’s just like Phineas, who, in the wilderness – wait you aren’t going to let any children read this, are you?”
Parents in the community are similarly thrilled. “I’ve been all worried about how to teach my daughters about Abraham in Egypt, Lot in Sodom, and about Joseph in Potiphar’s house,” said Stephen Prude, 33, a father of three. “But thanks to this new Bible I know I can just skip those parts. Perhaps that’s the approach we should agitate for about all that sex education in the schools,” he wondered.
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Originally posted December 15, 2010.
Muffin: Good evening and welcome to the Seventh Grade News. I’m Stud Muffin, with Jess Kidding.
First-period math got off to a shaky start today when half the class came in without homework. Mr. Cowell claims the students need to get their act together, while the class complains of unfair burdens. Lisp Nightly reports.
Nightly: That’th right, Thtud. The detailth are not a hundred perthent clear yet, but it appearth that at about nine-o-five thith morning, Mithter Cowell athked the thtudenth to plathe their homework on hith dethk, then thpent about a minute going through them, checking the nameth againtht the attendanth litht. When he got to the end, he thlammed the latht paper down on the pile and yelled at the clath.
What happened nektht ith thtill in dithpute. Thome thtudenth thay Mithter Cowell threatened to put a permanent mark in each one’th record if the lathineth perthithted, but otherth claim the teacher went even further, threatening to have the nektht clath trip cantheled.
Student 1: I dunno, so like, Mr. Cowell took attendance, and like, someone kept making, like, armpit noises, so, y’know, things were already, like, not so calm, and Jenna sneezed, and Mr. Cowell was all like, “OK, everyone, get your homework on the desk right now,” y’know? And so, like, he was like going through all the papers, and like ten of them were like totally missing, and he was like, “If you people keep skipping your homework, I’m gonna have to put it in your record,” which, like, whatever.
Student 2: So I’m sitting there in math class? And Mr. Cowell starts yelling at us? And I didn’t do my homework, cuz Britney, the girl who sits behind me? She had like a bad breakup with Brad? So I spent all of yesterday kinda making her feel better? And suddenly he’s yelling that we’re not gonna go on our next trip? And we have math homework like every single day?
Nightly: Mithter Cowell himthelf wath unavailable for comment, but the thtudenth themthelveth theem divided on the fairnethof their treatment. Thith ith the thecond time thith themethter that the clath hath had the threat of cantheled priviligeth dangled over them, and the way thingth are going, thome doubt they’ll ever go anywhere at all thith year. Back to you, Thtud and Jeth.
Kidding: Thank you, Lisp.
Gregg Mitchell was sent to the principal’s office for the sixth time this year during second-period history for mouthing off to the teacher. Here’s Fulla Vitt, with more on the story.
Vitt: Gregg Mitchell was whispering with Ellis Morton in the adjacent seat when Ms. Anthrope, the history teacher, asked him to quiet down. When Mitchell continued talking a few seconds later, Ms. Anthrope warned him, but he continued talking. That’s when she sent him to Ms. Urry’s office. That’s the third time in the last month that Mitchell has been sent there, and the sixth since the start of the year. Ms. Anthrope was the first teacher to send him to the principal back in October, as well.
Mitchell himself gave us the finger when we asked for an interview, but classmate Keith Antell says that Mitchell is just clowning around.
Antell: I don’t know why everyone’s getting on Gregg’s case. He’s just joking around. So he made a few jokes while Ms. Anthrope was talking. So what? It’s not like he hurts anybody. And he’s funny. Besides, history is boring.
Vitt: A school office official speaking on condition of anonymity informed us that the school psychologist is looking into Mitchell’s situation at home. For the Seventh Grade News, I’m Fulla Vitt.
Muffin: And now we’ll have a look at the weather, with meteorologist Dan Kandertti. Dan?
Kandertti: Looks like a calm second half of the week, but as you can see, the clique of Veronica Miles, Stephanie Durkett and Chloë Dumont are planning a series of embarrassing moments for Kari Wilmer on Thursday. Friday looks mostly clear except for the afternoon, it looks like, when the school will have a talent show, and only the popular kids will feel confident enough to participate. Here’s the five-day on your screens now; you can see the weekend shaping up to be troublesome, with Stephanie Durkett and her eighth-grade boyfriend having a fight on MySpace and spreading nasty rumors about each other. That storm will last into next week.
Kidding: It’s not a busy time for sports right now, but Jack Ovahltraids nevertheless has some news for us.
Ovahltraids: Yup. Jess, the new uniforms for the middle school basketball team are almost ready, and the boys will wear them when they get creamed by Edison Middle School on Sunday. The new uniforms are brown with yellow stripes down the side, and misspelled names on the backs. School officials say they have had to deal with budget cuts, so they purchased used uniforms from the Salvation Army and had volunteers sew the names. Go team!
Muffin: Well, that’s it for this evening. Join us again tomorrow when we give you an inside look at the janitor’s closet, and ask him about cleaning the boys’ locker room. Stay tuned for Midgets on Parade! For everyone here at the Seventh Grade News, I’m Stud Muffin. Good night.
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Dear parents of my six-year-old’s classmates:
Thank you for including my son in your child’s after-school birthday party. Aside from the obvious generosity involved in putting together such an event, the party provides a number of social and educational services that only became clear to me after the fact. I would like to share with you my appreciation of each one, first and foremost the junk food.
My wife and I attempt to restrict our children’s intake of sugary, greasy or only marginally nutritious snacks. We try to instill in them a like for green vegetables, for fruits, and for a variety of protein-rich foods such as fish, chicken and meat. This contrasts sharply with your philosophy, as demonstrated by your complete reliance, for the occasion, upon candy, potato chips, pretzels, buttered popcorn, cake, cookies and more candy.
I had anticipated, perhaps ignorantly, that a party for two dozen or so first-graders at dinnertime might include something vaguely resembling dinner. Granted, preparing dinner for two dozen first-graders can prove quite a daunting task; I did not expect anyone to take upon himself such an endeavor. However, I note the existence of at least four pizza parlors within a six-block radius of your home, all of which offer free delivery. Pizza is not the optimal dinner every single day, but its just-above-marginal nutritional value nevertheless renders it superior to candy, cake, cookies, and greasy snacks. I rather doubt these pizza places would have survived this long without the patronage of local families such as yours; I thus find your sudden reluctance to engage their services original, to say the least.
I do recall that in my youth, birthday parties in my area tended to feature pizza from a particular place followed by ice cream from a different particular place. They usually happened at the same skating venue. Now, I do understand that you prefer to conduct your party at home, and that skating venue is both six thousand miles away and probably defunct. Nevertheless, the experience of my youth conditioned me to expect some sort of party activity to accompany, or at least alternate with, the food. In your case, this activity seemed to consist of watching TV shows or movies of questionable merit, with occasional individual forays into the kitchen to ingest more candy, cookies, cake and greasy snacks. I applaud your bold disregard for stodgy, “mainstream” pediatric guidance.
This innovative, hands-off approach to kid partying offers the obvious advantage of leaving the parents free to engage in other activities; clearly, you seized this opportunity to pour even more effort in to party-related pursuits, such as opening and serving more snack foods. I stand in awe of your efficient ways.
My son had an advantage over most of the other children, in that he arrived a good bit before the other guests, and benefited from more individual adult attention. He informs me that this attention consisted of sitting him in front of the TV and serving him a sandwich with chocolate spread. Thus, in addition to the junk food he would receive a little later with the rest of the pack, my son also got to consume one additional portion of yet another permutation of grease, sugar and empty calories. Thank you for singling him out for such special treatment.
His early arrival time, as well, contained a lesson for us. While I had always been under the impression that the time listed on an invitation represents the time the event will start, you disabused me of that notion – when my son arrived, the preparations were nowhere near complete, which highlights yet another benefit of your robust sit-them-in-front-of-the-TV policy. I note that most of the other parents displayed keen awareness of this etiquette quirk, as they did not begin bringing their children until about twenty minutes later, judging by my son’s description.
The cumulative effect of your child’s birthday party, I must say, brought out a side of my child’s personality that I rarely, if ever, get to see: when his body, vocal cords and mouth work faster than his brain, as a result of significantly increased blood sugar. He was so excited about the party, he could not focus on getting in pajamas for a full twenty minutes after getting home, and then did not fall asleep until well after his usual bedtime despite continual encouragement. Thank you for enabling me to experience this phenomenon once again. I really do not get to do that frequently enough.
This has been an edifying, educational experience. Words cannot convey how I anticipate the effect of your child-rearing on my son for years to come.
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Washington, DC (Reuters) – The Department of Education announced today that it has issued new rules regarding the hiring of teachers, mainly the requirement that each school with more than seventy pupils must have at least four weirdos on its teaching staff.
The move comes in response to census data indicating that children in some areas of the country are exposed to vastly different levels of weirdness from their teachers, and the numbers are critically low in such straight-laced portions of the country as Iowa, Idaho and Kansas. The new rules also address the difficulty of children being exposed only to weird teachers, which occurs primarily in California, though that has not had an appreciable effect on the state’s weirdness quotient in the last two decades.
Educators and education officials alike have long noted the importance of zany, absent-minded or just plain creepy teachers in children’s development, especially between the ages of ten and sixteen. Repeated studies have shown that exposure to comical faculty attire, unkempt hair, unsettling mannerisms, cutesy lingo and inexplicable ignorance of pop culture mainstays are a critical component of a healthy outlook and ability to learn. In China, where weirdness is currently outlawed, standardized tests consistently demonstrate the youths’ difficulty in understanding the centrality of such crucial issues as reality TV, the popularity of The Big Lebowski and why it is simply not cool to actually complete one’s schoolwork properly.
Weirdness has also been shown to play a role in electoral decisions, notably whether a voter will actually decide to submit an absentee ballot if necessary. Approximately 95% of absentee ballots are submitted by weirdos, many of whom are passionate about local politics and run for positions such as village alderman and the local school district board.
“America didn’t get where it is today by ignoring the importance of people like Doc Brown in Back to the Future,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “In fact a large number of the greatest minds in history were those of eccentric – no, we’ll say it plainly – weirdos.” He cited pioneering geologist Charles Lyell, who adopted excruciating positions in his chair when engaged in deep thought, and Isaac Newton, who had no romantic relationships in his life, as prominent examples.
“There’s quite a correlation between genius and social awkwardness,” said Abby Slightlyoff, a lecturer on cultural anthropology at the University of North Carolina, as she hunched over, twisted her body to the left and twisted some of her hair between her fingers as she spoke. “Anthropologists have known for years that the pervasive influence of weirdos during childhood makes it all the more likely that a person will grow up with at least a modicum of obliviousness to social conventions.”
The new regulations specifically exempt home-schooling families from any specific requirement, noting that home schooling is inherently weird enough to guarantee at least six times the minimum recommended weirdness.
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Charlotte, NC (AP) – This Southern city has been abuzz in the week since the four children of Harriet and Glen Walden went to bed last Sunday night without making a fuss or offering resistance. The children, ages three through eleven, simply got into pajamas when their parents instructed them to, brushed their teeth and climbed into bed, where they remained silent until waking up the net morning for school.
The Waldens have become accustomed to a nightly routine of argument, disobedience, distraction and fighting, and this instance of comprehensive cooperation caught them, and city officials, by surprise. The last time children anywhere in the U.S. went straight to bed without fighting was when all three Whitaker children of Sarasota, FL, were stricken with fever in December 2008.
“We’re just not sure what’s going on,” said Patty Bouvier, Deputy Chief of Child Welfare in the Charlotte municipality. “There’s been nothing to indicate any controlled substance in effect, but Charlotte has never seen a case like this before.” In response to reporters’ questions, Bouvier requested that a staff member track down the last known case of unopposed bedtime routine in the state; it was in 1996, when a family of five from Raleigh-Durham had just completed a long drive home from the grandparents’ house, and the parents managed to transfer their one-year-old, three-year-old and five-year-old from the car to their beds without waking them in the process. For that achievement, Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., awarded Phyllis and Richard Rose a citation, and they were invited to a private dinner at the Executive Mansion.
In a related development, swine farmers in Vinton, Iowa, are reporting that the pigs in their care have begun to sprout wings. On Tuesday, reports began reaching Des Moines and the regional Department of Agriculture offices that large numbers of boars throughout the state suddenly had wings, though none had yet been observed using them for flying. Unconfirmed sightings of flying pigs occurred in Dubuque and Mason City, but may have been misidentified balloons or blimps.
A Des Moines newspaper was the first to explicitly make the connection between the miraculous bedtime incident in Charlotte and the winged pigs in Iowa. In an Op-Ed piece in the Des Moines Register on Thursday, Dr. Alan Blum, an epidemiologist, noted the timing of the two events and the infinitesimal chance that it was mere coincidence. His conclusion was seconded by scientists from Harvard, MIT and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as an internal Department of Health and Human Services memo on Friday.
Officials in Iowa and neighboring states expressed concern that flying pigs would pose a danger to air traffic, while the Indiana Air National Guard announced plans to research possible military applications of airborne swine units. In a press release, the Gary-based 526th Regiment of the Air National Guard noted the possible advantages flying swine might offer the U.S. military for ongoing conflicts in predominantly Muslim areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq, with an eye toward possible hostilities with Iran in the coming years. Muslims view pigs as unclean creatures, and the psychological impact of porcular weapons forms a major portion of the rationale for the project, the release said.
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Your toilet bowl held a rally today to air its objections to all the crap it takes from you.
Initial police estimates put the attendance at approximately two hundred, including the floor and wall tiles that frequently find themselves in the path of a misdirected stream of toxic substances. For about an hour and a half the rally attendees held signs and chanted slogans calling for more humane treatment, and were addressed by prominent residents of your bathroom.
Placards reading, “Cut the Crap!” and “No More Colons, Period!” festooned the facilities as the bathroom fixtures and ceramic cheered speeches by the toilet paper holder, the overstuffed trash bin and the toilet bowl itself.
The toilet bowl’s chief complaints included your complete lack of consideration for the fixture’s preferences in every arena: from the seat-left-down-or-up question to your clear fondness for Mexican cuisine. The latter might be bearable, said the toilet to a rousing response from the audience, if you had an acceptable scent of air freshener. “As it is,” lamented the toilet, “on top of the stench we then have to choke on the overpowering odor of lilac or jasmine or something.” A chorus of boos echoed through the chamber.
The bowl cited other indignities during the rally, notably your demonstrated disregard for stains on the inside of the bowl; it was apparently last brushed thoroughly sometime during the early months of the Obama administration, when your mom was coming to visit.
The bowl went on to accuse you of recklessness, if not outright malice, citing multiple instances of inappropriate materials getting flushed down. On one occasion, said the bowl, someone attempted to dispose of an entire deck of playing cards wadded up into a single mass. Inevitably, this led to use of a plunger, a humiliating experience for toilet bowls; to make matters worse, the plunger failed to dislodge the blockage, and a plumber was called in to subject the toilet to the further disgrace of having a plumbing snake shoved into it to remove the foreign matter.
The other speakers affirmed the toilet bowl’s litany of grievances, and added several more: the infrequency with which the trash can is emptied; the splatters on the mirror that never get wiped up; the dust bunnies and hairballs accumulating behind the door; and a hand towel that has not been changed in living memory.
The emerging movement to protest the conditions in your bathroom comes on the heels of a similar outpouring of complaints from other parts of your domicile. In May, your kitchen appliances went on strike to protest the fact that you never clean them. They were soon joined by the kitchen sink, which has not seen its own bottom through the accumulated dirty dishes since February.
Then, in July, your car windows wrote “Clean Me” on themselves in a growing layer of dust, and a pigeon-guano-covered shingle threw itself from the roof.
The bathroom fixtures are cautiously optimistic regarding improvement in their treatment. “After the kitchen protest a roommate moved in who does dishes more frequently, so we think there’s the possibility of our actions changing things,” the toilet bowl told a reporter after the rally. “In the end, we just hope somebody gives a crap about us. I mean, that’s all they give right now, but…you know what I mean.”
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One More Hand Grenade for Baby
Words that Rhyme with Angina
Billy Bob’s Big Book of Beggars’ Boils
Let’s Make Fun: Retards
Let’s Make Fun II: Gimps
Let’s Make Fun III: Old People
Let’s Make Fun IV: Rednecks
How Loud Can You Yell in Mommy’s Ear?
The iPhone, the Toilet and You
That’s Not a Tea Bag
The Pleasures of Paranoia
You Can Be Obese, Too!
Where Daddy Keeps the Gin
101 Places to Wipe Your Boogers
Who’s Going to Hell Unless You Browbeat Them into Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
Enough for now. Additional suggestions welcome. Keep it PG-13, please.
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