Friday, October 27, 2006

Is this how George Lucas started?

My son is a huge Star Wars fan, and even has plans for his own Star Wars-like movie next spring.

In the meantime, he's enjoying science at school. So, he decided to combine his science work with his movie ideas.

He wanted to share the latest school science demonstration with others and show them -- parents and kids -- that science can be fun. (While posting to YouTube was my idea -- though he enjoys the Godzilla snippets -- the Super Science was definitely all his.)

Learn and enjoy!
-- Mike

Friday, October 20, 2006

Crazy brothers, Crazy Frog!

Crazy brothers, Crazy Frog!

Very funny, very cute. These kids have definitely received more than their 15 minutes of fame.

Initially found it courtesy of Robert Scoble/Scobelizer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Don't forget about scheduling playtime

For many (most?) working-class parents, life is hectic. There's not only our own work life, relationship with our spouse, and just plain living we have to schedule in -- there's the ever-important role we play in our children's lives.

And, trying to give them the best. Enriching their lives, stimulating their brains, clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, etc.

Often, we forget about free time. Time when they can do whatever they want. Okay, strike that. Time they can play whatever they want -- not being entertained by video games or the TV, but playtime. Preferably outside.

The AP had a story from the American Academy of Pediatrics about how valuable playtime is. Not studying or piano lessons or baseball games or even reading. But, playing.

"Perhaps above all, play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood," says the report, prepared by two academy committees for release Monday at the group's annual meeting in Atlanta. . . .
It says enrichment tools and organized activities can be beneficial but should not be viewed as a requirement for creating successful children. Above all, they must be balanced with plenty of free play time (my emphasis), the report says.
Balance? What a concept! Even if we have to schedule free playtime, do it.

"New York Daily News" columnist Lenore Skenazy makes a good point in today's column about one possible reason why we've forgotten about playtime:

First and foremost, I blame cable. Not kids watching cable (although three hours of the Cartoon Network will turn anyone's brain into Go-Gurt). ADULTS watching cable - that's the problem. Because any time some poor child gets abducted or, God forbid, killed, it is on the news all day. Sometimes all decade.

As the anchors grimly shake their heads for the zillionth time, it's almost impossible to remember the truth: These horrible incidents are not increasing. They are on TV precisely because they are rare. We live in very safe times, and New York City is the safest it has been since the '60s. So it is no nuttier to let your kid ride her bike outside today than it was when the Bradys were still a Bunch.

While my wife and are not perfect parents, we do try to make sure our kids don't get lazy and just sit and watch TV or play video games (as we know it's easy enough to do).

This past Sunday was a perfect example. My wife and I were doing some fall yardwork, and practically kicked our kids out of the house to play outside. Even when our oldest son (8yo) wanted to go back in, we said no. It was a beautiful day in (70s, light wind, sunny), and likely one of the last nice days to be out without a jacket.

So, while we were outside, the kids were outside.

One thing I think has gotten in they way of free, spontaneous playtime is "playdates." While the thought of scheduling time with friends seems to be a necessary evil, I don't remember having playdates scheduled for me when I was growing up.

That's why I'm thrilled that two of my oldest son's friends live nearby. One is two houses away, and the other is on the street behind us (within 1/2 mile). They often do not have playdates. They just go to each other's homes or call and get together.

When our kids don't recognize free time to play (with siblings or friends) and get to watching TV, it is up to parents to "be the parent" and get the kids off their duffs. It's too easy to get busy and let TV and video games be our kids' friends.

Remember, it's not up to our children to be the responsible ones. It's up to us to be the parents.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tragedy can teach, inspire


In the face of tragedy, we often learn from and can hope to emulate the courage of victims.

Case in point comes from the evil that befell an Amish community in Pennsylvania.

The oldest of the five Amish girls (Marian Fisher, 13) shot dead in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse is said to have stepped forward and asked her killer to "Shoot me first," in an apparent effort to buy time for her schoolmates. . . .
What's more, Fisher's 11-year-old sister, Barbie, who survived the shooting, allegedly asked the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, to "Shoot me second," (a midwife who delivered two of the victims Rita) Rhoads said.

As Rhoads later is quoted in that ABC News article, "How many adults are willing to do that? Not many."

There are some tragedies that just can't be prevented -- without putting bars and locks on all buildings. That still doesn't diminish the pain the families and community must be feeling.

But, for the rest of us, other than praying and/or wishing well for them, the best we can do is learn from and look to borrow at least some of the courage that the Fisher girls showed us all.

Other business
On an unrelated note, it is amazing what a link from such a high-traffic blog like can do. Both this site and my PR site have received 50-70+ and 40-50+ visits, respectively, the past couple days from the brief mention there. When I sent the e-mail regarding my post about a list of child sex offenders, I didn't intend for the author to mention my blog -- but to include the links I noted for others to find.

So, thanks for the pointer . . . whoever you are.

UPDATE: Well, while we don't know yet who you are, but we know where you worked and where you're from and the scandal behind the blog. You are a putz. For more, check out Technorati for references to that fake blog.

-- Michael