Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Screenagers....or, let's be real, Allagers...is a new documentary produced by a physician and mom to teenagers, Dr. Delaney Ruston.

"Kids are on screens too much, but parents don't know what to do about it. So I decided to make this film not only to look at the impact, but to look at solutions."

Check here for a screening in your area.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Durga's Dad

Read this.

It's what hope looks like.

It is how healing happens.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Welcome to Yellowstone: Ba da ba ba bah, I'm lovin' it!

If you have ever visited one of the 58 National Parks in the United States, you likely experienced a sense of awe, wonder, and the stillness that comes from encountering immense beauty.

Beauty that has been protected and preserved from commercial use.

Until now.

Corporate sponsorship is being considered as a source of funding to maintain and support the National Parks.
A new policy proposed by the National Park Service will remove current rules saying that parks must be free of commercialism. The order directs parks to actively seek donations from corporate vendors, while also liberalizing rules on “donor” recognition and lifting restrictions on naming rights in parks. That means your visit to a national park will increasingly become marred by product placement in visitors’ centers and on signage, benches, paving stones, and park vehicles.   
---Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood

"These mountains brought to you by Chick-fil-A, and over here, this natural hot spring made possible by Burger King. The moose? Brought to you by Shell Global. At Shell, our motto is, 'We heart nature!' "

Sometimes you look at a problem (need funding to maintain the National Parks) and then look at a possible solution (corporate vendors with naming rights in the park) and it takes a nanosecond for Megan Trainor's song to come to mind:

Down to the ah to the no, no, no.

So while a much much better solution is being procured, you can sign a petition giving your 'No' to the really terrible solution being considered. 

Sign here.

 I'm #2101. 
You can sign your name or keep it anonymous.
Either way, the mountains will thank you.  Or at least, the moose. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Goldilocks, Reconstructed.

Miss C went through a long and entertaining phase where reading a book or telling a story pretty much mimicked this here.

For your viewing enjoyment: Goldilocks, Reconstructed

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What to do with all the leftover Barbie Spies

Remember this fun toy?

A Barbie.  That talks to your kid.  And records what your kid says.  And stores all that information in a cloud.  And uses that information to market to children more specifically.

Brought to my attention by the ever-marvelous Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, I posted about it here in March 2015.

Many of you signed a petition telling Christopher Sinclair, the CEO of Mattel, that this was a creepy, unethical, and wretched idea.  Those were the printable adjectives. 

Advocacy works!  Not always how we imagine it will!  But still!

If you would like to see the fruits of your signature, or just a reminder that protecting kids is generally always a good idea, read CCFC's postYou did it!  Hello Barbie is a flop.

An excerpt:

Long before the doll’s release, CCFC publicized how Hello Barbie would threaten children’s privacy, creativity, and wellbeing. Nearly 45,000 people signed our petitions urging Mattel not to release the doll that records and analyzes children’s conversations, and our concerns were featured in media outlets around the world, including the Washington Post and Fox News.
In November, just before the doll hit stores, we enlisted experts to help us tell parents exactly why Hello Barbie is bad for children. Our Hell No Barbie: 8 reasons to leave Hello Barbie on the Shelf was shared far and wide on social media and inspired a fresh wave of media attention, including The Today Show

Yay for good things.

Mattel did not make a good choice on this one.  But parents did, and so Spy Barbie flopped.

Perhaps she could be placed in the center of the table at the next strategic planning meeting of Mattel, and report back what the hale they were thinking on this. 


Executives wouldn't want a real purdy data gathering recording device to attend their meeting?


Imagine:  at all future gatherings, if each person had to speak into the Barbie...
Speak into the Barbie please.  Could you adjust the Barbie?  So that we can all hear and record you properly?  Thank you.  Yes, that's better. 

I think the audio playback might sound like this:

Monday, April 18, 2016

"Automatic and Invisible"

One dad shares how he and wife moved through a common scenario:

"...no policy solution could have intervened in our situation. The variables were few and personal: two parents, two jobs, one sick kid....

It had seemed like a hassle, but it was the point that we do this negotiation. That's both the cost and the payoff of breaking out of the gender roles that make these decisions both automatic and invisible."

--- Two Parents, One Sick Kid by Alexis Madrigal

Friday, January 8, 2016

Awakening The Force

It is Star Wars (time, year, life). 

 She Who Wears the Tunic That Looks Like Pants....back in the day


Miss C has been reading Harry Potter and for Christmas she received books 4 - 7, as well as the DVD collection of movies 1 - 8.  (As fans know, and as was explained to me, the last book was so long it was made into two films.)
Each time she finishes a book, she loves to watch the movie, and compare how it plays out on screen versus how it played out in her imagination.  She recently finished book 3 and wanted to dive into the movie immediately.  I reminded her to do her homework, tend to whatever else needed tending, and then, then, she could have screen time. 
She started laughing hysterically.

"Do you know what you just said?" she asked.
"Yes.  Do your jobs then you can watch tv."
"No!  You said, 'And then you can watch some Star Wars.' "

I had. 
I had swapped out HP and put in SW just like that. 

She went off to tend what needed tending, still laughing, saying, "We don't even have Star Wars!" 


Before she had seen The Movie, Miss C was walking the line of inquiry about Star Wars, trying to grasp what was all the to-do.  For important matters like this, I direct Miss C back to her dad because my depth of knowledge on Star Wars is like the kiddie pool, a mini, shallow version of the big pool. 
But she wasn't interested in the plot points. 
She wanted to know why she was supposed to like it.

"You're not supposed to like it," I said.  "You can like it, or not like it, or sort of like it."
"But I feel like I'm supposed to like it," she'd insisted.  "No one said I have to like it, but I feel like I should." 


Not long after this conversation, but still before she'd seen the movie (which transformed all uncertainty into full Force love), we were in Barnes and Noble, picking up a gift.  She stopped in the middle of the first floor, as though taken over by something.  She became serious, and said, "I feel like I suddenly like Star Wars.  Like I actually like it now, and I don't know why."

She was surprised by this sudden liking, a new feeling she hadn't had before.

We stood still in the center of what seemed to be a new department at Barnes and Noble:  Vader alarm clocks, Clone Troopers, embroidered Yoda hats, Yoda string lights, Perplexus's's's, Air Hogs, Star Wars Catch Phrase and lunch boxes and woolly gloves and Monopoly, and of course,  Lightsabers of every size and color. 

And suddenly, without having deepened my kiddie pool knowledge of this story, and without knowing why, I felt the exact same way. 

And I really wanted the Yoda hat. 


The Force Awakens opens in China this weekend.  If you want to see 500 Storm Troopers stationed on the Great Wall (truly a sight to behold), or read about how to create retroactive nostalgia, here you go.