Saturday, August 30, 2008

You can't play football, you're a girl

Kacy Stuart practiced for two months as a kicker with the New Creation Center Crusaders until the board for the Georgia Football League, the association for the private school clubs in the state, heard about it. Then she was told she was not allowed to play football anymore. It seems no one had a problem with it, not the coaches, players or parents on the team Kacy was going to play for and not the teams she was going to play against. But then Hank St. Denis, the executive board president, heard about her playing and he stepped in, telling Kacy she was not allowed to play football. This is obviously a good ole boy thing, girls are not supposed to play football. They can be cheerleaders for football, but they should not be on the field. They might get hurt. This is such bullshit. The mother has said that she will fight it and I am sure the ACLU among many other lawyers would love this case, it seems to be so easy and obviously about the fact that she is a she and not a he. Hell, there does not even seem to be anything in the by-laws that would forbid her from playing, not that even if there were something in the by-laws it would be anymore right, but at least then they could say that they had rules against it. They don't, this is just some bloated, windbag asshat telling her that she is not allowed to play football because she is a girl. Hell, I am surprised that the school is not fighting this too, they apparently granted her a spot and she is apparently a really good kicker. Even if they just let her have the spot because they knew it would be a lawsuit waiting to happen if they didn't, it does not seem to be in your best interest if an outside individual can tell you what you can and cannot do on your own school team. I hope St. Denis gets his ass kicked and is personally sued by Kacy's mother and school and he has to leave the state of Georgia.

It is nationwide

Dcup posted something yesterday about a roadblock when she was driving with her kids. Well, it happened to me last night as GG and I were driving home from seeing the new Indiana Jones film for free (and that is about it is worth paying to see that pile of crap). We got to a point where they were directing all traffic into an abandoned parking lot. They then lined the cars up in three rows and just went along checking drivers licenses. The popo said they were checking license and proof of insurance, but they only looked at my license. GG and I guess it was cause I still have my NC license. So apparently these random stops are nationwide. And of course as we were pulling into the stop and then leaving again, GG and I wondered aloud whether this was a violation of our civil rights. GG even yelled out the window, "hey you violated my rights" as we were pulling away. I responded "quiet till I get the windows up" we were still in the parking lot and there were a a lot of coppers around. I didn't need to get shot that night. This same police force had shot a kid a few weeks earlier, they might be a bit trigger happy. So we just debated the merits of pulling everyone over for supposed license checks, seemed a bit unlikely to us in a heavily Latino area. Maybe looking to illegal aliens? I guess as Bush's term begins to end we may start to see more of this ramping up of police presence so that when McSame doesn't win, Bush Co. can keep their dictatorship alive.

Friday, August 29, 2008

YouTube Fridays

I thought I would share some Dr. Demento with y'all. Hope you enjoy.

The Drunken Scotsman

Fish Heads

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Wide World of Sports

I hope I didn't scare anyone off with my title about sports because yes this post is about sports, but it is about sports in the news and not just sports themselves.

First, the Lady's Professional Gold Association (LPGA) has decided that all athletes who wish to compete on the LPGA tour must be able to speak English. If a golfer is not able to speak English after being on the tour for 2 years, than they will be suspended. The LPGA says that this is so that athletes are able to give acceptance speeches after a win without the use of a translator. This is also supposed to help with interviews if the athletes are able to speak English. This whole idea seems stupid to me. I understand, I guess, wanting your athletes to be able to speak English to promote your sport better, but when you punish individuals and not offer any assistance this would seem to be counterproductive, but maybe this is just me.

Second, a nine year old boy has been banned from playing baseball in a league in New Haven Connecticut. What did you he do you may ask? Did he hit someone? Nope. Did he display unsportsmanlike conduct? Nope. Did he lie about his age? Nope. He is too good. He has a fastball that registers 40 mph and the league has said that this is intimidating and dangerous to the other players. He has not yet hit another player when he pitches, so he does not appear to be dangerous, just too good. In fact, his coach was told he could not pitch anymore and when his coach did have him pitch, the other team's coaches forfeited the game and left. So basically you showed the players on your team that the point of the game is not to have fun, but that the only important thing is to win. If the idea was not to win, than you would have played anyway and let the kids have fun. They are there to play baseball, not to leave if one of the other team's players is really good. You are basically destroying a child's self-esteem here. Isn't the point of any sport to become good at it? So if he is good at it, why is the league punishing him? His parents and coach say that the team and child is being punished because he chose not to play on the defending league championship team which is sponsored by one of the league administrators places of employment. The league says this is not the case, but really have only said there are safety concerns. Well if there are safety concerns than why punish a whole team or punish the child? Why not have him pitch against older players or suck it up as a league for this season and then create a rule for next season that would limit how much one pitcher can pitch or set a limit on how fast a fast ball can be thrown, but deciding mid-season when this team is undefeated and has a really great player seems suspect to me. It seems they just are trying to prevent an outcome they do not want and/or they are just poor sports and so if the good player is not playing on their team than they do not want to play. I thought youth sports were about having fun, encouraging children to do their best and ultimately like any sport about making yourself to be the best athlete you can be.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I get high on baby hugs

This is a really funny video about being a stay at home dad.

Too poor for recess

According to this article, in a survey of the ten elementary schools in chicago that have the highest rate of children living in poverty most of them did not give any recess and had gym only one day a week. Compare this with the fact that most children who went to schools in the suburbs of chicago usually had at least 20 minutes of recess every day and more than one gym class a week. The low income schools face a number of problems with having children have recess. First most of them do not have any outdoor space or playground equipment. Second, they do not have any recess monitors to watch the children outside. Three, it is not always safe for the children to be outside in these neighborhoods. And finally and the one that I think is probably the biggest reason, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has created an education system where schools struggle to teach children all they need to know for the fucking tests that schools have to pass just to keep getting funding. Research shows (I know I have seen this research, but am not sure where it is right now) that children from low income homes tend to enter school behind their middle class peers. So schools that serve low income families have to make up a lot more time to get their children ready for the same tests that the middle class schools have to take. Because they have to take more time to teach the same material, they have less time to allow children to play outside. We are trying to cram too much information into these children who are not ready to receive the information. There is a lot of research and I would venture common sense that says that children need a break in their day to help them refocus on their academics. They need the time to go outside or play in a gym and burn off the energy that is being accumulated in their bodies as they sit and listen to teachers lecture at them. Children, and not just young children up to at least 8th grade, need time to get up and move around. They need time to socialize with their friends and play games. They need time to just play and turn off their brains or at least engage their brains in a different type of activity than sitting in a classroom. So eliminating recess time is counterproductive. You force kids to sit in a chair for several hours at a time and then you expect them to focus the whole time. Most adults need breaks so why do we expect kids not to need breaks. I have been in a lot of meetings and it seems pretty common for adults to get breaks if they are sitting for a long period of time and if we do not get these breaks, that is the first complaint that most people have. So then why do we expect children to do what we as adults cannot do, sit in a chair for a long period of time. Really good teachers know to change up the activities and keep children engaged in the activities and not make them just sit in one place for long periods of time, but even this is not enough. Children need the time for them to be able to really move around, to run and jump, to laugh and to talk loud. They need that freedom to be a child again. It is horrible that the children who need the safety and security to go outside, those in impoverished areas, are the ones who are denied these opportunities.

And totally off topic, sort of, I hate that we make kids sit down and take tests, not all kids are good test takers so using a standardized test as a sole measure of achievement is asinine. Second, standard tests are written by and for white, suburban, middle-class, male, individuals and hence children who are not exactly this such as Asian or African-American or Latino or female or who live in a lower socioeconomic status or urban or any of the number of non-white upper class males are being tested by tests that they cannot relate to. And finally, what the hell kind of system, NCLB, takes resources away from schools that are struggling and need the resources.

The American education system is fucked up!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Invertebrate Porn

If you have ever been curious about bug sex, and who hasn't been, the Sundance Channel and Isabella Rossellini have created these 2-5 minute short films about different invertebrates and how they have mate. Yes, they are as weird as they sound, but really educational as well. So enjoy on this fine sunday afternoon.

Tired of your teenager, take them to Nebraska

Nebraska finally created a "safe-haven law" whereby allowing mothers of newborns who did not feel they were ready to raise their child or who didn't want the child to be able to take the child to a hospital and leave it there, no questions asked. Now this is of course a sad situation when a mother gives up her child, but at least the child would be able to be put up for adoption and might be able to go to a family that really wanted a child. But Nebraska decided to extend this safe haven law a bit further than any other state. They will allow parents to take any child who is considered a minor and in Nebraska that is any child under 19 to be covered by the safe haven laws. So tired of your hormonal teenager take them to the nearest hospital and leave them there, someone will adopt them. That last statement was of course very sarcastic as I am not sure you can take a child who is 16,17, 18 to a hospital and try to abandon them there under a safe haven law, I am thinking the child may tell the authorities where they live or that may get a bit more complex since the child can speak. One of the authors of this legislation is only considering children up to 14 as minors, now that is not in the law, but even try dropping off a 13 or 14 year old and see how much success you have. Now I guess the law may have a bit of an advantage because I guess I can understand if a parent is overworked and over-stressed and their 2 or 3 year old driving them crazy. The law may allow for someone to abandon the child at a hospital rather than possibly choke or hit the child. I am not saying that I think that it is a good option, but I would rather see an individual take their child to somewhere safe than possibly abuse them. The Nebraska law does not excuse any possible other crimes like abuse of the child, but if it protects a child from being abused than I cannot in good conscience as an early childhood educator dismiss the safe haven law being extended upward past newborns. The other issue about this law is that it does not clearly define who can abandon the child. Most states seem to stipulate that it must be a parent, the Nebraska law does not seem to make that stipulation. It seems as though any person who has the child can leave them at the hospital, this would seem to be a huge loophole and one that will need to be closed before someone who is babysitting just takes a child and abandons them. Now you have a child who possibly has a caring parent, but a parent who has to leave the child with a babysitter and now the child has been abandon at a hospital no questions asked. That is a huge problem to me.

This seems to be a necessary law that was taken a bit too far and will become a huge issue, possibly causing the whole law to be dismantled when it only needs to be tweaked.

Friday, August 22, 2008

YouTube Fridays

You can blames Shakesville for this week's YouTube Fridays. This was an amazingly educational show as I will demonstrate below.

The Animaniacs- 50 states and capitals song

The Animaniacs- Nations of the world song

And then just for fun...

The Animaniacs-I Am The Very Model Of A Cartoon Individual

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The special anniversary edition

I want to wish Mathman and DCup a very happy anniversary. I feel like a voyeur as I have watched their relationship go from what seemed good to not good to these two working on trying to create a healthy relationship. They obviously are great friends and as parents they really put their children first even as they struggled in their relationship. You two are awesome and I wish you the best of luck for the rest of your days together.

As a side note, as I was typing this I realized that I fucked up majorly, I forgot my own parent's anniversary. It was July 31, so I am sorry mom, since I know you read this blog. You two are also great parents and I am lucky to have you and I am sorry I forgot about your anniversary and am so far behind on wishing you a happy one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do your knicker match your shorts?

The IOC has suspended the New Zealand men's field hockey manager after three of his players wore black underwear under their shorts. Apparently the knickers and shorts must match in Olympic field hockey play. The IOC wanted to suspend the three players, but the manager argued that he was to blame as he was the one who picked out what the players wore. So now the manager had to watch a crucial match against Germany from the stands. The Olympic hockey committee has also threatened the German manager and players because in their game they were wearing white shorts with a red stripe and they were supposed to be wearing red underwear, but since red underwear is hard to come by they wore black underwear and so now players are being threatened that they will be suspended from the semi-final match. This is possibly the most asinine rule I have heard of in sports and that there is someone whose job it is to make sure the undies match the shorts of a player is just stupid.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's about fucking time

Finally, Rachel Maddow has gotten her own show. She will be replacing Dan Abrams on MSNBC starting September 8 with her own show. It will be great to have her on her own TV show, when I have remembered to listen to her on Air America, I loved her show and of course I love her whenever I get to see her on MSNBC. It is about fucking time that a smart, funny, fearless, liberal women got a show about politics. Maddow has said that up to and for 100 days after the new president her show will focus on the political race, but then she wants to turn it into a more general political show much like what she does on Air America. This has basically made my day.

If the kindergarten is a rockin' don't come a knockin'

I just had to put up this article about a kindergarten in Australia that had a police officer come and give them a noise violation because their party got too loud. Yep, a neighbor called the cops on a kindergarten who was having a party. Sounds like someone wanted to be invited to the kindergartners' party. Although, if this song was blasting, I might have to call the cops too.

The Chicken Dance

I had to pick this version of this song as I love the whole mid-90s high school dance thing.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Music break

I'm so excited-The Pointer Sisters

Fame Theme Song

Friday, August 15, 2008

God is genderless

God has no gender is a common idea, I think, for most of us progressives. Either you are an atheist and the non-existence of God mean that naturally something that doesn't exist doesn't have a gender or you are progressive enough and probably a feminist and see God as non-gendered. So this concept was not new to me, but it was still interesting to see this article about this idea. Apparently, a Reform Rabbi has been studying the name of God in Hebrew for the past 13 years and has discovered that if you spell it backwards than it would be the words for he-she in Hebrew. The name he is referring to is the Holy name of God in the Torah, it is the one that is unpronounceable. There are probably some caveats I should point out, first this is from a Reform Rabbi which for those of you who do not know, is the liberal arm of Judaism so this will still hold no weight with the Orthodox arm of Judaism. Two, you have to spell the name backwards to get this result and I guess the argument could be made that if you move letters around enough you can get any result you want, especially from the Torah where it is written without vowels, so you can put whatever vowels you want in a word and change the word entirely. But even so, this Rabbi believes and I would tend to have to agree that the concept of God to the ancient Israelites may not have been male, it may have been non or dual gendered.

As GG and I were talking about last night, the concept of God should transcend gender. As humans we give God a gender and anthropomorphize God so that it fits more easily into our concept. It is much more difficult for humans to conceptualize something that is beyond conceptualism and has no gender. We need God to have a gender so that we can identify with God much more easily. Also, by making god male, it also continues the empowerment of the male gender which is patriarchal societies is, of course, important. There has been a move toward more gender neutral language, I know within Reform Judaism as I grow up in that arm of Judaism and saw the changes for myself, but I am not sure that the same amount of gender neutral language has infiltrated too much farther into Judaism and I have no idea within Christianity of Islam whether the liberal arms of these religions have moved away from patriarchal language in prayer books. (As a sidenote to those who understand Hebrew, I really wanted to type siddur there as that just seems to be the right word for a prayer book for me.)

The comments, which I have not read this morning just last night when I first found this article, are almost as interesting as the article itself. There are quite a lot of people who are saying, of course god has no gender, God does not procreate and gender comes from the presence of sex organs and so no sex organs no gender. There are also plenty of people who are saying that this idea of a gender-less God is a really great idea. There are a number of them and I agree with this that point out that in the article repeatedly God is referred to as a hermaphrodite and that is probably not the best language that can and should be used in this instance. Then there are the trolls, which I find slightly entertaining here. There are the atheists who come on and say, there is no god so why are we arguing about this. That is nothing but trolling, you are not adding to the conversation and for you there is no God but for those who do believe in God this may be a valid argument. And then there are the ones who are vehement that God has to be male, it says so in the bible. It says God is a male and he sent his child to save us, that we are all sinners for even thinking that God is not a male. Hmmmmmmm... well I have to respond to this on my blog cause well it is my blog. The Bible comes from the Torah and the Torah was originally written in Aramaic and then translated to Hebrew and then translated to Greek and then translated to Latin and then onto all of the modern languages. And along with all of those translations, many of those translators didn't actually speak or read the language they were supposed to be translating, for example the translators from Hebrew to Greek didn't necessarily read or speak Hebrew. So assuming that based upon the fact that you know read the Bible in English means you have any idea what it says in Hebrew let alone the original Aramaic, is just ignorant. There are all kinds of weird language anomalies in the Torah, so I just laugh at people when they assume they are so smart cause they know that Jesus spoke English.

Invasion of the food snatcher

I was sitting in the living room reading when GG yells, "Boxer come here quick". So I go running wondering what one of the furry beasties had done this time. And this is what I find...

Yes, the kitty was trying to raid the kitchen. She had no success though, the jars were just too big. But she gets an A for effort.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kick Ass!!

Ok so I want to start this with the thought that I wanted a really great YouTube click of Cartman saying kick ass or I am going to kick your ass or something great, but nope, I couldn't find anything. But I did find out that a lot of other people like to say kick ass on YouTube. Anywho...

My girl FranIAm has determined that I am a kick ass blogger. I am then to tag other people that I think are kickass as well. Hmmmm well the issue with that is that I think everyone I read is kickass. So I am going to cheat and I am going to post the rules to this meme and then I am going to post my whole blogroll as you are all kickass in my book.

1) Choose five other bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers”
2) Let them know that they have received an award.
3) Link back to both the person who awarded you and also to
4) Visit the Kick Ass Blogger Club HQ to sign Mr. Linky and leave a comment.

When will I use this?
Phydeaux Speaks
Never what you thought it should be
Monkey Muck
Monkey Mouth
Mock, Paper, Scissors
Media Needle
Little Mary Sunshine
Little Bang Theory
Gourmet Goddess
Comerade Kevin
Brave Sir Robin
Blue Gal

So if anyone wants to take this meme and run with it, go ahead cause I do think you are all kickass. I couldn't single out just five of you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Because poor people don't need civil rights

In Helena-West Helena, Arkansas a 24 hour curfew has been imposed. The police can now stop anyone who is out at anytime for any reason. Apparently this has been going on for the past week and was extended again last night by a 9-0 count. "As far as I'm concerned, at 3 o'clock in the morning, nobody has any business being on the street, except the law," Councilman Eugene "Red" Johnson said. "Anyone out at 3 o'clock shouldn't be out on the street, unless you're going to the hospital." I see some major issues with this line of thought as I am sure many of you do. First, there are other reasons that someone may be out at 3 AM like they are working the night shift. Second, this curfew is not just during the nighttime, unless I misunderstand a 24 hour curfew that means you can be stopped any time of the day from 3 PM to 3 AM. This curfew does not discriminate based upon time, but I would be willing to bet that an African-American is more likely to be stopped than a Caucasian person. If the issue is people committing crime or causing problems at night, than institute a curfew at night for a limited amount of time, but having a 24 hour curfew for over a week is blatantly a violation of these people civil rights. "Now if somebody wants to sue us, they have an option to sue, but I'm fairly certain that a judge will see it the way the way the citizens see it here," Mayor James Valley said. "The citizens deserve peace, that some infringement on constitutional rights is OK and we have not violated anything as far as the Constitution." So it is ok to infringe on civil rights when the government decides it is ok, huh. I am sick of politicians deciding that they can shit on the Constitution whenever they feel like it. Someone needs to sue this town, the ACLU has threaten too do just that now they need to follow through with this threat.

My days of domestic servitude are over, for now

Today was my last day before i have to go back to work. I have a new teacher orientation tomorrow which starts my exciting career as an Illinois public teacher. So what did I do today on my last day before I have to get back to the daily grind? relax? watch the Olympics? lounge around all day? Nope, I did work. I made a spaghetti sauce since we had some tomatoes that were battered and bruised.

I also made two loaves of zucchini bread since we are swimming in zucchini and squash.

I also did several loads of laundry and went to a local farmers market to get some bread a few other things. So not much relaxing, but tomorrow starts the real grind.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A sign that gas prices really are too high

A man in Colorado claims to be a porn inspector and demands that a store give him free videos. This man obviously is either truly desperate for porn or he can't afford them anymore because of high gas prices. I mean really, three times in nine days goes into the same shop and demands porn. He even create a business card and makes up a department at the local police station about underage actors in porn. I guess he has never heard of the internet, huh, since I hear you can find free porn there. You can even find out the name of different sex acts to try. We need to lower gas prices now or this man may just explode from lack of wanking off.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cat Sundae

This post was supposed to b yesterday, Caturday, but I just didn't get a chance to put it up. GG and I were busy yesterday. Anyway. here are some pictures of our furry children.

Here is the newest furry child, Kalidas aka Kali aka Li'l bit. She has already decided that the remote is hers and we will be watching more cat inspired programming.

Here is the matriarch of the family, Pele. She is just watching over her subjects from her rocking chair.

And of course Logan, here he is sleeping. Seems to be the safest thing for him as Pele still hisses at him occasionally and Kali has threatened to chase him at times as well.

The animals all seem to be getting used to each other, but we do have the occasional hiss or other sound of stay away.

Friday, August 8, 2008

YouTube Fridays

Since I just heard this song on the radio, I had to post it.

Wall of Voodoo- Mexican Radio

This is just a great song.

Living Colour- Cult of Personality

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mailman to wear kilts

According to this article on CNN, a mailman wants the national union to sanction kilts as part of the uniform. He says they are more comfortable for him and does not cause the same amount of chaffing for him. He brought this issue to the national convention and it was struck down. I say more power to him, more men should wear kilts if they want to wear them.

h/t Tengrain for first bringing this up

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Take that old white haired dude

I am not a fan of Paris Hilton at all, but I do really like this response to the whole McCain using her in one of his political ads.

See Paris Hilton Responds to McCain Ad and more funny videos on

Oh and I know that someone wrote down that whole "my energy policy thing", but it was a great way of at least not making her seem to be the airhead that she always appears to be.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Movie Review- God Grew Tired of Us

God Grew Tired of Us is the story of three men who were part of the Lost boys of Sudan. The Lost Boys of Sudan area group of over 27,000 men who were driven out of southern Sudan in 1987 due to civil war. After many years as refugees, approximately 3800 of them were given the opportunity to come to the U.S. to have new opportunities. This film profiles three of the men, but in talking about these three men it is a great case study all of those who cam to the U.S. The film begins with some history on the Lost Boys and their having to travel, first to Ethiopia and then later to Kenya where they had been living for about 10 years when they left for the U.S. We see some of the refugee camp life and the ways in which this large band of peoples, mostly male have become a large family as they have struggled to survive. The movie then goes on to show the mixed emotions that the men who get to leave are feeling, sadness in having to leave their home and their family, but also excitement to begin something new and maybe not have to starve and struggle for food as much. The rest of the film, about an hour, shows the adjustment of the men to the U.S. from learning about running water and electricity to having to get a job or go to college. We experience the joys and struggles of these men as they adjust to a life that is so different than what they were used to. We also get to see toward the end of the film one of the boys reunited with his mother who he had not seen in seventeen years.

The film is incredibly powerful in he range of emotions you go through, watching them at the supermarket right after they have come to the U.S. is really funny and also interesting. The struggles they have as they adjust to living in much more isolating conditions for them. As one of the men comment at one point that he was so used to living with a lot of people that the three other Sudanese who are living with him are not enough. Many of them discuss the importance of family and community relationships. They struggle with the ways in which they feel isolated from each other as they have to work two and three jobs at times, thus giving them no time to socialize with each other. They also comment on how unfriendly Americans are and how they seem to be more isolated from each other than the Sudanese or at least in the refugee camps they were used to. The ending where one of the individuals is now reunited with his mom is very powerful along with one of the other men going back to Africa to marry and then return with his bride. There are times at which this is a hard film to watch, but it is also a film that needs to be shown in schools so that children can realize how truly lucky they are to live here in the U.S.

Monday, August 4, 2008

UPDATE: Walmart is still evil

Wal-mart is of course denying reports they were trying to influence how their workers vote in November. They say they were just trying to educate their workers about new legislation. Hmmmmmm...yeah right... and I am a monkeys uncle. Anyway, here is the entire report from NPR.

h/t my mom

Kids can't play anymore

As I was reading this article I started to think about how much we limit the amount of time that children can play. Kids just can't and don't go out to play as much as they did even when I was growing up and that wasn't that long ago. Now we have video games and TV for them to sit on their asses and do instead of going outside. But who can blame them when they stay inside when they are constantly told, don't do that you may hurt yourself, don't go there it is dangerous, it isn't safe for you to ride your bike out of the driveway, you need to stay right here. As a kid if i can't go anywhere, if I can't climb a tree or go to a stream and look at crawdads or ride my bike to my friends, what is the point of going outside? Sure the fresh air is good for you, but when all of the fun is taken out of playing why would you do it? We also don't show kids how to play anymore, if they are playing a sport, there are all kids of rule and the games have to be organized. They have to be playing in the soccer league or the baseball league or the whatever sports league. What happened to a whole bunch of kids getting together to play hide and seek or a big game of tag in the neighborhood? What happened to kids just playing touch football in the backyard or just throwing a football or frisbee around. I don't remember a lot of pick up games of football, but I sure remember a few.

And the whole trying to protect your kids every second of the day has just gotten out of hand. I know even at schools it has gotten to be a bit crazy. At my last job in NC, we had trees outside that were there for the kids to climb on, that was the purpose of them. We were specifically told that the kids could climb trees, now we didn't want anyone to get hurt so I along with a few other teachers would say that the kids can climb the tree, but we had to be there just to make sure stuff stayed relatively safe. I would just stand there and watch the kids climbing, with my arm out in case they fell. I am not sure I would have actually caught a child if they fell, but it would have been enough to slow them down. I also was able to make sure that there was only one child at a time in the tree and that other kids weren't shaking the tree to knock someone out of the tree. But other teachers banned the kids from ever climbing in the trees, cause they were afraid that child may break an arm. I understand the concern, but really kids need to have fun, they need to explore and use muscles that they can't use just by running around. I was amazed how many times I saw kids do amazing things like swing their whole body up on a branch or use some agility and planning to get from the top of a tree to the bottom or from one branch to another. Kids cannot learn these skills without experiencing them. I was never the type of kid who wanted to climb trees, but for those children who want to we should let them. They are gaining valuable experiences and learning to use muscles and thinking skills that they may otherwise never learn to use. And if they fall and break their arm, well that is what insurance is for and also they learn their own boundaries. If, as adults, we always set the boundaries for kids than how are they going to figure them out for themselves.

We also need to start to encourage children to have recess more too. They need these breaks in academics for a bit to re-focus and be ready for more learning. Learning can take place in all kinds of places including the outdoors and recess is a great time for kids to explore their environment. They can learn about nature and the world around them. They can learn to count the leaves or to write with sidewalk chalk. I even remember in seventh grade going outside to the nature center, sure I wasn't the most outdoorsy kind of kid, but it was still nice to get out and take a bit of a nature walk and go down to the pond or into the woods near the school. Even schools in urban environments can enjoy that kind of learning, take the kids outside to look at the trees or grass that are nearby for whatever bus or other animals are living in that area or just on a walk.

I am sorry if this was a bit rambling and did not seem to flow totally for you, but it all ties together in my own head. Kids need more fun and need to discover the world outside. How can we expect them to care about the environment if they have never been outside and looked at world around them?

Friday, August 1, 2008

YouTube Fridays

Yay it is back, I did miss not doing YouTube Fridays. So at Shakesville yesterday the Question of the Day was about songs from movies that you would be embarrassed if others knew you really liked. There are so many great candidates, but these two really stuck out for me.

The never ending story- Limahl

Magic Dance- David Bowie (From Labyrinth)

The evil empire strikes again

Wal-Mart is at it again. This time they are discouraging their employees from voting for Obama in November. This article discusses how over the past few weeks Wally World has been holding meetings with their managers and department heads to discuss how a Democratic presidency would be bad for the company. Wal-Mart believes that a Democratic presidency would allow for more unionization of their workers and this would be bad for the company. They have been telling their personnel that if unions are allowed it would mean, employes would have to pay really high union fees, would have to strike without pay and Wal-Mart may have to lay off workers as a union would increase their labor fees too high for them to be able to keep everyone. So the same old, same old scare tactics that have been used forever.

These threats are not new for Wal-Mart as I learned when I was a personal care assistant for a young man with Cerebral Palsy and who was in a wheelchair. As part of the vocational program at the school, a job had to be found for the kids so that they could have something to do when they left high school. The young man I was working with and had been working with for the past year before that was found a job at Wal-Mart. So since he was working at Wal-Mart I had to go along with him and listen to the bullshit training videos and such. Well, it seems that as part of the new employee orientation Wal-Mart has anti-Union propaganda videos for the new employees to watch. We were told the exact same thing that they are now repeating here, unions would mean really high union wages that would take all of their money and that they would be forced to strike with no wages. The new employees were also warned that union organizers were everywhere and were sneaky. They would try to trick employees into wanting unions when the employees didn't really want them. Wal-Mart says that they try to protect their employees against these nefarious unions, but since we have that pesky freedom of speech thing, Wal-Mart cannot stop these pesky people from talking to you about unions.

I knew Wal-Mart was anti-union when I had to endure this training, but that they would sink so low as to make anti-union propaganda as part of their training seemed out of bounds to me. It really took a lot for me to sit there and listen to this video. I am not a 100% proponent of unions, they do a lot of really good things and have made very positive changes in the American economy, but there are downsides at times to large unions such as lack of local decision making abilities. But the fact that Wal-Mart is so scared of unions and is brainwashing their employees the same way is wrong. They also apparently didn't tell their employees who to vote for, but the Democrats would be the wrong choice. I wonder how many people will lose their jobs at Wal-Mart if they vote the "wrong" way. Will you get fired if you show support for Obama?

Yet another reason that I hate Wal-Mart and try not to go there most of the time although I have begun to slip a bit on that lately, this new information will toughen my resolve though.