I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Netiquette question

So, here's a question.

Say you have a friend. Not a friend, exactly. More like a probationary friend. Friend enough to have your e-mail address. And one of the first things PF does with your e-mail address is forward something to you and twenty other of her closest friends. In this particular case it was this maudlin poem.

Well, I have a pretty high tolerance for forwards of this sort, but this particular one bugged me. Perhaps it was the presumption on our very new acquaintance, or the bathos of the text, or the fraud of making people believe that signing a chain petition is accomplishing something.

I hit "reply all", linked to the hoax-slayer site, and explained that if anybody wanted to help MADD in real life, they could click on its actual action center. Was that overkill?

The House of Black

The Unitarians have organized us into circles of a few households who take turns hosting potlucks for each other. Tonight was the first of these. It was altogether lovely -- for the grown-ups at least. These things are always sort of awkward for kids.

We got on to family histories. Spouse and I were telling the story of the reunion where he and I had unveiled a genealogy and the aunties all set to editing-- cousins marrying, unacknowledged children, etc. Another of our party, said, Oh, like Sirius Black's mother burning holes in the tapestry -- Bzzt, Bzzt! An apt analogy, and we had only just read that chapter last night.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shutupious Curse

Beloved has undertaken the reading of Harry Potter to Girl (mostly) and Jones. So, lately they've been barking orders expectantly at household objects and waiting for their powers to manifest. Jones has invented the "shutupious" curse, which I think quite ingenious, even though I've had to outlaw it. I would give a lot for a shutupious curse.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A School Like Costco

J'adore me some Sandra Tsing Loh. Once more, she has written exactly the words I would like to think I would write if I had her forum. I happened on her critique of Kozol's latest book, which appears in the March 2008 issue of "The Atlantic". In it, she describes how she learned to stop worrying and love her children's poor, urban school, discovering that it can be like "A giant Costco -- overcrowded parking, gray lighting, but replete with buried treasure."

She describes how her "pushy, whitish, Type A, middle-class poor" family, decided to throw their all into the depressing neighborhood school -- I love how she put it, "Play[ed] Lady Bountiful," to said school -- not because they are so all-fired principled, but because it's what there is. She freely admits, "We tried to flee to the white suburbs, but we failed." Because, even though she is obviously a person who can, for instance, get herself published in "The Atlantic," the good school zip codes and/ or private schools remain way out of her price range.

And even though it exhausts me just to read what it took for this quasi-celebrity to secure, in this case, a Vh1 Save the Music grant. And even though I have more and more often experienced my own neighborhood school as a sink-hole that shows little return on my investment. Still, it is heartening to know that Sandra shares and has given a name to my own "Pushy whitish Type A middle-class poor" experience.