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.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Did I say "overlords?" I meant "protectors."

It is the year 2020. Aliens have taken over. They have decided your constitution gives you too many rights. Pick five of them to keep. If you are all unanimous, then you may keep those five rights. If not, then you lose all of them. What rights do you keep?

This is the task put before Girl's 5th grade class yesterday. I was the special guest lawyer. So it was cute that "right to a lawyer" was one of the first things to go. One girl said, well, if you're guilty, you should go to jail.

So nobody goes to jail just because they're too dumb to be able to say the right thing? That never happens? (Crickets) Let me put it this way -- have you ever been in a situation where somebody could out-talk you? Like, they always win just because they're older than you and it just seems like they can always say the right thing and you're there all shy, going, "Um, shaddup."

Can you think that maybe when a regular guy is talking to a cop or to a judge that maybe that guy would feel like that?

Or what about Ernesto Miranda (Of "Miranda Rights")? He was guilty as sin, but we didn't send him to jail (Not for that particular crime anyway). Why? Because -- write this down, children -- rights are not a reward for good behavior. They're rights. We have a "right" to them. That's what makes them "rights."

Three rights were absolute no-brainers for them:
Right to bear arms
No cruel and unusual punishment
Freedom of religion

Why those three? Hot topics, I guess. Especially I can see where they would think that the one about God was the "right" answer.

They were less clear about peaceful assembly. One boy said, well, Martin Luther King already did that, so we don't need that one any more. (Excellent.)

So, it's all good now? Nobody ever abuses their power? Nobody ever needs to stand up to anybody in government now?

But of course it is difficult for kids this age to question authority. Frankly, that's probably appropriate for 5th grade, so this is where it was nice to have alien overlords to be the heavy.

Say the aliens decide that we all have to pay for the air we breathe from now on. We might want to say something about that? In a group, maybe? Should they be able to arrest us just for meeting?

They weren't hearing me about privacy, either. But again, as kids, I don't think they're really feeling the "My home is my castle" thing. With kids, it's a process of "unlearning" that respect for authority.

We had the same problem in high school when teachers would try to point out something racy in a novel. We'd spent so much time getting our minds out of the gutter, we just couldn't believe that the innuendo really was there. I distinctly remember our Great Gatsby teacher practically heaving over the desk, announcing, "Come on, guys. This is hot stuff!"

That's how I felt about our little experiment. I just wanted to shout, come on guys, our founding fathers were some radicals and heretics. Get feisty here!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Oh Goody! A Meme

I been tagged. I do love a meme. With this one, the idea is to:

Pick up the nearest book. [Mine is Persepolis]
Open to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

Here goes:

"When they let him out, my brother started going to counter-revolutionary demonstrations. He told me that the chief of the new executioners was his torturer in The Shah's prison. He saw it with his own eyes."

I tag Desert Ramblings, Nicegrl, Mamie, Librarian's Rant, and Plausible Fabulist.

Rip Rop Rippidy Doo

What gives shape to my weeks is that Wednesday is choir practice. Because our church and my office are each prohibitively far from our house, it is also my late night at work. I work late and then I go straight there. So we're rehearsing with the other church's choir for this big cantata, and the finale is this big rap number. Our spoken word artist was not at rehearsal, so we just played through the orchestration to get the count right. Well, so naturally I burst into Hip, hop, hip, hip-a to the hip-hip- hop-a, you don't stop-a rock-a.... The uncanny thing is that my hippiechick counterpart in the other choir had exactly the same impulse at exactly the same second. So we ran through the whole lyric together. A magical moment brought to you by the Sugar Hill Gang.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Have I hit on something universal? In his life, does every boy have to pull an Anthony Kiedis?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Too Much Information

I was opining aloud to My Best Beloved that Girl was at that point where she needed a proper bra when I thought, is this one of those marital TMI moments best kept to myself?

My Darling has no dog in that fight, as the gender roles are rather rigid in this particular domain. The integrity and maintenance of Girl's business is ceded entirely to me and likewise My Sweet owns the controlling interest in Jones's.

However, if this arrangement is demure, well, that is sheer coincidence. I cannot say it is because we're so very classy. Not as much as Jones delights in working the word "booty" into every conversation. (Also, dam. He'll pretend he's a beaver so he can say he's building a dam. Or he'll sing "We all go down to Amsterdam. Amster, Amster dam-dam-dam.")

No, our arrangement owes nothing to diffidence and everything to the birth order of the parents. My Love and are both reeeaally bossy. It's just a good thing for our union that we have one of each.

So, it occurred to me that Light-of-my-life might appreciate an accounting of my stewardship, but what's the rule?

I mean, when I came of age, my mother reported the news to my father, who, being the more ceremonious parent, made several awkward gestures at celebrating the event. Y'know what? Probably doesn't need to be a beautiful bonding moment with your father, actually. (Especially as, once, when I was laid up with cramps, my sire consoled me with the wisdom that all of this could have been avoided if Eve hadn't sinned in the garden. Yeah, thanks for that.)

I think that I probably need to hold back. As much as I have to fight the tendency to treat my daughter like a girlfriend, I should probably also fight the tendency to treat my husband like a girlfriend. But, Dear Reader, I can still blab to you, can't I?