A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

News

The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles in News

If they won’t build them right, ban them
Monday, 23 Nov, 2009 – 22:42 | Comments Off
If they won’t build them right, ban them

Here’s a great example of how we’ve improved products over the years to the point of making them heaping piles of junk.
The crib I slept in as babe decades ago now lives in my parents’ …

A SWAT for trying to create a rap sheet over a rap
Thursday, 19 Nov, 2009 – 22:44 | Comments Off
A SWAT for trying to create a rap sheet over a rap

You’re a harried fast-food worker sticky with sweat and grease but trying to maintain the obligatory smile and chirpy tone because even a minimum-wage job is a coup in this economy.
“Welcome to McDonald’s, may I …

Relax, bloggers. The media are not out to get you
Wednesday, 18 Nov, 2009 – 23:17 | Comments Off
Relax, bloggers. The media are not out to get you

I suppose it’s human nature for defenses to go up in the face of criticism.
But still, it’s perplexing when those being criticized – or even mildly questioned – still are lashing out almost two months …

Five days to stop a pandemic? Nah. It’s too much
Tuesday, 17 Nov, 2009 – 22:32 | 2 Comments
Five days to stop a pandemic? Nah. It’s too much

What would it be worth to you to stop swine flu from spreading? Would $290 a week be too much of an investment?
That’s how much it would cost to let a minimum-wage worker stay home …

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – like it or not
Sunday, 15 Nov, 2009 – 22:00 | Comments Off
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – like it or not

You know retailers are starting to get obnoxious about rushing the Christmas shopping season when even a 6-year-old picks up on it.
“Look at that Christmas tree,” Big Guy said, gesturing at the display front and …

Epiblogue: An attorney general’s opinion that’s 100 percent Oscar Mayer
Wednesday, 11 Nov, 2009 – 22:10 | Comments Off

Quickly after the covert tape-recording habits of those in Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office came to light, his apologists  began trying to recast state privacy law.
An interview? Oh, that’s not a confidential communication. It was …

Who’s been surfing where? The government wants to know
Tuesday, 10 Nov, 2009 – 22:06 | 4 Comments
Who’s been surfing where? The government wants to know

It’s almost unfortunate that indymedia.us routinely destroys its server logs after five weeks and, as a result, couldn’t comply with a Justice Department subpoena that tried to force the organization to reveal everything it knew …

One out of 10,000
Friday, 6 Nov, 2009 – 21:37 | Comments Off
One out of 10,000

Some quick, but important, facts about the Middle East:

Not everyone of Middle Eastern heritage is an Arab. There also are Israelis, Persians, Kurds, Assyrians, Pashtuns, Armenians and more.
Not everyone with roots in the Middle East …

Everyone just back the heck off Fort Hood
Thursday, 5 Nov, 2009 – 17:21 | One Comment
Everyone just back the heck off Fort Hood

It sure doesn’t take folks long to flock to tragedy these days – folks who like to twist it to serve their political purposes or bend it to make a partisan point.
I know that, and …

Pay-per-mile auto insurance could be the new HMO
Thursday, 5 Nov, 2009 – 0:43 | 2 Comments
Pay-per-mile auto insurance could be the new HMO

Why would someone who barely drives not jump at the chance to buy “pay per mile” auto insurance, which the Brookings Institute estimates will cut most people’s yearly insurance costs $270 per car?
Well, for one, …

You want to be governor (again)? Start by following the law
Tuesday, 3 Nov, 2009 – 22:53 | Comments Off
You want to be governor (again)? Start by following the law

Anyone know of a nice third-party candidate – preferably one with a boatload of money, a bit of a political pedigree and at record of having voted before the turn of the century – who …

Of course kids are interested in social media. So what
Monday, 2 Nov, 2009 – 22:44 | Comments Off
Of course kids are interested in social media. So what

Big Guy is an active, curious, loquacious – Lord, is he loquacious – kid who loves zipping around the neighborhood on his bike, playing with friends and torturing his brother.
He also loves SuperPoke Pets on …

Mamma, don’t let your babies grow up to be race fans
Sunday, 1 Nov, 2009 – 23:26 | Comments Off

It was the most spectacular crash – and not in a good way – since the one about six months earlier at that same track. A track driver Mark Martin calls “the lotto” because winning …

A SWAT for picking on the girlfriends when the problem is society
Thursday, 29 Oct, 2009 – 22:03 | Comments Off
A SWAT for picking on the girlfriends when the problem is society

I get what you’re saying, Mike Leach. I also get why you’re saying it.
Your rear’s so sore you probably still can’t sit after last weekend’s 52-30 butt-whoopin’ from in-state rival Texas A&M. A loss at …

Try a virtual cigarette if you want to stop smoking
Wednesday, 28 Oct, 2009 – 22:24 | Comments Off
Try a virtual cigarette if you want to stop smoking

You’ve tried patches and gum and cold turkey and you still can’t kick the habit. Maybe that’s because you’ve never tried virtual reality.
According to Canadian researchers, tobacco addicts who crushed virtual cigarettes during at least …

Wake me up Sunday, when it’s safe to come out of hiding
Tuesday, 27 Oct, 2009 – 22:47 | Comments Off
Wake me up Sunday, when it’s safe to come out of hiding

Times like this, I am so glad Al Gore invented the Internet. How else would I know that, as the parent of an allergic child, I should find a large closet and hide there until …

Food for thought, but not for healthy bodies
Monday, 26 Oct, 2009 – 23:12 | Comments Off
Food for thought, but not for healthy bodies

E tu, Cheerios?
I don’t know why I’m surprised. Everyone’s doing it, because children’s cereal is such a lucrative market. I knew you’d jumped the shark with Honey Nut Cheerios, but at least you were up …

You didn’t take that ‘Einstein’ stuff seriously, did you?
Sunday, 25 Oct, 2009 – 22:21 | 4 Comments
You didn’t take that ‘Einstein’ stuff seriously, did you?

The newest marketing pitch from Disney on its “Baby Einstein” line, since the old one has gone down in legal flames: The DVDs are about “fostering parent-child interaction.”
Of course they always have been, a Disney …

A SWAT for putting pets before people
Thursday, 22 Oct, 2009 – 23:07 | Comments Off
A SWAT for putting pets before people

I understand Republicans a little less every day.
Government-funded public health insurance: Bad. It’ll blow up the budget.
The stimulus bill and its middle-class tax cuts: Evil.  No need to fritter away money unless we’re throwing it …

It’s dangerous. Stop doing it. No bribes necessary
Monday, 19 Oct, 2009 – 22:42 | Comments Off
It’s dangerous. Stop doing it. No bribes necessary

Recent studies show that texting behind the wheel is more dangerous than driving drunk. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia already ban texting while driving. Federal employees can’t do it, and there already was …

Why the Balloon Boy tale was so easy to believe
Sunday, 18 Oct, 2009 – 21:48 | Comments Off
Why the Balloon Boy tale was so easy to believe

A helicopter sits beside a major intersection just a mile or so past the main gate at Fort Irwin, and every time we pass it Big Guy works himself into a lather.
“Why can’t I fly …

Ticket prices keep fans from sporting events? No kidding
Tuesday, 13 Oct, 2009 – 22:41 | Comments Off
Ticket prices keep fans from sporting events? No kidding

It took a whooper of a recession to finally whomp pro sports executives up the sides of their heads with what fans have been trying to tell them for decades: You are too expensive to …

The next generation of business leaders will have to be flexible
Monday, 5 Oct, 2009 – 22:33 | Comments Off
The next generation of business leaders will have to be flexible

We are raising a generation of children who have had access to on-demand movies from birth. Cartoons are not a half hour every afternoon and all morning on Saturdays – they’re 24-7.
These kids are not …

A SWAT for trying to outlaw what’s already illegal
Thursday, 1 Oct, 2009 – 22:56 | Comments Off
A SWAT for trying to outlaw what’s already illegal

Bullying is mean-spirited, malicious and wrong. It’s also immoral, but it’s not illegal. Nor should it be.
Threatening someone is mean-spirit, malicious and wrong. It is illegal, as well it should be.
So why is it that …

You want to be involved in government? Start by voting
Wednesday, 30 Sep, 2009 – 22:04 | Comments Off
You want to be involved in government? Start by voting

Whatever chance former eBay exec Meg Whitman has of getting my vote for governor dwindled to zero this week with her series of “dog ate my homework” excuses for not having registered to vote until …

Americans angry? We’ve yet to hear the beginning of it
Tuesday, 29 Sep, 2009 – 22:32 | Comments Off
Americans angry? We’ve yet to hear the beginning of it

Anyone with the political smarts of a 6-year-old has to chuckle when a Republican pollster proclaims that Americans are angrier than even and then reels off reasons why that are straight out of the GOP …

The answer to marketing to kids: Parents
Monday, 28 Sep, 2009 – 23:09 | Comments Off
The answer to marketing to kids: Parents

I’ll admit it: The commercial where stoic, pseudo-intellectual teens take turns replacing body parts with Fruit by the Foot is funny.
I’ll also admit that it started the guys clamoring for Fruit by the Foot with …

The case against coupons
Wednesday, 23 Sep, 2009 – 22:56 | 2 Comments
The case against coupons

Ten years ago or so, I was a hopeless coupon geek.
I’d religiously clip the Sunday paper, sort the coupons into envelopes and then put them in order of expiration date. I’d write my grocery list …