Archive for May, 2011

Do you worry about your family using cell phones?

An international panel of experts says cell phones are possible cancer-causing agents and classified them with the pesticide DDT, gasoline engine exhaust and coffee. (How are DDT and coffee in the same category?)

From The Associated Press:

“The classification was issued Tuesday in Lyon, France, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer after a review of dozens of published studies. The agency is an arm of the World Health Organization and its assessment now goes to WHO and national health agencies for possible guidance on cellphone use.”

“Classifying agents as “possibly carcinogenic” doesn’t mean they automatically cause cancer and some experts said the ruling shouldn’t change people’s cellphone habits.”

” ‘Anything is a possible carcinogen,’ said Donald Berry, a professor of biostatistics at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. He was not linked to the WHO cancer group. “This is not something I worry about and it will not in any way …

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Should public pools be closed or cut back to save money?

Across the country and in metro Atlanta, public swimming pools are being closed or hours reduced to help trim budget as the country tries to recover from recession.

From The Huffinton Post:

“But as the Great Recession has drained city budgets across the country, it also has drained public pools for good. From New York City to Sacramento, Calif., pools now considered costly extravagances are being shuttered, taking away a rite of summer for millions. It’s especially hard for families that can’t afford a membership to private pool or fitness club and don’t live in a neighborhood where they can befriend with someone with a backyard pool.”

“Hard times haven’t always meant cutbacks. An author who studied the role swimming pools played in 20th century America found more than 1,000 municipal pools were built as public works projects during the Great Depression. But this time, most governments only see decades-old pools burning holes in already tight budgets.”

From The …

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No ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Indiana Jones’: Where are the tween action/adventure movies for this generation?

When I was growing up in the late 1970 and 1980s there was a bonanza of action/adventure movies that kids could go to with their parents. Think about it: “Superman,” “Indiana Jones,” “ET,” “Ghostbusters,” “Goonies,” “Gremlins,” “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “Jaws” and all of their sequels.

At 10 and 8 our kids are ready to see some movies that aren’t cartoons or merely cartoons mixed with live action a la “Chipmunks” or “The Smurfs”. (Boy I hope they don’t want to see that one.) However, the studios don’t seem to be making them anymore. It is rare to find an action movie that isn’t too intense or violent. But why is that? Why did they used to be produced but not anymore? What has changed in the industry or in the consumer?

Let’s look at this summer’s offerings:

“Thor” – Michael was dying to take Walsh to see this movie but after reading parent reviews online I felt like it wasn’t going to be appropriate.  I would love to …

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If a woman makes more money, should she pay ‘manimony’?

The other day a friend was telling me about her friend that quit her high-paying marketing job because she absolutely refused to pay her lazy husband alimony after finally kicking him out of the house.

Then last night I ran across this story on The Huffington Post examining if it’s fair for women who make more money not to pay alimony or manimony as they are dubbing it? Why should it be any different than when a man makes more and divorces?

From The Huffington Post:

“There really are two valid sides to this argument. If you think about it, men have been paying spousal support for years to their ex-wives who are staying home to raise the kids. Many of these stay-at-home moms have argued they gave up a career to raise a family and are entitled to compensation for that sacrifice.”

“After all, the goal of spousal maintenance is to financially support someone who cannot support himself or herself after the marriage ends. So does it really matter if that someone is a man or …

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Summer is here, so what’s the plan? Thrilled or worried?

If your kids don’t get out of school this week, they will probably be getting out soon and then what? What’s the plan for the summer?

This has been one of the worst years for our family, and I am so excited for the kids to be out school. No more homework, no more pressure. Can’t wait!!

We are going to swim, swim, swim every day and travel a bunch. We are coming home to Georgia for part of the summer and have beach time with both sides of the family. We are planning to drive across the country and are currently picking our stops along the route. We’ve hit nine national parks so far this year and we want to hit a bunch more before our $80 national park pass has to be renewed. (Best bargain ever!)

Academically, I want them to practice typing this summer and get faster. Fifteen minutes a day of keyboarding will make a huge difference in their speed. I think if they create a private blog about the trip that would help their typing and writing skills but they wouldn’t even …

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The etiquette of graduation invitations: Please advise!

I have gotten a note from one of our regulars with a bunch of graduation invitation conundrums:

  1. Do you send invitations to all the neighbors on the block? Just ones you are friends with? Our regular was hurt that a neighbor they are good friends with didn’t send her an invitation. She doesn’t believe it was intended as a slight just that the teen wasn’t responsible enough to get them out in time.
  2. Do you send invitations to old college roommates or people your kids have never met? The same regular got an invitation from her college roommate’s daughter whom she had never met and she thought that was odd. Do you send a gift to that person? Do you just send a card?
  3. Do you send invitations to old friends that live literally thousands of miles away?
  4. Who actually writes and send the invitations? It is good old Mom or does the graduating teen have to do it? (I totally think the teen!!)
  5. How far in advance should they be sent?
  6. What about the thank yous?

I am always more than …

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Parents won’t reveal child’s gender even after birth

Would keeping your child’s gender a secret from all outsiders help your child grow to be whomever they want to be?

That is the theory that Canadian parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker are working under with their 4-month old child, Storm. They aren’t revealing Storm’s sex to anyone other than their other two children, a close friend and the two midwives that helped deliver the baby.

From parentcentral.ca:

“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker.

“When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family: “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …).”…

“Witterick and Stocker believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females. Some say their choice …

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Bonding with my brother over Hulk Hogan and Macho Man!

When I saw the news on Twitter Friday morning that The Macho Man Randy Savage had died I immediately called my big brother. Only he would understand why I would be upset that a professional wrestler had died.

Growing up in the 1980s I cannot tell you how many hours I spent eating hot boiled peanuts and watching WWF wrestling with my brother and his friends. We watched during the golden age when Mean Gene Okurland manned the mike and Hulk Hogan ruled the ring.  We loved Rowdy Roddy Piper in his crazy kilt. We loved to boo the Iron Sheik (not PC now!) and just marveled at Andre the Giant. And somehow it didn’t seem odd that Miss Elizabeth was passed back and forth between wrestlers as their manager. (My brother told me the sad news that she had died several years ago. I didn’t realize that.)

(ABC ran a nice slide show of WWF wrestlers from the Golden Age!)

We came to wrestling honestly. My grandfather and uncle were huge fans and we would watch The Nature Boy Ric Flair when …

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Senior prank closes school 4 days: Any ‘good’ senior pranks?

The Associated Press reports that a high school in southwest Colorado had to close for four days due to a senior prank.

From The Associated Press:

“The Durango Herald reported senior pranksters spread over 30 bales of hay around Durango High School’s common areas. School was canceled again Thursday as cleanup swept and dusted the debris left behind. The cleaning expenses are expected to top $100,000.”

“School officials say hay is one of the worst things you can bring into a building because of the respiratory problems it causes in enclosed spaces. Several employees have sought medical attention after reporting respiratory discomfort.”

“Air quality tests show mold spore counts from the hay were four times higher than recommended levels. Officials are awaiting a second round of test results before deciding whether to resume classes Friday.”

The story didn’t say if and how the seniors were being punished. I am sure they thought hay was something that could easily be …

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Are Boys vs. Girls fair teams on the playground?

I have been joining Walsh at school for lunch and some playground time, and one of the big things I have noticed about second grade is they love to create uneven (dare I say unfair) teams. (I won’t even get into the cheating with playground games – you can only kick a home run if you kick it directly over second base! Huh, what!)

Invariably when they kids play kickball on their own the five biggest boys in the second grade (who all play baseball and have for years!) assign themselves to the same team. The other team is generally Walsh (who has a May birthday and is much smaller than other guys), two guys who play pretty good and then any girls who happen to be hanging around. There are two girls that play really well and then a bunch that just stand there. The team with the five giant boys wins every time!

When it has just been big boys playing little boys I have said to them “You do realize these are unfair teams.” (Deaf ears on the big guys of course. The little guys …

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