Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ummmm.... Excuse me?

Well here's one that, IMHO, doesn't quite rise to the level of stupidity needed for our beloved award. But it's darn close.

I wonder if this maternal genius has any clue of the irony here. Yes, according to the article, there were some safety issues. But from what I read, the producers did a good job of keeping on top of it.

But here's a clue for Supermom: Put your kid on a tv show, and there's a chance that something bad could happen. Especially a "reality" show. Might I suggest not putting your kid on tv if you don't want them to be "abused"?

Nah, that might make sense.


I think that this doesn't quite rise to the level of a "WTF were they thinking?" nomination. Does anyone disagree? I'd like to see this as a contest with reader input. Let me know what you think.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Whew! What a relief

I was beginning to worry that stupidity was on the wane, since I hadn't found a good nominee for a while. But have no fear!

This week, it's our friends across the sea, in Merrie Olde England. Here's a link to the incomparable Mark Steyn.

It seems there is a clown over there, Tony Turner, aka Barney Baloney. (I'll let you guess which is his real name). And Barney was booked to appear at a Tesco supermarket in Leeds. And then, in the interest of public health, he was told that making balloon animals was strictly off limits.

It's all about the children, you see. You can't have balloons anywhere near children because of the risk that one of the little imps might be allergic to latex.

I'll have a bit more to say on this point later.

Sadly, it seems that poor Barney is having a hard time of it. He can no longer use a bubble machine to make bubbles for the tots. Why? Well a child might slip and fall, and we all know that plays havoc with Clown Insurance. (Remember the big crash of the clown insurance industry? Millions of clowns were put out of work, and the damage to stock markets almost caused a world-wide depression)

Of course, if you do have balloons (this being before the health risks of latex were discovered by the crack scientists at the Grocery Institute), well there are additional issues. Not everything made of balloons is good. Some things are evil.

All together now: "We can't allow clowns to make balloon guns because that encourages children to commit violence".

When balloon guns are outlawed, only clown-outlaws will carry balloon guns. Or something.

But in news that will surely warm the hearts of the Immortals, balloon swords are allowed. In case you ever run into a balloon Kurgan. Of course, kids with balloon swords are forced to fight until they're all dead, except a single child. There can be only one, you know.

So now, after that brief visit to Clown Hell, we come back to the latex allergy point. Steyn has a link in his article on poor Barney to another pundit, Rush Limbaugh, who points out the irony of forbidding an entertainer to expose children to latex. Why? Well here's Rush:

Have you heard anything more ridiculous than this? The children -- the little children -- might be allergic to latex? Meanwhile, in every damn school in the country we're urging them to wear condoms, for crying out loud! Well, what the hell is a condom made of? Give 'em condoms for every damn thing in the world that's wrong with them, and then they can't go to a circus and be around a clown with a bunch of balloons?

Nicely put. Teach kids "condoms, condoms, and more condoms" from the time that they're 5 years old, and then later tell them that latex is dangerous. Makes perfect sense to me.

So to Tesco and their idiotic attempts to protect the children from anything and everything, including fun, I hereby nominate you for this week's "WTF were they thinking?" award.

And if we're lucky, I'll find a way to get hold of Barney, who is no doubt on the verge of being transported to Australia for his crimes, and he can make a cool trophy for the winner. From forbidden balloons of course.

Perfect bedmates

This story makes complete sense to me. Why wouldn't Heidi Fleiss support Hilary Clinton? Look at how much they have in common: They're both unattractive women that chose a line of work that's based in immorality. And they both got where they are today by F***ing degenerate men.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A sick joke gets even sicker

Just stumbled on this, via Ace of Spades. Tying in with last night's post about using comic books to prepare high school kids for College, now there's a plan afoot to present dumbed-down versions of Shakespeare. In comic book form, of course.

I'm amazed. But in fairness, Shakespeare is a tough read. I always had doubts about his plays, since they don't work too well when just reading them silently to oneself. But I recently discovered something that points out the obvious: He was writing plays for God's sake. They were intended to be presented by actors, in front of an audience. So of course they're easier to follow and more enjoyable that way.

My discovery, by the way, was a terrific mini-series called "In Search of Shakespeare" by Michael Wood. Now I enjoy the heck out of Wood's shows- maybe someday I'll write about him. But "Shakespeare" is pretty close to being his best. Part of it is wandering around England learning about Will, but he also has scenes where he has the Royal Shakespeare Company perform scenes from the plays. It makes a huge difference. The dvd of the Series could be hard to find, but it's worth the effort.

Anyhow, if you check out the first link, which leads to the article in The Daily Mail, scroll on down to the text samples. They present a nibble of text from Macbeth and another from Henry V. Now maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy, but I don't think the "short versions" are the same. They leave out a lot, particularly from the Macbeth quote. I think Lady Macbeth's two lines in the original version say a lot more than the one line does in the comic version. Shakespeare was, from what I know, a careful writer- he wasn't merely trying to fill space on a page. There's a difference between His Lady Macbeth telling her husband that if he screws up his courage they won't fail, and Comic Book Guy's Lady McBeth (I took the liberty of shortening her name, since it fits the theme here) simply saying "we won't fail". To me, it's apples and oranges.

But what do I know?

Ah well. I guess I'll just give a big "Harumph" and move along.

A sick joke

Just finished reading this article by Fred Reed. Amazing. I'd think it was a joke, but I know this kind of stupidity can't be made up. It's just too asinine.

Like the step-daughter he refers to, I never needed comic books to learn to read. My parents just took us to the library. Every two weeks or so, we piled in the car, and away to the Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library. There, we'd fill our arms with books, sign them out and take them home.

This even happened during the school year. We were just reminded to lessen the armload. We could read, but studying did come first.

Here's an interesting little fact: (or not. I find it interesting). When I was in school, we had "Reading" class every day. For a good many- most if not all of my grade school years. (Sorry if I'm a bit vague, but it's been a goodly number of years).

In those primitive days, being taught by known Papists, there was a little drill for Reading class. On the first day of the year, we would be given a standardized reading test. Then the scores would be evaluated, and the class would be divided up into groups based upon the reading skill level. Normally, there would be three groups- the slower kids, the average kids and the faster kids. The groups would each choose a name- the Sparrows, the Eagles, the Whatevers.

It kinda seemed to work, which is why I suspect it's a system that died out long ago.

At any rate, tying the whole tale here together, the library trips of my childhood threw the whole system into confusion. Why? Well in my grade at least (and it could well have been the same for my siblings- perhaps some day I'll ask them), the normal breakdown was inadequate. Because while the class as a whole could be broken down into their groups, there was one child who didn't fit into any of the above. A child who was waaaay the hell ahead of the fastest kids in the fast group. A child reading on a high school level- when he was in the fourth grade.

A child whose parents took him to the Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library every two weeks, and allowed him to bring home an armload of books.

I wonder if there was any sort of correlation....?

So now young adults have to read comic books in order to learn how to speak and read their native tongue at an adult level.

It would seem funny to me, except it isn't.

Perhaps there's something wrong with our educational system. I dunno. I don't have a Master's Degree in Education, Gender Studies, or anything else. I just have this weird idea that giving kids books to read when they're young teaches them to read. I wonder if teachers today have figured that one out yet.

[Oh, and for the record: When our precocious young hero here reached high school, his reading skills had continued apace. Still miles ahead of the group. Which was actually a pain when he took a literature class. Each student was expected to read 3 books over the semester. Our intrepid hero was told by the teacher one time that he should have read at least 6. She never knew that he had done, but never mentioned them. Too much trouble to keep the required journal, since it took up time that could be better spent reading. Or hiding in his bedroom playing Risk with himself while listening to AM Radio. Our hero might have been clever, but he wasn't exactly normal.

Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure: The same test that ranked the intrepid young man as being the best reader in his class also ranked him as being below average in Math. I guess his parents should have taken him to the Math section of the library.]

Maybe someday an educational anthropologist will find under a rock an old fossilized teacher's book, and notice how things were done by these primitive teachers, and there'll be a revolution in the field. A revolution that will result in high school graduates being able to read books more complicated than "See Spot Run".

But I doubt it. That might make sense.