Reversible? That's just gross.


I'm number one!

If you search for "grinding gears" on Yahoo, that is.
Simple gratification, that's what I'm talking about.

On the topic of birthdays...

Happy birthday to our daughter, who is four today. She was uncharacteristically patient in waiting for her brother to open his presents last night before digging in to hers. The girl deserves a prize.



Indoctrinate them while they're young

Our youngest son is getting a Fisher Price Imaginext playset for his birthday. It's sort of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Book of playsets. Comes with an assortment of parts which imaginative tykes can assemble however they wish so that the adventure is always new. They're pretty cool toys, really, and in my opinion a heck of a lot more interesting than LEGO's entry-level product, DUPLO.

I like the toy, and more importantly YS will too. But get a load of the text on the back of the box:

Imagine...a primitive civilization of humans and dinosaurs, living in a lush, green land.
Gets the reader thinking about the environment. OK, sure, humans and dinosaurs missed coexistence by millions of years, and a "civilization of dinosaurs" requires a lot of imagination, but then the kids who play with these toys have a lot of imagination.
One side--the predators--is using up its natural resources, wiping out everything and everyone that gets in their way.
Seems like they've set up the meat-eaters to be the bad guys, and not just because they eat other creatures, but they use up the natural resources? When I was in school, (a long time ago) I learned that the decomposed bodies of prehistoric life were the source of the things we think of today as natural resources. Was this copy written by the executive board of PETA or the Sierra Club?
The other side--the ecovores--wants to preserve their land. And they're willing to fight to make that happen.
OK, hold on right there. I let the substitution of "predators" for carnivores slide, because it's pretty accurate, but ecovores? Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it sounds to me like they're implying that a vegetarian diet is more ecologically sound than a carnivorous one. The paragraph winds up this way:
The battle begins at T-Rex Mountain: Will the predators succeed in destroying the land, causing their own extinction? Or will the ecovores stop the destruction and make the land a place where dinosaurs and humans can live together peacefully for all time? In the world of Imaginext, anything is possible!
OK, so now it's clear they're framing the action with the idea that carnivores are at best self-destructive and at worst evil, and that the herbivores are wise, and salt of the earth too. Is there a political message there, or is it just a misguided effort to apply a good versus evil motif to a child's toy in order to make it more appealing to the parents?

I'm not really implying I think there's a conscious political motivation here from Fisher-Price. To a certain extent, kids think along the lines of good vs evil anyway, and when it comes to dinosaurs, the ones with open mouths and big teeth are going to be the ones on offense.

And I'm not worried at all that the text on the outside of the box will influence how our kids play with the toy. After all, I'm the only one who actually read the box. As for YS, he's two years old. All he knows for sure is that dinosaurs are big and scary and go RWARRRR!!!!



An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers

From N.Z. Bear.:

We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.

As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.

Sign me on.



This is really cool.

The Music Genome Project picks songs based on the example criteria you give it. Give it a try.

Hat tip: Althouse.


Lions farm coaches in San Fran

If Hall-of-Famer Mike Singletary was to sign on at Detroit, he'd be the third member of the 49ers coaching staff in a row to jump to the Lions head coach position, following Marty Mornhinweg and the recently-fired Steve Mariucci.

Mariucci came off a great run with the 49ers. Mornhinweg, was an assistant coach, as Singletary is now. Is he ready? I don't know. Will it matter. Probably not.