Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dear readers, all three of you, anyway

I feel an apology is in order. A snarky and mean spirited post regarding our fine government workers was the only news from me in a week. Really, I don't think all government employees are stupid, lazy and inept. Just most of them. Argh, sorry, I keep doing that. Okay, for real this time: I meant to say the laziness and ineptness of some government employees is not representative of the vast majority who earn their living every day with the good intention of helping others. And we all know what the road to hell is paved with ... sorry guys, I just can't stop.

Second, here's some more intellectual snarkage that will likely offend someone:

PBS Kids again. Ugh. I rarely turn the TV on during the day anymore. Dan actually watches and responds to the programs. I'd rather he learn through play than through TV. He seems to like Dragon Tales, Clifford, Sesame Street and Curious George. I've not turned off the TV in time after Sesame Street only twice. My punishment? Barney. If you think a few moments of Barney are harmless, think again. Two songs are now stalking my brain, and strike at least once a day. One cheerfully admonishes me to turn the water off when I'm brushing my teeth twice a day.

And then there's Curious George. I really liked Curious George as a kid. I remember getting the yellow hard-cover books from the library, the man with the big yellow hat. But PBS kids has tucked something subtly nefarious into this innocent tale. Today, in his monkey adventures, Curious George figured out how to make four equal shares of lemonade from two glasses. Smart monkey, all he did was pour half of each glass into two other glasses and eyeballed the glass to see if they were equal. He was selling the lemonade, so he had to give the customers equal amounts for the price. Then, when the story is over, a child's voice is heard saying "George is a monkey, so he can do things you can't do." Nice. They're telling kids that monkeys are smarter than they are. Whatever shall be the solution?

Why, school, of course. In today's segment, four boys at school learned how to make four equal cups of juice from three bottles of juice. The boys used a 1 cup measuring glass. When four equal cups had been poured, there was some juice left over in one of the bottles. Instead of using the measuring cup to evenly measure out the remaining juice, they just left it for no one. Well, as long as everyone got the same amount, because that's what is really important.

Indeed, the monkey seems to be smarter and, ironically, George always learns through trial and error. That message may have been okay when I was a kid, but the educational gestapo just wouldn't stand for that. Hence the effort to tell children that monkeys, but not them, are smart enough to learn without school. And, really, who's ever heard of a monkey going to school anyway?

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