Mr. Ira Stadlen (Stage name: "Captain" Allen Swift) has passed away at the age of 87. Throughout his career, Mr. Stadler voiced characters in more than 30,000 television and radio commercials, as well as cartoons such as Underdog, Tom and Jerry and Diver Dan, but some might remember him most as the man who saved Howdy Doody. His nephew has posted a remembrance on his blog, which includes a link to a "novelty 45" mp3 recording of Swift's "Are You Lonesome Tonight." [more inside]
When the Bough Breaks. "Children often can’t tell detectives what happened to them. But their injuries always tell a story. The essence of a child abuse investigation is determining the plausibility of an adult’s story, given the child’s condition. Could the child have sustained the injuries by falling off a bed, tumbling down stairs, or any number of accidents that parents routinely describe? Or does the story fail to account for the injuries?" A profile of Sergeant Brenda Nichols, the head of the Dallas Police Department’s Child Abuse Squad, and one of her cases. (SFW, but the article contains graphic descriptions of child abuse that some readers may find disturbing.)
"Postpartum depression isn’t always postpartum. It isn’t even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought." ‘Thinking of Ways to Harm Her’ and "After Baby, an Unraveling". [more inside]
Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss posted some quotes on her blog to answer the question: "How Hard is Teaching?" She then received another response, from a veteran seventh-grade language arts teacher in Frederick, Maryland: "I would love to teach but..."
The number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters has risen by more than 69 percent since 2002, when Mayor Bloomberg took office. Each night as many as 60,000 people -- including more than 22,000 children, the highest number since the Great Depression, -- experience homelessness in NYC, and during the course of each year, more than 111,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 40,000 children, will sleep in the city's municipal shelter system. Meet Dasani, one of the city's 'invisible children.' [more inside]
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper published a special project recently: The Stolen Ones investigates the local child sex trafficking industry, and documents stories from survivors and their families. (SFW, but some readers may find the content disturbing.) [more inside]
In 2003, the New York Times published a lengthy article by Lisa Belkin about women who were choosing to leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms: The Opt-Out Generation. In the the last ten years, the article's conclusions regarding upper-middle-class women's choices about work and motherhood have been debated, studied, rediscovered, denied, lamented, and defended. It's been noted by many that "most mothers have to work to make ends meet but the press writes mostly about the elite few who don’t." Ms. Belkin's piece also never mentioned what what a disaster divorce or the death of a spouse can create for dependent women in such situations. After a decade, the Times is revisiting the topic: The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.
Private Ceremonies. "Most women don’t talk about their abortions and miscarriages. Virtually none go through the experience with a loved one at their side. The greatest gift an abortion counselor can give is to bear witness, to be with a woman as she goes through this private journey, to witness her strength and weakness, her grief, her relief, her pain." A first person essay from a former abortion counselor.
"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools." Also see: A District Divided. [more inside]
"Trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do — and in the United States, it’s harder still, because American day care is a mess. About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five — spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent. Most of them are in centers, although a sizable minority attend home day cares.... In other countries, such services are subsidized and well-regulated. In the United States, despite the fact that work and family life has changed profoundly in recent decades, we lack anything resembling an actual child care system. Excellent day cares are available, of course, if you have the money to pay for them and the luck to secure a spot. But the overall quality is wildly uneven and barely monitored, and at the lower end, it’s Dickensian."
Generation Gap: "The parents of China’s post-1980 generation [the bā líng hòu (八零後)] (themselves born between 1950 and 1965) grew up in a rural, Maoist world utterly different from that of their children. In their adolescence, there was one phone per village, the universities were closed and jobs were assigned from above. If you imagine the disorientation and confusion of many parents in the West when it comes to the internet and its role in their children’s lives, and then add to that dating, university life and career choices, you come close to the generational dilemma. Parents who spent their own early twenties labouring on remote farms have to deal with children who measure their world in malls, iPhones and casual dates." [more inside]
The Everyday Sexism Project collects user-submitted reports from women to document their day-to-day experiences with normalized sexism, including sexual harassment and job discrimination. Entries can be submitted at the site, in an email to founder Laura Bates or to their twitter account. [more inside]
"Hiring a nanny is nervewracking. You want someone who's great with kids, who can speak three languages, and who has impeccable virtue, yet you also want someone who will work for free. It's a delicate balance. One Queens, NY couple has a very specific idea of the kind of adult in whose care they will leave their children: a lost soul who's willing to tackle the epic quest of slogging through their 65-question survey."
"Premature babies born at the edge of viability force us to debate the most difficult questions in medicine and in life. After just 23 weeks of pregnancy, Kelley Benham found herself in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a daughter born so early neonatologist doctors would call her a "micro preemie." New technologies can sometimes keep micro preemies alive, but many end up disabled, some catastrophically so. Whether to provide care to these infants is one of the fundamental controversies in neonatology. This is the story of how Benham and her husband, Tom French, made the difficult choice: Fight for the life of their micro preemie baby or let her go?" [more inside]
How child molesters get away with it. 'Jerry Sandusky and the Mind of a Pedophile,' by Malcolm Gladwell. Some may find the descriptions within the article disturbing. Via.
"Abused people go one or two ways: They either self-destruct or make a difference, you feel me? I’m gonna make a difference."
'In 2002, five years before journalist Chauncey Bailey was murdered by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery, (Previously) a woman identified only as Jane Doe No. 1 stepped forward to report decades of sexual abuse, welfare fraud and violence by the bakery's leader, Yusuf Bey Sr. She was prepared to hand over to Oakland police DNA from her three children -- evidence that Bey had impregnated her, the first time when she was 12. This was a risky move, but the woman had powerful motivation: her daughter, then 18, had alerted her that Bey was trying to abuse her -- his own child. Now, Jane Doe No. 1 has decided she no longer wants to be nameless. Her name is Kowana Banks and she is the first of Bey's victims to speak publicly.' Video interview. Transcript. (Via) This post recounts experiences of rape and sexual abuse. Topics may be disturbing to some readers. [more inside]
During his tenure as Mayor of New York City, "public health autocrat" Michael Bloomberg has attempted to regulate trans fats, smoking and sugar-filled sodas. Now, he has a fresh target: moms who don't breastfeed. Beginning September 3, NYC hospitals participating in a new, voluntary program: Latch-On NYC (press release / posters / FAQ -pdf-), will make formula less accessible, to encourage moms of newborns to breastfeed instead of using formula. [more inside]
"From days of long ago... from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend: the legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe!" [more inside]
Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
"My daughter thought it would be funny/rebellious/cool to post on her Facebook wall just how upset she was and how unfair her life here is; how we work her too hard with chores, never pay her for chores, and just in general make her life difficult. She chose to share this with the entire world on Facebook and block her parents from seeing it. Well, umm... she failed. As of the end of this video, she won't have to worry anymore about posting inappropriate things on Facebook..." (youtube video, contains cursing) Background. Original thread on Facebook.
First recorded 50 years ago, Peter Paul and Mary's Puff the Magic Dragon has a rather sad ending: Puff 'sadly slips into his cave' while little Jackie Paper grows up and puts his childhood behind him. But in 2007, Peter Yarrow published a book, Puff, the Magic Dragon, in which the classic song remains the same, but whose illustrations give us a new glimpse into Puff's future. Here is Mr. Yarrow, performing the song with his daughter Bethany at Woodstock's Bearsville Theatre, in '07. [more inside]
Teaching Good Sex -- a profile of Philadelphia's Friends' Central School's Sexuality and Society course and its teacher Al Vernacchio, by Laurie Abraham, author of the book "The Husbands and Wives Club." (Descriptions in the first link may be NSFW.) [more inside]
Patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital are finding messages written to them in huge letters when they look outside their windows. The Ironworkers Local 86 crew assembling the frame of the hospital's new seven-story expansion building next door have been spray-painting greetings to them on the steel beams. "The new building’s skeleton is alive" with more than 50 names: "greetings to Kitty, Colby, Kyle and Istvan. To Violet, Seth, Josh and Austin. To Rachel, Adam, Gillie-Jane and Christofer." Photo Gallery. Local television news segment. (Via)
The Summer 2011 issue of Stanford Medicine Magazine is about "Surviving Survival": The Woman Who Fell To Earth / Khmer Rouge on Trial / A Kid Again / Her Stroke of Insight / RxErcise [more inside]
Weekend At Kermie's: The Muppets' Strange Life After Death. Elizabeth Stevens asks:
What if, in 1990, instead of recasting Kermit—something that had been done to Mickey and Bugs Bunny before him—the Muppets had continued on Kermit-less, as "The Simpsons" did after Phil Hartman died. Recall Susan’s words on "Seasame Street" about Mr. Hooper in 1982: “Big Bird, when people die, they don’t come back.” Let’s say Robin showed up saying his uncle Kermit had passed away? Or, if that was too dark for Disney, what if Kermit had left show business to go off to start a family with Piggy? Someone else could lead the gang of weirdoes..
It would’ve made more artistic sense than what happened
"There are no national standards or regulations regarding forensic pathology and practices vary widely from place to place."
The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
'These children don’t recognize the flags of their home countries, but they can all sing "Jesus Loves Me."'
One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
Pink releases music video for the song Fuckin' Perfect: Explicit Version (Youtube, possibly NSFW) / Radio Edit: Youtube / MTVMusic. Background: Pink's Website / Wikipedia. Note: Both versions of the video depict anorexia, cutting and suicide.
Now in its fourth year, CNN Heroes highlights and rewards "Everyday People Changing the World." This year's Hero of the Year (chosen by public poll) is Anuradha Koirala, whose group Maiti Nepal has rescued more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery along the India / Nepal border since 1993. [more inside]
A New Career of Caring, Started in Death on 9/11. Brooke Jackman was a 23 year-old assistant bond trader who was one of 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees to die on the morning of 9/11/2001. In her memory, her family created a Foundation in her name, dedicated to promoting literacy, especially among elementary school children in New York City. Today, 'first responders' from New York's Police and Fire Departments "took some time off from their day jobs to read aloud to children at the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan, as part of the first ever Brooke Jackman Foundation read-a-thon." [more inside]
When "Proto-Pop" artist Larry Rivers' died in 2002, he left behind extensive archives of his letters, paperwork, photographs and film documenting the New York artistic and literary scene from the 1940s through the 1980s. They chronicle his friendships and relationships with dozens of artists, musicians and writers, from Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol to Frank O’Hara. Also included: films and videos of his two adolescent daughters, naked or topless, being interviewed by their father about their developing breasts. Now, one daughter, who says she was pressured to participate beginning when she was 11, is demanding that material be removed from the archive and returned to her and her sister. [more inside]
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
A nearly 25-year study has concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers. Results were published this month in Pediatrics: the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Abstract. Free PDF. Scribd). [more inside]
UK adoption agencies are reporting "huge numbers of calls from 'deeply distressed' adoptive parents whose children have been contacted" through Facebook and other social networking sites, in violation of the traditional, confidential reunion process between birth parents and their offspring who have been placed with other families. Full report from Channel 4. [more inside]
Actor, Playwright, Artist, Comedian, Magician, "Man of A Thousand Voices" (including Mighty Mouse,) "Beloved Herring Maven"
Deep Grief: Creating Meaning From Mourning (Article from NPR.) How some parents have channeled their grief over the loss of their children into memorial efforts that provide for others. [more inside]
In response to an incest case in which a man imprisoned, raped and fathered two children with his own daughter, Poland's Lower House of Parliament has approved an amendment to their penal code which makes chemical castration of pedophiles mandatory in certain cases. [more inside]
Fantasy Meets Reality. The very best works of science fiction illuminate controversial current events and the intricacies of human nature. So, it's no surprise that the United Nations Public Information Department and the Sci Fi (SyFy?) Channel co-hosted a panel yesterday evening on "humanitarian concerns" at the UN, with the creators and actors of Battlestar Galactica -- a show which regularly explores those themes. A 2-hour video webcast is archived here. (RealPlayer video). Entertainment Weekly has an additional write-up. [more inside]