Just over sixty years ago the Reverend W. V. Awdry
told his sick son a series of stories based on real life incidents with trains
, which he later wrote up
as the Railway Series. Now Thomas the Tank Engine
and the other engines of the Isle of Sodor
(somewhere between Barrow-in-Furness and the Isle of Man
) are a global phenomena, with toys
, books and of course the TV series - filmed using model trains on more than 70 1:32 scale 16-by-20-foot sets
, and voiced by the likes of Ringo Starr and Alec Baldwin. 2008 has been a rough year for Thomas: George Carlin, who voiced the series in the US up until 1998, passed away (previously
), as did David Mitton
, who had written and directed over 180 episodes (and who has previously worked on the special effects for Thunderbirds
). There's changes ahead for Thomas as well - this year saw the faces of the engines, which had previously been cast in silicone and attached with double sided tape, replaced by CGI faces
, and from 2009 onwards Nitrogen studios
in Canada will be taking over production with an entirely CGI Thomas
. Meanwhile a group of British students continues the tradition of model engine-based storytelling with their YouTube based British Railway Series
posted by Artw
on Dec 21, 2008 -
Once Upon a Time
- a filmed fairy tale starring baby monkeys lost in frightening trees, a witch, crocodiles, a tiger, a "popotamus" and a lion, and even a "tremendously very bad mammoth." (In French, English subtitles)
posted by madamjujujive
on Nov 16, 2008 -
Generations of Hope
is a non-profit set up to bring kids out of foster care and into extended families with grandparents. The community of Hope Meadows
was repurposed from housing on a closed Air Force base
in Illinois. (The NYT article erroneously refers to the community by the non-profit's name. No matter. The story is still inspirational.) [more inside]
posted by yiftach
on Sep 16, 2008 -
Kids at school in nappies. Another report
claims the average age of toilet-training is now 3 or 4, compared to the former norm of 18 months. Teachers don't want to change diapers; parents say they don't have time to toilet-train. Is our future a continuum of diapers to Depends?
posted by grounded
on Jul 5, 2008 -
New Security Blanket, Stat!
What do you do if you're a parent and your darling child's favorite toy has been worn down to nothing? Or perhaps you're thinking ahead and want a "backup binky?" You start a "Lost Lovies"
thread, of course. Think of it as a hive mind for real desperate housewives looking for something better than a creative explanation as to why Sprinkles the Cow is suddenly MIA.
posted by Cool Papa Bell
on Apr 14, 2008 -
So we've already learned how babies are made in Germany
. But we haven't seen Russia
. Could be NWS if you work with people who don't know where babies come from.
posted by Lord_Pall
on Jan 21, 2008 -
Imaginary laptops, as designed by 8-year-olds
. I'd suggest printing them out so you can try them at home. The designs lack dotted lines to fold across, but I'm sure you can figure it out. Scroll down for the interview, which is as charming as the pictures.
posted by nobody
on Nov 19, 2007 -
While other children their age spend their days in school, forming friendships and worrying over their grades, these two young ragamuffins spend long nights camped out in front of hot night spots they won't be able to legally enter themselves for at least half a decade. Please open your hearts, ladies and gentlemen, to the littlest paparazzi
. [more inside]
posted by maryh
on Oct 8, 2007 -
Jammin' with Buddy Guy
You are a good guitar player, you are a really good guitar player, but you are eight years old, but whoa, here you are on the stage with one of the greatest bluesmen ever, Buddy Guy, and he is digging your sh**.
posted by caddis
on Aug 25, 2007 -
to the controlled, indoor world of modern kids might be Adventure Playgrounds
. Messy, chaotic, but counter-intuitively, safer than traditional playgrounds, there are only two in the US: Listen
Adventure Playground on NPR, or check out some flickr shots
In Europe, where they originated from the rubble of WWII
, and in Japan where they are also popular, the importance of play that involves risks is better understood
. There are hundreds
of Adventure Playgrounds
outside of North America.
posted by serazin
on Aug 18, 2007 -
"Give your children a program that Jesus could join. Why not step beyond a politically correct scouting program in which a Christian might not feel completely comfortable at activities, or with the materials furnished by a central committee? Are you tired of pretending to be neutral?"
Keepers at Home and Contenders for the Faith are Bible-based alterntives to traditional youth scouting groups. Keepers at Home features lessons to prepare girls for their future roles as help meets, mothers, and keepers at home
," while Contenders for the Faith learn "everything a Christian boy needs to learn to prepare him to be a man
." Just like traditional scouting, Keepers offers uniforms
, and handbooks. girls. Keepers is just one of many Christian approaches to scouting; others include American Heritage Girls
, and Mpact
posted by Miko
on Jul 9, 2007 -
The ethics of infertility
: After taking fertility drug Clomid, Ryan and Brianna Morrison
conceived sextuplets. Their religious beliefs steered them away from undergoing a selective reduction
procedure in favor of bringing all six fetuses to term. Four of their newborns have died; the remaining two are in critical condition. This
mother of multiples says that while she's grateful that insurance and Medicaid covered her million-dollar hospital bill, her "quest to have a family resulted in a significant drain on society's resources."
posted by lalex
on Jul 2, 2007 -