Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Teach your children well

"The fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions." -- Judge John Jones, in today's ruling that shoots down the teaching of intelligent design in Dover, Pa. Way to go, judge.

Some interesting posts on related topics: Answering your child's questions about religion when you're an atheist (Tuckova), and how sex messed things up right from the start (Geese Aplenty).

Segueing onto the topic of kids and the provocative things they say... Sarah loves to threaten to poop on my head, while Becky has learned to use the word "diarrhea" with correct pronunciation and conversational context with her sister. It comes as no surprise that this theme is a favorite among the preschool set (see here and here). Speaking of poo, when I forget something -- a frequent occurrence since millions of brain cells were sucked out of my body along with each placenta -- Sarah tells me, "You have a Pooh brain. Because when you’re a growup, your brain doesn’t grow." Ain't that the truth. I do feel much of the time like a bear of very little brain. And yesterday she exclaimed to me in exasperation, "You're such a disaster woman!"

Actually, they do say some things that are somewhat more touching, such as the time a few weeks ago when Becky accidentally poked Ben in the eye, then gave him a peck on the cheek and said, "That was a sorry kiss." But the capper was a few days ago when the kids were getting dressed. Sarah noticed a scab on Becky's knee and referred to it as a scar. I explained that it wasn't really a scar, since the mark would eventually disappear. To which Sarah replied, "Unless it's a scar that never goes away, like guilt." Whoah. My gaze locked on the dresser drawer knob in front of me as everything that had been running through my hurried-morning mind suddenly crashed together violently at the front as Sarah's remark triggered the emergency brake handle. When I committed to raising the kids as Jewish, I didn't think we would be confronting issues like this quite so soon. So I said as casually as I could, "Oh. What makes you say that?" Sarah said, "You know, in the fishtank." The water was getting deeper and murkier by the second. But suddenly a submarine light pierced the darkness. She had said "Gill," not "guilt" -- as in the embittered fish in "Finding Nemo," who was scarred in a back-story escape attempt after he flipped out of the tank and landed on a dentist's drill. And while Gill did indeed feel a lot of guilt and clinical depression when Nemo almost came to a horrific end in the water-filter impeller, I don't think Sarah was going there.

On a lighter note... after spending a lazy Sunday afternoon reviewing the Blue’s Clues canon with my younger daughter, my mind wandered back to Mimi’s speculations about what unseemly things may transpire after the director says “Cut.” God knows I’ve never been accused of being tasteful, but her explicit discussions of cartoon animals’ frolics are a bit much even for me. But the humans, on the other hand, are fair game. The first thing to ponder is whether Steve and Joe would be simpatico, assuming they can make personal contact in the same space-time continuum without a huge matter-antimatter explosion. Since Steve is clearly a cynical, uptight neurotic with a dark past who overanalyzes and criticizes his relationships to death, I think he’d relish a break from his own tortured mind for a session of vigorous tickling, etc., etc. from Joe, who is sort of his opposite number -- an uncomplicated, good-natured fella who needs some eyebrow-plucking. This coupling might resemble that of a Siamaese cat and a friendly Labrador retriever (whoops, I forgot, no animals). So what do our boys wear on such occasions? Pleated khaki crotchless panties, or thongs in the same loud primary colors as their shirts? From this memorable mental image, we must go on to consider Mr. Rogers’ intimate apparel. Perhaps a woolly zipup girdle, 1950s tennis sneakers and nothing else but a smile...TV-character discussions like this must inevitably wind up with Gilligan’s Island. First we have the hammock boys, top and bottom: “Gilligan little buddy! OOOOOP!” The professor, the prototypical clueless wanker: “My experimental results verify the hypothesis of 10 cubic centimeters exactly.” Thurston Howell and Ginger: think Anna Nicole Smith and her short-lived and very rich geezer hubby. Mrs. Howell: she’s no Dr. Ruth. Clothes and jewels, smile and wave, sublimate and repress... Marianne: A farm girl in gingham -- what more do you need to know? Moo...

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