“Find a Pox Party in Your Area” Controversy!

A Facebook page named “Find a Pox Party in Your Area” is currently under-fire by the media and medical experts alike over it’s unethical practices. What is a “pox party” I hear you ask? Well it’s a community of parents who try and willingly infect their children with chicken pox by exposing them to belongings of children that are currently infected by the illness. The FB users request items such as used lollipops/suckers covered with infected saliva, items of clothing and even wet rags covered in infected saliva. Yuck!

The theory is that by allowing them to contract the illness naturally, it will help increase their immune systems. Vaccines are available for the illness, but some parents are choosing to let them catch it the old fashioned way because they believe giving kids too many vaccinations is bad for them. The problem is, by mailing people the virus they’re actually breaking the law. Here are a couple of posts left on the page’s wall:

One post reads: “I got a Pox Package in mail just moments ago. I have two lollipops and a wet rag and spit.”

A mom chimes in: “This is a federal offense to intentionally mail a contagion.”

Another woman offers up some advice, “Tuck it inside a zip lock baggy and then put the baggy in the envelope :) Don’t put anything identifying it as pox.”

Experts have this to say on the subject:

“If you have a young child over to your house specifically to get chicken pox, I don’t think anyone would like to really consider what would happen if that child ended up being hospitalized,” Elizabeth Jacobs from the University of Arizona

College of Public Health said.“This is dangerous,” Dr. A.D. Jacobson, the chief of ambulatory pediatrics at Phoenix Children’s Hospital said. Dr. Jacobson added that chicken pox is extremely contagious and that it’s unwise to send it via mail.

It really is a strange story. I think as a society today we tend to wrap up our children in bubble wrap and shelter them from germs too much. When I was a child I was always playing in the dirt and getting messy. And I’m sure it made me sick from time to time. Heck, I even had chicken pox as a kid and I believe I’m better for it. As a vaccine-trigger-happy society I think we’re opening up problems to today’s young-uns to where they may have weaker immune systems when they grow older. I’m not basing this on any particular medical study, this is just how I see things.

But I have to admit that the idea repulses me. Sending viruses in a jiffy bag? Shoving secondhand lollipops into a child’s mouth that has been slobbered on by a sick kid? No thanks! I think their hearts are in the right place, they’re just a little misguided.

The Texas Child Abuse Viral Video Controversy.

I’m trying something a little different today. Normally I like to dig up some tasty piece of offbeat news for your reading pleasure, but today I would like to comment on a mainstream news item. It’s the child abuse case that has come out of Dallas, Texas where a 2004 video shows a sixteen-year-old girl, Hillary Adams, being whipped within an inch of her life with her father’s belt. The father, Aransas County, Texas, Court-At-Law Judge William Adams is being investigated over these charges.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s very harrowing. The daughter has allegedly been caught downloading illegal MP3s, among other things, and her the father is infuriated. He commands his wife to go get his belt (“the big one”) then starts to lash her with it. As she screams in pain he keeps telling her to lay down face-first on the bed so he could “get a lick in”. Basically he wants to whip her across the bum. And when he gets done, her mother comes into the room and gets a “lick” in herself. What the heck, people?

It’s a totally disgusting video. And I for one am totally against the hitting of children in the first place. I’m originally from England but I now live in the United States. In England, there are some very strict laws in place against hitting children. And I believe that’s the way it should be. Children need protection from idiots like Mr. Adams. It was quite a shock to me when I first came to America and started hearing people talk about the practice of “whipping” their kids. It’s disgusting. Some parents find it acceptable to beat there children as punishment. There’s the method of having the child choose a “switch” from outside (basically a long, thin tree limb) with which the parent will then whip the child with. I’m totally against this. Another practice (as seen in the aforementioned video) is to whip children with a belt. Wow! Are you kidding me? Needless to say I found this all quite shocking when I first came over here.

Now let me get this straight, I’m not accusing all of America with this. I’m just commenting that I know these practices really do happen. It’s commonplace in some areas and I think it needs to be stopped. All you have to do is watch the video to see that. It was going on in 2004 and it’s still going on to this day. Get a grip people, it’s wrong!

When it comes to disciplining my six-year-old niece, I use the method of time-outs. She does something wrong, she gets a time-out (she has to sit there quietly for a few minutes). And it works a treat. She hates having her wings clipped. The secret is not to threaten punishment then not go through with it. All the time I hear parents telling their children “You’d better get over here before I count to three! 1…2…2 and a half…” This nonsense sends mixed signals to children. If you want to impose authority on them, the best thing to do is to stick to your guns. If you say something, you have to mean it.

There’s a science to raising kids the right way. And this Texas douche-bag is an absolute idiot. Give me five minutes with him and make sure you bring me his “big belt”.

Click here to view the video. Be forewarned though, it’s quite disturbing…

Hallowe’en Costumes Through the Years!

My wife and I spent a wonderful night with our little niece last night at Hattiesburg’s Zoo Boo (although she did turn six today so I guess she’s not so little anymore). For the uninitiated, Zoo Boo is a week long Hallowe’en event held at our local zoo where they open their gates from 5:30-8:00 p.m. for young trick-or-treaters to come and play games and win candy. It’s been going on for many years now.

It’s really become quite the tradition for us. This year marks the third time we made the trip out. And looking through some of my old photo folders, I’ve put together a little collection of my niece’s costumes from year to year.

2009

It started in 2009, at age three, she dressed up as Supergirl. At the time I had been letting her watch a lot of She-Ra Princess of Power episodes and she had kind of fallen in love with the idea of self-empowering female superheroes. She saw this costume for sale and she had to have it. And she continued to dress up in it for months on end. She used to love running around the garden as her red cape flapped behind her. Bless!

2010

2010 saw her graduate to a Wonder Woman costume. Hmm, another superhero costume… Am I seeing a pattern here? Now four, we had a wonderful time. Zoo Boo is made up of little games that kids can win candy from and I remember this particular year there was one where you had to shoot a basketball through a hoop. This little bugger, aged four, rimmed it! Clever little thing!The accompanying picture is of us on the carousel inside the park grounds.

2011

And last but not least, here is me and the little ‘un posing outside Zoo Boo 2011 (we got there early this year). Keeping the streak alive she went dressed as Batgirl. I flippin’ love this kid! What great taste! And boy was it freezing. The little love had to don a jacket shortly after this picture was taken. It was another great night at Zoo Boo and we had kept the tradition alive for the third year. Roll on next year!

Bert & Ernie: No Gay Wedding

Back in August, 2011, a Facebook petition came together asking to have Bert & Ernie, two of Sesame Street’s most recognizable characters, enter into a same-sex marriage. The petition picked up a lot of steam and before all was said and done people in their thousands had signed their names. But the makers of Sesame Street read the petition and turned it down, choosing not to go in the same-sex union direction.

So why did this issue ever come about? The LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) groups believed that a union between the two males Muppets would save the futures of a lot of LGBT children. Homosexual and transgendered kids have a tough life growing up and there is a high suicide rate among teens that are either the victims of bullying or harbour guilt about their sexuality.

So what was the theory about how  a same-sex marriage between the two Muppets could make a difference? The theory was that by having a couple of children’s TV characters getting married on a show would raise generation of kids that would be more tolerant to people living a LGBT lifestyle. Sort of a “teach kids tolerance while their minds are most impressionable” deal. Sesame Street is extremely clever about teaching children their ABCs through repetition. They could use this same power of repetition to embed knowledge of the LGBT lifestyle into the brains of children. The petitioners believe if the idea of a same-sex relationship acceptable on Sesame Street, kids watching it will grow up believing it’s acceptable.

This is where I think the idea was flawed. Now the idea, at it’s heart, is not a bad idea. Saving a young person from bullying and/or suicide is a good thing. A very noble cause. But I don’t think having the backdrop of Sesame Street is ideal for pro-LGBT propaganda. I actually think it would be quite exploitative to use Sesame Street to teach this subject to our tots. Young viewers watch to learn their ABCs. True, there are moral messages in there, but bringing the issue of same-sex marriage to them is a little heavy in my opinion. Since when has Sesame Street ever been about sexuality? The Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) has never explained why men are attracted to women and vice versa. It’s just kind of there. Why, all of a sudden, do they have to explain why a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman? It’s just not necessary. Let kids be kids. Let them watch Sesame Street and learn from and enjoy it as we did as kids. Let’s not complicate it with issues of a sexual variety.

Where Does Pork Come From?

Kids say some ridiculous things, don’t they? I’m sure we’ve all heard them come out with some funny stuff before. So in honour of this, today I’m going to share with you something my nephew once said.

One day my wife and I were at Walmart and we had our six-year old nephew with us. As an uncle, I love to test out the knowledge of my nephews and nieces. So, going by the meat section, I started testing out his meat knowledge…

Uncle: So, do you know where chicken comes from?
Nephew: Erm… Chicken?
Uncle: Yep, that’s right! Do you know where beef comes from?
Nephew: Erm… (long pause) Cows?
Uncle: That’s right! So do you know where fish comes from?
Nephew: A pond?
Uncle: Haha! Okay, you got me there. You’re right! So where does pork come from?
Nephew: Erm…
Uncle: What do you think?
Nephew: Erm… Porcupines?

Porcupines. Yep, I almost died laughing. Right there in the middle of Walmart. You have to love kids, eh?

What Happened to My Childhood Dream Job?

When I was a wee nipper, watching animation absolutely mesmerized me. Being a child of the eighties, my little eyes were the target of such great cartoon shows as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra Princess of Power, Thundercats and the like. They inspired me to grab my paper, pencils and colours and I would copy those images that flickered across my screen. In that young ’80s child’s mind, this is what he wanted to do when he grew up.

It was a dream that I held onto through much of my young life. I’d read many books and watched many TV programs that revealed the “secrets” of animation. Secrets such as it takes 24 separate pictures to create one second of film. Each picture was hand drawn, traced (or Xeroxed) onto a cel, then hand painted. The hand painted cels would then placed on top of a hand painted background and the studio would then take individual photos of them in sequence, creating the illusion of movement, thus making the finished film.

That was my dream job. Imagine drawing cartoon characters for a living. Or tracing them or colouring them. This was too good to be true!

Well, actually it was too good to be true. As it turned out, my dream career was in its dying days as I became a young adult. In a world that ever evolves, this old style of animation would soon become a dying art. The age of the computer would soon start to replace a lot of these classic jobs. Animation studios no longer needed to hire an endless supply of colourists. All that was required to bring colours to the screen was to simply scan in the pictures and computer colourize them. Whereas it was once necessary to have an animator draw out action scenes, these days you’re more likely to see guys sitting at  computers hammering out Computer Generated Images (CGI).

True, a new skill set is required to work in the modern animation industry, but it does leave me feeling somewhat disheartened. The same ink and paint animation technique that had been used for many decades (look back at the classic Disney movies) had suddenly been knocked for a loop. The game changed in the mid-nineties and it eventually left the old methods in the dirt. Very sad. But I guess in this ever-changing world, progress will always win out in the end. It doesn’t mean I have to like it though!