Tag Archives: news

kids today

27 Oct

At Namaste Charter School, officials this year spent $23,000 for a “recess coach,” a modern-day schoolyard referee tasked with keeping fights and bullying to a minimum while also teaching games that could be unfamiliar to today’s schoolchildren—games like four square, tag and dodgeball.

I will grant you that kids growing up in North Lawndale may not know how to play four square. But tag? Do kids today really not understand the concept of chasing one another willy-nilly around a loosely defined open space?

This hardly believable reality might be explained by the fact that it’s been thirty years since Chicago Public Schools had recess.

thoroughly kottke’d

24 Jun

I got thoroughly kottke’d this week. (Not sure if Jason ever thought his last name would be verbed, but it’s officially happened.) One site shouldn’t offer so many great tidbits from the peripheries of history and culture. I get bogged down in my own fascination, and three or four ‘Draft Saved’s later, I don’t know what to write about, and even if I did, I’d feel like a hack for just regurgitating a week’s worth of another blog’s already regurgitated content.

But I guess if the hack shoe fits…. Here’s a handful of fascinating facts from everywhere, collected on kottke.org:

1. I really enjoyed looking back at the Boston Globe‘s real-time news feed circa 1900. Headlines were scrawled on blackboards hung from the awning above the Globe’s classical storefront. One of the boards in the above photo reads “US Forces Invade Central Solomons.” The writer cleverly notes how similar this turn-of-the-century system is to a 21st-century home page.

“This isn’t the first time the paper has tried a free, real-time, ad-supported product. From at least the turn of the century until the 1950s, Globe staff shuttled back and forth throughout the day from the newsroom to the street. There they wrote breaking news headlines and sports scores on four blackboards and two enormous sheets of newsprint. Behind the Globe’s windows? Ads.”

2. Also from the Boston Globe, a report on the global economy as experienced in the purchase of an ice-cream cone from Boston’s famous Toscanini’s, ice cream the NYTimes says is “the best in the world”:

“The story of this scoop of ice cream, as it moves from raw materials to finished product, captures the myriad forces that are pushing food prices higher. … A cyclone in Australia wiped out sugar beet crops. Uprisings in the Middle East have threatened to disrupt oil supplies. Growing demand for milk by Asia’s rising middle class affects the over-the-counter price of an ice cream cone at Toscanini’s.”

3. For all the foreign turmoil going on (hiking our ice-cream prices), I was encouraged by—of all things—the US military. Why? Turns out it’s got a system of daycare and early-childhood education that could be a model to replicate nationwide.

“Perhaps the most impressive achievement of the American military isn’t its aircraft carriers, stunning as they are. Rather, it’s the military day care system for working parents. While one of America’s greatest failings is underinvestment in early childhood education … the military manages to provide superb child care.”

4. Kottke includes another tidbit that’s equally surprising and inspiring. It’s a quote from Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett, the top non-commissioned officer in the Marine Corps:

‘Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple. It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation. You all joined for a reason: to serve. To protect our nation, right? How dare we, then, exclude a group of people who want to do the same thing you do right now, something that is honorable and noble? … Get over it. We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.'”

5. Of course, these topics are outliers when it comes to the military; a good daycare system and one man’s open-minded opinion hardly erase the less-attractive aspects of the institution. I was reminded of some of these aspects—and not even close to the worst of them—reading another post. Kottke discovered a 1969 Playboy Bunny manual and posted the following excerpt:

Bunnies must allow enough time before going to their assigned rooms to report to the Bunny Mother for appearance inspection. The Bunnies’ hair, nails, shoes, makeup and costume must be “Bunny-perfect” and no Bunny is permitted to begin working unless appearance specifications are met. Demerits may be issued for carelessness in this regard. When the Bunny reports to her scheduled room, the Room Director, too, will note her appearance and suggest improvements if necessary.

Sounds eerily similar to being a petty officer in the US Navy.

For more nuggets of reportage from off the beaten path: kottke.org.

lloyd miller + the heliocentrics

10 Apr



Bad News Bingo

19 Mar

By Muriel Vega on March 18, 2009 3:20 PM

Renting a movie is like a purchase with insurance: If you don’t like the movie, at least you paid $4 for it and you don’t own it; but if you love it, you get to watch it and all the special features at a fraction of the retail price. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is about to take the insurance away from us. Starting March 31, Fox will begin stripping rental DVDs of their special features in an attempt to increase DVD sales.

There will be two types of discs: premium versions with special features and a digital copy for the retail market and stripped-down offerings for rental. The rental copies will not contain special features such as deleted scenes, commentaries and featurettes with the cast and director.

The new policy may not work as efficiently as they expect because according to the First Sale Doctrine, retailers are allowed to rent legally purchased DVDs. This means customers may still see retail copies at Blockbuster.

The question is: What will Netflix do? Netflix customers have enjoyed renting DVDs with special features since its inception, and they are not a mortar store. Will Fox include them in the policy?

The first DVDs to face the new policy include Marley & Me, Slumdog Millionaire, The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Wrestler and Notorious.