Creative differences.

How well I recall those halcyon days when newspapers had space and occasionally put something in it. The wires were like our own private internet, bringing the wonders of the world to our desks. One day, it brought a lengthy Sunday piece over the transom, an excerpt from a new book, “The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless.”

It was set up as a day in the life of a childless woman, let’s call her Betty Barren, as she navigates her hostile world. Terrible things happen to her. She has to cover for a co-worker who left early to watch her kid’s soccer game. Another one is out on maternity leave and it was recently announced that when she returns, she’ll be working reduced hours, which equals more work for Betty. Betty finally is able to get away from this horrible place — nearly suffocated by all the featherbeds lying around — and stops at a drugstore for headache relief. She pulls into a space, only to see the sign: Reserved for expectant mothers. Not that she has much money to spend on Tylenol, anyway, the parents having sucked up all the tax credits.

It went on at some length like this. Poor Betty! Is she the unluckiest childless woman in the world? No, just typical.

As an introduction to the nascent social movement sometimes known as the Child-Free, it was an eye-opener. I did a little internet research, the internet being where a lot of them hung out, bitching on Usenet boards about all those things Betty endured, and about a million more. They had their own vocabulary. Children were spawn, sprogs or crotchfruit. Parents are breeders, of course. There were long, long threads on whether this or that celebrity or supermodel had lost hotness since she sprogged. (The consensus, inevitably, was that she had.) There were self-righteous rants about not taxing the fragile earth with more destructive humans, interspersed with whining about why they can’t stay home from work when their pets are sick. (They all had pets. They called them “fur children.”) There were even a few beefs I could absolutely get with, about misbehaving toddlers at symphony orchestras and the like. But the overwhelming impression was of a group of people carrying a double load of resentment and free time. Yes, even with all those unpaid extra hours at work, covering for the parents.

“The Baby Boon” excerpt was of a piece with this, with the same tone of hectoring indignation.

(I should pause at this point and say that I don’t want to make this a debate over the choice of whether or not to have a child, which is about as personal as it gets and, ultimately, not very interesting. There are rewards and costs for both choices. I enjoy many friends and acquaintances in both camps, and love them all. And in case you’re wondering, every anecdote about Betty Barren can be matched with one from the other side, about Patty Party and her tendency to show up for work late after a night on the town, etc. The tax policy, etc. I’ll leave for another day, although the late journalist Marjorie Williams took the book apart rather ably here.)

Anyway, after reading Betty’s sad story and a gloss over the terribly unfair culture and government policies that support this state of affairs, I scrolled back up to see who had written this screed. Elinor Burkett. The name stayed with me.

So when the lady in purple hip-checked her partner away from the microphone last night at the Oscars, surely the rudest display in some time, I knew there was a reason her name sounded familiar. Her speech was mush, by the way, but I love the look on his face. You will not be surprised to learn they’re not speaking. Salon has a backgrounder.

And if you’re still interested, John Scalzi’s “Trolling the Childfree” is sort of magnificent. Oh, and I always park in those “reserved for expectant mothers” spaces. They’re not enforced by law, and my sore knee frequently bothers me more than a late-term pregnancy ever did. If anyone ever challenges me, I plan to say, “The doctor just called. It’s twins! I’m so happy!”

So how was your weekend? Mine was OK, except for getting sick with some sort of chesty/bronchial thing. I swing between 100-degree fevers and soaking sweats, which isn’t pleasant. But I’ll survive.

I think.

Posted at 9:38 am in Movies |

46 responses to “Creative differences.”

  1. brian stouder said on March 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Well, I still say that while she Kanye’d her partner (as the Blogmistress memorably put it!), Pam and I were quite taken with the altogether RUDE way the guy BOLTED from the seats and RAN down down the aisle to gain the stage and the spotlight, whilst she struggled out of what appeared to be the cheap seats(!) way back in the theater.

    He looked like an inglorious (but glory-hungry) bastard (or at least a shameless one) to me

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  2. Linda said on March 8, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Re: the “child free” internet sites. One of the biggest miscalculations in the 90s was that the internet would create more understanding by allowing people to get more information. Instead, it has created little subuniverses of people who could create their own little realities, and not have to encounter others who believe differently, where you could use catch phrases that immediately pushed your fellow believers buttons and shut out dissenting voices.

    As for the child-free, well, so am I. Family friendly policies in my workplace have made it possible to help care for my aging parents without a financial hit, so I am for them. Unless you hatched from an egg, you will avail yourself of them at some point. The young’uns, whose parents are about my age, just don’t see that yet.

    OTOH, I believe Miss Manners correct when she says that most people don’t resent kids, but their rude parents. I do hate parents who use the excuse, “but I’m a MOM” to cover everything from speeding to double parking. Guess what? Everybody’s got something going on. Life’s tough on everybody. Get over it.

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  3. 4dbirds said on March 8, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I park in the spots reserved for “Customers with children” because I have children. They may be adults and aren’t accompanying me but they’re still my children.

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  4. Jeff Borden said on March 8, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I’m going to enjoy visiting a few of the right-wing web sites today to bask in their revulsion at “The Hurt Locker” cleaning up at the Academy Awards. Whaaaa! Why does liberal Hollywood hate America?? Of course, they’d have hated it if “Avatar” won, too, since it also is an anti-American screed in their eyes.

    WTF was Mo’Nique talking about when she said her victory represented the triumph of “performance over politics?” Keerist, she was the favorite from the moment the nominations were unveiled. Or, was she referencing the backlash in some portions of the black community, who have denounced “Precious” as an ugly slur on African-Americans? Whatever, it sure came off as pretentious.

    Finally, even though it was directed by the sleazy Roman Polanski, “The Ghost Writer” is a great movie. Beautiful performances, witty and cutting dialogue, gorgeously shot and edited and an interesting roman a clef on the relationship between Tony Blair and George W. Bush. This is a movie that would not be out of place in the 1970s, when paranoid political thrillers were far more common. Terrific work by Pierce Brosnan as the former British prime minister at the center of an unfolding scandal relating to torture. And there’s a British actress named Olivia Williams who just burns the screen down as Brosnan’s wife.

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  5. Peter said on March 8, 2010 at 11:16 am

    That Oscar moment has to rank right up there with the streaker and the Native American who accepted the award for Marlon Brando (I think…).

    From reading the background stuff, this is one messy story, but the part I don’t understand is the lady claiming to live in Zimbabwe – are you kidding me? With a standard of living on par with North Korea? What, Haiti’s too good for you?

    Linda: I agree with you and Miss Manners. To me, it’s complicated; some people (including other parents) automatically assume that when the kid goes postal it’s the parent’s fault. On top of that, as a parent, I do want to expose my child to the fine arts. That being said, it does get me angry when a kid is somewhere that is REALLY not age appropriate, gets cranky, and somehow the parent is shocked, shocked that someone would wonder why Junior is there.

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  6. coozledad said on March 8, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Peter: I remember going to the state arts museum with some friends of mine who weren’t technically children, but couldn’t be made to understand that you can not touch the artwork. Twenty years old or thereabouts. They weren’t even stoned.
    One of them went so far as to suggest to the docent that the paintings couldn’t be fully appreciated “without the tactile sense”. I was going to offer my assistance clubbing them over the head and stuffing them into a sack, but it was too late. They were asked to leave.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I just can’t make up my mind about “Precious.” It’s all too real, and says some agonizingly wonderful things about life and value and where we look for it. Some friends hate it (fried chicken scene sure touched nerves), some love it, I just don’t know what you call that sort of movie. And I know it pushes “yeah, that’s what /they/ are like” buttons for some foolish, thoughtless people. Mo’Nique likely deserved her Oscar, as far as I can tell (not having seen most of her competition), because she just pegged that woman. I talk to her every week, many times, and I’m still trying to learn how I can, as a 6’5″ white guy with glasses and more education than is good for him, communicate with her so she can find a better way forward and I can avoid accidentally greasing the skids for her trip into a ditch.

    Some days, you just want to yell “Stop!” which is what I heard in the theater all around me, just to the cinematic version of her. It doesn’t work any better in person.

    But I’m even more conflicted about “The Blindside.” So much to like, so much to go “uhhhh…..” “Based on a true story” covers a multitude of sins.

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  8. Peter said on March 8, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Cooz: You still could have clubbed them over the heads, just on general principles.

    They should have gone to the Milwaukee Art Museum. They have a piece called “Veteran’s Day Sale” which consists of a pile of sheets that are stamped “Veteran’s Day Sale”, and you are asked to take a sheet as part of the exhibit.

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  9. Julie Robinson. said on March 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Wait, don’t tell me who won–I went to bed at 10:30. We’ll watch the rest tonight, but from what I saw, it wasn’t a sparkling broadcast.

    Even worse than the “I’m a Mom” excuse is the “I’m a single Mom” excuse. Not for a moment am I saying that it’s easy or that some don’t have partners who left them. But I’ve known a few who focus exclusively through those glasses and use it as an excuse for every aspect of their life. A woman who parked in the handicapped space at the library told me she had to because she was a single Mom. Excuse me?

    Friday night I was bursting with pride to be the mom of a budding actor who turned in a great performance. He has even learned (a little) to dance. It was a great night, and we’re going again this weekend.

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  10. michaela said on March 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Jeff: I think Mo’Nique was referring to the politics of Oscar campaigns – she pointedly didn’t do the interviews & talk show visits that most actors do when they want to be nominated. In a quick Google, this was the best background I could find:

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  11. derwood said on March 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Childfree by choice in our house. Never really worried about the workplace issues or even the tax consequences. It was a choice that both of us were comfortable with. I did write a research paper at IPFW when I returned to school about being childfree and how the social norms can be thrust upon those that choose to be CF.

    What was more annoying for us were the insistence of co-workers that we would change our mind and have kids. If we didn’t we would miss out on life itself; who would take care of us when we are old? Several people went off on my wife when she worked at LNC about how she was going against the will of God…blah blah blah. We finally made up a story that I lost my penis in a farming accident and that was why we weren’t having children. If they continued I would go on to explain that it was a hay baler. This would usually shut them up.


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  12. Jeff Borden said on March 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks, Michaela.

    The comment seemed somewhat out of place given her largely upbeat, out-there personality. This makes sense.

    I’ve yet to see “Precious” and probably have some of the same feelings about it as Jeff TMMO. I’ve heard the director defend it pretty eloquently, so I imagine it will show up in our house on DVD at some point. We’ll have to be in the right mood to watch it, I guess. It’s hardly the feel-good movie of the year.

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  13. moe99 said on March 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Nance, you had to love this exchange:

    Fey: Great movies begin with great writing.

    Downey: What does an actor look for in a script? Specificity. Emotional honesty. Catharsis.

    Fey: And what does a writer look for in an actor? Memorizing. Not paraphrasing. Fear of ad-libbing.

    Downey: Actors want scripts with social relevance, warm weather locations, phone call scenes that can be shot separately from that insane actress that I hate, and long dense columns of uninterrupted monologue, turning the page, and for instance seeing the phrase, “Tony Stark, continued.”

    Fey: And we writers dream of a future where actors are mostly computer-generated and their performances can be adjusted by us, on a laptop, alone.

    Downey: It’s a collaboration, a collaboration between handsome, gifted people and sickly little mole people.

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  14. beb said on March 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I thought ‘breeders’ was gay slang for straight people, didn’t realize it came from the anti-family nutcases.

    The anti-family nutjob seem to have the same complaints as the average Tea Bagger. Someone is getting away with working less, forgetting that hours spent up in the middle of the night with a colicy baby is work, if unpaid for. And people with chidren are getting away with payng less taxes, as if the costs of raising a child wasn’t a lot more than any tax credits offered by Congress. It’s the age old whine that somewhere, someone is getting more than I am. Sometimes I wonder how civilization got as far as it has with all these whiners running about.

    The nice thing about kids is that you’ll probably not end up alone, dead in your house for a week before the neighbors start complaining about the smell.

    I didn’t see any of the Oscars. I think the only movie on the list I saw was “Up!” which I liked a whole lot. As for the battle over the microphone. Ah, that’s the glory of live TV. That might have been worth staying up to midnight to see. We need more catfights on the Oscars.

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  15. paddyo' said on March 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I gotta get out more. . . or maybe, out to the ‘burbs more. Never, ever before seen a “reserved for expectant mothers” or “for parents with kids” sign anywhere, anyhow. Please tell me where you’ve seen? Alongside the handicapped/disabled parking spots that fill (but are hardly ever entirely filled) our land’s public parking lots? Some kind of regional thing that didn’t make it to Denver? Only outside Babies “R” Us stores or something?

    But as a never-had-kids Baby Boomer myself (maybe because I grew up in a big Catholic family? Talk to my therapist), I’ve never really found the benefits-and-drawbacks argument much worth having. Like that nice takedown reviewer of the book that Nance links to above, there’s lots of uneven treatment out there, such as the mortgage interest deduction (something I’ve availed myself of now for about 25 years — unfortunately, not on the same original mortgage).

    I would agree that there are parents who behave worse than children . . . just as there are probably single adults who do so, too.

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  16. Jeff Borden said on March 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Maybe we should let priests, bishops, cardinals and popes marry and have kids. Lord knows the Catholic Church needs to change its ways.

    Last week saw the Catholic diocese in D.C. eliminate heath care benefits for the spouses of its staffers rather than have to offer them to same-sex domestic partners. This follows the decision to drop foster child care in D.C. because of the enactment of legislation allowing gay marriage. Also last week, a Catholic pre-school in Denver kicked a little girl out of class because she is the daughter of two lesbians.

    Now there is a huge and growing male prostitution scandal brewing in Vatican City. A male chorister has been wiretapped talking to a “papal gentleman” about exactly what kind of man he sought for sex. The lay man arrested is an adviser to the One True’s missionary activities. The chorister has been fired. The Vatican so far has no comment.

    These scandals and outrages just keep coming. I have such fond memories of most of the nuns, brothers and priests who helped educate me so many years ago. These days I really wonder what the blazes is going on. . .and, more importantly, what can be done to return the church to the right path.

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  17. Deborah said on March 8, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Jeff B, I saw The Ghost Writer this weekend too, loved it, especially that it had such a strong sense of place, the setting was almost another character. Modern architecture got a bad rap, the house was quite brutal looking but the views out the windows were stunning. I read a review somewhere that said all of the house interiors were shot in a studio and the views outside were projections. They certainly were well done, I would never have guessed that while watching the movie. The movie was shot in Germany to look like Martha’s Vineyard because Polanski can’t set foot in the US.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on March 8, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It’s such a pleasure to sit back and enjoy an movie that is about something. Agreed on the sense of place. One of the reviews I’ve read noted the drab color pallet and how it was part of the film. Like you, I kind of fell for the house, even if it did look like a bunker from the outside. And wasn’t that Olivia Williams fantastic as the wife? I searched her out on IMDB and found she has worked primarily in television including a recurring role on “Dollhouse,” a U.S. series I’ve never seen. She has such a ferocious, intelligent style and is many times more alluring than so many of the plasticized performers who populate the screen.

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  19. paddyo' said on March 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    “Lay man,” or “layman,” Jeff B.? Love that Vatican reference, double entendre or not . . .

    BTW, the slightest of corrections on that Colorado case of the parochial-preschool-daughter-of-two-mommies:
    The school in question actually is in Boulder.
    As you can imagine, it has stoked the fires on both sides of the standard divide of our times:
    Archdiocese of Denver discriminates against lesbians . . . or . . . lesbians use innocent preschool daughter as pawn to make political point by trying to enroll her in Roman Catholic school.
    Film (video!) at 11 (10 Central/Mountain Time) . . .

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  20. Jeff Borden said on March 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks, Paddyo’. I get irritated when Chicago is smeared by something that happened in the ‘burbs or that bad behavior from visitors is attributed to our citizens. (The vast majority of yahoos arrested in the celebratiions after the Bulls titles years ago were suburbanites.) I did not mean to smear Denver.

    Whether the couple in Boulder is using their daughter as a cudgel, or the diocese is being extra persnickety, I hate to see the child paying the price. It’s particularly interesting that this is happening in such a liberal enclave, but the One True doesn’t do liberal these days. It’s almost as if Pope John 23rd never lived. Church leadership these days would never countenance the kind of reforms he advocated.

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  21. LAMary said on March 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    The only place I’ve seen the moms with kids parking signs is at Fresh and Easy. The handicapped spots here in LA are usually filled by expensive cars. I find it remarkable that so many handicapped people can afford BMWs and Lexi and Jaguars. And that they look so young and vigorous and healthy.

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  22. paddyo' said on March 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I hear you, Jeff B —
    In my callow youth (age not-quite-14), I entered the Roman Catholic seminary in my native state of California, staying five years (HS and most of a year of novitiate) in the heyday of post-Vatican II possibility. It’s been downhill for “Holy Mother The Church” ever since (no thanks to me, I should hasten to add . . . I actually hung in there for most of a decade after dropping out of the seminary).

    I’ve been gone, except for funerals, weddings and the occasional baptism, for more than three decades. But I’ll always cherish the cultural connections, even if just in the mind’s eye.

    And not that sainthood matters anymore, but I’ll wager an old St. Christopher medal that J2P2 gets that golden halo before J-the-23rd ever does . . . even with this month’s revelation that JPII’s prerequisite “miracle” — curing a French nun of her Parkinson’s — may be in doubt because she’s apparently relapsing with Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
    Dude’s still on the fast track to the Eternal Show, and what a friend we have in Bennie XVI.

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  23. Jeff Borden said on March 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I am certain you are correct. JPII is a lock. Assuming the church survives a few more centuries, I wonder how John XXIII will be portrayed in history? Pius VI was the pope when I was a really little kid, a stern and cold figure. John XXIII seemed like such a sweet, gentle, caring old guy. . .a kind of grandfatherly figure. . .and he always seemed to wear a smile. I know it is not his fault. None of us can help the way we look, but Pope Ratzi gives me the creeps when he smiles.

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  24. 4dbirds said on March 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Here in Northern Virginia, I see the reserved for pregnant women and parents with kids in places like Wegmans, Whole Foods, Target etc.

    I tend to slip into depression quite easily so sometimes when I look at my kids, I get an overwhelming feeling of dread, dread that they’re mortal and will someday not be on this earth. (I know, I won’t be either but that doesn’t seem to bother me.) That’s when I’m jealous of my childfree sisters.

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  25. paddyo' said on March 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Yep, I know that look. I’ve seen it. Check out any of Charles Addams’ “Addams Family” cartoons from The New Yorker. Benedict Not-So-Sweet-16 is none other than Uncle Fester . . .

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  26. nancy said on March 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    To whoever asked: Yes, the reserved parking-for-moms tends to be at places like Babies R Us and the like. The one I flout is at my local CVS. I sometimes park in the old handicapped spaces; the legal handicapped spaces were moved a while back, but they didn’t repaint the lot, so a lot of people assume they’re still in effect, but they’re not — you have to have an upright sign to make them ADA-compliant and hence enforceable. Lest any of you think me a monster, I don’t park there if the legal spots are full, if I’m going to be there a while and only if the rest of the lot is getting that way. If I’m ever ticketed, I’m going to bring in some Arlo Guthrie 8-by-10 glossies with the circles and arrows and beat the rap.

    I only take satisfaction from squatting in the expectant-parent spot, however, because it’s such a weaselly pander for diaper business.

    One thing parenthood has done for me, however, is to reset my annoying-child meter. When we took Kate out the first time, we ended up wrapping everything to go and leaving halfway through the meal. (I’ve since learned virtually everyone does this at least once.) She wasn’t screaming or crying, just giving those little baby squawks from time to time. I assumed everyone else in the place was hating us, but when I stopped at the next booth and apologized for the disturbance, the couple looked startled that there had even been one. I’m sure they were parents themselves, and had simply developed their tune-out skills.

    Word to the expectant parent: Make a Mexican restaurant your first post-birth restaurant stop. This was advice from a friend, and he was right: Most are family-owned, they’re likely to have a bunch of kids themselves, they expect children to make a certain amount of noise, the food comes quickly and reheats well. Bonus: Margaritas.

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  27. nancy said on March 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    In conservative-Catholic circles, the current pope is called the “B-16 bomber.” Strafing liberalism, I guess.

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  28. paddyo' said on March 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Nuke’ing them back to the (pre-)Vatican II age . . .

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  29. brian stouder said on March 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    The subject of kid-friendly restaurants came up for us just the other day; Grant (our 14 year old) and I were going to stop for lunch, and I said “pick any place you want” – and he picked Flannigan’s. We used to eat there all the time, and it was quite nice this last time. He asked why we don’t go there anymore, and the real answer is – because the kids have grown up! The place is built more or less like a Tudor style barn; very high ceilings – so that a kid could be anywhere from mildly irritated to deeply into major-meltdown mode, and the white-noise level is just the same. We used to love that place, for just that reason.

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  30. jcburns said on March 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Nancy, I’m worried that you’re so feverish that you left the period off of the end of the title of this post! Fleece up! Can I get you some hot tea?

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    • nancy said on March 8, 2010 at 6:30 pm

      Ack! Fixed! Thanks so much. Obviously, I need to visit Butt Drugs.

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  31. Deborah said on March 8, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I really hate it when parents let their children roam in restaurants when they aren’t eating and sometimes when they still are. I say make your kids stay seated until it’s time to leave. Bring crayons and paper or whatever if you have to keep them occupied, but please, please for everyone’s sake don’t let them walk (run) around. It’s so distracting and unpleasant for everyone else. I don’t blame the kids when I see this, I blame the parents, it happens way too often. I never let my daughter do that when she was young, if she started to get antsy we paid attention to her, talked to her, included her in the conversation or we left.

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  32. brian stouder said on March 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Deborah – exactly so! We had friends and others who let their kids just run, and we always viewed that as simply unacceptable behavior from our kids.

    We’d let them play with the cell phone or keys or whatever, but running around in other people’s space, or into the path of the wait staff simply never was going to happen.

    Aside from kiddo’s, I recall one time we were next to a table where a guy was telling one off-color joke after the next, in an overly loud voice. Of course, you don’t want to laugh – and not wanting to laugh makes it all the funnier. Another time, I recall a couple that was so all over each other that I really think they were going for a zipless lay (as they used to say) – or maybe more. A large waiter was actually posted 5 feet from their table, and glared at them until they became vertical again.

    (I suppose we’ve eaten out altogether too often over the years. thinking back, I really can’t recall ever eating at a real [wait service] restaurant as a kiddo, whereas our kids probably have averaged at least twice a month, all their lives)

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  33. Little Bird said on March 8, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    There were times when I was a kid that I just wanted to stretch my legs, when we were out at a restaurant. Now that I am an “adult”, I think it was right of Mama Bird to not allow me to wander. When she and I go out to eat together we see little ones running around and we both have to stifle the urge to tell them to go sit down. The toddler running about with the butter knife nearly undid us.

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  34. beb said on March 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    When our daughter was still in diapers we would go to Old Country Buffet a lot because it had what we called a “food throwing zone.”

    Speaking of which, one of the aweful incidents there involved a man who had filled a plate with a heaping mound of fried chichen and was methodically going through the stack taking one or two bites out of each piece, then throwing the rest away. As a kid who grew up hearing about the starving kids of africa, the waste was almost beyond words.

    Jeff Borden. Perhaps we should go farther than just allowing priests to marry, maybe we should require them to be married.

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  35. Dexter said on March 8, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    A while back Pilot Joe and I were commiserating here about Oriental Gourmet , in the old Scott store plaza in Auburn, Indiana, which we both frequent.
    I have been going there for many years, it’s probably been there almost 20 years, and there are always two or three little kids running around the place.
    Recalling Dennis Quaid’s line in “Breaking Away” about the IU football players who stay the same age while he just gets another year older, being stuck in Bloomington as a “cutter” or townie, it seems these little kids are always little kids…I guess when they get a few years on them they ship them back to China and order another batch! They are now and always have been little kids.
    They commandeer a booth or two and now they play computer games. They used to color coloring books. Sometimes I feel like Rod Taylor’s George character in “The Time Machine” when the years fly by and he sees the new styles come and go so quickly.
    A friend and I were discussing the Oscars today. She was astounded I had not seen “Precious”, as she loves Mo’Nique so much. Anyway, she lives in the relative “Big City” of Albany , NY and she said she has a “a dvd guy” and she is going to send me a bootleg copy. A moral conundrum: should I accept the offer or decline the boot? I have never seen a bootleg movie…I think I’ll watch this one just to see how good the quality is.

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  36. alex said on March 8, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Dex, with a Tyler Perry movie you won’t know the difference.

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  37. Dorothy said on March 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Precious is not a Tyler Perry movie. I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say one way or the other if the bootleg would be watchable. But considering how they make them I would prefer to see the legal version of any movie.

    I read the book and was grossed out so much I do not think I’ll deign to watch the movie, even if it comes on HBO and right into my living room.

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  38. alex said on March 8, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    My bad, Dorothy. Tyler Perry was involved in promoting it, from the info I just googled. A recent NYT column ripping Perry a new one while whining about how the movie is setting back civil rights a hundred years made me assume it was Perry’s. Otherwise I hadn’t paid it half a mind and didn’t watch the Oscars. Was Steve Martin any good?

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  39. Joe Kobiela said on March 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    The two little ones are cute and friendly,they always talk to me when I pick up my order. Just got back from a quick weekend to Disney. Youngest daughter who moved to New Hampshire to be a librarian had a confrence down there last week, so the wife and I figured Florida was a better place to visit than N.H. in March. Parks were crowded, Lots of money being spent, a few days in the sun refreshes you for sure.
    Pilot Joe

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  40. Rana said on March 8, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    On children running loose in restaurants…

    Never was allowed to do it myself as a child, and even now my mother is not above leaning over, fixing an errant toddler with the Death Glare, and hissing “Go sit down.” Every child that got that treatment promptly did!

    She’s a sweet person who loves kids, so that makes it all the more impressive when she does it. Did I mention that she works in the public library?

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  41. Denice B said on March 9, 2010 at 12:37 am

    I saw my first ‘For expectant Moms’ parking space in Mishawaka Indiana. A small town on the outskirts of South Bend. I thought it was strange to see that. But when Ikea came to Canton, MI, I noticed they had a ‘Family Friendly’ parking area with a picture of a minivan with a bunch of kids in it. I belong to a family. I had a minivan. That’s me!! I hope I can find that picture of our daughter Beb was talking about. It was taken at Upland Hills Farm when she was in Kindergarten. She was lying on the grass with her hands parked under her chin. Her dark hair blowing in the breeze and her freckles shining in the sun. She was looking right into the camera. It is the best picture I ever took of her. Now she’s seventeen and I occasionally catch a glimpse of that little girl that she used to be and see the woman she is becoming.

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  42. Dorothy said on March 9, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I’ve read good and bad reviews of the Oscar telecast but all I can say is my husband and I laughed a lot at the jokes Steve and Alec made. It wasn’t wild laughter, but we laughed. I was entertained. But I was bored a lot when they weren’t around but all awards shows are like that. It’s their nature!

    In 1979 when we were engaged we went to dinner with family members, including my niece who was not quite 2 yet. It was a nice restaurant with a lookout over a part of Pittsburgh and we were dressed nicely, and it was a little pricey if I recall. Jessica fussed and her mom let her get down and run around and before you know it, she tossed her cookies on the floor right in front of a waitress. I vowed then NEVER to let my kids do something like that and they never did. They stayed firmly in their seats and if they fussed too much, one of us (that would be Mike) took them outside. I too give the Death Glare sometimes, but not usually to the misbehaving toddler. It’s the parents’ fault if they’re not doing what they should.

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  43. Dexter said on March 9, 2010 at 9:25 am

    The ice crystals in the air, the last remnants of the fog, were beautiful this morning in the bright sunshine. It looked like a million spiders were spinning an all-encompassing web. Fantastic.

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  44. Carolyn said on March 9, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Reason No. 4,237 to love this business. Elinor Burkett once worked at The Miami Herald. Blazed a trail through it would be more accurate. Encountered her once or twice in my tenure there. She was driven, focused and 100 percent sure she was right on all topics.

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  45. MaryRC said on March 9, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Nancy, I know exactly what you mean about the child-free groups on Usenet. What struck me, besides their generally twee way of relating to their pets (“Buffy and Binky send you velvet headbutts”), was their fragility. So many of them were depressed, on meds (one endless thread I remember was on the relative merits of Prozac and Wellbrutin), suffering from chronic illnesses, some that I had never heard of (PCOS was one that I recall). Their pets were always sick too. One or two of the regulars were even recognised by the others as being mentally unbalanced. One of them used to proudly relate how she would go up to strange women with children in tow and smugly announce that her vagina was tighter than theirs. I think they all had it right — they weren’t in shape to cope with parenthood.

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