They still believe.

Another cray day past and ahead, but since y’all are sharing adult-coloring stories in the comments of the last post, here’s one: Kate was tickled to learn that the U-M library brought in puppies for students to pet for stress relief during finals week. At least, that’s what she was told at orientation. It turned out to be therapy dogs, not puppies, and so many students showed up to greet them that she couldn’t get near the beasts. But there was an alternative! Both coloring AND Legos, at which point, hearing this, my fingers tightened around the steering wheel. They tightened, and whitened. Because it was really hard not to say ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Hank Stuever and I have a shared belief that Kids Today could stand to grow up a little more, and a little sooner. For all the worry, so often expressed in mass and social media, that children are “sexualized” at ever-earlier ages, there’s a corollary that’s equally evident — some are staying young, or maybe babyish, for way too long.

In “Tinsel,” Hank’s book about Christmas in modern suburbia, he talks about older students who claim to still believe in Santa Claus, and around here, in a very similar community, the Cult of Keeping Them Believing is vast and strong. There was a whole Facebook thread about it among local moms, which I read in slack-jawed amazement. “This will NOT be the year they stop believing!” mother after mother vowed. There was talk of a coordinated effort to make sure older children didn’t spill the beans to the younger ones. One mom complained in a recent exercise class about paying a pretty penny to attend a Santa Claus event, and the Santa underachieved, with a crappy costume and a strap-on beard that didn’t fool her kindergartener. This was seen as a tragedy.

Are we raising a generation of fornicating, social media-dependent wimps who need puppies to endure a college finals week (we made do with beer), or is this just me? I ask you.

One or two links today: A great Bridge story on a local (Detroit-local, that is) Chaldean kid who was born in Iraq, traveled at great peril with his family to Michigan to start a new life after Gulf War I, and has since returned. He now lives in northern Iraq, in ISIS country, and flies the flag of Motor City hip-hop in his job of running a radio station called Babylon FM. If you don’t have time for the whole thing, don’t miss this gem within, a sound clip of the young man interviewing a Kurdish rapper going by the name of Frank Flo. Listen to the rapper and tell me hip-hop hasn’t conquered the world. Dear Donald Trump: AMERICA IS ALREADY GREAT, YOU MORON.

Back later. Thanks for just being you.

Posted at 10:09 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

74 responses to “They still believe.”

  1. Bob (not Greene) said on January 7, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Tacked this on to the last thread, but since you’re bringing it up …

    If you want to see the kinds of things that are being produced in the way of adult coloring items, here’s a poster. Man, this guy’s last name is familiar

    And, Nancy, you’d be amazed to know that actual adult people carve careers out of playing with Legos. The guy who created the poster? His wife works as the studio manager for this guy:

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  2. Suzanne said on January 7, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Oh, yes, the “I want my kid to believe in Santa until they go to college” crowd! I have a relative who’s daughter, I swear, still believed in 5th grade and her parents went to great lengths to keep it going(The daughter also had a special blankie from babyhood that she took with her to summer camp well into middle school, but that is another discussion). I know the 3rd grade teacher at my kids’ school got chewed out by a parent for introducing the kids to the story of St. Nicholas as the real Santa. My kids pretty much figured it out on their own, no tears involved. “We figured Santa wasn’t real, Mom, but it’s ok because you give us good presents.”

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  3. Sue said on January 7, 2016 at 10:52 am

    I’m not figuring out this ‘adult coloring book’ discussion. Is it infantalizing, or some weird hipster version of paint by numbers – which, as everyone knows, is what your grandparents do by themselves when they’ve had it up to here bickering about the jigsaw puzzle they’ve been working on together.
    The vibe I get on this is old, not young.

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  4. Snarkworth said on January 7, 2016 at 10:54 am

    I never “believed” in Santa Claus. Once I was old enough to differentiate between “real” and “pretend,” I understood he was pretend. But clearly things didn’t have to be real to be fun, as proved by Mickey Mouse, fairy tales, talking pigs, and the like. And jolly presents under the tree.

    People have offered sympathy and sad faces when I tell of this. It must explain how I grew up to be such a psychopath.

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  5. basset said on January 7, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Hip-hop hasn’t conquered MY world. Still outside the wall…

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  6. MichaelG said on January 7, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I’m with Basset. Can’t stand that stuff.

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  7. CharlieZone said on January 7, 2016 at 11:51 am

    First comment. I think this misses some important things about childhood these days. I grew up in the 70s-80s, college in early 90s and have two small kids now. In my childhood it was common to figure that you could completely slack off until junior year of high school. As long as you had good manners, got mostly Bs, and could show up on time any loser could get into college and get a good job. My kids had homework every night in kindergarten. I was just talking to middle school mom about her kid trying to get a perfect GPA so the kid had a chance to get into a selective school. I didn’t know what a GPA was until I was a high school sophomore. Kids these day should be pitied. They are not immature. They are mostly stressed, miserable and facing bleak life prospects. We adults have completely f-ed up childhood.

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    • nancy said on January 7, 2016 at 11:58 am

      I agree, but in the sense that today’s amped-up childhood is seen as an absolute prerequisite for adult success, and I don’t think it is. There was an NYT story recently about a principal at some high-achieving high school who wants unilateral disarmament on academic striving, because it’s driving kids to misery and suicide. Many parents are on board, but guess who isn’t? The Asians, who want their kids whipped as hard as ever, and have the college resumes and professional achievement to match.

      There’s a corollary in sports, which we’ve discussed here, many times. To parents of less academic kids, it’s the road to a scholarship. And a LOT of parental egomania.

      But the infantilization of younger kids? Not sure about that.

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  8. Joe K said on January 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Kids being coddled, holy shit when did this happen. We raised our kids tough, no meant no, we didn’t have time out, we didn’t have discussion, we helped them with college but they both worked, and guess what? They are 29 and 30 now and thank us all the time for being tough on them, both successful in their fields and happy. Some times you get beat, and you pick yourself up and try again, I think this is my biggest fear, that this generation that needs a safe space and puppies to pet won’t have the stones to confront a enemy trying to kill our way of life. You sometimes need to be tough.
    Pilot Joe

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  9. brian stouder said on January 7, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    1. CharlieZone, great first comment! Agreed about the GPA/relentlessly high-stakes aspect of grade school, nowadays. I’ll spare you my whole harangue on that – but let me nonetheless vigorously agree with you, and recommend and any of the books she has written.

    2. Regarding Hip-Hop, let me just say that my taste for pop-music (in general) is like my taste in choosing clothes on the weekend – which is to say, not thought-out. The radio has what it has, and often as not I’d have the radio set to news/talk during drive-time on a workday, or pop music when the kids and I are going somewhere.

    If we’re on a roadtrip, and cd’s come into play, when my turn to pick arises (a rare event, indeed!) it’s likely to be Pearl Jam (especially Lost Dogs, lately) or the best of The Doors, or Florence and the Machine.

    Pam detests (somewhat) PJ, except for their re-do of Last Kiss, but acquiesces to Florence (The Doors only works if she’s asleep).

    By way of saying, just as I’d say I don’t like “grunge” and I’m not big on ‘60’s or ‘70’s pop, I’d also say that the charms of HipHop are generally lost on me…. but it’s a certainty that there are undiscovered treasures within that heading

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  10. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Hey, whatever gets you through. Maybe coloring books, Legos, or puppies are a healthier response to stress than beer.

    Most hip-hop gives me a headache. But have you heard the musical Hamilton? If not, fire up Spotify and listen. You’ll hear hip-hop used as never before, unless you’re also familiar with In the Heights, the first musical by Hamilton’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Music and hip-hop are combined with compelling story telling, and you’ll understand why he got one of the MacArthur genius grant. Try it, you just might surprise yourself.

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  11. Judybusy said on January 7, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    This discussion of coddling just twigged something for me. I have an intern currently who I’m guessing was rather more coddled than not. The way I teach my social work job is a lot of didactic teaching, shadowing, having them read the statute/other matierial and then ask them what they’ve retained. It turns out this was not a good approach with this student–she just froze and couldn’t give me the answers. It was enough of an issue that she brought it up in supervision. So I adapted a bit, letting her figure things out for herself, and letting her come to me with questions, and telling me what she’d done. It was just so surprising to me she wasn’t able to cough up the material on demand. But, it all worked out, and she’s doing grand.

    I found studying was an excellent stress reliever for finals.

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  12. Judybusy said on January 7, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Julie–I read about that musical in a recent Smithsonian:

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  13. Suzanne said on January 7, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I’d love to see Hamilton, but it’s apparently sold out for a couple of years or something crazy like that. And Ickes are a king’s ransom.

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  14. alex said on January 7, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Looks like autocorrect fucked up your tickets, Suzanne.

    Because no news seems to be good news these days, here’s a headline and a story that cracked me up and seems like just the sort of comic relief we could use right now.

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  15. Deborah said on January 7, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Grown men dressing like toddlers is the big puzzle to me. The baggy shorts with an oversized T-shirt covering a swollen belly, socks and athletic shoes look especially infantile when the guy has a shaved head.

    When I was a kid every once in a while I would get to watch the Jack Parr show, I couldn’t believe how sophisticated it was. I didn’t know people who talked like that. Smart grown ups (later Dick Cavett). It’s what I aspired to be. When I watched older Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant movies I was entranced, the characters were all witty, sophisticated people who lived in tall buildings in Manhattan or wherever. When the movie The Birds came out when I was about 12, I was enthralled with the actress Tippi Hedren, with her sleek french twist and her sports car, her clothes were impeccable. Oh and Grace Kelly too. And holy cow, when Jackie Kennedy became a public figure she was my role model. I’m almost surprised I never took up smoking because it usually accompanied that lifestyle back then. Both of my parents were raised on farms and spoke with bad grammar, even though my mother was a voracious reader she said “don’t” when she should have said “doesn’t” and it embarrassed me. I never managed to be witty, but I certainly tried.

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  16. Dorothy said on January 7, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    We saw In the Heights in Columbus a few years ago and loved it. I bought the soundtrack. The woman who sits next to me at work saw Hamilton in November and said it was tremendous. Her son who is a senior in high school was thrilled they got to see it. I have no idea how she got tickets – I hear it’s nigh impossible to buy them these days.

    The first time I heard about finals/students/dogs to pet was when I worked at Kenyon. I brought my bigger dog, Husky, to campus and I’m not sure who had more fun – him or the students. It was outdoors, lasted about an hour, and everyone seemed to really enjoy the experience. I’m all in favor of finding ways to interact with students because at my job (Development) we didn’t have many students come in and out of our office. I love being around young people. At my new job at UD I am around them so much more, and it’s (usually) wonderful. I have heard of a few student suicides here, and we had a couple at Kenyon. I’m not suggesting that petting a dog for an hour during finals week is going to prevent suicides, but how do we know? Many times the suffering individual doesn’t share what he/she is thinking of doing. Maybe that one kind interaction would lead someone desperate to open up and talk.

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  17. Dexter said on January 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Kind of a roundabout way to stay on topic here; a few days before I was to report to the army and almost certainly would be going to the raging war in Vietnam, my neighbor, the revered WWII war hero (Bataan Death March, other arenas), Francis Thompson, called me to his stoop for a few words of comfort and advice. He simply told me, with his ever-present little smile, that it wasn’t going to be so bad, and I was going to be alright, then repeated, “you’ll be alright.”
    Now I’m the old veteran, the old man, and if a kid needed a boost of words to get started away from home, be it in university, military, perhaps a job far away…why, I would just say “study these lyrics , kid.” In a world of students falling to their deaths from open windows and being soothed by coloring books, and false promises of puppy dog petting, I really don’t think I’d have any original thoughts pertaining to words of wisdom. But in 1983 Big Country sang these words:

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  18. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Hamilton is coming to Chicago this fall and I’m sure it will have a good long run. We saw In the Heights there too. For those of us in the midwest, going to Chi-town is a great alternative to NYC. The Broadway shows there have the same Broadway producers and they are very faithful to the originals. Most of the touring shows that have come to the Fort have been tired and tatty. I’d much rather save up and go to fewer, better shows.

    That said, our daughter is going to New York to see a friend perform in Carnegie Hall and she snagged a ticket for Fun Home, and I’m endlessly envious.

    And speaking of dressing like toddlers, what’s with grown women wearing Tinkerbell and Minnie Mouse Tshirts?

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  19. Peter said on January 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    I am very old school Lego and really don’t like what it has turned into.

    However…I brought my Lego set to school my second year because that in masonry class you needed to draw different types of brick bonds (English, Dutch/Flemish, Chicago, etc.) and draw isometrics of how the walls would turn a corner or intersect – how would an eight inch English bond wall intersect with a twelve inch double Flemish, for instance, and Lego’s are to scale metric bricks.

    Well, when the word got out I had a big Lego set, I almost always had someone in my room playing with them. It got to be comical.

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  20. Charlotte said on January 7, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    The coloring books! Himself came home from a construction project last fall muttering in astonishment about the Lady of the House, who was outside on the deck with her adult coloring books. Although the kids got some for Christmas, and the intricate designs were a huge hit with the 11 year olds — you know, CHILDREN.

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  21. Suzanne said on January 7, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Tickets. Ickes. Whatever they are, you can’t get ’em for Hamilton!
    Dorothy, I think there is some foundation or something that bought up a bunch of Hamilton tickets (or Ickes) solely for the use of high school students.

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  22. Jakash said on January 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm


    Are you suggesting that an Adam Sandler movie is not the equal of a Cary Grant comedy? That Jimmy Fallon is no Jack Paar? Oh, you’re right, then! ; ) Look at all the lame crap even a guy as talented as Robert DeNiro ends up signing on for.

    Indeed, I fear that folks wearing “baggy shorts with an over-sized T-shirt covering a swollen belly” may not have the same aspirations as people who wore business suits and fedoras to 90-degree July baseball games and averaged 30 pounds lighter than today’s versions may have.

    As for hip-hop, I’ve never appreciated it much, myself. Well, at all, really. But “Hamilton” sounds like a winner, regardless. As Julie noted, it’s coming to Chicago in September. Here’s the writer/star with Stephen Colbert:

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  23. Jakash said on January 7, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve seen some weird auto-correct choices, but substituting something as obscure and specific as “Ickes” for something as everyday and generic as “tickets” may be the most bizarre one yet…

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  24. Deborah said on January 7, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    You know I first typed Jack Paar, and then when I looked at it I thought that it looked wrong so I changed it to Parr. What nationality is the name Paar? I looked him up on Wikipedia, it didn’t say. But it did say among other things that he had a stutter as a child which he overcame. I finished the memoir about Carly Simon that my brother-in-law gave me for Christmas, and was surprised to find out that she also had a stutter and used music to overcome it. She said she still has it from time to time, that it comes on randomly. As I said here before a couple of threads ago the Carly Simon book turned out to be interesting but poorly written.

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  25. Dorothy said on January 7, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    I just asked my friend when she bought her tickets to Hamilton. She bought them online in August this year for a November show in NYC. They were all in the same row (friend, son, her hubby) but they weren’t seated together. Still ….

    I remember a few years ago the night of the Tony Awards. My daughter was at work (at a newspaper, where they were monitoring the Tony awards) and Book of Mormon was winning a bunch of awards. Before it won Best Musical she decided to grab tickets for later that year when she’d be in NYC for a friend’s wedding. She’s lucky she got them – after it won all those Tony awards, tickets went BANG ZOOM fast.

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  26. Brandon said on January 7, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Are you suggesting that an Adam Sandler movie is not the equal of a Cary Grant comedy?

    Armond White would beg to differ.:) They’re very different kinds of comedy, but Adam Sandler’s movies do have a lot of heart. And Eddie Murphy is in a class by himself.

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  27. Sue said on January 7, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Plus, Ickes was in Roosevelt’s administration, not Hamilton’s.

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  28. Bob (not Greene) said on January 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Funny, this just popped into my work email to put in the newspaper’s calendar:

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  29. Jakash said on January 7, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Yeah, Brandon, I’ll concede that Sandler/Grant was an apples to oranges comparison. Better would be the Three Stooges, I suppose.

    “a lot of heart” That’s not the organ that first comes to mind when I think of a Sandler movie, but to each his/her own… Plus, given the ones I have seen and the trailers and reviews for most of the others, I’ll also concede that I haven’t seen that many of his masterworks.

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  30. Jolene said on January 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Reminder: Tonight, President Obama is conducting a townhall meeting re gun violence at 8:00 EST on CNN. Am interested to see how it goes.

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  31. Connie said on January 7, 2016 at 3:10 pm

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  32. Jerry said on January 7, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    About colouring: many years ago we had three children under two and a quarter. Myra and I used to spend peaceful time with our coloured pencils and our colouring books. We really enjoyed a task we had to concentrate on, gave a sense of accomplishment, required no intellectual effort at all and could be discarded at a moments notice or a baby’s wail.

    Infantilising possibly but very relaxing. Not that I’d want to go to the library to join others to colour.

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  33. Brandon said on January 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    @Jakash: Think of Big Daddy or Eight Crazy Nights, for instance.

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  34. jcburns said on January 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Paar was born in Canton, OH, part of that huge cadre of Ohio-born broadcast pioneers. And the name? I found: North German, Dutch, and Belgian: topographic name from Middle Low German par ‘house of a priest’, or a habitational name from any of various minor places named Parre or Perre, for example in Ruiselede or Hillegem in East Flanders or Noordewijk in Antwerp province. Huh.

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  35. Scout said on January 7, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    At the risk of exposing myself as a dork, I’ll admit that I enjoy coloring. Mandalas and that type of thing. Just a group of friends gathered around the kitchen table, drinking wine and talking and putting color to paper. We know we’re not making great art, but it enhances an already good gathering of friends and it is at the same time meditative. Someone upthread observed maybe it’s more an old thing than a young thing… nostalgic in a way. It’s what we did as kids, before the advent of smart phones.

    Adult coloring’s probably a fad that will pass soon enough, like man buns. (And unlike pants belted below the ass, which seem like they will never ever go away.)

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  36. Charlotte said on January 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    My aunt dated Harold Ickes (the son, the one in the Clinton administration) when she was an undergrad at Arizona. He was very smart, she said, very funny, and very ambitious.

    An obit for the ages — someone was pissed off:

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  37. nancy said on January 7, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Armond White is not only a hack, he’s a crazy hack. He’s made his living being the “contrarian” film critic, usually for conservative political magazines (because they’re predisposed to hate all the popular arts, dominated as they are by lib’ruls). It’s the same scam successfully worked by Camille Paglia. If every critic in the world agrees a film is great, White will be the one pissing in the whiskey, so it’s no surprise he likes Adam Sandler.

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  38. brian stouder said on January 7, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Charlotte – wow!

    I’d say “Thread Win!” – but the humor is quite dark!!

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  39. Dorothy said on January 7, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Charlotte, that’s gotta be the most jaw-dropping obituary I ever read. I’m dying (no pun intended) to know who wrote it! So much subtext! “known” grandchildren…!? “Dave and his mistress…”!? Yowza.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Juveniles — they still have a tendency to experiment, within the obvious and implicit boundaries set for them by the adults in the home, and they cluster in secure enclaves whether gangs, pep clubs, or diesel mech classes. In general, and I see various “studies” and “statistical anayses” which may or may not agree with my weight of anecdote, but this is my thirty-year arc:

    • alcohol is still the entry drug of choice to “x” and “x” changes every three years or so.

    • alcohol is most often a problem for juveniles when there is an adult in the home (older sib, parent, uncle, mom’s BF) who purchases and facilitates.

    • sexual experimentation is variable, but within fairly narrow limits. Youth are a bit smarter about birth control options, and still resistant to using it, if a little less so.

    • trauma in the home/history is the best predictor of major MH/BH issues for a kid, although there are dramatic, well-publicized exceptions . . . but the whole “no one saw it coming” is generally a line for the court and the media, and not within the circle of friends and family who know.

    • every kid looks for something to push against, to prove themselves. Some choose the gym, the weight room, the practice studio, the library; others choose rebellion against social norms in general; quite a few pick the parents, and there’s no one judo trick I can teach to help keep mom or dad from ending up in unnecessary wrestling matches. But they will push, they have to.

    • smartphones/internet & social media don’t bring anything new to the table, IMHO, but they bring two things with the table stakes: MORE, and FASTER. Not one skin mag, but hours of porn; not a scrawled threat or slur on a stall wall, nor a mimeographed screed, but the immediate unwithdrawable mass audience of a “post” that forces all kinds of authority figures to “do something” when before “letting it blow over” was a reasonable and common option, even if sometimes that was also wrong. “Nancy is a slut” may at worst have gotten me in trouble with a janitor, or maybe an assistant principal if I were caught writing it on a desk; posting that on Instagram or Tumblr (with a picture of an animal making a weird face, of course) may have me in front of a prosecutor or probation officer if I’ve already gotten my name into the system.

    Naivety? I just don’t think there’s more, it’s just different. If more kids knew how to change tires or oil, if juveniles had seen sausage made and horses mating, when the class trip was to a sausage factory or a steel mill instead of an office building to file down a hall to see a PowerPoint about “careers” . . . there’s a general ignorance about the friction points of life that worries me in my congregation from about the 70 year olds on down, and the sense that any problem should be answerable with a call to . . . someone. Who will “take care of it.” But it’s more of a social concern than a youth concern.

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  41. Jakash said on January 7, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Well, this thread once again demonstrates what a big tent nn.c is. I try not to pointlessly offend folks, but I figured a shot at Adam Sandler would be safe enough among the Commentariat here. Though I’m not surprised that coloring and Legos have some supporters. But, c’mon, who’d have thunk that an inadvertent mention of Harold Ickes would elicit a reference to Charlotte’s aunt dating his son? That’s gold, Jerry!

    Brandon, sorry but I haven’t seen those and won’t be. “Big Daddy” rates 31% among “Top Critics” on Rotten Tomatoes. “Adam Sandler acquits himself admirably, but his charm isn’t enough to make up for Big Daddy’s jarring shifts between crude humor and mawkish sentimentality.”

    “Eight Crazy Nights”? That’s an impressively bad 12%. “Sandler returns to his roots in this nauseating concoction filled with potty humor and product placements.”

    I realize that the critics are not always right, and as I said, to each one’s own. But there are way too many good movies out there that I’ve never seen for me to be further exploring the Sandler oeuvre. : )

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  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    And “Dave and his mistress” in that epic obit are part of why I can’t support most “right to die” campaigns — I’ve been caught between the Daves and obituary writing daughters too often with elderly hospitalized parents, and the question being one more of speed than suffering. There is a need to offer better palliative care, and allow folks to refuse treatment in the moment or through living wills, but there’s a whole lot of these situations out there in ICUs . . . and pastors who have no say at all other than a prayer for all concerned.

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  43. CharlieZone said on January 7, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I won’t defend Armond White’s recent work but he wrote a great book about movies and pop culture of the 80’s called The Resistance. Back then he was more a communitarian lefty, sort of a black Christopher Lasch. The 80’s are nobody’s favorite movie decade but the book is worth reading.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    If “Big Daddy” is the one with the attempt to get to McDonalds in time for breakfast, all I can say is a) the scene made me cry, and b) I kept thinking about it as McDs rolled out breakfast all day — “good news, generic Adam Sandler character!”

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  45. Sue said on January 7, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I liked Spanglish but I’m not sure it actually counts as an Adam Sandler movie.

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  46. alex said on January 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Evidently the obit has been taken down now that it has started grabbing media attention:

    Bummage. Was hoping to read it.

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  47. candlepick said on January 7, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I am reminded of the journalist’s desire always to retain the distinction between a death notice and an obituary.

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  48. Sherri said on January 7, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    The last time I did any coloring was when my daughter was in 9th grade and had the teacher from hell who thought that 7-10 hours of homework per week for her class alone was reasonable (got to prepare the kids for those AP classes ahead) and liked to assign big map projects that had to be constructed. I never made a practice of doing my kid’s homework, but in the interest of everybody’s sanity, I spent plenty of time coloring maps that year, in the interest of sparing her time for the more important aspects. I wasn’t particularly happy about it.

    I think there are kids who haven’t grown up because there are parents who don’t allow them to grow up. I’m amazed at the number of parents of kids away at college who talk to their kids every day. I’m stunned at the number of parents who will call a professor or a dean over a problem their kid is having. I hear from parents who are Facebook friends with their college age kids who complain about something the kid posted, to which I usually reply, why are you looking?

    I’d say the major new thing that cellphones/smartphones/social media have brought to the table, at least among the upper middle class kids who go the traditional college route, is the ability for constant connection between the kid and parent. I don’t think this is a good thing.

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  49. susan said on January 7, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Charlotte- Is it possible for you to copy/paste Wilma Black’s obit, please? I cannot open it, as I get this message when I try:

    You have reached an invalid page on this web site. Click here to go to the home page.
    URL: /obituaries/newsobserver/obituary.aspx?pid=177168544
    Date: 2016-01-07 15:53

    It has been “archived,” so perhaps the intertoobs viral traffic caused the paper to move it.

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  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Alex found all that is still “left” to see:

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  51. Jakash said on January 7, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Jeff (tmmo),

    “the scene made me cry”

    It would seem that perhaps you’re more taken with the “mawkish sentimentality” than the “crude humor”, then. ; )

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  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Yep. I’m a sucker for it every time.

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  53. Andrea said on January 7, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    You can read most of the obit here on Twitter:

    Families sure are complicated organisms.

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  54. Andrea said on January 7, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    And to the adult coloring trend, two people on my gift list requested adult coloring books for xmas. I shrugged and bought them. Not my thing, but hey, lots of things are not my thing.

    We moved our offices to a new location this year, and downsized significantly in terms of the square footage we used (not in terms of the number of people sitting in it.) Long gone are the days when we could afford to give each staff member a private office. So the architects and designers created a couple of little nooks where people could go to leave their cubicles or have a quiet meeting. One of the nooks features a little round table that has a built in pad of paper on top. My guess is that it was meant to be an alternative to a white board, where you could sketch out notes or a plan or an org chart, etc., but someone in the office added a box of 64 crayons and now it is primarily used for doodling and drawing. Here’s a link to the table:

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  55. kayak woman said on January 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I have been entranced by those “adult” coloring books and bought a couple for our Yooperland cabin and for my adult daughters for xmas. Older daughter at Literati in A2, “I have always loved to color.” I think coloring is something a person can do at any age. It isn’t all that different (in my not-so-humble opinion) than jigsaw puzzles or phone games. A few years ago, when my mom was going through the horrific last year of her life, I spent a lot of time hanging around the hospital, rehab, assisted living, etc., w-a-i-t-i-n-g for things [doctors] to happen and helping her navigate the decisions involved in end-of-life stuff. (I know that many nn.c commenters have been through this stuff and understand how hard it is.) When I wasn’t telecommuting to work here in A2, and I couldn’t go out and walk 20 miles for whatever reason, I spent quite a bit of time playing Angry Birds on my iPhone. I couldn’t focus on reading a book (for example) and that kind of activity occupied my mind in a way that allowed me to deal with the ever-changing data involved in helping usher a 90-something parent out of life.

    I have opinions about Santa (complicated but sorta whatever) and about the infantilization (however you spell that word) of kids (complicated) and of bringing dogs, etc., into college libraries. Thumbs up on animals at the library. I don’t think it’s bad for people to interact with animals at any age (think dogs and cats at nursing homes, etc.). One of my daughters, who looked rather askance at the bureaucratic middle school she was forced to attend has been known to say that she thinks middle school kids should spend those years on a farm. I’m not sure that I don’t agree.

    Cheers to a wonderful post and many good comments!

    Cheers to all

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  56. kayak woman said on January 7, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Yeah, where’s that edit function so I can delete that last echo sentence?

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  57. kayak woman said on January 7, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    P.S. Thanks to Dexter for posting the Big Country link. I love that song and had forgotten about it.

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  58. Brandon said on January 7, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    @Jakash: Of course I’m not offended. And Adam Sandler takes his critical disrepute in stride, I think. What would an interview, a la Inside the Actor’s Studio, between Sandler and White be like?

    There are few, if any, Madonna fans here. And I take that in stride, because she’s always faced opposition and dismissal along with her success and acclaim. I don’t care for most of her music after 2003 but she still does her own thing, confounding even former champions of hers like Paglia.

    The latest Madonna news is that her son Rocco wants to live with his father, Guy Ritchie, in part because she took away his cell phone. Oh my, grab the smelling salts! Anyone who knows Madonna knows she is strict and industrious.

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  59. Charlotte said on January 7, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Sorry about the disappearing link guys — I got it off Roxane Gay’s twitter feed …

    Back to the Santa thing at the very beginning — seems like that’s a whole lot more about the parents than about the kids. But then again, I had the kind of parents for whom it was REALLY important that we perform the emotional response they wanted in various situations, like Christmas. Our bunch range from early 20s down to Knox, who was 6 this Christmas — he still believes in Santa and even his 11 year old twin sisters were sort of wistful about it and figure its the last year.

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  60. MichaelG said on January 7, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    It’s easy for young healthy people to sneer at right to die legislation. Believe me, when the time comes I will certainly consider it as an option.

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  61. susan said on January 7, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Actually, you can read the whole obit at the twitter link Andrea provided @53 if you click on the jpg. That is a very sad ending. I imagine the obit was removed because of family pressure. They were probably (should have been) ashamed. I wonder who wrote it.

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  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    MichaelG, I want to respect that, I just don’t want to empower out of town adult children who come into a picture late, and want the doctors to speed things up so they can go back with the estate in process . . . and I’ve lost count of how many of those I’ve seen over thirty years as a pastor. It’s keeping “right to die” from becoming “right to kill.”

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  63. Dave said on January 7, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Wanda Black was originally from Bloomington and this is copied from Indy Week. There are comments that say it was written by an angry daughter.

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  64. MichaelG said on January 8, 2016 at 12:42 am

    I get it, Jeff. It’s easy to see greedy descendants wanting to hasten old Grand Dad’s move to the grave. I mean, they’ve waited all these years for the old coot’s money and it’s time for him to go. Or maybe it’s just time to get rid of that old cuss. That sure is a legitimate concern. Nevertheless, I’m in my right mind (as much as I’ve ever been) and I want my option. I’ve participated in my treatment options and decisions with my oncologist ever since this shit attacked me and she has been as fully supportive of my thoughts as I have been of hers. We’ve briefly discussed the end game and agreed that we will wait until it is upon us before exploring it further but she has noted that she will participate in my final wishes. My wife has been present at all discussions and it is clear that we don’t have the killer kids syndrome going here. I agree that a doctor has to be very certain that the decision is the clear and considered wish of the interested party and not get over run by folks other than the most interested one.

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  65. Dexter said on January 8, 2016 at 1:54 am

    It was nice to see Armond White’s name pop up. He is such a shit-stirrer, I have to laugh at his reviews. Four years ago Adam Sandler made a mockery of movies with a FPOS called “Jack and Jill” . Reviews would have been unanimously negative-to-the-max, but for good old Armond White. He loved it. He’s really a hoot.

    And in a most entertaining hockey game in San Jose, the Red Wings beat the Sharks. I am so glad the massive email and snail-mail campaign my friend Tim and I participated in to give us Northwest Ohio fans our team back on cable was finally answered…and in hi-def to boot.

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  66. Sherri said on January 8, 2016 at 3:16 am

    BTW, for anybody interested, it’s official now, I was sworn in ass a planning commissioner earlier this week. Here I am taking the oath:

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  67. Dorothy said on January 8, 2016 at 6:06 am

    WTG Sherri!

    I’m pretty sure the only Adam Sandler movie I’ve seen was Punch-Drunk Love. And I really liked it. It was not of his usual oeuvre. (Did I put that correctly??)

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  68. David C. said on January 8, 2016 at 6:14 am

    I don’t see adult coloring any differently than I do cross stitch, knitting, running, or me picking up a guitar whenever I want to clear my mind. Everyone has something they do go zone out, or go to a happy place, or whatever you want to call it.

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 8, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Look out, folks, Sherri is now prepared to preserve, protect, and defend! Congratulations, fellow tool of the state with true faith and allegiance to the same.

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  70. basset said on January 8, 2016 at 7:31 am

    WTG indeed! One word… sustainable.

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 8, 2016 at 7:32 am

    I think MichaelG and I both agree that if you have wishes for the end of your life, make sure you have them in writing somewhere and that those likely to be making your decisions when you are incapacitated know what those wishes are. And I hope and pray those are long deferred choices for both of us — which is why it’s good to have a living will, because you never know how long in the future that moment might be.

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  72. Jolene said on January 8, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Here’s a small treat that the Internet has bequeathed to us this Friday morning: a brief animation in honor of “The Wire”. Just 84 seconds. Very nicely done. Enjoy.

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  73. LAMary said on January 9, 2016 at 12:10 am

    I got through finals with speed and braced for the post finals crash with reefer and wine. Then I would sleep for two days.

    I have two adult coloring books, both of classic mandala and tile designs. I haven’t touched them in a couple of years, but there was a very stressful time when they were one of the few things that would take my mind off some big bad issues.

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