I have particular issues with their parental scare of the week segments, always have, even before I had kids. Wherever the line is between informing and scaring the crap out of parents, they crossed it long ago.
Has anyone else noticed that any time the local news says anything about education it's to report that some teacher or coach did something awful to a student? Or maybe, some student threatened his peers and the school went on lockdown for an hour. You never see the school that had the highest MCAS scores, or the fact that a team from some high school won an invention grant or that students and teachers did something really great for their communities. No, it's always bad news; therefore teenagers must all be bad and teachers even worse. Ugh.
Since this is one of my pet rants, I won't really repeat myself. I will however, shamelessly link to an older post of mine on Soccer Mom that I wrote back in March.
Here's the highlight:
The traditional role of the press has been that of watchdog on the government, but the media increasingly needs its own watchdog, and possibly a new injection of gravitas. More than ever we need a well-informed citizenry, what we are getting instead is a partitioned nation of media consumers high on their own outrage.
I just love that last line ;)
Wahoo! YEE-HAH!!! The Red Sox are going to the World Series for the second time in four years!
I've lived in the Boston area for 20 years and I never thought I would see this once let alone possibly twice in my lifetime.
Not that it's going to be easy. Colorado looks to be a very good and very lucky team right now. They've already beaten us twice. There were shots broadcast last night of the Rockies tossing the ball around in the snow. Man, that looked weird. And when our team has to go out to Colorado, the games may not even start until 10 PM Eastern. Come on, is it so unreasonable to start a game at 6 or 7 local time?
But for now, it's good to be a New Englander. Baseball fans are tired, but euphoric, the Patriots are undefeated (and how cool was it that there was a Red Sox cheer at a football game in Miami - obnoxious, sure, but still very cool). BC is having its best year since the Doug Flutie era. It's late October, the Fall colors are stunning, the weather has been weird, but wonderful. It will be 80 degrees today.
A couple of notes:
It was very nice to see Kevin Millar come back and throw out the first pitch. We still love him. It would be nice if he could come back, but I'm not sure what we would do with him if he did. Can Pedroia play shortstop?
I'm glad Trot did not play last night. We miss him too.
Loving the bottle band in the bullpen. I think they were imitating the Cleveland drum, but let's keep doing that please.
Sunday morning I happened to be sitting behind a bunch of European tourists who were laughing at our obsession with the Red Sox. To be a baseball player you had to have a "little beard" and spit a lot. Apparently, they encountered a restaurant that closed at 8 pm Saturday night to watch the baseball game. The restaurant they did make it to had the entire staff cheering in the kitchen after the big plays. I keep forgetting that Europeans eat dinner a lot later than we normally do. I miss those days. I miss going out to dinner without having to referee.
Casey "Mountain Man" Blake. A great player who had a bad night. I love the real beard, and I think he looks a heck of a lot better than Johnny Damon did, but I'm sure I've seen him on a nature show from the 70s.
Loving the Papelbon dance. He's a wacko, but he's our wacko. While he was out there I noticed another guy with a kilt. Turned out to be Scruffy Wallace, a member of the Dropkick Murphys (warning, sound). Two, three, four....
Yeah, that's what I need to get me going after only 5 hours of sleep - A little "Tessie" running in my head. So much better than "Cleveland Rocks."
Niki Tsongas, widow of Senator Paul Tsongas has won a special election to fill what was once her husband's congressional seat. The seat was vacated recently by Marty Meehan who resigned to lead UMASS Lowell.
Though I never lived in his district, Paul Tsongas was someone I deeply respected, and I wrote a little celebration of Niki's win at The Soccer Mom Vote.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I posted a bit of my frustration with religion in the political process up at The Soccer Mom Vote.
It was definitely a rant, and one of the commenters said I sounded just like the intolerant religionists I railed against. Probably true. I also got a fair number of people who agreed with me.
Just to show that once you put your words out there, you never know where they're going to go, I found out later that the discussion had moved on to another blog. We had an interesting exchange as you can read there, and I guess that's really the point of blogging, particularly political blogging. Personally, I don't mind the debate. It forces me to think. I learned long ago not to take any of it personally.
Here is a real professional's take on this church and state thing. It's written from a slightly different perspective - that the intersection of church and state is not good for the church either.
Last night we had an evening that actually matched what I'd envisioned when I thought about having a family.
It was nothing special really, remarkable in its routineness. Except that so little we deal with could fall under the heading of routine.
Piper and I got home about the same time last night and we just seemed to work together to get the kids settled, get them dinner and deal with homework.
Tigger is starting to have more and more homework. It's not that hard - practicing letters and logging all the books he's read, and whether he read on his own or whether he was read to, but it is getting more consistent. Some days are good homeowrk days, and some days it's a real struggle for him to maintain his focus and get the work done. Last night was a good night. Piper made dinner, I unloaded the dishwasher and Tigger sat at the counter and did his homework.
Pumpkin, who was also sitting at the counter wanted in on the act, declaring that he wanted to do his homework. Now, they don't have much homework in Kindergarten, but he does have some letter sheets and his speech therapist sent home a sheet of opposites for him to work on, so we ran through those.
All night there was no yelling, no fighting. Everyone got along and we had fun with the homework. I want more nights like that.
In the past few weeks, I've noticed a real change in the Pumpkin. He uses full sentences more often than not. I hear fewer Curious George imitations and much more real conversation. He speaks logically, is able to communicate his hunger for knowledge and though he has always shown an interest in books, he is demanding to be read to with greater regularity. He expresses pride in his accomplishments.
It's like someone has opened up his brain and let the words out. I knew it would happen eventually, but it took. so. long.
School. Public school has done this for him. Our tiny little school has him seeing a speech therapist, and has him working in, not one, but two special groups where his language skills are being bolstered. Mostly they are dealing with consonant sounds, just basic stuff, but stuff that many kindergarten-aged kids apparently come in with.
I met with his teacher the other day and we talked about occupational therapy for some of his sensory issues. I'm so relieved. She's not overwhelmed by him and she sees what I do - that there's a lot going on in his brain. I was afraid that it would get lost in all his sensory issues and the resulting behavior, I was afraid that they would get so bogged down in dealing with that (as I guess I have) that they would have nothing left to help him unlock that potential.
Instead, they're doing what I have thus far been unable to do - deal with both at once.
You know, you hear so much negativity about public schools that just seems so outside of my experience. Homeschoolers make us public school parents out to be lazy, uncaring, out for the free babysitting. We just dump our kids unthinking into the children's warehouse where they churn out seatwork all day, robbed of chances for exploration. Nothing could be further from our experience with both boys.
I've had the privilege to meet, and occasionally work with, some truly dedicated professionals at this school. When Tigger came home, I couldn't wait for him to be a part of this community. Last year, he finally did so, and though we struggled here and there, it was a successful year and he left Kindergarten a reader. This year he is working with maps and maths and understanding different kinds of documents. He enjoys it. I enjoy it. We talked about the planets the other night. We had fun with it. His teachers support him, and in many ways, they support me. I never bought into the go-it-alone stuff.
In two years the school has helped accomplish something I couldn't do in twice that amount of time - they got TIgger to enjoy writing and drawing, and got the Pumpkin to use his words.
I would have written this post anyway, but our perfect family evening happened to coincide with a Blogblast sponsored by The Parent Bloggers Network and Scholastic.com. Use the coupon code BLOGBLAST at the Scholatic.com Parents' site and get 10% off an order of $25 or more between 10/12 and 10/21. Happy Reading.
We finally got a car! Picked it up last night and went out to dinner. The kids were pretty good.
We wound up buying a Toyota Highlander. Not a Hybrid or a Limited, because I could find either one within a reasonable driving distance. It doesn't have all the lovely gadgets that I had with the Subaru, and in a few short weeks I know I will miss those heated seats, but it's a Toyota. It has a
rumble third row seat.
So far, the kids have managed to take turns with that third row seat pretty well. And I cannnot believe how much it has cut down on the fighting.
Now the trick is to keep it clean.
Back in August, two Boston firefighters died on the job when the roof of blazing restaurant collapsed. The restaurant had been earlier cited for numerous violations, including excessive grease, but hadn't been inspected by a shorthanded Health Inspections department in over a year. When the fire broke out, these two men were among the first in the building. It wasn't long before they were calling for help.
They were buried, and honored, as heros. Fighterfighters came in from all over the country, as they often do, to attend the funerals and say goodbye to brothers they might never have met.
This week, it came to light that one of the men had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit and the other had traces of cocaine in his system. These notations were listed in the autopsy report but not as the cause of death. Along with this news came the implication that survivor benefits for the families could be jeopardized.
Now I haven't been a fan of TV news for a long time, and I only happened to see this because I was working on something when ER got over. Immediately after the report, WHDH Channel 7 began a nearly five minute "report" on their efforts to lift a court injunction prohibiting them from airing this story, all in the name free speech, of course. I must say the tone of the second segment was at once defensive and self-congratulatory.
I might not have given this another thought except that I recognized the photos of the firemen from Margalit's blog where she wrote eloquently about one of the children who lost his father in the blaze. It was one of those moments when a stranger in the news became real to me.
So now I've been stewing over this for days.... The incredibly tacky local TV news outlets have once again been trying to scoop each other over a personal tragedy. It turns out that autopsy information is not considered public and should not be released without the families' consent. It also turns out that family members learned about the autopsy reports from the news media. The firefighter's union sought an injuncton against WHDH citing privacy rights. In spite of this, FOX News (of course) went ahead and ran the story and which point all the other news outlets picked it up.
The one item I haven't mentioned yet is apparently what makes this a story worth chasing at the expense of the memories of the fallen. Firefighters are not required to undergo random drug screening as a condition of their job. The union has repeatedly fought such a provision. This needs to change. Just as we are starting to better attend to the mental health of our soldiers returning from this war, we need to look after the men and women in the police, fire, and EMT services who see a lot of ugly stuff on the job on a regular basis. Drug testing should be mandatory. Counseling should be available and encouraged.
But this change should have been made without making the autopsies the news story of the night. Mayor Menino's team could have used this information in their negotiations without making it public. Contracts are a matter of public record, but negotiation sessions are not. I certianly could have gone without knowing this. And since the substances don't seem to have had a role in their deaths, why harm the fallen and their families?
Add this to the long list of reasons that local TV news is trash. Rather than informing the public, these outlets seem to think their job is to embarrass the subjects of their stories or frighten their viewers with their overhyped scandals. When's the last time you watched the TV news for anything other than the sports and the weather? How much did you see about happenings on Beacon Hill (or your state capitol)? How much did you see about what's going on in our local schools - unless it was sports or something egregious. How much money do you think they waste sending some poor sap to West Jehosephat to cover a car accident? And don't get me started about their parental scare of the week. Local TV news is the "trans fat" of journalism. It's fast and easy, but it's not doing anybody any good.
No car yet. We spent the weekend looking for one. Most dealerships close ridiculously early on the weekends, and many aren't even open on Sundays. We drove quite a distance to check out my top choice only to find that it had been sold 30 minutes earlier.
We are getting enough back from the insurance company to make a reasonable down payment on a new car. That's the first good news I've heard yet.
The Pumpkin's asthma has returned. He had not had an attack in two years and we thought perhaps he had grown out of it. I had to leave work early to take him to the doctor because all of our medicine had expired. He was home today too because his breathing was too shallow for my comfort (the nurse at school can handle his nebulizer treatments during the day, but still). It worked out pretty well, I was able to go through two conference calls from work without him interrupting. This is good.
Tigger and the boys across the street are home from school, playing in our back yard now, as I'm wrapping up here. There's no fighting. This is great.
People collect all sorts of strange things, but this is ridiculous.
The Hunt for Red (Sox) October begins tomorrow. Piper bought me a Tim Wakefield shirt for my birthday. Wake is a month older than me. He gets out there, does his job, doesn't showboat, is pretty reliable. He's been with the team forever. I'm hoping that even when he stops pitching, he'll still be a part of the organization. He personifies a lot of what I like about baseball.
The Red Sox fan club is holding a mock election to choose the president of Red Sox Nation (ever notice that there are Red Sox fans in the audience no what what stadium they are in - that's Red Sox Nation). One of the candidates is apparently Doris Kearns Goodwin, the historian. True, she has written about baseball, but I thought she was a New Yorker.
That's all I have for today.