Childhood


WHERE TO START.  The insistent “breathe!”-cow, the Jamaican (?) rooster, or the key weirdness of the shriveled elf-man and his skinny jeans, displayed to such flexible effect.  Yogie Okey Dokie’s Yogi round-up (sic from video) is the singularly most disturbing thing I’ve received all week, and it is a struggle to pinpoint the most offensive or perplexing thing about it, because there is just so much to work with.  Examples to follow.

  • Um, the opening shot of our new friend Yogie Okey Dokie and his hind-quarters-over-head thing.
  • The dance at 0:18 (trust, it is downhill from here).
  • From 0:31…  I have no words.  NEEMMPPHGGHH… UNGH… yeah, no words.
  • 0:42:  RUN, CHILLEN!!!!  RUUUUUUUUUUUUN!
  • The “chicken scratching in the dirt” at 1:19.
  • What immediately follows (“Nmmmmmemememe.”)
  • What happens right after that (hands-down yogi town.)
  • “Nice anvil, Christian!” at 1:49.
  • Followed by, “Nice tomato!  I’ll save that for my sandwich!”
  • Followed by farm animals going, “Mmmmm, hmmm, mmmm.”
  • VEGETABLE, vegetable, VEGETABLE! (at 2:06) and the subsequent tongue-thrusting insanity.

So… yeah.  Everything IS terrible.  I don’t think yoga for kids is a bad idea at all, and I don’t think that this guy is a pederast – I think he’s just enthused.  But this is such an undeniable and compelling trainwreck I’m pretty sure it qualifies as high art.

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Many moons ago, I was forcibly uprooted from the co-ed, hippie, Montessori learning enclave of my early childhood and enrolled by my parents in Catholic all-girls’ school.  Whereas once I had daily worn teal-and-black animal-print high tops and tee-shirts celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall, I was suddenly thrust into a world of uniform plaid jumpers, saddle-shoes, and dour-faced nuns.

Orderly rows of assigned desks replaced the colorful carpets on which I was accustomed to lounging.  I was no longer permitted to while away the hours in the library, obsessively consuming comics and books on the Salem witch trials, or scribbling in my journal.  Instead, study time was strictly scheduled and misbehavior was publicly punished.  I was forced to take math beyond pushing a desultory bead around an abacus.

Math, in fact, was the fundamental cause of this disorienting change of course, as recent testing demonstrated that my nine-year-old self possessed the vocabulary of the average college student (thanks to my insatiable appetite for reading) and the math skills of your average three-year-old sorting out Cheerios at the breakfast table.  It seems my parents found this troubling, and despite the fact that I could adeptly weave hammocks from plastic six-pack rings and was extremely disturbed by the Gulf War, some basic educational tenets were lacking in my development.

This alleged inability (or total unwillingness) to learn math was also what prompted my mother to chauffeur me, whining, to Kumon twice a week, while my dad suffered my crying fits over everything from fractions to basic Algebra.  If you are wondering if the extra-curricular Kumon teaching methods are effective, I can only say that my math skills sped from 0 to 60 and the school was later that same year forced to furnish me with a sixth-grade math book – this for the girl who, months prior, had barely mastered basic addition.  In my experience, Kumon is the steroids of arithmetic, and for your math-averse child, akin to a prolonged, pinpointed torture session.  Obviously, I plan to subject my own children to it in the future, when they’ve been very bad.    (more…)

My mom has never made a big deal out of Mother’s Day, which is certainly pleasant for me and Dad.  A card is nice, flowers are always appreciated but not necessary, and you can pretty much stop right there.  No breakfast in bed (she would hate it).  No fuss.  No brunch or shopping or spa treatment (not our style, anyway).  For her, it is a made-up holiday to be tolerated.  Her refreshing approach cuts down on guilt and expenditures – I think it means more to me now that I’m older than it does to her, so I usually send an e-card and some flowers and, when long-distance, give her a call.  She’s always pleased and reminds me, sincerely:  “You didn’t have to do anything!”

Baby Me climbing Mother Mountain, roaring with delight

This year she got, in lieu of flowers, a $30 Amazon gift card, which she will hopefully spend on herself.  So given her low-key approach, I don’t have a soppy Mother’s Day message, but I do have some beautiful pictures my father sent us of Mom playing with me on the bed as a baby, and I wanted to post a few.  (more…)

There is a video after the jump that will save your life, but first, I have to introduce it.

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you would pretend to speak Spanish (or French or Swahili or Mandarin), and approximate a bunch of sounds that seemed suitably foreign and, to your ear, could passably compare to the language you were imitating?  Heck, I practiced this at a bar recently when a dude I didn’t really want to talk to approached me and I pretended to be Russian, and quickly mentioned that I “no speeek Eeengleesh” (I thought it was a reasonably muddy Eastern Bloc accent at the time).

My mistake.  “Как поживаешь?” He asked with enthusiasm.  “Ahahaha!”  I said, nervously.  “Yur agzent… bery gud.”  Then I hightailed it to the bathroom to hide.

Anyway, if you have ever been a child, you know what I’m talking about: the pleasures of gibberish and linguistic imitation.  When I attempt the broken, ungrammatical Spanish I sometimes inflict on folk today, I can’t help but give it a little extra UMMPH, a little rrrrroll of the “r” – una pequeña mas pasión! – than I would making the same ungrammatical statement in English.  “I no go… THE BED!” for example.  My Spanish is slightly less sophisticated than that of a very emphatic toddler, but just as intense.

In the same vein, I have wondered before what The English sounds like as a gibberish language to foreigners.  Surely kids in Mexico and Spain and Chile were pretending to speak English in the same insane-o manner I was pretending (still do!) to speak Español.  Turns out, I was right, and there exists a grown-up person music video from Italy (very close to Spain) from 1972 that nicely illustrates the point.

I can’t possibly list all the reasons you should watch this video, but I will start with: (more…)

I don’t think the website Some Ugly Baby is here to encourage baby bodysnarking.  I regard it more as a celebration of those odd babies out who don’t quite fit the Gerber baby mold, those babies that make stangers bite their tongues, those babies that defy convention in their own unknowing way.  I am a fan of the unexpected, subversive, ugly baby.

I don’t have a baby of my own, but I believe I would know if my infant was ugly (maybe, maybe not).  An ugly baby doesn’t mean an ugly adult – it’s obviously a transitional phase that predicts little about a child’s looks in the long-term, which is why I’m not too bothered by how amusing I find ugly babies.  That said, I am always sort of weirded out when I see little kids and can visualize exactly what they’re going to look like in middle age.

This is definitely a middle-aged baby.  A lot of babies look like old men, of course, especially the brand-new ones. (more…)

Howdy People!

Forgive my absence, I have been traveling.  Specifically, I tortured myself for 10 hours in coach this week (never again!) to cross the seas and visit with my dear friend, Tailfeather.  Say hi, Feather..(Hi!)…she says hello.  We have a fantastic week planned, wherein we are doing a little tour of Europe, with culturally fulfilling stops in Belgium and The Netherlands as well as London.  The Netherlands I have been to before, but not Belgium.  London I haven’t been back to since I was a child, so it’s been fun hanging out here the last couple of days.

Earlier tonight, we went to the store to get some essentials (wine, very essential.  also chocolate.) and I found myself wandering the aisles in an nostalgic daze as I saw all the food stuffs of my youth.

The Bigga peas and Devonshire custard my mother used to have in the pantry when we lived in Ireland, the Pear soap and Fairy liquid my Nanna kept by the sink, the jars of Marmite and Bovril and bottles of Lucozade my Grandfather favored.  And don’t even get me started on the sweets!  Quality Street!  Crunchies!  MALTEASERS!!   (Contented sigh).  Ahh, memories, like the corners of my mind.  Tell me, what products remind you of your childhood?

 

*Oh, the food item above is NOT one of the fond childhood memories, it was just too bizarrely offensive not to share.

 

A welcome and rather touching addition to the photo blog ranks is My Parents Were Awesome, profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered last week.  Eliot Glazer has compiled over 3,000 user-submitted images of parents and grandparents in their heyday, and the result is a lovely little tribute to eras past.  Definitely worth a browse.

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