Sunday, May 27, 2007

Whoa. (Inhale...exhale)

I'm not even sure where to begin. Last week I submitted my doctoral dissertation for review by my jury. That was Friday the 18th. On Monday morning (21), around 4AM the Philosopher Mom wakes me up "My water broke... it's time to go to the hospital...." Fortunately the Curious Boy was already at his grandparents for a sleepover.

29 or so hours later (it's a very long story.. bits of it to follow), Zen Girl was born. 7 lbs 1 oz (3205 g) at 8:55 AM. All are well.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Autism Roundup - And a winner!

So far there has been a less than stellar response to our contests.. oh well, more chances for those who do play! 

The winner of Mary Kaye's album "Spin Your Web"  is long  time PD reader Mubeenah, the only person who had the balls to post using her name. 

Mubeenah correctly identified PDD-NOS as "Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified".

The PDD spectrum of disorders are frightening for parents for all kinds of reasons.  This is why so much research is going on in the field.  A bunch of it was published this past week:

Autistic Children Can Gain Significantly In IQ Through Early Intervention

Social Behavior Differs In Children With Family History Of Autism

Children With Autism Have Difficulty Recognizing Ordinary Words

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Large Families as a Cause of Climate Change

A new report out of the UK is urging governments to encourage people to have smaller families in order to help mitigate climate change.

As we await PhilosopherKid #2's iminent arrival and ponder the eventual size of our family, this makes me think about population effects. That being said, this strikes me as a little absurdist and extremist. The real population problems facing the planet are coming from the unmitigated growth in Asia and Africa, where American and Vatican promoted abstinence only AIDS education is failing dismally.

This report reminds me of a study claiming that obesity is a significant contributor to global warming because cars and planes have to use more fuel to schlep around fat people. This of course is a load of crap.

Studies like these make a mockery of the serious issue of climate change and take attention away from real, practical solutions.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Another contest!!!!!!! Mary Kaye Album Review

I've been meaning to do this for a while.. It's been almost a year since the thoroughly awesome Mary Kaye sent me a copy of her album "Spin Your Web" to review. Sorry about the delay Mary.

The album blew me away right off the bat, with it's great lyrics and wide range of musical styles. The opening, and title, (Spin Your Web) track is a great world beat groover. My personal favorite is the proto-punk "Let's Get Dressed".

This album is a pleaser for the whole family. The Curious Boy was very young (~6 months) when we got the album, and so it was hard to judge how much he liked it. As he got a bit older, he started to like it more and more. It is in constant rotation in our house and on car trips now.

My only complaint about the record is on the production side. I find that kids are drawn to music with strong, easily heard vocal melodies. On this record the vocals are a bit too far back in the mix. I have this problem with a lot of kindie-pop music. It probably comes from the indie/alt-rock influence on the artists, and it is a sound that I love. I think kids would better appreciate the music if the vocals were more up front.

That being said, I love this record. I think it is an essential edition to any family's collection. Kids can grow for a long time with "Spin Your Web". The music and lyrics are simple enough on the surface for a toddler, but have the right amount of complexity to keep older kids and adults listening again and again.

YouTube user ralpheadsuz used Mary's beautiful track "Child" in their astonishing entry into the YouTube Autism Challenge. The video is a peek into the life of their six-year old son.

And now the contest part: Comment on this post with the definition of PDD-NOS. Everyone who post a correct answer between now and Friday Monday at midnight (EST) will be entered to win a copy "Spin Your Web". The winner will be chosen at random.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Children of Men

I know I said I would be out of touch for a while, but I had share this with y'all.  We took some time to watch the much-heralded film "Children of Men" the other night.  The film is based on the novel of the same name by P.D. James. 

If you haven't seen it, the film is set in 2027 and no children have been born on earth for 18 years.  No explanations, only despair.  While the film poses some interesting questions for people in general, and parents in particular, I found it sharp, smart and ultimately unsatisfying.  Which may have been the point. The best thing about the movie is most certainly Franco Battiato's version of the Rolling Stones classic "Ruby Tuesday".(Hear a sample here.)