Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Family Hanukkah 2008

Annual Merry Zoo Day (at The Bronx Zoo)

Mike Love at Saks Fifth Avenue

And Even More Love from Saks for Mike

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More things overheard at Kay's (Jewish) Nursery School

Mom (looking at pretty, glittery menorah pictures made by the preschool class): Ooohhh, honey! These are so nice Which one is yours?

Daughter: This one!

Mom: I love it! And pink, your favorite color!

Daughter (pointing to another picture, of a shiny Mogen David): And this one is mine too!

Mom: That's great! I love it! It will look great on our Christmas Tree!

And yes, I'm sure she wasn't kidding.

You can read more stuff I've overheard here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A trip to the Larchmont post office

Last week I took your regular-ol trip to my local post office. I needed to mail a package. After getting postage for the package, I realized this being the holiday season and all, I should probably get some stamps. I'm not much of a holiday card sending kinda person, but I send a few. I asked for Hanukkah stamps. The postal employee cheerfully told me they were all out, "given Larchmont's sizable Jewish population as you know, I'm sure you're not surprised."

Actually, I was completely surprised. First, at the thought of Larchmont having a sizable Jewish population - it was news to me. And second, that the Jewish population had managed to clean out the post office of all its Hanukkah stamps by mid-December.

So I say "I can use any stamps, just as long as they're not Christmas." And he says, "How about Kwanzaa?" "Sorry," I say, "Any stamps as long as they're not Christmas or Kwanzaa. I meant anything non-holiday - don't you usually have snowflakes or snowmen or something like that?"

The postal employee replies, "No, I don't think so. We have all the holidays though. We even have Jihad stamps."

I look at him blankly.

He continues, "I know you won't want those. To be honest, they'rea tough sell. They came out right after 9-11. Bad timing. No one wanted to buy them. A few people did, I think they felt guilty. So they bought the Jihad stamps, but in general, they're not a good seller. Not like the Hanukkah stamps!"

At this point, I am kinda ready to leave without stamps, but being a small town post office with a small town feel, the lady in line at the teller next to me says, "Get the ones with the man carrying the heart. They're perfect."

Given that I had very low stamp requirements, I was sure these stamps were indeed perfect. The guy brings me green heart stamps. "Perfect!" I exclaim, delighted to be getting out of this suddenly too-long and too-religious post office outing, when my friendly postal line neighbor looks over and barks "Not the green ones! Those aren't the right ones! It has to be the red ones!"

Without consulting me, the teller then goes frantically from bay to bay looking for the red ones. At the last bay, he grabs a strip, and shouts to me "These are the last ones! You got here just in time!"

PS In case you're wondering like I was: it's Eid, not Jihad.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scholastic: This Means War

I have been dreading the first time that Magpie goes to a school Scholastic Book Fair ever since January, 2007, when I read this particularly depressing article from my oft-quoted Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

Last year, Caroline sent her seven-year-old son to his Scholastic school
book fair with five dollars and a note to his teacher that she wanted him to
pick a good reading book. Instead, he came home with a Batman drawing
book and three thirteen-inch flexible pencils.
I have been dreading the day, too, because I know that when my daughter brings home her version of the tale above, I am going to insist that her public school no longer holds Scholastic Book Fairs. And then, all the trouble I've gone to fitting-in will evaporate. Scholastic themselves claim that 35-40% of the books sold at a typical book fair are linked to a movie, television show or video game. This is not what I want for my child.
Have educators really just given-up? Just told the corporations, OK you win - make the kids consuming clones who think a book needs to go with a movie or TV show, that this is what life is all about?
Well, today was the day. Book Fair Day. I gave her twenty bucks. I told myself, my kid loves books as much - if not more - than any other kindergarten kid. She will bring home a good book. A classic, or maybe a new book destined to be a classic. I can't wait to see what she gets!
But, alas, that fairytale was not meant to be.
She brought home these:

1. Dora's Perfect Pumpkin - what possible plot could this book even have? Have we not already exhausted the Halloween genre completely?
And wait, it gets worse:

2. Barbie the Island Princess Panorama Sticker Book - this is not even an actual book, it is a sticker panorama!
So I ask you, my loyal readers? Is it time? Should I start a rival school Book Fair company? What would you do?

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