Archive for Next Generation

Notable and then some

This might be the Prime Directive of Wikipedia:

On Wikipedia, notability is a test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article. For people, the person who is the topic of a biographical article should be “worthy of notice” or “note” — that is, “remarkable” or “significant, interesting, or unusual enough to deserve attention or to be recorded” within Wikipedia as a written account of that person’s life. “Notable” in the sense of being famous or popular — although not irrelevant — is secondary.

This notability guideline for biographies reflects consensus reached through discussions and reinforced by established practice, and informs decisions on whether an article about a person should be written, merged, deleted, or further developed.

Each day of the year has its own page, with a list of births and deaths on that date and a link to the article on each person; we may safely assume that anyone listed thereupon is “notable.” This was the bottom of the “Births” section for the May 6 page:

Recent births on the sixth of May

Yep. His Royal Smallness, age somewhere around one day, is notable by dint of royal birth. Our congratulations to the Duke and the Duchess.

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Gunner aims high

Our man Gunner at the Truman Library podium Monday night:

Gunner Hill makes the speech

Courtesy of Gunner’s mom, who’s got it going on.

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Over at Harry’s place

This has been going on at the Truman Library tonight:

Dozens of middle school students will perform original and historical speeches Monday at the Truman Library and Museum — a Midwest regional event that’s part of the Ford’s Theatre National Oratory Fellowship.

“An Evening of Oratory” will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at the library, including more than 25 middle school students from Independence, Fort Osage and Raytown schools, as well as Wichita, Kansas who will perform in front of a public audience and a representative from Ford’s Theatre. A scheduling conflict will prevent students from Omaha, Nebraska from making the trip to participate.

Students from Bridger Middle School in Independence have been participating in this for several years, but this is the first time it includes students from other Midwest schools. Speeches will last about two minutes. An additional 25 students from Bridger will give speeches at a later event Wednesday evening.

Now, who do I know who attends Bridger?

Yep. Grandson Gunner, just turned twelve, is doing one of those speeches. And it makes sense that he should be the family member to take part in this thing, inasmuch as he’s now a fairly experienced thespian, having appeared in several local community-theatre productions. I am properly awed.

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My grandson, the Trojan

What can I say? The kid can act.

Gunner as Jonas, a Trojan

School plays, local community theatre — if there’s a role, he is there, Jack.

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Somewhat fractured fairy tales

Title to remember: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith, adapted for the stage by William Massolia. City Theatre in Blue Springs, Missouri is putting it on in March.

Enter Gunner. He’s the youngest of my son’s three kids, and after doing a school play and stuff like that, he went up and auditioned for the show.

And got in.

I’m just tickled at the idea of Kids Being Really Good At Things, especially since I myself never was.

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Meanwhile at the Summit

Now kicking for the Lee’s Summit North Broncos, number 95, Nick Havlik:

Nick Havlik prepares to split the uprights

Mr. Havlik is the son of this righteous babe. Lee’s Summit is southeast of Kansas City, Missouri. It is not actually named after Robert E. Lee.

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Our new selfie queen

Actually, my daughter, while she fears no lens — she has a YouTube channel, fercryingoutloud — is not one to spend time on the art of the selfie.

Then this turned up:

Rebecca Carson 2017

I know that look. It says “I’ve got to do this.”

Of course, I asked about the shoes:

Chase + Chloe Kimmy-36 T-strap shoe

The Chase & Chloe Web site says firmly: wholesale only. Just the same, you can find this shoe on Amazon for a price less than $40. (It varies somewhat with size and color.) It was chosen, though, not because it was inexpensive, but because it has a definite retro look to it. I think. It certainly wasn’t because I am perhaps overly fond of T-straps.

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Short girl, long run

In deepest Overland Park, Kansas, this was happening yesterday:

Allison Carson at the Kansas City Diva Dash 2017

Reported her mom:

Allison ran the 5K with me then ran the Lil Princess Dash. I would say, probably 200 yards, maybe 300.

A six-year-old had the gumption to knock out three miles — and then follow with two or three football fields?

Gawd, I must have been pathetic at that age.

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Irish gotten up

Wearin’ o’ the green? Jackson says yes, please:

Jackson Hill does that whole St. Patrick's thing

Not known at present: whether the critter on the couch was actually trying to avoid photobombing this shoot.

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I suspect fowl play

I don’t know what’s scarier here: the large, placid-appearing birdlike creature, or the idea that Gunner might now be old enough to carry a cell phone.

Gunner at Railroad Park

(Taken by Gunner’s mom at Railroad Park in Blue Springs, Missouri.)

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Caduceus wild

Number One granddaughter — this would be Laney, Russ’s oldest — apparently maxed out some tests they give to students on the cusp of high school.

Laney accepts an academic award, 2 February 2017

Explained her mom:

She was recommended for Honors English, Honors Biology, and Honors Geography for next year, as well as Principles of Biomedical Science. I’m so proud of her!

Wait, what? Biomedical science?

[S]he’s actually taking the pre-med academic path for high school.

It’s a long and torturous path, I’m sure, but I’m liking the way this sounds.

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Express yourself

Well, actually, you can’t send yourself Express, but there was a time when you could send the little ones in the mail:

When Parcel Post Service first launched in America on January 1, 1913, there were few guidelines on what could be mailed. As a result, a handful of parents, spotting a bargain, began mailing their children. The first known case of this was the child of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Ohio only a few weeks after the launch of Parcel Post. They sent their son to his grandmother’s house for a fee of just 15 cents (about $3.72 today). On January 27, 1913, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Savis of Pennsylvania mailed their daughter to relatives for a fee of 45 cents. More famously, 5 year old May Pierstorff of Idaho was mailed on February 19, 1914 73 miles to her grandmother’s house at a cost of just 53 cents (about $13.13 today). This was significantly cheaper than sending her on a passenger train, with the train ticket in question costing $1.55 according to the book, Mailing May. May’s case helped push forward an inquiry on the matter of mailing children and ultimately led to Postmaster General Albert Burleson declaring that, from that point forward, it was against the rules to mail human beings. Despite this, the practice continued for about two more years, finally stopping after an investigation into why three-year-old Maud Smith of Missouri was allowed to be mailed to her grandparents’ house in Kentucky.

Unlike today, there was no specification for packaging material:

While you might have visions of children being put in boxes with holes in the side for air, this was not how the children were mailed. The appropriate number of stamps were simply affixed to their clothing along with the address they were to be sent. From there, they accompanied postal workers on the trains along with normal packages and then were escorted to their destinations.

Those were the days.

(Via American Digest.)

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Mr. Hill goes to Washington

Meet Jackson:

Jackson Hill up a tree

Jackson is a fifth grader at Luff Elementary School in Independence, MO. He has been recognized as a student who has achieved academic excellence and possesses strong leadership potential and was nominated by his art teacher to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC) to be held the summer of 2017 in Washington, DC.

Jackson is the older son of Russell Hill, the one and only son of, um, me.

This will cost close to $3000, so naturally, there’s a GoFundMe.

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Picky eaters

When I was growing up, we had essentially two choices at dinner time: Take It or Leave It. I suspect this would have gone over well in that era:

So there.

Ball Park, incidentally, has introduced a flash-frozen hamburger patty, which I found pretty decent even when microwaved.

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Watch ’em putt

This is the location:

Our facility boasts four full 18 hole miniature golf courses, a 7000 square foot video game arcade, a full pizzeria and restaurant, go-karts, batting cages, and now, a full-time event staff ready to make your special event at Cool Crest a truly wonderful experience!

Hey, I know these kids:

Laney, Jackson and Gunner at Cool Crest in Independence, Missouri

And you’ll note they’re not at the “7000 square foot video game arcade.”

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A reprehensible little twerp

Cue Phil Collins intoning “You’re no son of mine”:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How to temporarily freeze the odometer on a 2000 dodge dakota

Odometer tampering is of course illegal. Is this nimrod trying to sell the truck? Nothing so normal:

I got into a bit of trouble (I’m 17), and my parents are taking my truck away for two weeks. My dad knows the exact mileage on the truck. I drive a 2000 dodge dakota sport, 2.2 liter engine, single cab, 5 speed transmission. The odometer is digital. How can I rig the truck so it shows the same amount of miles on the odometer, rather than just pulling the fuse to the cluster and it not showing anything. It needs to look like I haven’t driven it, if I decide to drive it. All help is appreciated!

And don’t try to talk him out of this scheme, either:

Ps: Please don’t tell me not to drive the truck against my parent’s will. It won’t stop me.

Little shit has a future as a political consultant, if he’s not beaten to death first.

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To ourselves and our progeny

This, of course, assumes that we actually have progeny:

Caring for our own flesh-and-blood offspring is both a matter of natural instinct and an entirely rational activity, once we understand the benefits of having babies, which no robotic doll can teach. You may not believe, as I do, that children are quite literally a blessing from God, yet the direct personal benefits of parenthood should be obvious to any young person who has the foresight to ask, “What will happen to me when I get old?” Do we want to be lonely, unloved and forgotten, or to be cherished, respected and cared for? This consideration alone should suffice as an incentive to have children, but beyond the purely selfish motives, having babies (and raising them with good values) also provides a benefit to society.

I will not, as a matter of principle, say anything against anyone who has already opted out of this routine. (This is at least partially a response to my own departure from that particular scene, which was more than half a lifetime ago.) Parenthood comes with lots of guidebooks, most of which are wrong to greater or lesser extent, but life itself is like that:

If you think there are “too many” people in the world, you are thinking of people too generally. Are there too many intelligent people in the world? Are there too many well-educated people, too many highly skilled people, too may hard-working people in the world? Are there too many kind people or too many honest people in the world? Most people who are literate enough to read this article probably think of themselves as above-average people, and rightly so. If you are a person of superior quality, doesn’t it make sense that you would have high-quality children? After all, a person as superior as yourself would be a very shrewd judge when it comes to selecting a spouse, so that your child would benefit from the superior qualities of both parents. And since you would instill excellent values in your children, teaching them to live according to the highest moral and ethical principles, the entire world will benefit from your decision to have a baby. Or six babies, as the case may be.

The author quoted here has, um, six children.

The poster child for “too many” people is Paul Ehrlich, who told us way back in 1968 that Malthus was right and famine would soon be upon us. History has made a fool of him, though “historians” dare not say so, lest they be cut off from a subculture that has willingly embraced folly and arrogantly attempted to inflict it on the rest of us.

As for what happens when we get old, well, I’m already there.

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In search of ancient artifacts

One of the grandchildren, sufficiently curious, brought a seven-inch slab of vinyl out of the back room. “Is this … a RECORD?”

Assured that it was, he begged to be allowed to play it, and we duly cranked up the 1970s stereo. (Not that it matters, but this was the song.)

He would find one more disc that interested him: Gustav Holst’s The Planets, in the 1967 Boult version, which he set to the fourth movement (“Jupiter”). Made the kid dance, it did.

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In the visiting queue

Son Russell, 35 on Monday, is planning a visit on Sunday. I really wish he didn’t have to see me like this.

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Stopping after none

I was one of five children, my mother one of seven. A friend has eight, with a ninth on the way. Surely there’s room for someone who doesn’t wish to have any.

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Parental junk

I’m not quite sure where I stand on this issue:

Another passionate debate between parents. The two distinct camps sound roughly like this:

“I am totally comfortable with my body and want my child to learn that humans are perfect and beautiful just as nature made them.”

The other camp says:

“Kids don’t need to see that shit.”

For the most part, my kids didn’t see it: there wasn’t a whole lot of that in the nuclear-family stage. And when the grownups went their separate ways:

You may be one of those nudists carrying a towel around so as not to leave a personal print on leather furniture, or the three layer cover up type of parent, but either way take comfort in the fact that somebody is horrified by your choice.

You have to wonder how Type A and Type B ever lived together in the first place. (Heck, they can’t even agree on what TV shows to watch.)

This much I can tell you: I keep a stack of towels just off the living room. Not once have the kids asked what they were for. God forbid one of the grandchildren should bring it up.

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This is not a manifesto

Robert Stacy McCain has already indicated that he intends to advise his six kids that they should never, ever write a manifesto.

And nobody’s manifesto ever needs to be longer than this:

My parents didn’t raise me to believe I was helpless, and certainly I would never want my children to believe their lives are a random accident. Our lives have meaning and purpose. The choices we make — our actions as individuals — have consequences for our own lives and for the lives of others. Having lived quite carelessly in my youth, I consider my rather miraculous survival must have served a purpose, if only to equip me to warn young people against careless living.

And this, essentially, is the bottom line:

Winners find a way to win, whatever the challenges may be.

Enduring hardship, overcoming obstacles, the survivor survives, and every day of survival is a victory unto itself. Today I have survived 56 years, and have already lived to see two grandsons born. My children are miracles, not accidents, and today when my daughter Reagan was leaving for school I told her, “Be excellent all day long.”

Don’t just be good. Be excellent. Excellence is expected.

Today is a very happy birthday. Hit the freaking tip jar.

With 62 coming up (next month!) and six grandchildren already out and about, I nod in agreement.

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Maximum dapper

Number One grandson, now a sturdy six foot two, all turned out for Homecoming 2015 in James Bond mode:

Nick Havlik and date

The young lady at his side seems more stirred than shaken.

(Darling Daughter texted this to me last night.)

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Every day I find out something I didn’t know, and here’s one of those somethings:

Being the most popular colored violin, purple is “in” with the younger generation. For those who are just starting to learn the violin, the colored ones are just perfect. The main reason for this is that sound quality is not a major concern for beginners. The only thing that matters is to learn how to play the violin.

And who knows? Maybe she’ll go on to bigger and better things:

Laney and her purple fiddle

“She,” in this particular instance, is granddaughter Laney, working her way into the middle-school orchestra. (Her mom took the picture.)

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Many, many descendants

Say a prayer for the late Dorothy A. “Stella” Scrobola, who departed this life last week. We may presume she wasn’t alone at the time:

Clip from Mrs Scrobola's obituary mentioning a shitload of grandchildren

Whether said load is metric, we know not.

(Via Fark.)

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No swash left unbuckled

One thing my daughter does well is costuming, as evidenced here by her two youngsters (there’s a third, but he’s practically 16 and doesn’t do this sort of thing anymore):

Liam and Allison not walking the plank

She sent me an alternate take of this shot over the phone Sunday, which I didn’t even notice until Much, Much Later. I sent her an apology, along with a note to the effect that “Some days I am totally devoid of clues.”

Said she in reply: “So that’s where I get it.”

I couldn’t bring myself to mention the other event of the weekend: her mother’s first tattoo, at the age of 60.

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Guarded optimism

They’re barely a year apart, and in this photo, seemingly barely an inch apart:

Liam and Allison keep watch

Allison is four; Liam is almost three. Awfully close together, you think? Just look at them.

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You’re doing it right

Maybe. I wouldn’t know.

Herein, number-one grandson — 15 last November, this tall for at least four years now — has approached his ladylove bearing gifts: brownies, and a bear.

Nick Havlik and his girlfriend

She seems pleased.

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Bite the wax, tadpole

Theunis Bates, managing editor of The Week, has an 18-month-old toddler who behaves like, well, an 18-month-old toddler. The problem with that is that the Bates family lives in “the world capital of obsessive parenting”:

My neighborhood’s online message board is filled with moms and dads worrying over the latest studies on toxic chemicals in plastic sippy cups and the urgent need to enroll their newborns in music classes that will stimulate their brains into genius. Of course, every parent wants to give his or her sprout the best start in life, but there is no scientifically correct child-rearing method. Science is constantly evolving — not so long ago, it was thought that pacifiers turned kids into sexual deviants; now Binkys are thought to be effective pain relievers — and findings can often be reversed. So until the experts figure out how to raise the perfect kid, relax, and let her eat crayons.

Where is this “world capital?” Brooklyn, New York.

(Seen in issue 684, 5 September 2014. Not yet on line at this writing.)

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Generation landslide

Bringing up a brood might not be as much fun as they said it was:

Children are a major disappointment in most cases, which is why I say that the modern ideology of parenting is baloney. People who don’t have them aren’t missing anything they really need. They’re not helping keep the race in business, no, but they’re not suffering for it either.

I didn’t mind it so much, but I did a lot of it at a distance, the result of a fragged marriage. Still, this seems true:

I used to wonder why my parents, especially my mother, kept bugging me to have children. Now I know. They were getting even.

The slope goes ever downward.

(Title courtesy of Alice Cooper.)

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