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July 12, 2010

Public Service Announcement...

The spousal unit is wishing I felt bad again.

Heh :)

Posted by Cassandra at July 12, 2010 02:16 PM

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Bad spousal unit, bad spousal unit!

Posted by: Frodo at July 12, 2010 02:37 PM

*peering around to insure the 10-foot pole with which I'm not touching that line is out of DocLady Sly's reach*

Posted by: BillT at July 12, 2010 02:40 PM

Over 30 years and I never tire of messing with that man's mind...

Heh :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 12, 2010 02:42 PM


Heh indeed!

Posted by: Russ at July 12, 2010 05:34 PM

I think BillT has it right. ;)

Posted by: FbL at July 12, 2010 08:59 PM

Well, a mind is a terrible thing to waste, yanno.

In other news, we have an Eagle Scout.

Posted by: Cricket at July 13, 2010 12:59 AM

Cricket, Congrats on the Eagle Scout.

You might be nice and let him know that the footprints will come out of his rear... eventually.

Posted by: Russ at July 13, 2010 03:02 AM

Wearing him out, are you? ;-)

Posted by: camojack at July 13, 2010 03:40 AM

In other news, we have an Eagle Scout.

Congratulations, Cricket! You and The Engineer must be so proud of him :)

Posted by: Grim's Sofa Cushions at July 13, 2010 06:45 AM

Congratulations on your Eagle, Cricket! It takes a lot of dedication by many people (beyond just Mom and Dad) to bring a boy from Tiger Cub to Eagle, in only one lifetime. I still genuflect when I bump into some of the people who helped SpecialLad reach Eagle a few years ago.

Tell him to hold his head high.

Posted by: MathMom at July 13, 2010 08:06 AM

Wearing him out, are you? ;-)

More like "wearing him down".

I think he is looking for my "off" switch :p

Posted by: Grim's Sofa Cushions at July 13, 2010 10:48 AM

Congratulations, Cricket and MathMom!

Posted by: htom at July 13, 2010 10:49 AM

Congratulations to the young Eagle scout, to mom, dad, and all who helped.

Well done!

Posted by: bthun at July 13, 2010 11:02 AM

Great flying eagles

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 13, 2010 11:25 AM

That's outstanding news, Cricket. That is a tremendous honor, and one I don't doubt he has worked hard to earn.

Posted by: Grim Himself (Not His Sofa Cushions) at July 13, 2010 12:19 PM

Hmmmppppfff!!!! I can see I'm going to have to find a new moniker! :)

Posted by: Grim's Sofa Cushions at July 13, 2010 12:34 PM

Need help with a legal name change? Credit history disappeared along with your 800+ credit rating?

Well President Obama and the 11th Congress have stepped up to help you and others like you with the passage of a new law. A law passed with resounding support of 51% of the Congress that requires DOJ to dismiss any action taken by any laws that can't be read and understood between the 1st and 9th tee.
We think...

What this means for you is that you now have, for the first time, an unprecedented opportunity to change your name to Nelson Rockefeller, amass a fortune in one fell swoop, and avoid having to search between your cushions for spare change, ever again!

If you would like take advantage of this unexpected new opportunity to exploit others with the assistance of The MAN, just call us at 1-800-CHISELERS. Or visit us at http://www.DC&H.Chi'sBest&LightestFingers.org

Posted by: Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe at July 13, 2010 12:50 PM

In other news, we have an Eagle Scout.

As if you -- or any of us -- ever had a doubt about that accomplishment.

Posted by: BillT at July 13, 2010 02:24 PM

Trail the Eagle!

Trail the Eagle
Trail the Eagle
Climbing all the time
First to Star
and then to Life
Upon your bosom bright
Keep climbing

Blaze a trail and we will follow
Climbing all the time
On, brothers on,
Until we're Eagles all!

Congrats Miss Cricket! One of the best experiences of my life has been to sit in on a couple of Eagle Scout Board of Reviews in our area. Every Scout that I know that's made Eagle is really remarkable in some way. I'm sure your son is no different.

I wish my son would stick with it. He's stuck on Life and has probably lost interest. He's only 5 MB away from Eagle.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at July 13, 2010 05:02 PM

Both my sons bailed out after Life Scout, Don. They were really close, too.

Scouting was a good experience for both my boys in different ways. I was pleased and proud that they stuck with it when so many kids seem to spend the bulk of their free time with their hands surgically attached to some sort of joystick thingy.

Learning to do real things in the real world is never a bad life skill.

Posted by: Cass at July 13, 2010 05:06 PM

The same elements of competition are present in console games and physical skill based activities.

The few advantages console games have over physical activities are

1. accessibility
2. greater market share for users to compete against by comparing individual skill/scores
3. Less initial time investment before improvement can be seen.

Repetitive action and the interest to stay with it instead of getting bored, is a common instinct amongst the young. But it doesn't distinguish between which repetitive actions, nor does it determine the complexity.

The more immediacy and advanced advertising for console games, does tend to give it first access to those interested in youth competition. For those who wish to compete against friends, and their friends don't play the same sport or at the same time, everyone, even absent physical kinesthetics, can go to console games to provide competitive service.

There is also a cultural vector. With less and less people who are able to use the skills of physical survival, there is less and less interest in it. Young competitive instincts does not have absolute templates on what activity validates it as competitive. Competitive markers are based upon what their peers and general society is doing. If their peers are trying to star fires the fastest with the least advanced materials in store, then that is what they will compete at as well and devote most of their time. If their peers are mostly city bred, then the skills they will devote time to will be based upon what the city requires.

Here we get back to accessibility. Anywhere with electricity + tv, you can use consoles and their games at. But only in certain environments and under certain hierarchies do you get certain physical activities involving navigation, water, fire, wood, and live game.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 13, 2010 05:33 PM

I'm not saying video games are evil, Ymar. Only that I think it's a healthy thing for children to learn useful real world skills too.

I've never seen a video game that will teach you how to chop down a tree or build a lean-to or start a fire with wet wood. And playing martial arts games won't make you a black belt :p

That was my only point: balance.

Posted by: Cass at July 13, 2010 05:36 PM

I've been remiss about congratulating Cricket on her son's attainment of Eagle Scout. Anyway, here's a recent post I made in honor of 100 years of the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared.

Posted by: camojack at July 13, 2010 05:47 PM

Heh :)

Alas, in response to the question in your comments section, I was only a Girl Scout for a very short time. I was a Brownie, though!

When I was growing up we moved pretty much every single year. That makes it very hard to sustain a hobby or interest as your surroundings and opportunities are always changing.

That said, I was lucky enough to have parents who taught me to do practical things. My parents were the one resource that never changed in my life.

My Mom taught me to knit and sew and cook and keep a home. My Dad taught me to work with wood and do routine car maintenance and things like that. I took Home Ec and Shop in school and when I was 11 or so we took a long camping trip into the Canadian wilderness and I learned a lot there too.

Posted by: Cass at July 13, 2010 06:03 PM

Regardless of how one acquires them, useful skills are an important thing to cultivate. Having just returned from Alaska, I can say that some of mine will come in handy up thataway, should my plan to establish a Summer home there materialize...

Posted by: camojack at July 13, 2010 07:56 PM

It's not the skills that Scouts acquire, per se.

It's the self-confidence, self-reliance and self-discpline they acquire. It's not sports, where some God-given gift of being taller or stronger necessarily gives you an advantage.
It's work, persistence, dedication, character; the willingness to work together as a team, and play together, too. Being part of the vast brotherhood of Scouting. These are the lasting things, the things that endure that Scouting offers.

Everybody has fun at some time with video games, but sharing that experience with someone else hardly measures up to the fun of being out in the great outdoors with your peers and friends.

It's fascinating to look up how many astronauts were Eagle Scouts. There could be clue there.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at July 13, 2010 09:49 PM

As to the notion that video games are more useful than traditional skills, I used the following Scouting skills just today: tying knots, cutting wood with a saw, starting a fire, first aid (re: an 8-year-old's splinters, and removing two ticks from a very good dog), and wilderness survival (re: summer heat in Georgia).

I was supposed to do some leatherworking, too (adding a hole to a belt for a growing boy), but I didn't get around to it.

My troop dissolved when I was a Life scout. It's still been a tremendously useful experience.

Posted by: Grim at July 13, 2010 10:12 PM

Don Brouhaha -

I tell the parents of Scouts that they need to help their sons focus on advancement and getting really close to Eagle before marching band starts taking all their time. MathLad had Band stuff every Monday night for three years - can't make it to meetings when they are scheduled like that. That's when he lost interest in finishing. He took up Robotics, so it's not like he became a mall rat, but I'm still disappointed that he didn't finish.

Posted by: MathMom at July 13, 2010 10:43 PM

Hey Camo!

We're off to Alaska on Sunday. We have a list of 14 properties to look at. I've missed Alaska and San Antonio, of all the places we've lived. We've kept the Alaska Airlines Visa card and have stacked up miles for 20 years, so it's costing us $15 for three of us to go.

Maybe we'll be neighbors! I hear the house next to Sarah Palin will be available in a few months...

Posted by: MathMom at July 13, 2010 11:08 PM

You must be an excellent mother, MathMom. My own distractions ran more to alcohol and illegal drag racing; but I suppose those are also traditional coming-of-age rituals in rural Georgia.

Posted by: Grim at July 13, 2010 11:17 PM

Grim -

You are too kind. I know that I put my full attention into my job as Mom, and when my kids wind up in a shrink's office blaming me, I'll tell them that I made every choice for them the best I could with the information at hand, and then tell them to GET A LIFE!

Is that too selfish?

Posted by: MathMom at July 13, 2010 11:26 PM

I have to tell you, if they're still talking much about you in a few years, you haven't done your job as well as I think you have. A man cuts the apron strings with a knife, when the time comes: one his father gave him, or one he stole from the kitchens for the purpose.

So when they do, congratulate yourself: and let them go.

Posted by: Grim at July 14, 2010 12:11 AM

Hey Camo!
We're off to Alaska on Sunday. We have a list of 14 properties to look at. I've missed Alaska and San Antonio, of all the places we've lived. We've kept the Alaska Airlines Visa card and have stacked up miles for 20 years, so it's costing us $15 for three of us to go.
Maybe we'll be neighbors! I hear the house next to Sarah Palin will be available in a few months...
Posted by: MathMom at July 13, 2010 11:08 PM

Small World™, eh what? Alaska, of course, is a BIG place.

Actually, I was in Wasilla last week; that's the location of the office that has the listing for the property I'll probably be making an offer on. The property itself is in the Kodiak Islands.

As for those frequent flier miles, when I went to the Big Island this past February, I paid a $10 service charge for my round trip airfare. Gotta love it...

Posted by: camojack at July 14, 2010 12:24 AM

Congrats on the Eagle Scout, Cricket!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 14, 2010 12:56 AM

I'm not saying video games are evil, Ymar. Only that I think it's a healthy thing for children to learn useful real world skills too.

Oh, I realize that. My point is that console games provide market accessibility, which is a real quality factor, vs other physical activities and skills.

Boys don't actually know what self-confidence and discipline are, until they have experienced it. Thus they have a nebulous notion of what their ultimate goal in the Scouts is. That is why they require mentoring and leadership. If they could get there on their own, they wouldn't need the Boy Scouts, but there it is.

Everyone, no matter the activity, is looking for some barometer of judging how well they are doing. Social competition has been the main stay of tools in this regard. For video games and physical activities, they both have the same tool to judge how well people in the user group are doing, by comparing their scores and objective results with others doing the same thing. Obviously, if the activity is the same, if the goals are the same, and if the rules are the same, then the difference in objectively judged results must be due to the prowess of the individuals involved. Or lack of it.

Humans need this self-correctional perspective very badly. Our very instincts, even, cry out for it. Whether it is wealth, social one upping each other, or something else entirely, competitive instincts are etched into our DNA, hard coded.

The thing is, society has to be responsible for funneling these instincts into something positive. Otherwise, competitive becomes what you see from Roissy. They slap themselves on the back for how many women they get to go to bed, and based upon that sign of submission, they rate themselves as superior or inferior.

Or in other cultures, you have competition between how many serfs and slaves you can kill. Nobles sometimes had contests over how many humans they could hunt down, when animal game got boring.

Society, thus, has an interest in moderating competitive instincts into something productive. The issue with video games vs physical skills is what exactly of use they are to society or the individuals involved. Yet, originally, nobody did what they were doing because they knew their end goal and was striving for it. Few people have this foresight. Most people simply try to get better at an activity because their peers are doing the same thing.

And I think that applies to users of console games as well as young Boy Scouts. They may not understand the big picture, whether negative or positive, but they understand results. The results of competing and one upping their friends and peers.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 14, 2010 10:28 AM

It's not sports, where some God-given gift of being taller or stronger necessarily gives you an advantage.

That's the commonality involved. Meaning, some areas don't limit competition to approved users. Console games, for the most part, do not limit themselves in this area. And neither do physical survival skills. Nature did not give us the gift of physical movement for artificial sport games, but to survive. We all have DNA resulting from successful evolutionary behavior patterns, suited to survival. But not designed specifically for a sport. (Cause winning at a sport didn't prevent people from getting eaten, for one thing)

Accessibility is a favored trait of the common man and woman. It tends to make that activity popular in the sense that there is no elitist requirement. The reason is because people can fail at sports, given the gap between the athlete and the starter athlete and the non-athlete who don't want to be an athlete at all.

By allowing a base starting parameter that is more or less neutral or equal, people tend to become motivated and stay motivated to success at the end. If there is an uneven starting point, then many of the lower tier or quadrille will drop out.

In some senses, this is the same behavior as monkeys refusing crappy rewards in favor of better ones, the innate instinct for "balance".

If monkeys or humans see everybody getting the same, in terms of rewards or pace of learning, then things are okay. They will participate in the social activity together. The moment they see somebody getting ahead by doing the same thing that they themselves are doing, then something else happens. They feel cheated. They want out of the game. They want to find something else, something that gives them better rewards.

Which, I think, is perfectly rational. There's no point for humans, facing starvation and winter, to settle for anything except the best results. If they see somebody getting something better, they need to quit their old tired routine and adapt.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 14, 2010 10:34 AM

one his father gave him, or one he stole from the kitchens for the purpose.

My grandfather gave me a bronze knife on my birthday. One before I was six. I still remember it, including the feel of the bronze and the slightly metallic smell.

The blade is the soul of the samurai and it takes a long time, complete with specific forging and quenching, to make sword steel. At the time, my nature was as malleable as bronze, thus making it a fitting symbol.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 14, 2010 10:37 AM

Grim -

Cutting the apron strings with a knife. That's a powerful visual! So far, so good.

My sister is 59, and still bitching about how bad she had it in our home. It was really her lesson that made me adopt my attitude. She made my parents life a living hell and they tormented themselves by accepting the guilt she was dishing out. Because her head was stuck so far up her posterior when my Dad died, she never had a chance to make amends. Having her around, even now, is like having a leak. So, I inadvertently learned a lot about being a parent by observing that she never grew up.

My guidelines for the job of raising kids:

1) Be a parent like it's your full-time job. You can do your job now, or you can visit them in prison later.

2) Make your decisions consciously using your best judgement at the time. Don't let a kid whine you into any decision.

3) Realize that your primary job is to work yourself out of a job, if you do it right. Cry hard when it's over.

4) If your teenagers start giving you crap about #2, tell them to get a job and do it their own way.

5) Move back to Alaska as soon as it's safe to do so. :o)

Posted by: MathMom at July 14, 2010 11:17 AM

I would not have minded had he quit after Life Scout. But once he made the promise to do the project, it was a learning curve for all of us.

I agree that the Scouting program prepares young men well for whatever they decide to do in life.
The Engineer quit after Life rank, and he is a wonderful man.

We did tell the Young Man it was about time he got it, as we were running out of sharp sticks.

Thank you all for the congratulations. MathMom, I know what you mean about genuflecting.

Posted by: Cricket at July 14, 2010 01:55 PM

MM ~ I might have to print those out and hang them on the fridge.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at July 14, 2010 06:10 PM


HomefrontSix, you are too kind.

Posted by: MathMom at July 14, 2010 08:06 PM