Monday, January 16, 2012

Not My Zinest Hour.

We're going through a cold snap. It's -27ºC right now and the boys aren't feeling well. This is a week to hibernate with books and magazines.

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I read Death Comes to Pemberley. It was awful. It was not good. I would not recommend it. That is to say, I think you would be better served reading some other tome. Chief among my complaints is that PD James believes her readers are dullards who won't remember important plot points unless she repeats them -- with only slight alterations -- multiple times. Only after frequent exposure will the imbecilic readers of this book, by PD James,  retain knowledge germane to the plot.

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One of the items on my To Do List this week is ordering two magazine subscriptions for Zarf and Klaxon. I've been meaning to do this for at least six months, but I can't make up my head. Owl seems like a good bet, but it (along with Chickadee, Zoobooks and Highlights) ) is available for the free at the library. Why pay good money for something I can get for free? I almost bought a year's worth of National Geographic Kids. Then I picked up a copy at the grocery store. I'm not thrilled with the amount (a lot) and type (video games and snack foods) of advertisements.

My interest in this notion wanes and waxes with the arrival and disposal of the Lego "magazine" that my boys receive in the mail. But a new edition is due soon, so my motivation has returned. Anyone have suggestions for non-sports, pro-geek, science-loving emergent readers?

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With an eight year old son and another rapidly approaching age ten, I'm finding Parents magazine to be increasingly irrelevant. My least favourite column in the magazine is the "It Happened To Me" section. This really should be called "Something Awful Happened To My Child And I'm Going To Make You Totally Paranoid That It Will Happen To Your Child, Too." It's anecdotal fear mongering in less than 150 words.

If I ran Parents magazine they'd have a column called "Settle The Fuck Down Already." It would feature mantras for mothers to recite on a daily basis. They'd all be variations on the theme that random things happen to good people for no discernible reason and maybe instead of freaking out, modern-day mothers should just accept the fact that we are -- like every generation of mothers who've come before us -- NOT TO BLAME for being unable to control EVERYTHING in the universe.

This will never happen. People being at peace with their fate isn't really good for advertising revenue, is it?

But I'd really like it if some parenting magazine started a monthly feature about mothers who drive themselves crazy thinking they can prepare for every eventuality. Or maybe one could print little quizzes so parents can learn to differentiate between people who give sound medical advice and those who do not. An example of the former would people with medical degrees from REAL universities. An example of the latter would be anonymous people on the interwebs who say that vaccinations do  NOT prevent children from dying from communicable, preventable diseases, but instead give kids autism, leukemia, shingles, or moobs.  I would also definitely read an article called "The University of Google Is Not A Real Place, So Do Not Listen To Jenny McCarthy When She Tells You She Is The Provost."

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Do you hate it when you turn the page of a magazine and come close to being suckered into reading advertising copy masquerading as an article? It's not unlike when you read a blog post with a glowing review for a product or service, and not until the last line does the blogger say they were paid or given graft for their biased opinion. I always feel like a fool. It makes me less inclined to try the item. It makes me trust that blogger just a little bit less.

9 comments:

  1. We got Chirp for a while, and it was good but the kids were never that interested in it. Angus gets Sports Illustrated Kids. I've stopped subscribing to magazines in the school fundraiser because we already get a newspaper every day and I can't bear to throw one out until I've at least skimmed it and I CAN'T TAKE THE PRESSURE of any more disposable printed material. I carried the same issue of The Walrus back and forth from piano lessons for a year and still didn't get through it. I think I have magazine-writing dyslexia.

    I love it when you mock Jenny McCarthy.

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  2. Yup. Yup. Yup.

    "Settle the fuck down already". HA! Thank you for that.

    My sister and I used to joke when I had little babies that we should write a book and it would be titled "Do whatever works best for your child and your family, provided that it is not abusive. The end." I think it would've been a best-seller.

    We are currently getting the National Geographic Kids magazine. I bought it from a neighbor kid on a fundraiser. Bee really likes it (we just ignore the ads...she skips right over them to get to the articles). I've been tempted by Chop Chop which is a smaller magazine that I think just got started. It's a kids cooking mag.

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  3. I would love your parenting column.

    Amanda Peet is the anti-Jenny McCarthy, which is why I love her so much. More smart women in Hollywood, please.

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  4. Delurking to say I'd buy a parenting magazine that contained the monthly feature "Settle the fuck down already" for no other reason than to financially support the magazine.

    A friend got me a subscription to Parenting when I had my second child and I didn't bother to renew it because with 6 years between my kids I realized most of the stuff I stressed about when my oldest was a baby/toddler really didn't matter in the long run. So no thanks for your attempts to make me worry about that shit Parenting.

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  5. FUCK. I fucking love this whole post. I want to marry it or at least make out with it or something. I also want to write for your parenting magazine. SETTLE THE FUCK DOWN.

    Do not get National Geo Kids. I had it for mine and quite frankly, it sucked. Also if you subscribe once, they send renewal notices for the REST OF YOUR NATURAL LIFE. There's no stopping them. What kind of environmental impact is that? It's like they are David Fucking Suzuki or James Fucking Cameron or something, flying around in private fucking jets.

    I'm a little jacked up this morning.

    Mark gets Know magazine and it's pretty good. He likes it - lots of science and nature, and always some word search type activities. It's a good one.

    Oh! My MIL let my O magazine expire! That she has been getting me for years! I don't know what to dooooooo.

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  6. Oh PLEASE write that parenting column! I think the anguish and handwringing about how we weren't able to control for every eventuality after all gets old really quick!

    Also once you have teens, there is basically no good parenting stuff out there. The kids still need parenting, but all you will get is "telltale signs of drug use" and "are your teens on facebook too much?" and other doom-filled things. Nothing about if your kids are actually quite well adjusted and having problems you would have considered normal at their age.

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  7. Oh PLEASE write that parenting column! I think the anguish and handwringing about how we weren't able to control for every eventuality after all gets old really quick!

    Also once you have teens, there is basically no good parenting stuff out there. The kids still need parenting, but all you will get is "telltale signs of drug use" and "are your teens on facebook too much?" and other doom-filled things. Nothing about if your kids are actually quite well adjusted and having problems you would have considered normal at their age.

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  8. I would buy that magazine! We had Kayak for awhile and right now it is only American Girl, not exactly what the boys are interested in.

    I think everyone touched on most of the kids ones, have you looked at adult mags? There must be some cool science ones that the boys could navigate with a little help. I get my Mom's husband Discover each Christmas and he loves it.

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  9. I also have no interest in "Parents" and/or "Parenting" magazine. A couple of years ago, I noticed that my subscription was through 2013. I actually called to cancel. An option that is the complete opposite of "Parents" is "Brain, Child". I subscribed for one year when I still had infants, and it was a refreshing change.

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