The Sunday of Summer

With a quick flip, the calendar recently turned to yet another month. The Norman Rockwell painting of “Magician” (or sometimes referred to as “Card Tricks”) accompanying the outgoing month of July on our kitchen wall calendar, gave way to this month’s “Dreamboats” – two young women look longingly at movie star photos. 

And, like the magic of that portly man in “Magician” performing card tricks for kids, I was struck – by the reality that, egads, it’s August already.

These last few weeks will fly by, just as every week before it seems to move more and more swiftly with every passing year.

The closing moments of another chapter, making way for a new start signaled by the changing colors of leaves and the glow of the sun taking on a golden hue to everything it touches. Warmer temperatures give way to cooler breezes, the straps of backpacks slipped over small arms as they set out to seek new knowledge, new environments, and new adventures.

The days of the entire family together at the breakfast table will soon drift off into the ether for another season, replaced by the scurry of getting kiddos awakened, fed, clothed, car packed, and ready to make our morning commute to school. 

Returning to the colorful halls of preschool with a very different child than the last time we were there – thinking about their allergies, their behavior, and what new situations, discussions, and emotional landmines await.

So long to coming home with enough daylight to last us through dinner and (if we’re lucky and the bugs aren’t biting) a walk around the neighborhood afterward. Darkness falls much quicker in the months ahead, and those evening commutes home will be spotted with street lights, porch lamps, and the crackle of leaves as they begin to litter the streets and lawns once again.

It’s like the Sunday of summer.

I’m reminded a bit of that Seinfeld episode, The Sniffing Accountant. Kramer, Newman, and Jerry are all parked in a car on a stake-out talking about the days of the week.

NEWMAN: Tuesday has no feel. Monday has a feel, Friday has a feel, Sunday has a feel.

KRAMER: I feel Tuesday and Wednesday

August definitely has a feel.

Seven Relatable Parenthood Moments with Bandit Heeler

“Flowers may bloom again, but a person never has the chance to be young again.”

This Chinese proverb reminds us that we won’t have this moment again, and that refusing opportunities to connect with our childlike sense of wonder, imagination, and just plain carefree fun, even for moments, will only become rarer as the years pass. 

If you’re a parent like me, you probably didn’t learn this proverb from studies of philosophy or ancient text. No, you probably learned it from a great modern philosopher covered in blue fur – Bandit Heeler (voiced by David McCormack), the dad to two delightfully energetic young pups on Bluey.

After trying tirelessly to sit and read the newspaper while waiting for the rest of his takeaway order, Bandit is caught up in the chaos of his two young daughters (Bluey and Bingo) in everything from an out of control water faucet, crows sneaking into their food, the eternal 5 minutes for the missing part of their order to finish, or even Bingo needing to take a really long bush wee.

And it’s just one of many examples of where Ludo Studios’ Bluey perfectly bridges the gap between entertaining children with childlike antics and imagination and hitting parents in the gut with a pinpoint accurate reflection on life.

Bluey means a lot to our family. We discovered the Heeler Family in 2020 at the height of pandemic at a time when a lot of things were closed and many of us were spending most our time at home. It sparked the imaginations of all our kids, leading to a wonderful increase in pretend-play, whether that was something like using furniture, toys and other items around the house to create a mess of a neighborhood in the living room and play “neighbors,” or our girls tying blankets around themselves as capes and using a magnifying glass as a scepter to walk around the house as “queens.” Now, it’s an almost-nightly ritual for our family to watch a few 7-minute episodes together – the kids getting one viewing experience while mom and dad get a completely different viewing experience, something the creators of Bluey excel at.

There’s a treasure trove of fun and thoughtfulness to be found in every episode of Bluey and it’s just one of the reasons (aside from being hilariously spot-on when it comes to its portrayal of kids and parents) that it has resonated so well across the audience age spectrum.

With that in mind, it felt like there was no better time than Father’s Day to appreciate just a few of the many relatable moments in parenthood with our favorite TV dad, Bandit Heeler.

Standing in the pantry to get breakfast ready, Bandit shouts to Bluey “You want cereal?!” There’s no answer from Bluey. A brief pause and Bandit quietly answers himself. “Yeah, you want cereal.” – Featherwand (S2, E3)

“It never ends.” Bandit sums up the eternal struggle of laundry perfectly. It’s hard enough to keep up with your own, but throw a few kids and all their clothes into the mix and you’ve just discovered a new form of purgatory. –  Grannies (S1, E28)

Bluey and Bingo want some money to use a Claw Machine at a restaurant. Bandit tries to encourage the magic word to the point of pretty much just saying it himself. “Puh…Puh…puh…pluh…pluh…plea…plea…please…”The Claw (S1, E19)

“Well, that tooth fairy is doing well for herself, isn’t she?” Bandit exclaims after spitting out his cereal at the sight of the five bucks the Tooth Fairy left behind for Bluey. “That’s what she left all of Bluey’s friends,” Mom Chilli casually points out. – Markets (S1, E20)

Bluey meets a new friend, Winnie, at the park and very quickly wants to invite her and her dad over for breakfast, but the awkwardness from Bandit and Winnie’s dad, Fido, is palpable. The kids force the dads into playing customers in a game of Cafe, showing that it’s quite a bit harder to make new friends as an adult than it used to be as a kid. When Winnie and her Dad don’t seem to be at the park one morning, Bandit starts to realize he was making a grown-up friend, one he missed hanging around with! – Cafe (S2, E35)

And a trip to the movies is gonna cost ya.  

Bandit: One adult and two kids to Chunky Chimp, thanks.

Bingo: And a giant popcorn!

Bandit: And a small popcorn.

Bingo: (disappointed) Ohhhh.

Movie Employee: Uh, $54, please.

Bandit: Chunky Chimp! Do I have to pay for the four-year-old? She’s not really gonna watch it.

Movie Employee: Uh, yeah, you still have to pay.

Movies (S2, E29)

Bluey airs in the US on Disney Junior, in ABC Kids in its home country of Australia and on CBeebies in the UK. The first two seasons of Bluey are available to stream on Disney Plus and select episodes for free on Disney Now.

It’s not easy building green (robots, that is!)

Sometimes you spend the weekend cleaning. Sometimes you’re outside in the street going for a walk or riding a bike. Or sometimes, like one recent weekend, you build a robot.

No, not the kind with the square head, a few stories tall, running berzerk from the science fair and causing chaos in downtown Metropolis. This one was a wee bit smaller, had four legs, a tail, and green.

Our son received The Discovery Kids Robot Chameleon as a Christmas gift and several times since has asked to put it together. While the box technically says 12 and up, we figured at 8 years old, if he and I worked together, we might be able to bring life to this little green robotic reptilian with the same ferocity of a pre-teen. 

So, starting mid-morning, we emptied the box, pieces scattered across the dining room table and got to work, being careful to only pull out pieces from their plastic framing as we needed them, as to not mix up which parts were which. It started with a tiny little motor around which we built a Chameleon-like head, bulbous eyes and all. Piece by piece, gear by gear, we worked.

A few hours passed and we broke for lunch, picking up afterward with the bulk of the Chameleon’s torso, encasing another small motor. Wires, plastic, cogs, we were like Dr. Frankenstein, furiously working to bring our creature to life. Missing the dramatic effect of lightning in the air as we flipped the switch (far less dramatic than the kind on the wall you see in movies), we got ready. Our hours of work are about to culminate in this very moment. The switch turned, we watched. We waited. And finally – nothing.

Something had gone wrong. Our son’s deflation and my frustration was palpable, and he was ready to call it quits when I asked him to remember how many time he had asked to put this together, that we can’t turn back after all the work we’ve put in. He sighed at me in the way all kids do to their parents regardless of age, and begrudgingly humored me as I pulled out the instructions, and we walked ourselves back through the steps, trying to figure out what might have tripped things up. It was then that we noticed two small pieces that had gone unused. How is that possible? We thought we followed the directions to the letter!

That’s when probably the biggest lesson came out of the day. Not instruction-following, not engineering, not even science of any kind. No, the biggest lesson out of this mechanical mess we had found ourselves in? Patience. 

Because it was only with some patience did we take the time to disassemble our little green friend and realize that two parts had looked so similar, with the exception of size, that we mistook them and had the wrong parts in the wrong place. It wasn’t until we took the entire robot apart that we could see it for ourselves. But though so very small, those pieces were part of a bigger plan and without them, a turning motor had no way to catch and turn another piece that in turn moved more pieces, and sparked life (or at least movement) into our little Chameleon Bot.

So, we backed up, almost to the beginning stages where the mistake was made and reassembled (using the correct parts this time). Once again, step-by-step, piece by piece, we assembled. Could he/we have run off to do something else and tossed the robot into a box for another time? Maybe. Could be. Would we ever get around to it again after the past few hours? I can’t say for sure. So we just stayed the course. And in time, before us once again, stood this little green robot with four legs, and a switch waiting to once again flip.

This time was a completely different story. The little green mouth opening and closing, the lights on its spine flashing – when suddenly, the legs sped around and around, cruising across the table and knocking papers, tools, and anything else right out of its path.

That afternoon, every little deflated, frustrated moment in the process seemed like forever, but we eventually got there. 

The past year has had a lot of moving parts to it, and sometimes even when we’ve all been in the same space, we haven’t exactly been together. So, despite the frustration, the exhaustion, the just-want-to-be-done-with-it moments spent piecing this little green Chameleon together, the patience we had to force on ourselves was only half the benefit. Slowing down, seeing it through, even when we had to try again and again and again, took time. In the end, no matter how irritated we may have gotten along the way that afternoon, it was an afternoon spent together, and that made it all worth it.

Racing to the finish line of ‘normal’

Sometimes I have these moments. They feel low, like a disappointment you can’t quite correct. You just ‘feel’ something that doesn’t feel like it should be that way, but yet it is, and you’re left just watching it play out with a sigh, wishing you knew how to make it all work.

Let me preface a lot of this by saying that I’m glad people are feeling some light at the end of a tunnel of a rough year. That the losses that were suffered were devastating and never should have happened, that families and friends should not have had to endure what they did. Personally I feel we’ve come a long way in that time – from a time of uncertainty to a better understanding, at least on a scientific level. 

But on a societal level, I can’t say I’ve found much confidence that we’ve walked away with much for the better. At least not as a whole. So when I say what I’m about to say, it needs to be clear that I don’t want or wish for any of the terrible things, losses, etc, that people have endured. What I’m saying is that I miss something about the early days of the pandemic – the kindness.

When everything started to turn upside down last year at the beginning of the pandemic, there seemed to be a general sense of community. You kept hearing phrases that we were “all in this together.” People were compassionate with each other as the world tried to juggle a hybrid of remote work and school. We were figuring it all out as we went along. But we all seemed to know that.

Even large companies got in on it, offering channels on cable systems we didn’t normally receive or offering early releases of movies (the pure joy of the kids getting to see Frozen 2 on Disney+ comes to mind). Streaming platforms provided free memberships, art was being shared as a common lifter, we thanked those out there in the thick of it every day. We were reminded that maybe we had moved through life a bit too fast every day and that perhaps this sudden upheaval was a sign to take things a little slower and appreciate the world and life around us.

It actually seemed kind of nice to have some worthwhile, soulful moments and lessons come out of something that had been so awful for so many.

But it didn’t seem to last.

A few weeks to a month turned into several months, which turned into a year. And long before we even hit that year-long anniversary, it seemed like so many had already just moved on. Back into the workplace, back into the classroom, back to the athletic fields, the store, the gym, the theatre, back to as much of how things were before as possible, as quickly as possible. 

Gone so quickly was the kindness, the sharing, the appreciation for each other. In its place was an irritated rush and push to get things back to the way they were – the very things that we were reminded didn’t matter as much as we thought. And here, it seemed, we were being pushed to embrace it all again.

One of the more frequent lessons of life that creeps it way into discussion with our children (even pre-pandemic) is that with moments and events that seem awful, seem sad, seem disappointing, there is, somewhere in there, a nugget of opportunity to learn from it and use what we learn from it to do better, be better going forward. 

Trying to force normalcy in abnormal times does not make things normal.

But what good does it do us at any age, if we endure upheaval, massive events, and refuse to allow it to help our perspective, to offer us something new to learn? If we can’t see the forest for the trees, we’re just doomed to forever lose ourselves again and again.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For some it’s tearing open wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Others, it might be downing turkey with friends and family or hunting for some eggs on Easter Sunday. For others, it might be dressing up in costumes on Halloween, or knocking back a few pints with friends on St. Patrick’s Day. 

But for me, the most wonderful time of the year isn’t a single day. It’s that time between mid-November leading right up to about December 23. Holiday music is once again on the radio, if we’re lucky the snow starts to fall, decorations begin to line the streets and there’s just this…certain spirit in the air.

It’s intangible, even hard to accurately put into writing here. But it’s that underlying theme to many a Christmas special that you just…feel.

It’s the feeling you get deep inside when the cast of Sesame Street sings about keeping Christmas with you all through the year, or Jack Skellington’s frustration when he’s not able to fully describe the idea of Christmas to his peers in Halloweentown, but it’s there. It’s felt inside.

And that’s why I love everything leading up to Christmas so much more than the holiday itself, because that lead-up is when that feeling is at its peak.

It’s when, depending on where you live and if we’re lucky, the first flakes of snow begin to descend and cover the ground in a blanket of white, ushering in a beautiful visual transition from one season to the next. It’s the excitement and the real-life magic that comes from watching children excitedly write letters to Santa, asking how he’s been, tossing out questions about life up north and his amazing abilities in ways only children can. 

It can be found in our favorite media traditions and routines – whether it’s the way Dickens classic is brought to life in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, the revelation in It’s a Wonderful Life that even when life seems quite uneventful and miniscule that we do in fact make a difference. Or maybe it’s one of the many other holiday movies and specials that warm their way into our hearts and become as familiar to us as a close friend or the hug of a relative. Or it can be the voices singing “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” or any number of carols that have entertained for generations playing in the background while you decorate a tree, or even during a mundane car ride, elevating otherwise moments of monotony into something joyful, full of heart.

It’s in all of it. Those memories are made well before the calendar falls upon the 24th or 25th of December.

By the time Christmas Day rolls around, and the wrapping comes off the gifts, well…it’s all done. The holiday is already on its way out the door. In the past, I’ve referred to as The Christmas Letdown. The store aisles will soon be filled with festive memories now at clearance prices, while candies and hearts fill the shelves for the next big gift giving bonanza almost two months later. 

It’s bittersweet.

Maybe if we could find a way to bottle that feeling from mid-November to mid-December, if we could find a way to carry it with us through the months ahead, the world might be a bit more merry year-round.

Or, as Santa says in the classic Miracle on 34th Street – “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.”

The Best Kids Halloween Specials to watch for FREE on the PBS Kids app right now

The way we watch TV has changed so much in just a short amount of time. Almost gone are the days of flipping channels to see what your local station or cable offerings are. These days a majority of folks are tuning in to their favorite viewings through app-based programming like Roku, Fire Stick or other such devices, like iPhones, Androids, tablets, or even the computer.

Some of those apps are paid, some are free. And as we head into the week of Halloween, I want to offer up some recommendations for the best Halloween offerings you can watch right now, absolutely free via the PBS Kids app. 

Wild Kratts: Creepy Creatures – While the crew of the Tortuga get ready for Halloween, the villains band forces to turn Halloween into a scary time for both animal and human alike, kidnapping various creatures to create haunted havoc and a Halloween monster! There’s also some fun self-referential jokes like the characters dressing like their own villains.

Pinkalicious and Peteriffic: Pink or Treat – Halloween is Coming! But a storm through Pinkville has left the town without power and disarray. It’s Pinkagirl to the rescue to save Halloween. Based on the book of the same name from the Pinkalicious book series, this animated interpretation has a few slight changes but still delivers home a message of community and working together to find joy together in what seems like even the darkest of moments.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: The Neighborhood Fall Festival – Sure, there is a Halloween/Dress Up Day episode of Daniel Tiger I could have gone with, but I have to admit a soft spot for show’s and episodes that take the road less traveled and do a story more related to Autumn than Halloween itself. Here, a fall storm knocks over the autumn decorations outside Music Man Stan’s Music Store and it’s up to Daniel and his friends to put them back up. They may not be the way Music Man Stan had them, but it’s a great lesson for the kids that they don’t have to do things the way someone else does, or that it needs to be perfect. They just need to do the best that’s right for them.

Word Girl: Tobey’s Tricks & Treats – Poor robotics genius Tobey loses the costume contest at school. What’s a kid super-villain to do in response but set his giant robots (ahem, ro-buts) into town on Halloween night to steal all the candy. Word Girl is always a super-heroic great time, Patton Oswalt is a recurring delight as Tobey and this Halloween episode is no exception to the fun. 

Curious George Boofest! – One of my all-time autumn favorites. A spooky scarecrow legend keeps the country town of the Man in the Yellow Hat on edge, and it’s none other than George and friends to get to the bottom of it. A fun romp through the country at Halloween time, with great songs and fun. 

This list is in no way exhaustive, and there’s many great Halloween episodes to be found in a variety of other shows in the app as well – Arthur, Sid the Science Kid, Let’s Go Luna and more. 

And for quick dives into Halloween goodies, you can forsake the full episodes (found in each show’s profile) and go straight to the Happy Halloween section for a slew of seasonal clips for shorter viewing.

Like many offerings that tie into the season at hand, these are only available for a limited time before disappearing again next year. But if you’re looking for some safe seasonal fun for any age, the PBS Kids app is the place to find it.

A Girl and Her Dog

Lacey & Lily – a graphic novel from Darby Pop Publishing

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself with super powers? 

It’s the question a middle school girl named Lacey finds herself facing when she and her dog stumble across a pair of costumes that do just that, imbuing both kid and canine with powers beyond those of mere mortals. 

It’s Lacey & Lily!

This all-ages graphic novel is the latest from Darby Pop Publishing, and if you’re wondering just why I’m plugging it here, it’s not just because I like it, it’s because I wrote it! With some absolutely amazing illustrations from my pal Andrew Cieslinski, this is the sort of thing that has been a dream come true for people like ourselves who grew up as comic fans. 

I’ll never forget my first exposure to comic books. I was in elementary school and was home sick from school at my grandmother’s house when she pulled a stack of comic books out of the hallway closet. They were mostly from the 1970s, gathered over some indeterminate period of time, the brightly covered covers, or in some cases, cover-less splash pages were a completely new world to me, and it sucked me right in. And what a wide array of worlds they were! Uncle Scrooge! Batman! Richie Rich! The Flash! The Thing! It was like nothing I had seen before at that point in my young life. And it was amazing.

First comic I ever read.

Not long after, my uncle would expand that world even more, taking me to a comic book shop for the first time, where I would have to stand on a footstool to reach the tables and boxes filled with books from years past. I used money from my paper route to buy old books. As a kid I used to make crudely drawn comic stories that I’d photocopy and staple together to share. Those moments forever changed the way I read and told stories. And it became something I always hoped I’d get the opportunity to do.

And some decades later, it happened thanks to Andrew’s incredible art talents and the fine folks at Darby Pop Publishing. 

I thank them, and I thank you for indulging me here. We’re already hard at work on a follow-up volume with brand new adventures, more kooky villains, and more fun with Lacey, Lily, and their friend, Weston.

Words can’t describe the feeling after growing up reading comics to have a box arrive from the publisher on your doorstep with your own books inside, let alone to see the kind words people have said about it emblazoned on the cover. Though I’m overly wordy here (shocking), at that moment I think I was pretty much speechless. 

But I think maybe the greatest reviews I can ever get are those that come from kids themselves. Someone who stopped me at my kids’ school to tell me how much they loved it, or walking into my son’s room late at night to find out why he wasn’t asleep yet only to find him curled up with a flashlight reading Lacey & Lily and wanting to talk about it with me. My heart swelled.

I hope you’ll check it out, pick up a copy, and enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it.

Available Now from Darby Pop Publishing’s Online Store

Also available on Amazon or from your Local Comic Shop (Diamond Order Code JUN201024)


Bluey on the playgroundThe increased time spent at home by our family during this pandemic has meant that among other things, we’re definitely watching more television than we usually do.

That sometimes means trying to discover family-friendly fare we haven’t already seen, or re-watching old favorites. However, there’s one particular instance where the kids wanted to show us something they’ve previously watched and when they did, we parents have found it so much of a delight we’re now often the ones asking to watch it!

And that something is a little blue dog named Bluey!

An Australian animated series for preschool kids, the show premiered in October 2018 on Australia’s ABC Kids, but made its premiere in the United States and the UK on Disney Junior and internationally on Disney+ with 52 seven-minute episodes.

Six-year-old Bluey and little sister Bingo do a LOT of pretending, and their parents often get into the act as well. It’s had a pleasant side effect of inspiring our own children to start pretending more. Whether it’s a doctor’s office, a zoo, a cafe or market, they’ve been empowered to use their imaginations more thanks to this TV lot and we couldn’t be more grateful.

The kids act like kids. The parents – they act and talk like real parents, but have no problem with and thoroughly enjoy getting in on the silliness. It serves as both an inspiration for us to be more involved in the kids’ play, while at the same time providing some wonderful interaction between mom and dad.

Bluey runs into the kitchen to let Dad (Bandit) and Mom (Chilli) know the Tooth Fairy left her five dollars.

Bandit spits out his coffee.

BANDIT: Five bucks?!

CHILLI: That’s what she left all of Bluey’s friends.

BANDIT: Well, that tooth fairy is doing well for herself, isn’t she?

That particular situation leads to the five bucks (marked by a tooth fairy sticker on the bill) burning a hole in Bluey’s pocket as she agonizes over what to spend it on at a public market. When she regrets her eventual choice of a candy apple, the story provides a valuable lesson in money:

BANDIT: Once you spend it…it’s gone.

Beyond some great moments in pretending and parenting, it’s also just plain funny. I don’t think there’s a better example of this than the episode “Grannies,” where Bluey and Bingo spend the bulk of the episode pretending to be little old ladies. Whether it’s driving their toy car over garden gnomes without a notice, falling asleep in the kitchen for a ‘Nana nap,’ or walking around with their toys as canes, their imaginary Grannies personas never cease to make us laugh no matter how often we watch, especially against the backdrop of a frustrated mum and dad trying to clean house, or Bingo’s desire to floss while big sister Bluey fights her on the ability of Grannies to floss in real life. 

So give it a go. At a time when many of us are spending more time at home with family, it’s nice to find little silver linings (or blue ones, in this case), where we can.

A new season of Bluey premiered this past week in the U.S. on the Disney Channel, with some episodes set to appear for free on the Disney NOW app some time after.


‘Cause Knowledge is Power!

It’s Schoolhouse Rocky,
that chip off the block
Of your favorite schoolhouse,
Schoolhouse Rock!

School House Rock

Learning comes in all forms. Some people are visual learners. Some auditory. Some need to get their hands in the thick of it to grasp concepts the best. I’m of the belief that regardless of what kind of ways you learn best, we retain the most concepts when we’re having fun with those concepts. Sometimes it’s a project in school that got you jazzed to be taking part in, or a teacher that made you laugh while you learned. The association with your enjoyment brings back and retains the knowledge you gained along with it. 

And I think that’s why Schoolhouse Rock! has been a reference point for so many of us from the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and to my surprise, beyond.

In case you weren’t around during any of its original run or its encore, the Emmy award-winning Schoolhouse Rock was a series of short animation segments that aired in between various Saturday morning cartoons on ABC. With humor and catchy tunes, they taught elements of history, civics, grammar, science, math, and more. Its initial run lasted more than a decade, from 1973 to 1984, and came back with a mix of new and old episodes for a few years in the early 1990s. 

To my generation, they’re classics, but they’re the sort of thing I’ve always felt would end up being just a fond memory of our childhood when we look back on those halcyon days of Saturday morning lineups, a box of cereal, and toy commercials that flood through our nostalgia-soaked minds. So imagine my surprise when I recently walked into the living room to find all our children laughing along with the series, courtesy of Disney+!

Since the series was released on the streaming platform earlier this month, they’ve watched them over and over again, quickly weeding out their favorites, viewing them (and singing along) again and again.

There’s certainly no shortage of great entries in the Schoolhouse Rock series, but in no particular order, I present to you our kids’ top three Schoolhouse Rock installments to both educate and earworm!


I’m Just a Bill

The 1976 classic still gets a lot of play in our home, and its influence already has our 7 year old discussing the process of lawmaking in discussions. Spoofed dozens of times over the years, this one stands out as probably the most famous of School House Rock entries, with a walking, talking bill explaining to a small boy why he’s sitting on Capitol Hill, hoping he doesn’t die in committee, and can one day become a law. History rock that makes an impression – for any generation! 



Hey! Wow! Yeow! Hooray! They show emotion! They show excitement! Sometimes with an exclamation point or a comma if the feeling isn’t strong. A wonderful 1974 entry in the grammar themed segments, whether it’s a great grade on a report card, a shot in the bum by the doctor, or losing the big game, this drives home with various scenarios how much the words we use can express ourselves when used correctly. 


The Tale of Mr. Morton

One of the later entries into the series, this one comes from the early 90s but is no less catchy and fun.In the story of shy Mr Morton, the song teaches the grammar elements of subject and predicate. Our kids quote its small bits of dialogue all the time and I find myself walking around singing part of its chorus “Mr Morton is the subject of the sentence, and what the predicate says, he does.”

What about you? Were you a Schoolhouse Rock fan? Any favorites on your personal playists? Feel free to share them!

The future is now, but what about when it wasn’t?

Social Distance Park BenchesLike so many others attempting to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and really just anyone whether we know them or not, safe amid the current pandemic, our family has been at home and self-isolating.

Yes, irritability has been high when you’re all together in one house for such an extended period of time. It can at times feel a bit like living in a quasi-Groundhog Day loop of MTV’s The Real World. Of course, my only reference for the Real World, if I’m being honest and showing my age, is the one season I recall ever watching of the show, which was San Francisco during its initial airing in 1994. 

VHS 90s VideotapeMan, 1994. Imagine going through this type of worldwide situation those 25+ years ago. No smartphones, no streaming services, no online shopping, no internet availability, at least not as we know it today. Cable television and telephones were pretty much it. You wanted food delivery? Call for pizza or Chinese food. That was essentially it in most areas. Want to watch a movie or TV show that’s not on TV at the moment? Hope you have it on VHS (as I assume if this happened in ‘94, video stores would not have been open during the crisis).

It makes me think of just how fortunate (and I use that word incredibly loosely in this context) people are that if a worldwide crisis like this happens, that they are having it happen in the era we live, with so many luxuries at their fingertips.

And yet, despite all that, there are many who complain about being bored. Being bored! There are more than 100,000 people deceased in America as I type this and the pandemic still spreads across the land. It doesn’t end just because we get bored, by the way. It’s a virus. It’s still there. The world is available at our fingertips these days – from a phone, to a TV, to a computer. Now, let me admit up front that not everyone has that privilege of access to the web or these services. But yet, so many who complain about their boredom certainly do, and I just can’t understand it. 

What would people have done back in 1994?

Heck, let’s go back even further. Let’s take all the complaining and outrage and arguments of people who don’t care about the risk they are putting not only exposing themselves to, but so many others and let’s not transplant it 26 years ago. 

Old Radio 1940sLet’s go back to the 1940s. Let’s go back to World War II. Telephones to communicate, but maybe you were on a party line where you picked up the line along with any number of your neighbors. Better watch what you say, you never know who’s listening. You want entertainment? Pull out a book or magazine from the newsstand, turn the radio dial to what might be on at the moment. Streaming? There’s no creek around here, kid. 

Can you imagine if, during one of the most iconic times of “rallying together for the common good” throughout American history, instead of the now iconic WPA posters and messages pulling the country to sacrifice on the home front and help the overall effort, people shouted “Screw that! I’m American! I’m gonna use all the food and rubber and paper I want!” 

The landscape would certainly look very different, that’s for sure. So, why is it that even with the world at our very fingertips, there are people who just can’t seem to find it in themselves to sacrifice a little for the good of all those around them. It makes you feel that maybe they just don’t care about those around them. And I hope that’s not the case because that’s a very sad thing. 

I can’t help but feel it would have disappointed all those generations prior who had no problem making far greater sacrifices, without any of the luxuries we’re lucky to currently live with.

Perhaps a little less entitlement, and a little more gratitude and compassion for others could go a long way, not just in respect for others that we share a society in, but a great respect for those who came before us and made great sacrifices for generations to come.

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