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Archive for January, 2008

KINDERGARTEN iPods & Infant Karaoke

iPods (Yomiuri Shimbun/MCT) What’s that in your kindergartner’s ears? Most likely, it’s a pair of iPod ear buds. According to a recent story in Advertising Age magazine, 30 to 40 percent of the nation’s kids, ages 2-10, have iPods or similar MP3 players, either hand-me-downs from Mom and Dad, or a new Nano of their own.  “By third grade,” says Paul Metz, senior VP at C&R Research, “half of the kid population in grade school has an MP3 player.” And between the iPods, the Disney Mix Sticks and Mix Maxes - and the overwhelming popularity of Hannah Montana tunes and “High School Musical” 1, 2 and (soon) 3 ditties – we can expect those numbers to soar ever higher.

Those stats mesh with a recent New York Times piece on the proliferation of tech toys for the preschool and grade school set.
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Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Cable Car Museum, San Francisco

Looking for some weekend family fun? Here’s a Fab Five round-up for Feb. 2-3.
1. Gawk at a century’s worth of cable cars at San Francisco’s Cable Car Barn and Museum (pictured above, open daily).

2. Livermore Park & Rec is hosting the Tri-Valley’s biggest super football party on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Livermore Community Center. Enormous 12×14 ft. screen for the game, BBQ concession stands, plus a screening of “Shark’s Tale” and gym games next door if the kids get antsy. (Free, but rspvs are needed, call 925-373-5748.)

3. Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art‘s is doing a family art workshop on Chinese New Year lanterns and dragon puppets, Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. ($7 for materials)

4. Unleash your inner thespian at Berkeley Rep’s free Family Theater Workshop, Sunday, 11 a.m. (Preschoolers and up)

5. Or celebrate the Year of the Rat at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum on Saturday — lion dancers, Chinese percussion, author appearance by Oliver Chin, author of “Year of the Rat,” and art workshops, noon to 4 p.m. (Free for kids 12 and under)

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008
Under: Fab Five, Family Outings | No Comments »

BOOK WIZARD Finds Some New Harrys

Hogwarts scarf (credit: Eric Chapman, MCT) Scholastic Books just launched an online “Book Wizard” for teachers and librarians, but the thing’s so cool, parents are going to love it too. You type in the title of a book your kids love and it spews out recommendations, based on theme similarities and reading level, which you can tweak. Naturally, we tested it on “Harry Potter” first and the Book Wizard suggested the usual - ”Redwall,” “Dark is Rising,” yeah, yeah, we know, ok?  But it also popped up some new ones: “Song Quest” from Katherine Roberts’ “Echorium” series and Edward Bloor’s “London Calling,” which looks really, really fun – a seventh grade boy uses a vintage WW2 Philco radio to travel back in time to war torn London and discover his own mission in life.

So then we put in some of the book suggestions you guys came up with last week!
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Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008
Under: Books | No Comments »

MT. D’s EBERHART Online Tonight

Nightchat by Shadow/StockXchng Photos Got questions about what’s happening in the embattled Mt. Diablo school district? School board member Gary Eberhart, who made waves last week when he called on superintendent Gary McHenry to resign, is doing a Q&A session in the ClayCord blog chatroom tonight at 7:30 p.m. Follow the link to the page, scroll down and click on the big smiley face to join the discussion.

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Under: Schools | No Comments »

HANNAH MONTANA Flick Tix Zooming

hannah montana And how’s that for a Hollywood headline? All we need to add is “Box Office Boffo!!” to achieve the total effect. As you know, Miley Cyrus and her alter ego, Hannah Montana, are taking over the world. Her concert tour sold out instantly, her CDs zoom to the top of the Billboard charts, and tickets to her first movie, which opens at theaters everywhere this Sunday, are selling so fast, movie theaters are frantically adding new showtimes, including Thursday midnight showings and Friday morning screenings at 8 a.m. … so you can catch “Hannah Montana” and be just a little tardy to class. Fandango, the online movie tix company, says Hannah accounts for 91 percent of the movie tickets they sell online. (In case you’re wondering, the next most popular movie is “U2-3D” which accounts for 2 percent of the online tickets, and “Rambo,” “Cloverfield” and “27 Dresses” at less than 1 percent each.) So here’s what we want to know – are you going?

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »

TEXTING GUIDE: Do u know how 2 text ur teen?

phone Carina Chiodo of the Contra Costa Times’ Life in Perspective board gives a teen’s perspective on parental text messaging. Apparently, we’re the butt of our kids’ jokes when we attempt to text.

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Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Under: Other, Teens | No Comments »

UC APPLICATIONS Up, Up, Up

UC Berkeley class, San Jose Mercury News/MCT
University of California admissions offices
are awash in college applications. Some 111,000 students applied last year. This year it’s 121,000 – a 9 percent hike across the board. And UC Berkeley (that’s a Cal lecture hall crammed with 500 students in the photo above) saw its numbers rise by nearly 10 percent. That’s good news for UCs, but exceptionally bad news for teens, whose odds just got that much longer. And the news comes at the height of hand-wringing season for college applicants, who hit “send” long ago and are now playing the tortuous waiting game.

Amidst all the UC mania, it’s easy to forget that there are still plenty of other wonderful schools out there. Several Cal State Universities are still accepting applications, including Cal State East Bay, Monterey Bay and San Jose. And readers responded to our request last fall for their best college recommendations with not one, but two fantastic lists, which you can read here and here. Don’t lose hope!

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Under: College Apps & Angst | No Comments »

PEDIATRICIANS PROTEST “Eli Stone” debut

UPDATE: A new study, released Jan. 30 by researchers at the University of Rochester, further debunks the myth that thimerosal, the mercury-tinged preservative in vaccines used in the 1990s, can be linked to autism. Read it here.
There’s been plenty of buzz about the new lawyer-and-hallucinating-prophet TV show, “Eli Stone,” which debuts on ABC Thursday night. Now there’s more. The American Academy of Pediatrics has demanded that ABC cancel the series opener (pictured at left) because the series’ first legal case argues a link between vaccines and a child’s autism. The show includes statements that science has disproved any link between autism and vaccines, but the episode’s ending implies the opposite when the fictional jury awards the mother $5.2 million. Needless to say, pediatricians are apoplectic. The president of the pediatric association, Dr. Renee Jenkins, called ABC’s perpetuation of the myth that vaccines cause autism “the height of reckless irresponsibility.”
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Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, Health & Safety, TV | No Comments »

Wednesday is International Delete Your Myspace Account Day

MySpace, MCTA blogger has declared Wednesday to be International Delete Your Myspace Account Day, and his campaign may be generating some steam. It’s getting some news coverage and a reaction from a MySpace spokeswoman. It’s doubtful, however, it’ll make a blip in MySpace’s 110 million active monthly users. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Under: Other, Teens | No Comments »

BABY What-Not-To-Dos

Baby What-Not-To-Dos

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »