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Archive for May, 2008


MBR Remember the horrifying case of the Missouri mom who used MySpace to bully a 13-year-old neighbor to death? Young Megan Meier hanged herself in October 2006, after a 16-year-old boy she’d gotten close to online began sending her cruel and hateful messages, including one that suggested the world would be a better place if she were dead. But the “boy” never existed. He was an elaborate MySpace hoax, says the FBI, dreamed up by a group that included Lori Drew, the mother of a former friend of Megan’s, and Drew’s underage employee.

At the time of the suicide, Lori Drew earned national condemnation for her role in tormenting, harassing and hounding a child to death, but she was never arrested because she’d broken no state laws. The feds, however, saw it differently. This morning, a federal grand jury indicted Drew. She’s being charged with conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers, under a federal statute designed to ward off hackers, but which has never been used in a social networking case until now. The FBI says Drew gathered unauthorized information in direct violation of MySpace’s membership rules, and used that information to torment, harass and humiliate a juvenile. Both Megan and MySpace are named as victims in the case.

If convicted, Drew and her fellow conspirators face up to 20 years in prison.
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Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
Under: Technology & Video Games | No Comments »

ATHLETIC Championships vs. AP Exams

SwimmersThere’s been a lively discussion going on all week over California High’s dugout fiasco. Now here’s another question for you. Do you see conflicts between your high school’s academic philosophy and its athletic practices? Have you had coaches tell your kids their priorities  should be: 1) swimming (baseball, soccer, etc.), 2) sleep and 3) academics, in that order?

Do the North Coast Section and league championship trials and finals conflict with AP exams at your kids’ high school? I’m not talking “conflict” as in “cuts into studying time,” although that’s certainly a concern.  I mean, games and meets that start during the exam. Senior year, our oldest son had to choose between swimming in the DFAL league trials, which began at 2:15 p.m., and taking a German AP exam that ran from 12:30 to well after 4 p.m.

Click “comments” and share your thoughts…

Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
Under: Sports | 3 Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Reading Festival

1. Fifty authors, 25 libraries, one grand read-aloud festival! Join in the special activities and meet kid lit authors and illustrators including Zilpha Keatley Snyder, the San Souci brothers, Frank Portman – author of teen sensation “King Dork” – Penny Warner and more all weekend long at Contra Costa’s libraries. (Free)

2. Catch Dr. Noize, the award-winning musician and author, at the Bay Area Discovery Museum Saturday at 11 a.m. ($6-$8 plus museum admission)

3. Live music, arts and crafts, kickboxing and pop culture converge at the Asian Heritage Street Celebration this Saturday in Japantown from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

BABY MAMA Caption Contest

Scene from
Those of you who’ve seen the new Tina Fey/Amy Poehler movie, “Baby Mama,” may remember this scene … heck, maybe it reminded you of your own new parent confusion. But we can’t stop thinking, this is a photo in need of a caption! Click “comments” and add yours by Monday night, and we’ll send the cleverest caption writer a cool prize: a couple of hot-off-the-press books.

And now for last week’s winner…
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Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

WAITING FOR BABY: Connected to Giants legend Willie Mays

shadow(“Waiting for Baby” is a closer look at adoption and my family’s personal experience as we go through the process. It will appear every Wednesday in the aPARENTly Speaking blog.)

Until your life takes an unexpected turn, a lot of things go without notice. Babies and pregnant women never seemed more prevalent than when my husband and I tried unsuccessfully to have a baby of our own. Likewise, I was never more aware of how adoption has touched so many lives than when we finally decided to adopt. For the first time, the word “adoption” caught my eye on the Internet, in the newspaper and magazines, on the television and even in everyday conversation.

And what I’m discovering has surprised me (my husband, too). Case in point: My husband and I hope to soon follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest baseball players to ever step on the field. Giants legend Willie Mays is an adoptive parent. In 1958, he adopted son Michael with his former wife. My husband has written about sports for 30 years, and followed Mays’ career long before that. Even he didn’t realize Mays had adopted a child. That’s basically how this goes. Until you’re in the midst of it, adoption is just sort of there.
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Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
Under: Adoption | No Comments »

ACK FIVE: More Bizarre Baby Stuff

Baby FeederThousand dollar strollers, 400-thread count crib sheets … Why, what’s that merry sound? That would be baby accessory manufacturers, laughing all the way to the bank because apparently,we’ll buy anything – uber-Bugaboos, baby perfume, infant penis covers, even baby powder sifters. And now, here’s even more stuff you don’t need…

1. Can we interest you in a Baby Safe Feeder ($6.25)? It’s the product of choice for parents who don’t want their babies to choke – but don’t want go to all the bother of, ya know, spooning up baby food or dicing peaches or something. Now, they can feed their kids through a net.

2. Whenever we change a leaky, stinky diaper, we always think… this would be so much more fun if our changing pad was made of leopard-print fur ($165)…

3. And it would go so well with this luxury diaper pad with body-contouring memory foam insert ($47). Because heaven knows, when you’ve got a 10-pounder atop a diaper pad for oh, 45 seconds at a time, ya gotta cushion “baby’s sensitive pressure points.”
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Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
Under: Just Bizarre | 2 Comments »

HELP Alameda family with cancer

As a parent one of my worst fears is that one of my children will get a life-threatening illness. Protecting them from this is almost always on my mind. Will that fever get out of hand? Will that asthma strangle the lungs?

benefitOf course I know there are things I can never protect them from. Some kids get cancer. That’s life. But how often do you hear of a family where not only does one of their sweet-faced babies have cancer, but both parents do as well?

Yes, when life seems to be treating some people most unfairly, it can–and does–get worse.

In Alameda three of six members of the Pixon family — dad Jim, mom Jen and little guy Porter, now 4 — are fighting cancer. This Saturday there’s a benefit bluegrass concert to help them out.

Visit our sister blog at, which is supporting the fundraiser, for all the details. Or you can donate directly: The Jen Pixton Cancer Fund, PO Box 6001 Alameda, CA 94501. Please make checks payable to: The Jen Pixton Cancer Fund.

Posted on Tuesday, May 13th, 2008
Under: Family Entertainment, Health & Safety | No Comments »

MARIO & LUIGI Would Approve

Thinking about redecorating? You might need a coffee table like this one … and the second half includes a little DIY lesson too.

Posted on Tuesday, May 13th, 2008
Under: Technology & Video Games | No Comments »

NAME GAME: Most popular baby names of 2007

bearExpecting parents refused to budge from the most popular baby names in 2007. Emily and Jacob locked up the top spots. For Emily, that’s 11 straight years as the most popular girl’s name. Every year the US Social Security Administration releases the baby name line-up. Here’s how the top 10 stands for boys and girls.

Girls: 1) Emily, 2) Isabella, 3) Emma, 4) Ava, 5) Madison, 6) Sophia, 7) Olivia, 8) Abigail, 9) Hannah and 10) Elizabeth.
Boys: 1) Jacob, 2) Michael, 3) Joshua, 4) Matthew, 5) Ethan, 6) Daniel, 7) Christopher, 8) Anthony, 9) William and 10) Andrew.

Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots | 9 Comments »

WHOOPING COUGH, Crammed Classes & a McHenry Ouster Effort

Little Red Schoolhouse (photo by Tsu Nellis, StockXchng)
It’s been a busy week in school headlines, from the continuing controversy over San Ramon Valley’s baseball saga, to parents who don’t immunize their kids and the ouster efforts in Mt. Diablo.

An El Sobrante school was shut down last week after whooping cough – pertussis – swept through the private East Bay Waldorf School. County health services stepped in after at least 16 children came down with the disease at a school where very few parents immunize their children. Kids whose parents refuse to put them on antibiotics are banned from school for 21 days, until the disease has run its course and they are no longer contagious. Wait. Parents are refusing antibiotics??
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Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2008
Under: Schools | No Comments »