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Archive for August, 2008

IOWA COLLEGE PREZ Resigns Over Boozy Photo

Binge drinking We hardly know where to start. An Iowa community college president resigned Wednesday, after the Des Moines Register published a MySpace-worthy photo of him holding the spigot of a mini-beer keg over the open mouth of a young woman at a Fourth of July boat party. Trustees at Iowa Central Community College initially said it was a non-issue that a college president was playing keg captain at a boozy boat party with a group of young adults… in a culture where binge drinking is a major health and safety concern on every university campus. It was a private party, they said.

The Register’s op-ed writers disagreed: “Academic leaders represent their institutions, on the job and off, and they aren’t supposed to look as if they’re party animals who encourage underage drinking.”

Now trustees are handing Paxton $400,000 in severance pay. And there’s more…
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Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2008
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »

NANNY WANTED: Mary Poppins Need Not Apply

Mary Poppins You have to love her honesty, at least … Rebecca Land Soodak, an Upper East Side mother of four, posted a 1,000-word Craigslist ad seeking a live-in nanny and giving a no-holds-barred description of the family. Her kids are “a pain in the (expletive deleted),” she’s “loud and pushy” and uninterested in “someone who has a lot of theories on the right way to raise kids.” (Guess Mary Poppins need not apply.) And after going through 10 nannies in 12 years, Soodak has some definite ideas and many, many words on what will and will not fly, including:

“If you are the type who doesn’t notice crumbs on the table, skip to the next post, because crumbs are a deal breaker… I have all sorts of theories on how to stack my dishwasher, and if you are judgmental about Ritalin for ADHD, or think such things are caused by too much sugar, again, deal-break city.”

She got her nanny. And now, everyone’s got something to say about it, including a nanny who posted a Craigslist notice of her own, entitled “My conditions on being your nanny…take that Rebecca Land Soodak.”

Your thoughts?

Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2008
Under: Other | No Comments »

ANOTHER Lead Recall

Recalled Bonne Bell bagsIt’s been awhile since we saw massive recalls for lead-related issues, but they’re baaaaack. Bonne Bell and the Consumer Product Safety Commission just recalled 950,000 of these sparkly little cosmetics bags because the clasp has toxic levels of lead. If you’ve got one of these at home, contact Bonne Bell for a replacement bag.

Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2008
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

FEDS Recall 900,000 Deadly Bassinets After U.S. Manufacturer Refuses

Recalled bassinetOK, this is unbelievable. The Consumer Product Safety folks issued an urgent warning tonight to parents and day care centers to immediately stop using Simplicity bedside sleepers (pictured to the left), after two babies became trapped and strangled to death … and the manufacturer REFUSED to recall 900,000 of these potentially deadly bassinets. Normally, CPSC recalls are conducted together with alarmed manufacturers who don’t want to see their young clientele harmed. But SFCA Inc., the company that bought Simplicity’s assets at public auction last April, says it’s not their problem. We understand their reluctance to assume responsibility for those infants’ deaths in bassinets built before their tenure. It’s the callous disregard for the health and safety of 900,000 other infants that we find, well, startling, particularly given a Chicago Tribune investigation today that found a recalled bassinet being shipped under the SFCA label. Perhaps the “not our problem” attitude will provide some comfort to SFCA chairman Ric Miller during his toasty afterlife. (More on him in a moment)

So what’s the deal with the bassinets? The metal bars …
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Posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety | 1 Comment »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Rip Squeak's "Find the Magic"
1. Rip Squeak, the star of Julia Harnett Harvey and Lee Cohen’s whimsically illustrated picture books, gets his own gallery exhibit right on San Francisco’s Pier 39. Check out the grand opening Saturday at 4 p.m., get your books signed, meet the authors and enjoy a family party. Free but rsvp.

2. Chabot’s Lunar Lounge hosts a galactic Battle of the Bands tomorrow night from 6 to 11 p.m. ($10-$15)

3. Cavort on Pixieland‘s tot-sized rides in Concord. ($1.25 per ride ticket.)
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Posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

HERE’S HOW to scare kids off steroids

20040315 SYRINGE STEROIDA 21-year-old amateur bodybuilder severely scarred his body after abusing anabolic steroids for several months. The steroids caused horrendous acne, which led to lesions, ulcers and abscesses on his chest. The pictures are pretty grotesque but if you have a strong stomach, take a look. These scars are permanent.

The pictures and story should be shown to every high school athlete, if for no other reason than to counter the “No big deal” of too many of today’s kids. I’ve heard the arguments about why we shouldn’t care if big-time athletes — Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Marion Jones, to name a few — decide to risk their bodies by abusing steroids. But with so many impressionable kids out there, a lot of good could come from showing them hard evidence of the possible consequences that come from experimenting with steroids.

Posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »

WAITING FOR BABY: If at first you don’t succeed

Crib ILLUS.jpg(“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.)

Networking always sounded like something working folks did to advance their careers. I never imagined it would be a method applied to growing my family. But when it comes to making contact with a birth mother, networking is crucial. So, we took our birth mother letter — essentially a two-sided color flier that tells about my husband, stepdaughter and I — to the printer to have it mass produced. We gave 100 copies to our adoption agency. The other 150 we began distributing to friends and family. “Any and everyone,” our caseworker suggested.

Then, a few weeks ago, my sister saw an elusive opening, really just a sliver of possibility. Babysitting for a former co-worker, she learned about how the woman had adopted the two girls when her niece lost custody of them. “And now she’s pregnant again,” the woman explained. My sister eventually learned that the woman’s niece is unsure what will become of her unborn baby. Before the woman left, she had a copy of our birth mother letter in hand. The situation doesn’t appear headed in our direction, but then, we understood that this was a long shot. The point is that when it comes to adoption, networking comes in many forms and every single one should be explored. Because you just never know where it might lead.

Posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
Under: Adoption | No Comments »

GETTING Organized for Back-to-School

Mom's Ultimate Family OrganizerA new school year always starts with a whoosh of paperwork, followed by calendar frenzy, which is why we thought this was so cool — a sturdy binder with family calendar pages, planning pages for organizing birthday parties or family vacations, and tabbed sections and pockets to help wrangle some of that frantic-ness into a semblance of order. Want one? Click “comments” and share your family’s best back-to-school tip, and the “Mom’s Ultimate Family Organizer” could be yours! We’ll draw a winner’s name next weekend. (Congrats, by the way, to Irma, the Wascally Wabbit fan who won last week’s cartoon DVD giveaway!)

Posted on Monday, August 25th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Baby Yoga, Tween Talk & More

Car kids It’s back-to-school season for kids – and parents too. Here’s the lineup of new parent education talks:

“Childhood Matters: Disaster Preparedness”
Aug. 31 at 9 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and 105.1 KOCN-FM. Childhood Matters’ Rona Renner and guest Ana-Marie Jones, executive director of Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD), discuss how to prepare for earthquakes, fire and other disasters, and how to talk about it without frightening your kids.

“Childhood Matters”
Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and 105.1 KOCN-FM. Host Rona Renner and panelists discuss parenting issues.

“Effective Parenting Techniques”
Sept. 8 at 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Alameda Adult Education. Workshop on parenting, communication, discipline and conflict-resolution.
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Posted on Monday, August 25th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

FAMILY TRAVEL: Hogwarts & London

Celia Baula heads for HogwartsGot a Harry Potter fan in your life? Here’s how to see London, with tips from this week’s expert, Celia Baula.

THE TRAVELER: Celia Baula, project management consultant, San Ramon, and her sister

THE TREK: “For my 30th birthday, I decided to go to Europe with my sister. The bulk of my birthday trip was spent in Paris, but I decided to spend a day in London on my way back to the U.S. to dabble in the magic of Harry Potter.”

: “We stayed at Hotel Russell in Russell Square. It was really convenient because it was close to the Underground Station, and the British Museum is a few blocks walk.
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Posted on Sunday, August 24th, 2008
Under: Family Travel | No Comments »