Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Mark Twain Gets Cleaned Up

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Some years ago, my mother-in-law, a theatre director, staged a production of South Pacific at a high school whose students were about 80% Asian, including many of Japanese heritage.  Because it made no difference to the plot, she changed or eliminated the derogative term “Jap” from the script.  Now, a new edition of Mark Twain’s classic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is about to get the same treatment.

(more…)

Top Ten Christmas Movies For Kids

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Sure, this time of year, everyone goes on and on about The Christmas Story and “you’ll shoot your eye out”, but I’m not sure that younger kids really get that movie.  Die Hard and Lethal Weapon are far too violent and The Ref, while one of my favorite holiday films, is certainly not suitable for kids unless you want them to be able to hold their own with Uncle “Foul-Mouth” Phil.  So what are good movies for kids this time of year?  Here are the ones I came up with:

(more…)

Hooters: Prurient Pleasure or Family Fun?

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Even if you’ve never been to a Hooters restaurant and know nothing about the chain of eateries, chances are you can guess what draws people to them.  Sure, I’ve heard tell the chicken wings are good, but it’s not wings that people think of when they think “hooters”.  Indeed, the company has been successfully sued by men for not being hired as waitstaff and the employee handbook at one time allegedly required female employees to acknowledge and accept that “the essence of the Hooters concept is entertainment through female sex appeal.”

So would you take your kids there?

(more…)

Making Minivans For Dad

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

So now that you have kids, chances are you’re stuck driving a minivan a fair bit of the time.  They handle poorly, they’re ugly, and they’re not exactly manly.  I suspect most guys would jump at the chance to drive a sports car or pick-up truck instead.  The problem is that very few vehicles will haul a whole mess of kids as efficiently and as affordably as a minivan.  But don’t give up hope, dads — Nissan’s got your back.

(more…)

Building A Better Chess Set

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Chess is a great game that offers intellectual challenge to kids and adults alike.  Studies have shown that kids who play chess experience a significant increase in cognitive development as well as improved test scores.  On top of that, it’s just plain fun.  I decided, recently, that my kids — at least the older two — needed to learn to play.  But, of course, I can never do things the normal way.  I had to have a chess set that was unique and would capture their imagination.

(more…)

The Odious Ogre

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

When I was growing up, one of my favorite books was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer.  I loved the exploration of the dual meanings of words — jumping to the Island of Conclusions, for example — as well as the idea that there is so much to do and to explore in the world that one need never be bored.  Sadly, though, there was only the one book; Harry Potter got 7 volumes but Milo only one.  While that hasn’t exactly changed, there is good news for Tollbooth fans.

(more…)

How Old For Violence?

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I’m pretty strict about not exposing my kids to any more violence than I absolutely have to.  For us, that has meant that Disney films are for older kids and Harry Potter is right out.  But how old do kids need to be before they can handle some violence?  We’ve hit a situation that is testing our resolve to avoid what we think are inappropriate films.  You see, as surprising as it might be, not everyone feels the same way we do.

(more…)

Beware the Virtual Mall

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Just because your teens aren’t hanging out at the mall, don’t presume they can’t run up your credit card bill.  In fact, it may very well be that they are part of the population of online virtual worlds racking up a whopping — dare I say mind-blowing? — 7 billion dollars in sales of virtual goods in 2010 alone.  Yes, you read that right — in the midst of a huge economic crisis, people have spent 7 billion (with a “B”) dollars on stuff that isn’t even real.

(more…)

Coming Together With Kids

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Yesterday, I took a long lunch and joined more than a million others Downtown for a parade honoring the San Francisco Giants baseball team that beat the Texas Rangers to win the World Series.  I wasn’t there alone, however; I, like many others, pulled my kids out of school to join the throngs of screaming fans.  Now, why would I, one who is known for dismissing team sports, choose such an event over my kids’ education, especially since I value learning and knowledge as much as I shun sports?

(more…)

A Farewell To Adventure

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

San Francisco’s Stern Grove is a very special place for our family. It is a place of beginnings and endings. It is a place to share and to learn. The Grove is one of San Francisco’s great treasures. I got married there and mourned the passing of my father there. Both my wife and I have performed there and enjoyed many a summer concert with friends and family. I taught swimming just across the street under the expert eye of the great Charlie Sava, at the pool that now bears his name. I’ve even gotten my hair cut in the grove, back stage, during a performance by the San Francisco Opera. But perhaps the fondest memories I have of Stern Grove are the earliest.

(more…)