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Author: toni

~ 11/24/09


Hey, did you hear that November 20th is now officially KICK A GINGER DAY? No? Don’t even know what that means? Well, that’s the day when non-redheaded kids are encouraged to beat the crap out of red-headed kids for no good reason other than they’re, well, different. Yeah. It’s true. And it happened the other day at a Calabasas, California Middle School where 5 red-headed kids were assaulted as part of this new holiday.

WHAT THE—????? It never ceases to amaze me the capacity of kids to be cruel and stupid. But usually, since they are stupid they typically aren’t smart enough to be cruel. Usually they’ll just sit around being harmful to themselves. Unless they get inspiration.

Guess where they got the inspiration for this horrific behavior? If you said television, you’d be right. Specifically an episode of SOUTH PARK. Of course the irony is that SOUTH PARK was making fun of intolerance. But as I said, mean kids are usually pretty stupid. So they didn’t get the point of the show. Instead, they took it as a call to cruelty.

And just to make sure other kids “got the memo”, they posted it  on Facebook, reminding other kids of the “meaning” of the day and urging the assaults.

There isn’t enough prejudice in the world, kids have to find new people to hate? What is wrong with these children? How can they do this to other kids? I know, I know. Junior high age is typically the worst age. Middle school kids far exceed even high schoolers when it comes to inflicting pain and humiliation on fellow students. But really? Why? Is it to bolster their feelings of superiority? Is it the pack mentality, where those that are different or perceived as weaker are separated from the herd and relentlessly tormented? Are there outside influences that foster this behavior?

Now some parents (likely the parents of the bullies) are going to blame it all on SOUTH PARK. But I say BULL! First of all, I’m sick of this trend toward blaming one’s actions on everyone else. Take some freaking responsibility! This goes for parents as well as kids.

Second, while TV can give you ideas, it cannot force you to go out and behave in a certain way. Like when parents were all over Ozzy Osbourne for that “SUICIDE SOLUTION” song, saying it promoted suicide (which it really didn’t).  No one makes a person behave a certain way. They MUST have the capacity within them already.

The kids that perpetrated this Ginger Day violence HAD to have the capacity for violence. They HAD to be mean-spirited bullies to begin with, or they wouldn’t have done this. And while bullies may be inspired by TV shows, they are created at home.  Sculpted by the bullying loving hands of their parents.

No charges have been filed yet. But I’m a firm believer that there should be. At the very least these kids should all be suspended and made to go to counseling. And I suggest counseling because suggesting corporal punishment is very un-PC. Also, I don’t think it’s really the answer… correcting violent behavior with violent behavior. But they should lose all their electronic devices privileges. They should be grounded from Facebook. And they should be housebound and made to do chores for the rest of the school year.

But you know that’s not going to happen. You know what WILL happen? At least one of the bully kid’s parents will sue South Park. And the studio will settle to avoid a protracted court battle that will cost them more money in the long run. And the parents will use the money to buy those his and her matching ATVs and buy their kid the latest MacBook Pro and that  big screen TV they’ve been wanting for their bedroom.

Meanwhile, red-headed kids (and I’m talking to you too Carrot Top) will now have to remain on their guard. At least for the next 150 years, at which point experts tell us that due to the mixing of the populations, there will be no more redheads.

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Author: toni

~ 11/11/09

After my post/rant last week about how Terror Suspects at Gitmo were getting the swine flu vaccine BEFORE high priority groups like children and pregnant women, my friend Babette (who is a nurse) sent me the following email:


“In addition to the prisoners, don’t forget that CitiCorps and Goldman Sachs got 1500-2000 doses. I have to assume that there is extensive research indicating that the virus is carried on cash, in which case they are at much higher risk than pregnant women, children or healthcare workers”.


Yeah, Babette. That must be it. How else can you explain that these Wall Street guys got the swine flu vaccine and my pediatrician still hasn’t gotten it? I mean, my friend Jennie’s kids (4 & 7) got turned away from the local urgent care because they had such a limited supply of the vaccine they were saving it for established patients who were in the priority groups. But meanwhile, wealthy financial execs can get it AND big bonuses too. Or maybe the flu shot is part of their bonus package. Why not? 24 hour access to a town car, 3 weeks in St. Bart’s and the H1N1 vaccine. Non-negotiable.

Are you freaking kidding me?! What is wrong with the CDC? With our government? Is this still part of the bailout? Is the health of these fat cats more important than the health of children?

Okay. Deep breath. I’ve got to remember that even when things seem bad and unfair, it’s best to maintain a sense of humor. To that end, I am concluding this rant with SNL’s recent diatribe about this injustice. Enjoy… if you can get over the rage.

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Author: toni

~ 11/05/09

Remember the time when parents were going all crazy and buying their babies ridiculously priced and completely useless items that were outgrown within a year and ended up on the Goodwill truck?

Well now, due to the recession, those parents have decided to stop indulging on such extravagant items that were supposed to be for the baby but were really for image-conscious mommies and daddies.

According to a recent online article, here are some of the baby items that have taken a financial nose-dive in the past few months.

1. The Bugaboo Cameleon - this is a Dutch-made status stroller that appeared on the scene in 2004 and cost – brace yourself – $1,199.  HOLY COW! That’s twice as much as it cost me to actually HAVE my baby (and I had a C-section and 4 day hospital stay). Now I know what people were spending those home equity loans on.

2. Little Marc Jacobs Mary Janes - price tag $198 a pair. Cute but…Are you freaking kidding me? I don’t pay that much for a pair of shoes for me! Let alone shoes that are outgrown in 6 months.  There better be a LOT of siblings to hand those down to to justify that price. 

3. British Nanny - $500-$650 a week.Nuf said.

4. Burberry Check Baby Onesie With Bonnet - $140 smackeroos for this little ensemble (be sure to pronounce “ensemble” in French for that price). Foolish purchase. Because we mommies know that nothing stains like baby formula spit-up. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend $140 for something that’s going to end up being used to wash my car.

5. Gucci Diaper Bag - $870 for this status bag. Really? To hold used diapers and burp cloths? But then women spend that much for a purse that holds lipstick, old gum and snotty tissues.  So why not?

6. Hermes Plush Horse - $930 for a stuffed animal. Uh. Suddenly those Webkinz don’t seem so overpriced.


There you have it. And honestly. I don’t feel badly for these companies. They rode the wave of frivolous spending and I hope they saved their money. Because I think those days are gone for a long while.

Look, while I haven’t bought the above high-priced items, I have been guilty of some wasteful spending where my kid is concerned. It’s in our nature as parents to want to please our children and give them the best.  Still, it’s really sad that it took a recession to put the brakes on this kind of money waste. Especially when there are children that go to bed hungry each night…IN THIS VERY COUNTRY!  

Wouldn’t it have been better to spend, say $200 on a Graco stroller and send the other $800 to a children’s charity? Unfortunately now that nobody has that kind of money to waste, nobody has that kind of money to give either.

But in case you are one of the lucky ones who still has money to burn…consider some of the following alternatives to that $900 diaper bag….

Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Pediatric Cancer at


Feed the Children at

or any of the thousands of other children’s charities out there.


Remember, your child doesn’t need that $1000 stroller, but the money CAN help a child in need.

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Author: toni

~ 11/02/09

So I wake up this lovely fall morning after a weekend of Halloween revelry, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (because of the time change not because I have any real energy) and ready to take on the NEXT rapidly approaching holiday THANKSGIVING… when I was met with this headline online:


That’s right.  Guantanamo Bay prisoners (people suspected of being terrorists and wanting to kill us mind you) are getting the swine flu vaccine!

Now on the surface, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite humane. And I’m sure, very important for international relations. All good, right? Well, yeah, except that I CAN’T GET THE VACCINE FOR MY OWN KID!

My kid, who is right smack in the priority group on two fronts: her age and the fact that she has an underlying condition. My kid, whom the pediatrican has said without hesitation should get the shot. My kid, who, if she contracted the H1N1 virus, would be in danger of having the most severe reactions.

But no. It’s not available to her.

You know who it’s available to?  Prisoners. Criminals. Potential Terrorists. And okay, even if you bring up the whole innocent until proven guilty thing…these guys ARE NOT IN THE HIGH PRIORITY/HIGH RISK GROUP! Are they children? Are they pregnant women? NO!

I am not saying that unpopular groups shouldn’t get the vaccine. I’m saying those at risk should get it first!

You know, this isn’t the first screw-up the government has made in handling this whole swine flu vaccine distribution.

Recently they made limited supplies of the vaccine available at various centers around the greater Los Angeles area. But ONLY to people who do not have health insurance or a regular health care provider.

Hey, I’m fine with that. IF they gave my pediatrician some of the vaccine. But they didn’t.  I have checked daily with the pediatrician’s office and my local urgent care down the hill… neither has gotten it. And they don’t know WHEN they’ll get it either.  It wasn’t even available at UCLA Medical Center Mattel’s Children Hospital last week where I took Julia to see a specialist for, that’s right, her underlying condition.  They had only gotten a very limited supply and used it on the most seriously ill children and are unsure when they’ll get more.

Children’s Hospitals filled with seriously ill children can’t get enough H1N1 vaccine and they’re giving it to Gitmo detainees?!?

So anyway, because we had a doctor, we stayed away from the vaccine distribution centers. But guess what? Lots of people showed up who not only had insurance, but also were not in the priority groups. AND THEY GAVE IT TO THESE PEOPLE ANYWAY! And guess what happened next? They ran out of flu vaccine. So thousands of people who actually are at risk, like my daughter, didn’t get it.

That’s the government for you.

And now they’re giving it to “detainees”? Over children? Over pregnant women who are extremely high risk?Are you freaking kidding me?

A spokesman for Physicians For Human Rights, an international medical group, said there are “certain basic obligations the U.S. has to its prisoners,” and that vaccinations for influenza fall into that category.

Hey, U.S. government! You have an obligation to the children of this country too. You want to protect them against potential danger? How about starting with a potentially life-saving flu vaccine?

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Author: toni

~ 10/21/09

I’ve got a bone to pick with Hollywood. Yeah, YOU facade face! Usually la-la land is so out of touch with reality that they glamorize things – you know, like homelessness (“Where the Day Takes You”) or crack addicts (“Halle Barry in “Losing Isaiah”).

Well, it appears they have tried to do the opposite with this new flick called “MOTHERHOOD” starring Uma Thurman. And they’ve just made a mess.

Yeah, you read that right. Uma Thurman is playing the haggard, multi-tasking, stay-at-home mom of two kids. Already I’ve got an issue with the casting. I mean, do you think someone named Uma, who is engaged to a billionaire and who once had Mick Jagger calling her house incessantly when she was still married to Ethan Hawke, has any concept of what it’s like to be a REAL mom?

Uh, no. If you don’t believe me CLICK to see her comments on how she deals with the stresses of motherhood.

Nope. Uma’s 5-star version of parenting likely has never put her actually in the trenches (i.e., grocery store aisles with a five year-old ramming her ankles while trying to drive the cart, crowded pediatrician offices during flu season or wait-listed for the Parks and Rec preschool that’s in such demand because it’s cheap).

And because she is Uma Thurman and has Uma Thurman’s life and body, she feels the need to  de-glamorize… to “act” the part of a mother as you will witness in the following trailer…

Nice, huh? Not since the whole “mom jeans” thing (see that post) have I been so offended as a mom.

I mean, who does she think she is? Charlize Theron in “Monster”? Nicole Kidman in “The Hours”? Does she think frumping herself up (mousing up her hair and donning glasses) will sell her as a mom? I don’t know any moms like this. This is a stereotype. Like my friend Erin (who first pointed out this trailer to me) said – all that’s missing in this portrayal is a pair of geeky glasses with the tape in the bridge. Although those glasses are pretty geeky. But like Clark Kent and Superman, a pair of stupid eyeglasses isn’t gonna convince me that she isn’t Uma Thurman, face of Givenchy.

The fact that this movie was written and directed by a woman – a mom no less – just makes me sad. It’s one thing for Judd Apatow to create a caricature of a woman (KNOCKED UP) but e tu, lady? Really?

Normally I’m not one to judge a book by its cover, but I know that Hollywood marketing departments pull out all the stops to make a movie appealing. Studios spend millions to get people in the theaters. So, you know they’re gonna put their best lines and moments in the trailer to get people in those seats. And if what I saw are the “highlights” of the film…well, UGH.

If lines like,” I’d like to shove my carbon footprint up your…” are as good as it gets, I think the studio is gonna learn a new definition of “stay-at-home moms”.

I agree with the director that the world could use an interesting portayal of the unsung heroes known as moms. But this ain’t it. For that to happen we’d need Jane Campion teaming up with a younger Meryl Streep. But since that’s not going to happen for obvious time travelling issues, we’ll have to keep waiting.

Sorry, Uma. No sale.

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Author: toni

~ 10/13/09


Ah, yes. Yet another example of the extremism that has taken over our country. I call it the pendulum effect. Something bad happens, people suddenly react in the extreme to every little thing thereafter. They swing from one side all the way to the other and it takes a really, really long time to get back to the middle.

Case in point. 6 year-old ZACHARY CHRISTIE of Newark, Delaware, joined the Cub Scouts. And like many scouts he was given the tools of the trade. In this case, it was one of those little camping utensils that you can use as a fork, knife and spoon…you know, if you happen to find yourself in the jungles of Bora Bora without proper dinnerware.

Well, Zachary, like any kid excited about a new toy, brought it to school so he could use it to eat lunch and undoubtedly, show it to his friends who would be so impressed he’d get to go first at handball during recess.

Guess what happened? No, he did not go first on the handball court. Zachary got suspended and is facing 45 days in the district’s reform school! Yep. Apparently school officials decided the gadget violated their zero-tolerance policy for utensils weapons.

Okay. It has a knife on it which, yes, can be dangerous. Especially in the hands of a child. But as far as I’m concerned, unless the FBI found an elaborate plot on his computer at home to shank the lunch lady who serves the mystery gruel, the kid is only guilty of stupid kid judgment. If kids even HAVE judgment which, based on my experience with that age group, seems pretty lamely developed at the age of 6. Let’s face it. At that age, any sense of judgment is almost always overruled by anything that might be remotely cool. You know, like taking your scout tool with a knife on it to school. Cooool.

Truthfully, his parents should have taken the tool away from him while he wasn’t using it in scouts. I’d keep it out of reach of my 7 year-old unless I was present. But not because I would be afraid she’d purposely “stick” somebody with it, but because she’d probably end up sticking herself with it…likely in the eye while running down the steps three at a time on her way to the TV to watch an iCarly episode for the 4th time. Because no matter how many times you tell a kid not to run with sharp objects in their hands, they always “forget”. Which, come to think of it, may be the reason they watch the same show over and over and over again.

Maybe, his parents didn’t take it away from him because they thought it was enough to tell him not to take the knife to school or not to use it when he wasn’t at Scouts. But again, at the age of 6, there’s a tug-of- war going on between good judgment (if there is any) and impulse. And where candy and dangerous items are concerned, impulse usually wins out. Ask any ER doc. Or Randy the perfekt husband who, as a kid, burned his eyebrows off playing with lighter fluid and water. Kids, never blow out fire in a bucket with your face too close. Or at all!

Look, I’m a believer in a zero-tolerance policy on weapons in school. I know it’s necessary after Columbine and Virginia Tech. But the school should also look at cases individually when rendering their punishment. Seriously, reform school? I doubt the kid had nefarious plans. I doubt he had the schematics to the school’s air duct system for a quick getaway after a first grade massacre.  I doubt this kid had anything more heinous on his computer than the URL for Webkinz.

Did the kid use poor judgment? Sure. Could someone have gotten hurt? Absolutely. Was this a premeditated act for which he should be severely punished. I seriously doubt it!

So what should be his punishment? A reprimand maybe. A strong talking to explaining WHY what he did was wrong. Followed by an explanation as to why it’s okay to use the gadget in Cub Scouts but NOT for eating lunch at school…And by the way, good luck on that one.

The most troubling part of all of this is that this poor kid will likely get labelled as a “problem child”. I mean, he’s already been suspended from school (he’s being home-schooled while his parents try to overturn his punishment). And the label alone could alter the course of his future. Because people will treat him as a problem child. And if he’s tormented or ostracized enough, he may likely lash out by behaving as such.

And even if he is emotionally unaffected (which is doubtful) – what about his school record? I wouldn’t want my kid’s record marred by an entry that said “sentenced to reform school for carrying a knife at school”. Because YOU KNOW that’s what it says. It doesn’t say, “sentenced to reform school by over-reacting administrators because he brought his Cub Scout eating utensil to school to eat his lunch.”


If you agree, go to a website started by Zachary’s mom Christie in the hopes of recruiting supporters to pressure local school officials to rethink their punishment. Also on the website, there is information about Zachary. About zero-tolerance policies as well as a petition you can sign.

Come on people! Let’s show a little common sense.


UPDATE: Ironically, after I did this post, I read that Dylan Klebold’s mother has finally (10 years later) spoken out about the Columbine shootings. Her interview is in the current Oprah Magazine.  Or see Diane Sawyer’s piece on it by CLICKING HERE.

SECOND UPDATE: It was announced today Zachary Christie has been cleared to go to school and will not face 45 days in a reform school. The seven-member Christina School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to reduce the punishment for kindergartners and first-graders who take weapons to school or commit violent offenses to a suspension ranging from three to five days.

Okay, I am glad for Zachary. But again, they’re being so short-sighted. Why do they have to make a broad ruling? Why can’t they go on a case by case basis. If a first grader comes to school with a knife and deliberately stabs people, I don’t think he should only get a 2 to 5 day suspension. Sigh.

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