Monday, January 30, 2012

January Gush and Gripe

I've decided to work with my friends at Talk Supe ( to join them in bringing you my own monthly Gush and Gripe!  I hope you enjoy them.  Of course, these opinions are mine alone and in no way are meant to reflect the opinions of Talk Supe or any of my writing partners or associated companies.


Ok, since this is my first one of these, I am going to gush about my kids!

I think, being biased of course, that I have three of the best kids in the world.  First, there’s my 14-year-old daughter, my oldest.  Scholastically, she is in the International Baccalaureate program in 8th grade.  She has desires to become a marine biologist, a desire she has expressed since 5th grade, so I have no reason to think she’s going to change her mind.  She is also a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, working on her 2nd Degree, and hoping to spend some time as an instructor there as well.

Second, is the middle one, the 11-year-old.  She has been in the Magnet Dance program since 3rd grade, and she’s definitely the artist of the family.  Her writing is incredibly deep for an 11-year-old.  On top of all that, she is a top keeper in the local soccer league, and after a season off is getting ready to return to that sport.  She has a sarcastic wit to match my own, and beware when the two of us get started on something.  We’ll have each other in stitches in no time.

Finally, there is the seven-year-old boy.  He is a Blue Belt in Tae Kwon Do himself, and the focus he has learned doing that is quite amazing.  Case in point – the day after Christmas, with all the stuff he got, he spent seven straight hours assembling a Lego robot he received that had almost 600 pieces, and these were the tiny pieces that are easy to lose.  He never asked for any help or got upset or complained, just did it. 

They deserve every bit of Gushing I can do about them!


I’m going to stick with the theme of kids for my Gripe as well.  I just recently heard about this issue that the FDA has been investigating about the connection between food dyes and hyperactivity or bad behavior in children.  Granted this has been going on since March of last year, but I hadn’t heard about it until this past month.

Now, of course, I think food dyes have plenty of negatives, but to be honest I don’t think too much about them.  What strikes me about this story, and thus my Gripe, is why everyone wants to find some key external cause to explain why their kids don’t behave.  “It must be the food dye” seems to me to just be another excuse in today’s all-too-common propensity to give everything a named “syndrome” or “condition” that might need to be medicated or controlled.

The flaw with any study such as this is that there is no way to completely factor everything else out.  Let’s face it, there are plenty of conditions which make the foods with these dyes more popular with certain parts of the population … most notably, convenience.  These foods are often quick snacks, and for people that are incredibly busy with working two jobs, or having tons of after-school activities, they are sometimes not only a food of choice but in some cases, they may feel it’s a necessity.  Or, they are easy to have around the house for when the parents can’t be home right away.  Plus, let’s face it, in today’s economy, putting “natural” on the label often can be an excuse to make the product more expensive, regardless of whether it truly is or not.

Of course, these are exactly the kinds of environmental factors that might ALSO cause hyperactivity and bad behavior.  One reason I feel blessed is that I have a job where my bosses are flexible and allow me to start work very early so I can get home earlier for the kids, when my wife is working.

There may very well be anecdotal evidence that eliminating these types of foods is beneficial in the area of hyperactivity.  I would never try to tell any family that something that they are sure works for them doesn’t work.  But, to put a ban on such foods based on what is purely circumstantial evidence, to me, smacks of too much control.

I’m a fan of the FDA, they have done great things to make food and drugs safe and healthy and I would never dream of eliminating them.  I just think they need to focus on those things and make absolutely sure there is a causal connection between things before even considering something so severe as a ban, or even going as far as a warning label.

Coincidence does not necessarily equal causation.


Loving the creativity of the writers of Once Upon a Time, the way they are interweaving the fairy tales together.  The last one I saw was the one where the genie got freed with the king’s first wish, and also got given the final wish by his liberator.  Unfortunately for the genie, it led to him becoming the evil queen’s magic mirror at the end, trapping him once again.  “I have granted 1001 wishes, and 1001 times they have ended badly.”  And it did even for him.  Brilliant!!!


Saw the Adventures of Tin Tin with the kids.  Just didn’t get it.  At one point I almost dozed off.  Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of kids’ movies that I love – Finding Nemo, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, Tangled, Enchanted – this one didn’t have any of the elements I loved about those movies.  Characters were not engaging, and the story didn’t hold my attention at all.  The animation was amazing of course, but that just doesn’t cut it with me.  Sorry, Mr. Spielberg, I know you got fascinated with the books and wanted to bring them to the big screen, but this was a miss.


I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to see it in the theaters, but the movie “Chronicle” intrigues me.  For one thing, it’s got a bunch of relative unknowns in it … and for another, I think I’m one of the minority who enjoy the kind of grainy low budget feel that this one looks to have (Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, District 9).  It seems as though it will be short however, at only 84 minutes.  Which means … it could be another “Jumper” or “Push” which were both disappointing.  But this is a hopeful anticipatory gush.


Why, George Lucas, must you continue to try to squeeze every last penny out of the “Star Wars” franchise?  I’ve seen so many 3-D movies that have disappointed me with the fact they would have been just fine without it, there’s no way I’m spending any money on “The Phantom Menace 3-D”.  Not gonna do it.  Ok, I guess this is more of a standard gripe … I already know how I feel about this LOL.  Love “Star Wars”, hate what you keep doing with it.


  1. I love your kids I might just adopt them! You are indeed right to gush about them and such achievers at a very young age. I know parenthood is hard but you must be doing something right.

    Here's the thing about these new syndromes, I was raised by parents who are clueless about the bad effects of MSG, food dyes, etc. and I'd like to believe that I grew up healthy and fine. Don't blame stuff on food and vaccine, sometimes it's just nature at work or an anomaly of sorts. Sad but true.

    I love OUAT and the flash/forward style. True that on the star wars franchise. I was fine with the cartoon series, he should just make a new story like Leia & Han Solo's kids and if Luke trained new Jedis.

    Thanks for joining and <3 your post! XOXO

  2. Thanks much Braine, the Gush/Gripe was an excellent idea! And yep, I grew up the same way ;)

    And I read some of the Star Wars "sequel" novels ... one trilogy in particular that looked like they would have made an excellent set of Episodes Seven, Eight, and Nine, set about ten years after Episode Six. Sometimes they just need to look right under their noses LOL ...

  3. I didn't like Tin-Tin either. In fact, my son had to pee three times during it and at the price I paid to get in....well, that ticked me off. LOL. I also didn't find the 3D to be all that good..*shrugs* It looked the same to me glasses or not. And I have to agree again...Probably would have seen Star Wars, the first one or what the heck ever, in 3D but I don't like where the franchise went or is going either. Oh, and we drank out of the garden hose...*laughs* we are none the worse for wear. Sometimes the FDA and the medical establishment go to far. Remember when red M&M's disappeared for a while? We got that from the same people who just declared tomato paste a vegetable...*rolls his eyes*