April 13th, 2008


Explanations are in order

I slept for almost ten hours last night, all told. Except it really wasn't that long, because Cracker kept waking me up. I had planned on getting up earlier, but I fell back asleep and had a dream about being in some kind of camp-like situation at what appeared to be a low-key amusement park. There were no rides that I remember, but there were some kiddie attractions (moon bounces, slides, etc.) and swimming pools, and it was all brightly colored. I was staying with a group of other kids, but I didn't get along with them. They were rarely openly mean, but they tended to exclude me, and I thought they were probably making fun of me behind my back. We were doing some kind of play, and one of the kids was mad that I was reading something on the wall instead of helping another kid (whom I didn't notice), and I ended up getting really upset and running back to the room where I was staying. By this point I realized the whole thing was a dream, but I still insisted on finding my room. The janitor let me in, and I woke up soon after that. I think the dream also involved hooking up my old Texas Instruments computer, but maybe that was a different dream. I'm pretty sure the main idea was about when my dad forced my siblings and me to go to YMCA day camp, and I didn't like it at all. It was actually slightly better the second year, but why we were sent back after disliking it so much the first time isn't something I can understand. Besides, if I remember correctly, that year I was older than everyone else there except the counselors and counselors-in-training. The best childhood summers I can recall primarily involved sitting around eating Twin Pops and reading Oz books. Anyway, getting back to the present day, I'd wanted to heat up a pot pie for breakfast, but I ended up not having enough time, so I had Hot Pockets instead.

As part of some meme or other, slfcllednowhere asked me about some of my icons and interests. I might as well explain them here, in case someone else is curious about these same things.

The Woozy is a character introduced in The Patchwork Girl of Oz. He's an animal made up of squares, rectangles, and flat surfaces, covered in thick skin. He's capable of flashing fire from his eyes when he's angry, and he likes eating honeybees. Despite infrequent appearances in the series, he seems to be quite popular with many readers, and I'm no exception.

Polychrome is another Oz character. Being the Daughter of the Rainbow, she's a sky fairy who spends most of her time dancing. There have been a few occasions when she ended up stranded on Earth when her father returned to the sky.

The picture is of Snufferbux, the bear from Ojo in Oz, playing an accordion, which I liked for several reasons. After I'd been using it without text for some time, bethje added the lolcat-style caption as a joke, not intending that I actually use it. It amused me, though, so I added it to my active icons.


1. bwoop bwoop
I was basically just copying Beth on this one. It's what young Jabu-Jabu says in the Zelda game Oracle of Ages.

2. captain n
A Saturday morning cartoon from the late eighties and early nineties (it lasted three seasons, although the last was lackluster) incorporating characters and settings from several different Nintendo games.

3. chrono trigger
A cool RPG from the makers of the Final Fantasy games. As the title suggests, the plot makes heavy use of time travel.

4. 8-bit theater
Speaking of Final Fantasy, this is a web comic loosely based on the very first game in the series.

5. ruth plumly thompson
She continued the Oz series after L. Frank Baum died.

6. james kochallka
A comic artist and musician. I guess I don't know that much of his work, but I find what I do to be really funny.

7. dragon warrior
A series of RPG's made by Enix (who have since merged with Square). The series is called Dragon Quest in Japan, but had to be changed to Dragon Warrior in the States due to copyright issues. These issues have since been resolved, so more recent American versions have come out with the original Dragon Quest name. Confusing, huh? Anyway, the games are insanely popular in Japan, but much less so here, so not all of them have been translated or ported.

If anyone else wants to ask me about these things, go ahead. Or if you want me to ask about yours, that's fine as well.

Have you ever tried simply turning off the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them?

For the disturbing link of the day [1], check this out. It's about how some self-styled conservative Christians have written about how beating your kids into submission is a good idea. They claim to be following the Bible, which isn't something I can argue with, as Proverbs in particular has several words of wisdom about corporal punishment being necessary (including the infamous "spare the rod, spoil the child"). But then, that was common practice in what was, by today's standards, a brutal, warlike society. Not that this argument would be too effective on the corporal punishment advocates, not only because they're probably the sort who think looking at the Bible in the context in which it was written is essentially blasphemy, but also because I wouldn't be surprised if they're pro-war as well.

I don't know if I necessarily think physical punishment is always bad, but there's a big difference between slapping your kid's hand because they do something wrong and beating the pulp out of them with a switch. Besides, spanking and the like are behaviorism, and I understand that that's not usually too effective on older kids. I suppose that, not having or wanting kids, I'm not really qualified to address the matter. When you get right down to it, though, it sounds like these ultra-disciplinarians don't want kids either, but rather kid-shaped robots (but probably not like the girl on Small Wonder). While I'm not a big fan of punishment in general, I'll accept that it's sometimes necessary. I think, however, that it should be more of a last resort, at least when dealing with someone who has a sense of right and wrong. Whether you think that morality comes from God or from society, I don't think it's too radical to suggest that the basis of behavior should be whether it's right or wrong, not simply Because I Said So. Maybe there are situations when the latter would have to be invoked, especially with someone who's trying to see what they can get away with, but some of these corporal punishment advocates encourage such an attitude even when the kid hasn't done anything wrong. And that sounds rather like Looking-Glass justice to me.

`For instance, now,' [the White Queen] went on, sticking a large piece of plaster on her finger as she spoke, `there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.'

`Suppose he never commits the crime?' said Alice.

`That would be all the better wouldn't it?' the Queen said, as she bound the plaster round her finger with a bit of ribbon.

[1] Not actually a daily feature
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