January 25, 2009



Another california art post


I'm writing something here to see what the font is.

September 12, 2004

just remember: it's nothing compared to actually being a conscientious parent to a special needs kid. That's the takeaway from Lisa Belkin's loooong NY Times Magazine piece today about Thomas Ellenson's first year of kindergarten.

While Tom has cerebral palsy, he also has the good fortune of being born to Manhattan ad executive Richard Ellenson and his wife Lora, who have not only the means but the committment and perserverance to develop a curriculum and an infrastructure to get their kid mainstreamed into a New York City public school.

It's rambling and long, but it's a pretty remarkable story. Did I mention it's long?

The Lessons of Classroom 506 [NYT Magazine]

Hats off to Brendan Fraser, whose wife Afton gave birth to their first second son. As befits someone who played an apeman, the kid has a monchichi-size mop of hair. To ensure that he will run away from boarding school, roam the city, sleep at his vaguely gay teacher's apartment, and end up in a crazy farm in Camarillo, they've named him Holden.

[for the completely unstyled, impromptu, classically Cedars Sinai family portrait, check celebrity baby blog, who also provided the correct number of Fraserian monkey babies.]

September 9, 2004

target_wood_cart.jpgThe NY Times calls this a wood toy cart; the Target website description is "wood and wood composite," so I'm sure it's safe to gnaw on. And it won't outgas any kind of bonding chemicals, at least not any more than the IKEA "wood" stuff.

Anyway, it's pretty straightforward and goodlooking, even if, only six months into this kid lifestyle, I'm starting to feel oppressed by the tyranny of primary colors. And they were so inviting in their non-pastel-ness, too...

Buy a Red Pull Cart Storage Box, $39.99 at Target.com (website only) It also comes in blue.

September 7, 2004

The NY Post hands out some funny awards for Hamptons Summer Inanity. At least one goes to a parent:

THE NOTHING GETS BETWEEN ME AND A PARTY AWARD: The unknown person who left a baby in an SUV to attend a Hamptons magazine clambake back in June. The sight angered ABC newsman Chris Cuomo so much, he stormed over to party organizers who made the following announcement over the Flying Point Beach loudspeakers: "Attention! Anyone with a Cadillac Escalade, you have a baby crying in the back seat!"NYPost, via Gawker]

wah_baby_tee.jpgGee, I don't know why I didn't know about this. I mean, I only get about 500 emails on this topic every day. Wah Baby makes some irreverent baby-sized t-shirts, which are available at Totshop.com for $19 each.

Besides Sophocles and Sigmund Freud, am I the only one who finds it problematic for a baby to wear a MILF t-shirt?

Random "Oedipal" titles from Amazon.com: Mankind's Oedipal Destiny: Libidinal and Aggressive Aspects of Sexuality by Peter Hartocollis; I Call You to Go Beyond the ""Oedipal"" Sufferings of Childhood (Truth for Real Series) by Avatar Adi Da Samraj;
Treating the Oedipal Patient in Brief Psychotherapy by Althea J. Horner

How about when Crazy Parents go Vegan? Parents lose it everyday, but for some reason, some of the craziest like to take Veganism down with them. The NY Daily News reports that Coney Island dad Raphael Spindell has spirited his 14-month old son Andre away from his mother-in-law's to go live with him and his wife in the woods somewhere.

Raphael has been talking about building an eco-village in Belize, where everyone can live off the land, free and healthy, but Child Services threw a wrench into things when they awarded Grandma custody of Andre because the kid was malnourished.

In the mean time, the couple's on the run, in a motor home in the forest upstate somewhere, living off, what, gas station food? Kudos to mom, though for keeping up the nursing for 14 months. Whoa.

[via Gothamist, who's got the story and the comments]
Takes tot into the woods [NYDN]
Raphael "Archangel" Spindell's Yahoo Profile [Hobbies: "Sylvanism, Organic Permaculture, Green Anarchy, Web-Design"]
Children of the Millennium, the couple's defunct mad-as-hell website [via Internet Archive]

On the other, saner, hand:
Vegetarian Baby & Child Magazine
KidBean, "the world's first online VEGAN children's store!"
VegFamily, "the magazine for Vegan Family Living"

weeblock.jpg"Haven't you ever heard of just holding up the diaper??" That bit of advice comes from weatherman/curmudgeon/author/dad Al Roker, who, we learn on this Today Show segment, "is too big for these." "These" are Weeblocks, soft jersey cotton-covered foam cups--as in jock strap, not tea party--that apparently succeed where the Canadian Pee-Pee Teepee fails.

Like many other products at Sozo, a parent company which specializes in playfully modern nursery sets, Weeblocks are embroidered with colorful stitching (Jock, Lil Kahuna, Squirt, Whizz Kid). Matching bibs are available (wha, to complete the look??). And their website has a helpful animated flash demo, which, alas, came too late to save little baby Sozo's dignity (I presume that's their kid modelling the Weeblock on Totshop.)

Like father, like son, though, I say. Sozo dad was the mascot in college, and is obviously comfortable with the idea of wearing elaborately decorated, sculpted foam on his head. So while it's not for Al Roker types, Weeblock is the perfect gift for former mascots. And Disney cast members. And plushies. [thanks, Kara.]

Weeblocks, animation, crib bumpers, and Matt Lauer are all at Sozo's site.
Buy Weeblocks for $10 or the giftset for $30 at totshop.com
Buy Don't Make Me Stop This Car: Adventures in Fatherhood, by Al Roker, at Amazon.

September 6, 2004

"Lessons learned from the deaths of poor Frank and little Mary, who had the canker-rash. Originally from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 64, iss. 384, pp. 822-824, May 1882. By William H. Beard."

Two quotes:

There had been some hills opened for early potatoes, and many, too small for use, lay scattered about upon the loose earth. The thought struck me, what if little children prematurely torn from life, should also be discarded as useless, and then fell to crying again, and Fido licked away my tears...

When I told her of the metaphor of the small potatoes, a faint smile played about her features for a moment; then she asked me if I did not remember what the Saviour had said of little children, and of His love for them. I was greatly comforted; and Fido, who sat by with anxious, inquiring look, seeing my brightened expression, capered about for joy.

"About the Author: William H. Beard (1824-1900) was known for his lithographic renderings of dancing bears."

A Child's First Impressions of Death [Harpers.org]

punkrockbaby.jpgI know it's great, and the kids love it and all, but I'm just not into all the folk-y music. And while I support hemp in theory, I'm not ready to limit my kid to Paul Simon's CD series of Lullabies From Any Culture But Your Own. So I've been wondering, why there aren't lullaby versions of rock, grunge, hip hop, Bjork, hell, even Grandmaster Flash, anything besides folk music.

Be careful what you wish for. Because Punk Rock Baby might have it. It's a lullaby cover version nirvana--or hell, depending on your tolerance for glockenspiels. Smells Like Teen Spirit's on Rock Baby; Don't You Want Me? and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax are on 80's Baby. Bjork is on Dance Baby; and yes, White Lines is on Hip-Hop Baby.

Clearly, some tracks survive the transition to the nursery better than others. As far as I can tell, they're all lyrics-free, just ready for you to sing along. So if you're confident that your organ-backed karaoke rendition of Gangsta's Paradise will help shape your kid's musical taste in a positive way, stop wasting precious time.

Get over to Punk Rock Baby and order up your CD's now. They're 8.99 each, plus shipping.
Punk Rock Baby CD is also available as an import from Amazon for $18.49

cletus_fetopia.jpgI can't believe I haven't posted this before. Fetopia is not only the home of the original Cletus the Fetus, but of a small, small world of feti, all handmade from sculpey clay and ready for...well, I bought about twenty of them last year for no reason, and I still can't figure out what to do with them. They come with holes, so you can thread them like beads, or without; and now they're available in a beautiful mosiac of skin tones.

I DO know that they were unwelcome lying around the coffee table while my wife was pregnant. For some reason, she did not think a little bug-eyed clay fetus in a sombrero was a helpful visual. But they're so cuuuuuute. And now several of the ones I bought last year have been retired, so I'm sure they'll be a great investment.

Buy fistfuls of feti, including the feti of the world at fetopia.net
Buy feto-embedded soap at fetosoap.com
feti feti feti

thula_project_cd.jpgThis CD takes its name from "Thula Mntwana," the Zulu version of that mid-night staple of new parents everywhere, "Hush Little Baby." Have you heard it? It goes a little something like this:

"Hush little baby don't you cry/ Mama will buy you a horse and cart/ If the horse and cart breaks down/ You will still be my beautiful child... [Hush little kid, it's sleepin' time/Guess Zulu lullabies don't have to rhyme or fit in meter]"

Anyway, those lyrics are from the liner notes translations. The fifteen tracks are sung in a dozen different languages [not that there are 180 tracks, I mean that--oy.] by as many different artists.

WorldVision has a radio feature story on the album which includes interviews with a few of the artists, the producer Philip Miller, and clips from several songs. It's pretty cool. [listen to the mp3 here]

One song, "Railway," sounds pretty depressing; it about South African men who have to leave their families to find work. It goes, "The railway makes me crazy/ because it takes away my babies' father."

Here's a review from the SA Sunday Times, and a shorter one from the Mail & Guardian.

You can order The Thula Project from SA music site Kalahari.net for R150 (about $US23) plus shipping, or from Buy Music Here, a non-profit which supports public radio in the US, for $28.95 [yeah, wonder how those options are gonna break out].

An incomplete list of nicknames given to the little fetus by expecting moms and dads, culled from the UrbanBaby message boards:

Cookie Pie Face
Rice ("b/c the lady who did my ultrasound said, 'like a piece of rice'")
Tic Tac ("b/c when I had my first US that's what it looked like - a tic tac w/a heartbeat")
Bean ("In the first few weeks, I'd talk to my belly 'grow, bean, grow'")
The Bunny
Wiggle Worm

Buddy ("but he also calls the cat 'Buddy'")
The Little Nipper ("we've subconsciously shortened it to 'Nip'")
Peaches ("He used to call me that, but has transferred it to the baby...At least it's not 'Apple.'")
The Baby {"he's too superstitious to call it anything else")
The Alien
Hong Kong Phooey

September 4, 2004

pee-pee_teepee.jpgIf you're the type who can't say "urination" or "penis," 1) I don't know what you're doing on this site, and 2) the Pee-Pee Teepee for Sprinkling Wee-Wees is for you.

Stop draping a diaper wipe or washcloth over your baby boy's genitalia so you don't get sprayed during diaper changes. Instead, use one of these Canadian-made fabric cones. The Teepees are sold out at at least two of the three online retailers that stock them, so either the manufacturer's got the unwanted urination market by the balls, or they're out of business.

[Hey Inventors, if you're just waiting for the right time to launch that Golden Shower Cap idea, now's your chance.]

Buy a 5-pack of Pee-Pee Teepees, by Urban Baby Designs, $11.50 at Raindog, while supplies last.

jadzia_dax.jpg, via www.trillworld.deAny name's fine, as long as it's Jadzia. Also popular: B'elanna, and Seven (of Nine). i.e., all the alien hottie characters.

Let me go on record here: any Star Trek name is going to be several circles deeper in taunting hell than a non-space-based soap opera name. Also, naming a child after the fictional object of your unrequited lust is gonna have complications all its own. And if Star Trek's taught us anything, it's that you can't go back and undo your mistake without disrupting the space-time continuum and making things worse. You have been warned.


Most popular name among Usenet Trekkers: Jadzia and Kira are up, Wesley's down. (Granted, most of these people are lingering in a cat-naming stage of life. The illogic of naming one child 7 of 9 is noted.)

Adoption Forum: "He claims that it is a cross between 'Jade' (Beautiful stone) and 'Zia' (Wonderful gift)."

Also: "My father-in-law looks through his Star Trek book [probably Michael Okuda's Star Trek Encyclopedia, called by some impassioned types, "the best reference book ever, of any kind." -dt] whenever there is a new baby on the way."

kirk_cameron.jpg, via imdb.comTrekBBS: "My ex-gf, who hates Star Trek (but that's not the reason we broke up) wanted to name our daughter Annika if we ever had one. When I told her that was Seven's human name, you should have seen her eyes roll."

Bonus, and proving my point: Kirk Cameron (b. Oct. 12, 1970) was named after Capt. Kirk, by his Star Trek-loving parents. The series ran from Sept. 8, 1966 until June 3, 1969, when it was canceled. You do the math.

Why get hung up on this stuff on a beautiful Saturday morning? I wanted to try and understand the parent who would let his kid wear a pair of booties made of tribbles.

Yo! My Booties [$58.00 at Psychobaby, a Parent Company, via BabyChic101]
The Trouble With Tribbles [Orig. Series, via BBC]
The Star Trek Dictionary, by Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda, and Debbie Mirek [buy the hardback for $40.80 at Amazon. Sure to be an heirloom.]

Running down the slippery naming slope here.

Anyone could name their kid Cooper, but if you want to name him that because you loved BASEketball, The cult film fansite, Mutant Reviewers From Hell, has a baby name list for you. So far, two MRFH parents have come forward to admit they've named kids after a character in Hackers (Dade).

Some names (Ferris, Shrek, Fletch) would need more justification than explanation. Others (Deckard, Spicoli) sound like names for fans on autopilot. Some are the baby name equivalent of getting a nonsensical kanji tattoo (Storm?? Dude, her name is Ororo).

But trust me, if your son has to go through life explaining how his parents named him after a character in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Death will come for you. And it won't be pretty.

The Book of Mutant Baby Names [MRFH]

September 3, 2004

baby_smurf.gifWhen I lived in France, I was shopping for a used Citroen Deux Chevaux (only the coolest car in the world). One ad I called about, the lady said, "yes, it's white, with schtroumpf painted on it." "What's that?" "Schtroumpf ? They're blue." Ah, must be French for "stripes," I thought. Over the years, Citroen took to issuing limited edition versions of the 2CV in different colors. One of the best-looking was the France 3, which commemorated the country's entry in the America's Cup yacht race.

Only when I went to see the car did I learn that it's actually French for Smurfs. If only the floor didn't have holes so big you could see the road, I might be driving that car to this day, with its knee-high, beatifully hand-painted Smurfs all over it. But enough about me.

In other news, Bugaboo is testing the limited edition waters. The company has teamed up with the Dutch Fashion Foundation to create Bugaboo By..., a series of exclusive Bugaboo Frogs designed by some of the Netherlands' hottest young designers. Together, they're promoting Bugaboo as "a traveling medium for creative statements."


They've only announced one designer so far, a relative newcomer, Bas Kosters. But rather than Citroen, Bugaboo seems inspired by another model: Louis Vuitton's limited edition bags by designers like Stephen Sprouse and artists like Takashi Murakami. When done well, such collaborations energize the original brand while creating something truly original in itself.

Frankly, Bugaboo seems like such an industrial design-focused brand, my own instinct is to pair it with architects, not designers; plenty of renowned Dutch architects come immediately to mind. But it'll be interesting to see how it evolves.

Visit the Bugaboo By... website and register for email updates. Kosters' version is scheduled for release in 2005.

[thanks, Patty!]

These names are acceptable if your child is born with pointy ears, hairy feet, or an obviously orc-like face. Dwarf-like doesn't cut it because, let's face it, they all come out looking a bit like dwarves.

Lord of The Ring baby names [via waxy]

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