Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Have a coke and a smile

I grew up watching a lot of television. It's not that I  didn't play outside or read books - I did all of that too - but TV time was together time in my family. We would all pile into my parents' room and watch our shows (you know, Starsky & Hutch, CHiPs, The A Team, Eight is Enough, Donny & Marie...). As good as the shows were back then, sometimes I think the commercials were our favorite part. A 30 second spot could make us laugh or cry like no one's business. Just thinking about the California raisins, where's the beef, nothin' but net, the little boy telling Mean Joe Green. "really, you can have it" and Mean Joe saying, "hey kid, catch"... ahhh...good times! Fast forward to now; we are the DVR generation. How did a generation of commercial lovers become the generation that will pay any price to avoid commercials? This is consistent with my general sense that most of us are racing through life and need to find a way to slow down. It's all about using up as little precious time as possible and if the mission is to watch a television show then it's optimal to reduce the time dedicated by eliminating the commercial breaks.Truth is, though, when I watch TV with my kids, we still delight in commercials. Granted, some of them are awful, but that just makes us laugh more. It makes me sad for some of the people who are missing out. Of course,
they can always catch up on YouTube. Or they can meet the aliens in Jon Scieszka's Spaceheadz series who talk like walking advertisements. "Think outside the bun" says the alien named Bob when young Michael K meets him at the beginning of the book. With Jon Scieszka's genius for getting kids, his talent for writing and his amazing, wacky sense of humor, you can only imagine where this is going. And you'll have a lot of fun going there. Spaceheadz is recommended for kids ages 7-10 but will probably still appeal to 11 and 12 year old who want to laugh. The book has a companion website where kids can sign up to be spaceheadz and help save the world. "Priceless," said Bob (Spaceheadz, p. 151).

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