[BlogEntry] The Physics of Baby Stories

Over the last week or so we got a chance to visit with two different sets of recently married friends. One just had a baby, and one just found out they're expecting a baby. In both conversations the following idea came up, so I thought I'd blog about it. That idea is this:

For every baby story someone tells you, you are going to learn that you'll experience that exact story, and yet it will be completely unique to you.

Here's the problem. Once you either get pregnant or have a baby, people are going to come out of the woodwork to tell you what to expect. Most people are not courteous enough to properly tell "here's what happened to us" stories, they will tell you "here's what's going to happen to you" stories. These stories are well intentioned. They want to bond with you over the shared experience you're about to have. They want to help by imparting their wisdom based on their own experience.

However, it's logical for you to get defensive over it, because for someone to tell you what you're going to experience (as well as how you're going to feel and react) before it ever happens, well, that makes it seem like they're taking the experience away from you. It lessens the anticipation. Your natural instinct is to say "Not me!" and then, even if it does play out exactly as the person told you it would, your subconscious can't even see it because darnit you want the experience to be yours, not this other person's. The problem with this is that you're isolating yourself from what should be a great support community. You just had a baby, for pete's sake, and you want to distance yourself from other people with babies? Not a good idea. You should want to bring them closer so that when you need to say Help! they're there for you.

Hence the paradox. Much like light exists as both wave and particle (physics, see?), baby stories exist in both past and future. They happened, past tense, to me. They will happen, future tense, to you. The great thing is that they will still be similar enough that you should feel fine saying, "Yup, that happened to me too!" while at the same time being able to tell the story as if it was yours to begin with. They're handed down from parent to parent. But I'm not handing down "The story of when Elizabeth threw up three times at 4am", I'm handing down the story of "My kid threw up in the middle of the night." It was handed down to me. You'll hand it down to somebody else.

Nobody has claim to baby stories. Telling you one does not lessen your own ability to tell it for your own situation. Each version of the story is as valuable as the next one. When you tell them, tell them with that in mind. And when you're being forced to listen to them, keep that in mind as well. The storyteller simply wants to have some common ground to share with you. You don't have to push the person away for that. You'll probably find yourself in the role of storyteller soon enough.

[BlogEntry] American Inventor : The Second Season

American Inventor is coming back!

I'm glad to see the show returning, but I hope they make some changes. I really enjoyed the early rounds where we got to see a wide variety of inventions. But all the stupid sob stories were too much to bear. If you didn't break down crying at the end of each round, you were eliminated. Sad, really, and not in the way the producers intended I'm sure.

More Doug Hall, as well. The man is incredibly annoying, but he also happens to know what he's talking about. He's a professional idea guy. So stop with the vignettes about how he thinks he knows it all, and just let him give advice to the inventors that might actually be useful.

[BlogEntry] Disney Loses Key Battle Over Winnie The Pooh

Any fan of classic literature has got to be frustrated by the Disney-fication of eventually all children's classics. When we decorated Katherine's nursery we told people that the theme was "classic Pooh" rather than "Disney Pooh". If you didn't realize that, you do not. All of them – not just Cinderella and Snow White, but Sleeping Beauty and Little Mermaid too, all are old public domain stories that Disney has sanitized and merchandised. Some of them are actually better in the original, if you ask me. Read the original Sleeping Beauty some time and then see how dumbed down the Disney version is.

Anyway, this post is not about princesses, it's about the sordid history of Winnie the Pooh and Disney's recent loss in that war. You see, the rights to Pooh are technically owned by the Slesinger family, who purchased them from A.A. Milne back in 1930. In 1961 the family signed a deal with Disney to market Pooh, and receive royalties. However around 1991 it appears that the deal went south, and Disney just stopped making the royalty payments. It's worth noting that Pooh around this time surpassed Mickey Mouse as Disney's biggest money maker. But, hey, they're Disney, they're above the law, right?
Like Scientology or Microsoft they can just throw paperwork and lawyers at the problem until the other party just goes away.

In 2002 some granddaughters of Milne and Shepard appeared out of nowhere and tried to file a copyright claim to the characters which would essentially have erased Slesinger's complaint against Disney (since they would never have had the right to license Pooh in the first place). Disney was not technically a part of that lawsuit, but basically they funded the whole thing. They said that they would pay the granddaughters' costs, as long as, if they won, the granddaughters also signed their rights over to Disney. That's practically Asimov's grandfather paradox, if you think about it. How evil do they have to be to even think of sometihng like that? We can't think of a reason why we shouldn't have to pay this deal we signed…I know! We'll go back in time and fix it so that they never had the rights to do the deal in the first place! Mwahahahah!

Only problem is, as of Thursday, it didn't work. The judge threw it out. Apparently in 1983 one of the surviving Milne's did indeed know about and approve of, on paper, the Slesinger deal. So she couldn't then swoop in and say "No deal."

Want an idea of just how big the Disney marketing juggernaut is? Apparently the Slesinger's are owed somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion dollars in royalties. Billion. Have a nice day.

[BlogEntry] Dancing with the Stars : Season 4 Cast Announced

The official cast list has been announced. Since I'd been keeping a running list of the rumors already, I posted the official details over here.

[BlogEntry] American Idol 2/20 : 12 Men Enter, 2 Men Leave

Before the show I'd read a quote from Simon who said, "The boys are lucky that it's split into two groups, otherwise we'd have all girls this year."  Now I'm well aware that every word out of Simon's mouth is crafted for publicity, but it certainly sounds like he's saying the men are pretty weak. I thought they were better this year, but maybe that's me confusing their characters and personalities from their singing talent .  The show was pretty boring.  More than half of the men are so generic I can barely remember their names.  For some of them I had to watch the "How he got here" vignette to refresh my memory, and still didn't recognize him.

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[Comment] Re: Scrubs Quotes : My Perspective

Eh. I left that one off because it's basically just an advertisement. Big deal. I thought "duct tape five" was funnier.

[Comment] Re: Scrubs Quotes : My Perspective

Turk looks at Todd's shirt.
Turk: What the hell is thetoddtime.com
Todd: Log on and thank me later! Cyber five. Send, dude!