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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Scholarfied

"Summertime, the TV viewing is awful.
All my favorite shows are repeats or they're gone.
The stuff they put on now should be declared unlawful.
So, it's time to go out and play in the back lawn."

George and Ira must be rolling over in their graves.

I was flicking through the channels the other morning and came across a televised broadcast of a radio interview of a guy talking about a book (talk about mixed media). The theme of the book was that parents of this generation are more likely to keep their kids inside than ever before (and the kids are more acclimated to the indoors, playing with computers, watching TV, and having play dates) than previous generations. A greater fear of strangers on the part of parents feeds into this as well. The question: how is that group of kids going to respond to needs to protect the (outside) environment when they grow up? The answer: I don't know; as I said, I was just flicking through.

There is actually ONE summer show I should admit that Carol and I started watching a couple weeks ago. It's called "The Scholar," on Mondays at 8 p.m. (EDT) on ABC. The premise is that 10 high school seniors, five males and five females, are competing for a full-ride scholarship to the university of his or her choice. Like "The Apprentice", the groups are divided into two teams who are assigned tasks to do in a limited amount of time. Unlike "The Apprentice", no one gets "fired" or even "voted off the island." The three best at the task are given a topic, such as African geography (from last week), and given three or four hours to study before being tested, spelling-bee style. The winner of that round gets a $50,000 scholarship and the right to compete for the full ride.

I suppose we enjoy it because these teens are so positive in wanting to make a difference in the world (being President, curing cancer). Their task last week involved helping a couple Boys/Girls Club-type centers. Among other criteria, they were judged on how much they engaged the kids they were helping in the process.

This week's show involves putting together a jigsaw map of the U.S. states as the test. Naturally, I've only seen the last week's previews (except for sports and news, my TV watching's almost always on tape because of the child), but I'd have done really well on that test. I spent hours and hours playing with similar puzzles as a child. I recognized that Alabama and Mississippi were mirror images, from the way they both have too short a panhandle for the size of the state (cf. Florida or Oklahoma.) Vermont and New Hampshire, very different states politically, are also mirror images in jigsaw puzzles. The hardest states to place were Colorado and Wyoming, practically the same size (8th and 9th largest states, respectively) and shape.

I'm suddenly feeling very nostalgic. Guess what a little 15-month old I know will be getting in a couple years?

***

Probably NOT the new Bobby Zimmerman CD from Starbucks.

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