The media is all afire this week about the “God particle”. Which is both hilarious and annoying. Hilarious because listening to journalists – who studied journalism & English & other non-particle-physics things, mostly – are now essentially being forced to a) understand and b) synthesize for a layman audience high-level particle physics and quantum mechanics. And it’s cracking my shit up. However, it’s also annoying, because the thing is not called the God particle by actual scientists. It’s called the “Higgs boson” and is named for the genius who first postulated its existence, University of Edinburgh physicist Peter Higgs.
As an agnostic married to an atheist, this is bothersome. The Higgs boson has nothing to do with proving the existence of God or any other creative force. I honestly feel like calling it the “God particle” does a disservice to the thousands of scientists around the world who spent two generations researching and experimenting this question. It feels very “this will generate page clicks! and ratings! SCIENTISTS IN WEIRD SWISS BUNKER DISCOVER GOD!!” to me.
A hot topic of conversation on the internets lately is whether or not people should take their young children to see “Brave”. Now, I personally really want to see it – but my kids have zero interest. Less than zero, even. The trailers don’t thrill them, none of their friends have seen it… it’s just not part of their particular wee zeitgeist right now. “Madagascar 3”, on the other hand, they are BEGGING for. And I just can’t. I can’t! I’ve seen that stupid clip with the Chris Rock zebra singing “afro circus” over and over again, and heard them singing it approximately 60 squillion times, and I just refuse to endorse any movie that gives young kids a reason to be repetitive and annoying.
I think a lot of the hand-wringing over “Brave” might be a bit misplaced. Pixar doesn’t make kids’ movies, I’d argue. I mean, sometimes they do – I’m looking at you, Lightning MacQueen, you merchandising juggernaut bastard – but “Wall-E”, “Up”, and “The Incredibles” speak more to adults than kids, once you get past the pretty colours. I think it just shows how desperate parents are for enjoyable family entertainment that we’ll all drop $50 to go see a movie with our kids when we don’t know much about it. We learned that lesson when we took the boys to see “Rango” last year; Ron was in hysterics five minutes in, Harry five minutes after that, and we left so early that the movie theatre actually refunded our tickets because we didn’t get to see anything. We actually went back another night, just the two of us, and we loved it – but it is not a children’s movie. It’s a movie that happens to be animated. It’s a valid form of expression although I think studios need to do a better job of choosing their audience and then marketing to it. From everything I’ve heard, “Brave” would be a good one for pre-teen daughters to see with their parents – and that’s a big demographic, too. Let those of us with younger kids see “Ice Age: Continental Drift”.
I’ve mentioned on Twitter a time or two that I’m spending a portion of every day this summer working with Harry, letting him explore topics that interest him at his own pace and reading level while I supervise and ask questions to make sure he is actually comprehending what he reads. We’re also tackling some new skills for him, too. So far he’s requested Greek mythology, human organs, math (especially multiplication), cooking, dinosaurs, and astronomy. This week he’s read the myths of Pandora’s box, Persephone’s capture by Hades, and the story of Hercules’ twelve labours. He also made a crab and mushroom quiche and is teaching Ron to play Junior Monopoly.
I’ve had people ask me how I’m approaching it, and so far I’m just pointing him in the general direction of things he’s interested in and then just getting out of his way. Yesterday I found an interactive quiz on the Percy Jackson series; since he’s read them a bunch of times I thought it would be interesting to see how much he’s retained or understood. He aced the quiz and now we’re planning a trip to the library for more books. :p
Michael’s 20 year high school reunion is in a month’s time, and I’m already horribly nervous about it. Although I think I hide it pretty well, I’m very anxious in social situations, particularly when surrounded by a bunch of high-functioning overachievers who’ve known my husband longer than I have. It manifests itself as laughing too loud, telling inappropriate stories, and eventually hiding in a corner nursing a drink and waiting to go home. So, there’s that.
How about you guys? What’s new with you?