Nursery University, or WTF is wrong with New Yorkers

Well, I say “New Yorkers” like they were all the same, but that’s my prerogative as a guy from L.A. Really, of course, I’m referring to Manhattanites, who are like our West Siders: Wealthy, mostly white, socially conscious, status seeking, etc.

Not sure they’re competing for spots in nursery school for their kids, though, which is what Nursery University is about. This documentary follows around some of these people as they navigate the overcrowded pre-school system in the hopes of pawning their spawn off on somebody.

Sorry. That was needlessly snarky. But I couldn’t help but feel that some of these kids would be better off at home. Mostly, though, I found myself marveling at how old everyone was. This is not just prejudice, although I’d be surprised if any of the white folk were under 40. And one woman had twins at 57!

Isn’t that nice? She’s single, 57 and has twins, one of whom (the boy) pretty clearly has a brain injury. That’s gonna be fun when she’s 70 and he starts going through puberty.

The big question I had was whether these particular schools actually offer, you know, better education, or if it was just a matter of prestige in getting in and paying for them? It’s not addressed clearly in the documentary but it’s hard to believe that there aren’t some reasonably good $15,000/semester schools that might be nearly as good. Or even $12,000. Laws of supply and demand being what they are, I couldn’t figure out what the supply was so small given the degree of the demand. (According to one admittance person, the demand has been going on for five years. Certainly enough time for more schools to open up.)

The pre-school people themselves are quick to point out that the value of the nursery school education, while not insignificant (in some impossible to quantify way) is certainly exaggerated. This doesn’t seem to encourage them to expand, but curiously, it also doesn’t seem to encourage them to raise prices.

I suppose this is very indicative of my mindset. Normal economics just didn’t seem to be in play. Making things more confusing was the fact that most schools used a lottery for admission! So, how prestigious could it be to get into a place that selects (at least in part) through sheer randomity?

And then I had a stylistic question, documentary-wise. When the kids that get into their schools do get in, was triumphant music really in order? I mean, what is it we’ve witnessed here, exactly? People who have chosen to live in this strange place, by these strange rules, have achieved some sort of victory.

So. Yay for them.

The minority couple from Harlem got into a school, too, along with some financial aid. But I just wasn’t clear on what this was buying them.

This is probably because I’m not from Manhattan. And don’t think much of status-based education. But I know this can end up being big money and opportunities, so I really had a hard time loathing the parents. Even the guy who seemed really gay and his South American wife were ultimately endearing. Though one can’t help but hope that they wouldn’t end up warping their poor children–particularly the family that relocated because their child wasn’t accepted into nursery school.

It’s a strange, distorted world. But, hey, it supplies “Law & Order” with plenty of plots.

Nice documentary. Not great. Left a lot of unanswered questions. But an interesting peek into that particular, peculiar world.

Gun Play

Guns are popular around Casastrom which is largely due to The Boy. I’ve done some gun blogging before–click here or on the “weapons” tag–but if I’ve written about The Boy as a driving force here, I can’t find it.

Basically, I never had a toy gun until I started hanging out a lot with my friend who had a lot of toy guns, and I never held a real gun till I was about 30. And then only once. The Boy, however, loves weapons of all kinds, not least of all guns, so now we go shooting.

I’ve gotten worse over the years. I’m getting a little better over time, but I’m more subject to the whims of the day. (We go at night, so sometimes I’m tired when we get there.) The Boy, naturally, gets better and better. (With the occasional odd day where he’s way off, though not so much since he’s gotten his sugar under control.)

Last night, he selected a .22 pistol, which misfired like crazy–and it was the only .22 pistol around, so we swapped it for a .22 rifle. Rifles, of course, are easier to aim than pistols. Submitted for you scorn is my target:
The grouped ones, near-ish the center were done with the rifle. The wilder ones were the pistol.

And now, The Boy’s:
The green and yellow shots around the heart were from the pistol. The pinkish holes were from the pistol. And his paper was curling in while he was shooting. Despite this, he put his last few shots through Bambi’s head. The big holes in the heart come from shooting in the same place over and over again. The long streaky hole in the comes from the bullet’s trajectory matching the curl of the paper.

This is probably the best he’s ever done, which made me scratch my head a bit since we really haven’t gone much this year. But The Boy has himself some BB and air guns that he loves and shoots around the backyard, so I wonder if that’s part of the improvement.

Now I just have to figure out how to set him up a lane where he can practice with his throwing knives and such.

In For A Penny, In For A Pounding

I might as well go full NSFW here–well, not me, but this site which details WWII sexual psyops. The various countries embroiled in WWII used (or tried to use) sexual suggestions to demoralize enemy troops.

This site details the perversion, the anti-semitism, and the psychology used on your (great?)grand-parents to get them to surrender or turn back. In this day of “2 girls 1 cup” (never seen it, thanks) these pictures seem positively quaint, but they’re not all blurred out so beVARE (as Bela Lugosi would say).

Interestingly, the author’s thesis is that these psychological attacks had the reverse effect. The men would use the naked girl pictures as pin-ups. This tells you something very basic and true about beauty, if true. The picture–the promise of beauty, love and sex–completely overrides any text.

In the soldier’s mind, it’s the girl he’s fighting for. And since she’s in his mind, he’s not likely to believe any of your libelous statements about her. She’s Rita Hayworth in The Strawberry Blonde or Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not or maybe even Judy Garland in Love Finds Andy Hardy.

You’re likely to just make him mad by suggesting anything else.

Palette Cleanser: A Totally Sexist and Inappropriate Objectification of a Woman Who, Through Sheer Genetic Chance

…or perhaps surgery, is rather more well-endowed than most.

Yes, that’s what my doctor looked like, except she had a way better butt. (Also, she was middle-eastern.)

Again, though, it’s her medical advice I’m following. So, maybe Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist isn’t conpletely absurd. Well, someone who looks like her, anyway.

More On More: Beauty and Sexuality (Update at bottom)

Although the point of my tennis post was obviously to take a poke at Darcysport (who was my 25,000th visitor, by the way, thanks, Dar!), my return to the local clinic for the ear infection from hell, prompted me with one of those “let’s take a closer look at those breasts” moments so common for the Althouse commentariat. (Weirdly, Althouse doesn’t come up first for that phrase on Google, but someone linking to her iconic post does.)

The thing is, the doctor was stackedd with a double-D. I guess it was casual dress day, because she was wearing a form fitting sweater and tight jeans (which she also filled out spectacularly). There was nothing especially provocative about the outfit; it was simply her figure. What’s more, it was the sort of outfit that wouldn’t even have registered a blip on a less curvy woman.

Now, obviously, I didn’t pull a Tex Avery Wolf thing. She’s the junior in this medical partnership, I think, but she’s been pushing a different approach from the head doc. And one that my other nutrionist-nee-MD agrees with, so I respect that.

But there’s an interesting mix of life’s unfairness all in this one little encounter. It’s not fair that a woman, by virtue of her figure, risks being reduced to that figure, despite being an MD. It’s also not fair that women get to be the sole arbiters of whether a glance is welcome flattery or perverted lust. Life is a lot less pleasant for everyone as a result, I think.

Large Breasts confer certain benefits on their possessors–er, when they’re women–but also bring with them a lot of liabilities which can be particularly difficult for girls who develop early, since they also bring an appearance of maturity. (We’ll just assume for the sake of a pleasant illusion that the pigs who leer and catcall after a girl would refrain if they knew she was eleven.)

And other girls (or even fully grown women) seem eager to impute to large breasts sexual promiscuity. Males, as well, but while they do it out of wishful thinking, females do it (apparently) out of jealousy. And not just promiscuity, but shallowness and stupidity.

I remember a friend of mine who worked as a bank teller telling me that a female bank robber had been very successful robbing banks in low-cut blouses, because the male tellers she would select couldn’t describe her face. (She was allegedly caught when she selected a gay male teller.) This is probably apocryphal, and certainly more reflective upon men than women.

Then there’s stuff like this from F My Life:

Today, I was buying an expensive pillow for my mother from a store clerk who wouldn’t stop staring at my boobs. After paying, I saw an elderly lady who had dropped a bag, so I walked to help. I walked back to the clerk, who refused to believe I paid. The reason? He didn’t recognize my face. FML

So, what does one do with the yin-and-yang here? Men are going to desire; women are going to envy. Desire and envy make a mess of a lot of things. (The solution is probably some combination of manners and logic, but if those two things ever took hold, breast ogling would be near the bottom of the list of important bad behaviors curbed.)

And it’s not just breast size, but beauty. Media Lizzy writes on the perils of being beautiful, in particular as it relates to the Miss California case, and links to Melissa Clouthier on the same topic. I don’t necessarily agree with either of them, but I do know that all beautiful women are plagued to some degree with assumptions of limitations in other ways.

Hell, I know women who dowdify themselves (in the sense of “make dowdy”, having nothing to do with Maureen Dowd) in order to be taken seriously. (Then there is the Buddhist tale of the beautiful woman who scarred her face in order to be accepted into study, having previously been denied for being a potential distraction.)

I’ve been struggling with this post for a while, I think because I have no particularly profound insight–or even anything that rises above the banal. I like beauty; I particularly like feminine beauty. Prejudice, whether pro- or anti-beauty disturbs me.

But it doesn’t surprise me that certain political elements seek to destroy what is beautiful. A devotion to beauty, like love, sex, family, religion and God, are things that the state cannot control. And what the state cannot control, it seeks to destroy.

Update: And how fitting that while I pondered this list, Playboy.com published a list of 10 women whose ideas (being right of center) were so appallingly hateful, it diminished their true value as sexual objects. Way to go Playboy!
And let’s just round (heh) this out with a study that purports to tell what a woman is like (including how she feels about sex) based on her breast shape. Enough of the shapes are women who don’t like sex to make me think it’s based on the researcher’s personal exprience.