May 24, 2016

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Aaron Krach, Indestructible Artifact #19 (Swaddle), 2014, image aaronkrach.com

A few days ago I spotted this awesome screenprinted hospital blanket on the website of New York artist and writer Aaron Krach. It was a little Lawrence Weiner, a little Gene Davis, and a lot of #nurseryswaggoals. There was a title, Indestructible Artifact #19 (Swaddle), and a date, 2014, but I thought there might be a story. And there is. And since Aaron tells it better than I can recap it, here it is:

A few hours after my son Jack was born he started breathing awkwardly. Within minutes he was taken to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Quite simply, his lungs did not work properly and the doctors started a series of treatments. The doctors never figured out why. Nothing had gone wrong during pregnancy or delivery, and actually, we we still don't know why his lungs didn't work; they just didn't.

After two days, Jack was not improving and the hospital ran out of options. We had to move him uptown to the NICU at Columbia Presbyterian. They do ECMO, which is a fantastic and terrifying procedure where a refrigerator-size unit takes over the work of ailing lungs. After six days Jack and his lungs showed enough improvement that he could come off the machine.

His parents breathed a massive sigh of relief, and immediately started the next phase, a slow-but-steady recovery. At this point, a nurse or a doctor--unfortunately I can't remember who--told us the phrase now printed on the blanket: "Each day, each day a little bit different." It became a bit of a refrain or mantra that carried us through.

Ultimately we spent a month in the NICU before Jack was strong enough to come home. I became obsessed with the baby blankets in the hospital. The style is ubiquitous. So I decided to combine the phrase and the blankets together.

At first I hoped to make gifts for the doctors and nurses that saved Jack. But over the last year, they have become popular with parents in general or people looking for something different to give a new parent.

Finally, and this may be embarrassing to admit, especially because Jack is crazy-healthy and happy. He will be 2 years old in July. But his mom Helen, Jack's other dad Blake, and me still find ourselves muttering this line to each other every once in a while. Luckily now it's in regards to something completely unrelated to Jack's lungs.

On his site Aaron calls the blanket one of "a series of 23 (so far) projects that are finished and unfinished. Through use, they can be completed and finished, in a different way." And though they're technically an artwork-Aaron produced them in an edition of 50-the idea is that people will actually use them, break them in, and then tuck them away for later.

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That said, they also look awesome framed. Thanks to Aaron and his whole family for sharing their story.

Each Day A Little Bit... - screenprint on hospital blanket, ed. 50, by Aaron Krach [aaronkrach]

May 18, 2016

On this, the 36th anniversary of Ian Curtis's death, let's all take a few minutes to rewatch the incredible stop motion animated Playmobil version of Joy Division's 1979 performance of "Transmission." Here it is.

This video, created through extraordinary effort by SoftwareDR and Homecoming Films, was originally featured on Daddy Types in 2011, when we all thought the smiles would never end. A year later it was named to The Atlantic's Video of the Year playlist, which also featured behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the filmmakers, whose YouTube channel was filled with other Playmobil stop motion music videos.

And now they're all gone. All the links are, like Curtis, dead. Enjoy it while you can.

Playmobil Stop Motion Joy Division Transmission 720p [youtube via @idontlikewords]
Previously: And We Would Go On As Though Nothing Was Wrong

May 5, 2016

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Painters in the Renaissance developed techniques of linear perspective in order to illusionistically depict three-dimensional space on a flat, 2-D surface. Over the centuries we have become accustomed to "reading" these visual cues as depth and distance, even though they can seem disorienting or illogical.

One of these techniques is called foreshortening, and it involves exaggerating the size of an object closer to you, in the foreground, while making objects in the middle- or background smaller. We know this is not "true," of course, but we can enjoy a picture by a great artist and marvel at the illusion that, say, a high-booted pixie is somehow pushing a Stokke Trailz stroller as big as a golf cart through the Frieze NY art fair.

New York's realest housewife pushing New York's Yuugest Stokke stroller, by babascholler [instagram]
Check out the Stokke Trailz stroller and carrycot on Amazon for $1299 and up [amazon]

April 27, 2016

Are you planning on dying before you can bank some sperm that will enable your baby mama to conceive after you're gone, and you want to know the country and/or state with the most favorable or flexible legal and medical system in place? Well, except that you're dead, you're in luck, because Jenny Morber has pulled together an exhaustive article about post-mortem sperm harvesting, preservation, and conception around the world.

Even if this is not on your radar, don't worry: sperm is apparently viable for up to 48 hours after you're dead, so your family will have some time to decide what to do with it.

As you could imagine [but maybe haven't!], the field has come a long way since the 1970s when a California fertility doctor was asked to give a politician's brain dead son a handjob.

What Happens To A Dead Man's Sperm? [digg]

One weekend last fall Stanford CS doctoral student Andrej Karpathy decided to create a neural net that generated baby names. He fed in a list of 8,000 actual baby names, and the net iterated 8,000 results, 90% of which were new.

I literally grabbed a chunk at random, and then scrolled down until I had to stop. Jean-Xelly is great. Xelly would be a badass variation of Shelly, or when she's in her rebel futurist phase, the kid could go with Zelly.

Jatuddey
Climh
Stera
Xileh
Jonnie
Sankie
Rossell
Gie
Wolmonh
Aloria
Sveth
Cristam
Demas
Elwis
Aderic
Ilmah
Cedella
Jean-Xelly

Anyway, this name generating technique would work equally well for naming 8,000 MMORPG characters, or 8,000 tweet botnet accounts as for naming 8,000 babies of the future. The limit is just your imagination.

#RandomExperimentSundays: LSTM Baby Name Generator [AndrejKarpathy's g+, via @caseyg]
namesGenUnique.txt [cs.stanford.edu]

April 10, 2016

Amazingly, a 63-year-old man whose life and livelihood have centered on grooming boys into men who pummel the shit out of each other for the enrichment of the oligarchy and the amusement of the sclerotic masses is not inclined to support his sport's demise.

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told a sports radio station in Phoenix that football, which causes brain damage, dementia, and early death, is "the best game that's ever been f-ing€” invented, and we got to make sure that moms get the message; because that's who's afraid of our game right now. It's not dads, it's moms."

Actually, moms are just the offensive line; there are plenty of dads (including this one) who think letting a kid play youth football is irresponsible-to-negligent. But the only one who sounds scared right now is the coach.

Bruce Arians says football is 'being attacked' by moms [sbnation]

kid_loves_owl_tastefactory_2016.jpg


Wait, you didn't mention it was a Bobble Head Owl Decoy! [amazon]

April 6, 2016

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Bibs! They look so weird! At least they have a purpose. Unlike their nearest neckwear relative, the equally inexplicable and ridiculous-looking necktie. Bibs can keep a kid's outfit slightly cleaner when he is eating. But they are not part of the outfit! They are odd-looking functional items that look even weirder when a kid is not eating. [Super-droolers get a pass here, obviously, though you'll have to decide for yourself what point on the Drooling Scale really warrants a perma-bib.]

Anyway, their unusual form may be why Luc Tuymans, esteemed Belgian painter of the wan, chose to paint Bibs in 1995. The form, disembodied from its protective function, turned into a curvaceous, biomorphic object.

It works for me, though. And the estimate feels right for a manageably sized, early-ish, thoughtful, but not-too-showy, Tuymans painting. Just hope that a contemporary sale at Christie's Amsterdam is still far enough off the art world's beaten path to keep the bidding to a minimum.

Apr 20-21, 2016, Lot 30 | Luc Tuymans, Bibs, 1995, est. €100,000 - €150,000 [christies.com]

March 25, 2016

ZOMG that IS Louis Tomlinson of One Direction pushing his kid Freddie or whatever in a Bugaboo Buffalo stroller with a Maxi-Cosi Mico Infant Carrier and appropriate adapters, each sold separately, how ever did this picture happen, what with his body guard on one side and his posse member/paid friend on the other, the mind reels but the pap experts at x-online know how these things are done.

How do you know when your dadblogging days are numbered? When you realize that eleven years into it, you're still fighting the same pink nursery-as-good-parenting-as-lifestyle-real-estate-porn hegemony-and getting bullshit copyright infringement threats for critiquing the content, substance, and system behind the photos?

Or is it when an uncaptioned photo comes through your twitter feed, and you're at least able to identify which boyband a baby daddy in an LA-tourist-mall photo-op-as-custody-battle-fodder shot is a refugee from, but it takes you twenty minutes to identify the stroller he's pushing as an actual Bugaboo, not one of the dozens of Bugaboo clones which have permeated the stroller market you used to be so hyped for, but now, something something click to buy

Buy a Bugaboo Buffalo with black base for $999 and change via amazon [amazon]
Here is one direction you can go in for a Maxi-Cosi Mico car seat: the Mico, from like $179-199+ [amazon]
These adapters for attaching a Maxi-Cosi to a Bugaboo only work facing one direction [amazon]
Click here if you want to know more about this picture, but if you already know enough, then why not stop now? [via @ellievhall]

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The NYT's T Magazine has a nice portfolio of artists' depictions of their own kids. It's sort of a grab bag list, a little London-heavy perhaps, but still worth every click. John Currin's painting of his daughter is uncharacteristically sincere. And though they could not be more different, Marco Brambilla's and Nick Waplington's photos of their sons both do that uncanny thing kids' portraits do sometimes, giving you a glimpse at the future adult padding around the house.

This one is by Rob Reynolds, a 2008 watercolor of his 4mo son Sam. The correction and image swap mentioned in the caption has me imagining Reynolds painting with one hand, with a kid on his lap, which may have happened!

Artists' Children, Depicted By Their Parents [nyt]

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Some expectant parents at imgur commissioned this off-the-hook walnut tentacle crib from woodcarver Garrick Andrus last summer, but he only posted it to Google+. It only leaked out of the Google+ steampunk/tentacle community to tumblr in January, and then to boingboing this week, and from there onto a million scrapebot techblogs.

Point is, by now I think we should have some data on the effects of raising a kid in a tentacle crib. Did it get infested with cats like the bassinet? If we all weren't afraid of accidentally reactivating G+, we might find out.

Eldritch Crib by Atlanta woodworker Garrick Andrus [imgur]
Tentacled crib [boingboing via dt steampunk tracker jj daddy-o]
#tbt: Garrick Andrus' flickr from like 2010 [flickr]

Rather than do the typical expat thing (?) of going home for the delivery, Financial Times Mumbai bureau chief James Crabtree and his wife decided to have their first kid in India. I mean with an oceanfront hospital called Breach Candy, how can you resist?

For the locals, the sight of a giant red-headed foreigner striding around with a small red-headed foreigner strapped to his chest provided reliable amusement.

...

Walking through an Indian airport with my son is perhaps the closest I will come to celebrity, as heads turned to watch the baby, and strangers approached, embarrassed and smiling, asking for selfies.

Everyone loves a baby, the childcare options are endless, and the Hindu babynaming ceremonies are like icing on the cake. Except for strollers, parks, monsoons, and crushing street poverty, it sounds like it was awesome.

FT correspondent James Crabtree on bringing up a baby in Mumbai [ft]

March 22, 2016

deorick_williams_baby_buzzfeed.jpg

Guy sends out a group text to his contacts to let them know the kid is on the way ["She has dilated to between 5-6."]

One of those numbers is out of date, and at first the new owner of that phone number tries to get off the thread, and then is like, "Eh, you know what, let's celebrate," and he shows up at the hospital with his brother and some baby gifts to meet these strangers. Warm viral feelings ensue.

A Family Texted The Wrong Number About A Baby's Birth But This Guy Showed Up Anyway [buzzfeed, image: deorick williams]

March 17, 2016

annie_curtain.JPG

I looked around the audience, and I really felt a sense of camaraderie with the other dads, like we knew at least we'd all dodged a Katy Perry concert.

February 27, 2016

Hey, look at that. The easiest way to cure yourself of blogging is to not blog. I'm sure this means I can stop anytime. And all these tips and tabs I have piled up in my browser will just post themselves!

Or maybe I was just waiting for one ridiculous station wagon to become an entire fleet. But these three wagons would make the world's sickest preschool dropoff line:

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I'm not sure what's nuttier: an Aston Martin Lagonda shooting brake [*cough* wagon], or the fact that this very car has already been on Daddy Types already. Twice. Oh, wait, I know what's crazier: that the asking price for this thing-CHF 420,000-is 2x as much as the last time.

Wedge Wagon: 1987 Aston Martin Lagonda Shooting Brake [bringatrailer]

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There's nothing like an Aston Martin wagon to make a $5,000 1991 Mercedes 300TE with a lift kit look like sane, reasonable transportation. This example sounds a bit more probleMatic than 4Matic, but the concept is both solid and ridiculous. Please make it happen, someone.

Lifted and Factory Lockers: 1991 Mercedes 300TE 4matic Wagon [bringatrailer]

citroen_ds21_break_bringatrailer.jpg

Now who will split the difference? Can you imagine a world where a beautifully restored 1972 Citroen DS21 Break is the most logical, worry-free, and exciting choice? Because that's where we are. This is not quite my favorite year or variant of the DS, but it's pretty damn close, and it looks fantastic. Extremely tempting.

Swivel Lights & Blue Plates: Beautifully Restored 1972 Citroen DS21 Break [bringatrailer]

February 8, 2016

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'This child is named Bartholomew': Erfgoed Leiden, HGW, Archiefnr. 519, Inv. nr. 3384, slip 1 (15th century) - Photo EK via

Here is a poignant story by medieval schlar Erik Kwakkel about a rare collection of 15th century notes and nametags that were pinned to the clothing of babies given up by their parents at an orphanage in Leiden, The Netherlands.

Some of the notes were written by the priests or staff who logged kids into the orphanage. But others, which provide glimpses of the kids' families or the circumstances that brought them to the orphanage steps, were probably written by the parents.

Rare Medieval Name Tags, by Erik Kwakkel [medievalbooks.nl]

January 24, 2016

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Add me to the list of people who didn't know designer Paula Scher wrote a kids book in 1973, which was illustrated by Village Voice cartoonist Stan Mack. The Brownstone's a fable of OG city living, where the landlord actually responds to residents' requests. It almost makes you nostalgic for the day when there were still multifamily brownstones left in New York.

Buy the newly reissued edition of The Brownstone by Paula Scher at amazon [amazon via kottke]

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For my kids Star Wars was last month. But sexism springs eternal. And the attitudes about what boys do or don't or will or won't play with that come up in Michael Boehm's account of #WheresRey are girl problems because they're boy problems:

n January 2015, a number of toy and merchandise vendors descended on Lucasfilm's Letterman Center in San Francisco. In a series of confidential meetings, the vendors presented their product ideas to tie in with the highly-anticipated new Star Wars film...

The insider, who was at those meetings, described how initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently. At first, discussions were positive, but as the meetings wore on, one or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products. Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise, said the insider.

"We know what sells," the industry insider was told. "No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it."

Boehm's insider blames Reagan, which seems like a political cheap shot. We don't need a deregulation boogeyman when the problem is all of us and the world we're creating for our kids. Skip the comments, obv.

Where's Rey?
Insider Says Lucasfilm Vendors Removed Star Wars Character to 'Improve Sales'
[sweatpantsandcoffee]

January 19, 2016

At the marathon #MLKNOW commemoration of Martin Luther King at The Riverside Church yesterday, Chris Rock read James Baldwin's "My Dungeon Shook." As the subtitle says, it was written in 1963 as a "letter to my nephew on the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation."

Baldwin opens with a powerful observation of what it's like to know someone from the time they're born, and it builds from there:

Now, my dear namesake, these innocent and well-meaning people, your countrymen, have caused you to be born under conditions not very far removed from those described for us by Charles Dickens in the London of more than a hundred years ago. (I hear the chorus of the innocents screaming, "No! This is not true! How bitter you are!"--but I am writing this letter to you, to try to tell you something about how to handle them, for most of them do not yet really know that you exist. I know the conditions, under which you were born, for I was there. Your countrymen were not there, and haven't made it yet. Your grandmother was also there, and no one has ever accused her of being bitter. I suggest that the innocents check with her. She isn't hard to find. Your countrymen don't know that she exists, either, though she has been working for them all their lives.)

Well, you were born, here you came, something like fourteen years ago: and though your father and mother and grandmother, looking about the streets through which they were carrying you, staring at the walls into which they brought you, had every reason to be heavyhearted, yet they were not. For here you were, Big James, named for me--you were a big baby, I was not--here you were: to be loved. To be loved, baby, hard, at once, and forever, to strengthen you against the loveless world. Remember that: I know how black it looks today, for you. It looked bad that day, too, yes, we were trembling. We have not stopped trembling yet, but if we had not loved each other none of us would have survived. And now you must survive because we love you, and for the sake of your children and your children's children.

Rock's reading starts 1:44:00 into the archived livestream video. I'll update the video when the standalone clip turns up.

#MLKNOW archived livestream [livestream.com]
MY DUNGEON SHOOK
LETTER TO MY NEPHEW ON THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EMANICIPATION, by James Baldwin
[valdosta.edu]

January 18, 2016

bb-8_snowman_fupottek.jpg

C'mon Dad, let me play
If you let me I could make you one
It would be fun
what do you say?

[@fupottek via @camcavers]

January 13, 2016

Meanwhile, I was surprised to realize that David Bowie's classic rendition of Prokofiev's "Peter & The Wolf" was not on DT already. Fixed now.

Shop around for David Bowie narrating Peter & The Wolf on cd, vinyl and vintage vinyl [amazon]

Thumbnail image for bowie_angie_stroller_71.jpg

I just remembered this was here. Alas, David Bowie, who was always David Jones to his family, is not.

Previously:
Glam Rockers' Kids Always Have The Nicest Names, Songs, Palazzo Pants Photo-ops
Space Oddity: The Children's Book, as imagined by Andrew Kolb

January 6, 2016

vitali_rocking_horse_rattle_objctshop.jpg

Design scout Aaron Cohen's finds have been on Daddy Types before, but this 1960s molded plastic rocking horse rattle by Antonio Vitali is the first I've seen anywhere. It's from Otto Maier Ravensburg, the German board game company that went on to become a top puzzle manufacturer. [Ravensburger also bought the floundering Swedish toy company BRIO last year, but that's another story.]

Anyway, for the moment, the horse is available, so jump on it.


Antonio Vitali Rocking Horse Rattle [projectobjectshop]

January 1, 2016

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Sim Bruce Richards was a San Diego modern architect who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright, and who designed this sweet kid-sized sofa and table, probably in the fifties? The table has a "milk-retaining edge," but given the unmarred finish, it probably had some kid-sized coasters, too.

Richards' furniture and other designs are featured in Frank Lloyd Wright's Legacy in San Diego: the Taliesin Architects, an exhibition at the La Jolla Historical Society organized by Keith York of Modern San Diego, that runs through Jan. 17. Another of those architects, btw, was John Lloyd Wright, FLW's son, and the inventor of Lincoln Logs.

All this information, this picture, and much, much more, comes from esoteric survey, which is a consistently remarkable blog about mid-century design topics I somehow never heard of in twenty-plus years.

Taliesin San Diego [esoteric survey]

December 31, 2015

Oh, I dunno, I coulda used the content.

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Wow, it's been quiet on the Daddy Types front. Too quiet. But there is no better topic to end the site's 12th year [!] on than Disney Princesses. Or specifically, the play-by-play Business Week story of Mattel's bungling of the Disney Princess license, the foolish encroachment by the flailing sexist Barbie menace, and the redesign & reboot by the new licensee, Hasbro, which also produces Marvel and Star Wars toys.

As you can imagine, there are no winners here, there is no silver lining, no happy ending. A bunch of stupid toy executives blew it and got fired, and the Disney Princess crap they've been shoveling into Toys R Us for the last few years is getting replaced with slightly more action-y, redesigned Disney Princess crap in vaster quantities.

The only interesting nugget:

In 2013, Disney set up a meeting with Hasbro, which already had Disney's Star Wars and Marvel licenses, and its FunLab ran regular tests for the company. Before each Star Wars movie, for example, Hasbro tested kids' familiarity with the franchise. They discovered that parents--"dads mostly," says Frascotti--passed down their love of Star Wars to their kids in the same way that they taught them which sports teams to root for. "We have a fancy term for it that we made up," says Frascotti. "We call it trans-generational emotional resonance." Disney liked Hasbro's FunLab reports. "They'd seen them work quite well for Star Wars and Marvel," says Goldner. "Then they asked us what we knew about girls."
That girls don't buy into the princess paradigm is what. But don't worry, Disney's got a bunch of workarounds to keep the money flowing until we find out what Rey's story is.

The $500 Million Battle Over Disney's Princesses [bloomberg]

December 13, 2015

snowden_manning_defneayas.jpg

While parents in America are supposedly naming their kids after Instagram filters, parents in Berlin are apparently naming their kids after whistleblowers. Maybe we can come together by all agreeing to name our kids after secret NSA surveillance programs.

Buy your own flavor of Whistleblower Beanie /Flower Pot to be plant kozie and/or kidheadwarmer, at DISOWN, the swag division of artist collective DIS, $60 each [dismagazine, image via @defneayas]

December 2, 2015

The idea of naming your kid after an Instagram filter is hot now because of some BabyCenter poll. But it is not new.

It was around last week. Did Becca's tweet broke BabyCenter's press release embargo?

Did Abby know 3+ weeks ago? Should you hire her as a millennial thinkfluencer to consult for your brand?

Or maybe she just OH'd the idea from Lindsey the week before:

continue reading here...

November 27, 2015

image.jpg
photo: Pete Souza

Political aide wife Laura Moser writes about what it's like having a picture of your 2yo daughter having a meltdown on the floor of the White House go viral. Apparently, you get dog piled by media and people use your kid as a political punchline and condemn your entitled parenting:

But if the Internet has taught us anything, it's that crazy people have a great deal of free time on their hands. And I was shocked by what they read into the picture. They saw my political beliefs and the pride I took in my inability to raise a child. ("The 'she's just a kid' excuses are the excuses liberal parents make for their lack of parenting skills.") They saw my income and my ethnic background: I was a "wealthy Jewish donor"--don't I wish!--and my daughter a spoiled brat: "She doesn't act like the sort of child that has ever heard the word 'No' let alone felt anything other than expensive clothes on her backside." One commenter recommended thyroid medication to bring my daughter back in balance, but no one said a word about fitted sheets.
You see, the kid's go-to snugglie is a fitted sheet, which her parents did not bring to the White House, obviously because they are monsters. #ThanksObama!
Remember the Toddler Who Threw a Tantrum in Front of the President? that was my kid. [slate, thanks dt reader nathan]

November 22, 2015

I've forgotten than I knew about Margaret Wise Brown's admiration of Gertrude Stein, and that Brown helped bring Stein and famed chillustrator Clement Hurd together to make The World Is Round. [I just made up that word: chillustrator. Actually, it turns out I didn't, but I am the first person to call Hurd one.]

Anyway, point is, I knew nothing. And Fordham English and Women's Studies professor Anne E. Fernald exposes the fascinating tip of the iceberg of my Brown/Stein ignorance in this excellent article about Stein's influence on these pioneers of early modern kids books:

We see, too, the strength of her [Brown's] conviction that writing for the very young could be great: "Here is an audience sensitive to the sheer elements of the English language.... Translate their playfulness and serious use of the sheer elements of language into the terms and understandings of a five-year-old and you have as intelligent an audience in rhythm and sound as the maddest poet's heart could desire."
Fernald delivers the tough love by pointing out that Stein's The World Is Round is not good. I would add, though, that the posthumously published To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays is a great celebration of words words words, and can be a blast to just pop open and read aloud. I wish Brown and Stein had lived long enough to hear it.

Or to see the awesome edition of To-Do published by Yale's Beinecke Library in 2011.

IN THE GREAT GREEN ROOM: MARGARET WISE BROWN AND MODERNISM [publicbooks.org via @maudnewton]
Previously: Gertrude Stein's Children's Book: The World Is Round
Gertrude Stein's other children's book, sort of
Buy the Yale/Beinecke editino of To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays for $25 or less [amazon]
We have the 2000 Green Integer paperback edition of To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays, which is very nice too [amazon]

naef_shapur_lacing_horse_ebay.jpg

This is one of four wooden lace-up toys-a pony, a camel, a sheep, and a lion-designed by Fredun Shapur in 1969, and manufactured by Naef. They're referred to as Schnurpfeltier, which, Schnur means "cord," and so pfeltier probably means "strangulation hazard."

I've seen these toys with multiple laces of different colors, so the fact that this horse is being sold with only one white string is probably what's keeping the bidding in the single digits. Also, it's 4x6, palm-size for a toddler, but otherwise pretty small.

original vintage FREDUN SHAPUR wooden horse Schnurpfeltier by NAEF Switzerland, current bid $9.50 + 11/50 s/h, auction ends Nov. 30update: sold for $22.06 [ebay]
Naef still sells a Schnurpfel-Pony in red, green, and sometimes blue, for $46 [naefusa.com]

November 20, 2015

As dozens of Osamas write college application essays about overcoming bullying, a new generation of kids named Isis arrives to remind the kids named Atticus that it could be worse.

When You're Named Isis for the Goddess, Not the Terror Group [nyt]
Previously: Atticus, Life, Complicated

November 17, 2015

Been feeling this a lot lately. Actually, since the beginning, but especially in a week I didn't post a single thing:

Do I post too much? I whisper with friends. You'll tell me, won't you, if I ever cross the line? The postmodern equivalent of trusting people to let you know your fly's open.

Quoth a stranger of her kindergartner naked on the toilet: "Bittersweet! My baby's last day in diapers!" Quoth a relative alongside a photo of her perfectly coifed daughter: "All For Her. Only Her. Always Her. All Ways Her." My personal favorite accompanies a photo of a teenage girl: "Stop growing!" (Meaning... Die!?) What is being put on display? Whose is it to put forward?

It is not only ours.

Is Mark Zuckerberg Ready for Facebook Parenthood? [nyt]

Cooper Fleishman [@_cooper] says we have "finally found the heir to Psst What, the all-time greatest kid Vine," which, you know 51m vs 477k, maybe we can take issue with, but for now, let's just enjoy it.

November 8, 2015

Here is a story about a 47-yo Massachusetts woman who says she didn't know she was pregnant until an hour before the kid was born. [Her husband who belatedly schedules that vasectomy has a cameo, too.]

And here is a story that's been in my tabs for a month now about a kid in Australia whose head was reattached following "internal decapitation." Which means his spine was severed from his, but his entire neck wasn't??

It is an incredible world we live in, is the point I'm trying to make here, I suppose.

47-year-old woman finds out she's pregnant an hour before giving birth [washpost]
Infant's HEAD Reattached Following Internal Decapitation [iflscience]

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I cannot explain why, but it just feels really urgent to point to this amazing set of photos of thousands of sheep filling the streets of Madrid. Something to do with protesting/preserving the ancient droving pathways? Yo no se, but it would be an incredible thing to show a kid.

Wild photos show shepherds guiding 2,000 sheep through Madrid's streets to defend age-old droving rights [nationalpost.com, image: gerard juliena/afp/getty via twitter somewhere]

mini_ferraris_aguttes_1.jpg

It's not very #servicey, but I just could not bring myself or my blog to be a party to the auction madness that was unfurling yesterday in Lyon, France. Twenty, that's right, TWENTY mini-Ferraris of all sorts, vintages, and price points, went up for sale at Aguttes. It was, how you say? FOU, FOU, COMPLETEMENT FOU.

There were unrestored F1 pedal cars from the 1950s alongside seemingly random 80s Fisher Price junk. (Though that junk is probably rare now, if not actually valuable.)

mini_ferraris_aguttes_2.jpg

There were Testa Rossa projects, FAO Schwarz-lookin' indulgences, and daunting P330 with motors that cost as much as a Camry. Really, though, it was just too much at once, clearly the dissolution of some baffling obsessive's collection which, I just cannot see a happy ending in this. Unless, of course, you scored a deal on that insane F50. Send pics!

Lots 224-244: 20 Mini Ferraris, EUR 80 - 5,000, Nov. 7, 2015 [aguttes.com via dt ferrari guru dt]
Oh WAIT, there was a Baby Bugatti too? [aguttes]

October 31, 2015

Toyota_EBE_Plano_UUV.jpg

Toyota's been driving this UUV (Ultimate Utility Vehicle) around the country since June as part of a PR buildup to SEMA.

I think two things when I see it:
This looks perfect for Iceland, and
Wait, you're telling me you're only getting around to putting a Sienna on a Tacoma frame NOW? smdh

mashable]

Heather Armstrong gave a really thoughtful and classically unsettling talk at this year's XOXO Festival in Portland where she explained her experience stepping away from pro mommyblogging at Dooce.

You should really watch it or, if you're in a setting where the phrase HAIRY VAGINAS doesn't go over so well, then maybe just listen to it. With some headphones. Because that's her first slide, and the center of her talk.

I have to say, as different as our styles, Heather continues to command my respect for her achievements and her openness. Her baby daddy and then-husband John Armstrong and I were in what I think is the first newspaper article about dadblogging, back in early 2004.

Which was awesome, except that the article had a picture of me holding the 6-week-old kid, and her name was in the caption. And I had just decided that I was not going to use her picture or name on my dadblog. This was so long ago we called it, "Staying out of her future Google results." It was a position that got tested when TV people wanted to talk dadstuff-but only if the kid came along as a prop. So I was not on the Today show.

It was pretty well established, though, when advertisers and agencies and publicists wanted to buy "sponsored content" on Daddy Types, something that we declined to do over and over again. And ultimately, I'm glad for it. Especially after Heather's horrible-sounding experience making sponsored posts for Banana Republic.

Heather Armstrong, Dooce - XOXO Festival (2015) [youtube]

October 29, 2015

kahn_cameraphone_pic_1997.png

This is apparently the first picture taken and sent by a cell phone. It is Philippe Kahn's daughter, born June 11, 1997. Kahn is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who founded Borland, and then in 1994, he founded Starfish, a wearable computer software company, with his wife Sonia Lee.

Kahn's integration of a digital camera to a Motorola StarTAC, one of the first flip phones, is considered the first phone camera. Kahn's Wikipedia:

Kahn founded LightSurf in 1998 shortly after he had created the first camera phone solution sharing pictures instantly on public networks in 1997. The impetus for this invention was the birth of Kahn's daughter; he jury-rigged a mobile phone with a digital camera and sent off photos in real time.
This Slate podcast profile of Kahn from the dawn of the phonecam era, 2007, put it a little differently:
Ten years ago, Philippe Kahn was walking around a hospital with a cell phone and a digital camera. His dadly mission: to share pictures of his newborn baby girl. With an assist from Radio Shack, he linked the two devices together and e-mailed photos to family and friends around the world. The day marked a twin birth of sorts: the cell phone camera and daughter Sophie. [emphasis added]
While Kahn's milestone has been celebrated every time somebody discovers it and decides to write about it [ahem], the details of how he actually executed the hack are more elusive.

An [OG] Wired Magazine article from 2000 mentions a keychain-sized camera attachment [that was coming that year, 2000, for one line of Motorola phones], and describes Kahn's original hack here:

Kahn came up with the idea for LightSurf three years ago, when he tried to send an ephoto of his newborn daughter to her grandmother. While many new dads would be looking around for a shave and a stiff drink, Kahn was crawling the maternity ward for an RJ11 jack [i.e., a phone jack]. With no landline in sight, he built a crude wireless photo application in Borland C++ and sent the pictures over a 2,400-bps connection from his StarTAC. Later, figuring there had to be better way, he brought together a team and set out to design a way to send a slender image file for online use and a larger one for printing hard copy. It worked just as he imagined.
OK. So the assist from Radio Shack was a modem? [update: Not likely. It was probably Starfish's TrueSync connectivity solution, which, as DT 90's mobile guru Micah points out, was offered as a product by Motorola in 1999 (pdf). Daddy Types regrets the error.] Because a laptop was involved here. Photos synced to a laptop from a digital camera, laptop connected to modem, modem connected to cell phone instead of the wall. [The first Wi-Fi spec was also born in 1997, but that does not seem relevant here.]

The send pictures to Grandma angle rings true, but in this 2012 Best Buy Superbowl ad [?], Kahn talks about two thousand people seeing that first photo. So he also invented spamming people with baby pictures? Do people even send out pictures of their fourth kid? Maybe he had a listserv. Or it was a webpage.

Anyway, as with most complicated births, the messy details are quickly subsumed by the baby in front of you. Starfish was acquired by Motorola in 1998 for $325 million; LightSurf was founded in 1998 and acquired by VeriSign in 2005 for $300 million. Whether Kahn's kid put Nirvana baby of the phonecam generation on her college applications remains unknown.

Philippe Kahn [wikipedia]
2007: The Camera Phone [slate]
2000: The Big Picture [wired]
1998 speech on wearables Kahn gave at Stanford [stanford.edu]

October 21, 2015

Ian Bogost goes deep for The New Yorker on, of all board book authors, Sandra Boynton:

boynton_going_to_bed_book.jpgTake "The Going to Bed Book": what appears to be an innocuous precursor to the activity that its reading facilitates turns out, on closer inspection, to be rather strange. On a boat far out at sea, the usual Boyntonian menagerie--lion and pig and rhino and hippo and elephant and more--heads below "to take a bath in one big tub / with soap all over--scrub scrub scrub." After donning pajamas and brushing their teeth, the animals pursue an unusual bedtime ritual: "And when the moon is on the rise, they all go up to exercise." They work out! On deck! Right before bed!

No manner of earthly logic explains the post-bath and toothbrush exercise ritual. Parents who notice it might appreciate the opportunity for a head scratch during the fevered tedium of bedtime. (Oh, that Boynton, she's a stinker.) But other interpretations are possible, readings that afford Boynton's work the same layered meaning that, say, "The Simpsons" provokes, but in the far more formally challenging genre of the board book.

Mhmm.

Bogost has written history's smartest, most mind-blowing analysis of the McRib, but he completely loses me on Boynton. I just do not see anything more at work here than an expert in filling an industry-standard 24 pages with slightly wry rhymes.

If anyone knows a good dissertation on Goodnight Moon and nothing, however, I will stay up late.

The Hidden Depths of Sandra Boynton's Board Books [newyorker.com]
Buy The Going-To-Bed Book or any one of hundreds of other Sandra Boynton books [amazon]

jeri_ryan_borg_babyname.jpg

Until I clicked through to the actual article [which, is everything on 538 written in this faux-dumb voice?], I had assumed all 1,584 Sevens got their names because their parents were hot for the Borg. Which struck me as an unlikely naming strategy, if only because the inevitable Jeri Ryan Talk will never be less awkward than when Donald Trump discusses dating his daughter.

But no.

It has to be entirely driven by the other Jerry. Good grief, what the hell is wrong with you people. This show, I hated it, I never watched it, I had no idea about this baby name thing. And this clip, good grief, it is so grating and annoying in every possible way. Yet I've been in the business of writing about baby names for almost twelve years now, and this is still the first I've heard of it.

Seinfeld people are just the worst. If you all changed your kids' names to Disney Princesses tomorrow it'd be a net gain for the universe.

And anyway, Charles Schulz put a kid named 5 in Peanuts in 1963, and his sisters were 3 and 4. Their last name was their zip code, 95472 He's the one doing that shruggie dance in the Charlie Brown Christmas, and you really can't get any cooler than that.

There Are 1,584 People In America Named 'Seven' [fivethirtyeight via dt guru rolf]
555 95472 [peanuts.wikia.com]

October 20, 2015

simmons_kaleidoscope_house_christies_525.jpg

London's housing market has been off the charts lately. And with local art fair Frieze, the contemporary art market's circus came to town last week, too. Yet this unholy confluence, along with the ascendance of Lena Dunham to the cultural pantheon, was not enough to close the deal at Christie's this morning for artist mom Laurie Simmons' Kaleidoscope House, which failed to sell online for the GBP 5,000 - 7,000 estimate.

simmons_kaleidoscope_house_2_christies.jpg

DT regulars and Googlers will know that Simmons' swanky plastic dollhouse, created with architect Peter Wheelwright for Bozart in 2000, has been a bellwether of modernist toy design and the knuckleheaded speculative trading that can accompany it: just like real real estate and art!

simmons_kaleidoscope_house_8_christies.jpg

This time, though, five thousand pounds would also have bought you two Simmons photographs of Kaleidoscope House, from an suite of ten pictures I haven't seen since the dollhouse was unveiled at Deitch Projects fifteen years ago. They must have broken up at least one set. I was completely clueless and kidfree at the time, but now the poppin' nursery appeal of these photos is obvious.

So if this is your bag, baby, ring Christie's; they might have a motivated seller for you.

Lot 25 Online: ) Kaleidoscope House #2 (ii) Kaleidoscope House #8 (iii) Kaleidoscope Dollhouse, est. GBP 5,000 - 7,000, UNSOLD [christies.com]

October 14, 2015

Amanda Fortini's interview with the writer Mary Karr at The Paris Review includes this visceral description of childhood:

INTERVIEWER

In the first section of The Liars' Club, you inhabit the mind of a seven-year-old to an uncanny degree. How were you able to capture what it was like to be a child?

KARR

Childhood was terrifying for me. A kid has no control. You're three feet tall, flat broke, unemployed, and illiterate. Terror snaps you awake. You pay keen attention. People can just pick you up and move you and put you down. One of my favorite poems, by Nicanor Parra, is called "Memories of Youth":

"All I'm sure of is that I kept going back and forth. 
Sometimes I bumped into trees, 
bumped into beggars. 
I forced my way through a thicket of chairs and tables."

Our little cracker box of a house could give you the adrenaline rush of fear, which means more frames of memory per second. Emotional memories are stored deep in the snake brain, which is probably why aphasics in nursing homes often cuss so much--that language doesn't erode in a stroke.

The Art of Memoir, No. 1 [theparisreview.org via dt reader anne]

October 8, 2015

playmobil_pirate_slave_5135_.jpg

A woman bought a big Playmobil pirate ship for her nephew, and then got Facebook-upset when the instructions said to put a slave collar on the brown-skinned pirate. Other people got Facebook upset back, pointing out how the pirate ship has been around for 10 years and it didn't offend their kids. Which, maybe not the point?

playmobil_pirate_ship_5135.jpg

Playmobil got Twitter-responsive, tweeting that "In a purely historical context, the figure represents a pirate who was a former slave, and, as shown on the box, is now a member of the crew. We did not mean to offend anyone."

So far, in a purely historical context, no one's upset about the pirate having a gun.

Dark-skinned Playmobil pirate-ship doll wearing 'slave collar' ignites [sic] outrage [sic] [washpost]
Buy PLAYMOBIL Pirates Ship - 5135 for around $62 [amazon]

October 6, 2015

rocking_llama_lh.jpg

The contemporary art world is lately up in arms over flippers, speculating collectors who hoover up paintings by hot emerging artists, only to hype and dump them at auction, ideally for quick 10-100x returns.

It is not clear if the rocking llama market is subject to the same kind of flipping frenzy, but we may soon find out. It looks like this exact rocking llama was sold through this same Chicago auctioneer in 2011 for $250. Is four years the appropriate amount of time to buy and hold a rocking llama, or is it irresponsibly hasty?

As for the rocking llama itself, it definitely is one. They have turned up at various auctions before, and luxuriously marked up at 1stdibs. They have been described as Danish, and as having actual llama, but I think the Icelandic sheepskin is a better call. One auction site mentions a company, Animalia, Inc., but the only other citations are botscraped mirrors. Perhaps an original owner will emerge some day to verify their source. And then we'll all know whether $150-250 is a fair price or the deal of a century.

Oct. 13, 2015, Sale 422 Lot 560: A Fur Mounted Rocking Llama, est. $150-250 [lesliehindman.com]
Aug. 24, 2011, 481: A Fur and Carved Wood Rocking Llama, Height 49 inc [liveauctioneers]

September 28, 2015

baby_truman_life_magazine.jpg
We're all Trumans now

This has been weighing on me for a while now, the last several posts, and the meaning and relevance and viability of it all. And this, The Atlantic's thought piece on the economics of mommyblogging, starring, obviously, Heather Armstrong.

And the stress of doing what you love-for money-and the ambivalence over turning your kids out for sponsored content. And the conflicts of selling out and commercialization and celebrity and privacy and agency. As a parent your choices affect your kid, too, when they are very far from being able to understand, much less weigh in on things.

Let's look at the four most recent posts:

Is it all as terribly clear to you as it is to me?

Forget baby monitors, we need baby platforms: livecasting baby monitors that support social media engagement, native and sponsored content partnerships, and affiliate thinkfluencer retailing right out of the box, right out of the womb. We need to stop locking down our networks and start monetizing them.

The disruptive baby monitor is important, but it's just the first level in scaffolding your and your kid's digital brands. Why settle for facebooking or pinning tired, old, static pictures of your kid, when you can plug him into a live audience who is primed to purchase?

Do you remember the Korean people who make total bank livestreaming their meals to thousands of adoring, tipping fans? It's like that, only with babies.

Can Mommy Bloggers Still Make A Living? [theatlantic]

September 21, 2015

Here is a blog report of an interview from a magazine where a celebrity dad talked about his lifelong friend who tried to sell delivery room pics of their kid. Even on the narrow terms of copyright law, this is a no-brainer--those pics are the dad's to sell (or to, implausibly, but apparently as it happened in this case, to keep private)--but above all, it is just a dick move.

Ryan Reynolds no longer speaking to friend [defamer via @deray]

September 18, 2015

Internet- and WiFi-connected baby monitors are still ridiculously insecure and can be hacked and turned into surveillance devices for your home and your home networks, experts find.

Experts recommend a couple of easy fixes, such as not connecting your baby monitor to the Internet, not uploading video from your baby monitor to the internet, and not connecting your baby monitor to your WiFi network that has the same password as its cutesy name.

Now let me tell you about how we used to have to get up to change the frequency on the baby monitor because it kept picking up the neighbors' cordless phones. I assume if you're old enough to buy a baby monitor, you're old enough to remember cordless phones. Right?

Watch out, new parents--internet-connected baby monitors are easy to hack [fusion]

ryusei_bruce_lee.png
Enter the 4yo Mini-me Dragon

How do you get to 30 million views on your viral kidsploitation video? Practice, practice, practice.

Just because your kid has dutifully copied the Bruce Lee nunchuck moves you have been fixated on your own entire sentient life doesn't mean your video of him performing will immediately go viral.

Now you must master the viral videomaking skills of the modern parent by getting the costume, the angle, and the background just right. Tranform your entertainment center into a minimalist Bruce Lee shrine with photos and slipcovers made from Visqueen and packing tape.

Disable YouTube embedding so you can get your pre-rolls, and for Pete's sake, get it onto Facebook which, in addition to jacking all YT's viral videos, also screwed up the click and sharing experience.

Bruce Ryu's YouTube channel [youtube via my dad]

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