Rant

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    Local schools don't start until tomorrow, so it's been quite a while since homework has been part of our routine. I'm sure my kids' brains have been rotting in their skulls all summer like brown bananas, but I can't say I've missed dealing with school worksheets -- even though only one kid had homework last year, and compared to what I've heard from other second grade parents, his workload was relatively light.

    It's not the time involved in completing assignments that I dislike about homework, nor is it the fact that it exists in the first place. It's the spectacularly boring repetition of it, which seems almost custom-designed to make kids hate school and forget that learning can actually be fun and rewarding.

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    "Dear parent, due to increasing budget gaps, we seek additional funding to support your child's educational enrichment programs. This year, instead of asking your children -- and thus, yourself -- to hawk overpriced wrapping paper, high-calorie snack foods, and unwanted knickknacks, we're simply asking you to donate what you're able. Attached is a comprehensive spreadsheet detailing this year's budget, our funding goals, and how we'll use the money."

    This is the sort of letter I'd love to see from my kids' school ... but I doubt I ever will. Instead, my kids will come home with catalogues of garbage that no one needs, which we're supposed to foist upon our friends, family, and neighbors. Not only that, they'll be teased with "prize incentives" they can win if only they sell enough of this crap.

    I. Hate. School. Fundraising.

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    I took my kids to our community pool the other day to soak up this last bit of warm weather and suffered a terrible shock. Thankfully, it was one that didn’t require CPR. What it did involve was an elderly couple making out in the middle of the swim club.

    When I first noticed them, they were holding each other, and in three-and-a-half feet of water, they looked a lot like the bears we’d seen embracing in a Six Flags Safari exhibit earlier this summer. My first thought was that one of them must have just gotten some terrible news -- death of a loved one, devastating test results -- until they started making out.

    Like full-on "I’m going to stuff your head in my mouth" making out. Honestly, I haven’t seen people gnawing away with such intensity since watching the Coney Island hot dog eating contest.

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    Bet you never imagined the words "knee defender" would become a part of our collective lexicon. But thanks to one passenger who recently placed an actual device on the back of the airline seat in front of him just so he could prevent the woman in front of him from reclining her seat, we have all been forced to live in a world that's slightly more idiotic than it was a week ago.

    While I would never defend throwing your drink at someone -- as the female passenger reportedly did to get back at the man seated behind her -- anyone who thinks he or she has the right to tell another passenger what to do with a seat she paid to rent for a few hours has clearly forgotten that he is not John Travolta, nor does he own a share of the airline.

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    I hate to burst your bubble on hump day, but I have some discouraging news to share, working moms. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't ... and I have scientific proof.

    According to a new study, flexible schedule requests at work are benefiting dads more than moms. A sociology professor at Furman University surveyed nearly 700 people and the results were shocking: Dads who ask for a flexible work schedule or to work from home twice a week are viewed as more committed, more competent, more worthy of a promotion, and ... get this ... more likeable compared to equally qualified moms who ask for the same thing.

    But wait ... it gets worse.

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    I am about to bring up a subject that will make me pretty unpopular, but I can’t help it. Please, moms, pretty please ... do not wear Hello Kitty pajamas to school dropoff this year. It’s not cute ... not even on your little girl (unless it’s pajama day, then it’s adorable). 

    Why do you avoid getting dressed like you avoid the scale after a vacation week of bingeing on candy and carbs? Why? It’s not that big of a deal. (A quick seven-pound gain is scary ... been there.) Let me tell you something: It takes the same amount of effort to slip on a pair of leggings, a nice top, and boots as it does to put on sweatpants, a hoodie, and sneakers. Really, it does. Oh, except the boots zip and the sneakers tie, so I will save you precious time. And you will look damn good at drop-off.

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    Last week Gene Simmons of KISS apologized after making some harsh statements about depression and suicide -- two weeks before Robin Williams' death. They were insensitive, essentially saying to those suffering from depression that the world is harsh and to deal with it or just kill yourself. After Williams' passing, Simmons apologized for what he said, hopefully realizing that those facing depression need support to get help and do not deserve to be harshly criticized. Sadly, another celebrity rock star has made some new comments on depression, this time directly attacking Robin Williams.

    Henry Rollins slammed Williams for what he did to his children when he ended his life. He also added that he no longer takes anything Williams did seriously.

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    Pete Wentz has managed to outdo himself as a card carrying member of the crazy celebrity baby name club. His first child with ex Ashlee Simpson, Bronx Mowgli, was a doozy. But second time around his kid registers on the highest richter of the playground teasing scale. Pete Wentz and girlfriend Meagan Camper named their son ... wait for it ... Saint Lazslo.

    Saint Lazslo Wentz. 

    Poor baby.

    Unless they're enrolling Saint Lazslo in some underground playgroup with North West, Bear Blu, and Blue Ivy with teachers who get paid to stifle their snickers and sarcasm, he's in for it.

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    Recently I met a 3-year-old who said, "It's nice to meet you, Ms. Dutton." I was floored -- my 4-year-old typically greets strangers with a stony silence and a suspicious stare. Still, what jarred me most about this kid's behavior was not just the level of courtesy, but how she addressed me as "Ms." followed by my last name

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    It's happened again. A month after a mom was arrested for daring to let her daughter play in a park near the McDonald's where she works, another mother has been slapped with a pair of metal bracelets for leaving her kids in a park to play. Only Ashley Richardson's story is especially heartbreaking.

    According to cops, the mother of four kids ages 6 through 8 was at the food bank picking up something for her family to eat while her kids played. While she was gone, her 8-year-old tried using a toddler swing and got tangled up, which prompted a call to the fire department. When Mom returned, cops arrested her.

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