Jun 17 2015

Childhood Obesity Meets Bad Parenting

What happens when childhood obesity meets bad parenting? You get overweight kids. And at least one bummed out blogger. (That would be me.)

Fat Boys on Vinyl

Check out the lede from this New York Times story:

Not only was the 16-year-old boy 60 pounds overweight, but a blood test showed he might have fatty liver disease. At last, his mother took him to a pediatric weight management clinic in New Haven. But she did not at all like the dietitian’s advice.
“I can’t believe you’re telling me I can’t buy Chips Ahoy! cookies,” said the mother, herself a nurse.

You “can’t believe” it? Lady, according to this story, your kid might have liver disease. And your response is that you “can’t believe” the dietitian is telling you that perhaps the cause is cookie-related? Read more »

Jan 21 2015

Patrick Stump’s Dad Big Deadhead

Fall Out Boy has a new album out, American Beauty/American Psycho. The “Beauty” part comes from the Grateful Dead album of the same name; the “Psycho” is for the Bret Easton Ellis novel.

American Beauty/American Psycho

(There are actually movies with the same title — “American Beauty” and “American Psycho“, the latter being actually based on the Easton Ellis novel, which I’ve read and don’t recommend because it’s very disturbing. Never saw the movie, which stars Christian Bale. “American Beauty” the movie has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead album as far as I know, and I personally found it to be a bit overrated. The Dead album is good. Now that you know my opinion of everything, let’s move on with the article, shall we?)

I read that Fall Out Boy sampled a Mötley Crüe song on their new record but after listening to every song on American Beauty/American Psycho I couldn’t find it. So I hit the Google. An Billboard article from December 2014 clued me in that a bit of “Too Fast For Love” is used on the title track. I’ll have to listen to it again. (Note: I like Fall Out Boy a lot. This isn’t their best album but I’m OK with that.)

Further down in the Billboard story is this little tidbit of info:

Despite the nod to the Dead, there is no “Box of Rain” cover, though it would score Stump some points with his family. “I was talking about that record with some friends the other day. My dad is a huge Deadhead,” he said.

I’m trying to imagine a Fall Out Boy cover of Box of Rain, and it’s not easy. I could see Patrick Stump singing/playing it acoustic, whereas if the whole band did it they’d need to do it more hardcore, in my humble opinion. Like most of what Fall Out Boy does, I’d give it a listen.

It’s funny to think of the lead singer’s dad being “a huge Deadhead”. It’s a small, personal detail that made me smile. One of the things I like about Fall Out Boy (other than their music) is that they come across as honest and fairly normal. I don’t know them, and of course it’s possible that they’re all weird dudes. But that’s not the impression I get when I read about them. It helps that I like their music.

via Fall Out Boy Talk New Album, Motley Crue & Grateful Dead | Billboard.

Dec 20 2014

DaddyTips Comment 12-20-14 (Video)

The third DaddyTips Video commentary has arrived. Today, 12-20-14, I’m talking about NFL football.

DaddyTips Featured Video

Because this video is a little bit longer than usual (it’s about 3 minutes long; the other two have been closer to 2 minutes), and because I wrote it out rather than improvising, I’m going to include the full text here. It’s still faster to watch the video, unless you happen to be a speed reader. But if you don’t watch, you miss out on my stellar wit and brilliant facial expressions.

DaddyTips Video Comment


So here we go. This is fun. If you like the video, please share it with anyone and everyone.

Thanks for reading/watching/sharing, and most of all thanks for just being you. Happy holidays!

(Text of video follows.)

The NFL, The NFL
Today I’ll be talking / about football-all-ell

Today is Saturday, December 20. There will be 2 football games, billed as a special Saturday edition of Thursday Night Football. Despite the fact that that phrasing is a sign of the apocalypse – kind of like midnight movie premieres that are actually at 7pm – I like football enough that I’m going to watch the games.

Today’s comment is not about one of the Saturday games, it’s about the Bears/Lions game, which is on Sunday.
Apparently the Bears are going to start Jimmy Clausen instead of Jay Cutler. This quote is from an article on Michigan’s MLive.com written by Kyle Meinke, titled “Golden Tate hopes Jimmy Clausen ‘stays safe’ against Detroit Lions defense“.

“He may give us a spark. Who knows? We’re not sure, but I think it was a good time to take a look.”

That’s Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman talking about his decision to start Clausen instead of Cutler.

NFL coaches are an intriguing breed. Generally they live and breathe football. They spend endless hours studying tape, coming up with plays, and thinking of ways to motivate their players.

“He may give us a spark. Who knows?”

Compare this to Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who, when asked if his team could win the Super Bowl with their backup quarterback, said yes. To be fair, he was ASKED. He didn’t make a proclamation like Rex Ryan, the sometimes crazy coach of the hapless New York Jets.

The Cardinals have suffered a pile of injuries to key players, including starting quarterback Carson Palmer. They are currently 11-3, first place in their division, the NFC West. They are also the ONLY team in the NFC that has clinched a playoff spot.

The Bears are 5-9. That’s LAST place in the NFC North. They haven’t lost their starting quarterback. Until Sunday, when they plan to put in a guy who hasn’t started a game since 2010. Because they’re out of the playoffs.

Maybe coaching does matter.

It was suggested to me by a friend that I end these videos with a Tip, since they are being posted on – wait for it – DaddyTips.com. My tip today is:
Be more like Bruce Arians than Marc Trestman. I don’t follow the Cardinals closely, but from what I’ve heard and read, Arians appears to do everything he can to help his team win, including convincing his players that they CAN win, no matter what. Trestman – you know, the guy who said “Who knows?” when asked if starting Jimmy Clausen would help the Bears beat the Lions, would seem to be cut from different cloth.
My point? Buck the odds. Say “why not me?” instead of “who knows?”

Happy holidays.

(Note: The music used at the end is “I Am A Bear In A Lady’s Boudoir” by Cliff Edwards, recorded circa October 25, 1933. It’s in the Public Domain and available for download at the invaluable Internet Archive.)

Previous DaddyTips Video comments:

DaddyTips Comment 12-16-14

DaddyTips Comment 12-15-14

Dec 16 2014

DaddyTips Comment 12-16-14 (Video)

Here it is, DaddyTips second semi-daily video commentary. On this day, 12-16-14, we talk about Hobbits and Hanukkah.

DaddyTips Featured Video

By the way, for those playing along at home — we shaved!

Thanks for watching. Once again, please let us know what you think, publicly or even privately if you prefer.

DaddyTips Comment, 12-16-14 from Brett Singer on Vimeo.

Here are the links mentioned in the video.

Xmas in Frisco, the terrific Internet Radio station that has been playing Electric Menorah songs during Chanukah for the past… 10 years? Is that possible? I think it’s been 10 years. Many thanks to them. Note: the station is not safe for work listening (depending upon where you work, of course) because sometimes they play songs with dirty words in them.  Anyway, here’s the link: somafm.com/xmasinfrisko (They have other good stations as well, but this is the only one that plays our music.)

The Hobbit: Book and Film Differences is a really great blog that delivers exactly what the title describes – the differences between The Hobbit films and The Hobbit book. Note that I said “films” and “book”. There’s only one book but there are three films. Have I mentioned that? I’ve actually really enjoyed reading this site, written by someone who goes by the handle Quoggy. Well worth checking out if you have even a passing interest in the subject matter. Here’s the link: hobbitdifferences.blogspot.com

Last, but certainly not least, make sure to go to facebook.com/brettmusic and click the button that says “Like”. That way we’ll know that you like us, you really really like us.

Happy Hobbit Hanukkah!

Dec 15 2014

DaddyTips Comment 12-15-14 (Video)

We’re going to try something new here at DaddyTips — a semi-daily video commentary on… well, whatever we want to talk about.

DaddyTips Featured Video

We’ll try to keep it brief and clean. We do not promise to shave. (This time we didn’t; we considered shaving and then re-doing the video but decided that would ruin the spontaneity of the clip. Also it would involve shaving.)

Today’s topics are excessive consumer surveys and the leaked emails from Sony Pictures.

So here it is! Let us know what you think, publicly or even privately if you prefer.

DaddyTips Comment, 12-15-14 from Brett Singer on Vimeo.

Jan 26 2014

No Vaccines Means We Get Diseases Back

This NPR article is upsetting, and not only because looking at the constantly moving graphic is giving me a headache.

DaddyTips Rant

(This isn’t a full-on rant, but me expressing my opinion tends to lead to someone feeling like I’m ranting. Hence the graphic.)

I used to write a lot about the anti-vaccine folks. Here’s a post from 2010 that links to a piece I wrote for AOL ParentDish about the retraction of the Lancet study linking vaccinations to autism. And here is the very first Babble Podcast I did way back in October of 2008.

In that podcast I discussed how perhaps Jenny McCarthy is not the person to whom we should be looking to for medical advice of any kind. (I also wrote and recorded the theme song. I’m very talented.) McCarthy was very vocal about the link between vaccines and autism. Her proof was debunked. More on that in a moment.

Ante Up For Autism

Ante Up For Autism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition to being the year when I recorded a podcast, 2008 is also when the Council on Foreign Relations began “tracking news reports” of disease outbreaks. Diseases that had been all but wiped out, if not wiped out entirely.

From NPR.org:

Since 2008 folks at the think tank CFR have been plotting all the cases of measles, mumps, rubella, polio and whooping cough around the world. Each circle on the map represents a local outbreak of a particular disease, while the size of the circle indicates the number of people infected in the outbreak.

As you flip through the various maps over the years, two trends clearly emerge: Measles has surged back in Europe, while whooping cough is has become a problem here in the U.S.

Whooping cough is back? Seriously? Preventable diseases should stay prevented. So much of the anti-vaccination information has been proven to be 100% false. (It’s possible that all of it has been debunked; I don’t know and therefore am not going to make such a broad statement.) What’s left is parental fear. Statements like “I believe vaccines are bad” don’t have any basis in scientific reality. Are doctors always right? Of course not. I don’t have a gall bladder because a certain doctor couldn’t be bothered to examine me for six months. Eventually the thing grew to the size of a football, became gangrenous, and I needed immediate emergency surgery or I would have died. Does that mean I no longer go to the doctor? Well, I no longer go to THAT doctor. But I haven’t thrown out all science, or the scientific method. Nor do I pretend that I am a scientist.

We should all be able to agree that whooping cough is bad. Whooping cough was gone. That was good. Now whooping cough, which is bad, is back. That is bad. Why is whooping cough back? Because some parents, based on bad information disseminated by a number of people, Jenny McCarthy being one of the more famous ones, are afraid of vaccinating their kids. That’s not good. At all. Stop it.

Here is a Public Health Report document from 1916. The text is as follows:


Whooping Cough — Prevention of Spread — Affected Children Under 10 Years of
Age Required to Wear Arm Bands. (Reg. Bd. of H., Mar. 7, 1916.)

1. No parent or guardian of any infant under 10 years of age suffering from the
disease commonly known as whooping cough shall permit any such infant to appear
in the street or in any other public place within the city of Paterson, N. J., unless
such infant shall wear and expose upon the arm a band of yellow material bearing
upon it the words “Paterson health department — Whooping cough.” The band
shall be in a form to be prescribed and supplied by the board of health, and shall
be worn for a period beginning with the earliest recognition o” the disease and con-
tinue until danger of infection is over, but in no event less than six weeks.

2. No parent or guardian of any infant under the age of 10 years suffering from
whooping cough shall permit any such infant to board any street car or other public
conveyance or to visit any house other than the house in which such infant resides,
or any store, school, Sunday school, or building of public assembly.

3. Any parent or guardian violating any of the provisions of this ordinance shall
be subject to a fine of $10 for each offense.

(Source: Internet Archive/JSTOR)

Armbands for kids! Doesn’t that sound fun? That was the best we could do in 1916. It is now 2014. We’ve come a long way, baby. Get vaccinated.

Small Pox

Zero deaths. That’s the goal.

(Above image from The Prelinger Archives.)

How Vaccine Fears Fueled The Resurgence Of Preventable Diseases : Shots – Health News : NPR.

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Jan 17 2014

Why Kids Shouldn’t Be On Reality TV

This story, if true, illustrates something I’ve said for a long time. Children shouldn’t be on reality television shows.

This Daily Mail article, taken from a report in the New York Daily News, says that Kate Gosselin told her daughters, “You embarrassed mommy,” after they didn’t “defend her” during an interview on NBC’s Today Show.

I know I’ve said it to people I know, and I think I’ve written about it and/or talked about it on podcasts. What have I said? That kids shouldn’t be on reality shows. It’s not fair to them. They aren’t able to make an informed decision about their privacy.

Now, what do I mean by “kids”? I would say “18 and under” but that’s both unrealistic and a little silly. What would be reasonable, though, is 13 years old. That’s the age used by COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

COPPA establishes rules for websites collecting information about children under the age of 13. Seems reasonable, right? Maybe we could apply the same cut-off age to whether or not a kid is allowed to be on a reality TV show.

Now, you might say, “what about child actors?” Well, there are laws about child actors — the hours they are allowed to work, what happens to the money they make so that unscrupulous parents can’t spend it all. Also, those kids are ACTING. They don’t have cameras in their homes recording their real lives.

Yes, I am aware that “reality television” isn’t reality. These shows have writers on staff, and much of what is purportedly real is staged. (I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before by hundreds of other people. If this is the first time you’ve heard it, my apologies.) Still, would you like to grow up and discover that you were a reality TV star when you were two years old?

Here’s an idea. As the Marx Brothers said, there is no sanity clause.

But maybe there should be. It doesn’t seem fair that young children should be allowed to have their lives broadcast on television, even with parental consent. Many news outlets fuzz out the faces of kids in photos. Why? Presumably because they respect the idea of a child’s right to privacy. Why not extend this same right to reality TV?

Kate Gosselin tells twins they ’embarrassed mommy’ at Today show appearance | Mail Online.