Weekend Reading 5/18/13

It’s been a while…here’s the stuff I’ve read that I think is good enough for you to read.

Hard-nosed investigative reporting from The Atlantic: Why do NPR reporters have such great names? Inquiring minds want to know! I was surprised to learn that none of them (not even Neda Ulaby) are stage names.

From Slate: PE is pointless. AMEN. I spent years, decades even, thinking that physical activity was just not my thing because I was so awful at any sport involving a ball (which is, pretty much, all of the ones they teach you in gym). I wasn’t a klutz. I did pretty well the one week when they got out the big trampoline and let us jump around. But serve a volley ball? I just couldn’t do it. And here’s the thing (before someone jumps in with some comment about how this is probably how other kids felt in English class): No PE teacher I had ever did anything that involved teaching these sports. Nobody ever tried to teach me how to serve a volley ball or do a layup. I was in a few English classes where the teacher wasn’t focused on teaching how to find themes in great literature (and just yelled at people who couldn’t do it), but those were the exception. I didn’t begin to have confidence in my physical abilities until I started taking jiu jitsu classes in college, with a sensei who took the time to show me how. To this day, I would rather fake my own death than participate in the neighborhood volleyball game (which we get invited to all the time), but thanks to my sensei, I don’t think of myself as totally lacking gross motor skills.

More from The Atlantic: Elspeth Reeve’s gleeful takedown of some Time magazine article about how Millennials are all entitled whiners. Good job with the clickbait, Time. Joke’s on you–Millennials are too busy improving the world to read your rag unless we’re killing time in the dentist’s waiting room. PS Get off my lawn!

Free Range Kids compiles some thoughts on the massive wimpifying of the American Girl dolls since Matel bought them. I noticed this myself. When I was a kid, the focus was very strongly on the history and the stories pulled no punches–Kirsten’s friend dies of cholera on the journey to Wisconsin. Samantha’s friend works in a cotton mill. The “American Girl of Today” gets second prize in a gymnastics competition. Barf. Luckily, I still have all my Kirsten stuff for my kids.


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