Category Archives: The Kids

Lego Prohibits Use of Product in Spinal Tap DVD

Link: Lego Prohibits Use of Product in Spinal Tap DVD –

As final editing was being done on a concert DVD of the tour, which included footage from the video projected on stage, Lego declined to grant permission to use its figures, which are protected by copyright.“We love that our fans are so passionate and so creative with our products,” said Julie Stern, a spokeswoman for Lego Systems, the United States division of the Lego Group, a Danish company founded in the 1930s. “But it had some inappropriate language, and the tone wasn’t appropriate for our target audience of kids 6 to 12.”

Set aside for a moment the fact that Lego is being a copyright bully here, and legally, they don’t have a leg to stand on. What they’re doing is just bad branding. In their misguided attempt to protect their brand, Lego has completely lost sight of what their brand is actually all about. Is the Lego brand about protecting kids from heavy metal? Is it about only letting them do building projects that some corporation approves of? Of course not — when I buy my kids Lego instead of some talking Tinkerbell-branded crap, it’s because I want to help my kids be creative, even if what they come up with surprises me once in a while.



Originally uploaded by jeffreymcmanus

Had a spectacular afternoon at the pool with my son today. The pool was crowded but the weather was perfect. And taking him to the pool is always a joy because this kid loves to swim. He jumps into the pool with no encouragement and he loves to dunk himself under the water (particularly amazing since he’s not quite two years old).

Hapi olmost halawin

Hapi olmost halawin by jeffreymcmanus.

Celeste writes letters to characters in the game Animal Crossing nearly every day. Her spelling isn’t terrific (she’s six, so it’s no big whoop) but it’s really astonishing to see her pursuing this with such vigor when six months ago she was barely able to read or write her own name.

This reminds me of when I was in fifth grade and I got my first real creative writing and public speaking experience through dungeon mastering. Why can’t more learning activities seem like play?

This Kid Is My Hero

Link: Boy, 6, Tries to Drive to Applebees

"A 6-year-old boy was hungry and decided he’d go to Applebees. So he grabbed the car keys, took his booster seat from the back seat of his grandmother’s car and placed it in the driver’s seat, then made a go of driving himself to the restaurant Tuesday.

He made it about 75 feet. Unable to take the car out of reverse, he crossed the street and ran into a transformer and communication box, knocking out electricity and phone service to dozens of townhomes.

Nobody was injured and the boy, whose name was not released, got out of his car and told his grandmother what happened."

Cheer Up, Emo Kid.

For the first three to five years of a kid’s life pretty much everything they say is a tape recording of something they’ve heard you say. Once they turn five, they start school and they start picking up all kinds of new stuff to say. Most of the time it’s amusing.

Yesterday after work in my office at home I was trying out a demo of an extremely violent first-person shooter video game. Watching me play extremely violent first-person shooters is one of Celeste’s favorite spectator sports, so she was sitting next to me watching. Within seconds of starting the game, I got blown up spectacularly. Celeste tried to comfort me by saying "Cheer up, emo kid."

What I Learned from Sept. 11

I wasn’t going to post anything about this on the blog (like, ever) because I didn’t want to contribute to the ongoing grief-o-rama — and also, to be honest, this isn’t terribly easy for me to write about. But after reading Marybeth’s eloquent post about how she feels on 9/11 as a parent, I thought I’d finally write this down.

My younger sister (who I’ll see in NY this weekend) was visiting us the weekend before Sept. 11. She took a red-eye flight home to New York and was in the air most of the morning of Sept. 11; her plane landed in New York a few hours before the attacks and was in her apartment in the east village when the first plane crashed. Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to wake us up with a phone call ("I’m okay. Turn on the TV. Talk later. Love you. Bye.").

We watched events unfold on television in silent disbelief, grateful that my sister was okay but wondering what was going to happen next. Since it was just after six in the morning where we were, my wife and I watched the TV news in bed. Next to us on the bed was our three-week-old daughter. Our new baby was the lens through which I evaluated everything that happened that day.

Because we were relieved about my sister and totally stunned at what was happening, we didn’t react emotionally to what was going on, at least not at first. But after the towers collapsed, we saw a live TV shot of a father with a child about the same age as our daughter strapped to his chest, running away from the debris cloud.

That was the scene that caused the emotional dam to break. We certainly identified with the father — holy shit, we live in a big city too, and that guy could have been us — but for me there was something much bigger at work. Having a baby is an act of supreme optimism; you have to feel pretty secure in your relationship to society to want to bring a kid into the world. But at that moment, I felt utterly (and selfishly) miserable for our own baby. I felt like she and her generation had been cheated. Through tears, I kept saying sorry, baby. We thought we had brought you into a great world, and now it looks like the world is going to be not quite as great.

It took more than a year for me to get my thoughts and emotions sorted out about this, but when I did, I realized I had it completely wrong. It may be the case that the world is a little worse than it was before 9/11. But all that happened in the past; if you’re focused on the future, you can look at anything in a more constructive way.

It took me way too long to figure this out, but things made a lot more sense when I realized that the world is not a gift we give to our children. Our children are a gift we give to the world.


Somehow in the past couple of weeks our little baby boy started walking around the house. What a pain in the butt. Now he’s yanking stuff off the shelves and appearing in inconvenient places. This is going to continue to be a pain until he’s able to go to the fridge to get daddy a beer.

Last day of school

Last day of school by jeffreymcmanus.

Congratulations to my #1 girl Celeste, whose last day of kindergarten is today.

It’s funny, I’ve been pumping her up for months about how cool it is to get out of school, to not have to do homework and to be able to vegetate for two and a half months. But she’s feeling wistful, which I suppose is a good sign. She loves her school and her teacher and doesn’t want it to end.

Our plan is to spoil her with camp, swimming, family road trips and other activities all summer. First up is a big-time luncheon with Mom downtown on Wednesday followed by a four day family road trip this weekend.

We’ll see how eager she is to go back to school after the summer we subject her to.