November 04, 2007

Still searching for danger

From the editorial pages of today's New York Times:
Childhood for Dummies

Nostalgic parents who made a best seller of a faux-1920s rough-and-tumble manual, “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” may soon do the same with its just-published companion, “The Daring Book for Girls.” ...

Having read both books, we can assure you that very, very little in them is remotely dangerous or daring, and that anything on the borderline, like shooting bunnies (“Dangerous,” Page 238) or climbing trees (“Daring,” Page 158), is covered by a very strict NOTE TO PARENTS: “All of these activities should be carried out under adult supervision only.”

We’re not sure if that applies to Page 171 of “Dangerous”: “Skipping Stones.”

These books are so clearly not about daredeviltry.

They are about ineptitude. They seem to perfectly capture a fear, floating in the culture, that a generation of preoccupied parents has been raising a generation of children full of sophisticated knowledge that is useless when the power goes out or the batteries die. That children have superior thumb-joystick coordination and TV-plot-discernment abilities, but cannot tie their shoes. (We have Velcro for that now.) ...
On the other hand, those in search of true danger and daredeviltry, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching, might be interested in the recently published Forbidden LEGO: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against by Ulrik Pilegaard and Mike Dooley, a sort of cross between The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide (I bought this for Daniel last year, and was looking for something similar for Christmas when I found FL) and the books of William Gurstelle. Otherwise known, around here, as the best of both worlds. From the book's contents page:

Chapter 1: How to Build Great Things
Chapter 2: Paper Plane Launcher
Chapter 3: Candy Coated Catapult
Chapter 4: Ping-Pong Cannon
Chapter 5: All-Terrain Lego
Chapter 6: High Velocity Automatic Lego Plate Dispenser
Appendix A: Tips and Tricks

Nothing says danger like "High Velocity". Speaking of which, for more fun, er, dangerous stuff from the book, including a YouTube demonstration of a fully automatic LEGO gun, head over to the publisher's website. If we do get the book, and I do say "if", I think we'll stick to the M&M catapult. For now, at least.

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