Weekly Reads: Freeloaders, Ferdinand, and Hamildolph!

We saw The Last Jedi… it was awesome… that’s all you need to know. Why are you wasting time reading this? A killer asteroid could destroy the planet at any moment! Go see the movie!

Just a few links as we head into the big Xmas break…

I’m Sick of Healthcare Freeloaders, declares this specialist who deals with a particularly needy population. </satire>

They are extremely ungrateful for the care that hardworking taxpayers provide for them. Patients have punched me, bitten me, screamed at me, and even urinated on me. I often leave with vomit on my clothes.

Sometimes, I have to bribe my patients with bright-colored objects, juice or graham crackers just to examine them. Do my patients thank me? Do they contribute to the economy? No!

They just suck up low-cost health care, whining the whole time, and then go pick up their free government milk. Often, they are literally carried from place to place in the arms of a real taxpayer.

The folks behind this interesting E-Book about the history of fluoride reached out for some link love… Happy to oblige ironically named Fluoride Exposed! 

How to talk to kids about death, according to picture books.

Kids have their own ways of making sense of the world, their own myths and rituals, perhaps most so when it comes to topics as difficult to comprehend as death. Brown captured this beautifully in “The Dead Bird,” which was first published as a picture book in 1958 with illustrations by Remy Charlip, and reissued last year with art by Christian Robinson. Brown’s story is deceptively simple: a group of kids playing in a field finds a bird on the ground, still warm but unmoving. They feel for its heartbeat (so much for generations of parental prohibitions against touching dead animals) and, finding none, they hold the creature as it grows cold and stiff.

The children were very sorry the bird was dead and could never fly again. But they were glad they had found it, because now they could dig a grave in the woods and bury it. They could have a funeral and sing to it the way grown-up people did when someone died.

The unnamed kids line the grave with ferns, wrap the bird in leaves, cover the grave with more ferns and flowers, and sing a song together. “Then they cried because their singing was so beautiful and the ferns smelled so sweetly and the bird was dead.”

The Story of Ferdinand has been brought to animated life in the theaters this holiday season, which gives us an opportunity to look back at the peculiar history of this children’s classic about a peaceful bull who just wants to sniff the flowers…

Children’s books, like children themselves, come in for a fair amount of scolding, whether it’s the periodic “family values” attacks on books like “Heather Has Two Mommies” or the international stir kicked up just last month when an English mum argued that the non-consensual wakeup kiss at the end of “Sleeping Beauty” reinforces rape culture. You might think that “The Story of Ferdinand,” about a gentle bull who refuses to fight in either pasture or bullring, only wanting to sit under his favorite tree and smell the flowers, would be immune from such content-shaming. But the eighty-one-year-old book, which was written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson and is the basis for the new animated film “Ferdinand,” opening on December 15th, was caught in the culture-war crossfire of its own era. Mahatma Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt were on Team Ferdinand. Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco were not. But the battle lines weren’t drawn quite as neatly as those rosters suggest.

WaPo’s On Parenting Blog has collected 2017’s top parenting trends according to Pinterest.  The killer asteroid can get here any time now.

Finally… a timeless Christmas story, if told by Lin Manuel Miranda…

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that Jazz.



Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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  1. Well, the kiss is certainly problematic, but not as bad as the original where he raped her, and she only woke up when her twins were born and one of them sucked the poison out of her finger….
    And then her mother in law tried to eat her, I think…

  2. Re: I’m Sick of Healthcare Freeloaders

    My sympathies in this story are with the patients.

    First of all, I’m employed and have good health insurance, so I’m not even going to these public clinics. In my experience, doctors and medical practices don’t treat patients like human beings. We’re just things to be converted as quickly and with as little effort as possible into billable “services.” If their standard treatment for your apparent problem doesn’t fix things, they blow you off. And they don’t listen. I finally swore I’d never go to a doctor who doesn’t treat me like a human being, which means I haven’t had a primary care doctor for years.

    Second of all, this doctor’s patients are poor — which means that they get treated like trash by everyone who has any power over them or who feels that they are in a higher social class. That includes the clinics that the author works for, and the author herself clearly has that attitude before she even sees her patients. (“Go get a job!” indeed!) These patients face that contempt everywhere, every day. It’s not surprising that many get tired of being constantly expected to grovel for necessities and blow up.

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