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Because I can do with a good cup o’ Joe right about now, and also because they’re featuring more bloody Mahler on the radio at the moment and life is too damn short.

Incidentally, the text of this chorus is:

Die Katze lässt das Mausen nicht,
The cat does not leave the mouse,
Die Jungfern bleiben Coffeeschwestern.
young ladies remain coffee addicts.
Die Mutter liebt den Coffeebrauch,
The mother loves her cup of coffee
Die Großmama trank solchen auch,
the grandmother drank it also.
Wer will nun auf die Töchter lästern!
Who can blame the daughters!

The full text of the cantata is here and involves coffee and a daughter who drives her father crazy, two concepts with which I am quite familler. 

25 manners every kid should know by Age 9.

There’s nothing objectionable about any of them – it’s the basics of please and thank you, watch your mouth and pay attention – but I question the introductory paragraph:

Your child’s rude ‘tude isn’t always intentional.  Sometimes kids just don’t realize it’s impolite to interrupt, pick their nose, or loudly observe that the lady walking in front of them has a large behind. And in the hustle and bustle of daily life, busy moms and dads don’t always have the time to focus on etiquette. But if you reinforce these 25 must-do manners, you’ll raise a polite, kind, well-liked child.

More specifically, it’s the second sentence that bugs me a bit, although I’m having a difficult time formulating what seems off about it.   Perhaps it’s the implied assumption that the brutes even care about what is polite or impolite which, in my experience, is unwarranted.  Selfishness is innate to yoot, with the capacity for sympathy only developing later on as the child begins to mature, and even then (often) only manifesting itself under parental guidance hammering.  This is evident in the ironic fact that when we first teach the kiddies the outer manifestations of sympathy – manners – we often frame them in terms of selfishness, i.e., “How would you like it if somebody did that to you?

Perhaps I’m being a tad critical, but suggestions that children are innocent angels, however faint, put my hackles up.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, let me remind my fellow port-swillers again that when I become Emperor of the World, use of the word “parenting” will constitute a flogging offense.

Last evening, as I fumed in front of the aged, decrepid, Port-Swiller home computer, trying to figure out why on earth I couldn’t delete the “Disney Princess Magical Dress Up” program that some urchin had installed behind my back and that has consumed so much badly needed disk space, my eye fell on the desk pad that sits in front of the screen, on which members of the Port-Swiller household are wont to doodle.   There, I suddenly noticed, in the eleven year old’s neat, careful hand, the words:

“Qui tollis regatta mundi”

It certainly helped.


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May 2011