Friday, May 31, 2013

All aboard

There may have been times in life when we have been guilty of thinking that we have been born beneath our station. 

Admittedly, there have been times though when I couldn't work out if it was St Pancras, Flinders Street or just the one harbouring Platform 9 3/4. 

I have always fancied myself as some highly successful author, commanding huge readerships, all while beating back frenetic literary fans. 

Undoubtedly, I would be holed up in some quaint stone cottage, in the foothills of some romantic village in Provence, hunched over some vintage typewriter banging out some classic literature.

The reality however, is far removed. 

Instead, I am vaguely situated at my computer, in my suburban home office, with a child draped over of my shoulders like some possessed scarf.  My swivelling office chair taking on a life of its own as the legs entwine and I am thrust from side to side. 

Amazingly, all the while, I am still focused enough to keep typing away. The accuracy rates may have diminished somewhat, but all in all, a committed effort I thought.

This writing gig is a lot harder than it looks. Especially considering in this fantasy I have decided that writing a picture book entirely in verse is the way to go. Herein lies my first mistake. I am not known for my rhythm. 

Not one to let obstacles get in my way...I remain undeterred. 

Even with 18kgs hanging off my back...and front...and side...

Stay tuned for the swivelling chairs of literary journeys to begin.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Food for thought

I was amazed last night to find myself watching an ad on TV for a kids’ vitamin supplement that helps make them smarter!

Double take…sorry…what was that?

Apparently, ‘this is the solution that parents have been waiting for’…aside from ending in a preposition, this is an outlandish statement.

As a parent, I can quite confidently say I have been waiting for many things…eight consecutive hours of sleep; manners without prompting; a large windfall; a supermodel makeover, all a definite maybe; but a chewable pill that purports to make my daughter smarter at an exorbitant price, not really.

But what got me was the tagline right at the very end…NAPLAN starts 14th May.

What the?

For those blissfully unaware, NAPLAN is Australia’s annual national literacy and numeracy testing regime for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN does not come without its own controversy and critics.

But this all pales into insignificance now.

No longer will we need to wave the big stick at teachers who have underperforming students in their class and it is clearly their fault.

No longer will we need to bribe, I mean support and encourage, teachers with bonus pay schemes.

No longer will we need to get parents and students to rate their teachers in an open and honest fashion...

But I digress…apparently, research shows that these supplements may help with brain function, learning and behaviour*, all according to this product’s website. I also believe there may be research, somewhere, by someone, that says that it may help with naiveté as well.

May…note the modality used here. They are only saying it may help…not that it will…maybe if you were standing on your head (to assist with greater blood flow to the cranium) in an oxygen bar (to assist with richer blood flow to the cranium) with stimulating electrodes placed around the skull at various intervals whilst chewing these chewable supplements…you too may be able to assist your brain function.

But what I truly loved was the ever-present asterisk leading to the small print.

*Galaxy Research sponsored by Pharmacare

Pharmacare laboratories’ – sounds impressively reputable. Sounds like a scientific based organisation who cares. But wait there’s more…a little further investigation reveals that Pharmacare labs are actually the producers of a plethora of health care products including, no less, than this very same Kids Smart vitamin supplement range.

Hmmm, you have to wonder about that, don’t you?

A little further research and I discovered that the Kids Smart range is actually an awarded range of products. Choice awarded the range a Shonky Award in 2012. Well done, guys!

You've got to give them 10 points for trying I suppose, but how stupid do they honestly think parents are? Maybe they are in need of some of their own medicine!