March 24, 2015

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I'd kind of given up hope, but one of my favorite design/inspiration blogs an ambitious project collapsing is back in the swing again. It's great.

And one of Andrew's new finds: kids resort furniture by the French architect Georges Candilis. In the early 1970s Candilis and Anja Blomstedt designed Les Carrats, a modernist family vacation resort in the south Mediterranean beach town of Port-Leucate, just north of Perpignan. The supremely simple, functional furniture was made locally from lumber and L-shaped brackets.

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There were tables, stools, benches, and chairs in a couple of sizes, but most of it had been tossed out in 2004. Perpignan design dealer Clement Cividino managed to track down just four surviving pieces, which he sold to the Pompidou last year. After securing a 20-year license on Candilis' furniture designs. So maybe these pieces will come back into production soon. Qui sait? Pas moi.

Georges Candilis & Anja Blomstedt furniture [anambitiousprojectcollapsing]
Leucate : le mobilier Candilis des Carrats entre au centre Pompidou [lindependant.fr]
Galerie Clement Cividino [clementcividino.com]

ollie_kroner_garbage_truck_heroes.jpg

2yo Quincy got to meet his heroes Friday, the guys who collect garbage on his Cincinnati street on Fridays. And it was a little overwhelming, reported his dad. To the local news station, because I guess nothing more awesome than this has happened in Cincinnati for months. Keep on recycling, little man!

Toddler breaks down after meeting garbage collecting heroes [6abc.com via dt reader jp]

March 22, 2015

1.

craig_potter_headphones.jpg

Nos. 2 -10 are doing the same thing, just with a different stuffed animal.

NHTSA has fined Graco $10 million for failing to report customer complaints to the government in the run-up to the Jan. 2014 recall of several million car seats.

The car seats had defective buckles that were extremely difficult-to-impossible to release.

Graco said it was NDB, just kids gettin' goo on the buckle is all. The federal safety agency disagreed, and declared the buckles to be a safety hazard, which the company had known about since 2009 but did jack about. Once the government found out, they demanded a huge recall, which Graco resisted, then caved on.

Having been on the car seat recall beat for over a decade now, I have to say, I'm amazed that the fine and settlement includes a statement from Graco acknowledging that "it did not provide the required notice to N.H.T.S.A." and that the company "fell short of N.H.T.S.A.'s expectations for data collection and reporting procedures." That kind of thing never used to happen.

What hasn't changed, though, is companies getting of fairly easy, even when it government penalties sound harsh. $7 million of Graco's penalty is actually a promise to launch a car seat safety awareness campaign. Which sounds like a boondoggle for a company in the car seat business.

Graco to pay $10 million for delay in recall of defective child seats [nyt]

March 21, 2015

Here is a real estate project that must happen.

1.
First is the utterly amazing yet apocalyptic story in the NY Times about kids shopping for their families' seven- and eight-figure real estate. The headline, "When the 13-Year-Old Picks a $14 Million Condo", is not hyperbolic, but a real thing that an actual Upper West Side family did.

2.
My friend Ron Lieber has an excellent book out, The Opposite Of Spoiled, about educating your kids to be wise about money by involving them in family financial decisions, and by giving them both responsibility and tools for earning, saving, and spending money. I don't think he had this kids-buying-beach-houses scenario in mind when he wrote it; perhaps his advice comes too late for some elements of our society.

winton_house_wright20.jpg

3.
Due to an extraordinary set of circumstances, an early, significant house designed by Frank Gehry is set to be auctioned in May. The Winton Guest House was originally commissioned in 1983 to sit alongside a Philip Johnson-designed house on Lake Minnetonka, MN. Its collection of sculptural forms clad in different materials is inspired by the still lifes of Giorgio Morandi, but also by a village, where each element grows up independently, but still coheres into a unified whole.

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The house is around 2,400 square feet, has two bedrooms and two baths, a full basement, a sleeping loft/crow's nest above the kitchen, and its main feature: a 35-foot truncated pyramidal tower for a living room. The materials are limestone, lead-painted copper, steel, Finnish marine plywood, flagstone, and brick.

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The Wintons sold their property in 2002, which the next guy subdivided, and since he couldn't tear down the Gehry, he donated it to the University of St. Thomas in 2009. They moved the house in ten parts over 60 miles to a conference center in BF Minnesota, and rebuilt and updated the mechanicals. It took ten months. The work was completed in 2011. The house has probably never been better.

And now the school has sold the land, and the house must be moved again. By August 2016. On the bright side, at least you know it's possible. I bet it's even easier the second time. The Chicago-based design auction house Wright 20 will sell the Winton House on May 19. Their estimate is $1-1.5 million. Plus shipping and handling.

BUT don't worry. The Mississippi River is only 65 miles away. Surely the house could be put onto trucks, then barges, and taken anywhere in the world. And thus the Winton Guest House is rebuilt, on a lot reasonably near a navigable waterway.

maynard_tower_house_nets_int.jpg

4.
And then this climbing net goes in the living room tower. Probably with a rock climbing wall installed along at least two, if not all four, of the walls. Frank Gehry will certainly approve. And if he doesn't, I wish him a long, healthy, and productive life. He is 86. But come on, he'd have to be so psyched at the prospect. psyched.

maynard_tower_house_ext.jpg

This kids' climbing tower/studio is from Tower House (2014) by Andrew Maynard Architects in Victoria, Australia. The 2,300-sf renovation and expansion added various structures in various forms and materials to a standard row house, transforming it into an indoor-outdoor village. It is basically the Winton House minus the starchitecture.

maynard_tower_house_sketches.jpg

5.
And here's the kicker. Maynard told ArchDaily that the tower which catalyzed the entire project was based on drawings created during an early meeting by the client family's twin boys.

6.
So basically, the kid is going to make me do this unless one of you beats us to it. So please, bid before it's too late.

When the 13-Year-Old Picks a $14 Million Condo [nyt]
Frank Gehry's Winton Guest House, 5/19/15 [wright20]
Tower House, Andrew Maynard Architects [archdaily via dt reader rolf]

March 20, 2015

The Daddy Types Friday Freakout is here/back, a collection of freakout-inducing headlines from the worlds of science, politics and parenting, dumped all at once to ruin just your weekend.

Sometimes the headline doesn't need changing at all:



  • The longer babies breastfeed, the more they achieve in life - major study
    In Brazil, it turns out. Breastfeeding for a year raised IQ 4 points and income $140/mo. [guardian

  • Raising teenagers as protagonists in their own story, not yours, is pretty useful perspective for people who use their kids as brand extensions on their lifestyle blogs. [nyt mag, I know, mea culpa, but I'll have that conversation anytime you're ready]

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome may actually be a theory, not a thing. The Washington Post has published an extensive investigation into the science, medicine, and legal aspects of a diagnosis that basically exists for use in a courtroom. [wash post]


Previously, and because some might wonder how this photo of Uma Thurman became the Daddy Types patron saint of breastfeeding: Hollywood's Most Glamorous Nursing Pads

og_red_range_rover_livery.jpg

This week was tough on the Big Red Cars That Are Probably Trouble But Really I Wouldn't Mind front. First I spotted this great Range Rover Classic in Camel Trophy livery. Tobacco sponsorships and tearing up rain forests are both taboo now, of course, but I really wish this could be grandfathered in somehow. Maybe buy some carbon offsets, and take the Camel logo off the side facing the preschool pickup?

diplomatic_vw_sharan.jpg

On a more subdued note, yesterday a diplomat pulled up right in front of me and flaunted her EPA/DOT immunity with her VW Sharan. Available everywhere but North America, the fine-looking, 7-seat Sharan is the metric system to the VWTF Routan's Imperial.

But no worries, an intrepid auto journalist must have asked about bringing back the Microbus, because VW said they're thinking about bringing a van to the US. Which is what they've been saying for 15 years, at least. Whatever.

Volkswagen mulls VW van, high-performance Golf for U.S. [autonews]

March 18, 2015

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Andy Warhol was definitely in the famous for being famous phase of his career when he published his memoir, Popism: The Warhol Sixties in 1980. Popism was based on audio tapes Warhol recorded during the 60s and co-written with Pat Hackett who, of course, was also recording reports Andy made to her on the phone each morning to document the previous day's activities and expenses. After the artist's unexpected death in 1987, Hackett published these as The Warhol Diaries. And they are indispensably awesome.

Like Andy's account of traveling to Washington, DC for a Popism reading and book signing 35 years ago at Kramerbooks, which is a landmark now, but at the time was a mere hotspot:

Well, it was St. Paddy's day. Bob [Colacello, Interview magazine editor] ordered breakfast up. I didn't have a good sleep. We watched the Match Game and it was a fast round where the answer was "Andy Warhol" and one person was guessing "Peter Max" and then "Soup Can" and then "Pop Artist."

Our breakfast was cancelled at the White House. I guess the Carter administration doesn't want to see us anymore because I did the Ted Kennedy poster...

A girl came and took us to Kramerbooks, it's a bookshop coffee house, and so everybody was drinking. Bob loves the place because it's where he picked kids up when he was at Georgetown. People were shoving everything at me to sign and I signed it all--underwear, a knife. Oh, (laughs) and I signed a baby.

We had to get to the shuttle at 9:00 (tickets $153). Bought some newspapers and a Newsweek ($2). And Newsweek had a great review of Popism

So you see why I've called you all here. We must find this baby, and the overachieving DC parent who got it signed by Andy Warhol. At a drunken Dupont Circle book party on St Patrick's Day.

So we are looking for a 35-6yo person, born in the DC area, who may have Andy Warhol's signature tattooed across his or her forehead. Please step forward to claim your next fifteen minutes of fame. Stay tuned. [via @warhollives]

March 17, 2015

Ever since the state replaced the water it normally serves with Disneyland Measles™, concerned parents in California have begun taking "extreme steps" to keep their kids from getting sick. Extreme steps like not having playdates with unvaccinated kids. And keeping their too-small-to-vaccinate-yet kids out of large, germy, public places.

I'm going to assume this is extreme like Nacho Flavor Blast Goldfish, not extreme like ungrounded refusal to accept basic tenets of science and medicine, thereby putting entire communities at risk.

Parents take extreme steps to keep their kids from the unvaccinated [lat]

March 13, 2015

The note in the corner of this note Wes Anderson gave his personal assistant in 1999 is basically the fish crawling out of the ocean onto land of the hipster station wagon.

Though the E39 model 5-Series replaced the E34 in 1997, BMW only introduced the Touring version of the E39 in the 1999 model year. So the answer was yes, Wes. [thanks ben]

see also: BMW E39 M5 Touring Unicorn Conversion
BMWTF: The World's Fastest Wagon v3.0, The M5 Touring
Bulgogische Motoren Werke

March 11, 2015

I really don't have time for this right now! Just use a bench!

March 9, 2015

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Dezeen has pics of a sweet new bedroom addition Melbourne-based architects Mihaly Slocombe made to a low-slung, rammed earth house they built eight years ago in a retired couple's vineyard. Called the Kid Pod, it's "for future grandchildren," which, no pressure.

The Kid Pod is separated from the main house by a glassed in walkway. Two sleeping areas are connected by a wide hall with a bathroom in between them. The whole space can feel like a contiguous loft, or the rooms can be closed off by heavy curtains. Everything is lined with pale plywood, which looks gorgeous.

Plywood_Kids_Pod_Mihaly_Slocombe_1.jpg

Though if the perforated timber shutters seem familiar to you, too, it means we've been going to some of the same Chipotles.

Mihaly Slocombe extend vineyard home with timber nursery [dezeen]

There was a time when Sesame Street's classic animation sequences were hard to find, and when finding the details of their creation were even harder. In the early days, Daddy Types spent an inordinate amount of the kid's naptime researching this stuff, and making the info more widely available.

One of the by-products of this effort, and the broader increase in our cultural knowledge, is that we know to mourn the passing of Jeff Hale, whose animation studio Imagination, Inc. made so many of the OG Sesame Street animations of the early 1970s.

Hale was 92, and he will be missed. Fortunately, Imagination, Inc.'s wonderful creations like Pinball Number Count, Jazzy Spies, Capital I, 4-Armed Swami, and many more, will live on, at least in low-res glory, as a studio fire at Imagination, Inc. destroyed most of the original material long ago. [Actually, the compilation above is pretty clean. I'm watching now.]

Jeff Hale, Sesame Street and Thank You, Mask Man Animator, RIP [cartoonbrew via @langealexandra]

Previously:
Recovered: Matt Jones' unofficial history of Pinball Number Count
What's the story with the four-armed swami counting to twenty?
Sesame Street Counting Swami Backgrounds photoset [flickr]

March 6, 2015

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This card has nearly a million reblogs on tumblr by now, which makes it virtually impossible to trace. Oh well. Print your own, I guess.

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Here is a vintage picture of Muppeteer Carroll Spinney with his Big Bird legs on as he performs Oscar. And now you wonder why you never see Oscar and Big Bird together. [via @gabrielroth]
Another Spinney leg shot at Muppet Wiki [wikia]

March 2, 2015

Smokey Sue Smokes For Two is designed to teach powerful lessons, including:

smokey_sue_smokes_for_two_amazon.jpg
Don't buy a Smokey Sue Smokes For Two at this price are you nuts? [amazon]

February 24, 2015

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Koppie Koppie is a new online store that wants to teach us all an Important Lesson About Privacy--by slapping photos of random kids they've scraped from flickr onto mugs you, a total stranger, can buy.

Their point is about how we unwittingly give control of our images, text, and video--our entire online lives--to companies and websites who can sell or exploit it however they want. I'm not sure that selling mugs with Creative Commons-licensed flickr photos is the cleanest way to make this point.

But as someone who long ago decided not to post pics or names or other info of his kid on the public web, and who has written before about this image/product circulation mayhem, which I dubbed "Scraper Capitalism," I heartily encourage awareness, informed discussion, and robust privacy tools.

And in the interest of preserving the privacy options of folks whose kids' mugs are on the mugs above, DT is obscuring their identities. Images on actual mugs will be unredacted.

Koppie Koppie [koppie-koppie.biz]
On Scraper Capitalism [greg.org]

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In 2013 the Vietnamese-Danish artist Danh Vo began creating exhibitions in Berlin using his own artworks, Galleri Feldt's mid-century Danish furniture, and Leonor Antunes' brass objects. Which means that since it's not on Feldt's 1st dibs page, this Nanna Ditzel high chair is probably only available as part of a mindblowingly priced art installation. Sure looks pretty, though.

Danh Vo at Galleri Feldt with Leonor Antunes, through Apr 2015 [contemporaryartdaily]

A couple of years ago Cabel Sasser wrote about Pixar's production babies, the kids born during the years-long creation of animated films, who get shoutouts in the credits. And he found evidence of what still stands as the earliest production baby, a birth announcement in the 1988 Intellivision video game Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball.

Steve Ettinger had worked on Spiker and put an easter egg announcing his daughter Jessica's birth in the game code. Cabel found the text, but the secret combo of button & joystick moves that located the egg were long lost.

spiker_production_baby_scr_atariage.gif

Until now. Intellivision high priest Joe Zbiciak analyzed the video game's ROM and discovered the codes, and has restored baby Jessica's birth announcement in its full emulated glory. Apparently the contorted cheat codes were a little easier to execute on the original game controllers.

By her own account, Jessica is doing fine, and as she lives her life, she probably looks forward to expanding her Wikipedia presence. She is glad, though, to now know the exact time of her birth. #LLAP

Lost Easter Egg in Spiker [atariage.com, thanks steve]
Previously:">The First Production Baby

February 23, 2015

Paul Kalanithi is a Stanford neurosurgeon and a new dad with metastatic lung cancer.

And his most recent essay and interview for Stanford Medical School's magazine about his experience is the reason I am crying right now.

Before I Go [stanmed.stanford.edu]
Previously, when he was diagnosed: How Long Have I Got Left? [nyt]

unicornreality_makeup_app_baby.jpg

I have some inexplicable apps on my phone, I'll admit. And if I haven't used the phone as a peacemaker in the backseat of the car for a couple of weeks, I'll might get an alert to remind me that my dragon misses me and is hungry.

And I don't even know WTF a makeup app is. But judging from the bonkers results of Unicornreality's makeovers of her newborn son, it is worth every entertaining penny.

Mom Tries Out A Makeup App On Her 7-Week-Old Son [boredpanda via dt reader rolf]
Unicornreality's imgur [imgur]

February 20, 2015

Lot-079_Bojesen_Menagerie_LAMA.jpg

It sounds like a Robert Ludlum book posing as a Tennessee Williams play, but it is actually a mid-century nurseryful of Danish teak toys for sale in one fell swoop. If you don't mind a bear three-way and some giant monkey/hippo hookups, it could even be Bojesen's Ark.

With buyer's premium, the estimate could hit high retail, though, so Bojesen pickers and thrifters will probably want to steer clear.

Mar 1, 2015, Lot 79 | Kay Bojesen, Animals (11), est. $3-5,000 [lamodern]

February 18, 2015

bmw_e34_touring_cl_chicago.jpg

A barrage of word salad on Chicago Craigslist heralds the arrival of a low-miles 1994 BMW 530i Touring in seemingly excellent condition. It is "rare" in the way that all station wagons are in the US. It has an automatic, not a 6-speed, but it does have the 218hp 3.0L V8 BMW introduced to the 5-series in 1992. "Rare" would be the 540i Touring, which was not offered in the States. "VERY RARE" would be an M5 Touring which, keep shopping.

Still, the greatest features are the miles: 34,000, and the price: $8,000. Add the cost of a thorough inspection and your daycare dropoff dream will come true.

1994 BMW 530 I TOURING V8 RARE MODEL LOW MILAGE 36 K ONLY NO RUST MINT - $8000 (NILES) [chicago.craigslist.org, via dt bmw shark dt]
Previously: USA! USA! USA! 1993 BMW E34 M5 Touring

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The French artist Arman first received critical attention in the late 1950s for his Accumulations and Poubelle works, in which he stuffed plexiglass vitrines with as many identical objects or garbage as he could fit, respectively. Violins, mussel shells, hammers, that sort of thing. He then proceeded to beat this concept into the ground by repeating it until the day he died, in 2005.

This work, a dollhouse stuffed with dollhouse furniture titled Interior Architecture, is from right in the middle of his career, 1981.If we're feeling charitable, or if you need a little push to bid, we could call this period the apex of his career. Otherwise it is a dollhouse stuffed with dollhouse furniture for maybe $15,000.

05 Mar 2015 | Lot 115, Arman, INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE, Est. USD15,000 -- 20,000 [sothebys]

February 17, 2015

meccano_home_kids_01.jpg

Meccano Home exists. It was conceived by a constellation of designers and engineers in France whose names appear on various websites in varying pairs, so who knows, Meccano Home has a thousand fathers. The brand is licensed from the toy manufacturer, though. So technically a separate operation.

Meccano Home feels pretty true to the toys. It is made of sheet steel, painted and rough-finished; if it doesn't feel totally like a truck bedliner, then it is still rougher than a powdercoat. Probably helps with fingerprints. Colors are mix and match. Except legs are sold in packs of four. Some retailers have already done the mixing for you, so you get what you get.

There is some hype about Meccano Home right now, but there was this time last year, too. It is because of the Maison & Objet trade fair. And possibly because the launch hype preceded the actual retail/distribution hype. I can't find any US distributor yet. The UK distributor, Holloways of Ludlow, from whom the photo above was ganked, only just got on Twitter.

Though everything looks appropriately childish, the only actual Kids items are a small chair and playtable/desk, and an easel. Of course, you should feel free to put a bunch of storage cubes and shelf units in the kid's room too. It is rather expensive, though I've also seen it for 40% less than this.

Meccano Home [Kids section is 404 at the moment, fyi] [meccanohome thanks dt reader whose email I lost]
Children's desk - 90 x 60 cm - Meccano Home £397 [madeindesign.co.uk]
Children's chair - Meccano Home £229 [madeindesign.co.uk]

February 14, 2015

This website was founded on the principle of countering treacly baby-related writing that calls babies baby, like in "wipe warmers are best for baby," or DD or DS, and so we have only ever called babies and children kids. Our own kid is the kid. This is not an accident, it is on purpose, and it has worked out pretty well so far.

UPDATE: And here is Maza's full report of the encounter, from WWD:

"No -- don't, don't, don't, don't," West snarled, indignant. "'Where did you guys leave the kid?'" The problem seemed to be the reference to his firstborn with something as ordinary as "the kid." "We don't call it the kid," Kardashian added helpfully. Once he was talked off a ledge, West backed down, if only a little. What did he think of Wang's show?

"I'm not going to answer any more questions. I'm just telling you, you don't ask about our damn kid," he said. OK!

We don't call it the kid.

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lynx_eventer_quarter_silverstones.jpg

Here is a Jaguar Lynx Eventer, an XJ-S converted from new by Lynx into a shooting brake. 67 were made. This is number 20. It's from 1984. Here is number 40, from 1988, which gives you a sense of their popularity at the time.

eventer_rearseats_silverstone.jpg

I think they're pretty gorgeous. The single rear glass on the Lynx looks better than the split glass on this purple XJ-S conversion DT ran in 2007. Now I wonder who did that one. [Ooh, maybe it's one of the French or Belgian counterfeit Lynxes.] Also the rear seat and rear storage space are surprising. I remember being shoehorned into the back of an XJ-S once as a kid, and this seems like an improvement.

The only thing rarer than Eventers is Eventer buyers, as they are traded pretty regularly; Google results turn up one or two for sale or auction every year. So maybe not an impulse purchase; shop around. On the other hand, a £35,000 - 40,000 estimate seems lower than recent examples, so maybe this is the one.

Feb. 21, Lot 309: 1984 Lynx Eventer XJS, est. £35,000 - 40,000 [silverstoneauctions via dt shooting brake sharpshooter dt]

February 10, 2015

The walking bike dad phonevideo genre has found its Goodfellas, and David Friedman is its Scorsese. He's using Hyperlapse, the timelapse video app from Instagram, at 1:1 speed as a Steadicam to follow his kid around the playground on his walking bike. This leaves the rest of us no excuse to stay hanging out on the bench.

Hyperlapse app as pocket steadicam - Test [vimeo]

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we'll do muted blues and silvers. image: probably jack and jill interiors via wsj

Alright, this has stymied me for days now. I've just gotta push it out there.

Buried in the slideshow captions of the Wall Street Journal's princess nursery shopporntainment article today was what seems like an actually new trend. Which means it might not be too late to stop it. Of course, I'm talking about the "Gender Reveal Room."

It's basically just like a gender reveal cake, except instead of sending the ultrasound to the bakery, you send it to the decorator.:

Ms. Urs asked her designer Sherri Blum Schuchart, owner of Jack and Jill Interiors, for a "gender-reveal room." Ms. Schuchart designed two rooms--one for a boy, one for a girl--and, unbeknownst to Ms. Urs and her husband, installed the boy version. The family had never seen the results of the ultra sound and didn't know they were expecting a boy. They saw the room for the first time when they brought their son, Luke, home from the hospital, Ms. Urs said.
Huh. There are several things going on here, including a similarity to the Jewish tradition of not putting the nursery together before the kid comes. Which, mazeltov. All for it.

Let's go in order: Gender. This "prince" thing exposes the sheer lunacy of princessness. We just don't do it. It is forced and feels and sounds odd. Boys don't need to be called a prince to feel "special"; they're boys. The world is already warped in their favor. And this persistent but unjustifiable inequity is the foundation of the entire princess paradigm. They're two sides of the same discriminatory coin. Reducing gender to a pink/blue color binary only forefronts the most superficial aspects of gender differences, it reinforces the bias that comes with it. From the very, very beginning.

Next: Reveal. After the enormous hype and celebration of the lifechanging birth of the first one, it turns out there is absolutely nothing interesting about having a second kid. No one cares, not even you. There is no mystery, no anticipation, no excitement, not even that much shopping. It's just running down the pregnancy clock, and then some paperwork and a bunch of diapers again. So desperate, bored, ignored parents turn to the suspense of the ultrasound, and try to hype that into an event that gets attention from their distracted friends and family. And having 50 people in your OB's office looking for genetic defects and a penis is not gonna happen, and neither inviting people to the opening of an envelope, so the gender reveal cake was born.

Do you need to have the flaws in this logic chain pointed out one by one, or can we toss the entire thing into the garbage? Gender reveal cakes are reality TV stunts cooked up by the Duggars, who had to figure out a way to turn having 25 kids into watchable television. You, normal person, do not need it. It is performance. And a nursery? How does that even work? You just determine not to open the door after the decorator's done? That will not work.

In our childbirth class, there was one couple where the mom did not know the gender of the kid, but the dad did. And holy smokes was it obvious within 30 seconds what the secret was, and how that information asymmetry and cognitive dissonance was basically a power tripping stress mess between them. I mention this now because you know that at some point between decorating weekend babymoon and delivery room, the dad took a peek into that gendered nursery and then had to act surprised later. You know he did.

And anyway, look this kid's crib and tell me how anything besides the color palette is different for Prince Luke vs. Princess Leia. It is a Decorator Vision through and through, with enough soft bedding and bows and ruffles and last-minute-personalized objets to smother whatever gender of kid ends up there. And while I wish nothing but happiness and joy for the Urses, this gender reveal nursery thing just should not be.

Buried the lede: Gender Reveal Nursery [wsj]
Previously, disastrously related: The Four Sponsors Of The Apocalypse: Gender Reveal Twitter Party
Area Man Says That Gender Reveal Cake Is A Freakin' Uterus, Dude
Don't Think About C-Sections When You Cut That Gender Reveal Cake

February 6, 2015

wsj_princess_wtf_newport.jpg

When we were having the first kid, except for David Netto's white lacquered moderne thing and like one Stickley woodshop in Sonoma, there was literally no way to spend more than $500 on a nursery without it looking like a scroll- and curlicue-covered, antique white- or mahogany-stained mafia princess boudoir.

Point is, there has always been a market for horrible, tacky, frilly, gaudy, pinnacle-y, gilt-y, jigsawed, beadazzled, turret-y, overpriced, ostentatious garbage furniture for children whose parents' first, second, and last impulse in life is to throw a dumpsterful of dumb money at whatever comes along. And according to the Wall Street Journal, they're still going strong.

There is literally nothing to be done. Ours is a mediated culture where women will project materialistic, superficial princess fantasy onto their tiny daughters, in order to fabricate their interior decorating portfolio, or to land a spot on Real Housewives of Newport Beach, and they'll feel like the best parents in the world doing it.

wsj_wtf_pink_chandelier.jpg

The pink and blue thing is never going away, not even when the oceans rise up and drown Miami and a dessicated, deserted California crumbles into dust. Somewhere in The Capitol or on Elysium, a space mining mogul's concubine will be outfitting a nursery with an elaborate but too small chandelier covered with crowns and pink Swarovski crystals forged from the ashes of the dead of the earth.

Princess Rooms That Rule [wsj via marginalrevolution]

February 4, 2015

star_trek_van_enterprise.jpg

Space. The final constraint.

This 1978 GMC van was custom painted by "well known Canadian artist" G.S. Roy and remained in one Ontario family until 2012, when the current owner, a Vancouver dad, bought it. He is now selling it because, "(we would like to shrink the family vehicle stable a bit as we now have two small boys and no time)".

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It appears to be in immaculate original condition, with a few thoughtful upgrades and repairs. "Currently I have a bench seat with quick release function installed behind the captain's chairs (for my kids; the original swivel 'buckets' did not have seatbelts)." Basically everything that's not chrome or airbrush is covered in red velvet. "There is also a pump sink, icebox, and bed in back with curtains...you guessed it...red velvet." You know, for kids.

star_trek_van_spock.jpg

While the mural on the driver's side shows the USS Enterprise firing phasers at an alien planet from an episode I don't immediately recall, the passenger side, the one with the sliding door, the one facing the preschool or daycare dropoff curb, has Commander Spock and a colleague promoting the Federation's enlightened policies regarding working moms and breastfeeding.

20 more photos and a detailed writeup: 1978 GMC G15 Custom Star Trek 'boogie' Van - $9500 (east vancouver) vancouver.craigslist.org via dt reader jeff]
previously, related: Actually, this van IS a-rockin'
Calling Greg of Greenwich: Custom Mercedes Sprinter Vans
Now Don't Think Of Your Parents Having Sex
Meddling Kids Not Included: Dodge Ram 250 Mystery Machine

February 1, 2015

roald_dahl_family_1961.jpg
The pram before the storm: Roald Dahl & Patricia Neal family in 1961, with Theo, Tessa & Olivia. image via telegraph

All this time I thought Roald Dahl was just a horrible narcissistic monster who treated his family badly and hated kids generally.

In fact, he had a tragic life irreparably scarred by the suffering and young death of his children. I mean, it's just wrenching.

In 1961, Dahl was married to the American actress Patricia Neal. [She was Paul Varjak's sugar mama in Breakfast at Tiffany's, which was released that October.] That summer the family was in NY, three kids, two girls and a baby boy, and a taxi struck the kid in his pram. After months of uncertainty, he survived, but ended up with lifelong brain injuries.

This is what the family was dealing with into 1962, when their oldest daughter Olivia contracted measles in November at the age of seven. After a couple of days of fever, she seemed to be on the mend. Then she started having nerve problems; she was rushed to the hospital. She was diagnosed with measles encephalitis, untreatable, and died within twelve hours.

Dahl described the ordeal in his journal. Exhausted, he went home to rest. His daughter died before he could get back to the hospital:

I first said I would stay on. Then I said I'd go back with Pat. Went. Arrived home. Called Philip Evans. He called hospital. Called me back. "Shall I come?" "Yes please." I said I'd tell hospital he was coming. I called. Doc thought I was Evans. He said I'm afraid she's worse. I got in the car. Got to hospital. Walked in. Two doctors advanced on me from waiting room. How is she? I'm afraid it's too late. I went into her room. Sheet was over her. Doctor said to nurse go out. Leave him alone. I kissed her. She was warm. I went out. "She is warm." I said to doctors in hall, "Why is she so warm?" "Of course," he said. I left.
The account wasn't published until 2010. Olivia's death haunted Roald and his family for the rest of their lives. Their second daughter Tessa wrote in 2012 about the emotional and psychological trauma of her childhood, and its impact on her adult life.

Dahl dedicated The BFG to Olivia, and published it on the twentieth anniversary of her death, in 1982. Its main character is named Sophie, after Tessa's daughter. But connections to Olivia resonate throughout the story. Edwin Turner made me cry several times as he described reading The BFG with his daughter, and how it reminded him of Dahl's own anguish as a father.

In 1986, Dahl wrote an open letter to other parents about his daughter's death, encouraging them to get their kids vaccinated. It continues to circulate under the title, "Measles: a dangerous illness," at The Encephalitis Society and Oxford University's Vaccine Knowledge Project.

Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk.

In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.

Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. [Since this was written in 1986, the success of the MMR vaccination has reduced this figure to several thousand each year, but unvaccinated children are still at risk, and some do still die of measles].

Dahl's letter has gotten a lot of online attention in the last couple of days. Don't turn out like Roald Dahl. Vaccinate your kids.

Roald Dahl's secret notebook reveals heartbreak over daughter's death [telegraph]
The BFG, Roald Dahl's Love Letter to His Lost Daughter [biblioklept.org]
'Daddy gave joy to millions of children. But I was dying inside': Tessa Dahl on life with her best-selling author father Roald [dailymail]
Measles: a dangerous disease (1986), by Roald Dahl [ox.ac.uk thanks (sic) dt hero dt]

January 30, 2015

Oh man oh man, how can this week's freakout be about anything but measles and vaccines?


  • What matters is "herd immunity." Unvaccinated people relying on vaccinated people around them to keep the disease from spreading. Including people who can't get vaccinated, like immune-compromised people and kids under 12mo. [vox]

  • A Marin County dad of a kid with leukemia is asking the school system to keep unvaccinated kids from attending. There are apparently schools in Marin where 50% of the kids are unvaccinated. [nyt]

  • "If my kid can't bring peanut butter to school, yours shouldn't be able to bring preventable diseases." [@kkjordan's twitter via kottke]

  • Most US measles cases since 2000 are linked to unvaccinated people traveling abroad, picking up measles, and bringing it back to the US. Like what caused the massive outbreak among Amish in Ohio in 2014. [vox]

  • The virus is incredibly durable and will infect unvaccinated people for hours after the initial hit. [theverge]

  • Like how the NY State Health Department says that anyone without confirmed vaccinations who rode an Amtrak train last Sunday, on Jan. 25, from NYC to Albany, when a Bard College student with measles rode it, should check with their doctor. [nbcnewyork]

  • Even with the vacctivist nonsense, the majority of unvaccinated kids are poor, or their working parents can't take them to the doctor. SO WHY NOT SET UP VACCINATION STATIONS IN SCHOOLS? Just sayin'.

kanye_bean_boots.jpg

Wait. What is on North's feet? Are those actual Bean Boots? Where'd they come from? Bean hasn't made toddler-sized duck boots for a loong time. I've been searching for a pair for so long, my kids have both grown past them.

The smallest pair I've ever found, the kid only grew into them when she was like 8yo.

If West's just sending out his stylist armies to scorch and pillage the kidswear earth, then history will condemn him. If Nori wearing these in the new vid gets LL Bean to make tiny actual duck boots again, then Ye is using his power for good; may he lead us out of this rainbow splatter painted rubber boot hellscape and into a new throwback day.

whatstrending_kanye_we_are_doomed.jpg

Or maybe they're just Kamik boots, or some knockoffs, or--I can't tell, this joint's pretty low-res.

UPDATE/LETDOWN: DT's Northern Border correspondent DT suggests they might be from Gap Kids. Or Gap Kids Canada:

gap_canada_duck_boots.jpg

Still from Spike Jonze's "Only One" video [kanyewest.com via @alexismadrigal
What's Trending | what the hell, Rando on Kanye on Ellen, this is what we've become as a civilization? we're all doomed, no boots can save us [youtube]
previously, like 2008: LL Bean Booties

January 29, 2015

Autobild_Siebensitzer.jpg

When a very unusual Citroen CX 2500 Familiale turned up for sale a couple of months ago, I went Internet diving. Which led me to this: a 2012 round-up of classic seven-seaters from Auto Bild called, Die Glorreichen Sieben-Sitzer. I do believe that is a reference to the classic Jock Sturges film, The Magnificent Seven, which is itself a Western remake of Kurosawa's early masterpiece The Seven Samurai.

But with the exception of a 1977 Chevy Impala, these wagons are all as Euro as you can get. In addition to the Citroen CX, there's a Mercedes E-Class, a Volvo 940GL, and a Land Rover 110. But there's also a VW T3 Van, a Peugeot 505 Familial--and another Citroen, the ID Break.

I have two kids now, and even so, I can't imagine shopping for cars with seven seats, but I must recognize greatness when I see it. And this assemblage of station wagons and people movers is just awesome.

Big slideshow: Auto Bild Klassik | Die Glorreichen Sieben-Sitzer [autobild.de]

I am very bummed at the news that the online shop Modernchild is closing. Tien was a pioneer and a great supporter of modern and independent kids design, and she has a terrific eye. It was an honor to have Modernchild as an advertiser over the years on Daddy Types, and I wish her success and satisfaction in her next adventure.

MEANWHILE, HOP TO, SCORE SOME GREAT STUFF, AND HELP AN INDEPENDENT RETAILER OUT. Modernchild is having a closing sale for the next three days. There is an additional 30% off using the CLOSING code at checkout.

makie_modernchild.jpg

Among the standouts: interesting-looking source books on kindergarten and preschool design. Kids clothing from Makie, a great Japanese designer in SoHo whose stuff we've loved for years. This handmade black outfit for a 12mo is typical, and now it's like $50, 70% off.

edeler_jacket_modernchild.jpg

There are a few of Nicola Edeler's hand-felted dresses and jackets left, including this blazer, in sizes 4-6yo, for, srsly, $30, just $20 with the checkout code. There are various cool onesies and such, too, definitely worth a look through.

MODERNCHILD Closing Sale [modernchild.net]

January 27, 2015

Unlike other third world nannytatorships like Germany, New Zealand, and Scandinavia, France does not maintain a list of approved baby names. It merely grants "civil control officers" of the state the unchecked authority to veto your baby name choices. You can name your kid anything you want in France, unless some clerk decides it's not in the kid's best interest.

And so one couple who had a girl in September was recently informed that,

"le prénom « Nutella » donné à l'enfant correspond au nom commercial d'une pâte à tartiner. Et il est contraire à l'intérêt de l'enfant d'être affublé d'un tel prénom qui ne peut qu'entraîner des moqueries ou des réflexions désobligeantes. »

[The name "Nutella" given to the infant corresponds to the brand name of a (ridiculously awesome chocolate hazelnut) spread. And it is contrary to the interest of the infant to be saddled with such a name which can only lead to mockery or disparaging thoughts.]

And another couple, who had a girl in October, was told that they were equally not at liberty to name their kid Fraise, which is French for strawberry:
« le prénom de Fraise...sera nécessairement à l'origine de moquerie notamment l'utilisation de l'expression ramène ta fraise, ce qui ne peut qu'avoir des répercussions néfastes sur l'enfant »

[The given name Strawberry will necessarily be the source of mockery, notably the use of the expression, 'Bring your strawberry,' (the equivalent of 'Get your butt over here') which cannot but have adverse repercussions for the infant.]

I guess coming from the United States, where we're free to name our kids Adolf Hitler if we want to [though true, they might get taken by Child Services later], I just don't see what the problem is.

Actually, I think the problem is that these French officials have combined an unnecessarily bleak view of humanity, where mockery is the norm, with a deluded self-regard that their forcing a conformist name over the wishes of the parents is somehow going to save the kid from a life of bullying. Given the chance, kids will always find a way.

« Nutella », « Fraise »: le tribunal de Valenciennes refuse les prénoms de deux bébés [lavoixdunord via dt reader nathan]
Previously, I mean, seriously, just listen to Strawberry Saroyan: Strawberry, Apple. Apple, Strawberry

January 23, 2015

The Daddy Types Friday Freakout is a compendium of news stories from the worlds of science, health, and parenting, saved up during the week and unleashed here all at once to freak. you out:


  • Though one could easily say, "There's arsenic in rice, and now it's in us!" and be done with this link, Heather Abel's essay is a wonderful, thoughtful, and constructive look at the freakout process itself, and thus, our existence as parents and humans. Read it all. [nyt]

  • Doctors, hospitals, birthing centers, midwives, doulas, everybody, should work to intervene less and to make childbirth less manipulated and stressful. Really, it's mostly the doctors and hospitals who need to chill. [childbirthconnection.org via nyt]

  • How serious is the Disney Measles outbreak? Disney is telling unvaccinated kids to stay away from Disneyland. That's like half the population of O.C. these days. guardian]

  • There are dozens of villages in India where a girl hasn't been born for years. Some regions have 2:1 boy-to-girl ratios, which is insane. [indiatimes]

Bwahaha, at first I was like LOL, then LMAO, then ROTFLMAO, and then I was like, FULL STOP, AS YET UNIDENTIFIED ADVERTISER.

Advertiser who was making me laugh at parenting stereotypes one second, but who the next compels me to wince at child in danger.

REVEAL YOURSELF, O BRAZEN MANIPULATOR OF MY EMOTIONS FOR YOUR UNACKNOWLEDGED COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

And it's freakin' Similac. Baby formula. I have just been played--hard--by Big Formula.

What just happened, exactly?

What was it we were laughing at and judging each other about the moment before we were forced to share our common terror for a baby's drowning, and then transfer our feelings of blessed relief to a can of formula? At first it seemed like it was the universal sense of clueless superiority engaged parents of every flavor feel, and the passive aggressive stridency with which they judge every other type of parent.

Well, almost universal. The trio of baffled, babywearing moms are not throwing the shade; they're just watching it fly. They are the ones we, the viewer, are supposed to identify with, even if we see or hear ourselves elsewhere on the playground.

But the seeming diversity of parenting tribes masks the real source of conflict: bottle vs breast. The flagrant feeders whipping it out, the militant coverwearers, the pumping professionals, the dads dropping and getting called on received wisdom ["Well it IS all about the breast." "No it isn't."] Everything boils down to formula.

I can totally see how the world might seem that way to a formula marketer. When you take it apart, this commercial and its demographics and their respective punchlines feels like it comes straight from a focus group. Similac is re-enacting the consumer anxieties they facilitated in hours and hours of guided group sessions. And then they shoehorned all the pullquotes into a three minute supercut of caricatures and shameless exploitation.

And after being played like this, we are supposed to want to join Similac's #Sisterhood of people who love babies, no matter how we feed them.

"Comments are disabled for this video." heh The Mother 'Hood [giant sic obv] -- Official Video [similac's youtube, via @ftrain]
That'll show'em: Buy Enfamil formula instead [amazon]

January 22, 2015

This is the first explanation of why not to vaccinate your kid that makes any sense.

Of course, it's also from August, so we should be due for some updates?

In other vaccination news, the Disneyland Measles are spreading to cast members, and schools are now ordering unvaccinated kids to stay home in areas of California. This from the one Vacctivist Zero at the Magic Kingdom before Christmas.

Why We Didn't Vaccinate Our Child [nightofthelivingdad via dt reader philip]

January 20, 2015

bonkers_british_buggy_bidders.jpg

The UK has found its next Susan Boyle, and it's a dad of three trying to unload a beat-up Phil & Ted's stroller on eBay. A viral media frenzy has eruptedover seller ukjoel25's auction, which has received 564 inquiries in less than days, and currently includes four pages of questions, comments, and chastisement, with an s. With more than seven days to go, bidding stands at £154,200.

Which he'll never see, of course. He's dreaming a dream his auction would be much better than this hell he's living. No one will follow through, and instead of a quiet, simple Paypal transaction and a quick local pickup, this poor guy's gonna have to endure a bunch of tabloid phonetapping, have TV trucks parked in front of his house all week, and ultimately have go on the UK equivalent of Ellen to get paid, all because he finally listened to his wife last weekend, and started cleaning out the garage.

Seven days more.

Phil and teds green explorer double, current bid £154,200, local pickup only, auction ends Jan 29 [ebay uk via dt reader nathan]

January 19, 2015

wonder_woman_pjs_afv.jpg

Let's face it, now that our entire civilization has been turned into it, one cares about the actual America's Funniest Home Videos anymore.

But I very much WOULD like to see a pair of toddler-sized pajamas with a blurred out Wonder Woman on the front. In fact, entire collections of blurred logo and character merchandise would be most useful in the viral video-based economy of the future [i.e., today and tomorrow].

wonder_woman_pjs_mockup.jpg


Let's get on that, trademark non-infringers!

Centipede Surprise - AFV Prize Winner - AFV [youtube via boingboing]

tree_change_dolls_bratz.jpg

The Tasmanian artist behind Tree Change Dolls rescues dolls from the streets and helps them turn their young lives around. With a gentle make-under and some more fun, age-appropriate clothes, the only scars of their Bratz past are on the inside.

Tree Change Dolls [treechangedolls via jezebel]

crazy_superfan_batmobile_stroller.jpg

Of all the superhero origin stories, none capture the idea of a stable, idyllic, well-adjusted childhood quite like Batman. Which is probably why one fandad spent untold hours making this Dark Knight stroller, using only a car seat, a government surplus riding lawnmower, a cnc machine, and an unwavering desire to appear on reality TV.

To find out how he did it, skip reading to your kid, and turn on basic cable now!

This headline could not be wronger: Prepare To Be Insanely Jealous Of This Toddler's Batmobile Stroller [gizmodo via dt's very own commissioner gordon, rolf]

January 17, 2015

gabrielroth_lots_of_fun.jpg

Indeed. Some internet digging on the "Urban Oasis" visible on the label turns up a toy and accessories company called Nook Nook was havin' a blastselling patchworky stuffed animals on an iBooks bookshelf-lookin' website.

nook_nook_rip.jpg

According to Mari's excited 2011 post at smallforbig,

Each item is handmade by a family-run workshop in Chiang Mai, Thailand and supports the amazing skills inherent to people of the area. The quirky fabric combinations are uber-charming [!! heart emoji smiley face]
Yeah well, looks like the fun ended last fall. Sadface emoji.

a little look at handmade nook nook [smallforbig]
Sept 2014 | nook nook critter dolls! [captured via internet archive]

January 16, 2015

Oh things are piling up; there will be more to freakout about this weekend, just let me get back to my laptop. But even if it were the only one, this first breaking announcement from the world of pediatric development would do the trick:


  • A study of 6- to 24mos show that learning and naptime are linked. Kids learn if they nap after, and don't if they don't. This will be your greatest motivator and your deepest source of stress. Good luck. [pnas.org Via dt guru dt]

  • BPA may have been a baby-brain-damaging chemical in all our plastics and food containers, so there was an outcry, and it has been replaced with BPS, which may be a worse baby-brain-damaging chemical in all our plastics and food containers. [washpost]

  • "A lot of the alternative chemicals have not been adequately tested because they don't have to be," said lead author [on the BPS paper] Deborah Kurrasch. "A compound is considered safe (by the FDA) until proven otherwise." [ibid, also wtf]

  • Villagers in Denmark have agreed to make more babies to keep their amazing public parental and childcare services open in their little towns. [theguardian, via your mom, no pressure, just sayin']

  • The Disneyland Measles are spreading to you and your otherwise desirable demographic. [theguardian]

  • And by you, I mean the wealthy, educated and foolish people who are not getting your kids vaccinated, especially in Southern California, where the cases now total 51. [latimes]

January 14, 2015

paul_revere_whistle_worcester_wiki.jpg

While doing a little research on Paul Revere the other day, I came across this: "His most unusual items were made before the Revolution, when he crafted a chain for a pet squirrel an ostrich egg snuffbox, and a child's whistle."

So far I have not turned up the squirrel leash, but I think this is the kid's whistle above, in the collection of the Worcester Art Museum. It is outfitted with jingle bells, which seems like it'd just add insult to injury; what a horrible, sleep-depriving idea to give a kid both bells and whistles. The red part is apparently coral, and another inventory list of the Worcester collection lists this as a whistle/teething toy. Turns out coral, ivory, and bone were used for teething pacifiers beginning at least in the 16th century. Right around the time some French doctor thought that kids needed their gums lanced so the teeth could break through.

Maybe the whistle was actually meant to drown out the screams.

Whistle & Bells [and Teething Toy], 1795-1800, Paul Revere silver collection, Worcester Art Museum [wikimedia]

Nothing has prepared me--not even blogging about his kid-related designs for 11 years--I tell you nothing has prepared me for the datapoints coming in about Philippe Starck as an actual parent. For example, this bit Simon flagged, which was originally published in the Times of London in 2012:

starck_sex_truffle_lighthouse_times2012.jpg

I woke up with my wife and baby of six months on the small island of Burano in Venice, where we have a lighthouse. We took our breakfast on the terrace of one of the best restaurants in the world, Da Romano. I had one organic apple and fresh pomegranate juice, and a cookie made by the bakery next door. Then I started designing a new, affordable moped.
Burano is a schlep from Venice Venice, but still. Looking into this lighthouse situation, I found this 2008 Men's Vogue article [pdf] on Starck's website. First, it says he has 21 houses, which seems like just too many, even in early 2008. On a purely logistical basis, never mind the economics or ethics. And he has several houses on Burano, because houses on Burano are all tiny. But I think he does not actually own the lighthouse; it's just that there is one. "We have" here refers to "We, the Buranesi." Fine.

But.

"(He has four children from his previous marriages: Ara, 29, Oa, 12, K, 5, and Lago, 4. Their names were all randomly chosen by a computer program that he invented.)"

Philippe Starck invented a baby name generating app. 35 years ago. And as recently as 2003 it was still kickin' out names like K.

January 12, 2015

In other unsettling kid-related artwork news, this PSA-like video from the art collaborative DIS was included in EXPO 1, a sprawling, multi-part exhibition about the future, which was at MoMA PS1 in 2013.

It was part of ProBio, a sub-show that explored "the theme of 'dark optimism' within the context of the human body and technology."

I don't think it's a spoiler to say that there is much belly rubbing.

Emerging Artist from DIS Magazine [vimeo]
Previously, related: From DIS: May We Interest You In Some SHANZHAI BIENNIAL ORIGINALSTM Shoes?

January 10, 2015

ben_hammersley_stokke_medium.jpeg

Matter's Kati Krause has a great talk with writer and new dad Ben Hammersley about work, money, kids, money, marriage and divorce, and money. But there is absolutely no discussion of the Christmas lights Hammersley has apparently wrapped and taped around their Stokke Xplory. Someone stop him on the street and inquire, please. Then let us know.

The Life Behind the Lifestyle Blog [medium, detail of photo by Tom Jamieson]
The Stokke Xplory starts around $999, lights not included [amazon]

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