Friday, November 30, 2007

B is for Broccoli

Cookie Monster is no longer a cookie freak. How can this be? What is the world coming to?

This is apparently not new news (how's that for a repetitive redundancy?) but it is to me. Not sure which cave I was living in when the Sesame Street people announced this, but somehow the info slipped past my radar screen. In 2005, the Children's Workshop announced that the beloved blue character would adopt more healthful habits.

Instead of the classic "C is for Cookie" song, of which I must admit I know all the words, the lovable furry friend now growls out "Cookie is a Sometimes Food" to encourage moderation and better food choices among the viewers. Aside from the questionable grammar of the title (sometimes is an adverb not an adjective), the whole idea is so, well, wrong.

Yes, it's true that American children are getting fatter -- 1 in 3 is now considered overweight -- but changing the essential nature of a cartoon-like character is not the answer. For starters, I'd guess that most kids who watch Sesame Street are not the problem. Parents who choose public television are generally more enlightened and thus, more than likely, aware of the risks of childhood obesity.

Add to that the "forbidden fruit" notion -- make something bad and it instantly becomes desirable -- and the reality that children rarely do EXACTLY what they see a character on TV doing and you see that the trend toward political correctness has gone way out of control.

We all know that speeding is dangerous so should Road Runner slow down to 30 mph on those steep winding turns? Should Porky Pig clean up his closing line so as not to offend people with speech impediments? Where does it stop?

Lighten up, folks! It is a children's show. Leave Cookie alone and add balance in more subtle ways -- I've got a great recipe for zucchini chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Intro

So this is blogging. For something so 21st century, it seems so easy. But maybe that's what Goggle is creating for our future--a fill-in-the-blanks world. A Google ID and you're up, up and away.

A meeting of the Boulder Writers Alliance on Tuesday gave me a preview of Microsoft's vision for the next few years, via Vista and Office 2007. It is a bright and colorful world with lots of cool graphics and "ribbons" instead of tool bars. Pick a color, any color. No design skill or knowledge needed, just click the one you like.

First of all, the name. What is the Cunning Hand? A play on my maiden name, Cunningham, for starters. And an acknowledgment of my new-found creativity. You see, I was co-editor of my high school newspaper and thus a columnist. The adviser kept trying to get me to come up with a creative name for the column. A previous editor named Pat called his Pat on the Back, because it appeared on the back page. Maybe he was thinking of Cunning Hand all along but hoped I'd come to it on my own. I didn't: I used something like Kathy's Corner or nothing at all. All I could think of was the derisive mangling of the name that (I later discovered) had to do with sex.

I suppose I've always been creative, but am just now acknowledging it and its uses. Like, maybe the last sentence of the last paragraph is going to bring me even more email solicitations for increasing the size of a body part I do not have.

The Cunning Hand is my way of putting into "print" my unique talent for
observing, writing about it and, basically, being a smart-aleck. I hope to make you think and make you laugh.

I am in a very lucky place in life now. My proverbial "dues" have been paid through years of marginally interesting and challenging jobs while raising three children and a clever, successful husband. If I'd been paid for just the meals I've made in the past 20-some years, I'd be rich enough to retire. So, I get to sit at my computer, looking out on the beauty of Boulder's open space, and indulge in something that gives me joy--writing. I hope it gives you joy as well.