February 11, 2016


Voting may be the most important action we take as citizens of the United States.

How we go about making the decisions of who or what we vote for or against, can be like an episode in "I Love Lucy", "The Daily Show" and/ or "Fox News".  And how our great/grandchildren see us struggle with the decisions will be an important part of how they in-turn take on this mighty task when it is their turn.

This political season has been particularly raw this year.  How we talk about it with our great/grandchildren seems especially important this season.  How we react to the situations such as the TV debates can be difficult.  It is almost like watching football, where we are encouraged to raise our voices for the "home team" and put down the visitors.  Often,
at dinner the subject of the election may come up and we may make dire remarks about the outcome if one candidate is elected and another is denied.  That is what happens!

Children need to feel that voting can make a difference in how their world can be safe
for them, their family and friends. They need to feel reassured that the adults in their life will take action to protect them, despite some of the ill-chosen declarations of some candidates.  And all of this needs to happen while you suspend some of your anger,
disbelief and  dislike of what is being said and try to add some dignity and calmness to the act of voting. Sharing your values helps children decipher the political map. Encourage children to participate in any political discussions in which they are present.  They may have better ideas than the candidates.

Remember, voting is the most important action you can take as an American citizen.

After this was written, we saw a very similar article posted in the LA Times...enjoy


February 4, 2016


We've posted another great story from June.  Given all the hoopla about the "new" Barbie, we thought it was time to set the record straight.

Recently Mattel announced that they were making Barbie look more like the way the real world looks in skin color, eyes, hair, body build and size.  This is a welcome change, but why did it take so long?

In the early 1980s, Mattel hired a group of 10 consultants across the nation to give them advice about their toys and products. I was among these "experts" and it was a very interesting experience for me.  In those days the social media did not exist and children did play with dolls; Apple was something you ate rather than text on.

After weeks of examining and talking about the products, our group came to the unanimous decision to recommend that Mattel change Barbie and Ken into more recognizable dolls that would more reflect the children's real-life
world.  We felt that Barbie and Ken were models that were not desirable:
too thin, too blond; too everything!

In order to try to reduce our animosity, Mattel introduced a new line of doll called Hals' Pals.  These were very expensive handicapped dolls (which did not catch on as a mass-produced product...they had to be  mail -ordered and were not very accessible). I was asked to write an introductory piece to accompany the dolls.

Our group persisted in our recommendation to send Barbie and Ken to the operation-room for a make-over.  And it was then I first was touched by
the words of Donald Trump:  You (We) Are Fired!

The image of Donald Trump reminds me of that old Barbie: blond, pumped-up and stupid!!!

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-mattel-barbie-20160128-story.html                       http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-daum-curvy-barbie-20160204-20-column.html