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I have strung words together for The New York Times, Vice, and more. I write and shoot people (with a camera, you guys) from my home in upst...

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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Cole CornwellIn this world there are nice people. And then there is the kind of person who would see a photo of a 7-year-old boy with Down syndrome having a blast at a Special Olympics event and report it to Facebook as inappropriate content. But that's just what one of Diana Cornwell's friends did this weekend.

    The mom of 7-year-old Cole uploaded 40-some photos of her son and other kids with special needs at a fundraising event in North Carolina. Then she got a message from the social media site that they were suspending her account. All those photos of sweet kids?

    Facebook was telling her they violated site policies! Cornwell was warned:

    Never upload any photos that contain hate speech, support for violent organizations or threats to harm others.

    More from The Stir: Adorable Little Girl Doesn't Think Down Syndrome Makes Her Brother Different (VIDEO)

    Did I mention the whole album was full of photos shot at a Special Olympics event? More or less the exact opposite of a "violent" organization? No wonder Diana is working her butt off to get news out to the world that Facebook needs to change its policies, including a petition (go sign it!) asking them to give special needs kids the benefit of the doubt.

    But even if Facebook stops overreacting to reports of so-called inappropriate content, we still have a problem on our hands, folks. We still have the kind of jerk who would see a photo of a cutie like Cole and hit "report this photo" walking around. This is the battle parents of kids with special needs are fighting every single day, and not just on Facebook. The world is full of people who are cruel enough to see their child and react with disgust or distaste, or pull a cruel prank like reporting their photo to Facebook.

    We need Facebook to be more judicious in how it deals with these reports to take some of the venom away from these people. But we also need to see MORE photos of these kids doing the very stuff Cole and his pals were doing in Diana's pictures: being regular kids, having fun. Because the more reminders these morons have that kids with special needs are kids first, the harder it is for them to treat them as second class citizens.

    Have you dealt with one of these inconsiderate jerks? What have you said to them?

     

    Image via Diana Cornwell/Care2


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    metal detectorAdd this to the list of things that make just leaving your house sound absolutely terrifying. Police say Kenisha Thomas somehow managed to sneak a kitchen knife past metal detectors at a government building in Baltimore yesterday. And then she allegedly used it to stab her 8-month-old baby! In the face and neck!

    If there is any good news to be found in this little horror story, it's that getting that knife into the Department of Social Services building means there were witnesses when the infant was stabbed. Rushed to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, police say she is going to make it.

    Pheww!

    While she's convalescing thanks to some fast acting workers in that building, can we talk about why this story has grabbed national attention?

    First, and foremost, of course, is the fact that someone actually stabbed a baby. An innocent little baby! You have to be 50 shades of sick and twisted to do something like that.

    Second is that security measures in a government building failed so miserably that someone that sick and twisted made it inside with a deadly weapon. Disturbing as it was, that mother's alleged violence was an isolated incident. Arrested and charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, child abuse, and assault, it seems like the only one at risk here was the child. But knowing crazies can make it into a government building with weapons doesn't exactly make me want to go visit the DMV anytime soon, you know what I'm saying? Eek.

    And of course, there's the biggie here folks. A baby was stabbed. A baby! And mom is now in jail. Which leaves, who, exactly to parent this child? This is the hardest part of parent on kid crimes for me ... knowing that the person a kid needs most is the problem to begin with.

    What do you think about when you hear the person who committed a crime on a child was their own parent?

     

    Image via Hunter-Desportes/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    laughing babyI have a theory. If we could take baby giggles and bottle them up, they could be used to cure all the world's ills. War. Depression. Sibling rivalry.

    I can't put my finger on why it's so wonderful, to be honest. But hear a baby laugh, and you have no excuse to be sad. Which is why we have found five of the most infectious, most uplifting baby laughs you will EVER hear, and gathered them all in one place. Bookmark this baby, because any time you are feeling like Eeyore, these little cuties will pick you right up:

    At 10 months old, this little guy doesn't need toys! A fake sneeze is all it takes to get him going.

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    Want to make a 14-month-old boy laugh so hard his face goes red? Grab your kitchen towel and flick at the flies -- works every time! Or it did for this little man:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    Who can forget Micah? One of the most famous giggling babies of all time, he was 8 months old when his work-at-home dad got a rejection letter. Ripping it up might have been good therapy for dad, but it was absolutely hilarious to little Micah! And his laugh was so funny, even celebrities were caught tweeting about it:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    Think it takes a lot of work to entertain a baby? All mom had to do to get him going was pop his binky into her mouth:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    You know a kid's happy when the laugh comes straight from the belly! And what a cute little belly 4-month-old Emilio has:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    What do you have to do to make your kiddo laugh?

     

    Image via spanielmom93/YouTube


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    iPadNeed more proof that today's parents have lost their minds? I've got four words for you. Babies are using iPads. And by babies, I mean kids who have not yet reached their first birthday. Infants!

    This is the new start 'em young. And it's proof that parents will buy just about anything -- as long as it's being marketed as a way to make their kid smarter. Key word: marketed.

    Attention! Parents! Just because there are apps for babies for sale on the marketplace doesn't mean giving your little drooler an iPad is smart!

    The experts can debate the intelligence of putting an electronic device in a baby's hand until the cows come home. They'll argue whether the iPad has the benefits of books or the harm of the TV. And you can follow everything they have to say until your neck gets whiplash from the way they go back and forth.

    But I'm going to go ahead and bring this one down to brass tacks.

    People make things to sell. We live in a consumer-driven society, after all. But the mark of an intelligent person is one who can discern what's worth buying and what is a waste of money. And nothing wastes money faster than putting a $600 item in the hands of someone who still thinks the world's best game is "throw it so they'll go get it." The iPad can wait until they at least understand the meaning of the word "No," can't it?

    Do yourself a favor. Save the money you'd spend on apps and buy your baby a few board books. At least there are no electronics to fry in a book when a crawling kid plunks it in the dog's water bowl.

    Would you give an infant an iPad? What age is "old enough" for using the iPad?

     

    Image via yto/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    airplaneThe TSA is at it again. A 7-year-old with cerebral palsy is the latest child to be treated like a terrorist when all she wanted to do was get on an airplane with her family. And the way Dina Frank's dad tells it, the very rules the agency put into place last year to make parents feel better are still being ignored.

    Remember that major announcement last year? The TSA told us they were going to give our kids a break on the invasive screenings and actually ... wait for it ... talk to us, the parents! Maybe that would work; if they actually listened to what parents like Dr. Joshua Frank have to say.

    Joshua, a pediatrician, said he tried to explain to agents that his daughter is developmentally disabled and frightened by screening procedures. He tried to get them to talk to her (you know, like a human being!). Instead, he says the agents were aggressive and made patting down his little girl, with her crutches and orthotics, into a horrible ordeal. She was finally let through the main screening after an inspection of her crutches, only to be yanked BACK to be patted down ... causing the family to miss their flight and more or less terrifying this poor kid.

    Now let's think about this for a minute here. Who knows a child best? Duh! Parents are always the go-to for any kid, but when you add something like cerebral palsy, you up the need to lean on Mom and Dad.

    Parents aren't just a special needs child's best advocate -- although Dr. Frank speaking out on Dina's behalf is proof of what these parents have to do every day to fight for their kids. They are also an incredible resource for folks in the general public who encounter these kids in the course of a day's work. I know I've taken cues from Moms and Dads countless times as a reporter for the local paper.

    So why isn't the TSA taking advantage of this resource? Why are there still agents like the ones who ignored Dr. Frank and made Dina's trip into an ordeal?

    It would keep them from looking like idiots in the press time and time again. And it would just plain make their jobs easier! And then there is that rule change they were talking about ... take a look:

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    Do you have a TSA horror story? What happened?

     

    Image via Pylon757/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Isabel CelisWell, we asked for it. Isabel Celis' parents came out in front of the TV cameras to beg for the return of their missing 6-year-old. And now we know why Becky and Sergio Celis have been hiding behind closed doors.

    They didn't want the attention. And after days of wondering where they were, the Celises' excuse makes perfect sense.

    They need the media's attention to stay on the little girl who went missing from her bed in the middle of the night. She is all that matters right now ... not them. As Becky tearfully told the cameras:

    We don't want the focus to be taken off Isabel by us standing in front of the cameras or by the media. We are here today to plea for the safe return of our baby girl Isabel.

    Watching her stumble over the words, I understood what she meant. The minute the parents of a missing child are in the spotlight, they become the story. Look at Missouri baby Lisa Irwin. Her mom, Deborah Bradley, took to TV last fall, and all of a sudden we were debating her alcohol problems. Then there's the back and forth between Ayla Reynolds' feuding parents that's kept the Maine toddler's disappearance in the news but the focus on their custody battles.

    As a mother, I couldn't understand how the Celises could stay silent for so long. But as a journalist, I get it. The story here is that a 6-year-old child hasn't been heard from since Friday night. The more time the media spends driving that home, the more outraged people will be. Hopefully they'll turn that outrage into something positive; like getting out there to look for Isabel.

    But even as I understand why they tried to stay quiet, I'm glad the Celis family took the risk of shifting attention their way and came forward the way they did anyway. Seeing their grief, seeing their pain, humanizes this whole ordeal. It can be an incredible motivator to make people look around them and check the kids they are seeing to spot that little face they saw on the fliers. Hopefully Sergio and Becky Celis' risk pays off. Hopefully this little girl is found.

    Take a listen to what these parents had to say:

     

    How do you feel when you watch parents of a missing child speak out?


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    copThink you've got a tough job? Try being the cop who responded to a call at Lisa Anderson's house this week. Word has it the upstate New York woman threw a pink dildo at his head.

    Can you imagine how that call back to headquarters went? Officer to Sergeant: "Sarge, I was assaulted, please send back-up." Sergeant to Officer: "Sorry to hear that, what'd she get you with? Mace? Some sharp fingernails?" Officer to Sergeant: "Well no, it was a dildo." Sergeant to Officer: "A what?"

    Poor guy! Not only does he have a knock on the noggin, but knowing the brotherhood of police officers the way I do, trust me, he is never going to live that one down.

    I know a lot of cops. A LOT of cops. I've got a cousin in the troopers. My best friend's brother's a cop. Another close friend's husband is too. And then there's the guy who is like a brother to me. Oh, and the friend of the family I grew up thinking was my uncle. I could keep the list going, but you get the point. I have heard some stories over the years!

    And no, none of them involved assault by dildo. It's more run of the mill stuff. You know: they show up at a domestic violence call and some jerk pulls a gun on them. It's not a job for the faint of heart. So I respect the heck out of what our boys and girls in blue do for us every day.

    But it's just when you think you have a handle on what they have to deal with when you hear about a cop getting beaned in the head by a dildo. And yes, he pulled out his handcuffs and took Lisa Anderson downtown, where she was booked on a charge of misdemeanor harassment and released. And here's a bit of history for you: this is not the first case of vibrator violence against a member of the force. An Illinois woman was booked two years ago for whipping a "clear, rigid, feminine pleasure device" (official legal term for dildo, apparently) out of her dresser drawer and using it on an officer.

    So ladies and germs, next time you see an officer eating his donut and sipping his coffee, give him a smile and a wave. He could be one dispatch away from a dildo-wielding maniac! It takes a lot to protect and serve ...

    What's the craziest assault on an officer story you've heard over the years?

     

    Image via D.C.Atty/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    homeworkI'm beginning to wonder if parents actually think making excuses for their kids' bad behavior is "parenting." Take the high school sophomore in California who was kicked out of honors English last month for copying a classmate's homework. Are his parents embarrassed that their kid was caught cheating?

    Of course they're not! They're suing the school district, because, golly gee, it's just soooo not fair! Who wants to lay bets right now on how many colleges this kid ends up getting kicked out of because no one bothered teaching him that rules are rules?

    Of course Jack Berghouse told the Mercury News that despite an Academic Honesty Pledge that both his son and the boy's mother signed that warned cheating will get you kicked out of class, they're suing because the punishment doesn't fit the crime. They're afraid this will screw up their son's future:

    You cannot imagine the mental and emotional penalty that has been inflicted upon him. He is a student who has a chance to do just about anything, and he thinks that this could take that away from him. We've offered several penalties, anything other than being kicked out of the English program.

    Wow, now he thinks that a punishment for doing something wrong could take away future chances? He didn't think that when he copied another kid's work? Even though kids are taught way back in elementary school that cheating is wrong? Sounds like someone forgot to teach their child the concept of consequences for one's actions ... and here they go again!

    We are seeing this kind of parenting by denial more and more these days (did you hear about the parents who are currently suing Apple because their kids spent too much money on iPad games?), and I have to tell you it doesn't exactly give me a whole lot of hope for our future. Imagine walking into the dry cleaner next week and finding out the idiot behind the counter actually set your favorite sweater on fire ... and now he's suing you, because, well, you were the meanie who brought your sweater into the dry cleaner, and now he's suffering from some kind of flashback over the fire. If kids are being raised to blame everyone else for their problems, that could be our future!

    And if you don't think it's gotten that bad, consider this: if our parents had caught us cheating, we would have been grounded for the rest of the year. They would have made it very clear that we should be ashamed of ourselves for such poor behavior. But these parents aren't even embarrassed that their kid did something wrong; they're telling the world ... and suing to boot.

    What would you do if this was your child who was caught cheating?

     

    Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Michelle ObamaLiving in the White House has to be the coolest childhood ever, right? You've got the Secret Service at your beck and call, and if you are Sasha and Malia Obama, your dad is the PRESIDENT of the United States! But don't let the title deceive you. Barack and Michelle Obama are still parents first.

    And that means laying down rules for their kids that might surprise you. If you think the kids in the White House have access to all the TV and computers they want, you have another thing coming. As Mrs. O. told The Stir's own Tracy Odell (who got to take her adorable son to the White House for take your child to work day ... seriously, you have to check out his grin!), they run a tight ship when it comes to technology.

    So how serious is it chez Obama? Here's what the First Lady had to say:

    We have rules about it. The girls have limited television and screen time -- none during the week unless it’s school-related, because now kids are doing these -- they video chat study groups. And when they’re doing that, I always go in their room to make sure they’re actually talking about school ... Kids, instead of how we used to call on the phone and talk about homework, they get on the computer now and chat. So I don’t want to interfere with that, so I monitor with the teacher to make sure that the kids who were studying together are actually -- that then they’re studying in a way that’s helpful.

    Sounds pretty in line with what most of us do in our average, everyday homes, right? It gets better. Just like my kid, Sasha and Malia Obama get no TV time during the week. Zero. Bupkus.

    But that decision didn't come easily. There was a bit of, well, let's call it trial and error with the Obama girls (confession: same thing happened at my house!):

    I tried this thing where they can earn an hour during the week if they got everything done. But what was happening is that they’d claim their hour on Monday. And I’m like, why are you watching TV on Monday? Well, I was like, you’re supposed to earn that hour. So I just said forget that. So the sort of incentive model didn’t work. And then they get two hours Friday, three Saturday, two Sunday.

    And just in case you're wondering, there is no free-for-all with the TV on the weekends either. Technology isn't a given in the White House, says Mrs. Obama. It's all about behavior:

    If something hasn’t gotten done, all that is gone. I mean, as I tell my kids, the computer and the TV mean nothing to us. So that’s the first thing that goes, is you just don’t need any of that. So this -- they know that this is a privilege that we don’t value deeply. So it will be taken away very quickly and happily. Give us an excuse to take it away. And it will be taken away. At the drop of a hat -- you look funny, you’re unhappy, you’re whining a little bit too much. That’s the first thing that goes. Right, don’t roll your eyes.

    But don't feel too bad for the girls! When there's a sleepover, the rules go out the window ... there's still fun to be had when you're a kid in the White House!

    What are the screen rules in your house? Are they any different from the Obamas'?

     

    Image via United States Government Work/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    diaperMay I have your attention please! We have entered a new level of obsessed with our kids. A new poll claims some new moms are saving their baby's first dirty diaper.

    Diaper. As in the thing you put on a baby's arse to capture their fecal matter. Diaper. As in that thing that is constantly being reinvented by companies promising to bring us the best in odor-control technology. And people actually want to hang on to these things?

    Can you imagine walking into these women's homes? What must that place smell like? One diaper devotee told the British tabloid the Daily Mail that she sprayed it with air freshener and put it in a box to keep the stink at bay. As for why she kept this little stinker?

    Changing that first dirty nappy was such an emotional experience for us. It was the moment we knew our daughter was truly well, that everything was working as it should.

    Because seeing her move her arms and legs wasn't proof enough that everything was working? Egads.

    Now for the good news. Of the women in this nostalgia-powered survey, less than 1 percent copped to keeping the stinky diaper. So this is not a "trend" so much as it is proof that there are some women who are truly disgusting. Let's move on, shall we?

    There are plenty more moms holding on to some pretty nasty baby mementos. Nine percent, for example, say they keep stained bibs. Because nothing says "misty water-colored memories" to me like strained peas gone moldy from sitting on a piece of wet cotton for the past 20 years. But hey, it is still better than the dirty diaper.

    OK. OK. I said I was moving on from that, but OMG. I don't know if I can. My worldview has been altered ...

    Be honest. What is the strangest thing you held on to from the baby days?

     

    Image via surlygirl/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Kelli BordeauxIf you haven't heard of Kelli Bordeaux yet, get ready. The 23-year-old US Army soldier has been missing for the past two weeks, and the last person to see her alive is a registered sex offender who claims he gave her a ride home from a North Carolina bar ... only to have her get out of the car early to walk the rest of the way. Somewhere between that car and her place near Fort Bragg, a woman trained by our military to defend our country went missing.

    And that, right there, sums up why women across the nation are still afraid to walk alone in parking lots, alleys, and open streets at night. Kelli Bordeaux was young, fit, strong, and more to the point, trained by none other than the experts at the US Army in defending herself. And it looks like someone managed to abduct her.

    Who is responsible, what might have happened when Bordeaux left the Froggy Bottoms Bar in Fayetteville are both still up in the air. That sex offender, a guy named Nicholas Holbert, has been arrested for not properly registering. But police say he's not a suspect. And Bordeaux's husband, Michael, has come forward to try to put to rest rumors that they were having marital issues. Although he hadn't seen his wife in 10 days (prior to her disappearance), he says he was just out of town visiting his dad in Florida.

    OK. Fine.

    But honestly? It doesn't really matter how Kelli Bordeaux disappeared. What matters is that it happened at all. It's sad and tragic for her family, and it's absolutely terrifying for us regular Janes who don't have quite the same means to defend ourselves against an unknown attacker but would like to live normal lives, going out for girls' night without fearing for our safety because some jerk thinks he can do what he wants with us.

    I'm loath to buy into the "women are the weaker sex" stereotype, but the fact is, size matters. It's hard to be 5'4" and 138 pounds and fight off a person who is 6'1" and 220. In that sense, nature puts women at a disadvantage. Overall, statistics show men are more likely than women to be victims of violent crime. But the exceptions are terrifying: women are more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault then men, and 9 out of 10 women murdered were killed by a man.

    So what's our option? Self defense classes. Being aware of our surroundings. Being "smart" about stranger danger. We hold our keys between our fingers when we walk in dark parking lots. We ask for a male escort to our car. We travel in packs of women that our male counterparts scoff at (yes, it's a lot like high school when all the girls went to the bathroom, no it's not nearly as fun).

    We don't know how "smart" Kelli Bordeaux was ... after all, she ended up in a car with a sex offender. But we do know she was better prepared than the average woman to deal with an attack thanks to the training of our military. And she's still missing.

    I'll be holding out hope that she's found alive and well because I never want to hear that someone was hurt. But a selfish part of me is hoping she's found alive and well because it will ease that fear of being a woman alone, at night, just a bit.

    How has this missing soldier's story hit you?

     

    Image via Fayetteville Police Department


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    undie runParents who send their kids to Arizona State University may be hiding out today and hoping their friends and neighbors don't turn on the television. This is the week, after all, of the ASU Undie Run, when several thousand college students strip down to their skivvies and run around campus like hooligans. But how about we give those Moms and Dads a break and tell them to come out, with their heads held high? Their kids did a good thing here!

    The kids who took part in this year's run collected more than 5,000 pounds of clothes and 3,000 pounds of food for charities near the college. Not too shabby, huh? Especially in this economy?

    OK, so there is the whole naked teenagers thing. But let's talk about that, shall we?

    I'm not big on people seeing me in my undies. And I'd like to think that my daughter will have the same basic sense of modesty. But I'll admit a portion of the aforementioned discomfort is tied directly to my self esteem. I don't like my body. Therefore I don't like people seeing a whole lot of it. That's definitely not the way I want my daughter to feel. I want her to love every bit of herself.

    But stripping to her undies for a good cause? Well, oh pearl clutchers, I have to admit, I'm not as upset as those who tried to get the ASU Undie Run cancelled this year. And the reason is pretty simple.

    Have you looked at underwear lately? It may be taboo, but it doesn't actually reveal anymore than your typical beachwear. No one is naked. This isn't Girls Gone Wild. If we have no problem with our kids wearing the occasional bikini (in appropriate places, i.e., not in class) than what's so bad about one day on a college campus? And if they do it for charity, all the better. I highly doubt your daughter sends food to charity ever time she puts on a bikini to hit the waves!

    What would you say if your child was stripping down to underwear for a good cause?

     

    Image via jramspott/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    squeezingFolks, you may want to sit down for this one. And if you're a man, maybe pop an Advil to prepare? A woman killed a man in China recently by squeezing his testicles.

    And what put her into such a rage? The dead man, a shop owner, allegedly wouldn't let her park her scooter in front of his store so she could go pick up her kid from school. Mama grizzly be crazy!

    The whole Mom goes Incredible Hulk thing seemed so tabloidish at first, I was all set to write it off as urban legend. But then Gizmodo tracked down a urologist who says it's legit. The pain can actually cause a heart attack.

    Um. Ouch?

    There are about 100 lessons we can take away from this one. A scooter can't be that hard to re-park lady! And of course, violence is never the answer. Even if the guy was being a jerk, he did not deserve to die over a parking spot.

    But what does this say about all the times we've laughed at the guy taking a hard hit to his jewels in a buddy flick (anything made by or with Adam Sandler comes to mind)? The guy was facing possible death, and we were giggling so hard popcorn was coming out of our mouths. Never again!

    Let this poor guy's death be a lesson. Never, ever laugh at a guy when he takes a hit to the 'nads. Also? When he grabs his balls in sympathy when another guy takes a kick to the crotch, you are to give a sober nod in his direction to mark your solidarity.

    OK. Lesson is over; class is dismissed.

    Be honest: what do you do when you see guys wince over a testicle punch?

     

    Image via Artotem/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Fifty Shades of GreyHaven't read at least one book in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by now? Here's betting you have at least one gal pal who's talking about "trying out" some of the kinky bits from the books. But where are all the ladies drawing up their Christian Grey-style sex contracts

    Ladies, you are missing out. Yes, even if you're a gal who prefers the kind of bedroom action Christian Grey calls "vanilla sex," you could do with a sex contract. Actually, you're the perfect type.

    Lost?

    Let's lay this one out. The contract between sexy dominant Christian Grey and his submissive-to-be Anastasia Steele was all about limits. They had "soft limits," aka stuff that she'd be willing to try but wasn't so crazy about; and "hard limits," the oh-hell-no, never will I try that kind of thing.

    And that's exactly the kind of thing every couple should lay out ahead of time. Not just the playful folks into BDSM. EVERY couple.

    More from The Stir: Bondage 101: How to Bring '50 Shades of Grey' Into Your Bedroom

    It would take two hands to count the number of women who have let it slip during one of those bear it all girl talk sessions that their guy has "tried" something in bed that they were not cool with. Usually it's some anal action, which, you know what? To each her (or his) own. These gals were not cool with him trying to make an entrance without her explicit approval. They all stopped it; there was no rape going on here.

    Sadly, it all could have been prevented with some good, frank pre-sexy times talking. I'm about 90 percent sure that half of these guys didn't KNOW just how uncomfortable their ladies were with this kind of sexual activity. It should be common sense: tell your partner what you want. But too few women do. In one sex survey undertaken by Kent State University, two-thirds of the women polled said men often misinterpreted how intimate they wanted to be.

    The whole reason you're doing this is because you want to enjoy yourself, and part of that is knowing you can trust your partner. But how can you trust someone who doesn't know what you want and don't want? No wonder you're having vanilla sex ... he doesn't know you'll go a little farther, and you're too afraid he'll go TOO far. Is that really the sex life you want? It doesn't sound terribly fun to me.

    You don't need a lawyer to write up contracts a la Christian Grey. But a verbal contract that runs down your hard limits and your "OK, but take it slow" soft limits before you do the deed is something that improves intimacy. If you're not afraid, you can totally let go. And you know what happens when you let go, don't you?

    What are your "hard limits" in bed?

     

    Image via amazon


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    justiceHero alert! When an intruder broke down the front door of a house in Washington State, pulled down his pants, and climbed into bed with a 12-year-old girl, the girl's dad grabbed his gun. And he proceeded to hold the creep at gunpoint while his wife called the cops. 

    The family's nightmare ended when the cops showed up two minutes later and booked Kevin Niel Hawkins on charges of attempted child rape and burglary. It's a good lesson for vigilantes everywhere.

    You have the right to protect yourself and your own. Do any more than that, and you lower yourself to their level. And it's just not worth it.

    As little Alexis Reimers' mom Emily Kiely told TV crews who showed up to tell their horror story, it could have ended a lot worse if her husband had gone further:

    Thank God my husband didn't shoot him -- otherwise that would have been a whole other story. But I'm glad we did have something to defend ourselves and glad my daughter is safe.

    Her words marked a turning point in the newscast for me. Here I was, shaking with anger on her family's behalf, on behalf of that poor little girl. I wanted to do terrible, awful things to the kind of man who would hurt a child.

    This guy made one of the biggest mistakes a guy can make: threatening a young girl when her daddy was there to protect her. But the way Alexis' dad handled the whole thing gives me chills. He was a hero under pressure, and he did exactly what every other person facing a criminal should. He defended his family, and nothing more. He left the real work for the criminal justice system.

    His restraint saved his family. By neutralizing the threat against his family without using force, he saved them the agony of having to watch him become a criminal. They didn't have to see him booked and carted off to jail too. Can you imagine how hard that would have been for that kid? Here she is the victim of a trauma, and then on top of it, she'd have to lose her rock, the daddy who came to her rescue?

    I think it's pretty safe to say that's a horror this kid could live without. And thanks to her pretty awesome dad, she can! He made certain the only criminal in that house is now in the big house.

    What would you have done in this man's situation?

     

    Image via umjanedoan/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    Soda Tab Prom DressEvery year that goes by, the outrageous prom stories leave me that much more terrified of the day my daughter wants to go to the big dance. This year's announcement that parents are blowing as much as $2,000 almost sent me into hysterics. I didn't spend that much on my wedding! And if you're anything like me, you could use a bit of happy prom news in the midst of the madness. Enter the soda tab prom dress.

    It's high school junior Regan Kerr's answer to the duct tape dress of a few years back. And it's a very welcome reminder that there are still teenagers out there who realize this is one night to have FUN.

    Remember that word? Back before girls were going all Veruca Salt on their parents because they won't go into debt so they can wear Chanel to a high school dance? If you're having a hard time seeing that era because of the glare off the 15-year-old's diamond tiara, maybe Regan's adorable adventure will help.

    The Colorado teenager spent five months sewing 5,114 of those little bits of metal together (don't worry; she collected the tabs from friends and family over the course of two years ... her parents didn't let her drink all that soda). The result was a lot of silver, with a bit of rainbow edging. And a high school girl grinning ear to ear, talking about the blast she was going to have dancing the night away. That is exactly what I want for my daughter if she decides to go to the prom.

    I think Regan might have even done the impossible: made me a bit nostalgic for high school (hey, I said a bit). I don't remember my prom by what I wore or the amount my parents spent. I remember the people I hung with, and the happiness of just being with friends for a night.

    Check out Regan rocking that soda tab dress:

    What is your favorite prom memory?

     

    Image via WTSP


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    glow stickThink the Sweet Sixteen parties have gotten out of control? Wacky parents are throwing raves for their babies. Because nothing screams baby like someone so high they suck the toxic crap out of their glow bracelets and get rushed to the hospital, right?

    Whatever happened to making sure parties "for" your kid were actually kid-appropriate? I know your baby may not understand the drug culture references right now, but guess what folks: the rest of the neighborhood does. And we're rolling our eyes at you.

    This bit of crazy came to light on STFU Parents last week, complete with links to a mom's Pinterest board where you too can develop a plan to mark your innocent infant's first birthday with the kind of dance party that traditionally ends when the cops show up. She says the "e" cookies were a joke, but I'm not so sure. And I'm even less sure that parents will find this whole thing as horrifying as I (and STFU's writer) do.

    It turns out baby raves have been a "thing" for quite awhile. Parents throw these little black light and loud music events because they think it's just so darn cute, and gee, a baby doesn't get it!

    Ahem. Babies are still human beings, folks. They aren't toys.

    Throwing any party "for" your kid with a wildly inappropriate theme shows this event isn't about your kid at all. It's about you living out some of fantasy with your kid as a prop.

    So you're sick of Elmo, princesses, and doggies? Good for you. Your kid isn't. They're pretty new to the world, and they're just starting to actually start to pay attention to things, and actually getting to eat something other than what comes out of your boob, and goshdarnit, this is their party. Just look who is in the center of all the pictures ... the pictures they're going to be looking at in a few years. (Which do you think will be easier to explain to your 6-year-old as they pore through the babybook: Those ecstasy cookies or why there was Elmo cake all over their face?)

    Where do you draw the line on "adult" at a baby's party?

     

    Image via nickstone333/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    piracy warningIt's hard to hate on Hyman Strachman. He's a 92-year-old World War II veteran who was featured in The New York Times over the weekend because he's sent some 4,000 boxes full of DVDs to members of our nation's military serving overseas. Sounds like quite a mensch? Well, that and one of the world's biggest bootleggers.

    Shocked you, didn't I? Now you know why he ended up in the Grey Lady. But what really shocked me is the response Strachman's DVD piracy is getting from our troops.

    They adore him! Literally, he's been dubbed "a hero to soldiers."

    Even though they know exactly what he's been doing in his home in New York. Kind of ... odd, don't you think? Considering our military is charged with protecting the American way of life, and here Strachman is breaking American law. Shouldn't they be angry with him? They are supposed to defend our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. And he's a domestic threat of sorts ... albeit in a pretty tame way.

    The guys who spoke out on his behalf make a good case for him. The number one request from servicemembers serving far from home is movies. It's the kind of thing that keeps them entertained when they're off duty, the kind of thing that gives them an escape from the hard work they do every day, the kind of thing that connects them to home. And the only thing they get from movie studios is old-fashioned reel-to-reel films and projectors. It's like a bad flashback to the 1970s.

    I respect the heck out of what they do, and I have donated many times over to charities that send boxes to our troops. I think they deserve something better than what they get right now.

    I just don't think bootlegged movies are "better." I think Strachman means well, but what he's doing is really a slap in the face for our military. They fight for us so some guy can sit in his house stealing movies and costing the government thousands in taxes that are levied on the movie industry, costing the movie industry thousands that would be fed back into the economy via their employees' paychecks?

    I don't hate Hyman Strachman. But I certainly don't think he's a hero.

    Is this no big deal because it's a bad thing for a good cause or something so illegal you can't look past it?

     

    Image via bizmac/Flickr


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    chris HemsworthMarvel's The Avenger's is being marketed as a movie full of superheroes. But after hitting the red carpet premiere of the new Disney flick at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, I've got some news for you. It's a film full of some super sexy men.

    And I'm not just talking about their faces (although that's true too ... wait until you get a load of some of the pictures we have for you). Big time actors/onscreen hereoes Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Hiddleston from the film proved their full-on sexy by taking time to pay tribute to some very real superheroes. They opted to share their carpet glory with first responders from the NYPD and NYFD and active duty members from the nation's military.

    Are you getting this one, Avengers fans? Fair of face + humble = Super. Sexy.

    Let's get a look at the pictures, shall we?

    Is there anything sexier than a guy who is man enough to know the real heroes in this country are our men and women in the military or working as emergency personnel? I didn't think so!

    Who is YOUR superhero?

     

    Image via Disney

     

    Disney covered my expenses to view Marvel's The Avengers at the premiere.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager

    soccerWant to get your kid off the couch and into a sport? Here's an idea you probably haven't tried: buy them a video game. Well, not just any video game. A sports video game.

    Oh come on, stop rolling your eyes! Even science agrees that playing sports video games can totally improve your kid's skill on the field.

    The first step -- of course -- is getting them there. Which isn't always the easiest. Trust me. Klutz over here. I hated competitive sports. I understand why some kids look at their parents like they have two heads when they suggest soccer camp.

    But when a French business school looked at people who play a video game with a sports theme, 75 percent were going out and playing something for real. Almost 40 percent were even playing that exact game (so if there are baseball sign-ups coming up fast, you know what part of the game store to hit!).

    Of course, then you have to keep them there. Good news on the video game angle again. Those games give clueless kids an edge on the rules of a sport ... because they're used to a gadget correcting them when they violate one.

    And it doesn't hurt that people who play action-based video and computer games are quicker on their feet at making good decisions than their peers. The speed of video game play can actually train the brain to get in gear ... which can only be a good thing when there is a lineman headed straight for your newly minted football player.

    How have video games improved your little gamer's play on the field (or court or diamond)?

     

    Image by Jeanne Sager


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