November 4, 2009

Television

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This humorous poem will tickle you today!
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--Description: 20th C, Dahl R., Children, Childhood, Fantasy--

The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK -- HE ONLY SEES!
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rate and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Roald Dahl

--Did You Know: (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990) Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Born in Llandaff, Wales, to Norwegian parents, Dahl served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence agent. He rose to prominence in the 1940s with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors. His short stories are known for their unexpected endings, and his children's books for their unsentimental, often very dark humour. Some of his more well-known works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The Witches, and The BFG. Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales in 1916, to Norwegian parents, Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl (née Hesselberg). Dahl's father had moved from Sarpsborg in Norway and settled in Cardiff in the 1880s, and his mother came over to marry his father in about 1910. Roald was named after the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, a national hero in Norway at the time. He spoke Norwegian at home with his parents and sisters, Astri, Alfhild, and Else. Dahl and his sisters were christened at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff, where their parents worshipped.

--Word of the Day: fugacious \fyoo-GAY-shuhs\, adjective:
Lasting but a short time; fleeting.
Example:
As the rain conspires with the wind to strip the fugacious glory of the cherry blossoms, it brings a spring delicacy to our dining table.
-Sarah Mori, "A spring delicacy", Malaysian Star

--Quote of the Day: Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
-Anonymous

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