kids TV shows, ranked

With the kids still home from daycare, we’re watching more TV than we used to, so I consider myself a connoisseur of shows my kids watch. Here are the best ones we watch, as ranked by “how I feel when the kids pick this show”:

  1. Bluey (Disney+) – This show is incredibly sweet, only 6 minutes long (which is great for squeezing in while one of us finishes up cooking a meal), and still manages to teach a lesson in most episodes. It’s beautiful in picture and music, and is often hilarious. (I’ve seen the Hospital episode a double-digit number of times and still laugh) Also, it’s from Australia, so they have fun accents and say things like “dollar bucks”, which David and I can’t figure out is actual Australian slang or just something made up. At its best this is a show I’d watch without the kids!
  2. Octonauts (Netflix) – Took a while to grow on me, but the characters are quirky and each episode has real facts about ocean animals. If all the kids take away is “there are a lot of really cool and weird creatures in the ocean” I would be happy with that!
  3. Daniel Tiger (YouTube, or I guess the PBS app?) – Lots of good lessons for the kids (the songs that Daniel sings have become a sort of second language for us; Nick likes to sing “when you’re upset, you can find a way to feel better!” even when it doesn’t really apply 🙂 ) but pretty slow-moving for adults.
  4. Puffin Rock (Netflix) – We just started watching this yesterday, but it’s a very pretty show, only 6 minutes long, and there’s an Irish(?) sounding narrator. Not much in the way of lessons, though, and pretty boring for adults.
  5. Scooby Doo (some are on Netflix, we usually watch on DVD) – You pretty much know what you’re getting here. I’m not convinced Vanessa really follows what’s going on, but she still picks it a lot, so *shrug*
  6. Shaun the Sheep (Netflix) – This is a funny show for grownups, but honestly it’s too old for the kids, and I spend the entire episode explaining what’s going on and why it’s funny.
  7. The Magic School Bus (Netflix) – I like the idea of the show more than the show itself, but maybe that’s because it’s still a bit too old for Vanessa. (we’ve been watching the original show, not the recent Netflix remake, for what it’s worth)
  8. Doc McStuffins (Hulu) – Having a woman of color doctor is great for the kids to see, but the actual episodes just feel so formulaic/Disneyfied that they’re really tedious for me to watch.

One Life (Megan Rapinoe autobiography) review

One LifeOne Life by Megan Rapinoe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this. I’m not usually super into biographies, but this one is inspiring, brings back some fond memories of the US Women’s National Team winning a lot, and is a very brisk read. You can tell from reading it that Megan Rapinoe has incredible moral certitude. She’s spoken up about things that affect her (LGBT equality, equal pay for women) but also things that don’t; I had forgotten she took a knee during the national anthem just one week after Colin Kaepernick did! (this was back in 2016 when this was a huge deal; she got a ton of backlash for it) For deciding whether to say something, she follows something close to Rotary’s Four-Way Test.

The book was uplifting and also made me search YouTube to see specific soccer highlights 🙂 Highly recommended!

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Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration review

Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of ImmigrationOpen Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration by Bryan Caplan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Immigration is one of those topics I’ve never had particularly strong or informed feelings about, other than a general sense of “America has been welcoming immigrants for a long time, so we should keep doing that”. Probably if you had asked me before reading this I would have said something like “we should let more people immigrate here, with some reasonable limits”.

But this book makes a pretty compelling case that immigrants are virtually always a net positive for the country, and people that immigrate here also do better, so we should have no limits on immigration. The book is less pie-in-the-sky that I would have thought – he talks about a lot of the common arguments against immigration and shoots them down or admits they have validity but their effect is pretty small. He also talks about ways to stage in an “open borders” policy since clearly going from the US’s immigration laws straight to “open borders” is a pretty big jump.

Oh, and it’s a graphic…policy argument? which makes it easier to read, but it’s still surprisingly substantive.

In short, I’d recommend it!

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