April 6, 2008

Birds, Bees, and Beanies

Posted in parenting tagged , , , , , , at 7:41 pm by degyes

Last night our 10 year-old son asked us at what age boys begin to produce sperm. We responded that it usually happens somewhere between ages 12 and 16, figuring that was a safe enough ballpark estimate, although admittedly, I hadn’t (nor have I yet) taken the time to check out the “official” stats on any of the parenting/puberty/and whatnot sites. Then, a few moments later, as my wife was tucking him in, I’d heard our son ask her whether the age range we’d given him applied also to haredi (i.e. ultra-Orthodox) boys as well. My first thought was “what the heck is he asking, why would he think it would be any different?” Only once my wife explained to me our son’s logic, did it become clear to me that this was quite an intelligent question. The idea behind his question was his thinking that diminished exposure to the opposite sex might somehow delay the onset of puberty. I don’t specifically recall ever having discussed with him the impact of environmental factors on adolescent development (though perhaps my wife had), so I was quite amazed that he’d independently come up with an idea like that! I haven’t gone ahead and investigated whether such a phenomenon has been scientifically documented, but gee was I impressed that a 10 year-old would make such an inference.

April 3, 2008

Just finished watching The Counterfeiter (Die Fälscher)

Posted in entertainment tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:54 pm by degyes

This film, The Counterfeiters really brings up a lot of stuff. Holocaust, individual survival versus the collective good, loyalty to friends in times of extreme stress, etc.

[For historical context, see Operation Bernhard, a plan by Nazi Germany during WWII to destroy the British economy by flooding it with massive amounts of counterfeit pounds.]

Do most of us really have ethics in the truest sense of the word? That is, we pray that our principles won’t be put to the test in they way depicted in the film. Though the question relates to whether there are really things we’ll stand up for no matter what, or if all (most) of us could ultimately be bought. How far does one go in cooperating with scoundrels when doing so means possibly saving his own neck? At what point does doing so become impossible? Lots of questions.

About the film itself. Quality film. Rough stuff, most of it takes place in Sachsenhausen, lot’s of concentration camp scenes with inmate abuse, the works. A very interesting story with lots of well played drama. The language is German. Pretty good subtitles are available.

I’d hesitate to say “enjoy the film,” though if you decide to watch it and are moved by it in any way worth sharing … please do.