Autonomous Source

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The new playgrounds

A year ago I lamented that playgrounds in the suburbs were now virtually abandoned and tried to figure out why it was. And -- whoops, Talia just poured chocolate milk all over herself and the floor -- now I know: they're all at McDonald's. At many McDonald's restaurants they now have some of the most elaborate play structures I've ever seen. And they usually have at least half a dozen pre-schoolers crawling all through them.

I'm in one of them right now. They also offer free wi-fi if you spend three bucks -- or just a coffee and a couple of milks. It's easy to understand why they're so popular. You get the kids out of the dangerous sun and an unpredictable open space into a fluorescent lit chamber with only one exit. Treats and a bathroom are conveniently nearby, and there's always the change your child might get injured allowing you to get rich at the expense of a weathly corporation. What's not to like?

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It was late afternoon. The kids had been home all day and Mama was heading off to work in the ER overnight. It was a pretty dreary day, grey clouds threatening rain combined with a heavy humidity. Max and Talia... [Read More]

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