“Shut Up!” Has 9 Different Meanings? Shut Up!! (No, YOU Shut Up!)

Deciphering Teen-Speak OK, so this post just might have something to do with having multiple teenagers under my roof. But, as they say, “write what you know.” In that vein, no one is more familiar than me with all the nuances and shadings of that timeless phrase, “Shut up.” Here’s my lexicon: One.  “I don’t...
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Late Night Airport Runs, Teenage Drivers, and the “It’s Not My Dog” Defense

My 16 year-old son is only in 10th grade, but I’m pretty sure he’s (eventually) headed to law school. That’s based on the following exchange the other day, just before I got to back to town after a recent trip: Me: “Gabriel, my plane gets in at 11 p.m. tonight; can you pick me up?”...
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Dead Car Batteries and Fallen Cherry Trees

Adolescent Bravery, Then & Now Contrary to popular legend, an adolescent George Washington never confessed to cutting down his father’s cherry tree (it’s a famous myth, posthumously fabricated by one of Washington’s biographers). But, a certain Kaplan offspring did confess to something roughly equivalent this morning: the reason our extra car (and his ride to/from school)...
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“March For Our Lives” — Washington, D.C., Saturday, March 24, 2018

Nation’s Students Lead Movement for Gun Reform Somewhere in that ocean of protesters walking down Pennsylvania Avenue earlier today is my 15 year-old son. He’s there along with 70 other Twin Cities kids and their chaperones, representing four local synagogues. Beth El’s delegation, including Rabbi Alexander Davis, is pictured at left. To get to DC, they rode by...
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Eating Habits of Primates in the Wild vs. Captivity

Not-So-Subtle Clues Animal biologists who want to understand wild animals’ habitat and diet study their droppings (other names:  “scat,” “poop,” etc.). Fortunately, modern-day parents of teenage kids have an easier option:  examining their kids’ bedroom waste baskets (a very fringe benefit of being my household’s designated garbage collector). I did the other day ” and it wasn’t a pretty...
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“You Mean, You Can Pay for Gas With Cash?!?”

Electric Toothbrushes and Modern Gas Pumps One of my favorite “Family Circus” cartoons shows the children in the bathroom in their grandparents’ house, holding a manual toothbrush. The caption:  “Look, Mom! A toothbrush you don’t have to plug in!” The Kaplan household recently had our own version of that experience, when my 17 year-old son (and...
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