Better than Knicks basketball

Scott Cacciola covers the New York Knicks for the New York Times. But the Knicks really suck! So earlier this month, the Times ran this note:

The Knicks, in an effort to rebuild through the N.B.A. draft and free agency, appear to have officially given up on this season. They’re an unthinkable 5-32, and on Monday night they traded away J. R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, leaving a roster that might struggle against an N.B.A. Development League team.

So the Sports department’s editors feel it is only merciful to give our Knicks beat writer, Scott Cacciola, a break from such woeful basketball. He deserves to see the game played at a higher level. For the next month or so, we would like to point him to some good, quality basketball, wherever it may be. Any suggestions?

So he went to Springfield, Ill., to cover the Central Illinois Xpress basketball team:

The Xpress were already drawing attention, having emerged as an unlikely force in the fifth-grade boys’ league at the Gym, a bustling basketball center here. In running their record to 8-1 through the first half of the season, the Xpress executed a motion offense and often overwhelmed the competition. But they really stood out for another reason.

Yeah, he’s doing stories on fifth-grade girls because the Knicks are extraordinarily bad. But the girls are really good, and making the boys they play cry. Click on the link in the tweet. It’s a fun story.

A walk on the wild side?

This is a crime?

It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.

I guess this confuses me because of the way I was raised. In the summer, my mom would say in the morning, get out of the house and don’t come back until lunch, then get out of the house and don’t come back until dinner. Which meant I could do whatever I want wherever I wanted. That wasn’t called parental neglect. It was called growing up. And at one point when I was in sixth grade, I was getting on the subway in the Bronx with my sister, who was in the fourth grade, in order to go to school in Brooklyn. Without adult supervision.

Are things really that more dangerous for children now than they were then?

And now there’s a thing called “free-range parenting.” Which is what people normally did in the past.

At the zoo

A little activity at the panda exhibit at the National Zoo today:

And I’d forgotten what it’s like to deal with questions from a kid. Overheard this in the small mammals exhibit.

Daddy, what’s that?

That’s a Gold Lion Tamarin.

Daddy, what’s that?

That’s a meercat.

What’s that, daddy?

That’s a Fennec fox.

Daddy, what’s that?

(Exasperated) That’s a rock!