Spoiled Children of Divorce

Custody Dispute Story with Jet Lag
May 23, 2008, 10:02 pm
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The Divorce Society seems neurotically linked with Airplane Flight. Here’s a Custody Dispute story from The New York Times (Mar. 7, 2004) called “In the Realm of Jet Lag” written by Pico Myer. As usual, the state of mind of the adults involved is dire.  The state of mind of the child involved is completely absent from the story. Are we to assume that the grandson grew up and lived happily ever after?

One day in 1971, a woman called Sarah Krasnoff made off with her 14-year-old grandson, who was caught up in an unseemly custody dispute, and took him into the sky. In a plane, she knew, they were subject to no laws, and if they never stopped moving, the law could never catch up with them. They flew from New York to Amsterdam. When they arrived, they turned around and flew from Amsterdam to New York. Then they flew from New York to Amsterdam again, and from Amsterdam to New York, again and again and again, month after month.

They took about 160 flights in all, one after the other, according to the stage piece ”Jet Lag.” They saw 22 movies an average of seven times each. They ate lunch again and again and turned their watches six hours forward, then six hours back. The whole fugitive enterprise ended when Krasnoff, 74, finally collapsed and died, the victim, doctors could only suppose, of terminal jet lag.

URL: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=980CE6DF173FF934A35750C0A9629C8B63&pagewanted=all

(found at kottke.org)

Vikings Make Happy Broken Homes
May 22, 2008, 11:15 pm
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Interesting article from The Guardian about Happiness in Iceland which starts right off talking about Broken Homes and Kids and Single Parents.  The article doesn’t discuss whether the Children are happy and whether the Happy Single Parents are from divorced families themselves.:

Highest birth rate in Europe + highest divorce rate + highest percentage of women working outside the home = the best country in the world in which to live. There has to be something wrong with this equation. Put those three factors together – loads of children, broken homes, absent mothers – and what you have, surely, is a recipe for misery and social chaos. But no. Iceland, the block of sub-Arctic lava to which these statistics apply, tops the latest table of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index rankings, meaning that as a society and as an economy – in terms of wealth, health and education – they are champions of the world. To which one might respond: Yes, but – what with the dark winters and the far from tropical summers – are Icelanders happy? Actually, in so far as one can reliably measure such things, they are. According to a seemingly serious academic study reported in the Guardian in 2006, Icelanders are the happiest people on earth. (The study was lent some credibility by the finding that the Russians were the most unhappy.)


“No Wonder Iceland has the Happiest People on Earth” a special report by John Carlin, May 18, 2008.

Oddny Sturludottir, a 31-year-old mother of two, told me she had a good friend who was 25 and had three children by a man who had just left her. ‘But she has no sense of crisis at all,’ Oddny said. ‘She’s preparing to get on with her life and her career in a perfectly optimistic frame of mind.’ The answer to why the friend perceives no crisis in what any woman in a similar predicament anywhere else in the western world might consider a full-blown catastrophe goes a long way towards explaining why Iceland’s 313,000 inhabitants are such a sane, cheerful, successful lot.

There are plenty of other, more obvious factors. Statistics abound. It is the country with the sixth highest GDP per capita in the world; where people buy the most books; where life expectancy for men is the highest in the world, and not far behind for women; it’s the only country in Nato with no armed forces (they were banned 700 years ago); the highest ratio of mobile telephones to population; the fastest-expanding banking system in the world; rocketing export business; crystal-pure air; hot water delivered to all Icelandic households straight from the earth’s volcanic bowels; and so on and so forth.

But none of this happiness would be possible without the hardy self-confidence that defines individual Icelanders, which in turn derives from a society that is culturally geared – as its overwhelming priority – to bring up happy, healthy children, by however many fathers and mothers. A lot of it comes from their Viking ancestors, whose males were rampant looters and rapists, but had the moral consistency at least not to be jealous of the dalliances of their wives – tough women who kept their families fed in the semi-tundra harshness of this north Atlantic island while their husbands forayed, for years at a time, far and wide. As a grandmother I met on my first visit to Iceland, two years ago, explained it: ‘The Vikings went abroad and the women ran the show, and they had children with their slaves, and when the Vikings returned they accepted it, in the spirit of the more the merrier.’

6 Year Old at Benihana
May 9, 2008, 6:12 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here’s a link to a Saturday Night Live skit where Jonah Hill plays a 6 year old who’s going out to dinner with his single Father. He’s precocious and obnoxious and acts like the Father’s Father. He bitches about only seeing his Father once every three weeks. Then he tries to pick up a date for his Father. Then he terrorizes the Chefs. It’s a riot. The tension of “Date with Daddy” is fully expressed and if you’ve ever been there you know its honest.  Daddy doesn’t have any confidence as a parent, probably feels the guilt, and the two don’t even know each other.   Occasionally the boy has to remind himself (and the audience) that’s he’s only a kid and blurts out “What do I know? I’m only 6 years old!” It’s one of the funniest skits I’ve ever seen on the show.