Banks County Opinions...

SEPTEMBER 24, 2003


Column

By: Rochelle Beckstine
The Banks County News
September 24, 2003

Kid Internet-it’s out there
Who needs PC games when, with a little surfing, you can find kid internet sites that offer just as much?
My number one choice for kid sites is sesame-street.com. It’s well organized and very educational but my favorite thing is that it is simply packed full of activities, games, stories, art and music and you don’t have to pay a yearly membership fee for surfing. I’ve been visiting this site for nearly a year now and I still haven’t played all of the games or read all of the stories. Of course, my daughter has favorites we have to play every time. The games teach numbers, letters, shapes, sorting and many other things and your child can play with their favorite Muppet. There are even a few keyboard games for the really young. There are innumerable stories many of which are interactive and several that are read to you by one of the characters. Sesame Radio can be on all of the time, playing full versions of songs sung by Muppets. Or you can interactively plan an opera and watch it unfold or make music using ordinary sounds. There is an art section where you can computer paint pictures of Sesame Street or pictures you can print out to color. And Sesame Street is a very good resource for parents. There is age-appropriate advice and activities that reinforce the educational games your child may already be playing on their website. But the best service is sections that cover health, food, safety and immunizations and the games and stories that reinforce the lessons it is important for kids to learn.
My number two choice is barney.com. There are very basic games but plenty to choose from though they won’t hold anyone’s interest for long. Barney radio plays one minute exerts of all of Barney’s hits which is Piper’s favorite part and for the readers there are stories you can listen to Barney read to you. You’ll find pages to print and color and a section called Cooking with Barney.
For really young children, there is a website called totcity.com that has games especially designed for toddlers who haven’t learned to use a mouse. They can type random keys and kids’ voices will recite the alphabet or numbers while the letter or number flashes on the screen. There are other games that teach animal sounds, sorting and how to use a phone.
Disney.com is another good site to visit though it is somewhat limited if you haven’t joined the Disney club. Playhouse Disney gives you the most without having to join the club. There are sites for each of the Playhouse Disney series. Each show has at least one musical game, an interactive book that is more like a game, three to five traditional “games” and three or four activities that are really games. Either way Bear in the Big Blue House is just as big on the computer screen and designed to bring smiles to every fan.
Piper’s newest favorite is Barbie.com though it is certainly more geared towards girls. There are a lot of games, nothing really educational unless you’re training to be a cosmetologist or a stylist. There is a place where you can decorate and groom Barbie’s pets on the computer. You can dress Barbie and her friends and change their hairstyles and makeup. And for those who like more traditional games, there are puzzles, find and seek games and matching games.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.

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Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
September 24, 2003

Isn’t a coin toss sacred in sports?
If you look at our sports section this week, you should see my photo at the top of the pigskin pickers. If you don’t see my photo at the top of the pile, it means those jealous boys in the sports department didn’t do what they were supposed to do. Apparently, they can’t stand it because a girl is beating them with the football predictions.
I usually don’t even notice the pigskin stat box, but for some reason I noticed that I had been tied for first place with Julius Mack for several weeks and his photo was always on the top of the page. I didn’t say anything. It’s a small thing. Who cares, right? I’m certain it’s not intentional or anything, right?
Then, Julius fell in the rankings and I was tied with Zach Mitcham for first place. I jokingly asked one of the guys whose face I would see at the top of the stat box in last week’s paper. Adam Fouche suggested we have a coin toss to determine who got the top spot. I agreed and was surprised that I won. I was sure he had a two-headed coin or something.
I opened the newspaper last week and looked in the sports section, confidant my photo would be at the top of the stat box. It wasn’t. I asked Adam what happened and he blushed, laughed and said he had forgotten about the coin toss.
As I said, this is a small thing. It only annoys me because it appears as if they are determined that I not be at the top of the box. Maybe I’m imagining things but Adam’s guilty look tells another story.
Anyway, I always thought the coin toss was sacred in sports. It determines who gets the ball first. It also is used for other gaming events.
I’ve been a pigskin picker for more than 10 years now. It was a joke at first because the guys know that I don’t know anything about football. It really is luck. I usually just guess on the high school and pro games. I do have a guy who I discuss the college games with. Of course, the guys analyze the college games in depth each week among themselves, so it’s no different than the quick conversation I have with my buddy each week.
I probably shouldn’t make a big deal about being in first place. I usually start out with a bang and then drop in the standings each week. I guess it’s because I lose interest and start basing my picks on silly things like the team mascot and the color of the uniforms.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com with tips on football picks and other topics.


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