Avatar1. Elemental – A few months ago, I took it upon myself to start a quest. While most of the television my daughter, Hero, watches is decent, I wanted her to move from the pre-k/kindergarten-centered shows to something with more substance as opposed to just pure and basic teaching. However, this proved difficult as the programming for smarter 5/6 year-olds enters a barren desert of sorts. See, Hero is easily bored with most programming unless it is, first, witty, and, secondly, action-rooted. Hence, my quest was born. An answer to the burning question was quickly found, though, thankfully. It lied within the show, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’d known about the show for some time and was not sure exactly what it was about, but thought that it might be cool. The only turn-off was that it was anime-styled but produced by Nickelodeon. I had my doubts. Tonight, though, we’re about to watch the series finale and we’re all hooked. Not only is the show an excellent representation of animation, the storyline, while meant for kids, is replete with depth, symbolism, and undiluted intelligence. It’s nice to see a kid-centered series not take kids for granted and challenge them on many levels – moral, philosophical, religious – without boiling the topics down to microcosms of idiocy (Anyone ever heard of Veggie Tales?). If you haven’t checked Avatar out, DO IT. It’s utterly engrossing.

2. Dope – It’s been interesting to follow this year’s Tour de France. The mountain stages were particularly intense. Ah, but the specter of performance-enhancing drugs reared its ugly head again when Italian cyclist (and winner of two of the mountain stages), Riccardo Ricco, tested positive for the junk. However questionable and controversial the testing is, Ricco really blew it for team Saunier Duval. You can be sure that after a spate of wins from Mark Cavendish of team Columbia (who may be bowing out…), he’s under the microscope, too.

3. Even NPR Does Wrong – My beloved Bryant Park Project has received the axe from NPR heads, sparking a war between young hipsters and old…er…hipsters? The oldsters apparently hated the format while the young folks (of which I DO consider myself at the tender age of 36, thank you) loved it. But, apparently, operating costs ran too high and listenership did not. Fare thee well, BPP. We loved you while it lasted. The show’s last week is this upcoming week. Get you some!

4. Say No To Unions! – Not really. I might update the longer part of this story later…

5. Skin Deep KidsWHAT?!?! – guaranteed best-seller in North County San Diego. Thanks to Bitch Magazine for the heads-up.