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Weekly Reader 4.18.11

Smartphone Manners

We can accept that our adult children are tethered to technology but do they have to check their phones constantly?  New York Times media columnist David Carr tackles that question in “Keep Your Thumbs Still When I’m Talking to You.”

Obviously it’s not just the “kids.” Friends and colleagues too will be meetings, at a restaurant, at a party , and even standing right in front of you conversing and  pull out a cell phone and start checking messages and texting replies.  It’s downright rude but many people don’t seem to care. Why the constant need to check email, Twitter and Facebook? Echoing what I hear from students, Carr writes:

Then there is also a specific kind of narcissism that the social Web engenders. By grooming and updating your various avatars, you are making sure you remain at the popular kid’s table. One of the more seductive data points in real-time media is what people think of you. The metrics of followers and retweets beget a kind of always-on day trading in the unstable currency of the self.

Seemingly there’s not much we can do about it, except ban cell phones from the dinner and restaurant table!   Mr. Carr offers some suggestions in  “10 Rules to Make Sure Smartphones Don’t Make Us Stupid.” Leading the list:

Go ahead, glance at your phone at an incoming text. And please excuse yourself to respond to one that will immediately advance your plot to take over the world. But do not type under my nose. It hurts my feelings.

Take Out from Mamma’s House

While many of us admit that we do too much (happily) for our adult children, we come in second place to some Italian mammas.  These mothers cook dinner for Sunday—and Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday—and then hire a shipper to cart the pasta 500 miles way to their twenty- and thirty-something children in Rome and other large cities.

In  “Italian Mammas Put Meals on Wheels, Say ‘Mangia!’ to Faraway Offspring,” The Wall Street Journal found about a dozen services that deliver home-cooked meals weekly from mothers in Calabria and other rural regions to children who have moved to cities for work.

One shipper has a client list of more than 3,000 mommas including some who send 100-pound packages filled with ravioli, local produce, and sausages. And it all must be delivered on Sunday mornings, just in time for the traditional big afternoon lunch.  Shipper Domenico Martino said of the mommas:

“They don’t want their children doing anything. Even getting up and going to the market is overdoing it. And that’s good for me.”

Moms Edge Out Dads in “Showing” Love

Adult children are more likely to feel unconditional love from their mothers rather than their fathers, according to a survey of 1,400 New Zealanders, aged 18-25.

Otago University professor Amanda Barusch found that adult children also perceive their mothers to be more likely to be more honest and frank, sacrifice their own comfort and be a friend to their children, more so than Dads.

“In Mums Do Best at Showing Love,” Prof. Barush said that the attitude toward fathers was because they assume the traditional breadwinner role:

“Fathers do love their children but they express it by doing things. They think: ‘I pay the mortgage, isn’t that enough’ and the children are saying ‘well no not really’.”

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