Homework, cartoons, Watson and the Sox
“Yay! That only took you two hours! And how many days of obsessing about it?”
“Three days, Mom.”
I had just finished editing (the run-on sentences out of) my oldest’s journal entry for language arts. He was supposed to write about a book he was reading, which happened to be a treasury of fairy tales. There were tons of different choices for types of journal entries. We had toyed with theme, compare and contrast, summary, and character. He seemed to need to make this harder than it had to be. We had discussed it almost every night since last Thursday. “Will you help me with my journal entry, Mom?”
“Of course, what story are you going to write about?”
We’d never gotten farther than that.
I dashed back upstairs to check on the Red Sox-Yankees game that we were planning to watch. We’d watched about an inning with my middle son while we were looking up what comprises a plot diagram. One might think I am familiar with these literary terms, but I am really not. Nor does it bother me the way it does his teacher that my son writes like he talks, since I do that all the time.
A cartoon was on.
“Oh my gosh, why aren’t you watching the Red Sox? What’s the score!?” I was aghast.
“They made fun of Watson, Mom, and I switched it off,” my middle son informed me, matter-of-factly.
“Well, press ‘Last’ on the clicker honey. Let’s just check the score.”
Look, Big Papi’s up, it’s like déjà vu (since that was who was up the last time we was watching, in the third inning. Now it was top half of the fifth and the score was still 1-0 Yankees.
It is amazing to me how people like to find faults with Watson, a customized computer system designed by IBM researchers to answer questions in natural language, who defeated the two reigning Jeopardy! Champions. “Watson thinks Toronto is in the U.S.!?” someone texted me when Watson gave the wrong answer in Final Jeopardy! I pointed out that Watson wouldn’t have offered an answer if he didn’t have to; that his level of certainty was low, but in Final Jeopardy, you have to answer. “That sounds like an IBM party line,” was the reply. I chose to end the conversation. Why argue with someone so focused on the negative, they can’t see any of the positives. Plus, I work for IBM, so it’s hard not to take that personally.
After a bit my middle son said to me, “ ‘Regular Show’ is gonna start soon, Mom. Yankees are up now, anyway.”
“Well, we can click back and forth, then.” “Regular Show” is my favorite of the kids’ shows now, even surpassing “iCarly.” We even watched two of the 15-minute episodes On Demand yesterday afternoon.
We never did finish watching the Sox, because the evening dissolved into a big pillow fight at about 9:15 (when the Sox were up 2-1) and I shut the TV off and sent everyone to bed, and by the time I finished tucking everyone in the game was over and I missed seeing the Sox win, still at 2-1. I checked on “Sports Tonight Live” but switched that off as soon as someone started ragging on Matsuzaka; after I had seen his picture in the Lowell Sun, alongside his Japanese teammates observing a moment of silence in Sunday’s game, and the relief efforts he is leading for his homeland, how can anyone speak negatively of him?
We got our share of Lowell Spinners tickets today…