The Questionable Behavior Department - Nonchalant Dad

A couple of things have come to the attention to me lately. The first thing that came to us came by way of a friend's cell phone picture. He happened to be in a local Starbucks in Manhattan when he witnessed the activity taking place in the picture above. He posted the picture to Facebook where we soon came across it. Now, the general opinion in the comments section of Facebook was not agreeable, but almost of these people/friends are single and without children. So, we were curious about what other parents might think of this scenario. And, just in case you can't quite see what's taking place in the picture above ... well, let's just say that the little one isn't riding a pony!
I am of the opinion that we have all seen some curious things along the way in parenting. We've seen the roadside pee-pee stops, public projectile vomiting, and even a diaper changing underneath a sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, among other unmentionables. But, this was a first. A mother producing a toilet in the middle of a cafe and letting her little one go for gold.....hmmmm. I never considered doing that with my kids (though I changed a few diapers in situations less than ideal!), and if I absolutely had to, I think I would have at least aimed for a hallway.... but in the middle of a crowded cafe. And, it doesn't appear that this was an emergency or accident. I don't know.... but then, sometimes I think I'm a little old fashioned. Perhaps this is a new trend that I'm not sure of. What do you guys think?

And, in other news, I came across this story that a reader referred to me. The controversy seems to come from a small LEGO figurine, I guess commonly considered a 'minifig', that resembles what many consider a terrorist. Apparently, there is a group of people out there that believe that LEGO's popular range of models and figurines isn't adequate. From what I gather there is a process by which existing 'minifigs' from LEGO can be stripped and polished and then recreated as new figures. These figures are predominantly military replicas, including a whole range of weaponry. The small family firm at the center of this controversy is called BrickArms, LLC. Will Chapman, the owner, has created a minifig that strongly resembles your average armed terrorist or insurgent, and includes custom made accessories such as a LEGO scarf headwrap, RPG, C96 Broomhandle Mauser Pistol, AK Assault Rifle, M67 Frag Grenades. However, the BrickArm website describes this particular minifig as a 'Bandit' named 'Mr. White' and makes no mention of terrorism, preferring instead to refer to the minifig as just another bad guy. I don't know about that....hmmm.... the attention to detail alone is shocking, but to advertise the accessories with such detailed terms as 'Frag Grenades' and 'RPG' is a bit much, especially when children are going to come in contact with them.

Aside from this figurine it appears that BrickArms is mostly interested in replica WWII figurines and a wide collection of proudly detailed weaponry that can grip onto any LEGO figurine. Now, it must be pointed out that the LEGO people make it clear that BrickArms, and any other small company or person that creates similar figurines and accessories, is not affiliated with the mother ship - nor are any of these companies or individuals licensed to carry out any customization. And, for your information, LEGO has a founding policy of not creating weapons or military themes, which means no tanks, fighter helicopters, warplanes, etc. Nonetheless, no one seems to think it a serious enough offense to enlist legal action or cease-and-desist orders - no record at least that I could find information on. The LEGO mothership either doesn't care to give it attention or has no legal basis for stopping the re-appropriation of its original product.

Of course, it is easy for someone like me to complain that a LEGO minifig representing a terrorist or insurgent is inappropriate. And, as much as I'm not a fan of encouraging my children to play with toys that are violent, especially the LEGO brand, I know very well that this is a difficult thing to do when you realize that LEGO has many items associated with Star Wars or Indiana Jones - both of which have some kind of weaponry, and some of which I have purchased for my kids!! ??

I guess the question in both cases above is not whether they are bad, but whether they are appropriate. Tell us what you think, you know we'd like to know over here at Nonchalant Mom. And, if you'd like to see for yourself, follow these links to get started:

this will take you to the manufacturer's website and the controversial minifig mentioned above

this is a blog for adult fans of LEGO, featuring many photos of objects created from LEGO products