Last week, my daughter came home from school with this look of indignation, tinged with forbidden excitement. She tripped over her words as her mind raced ahead of her vocal chords.
She: Mumma! Someone typed an unappropriate word into Google and ...
Me (absent-mindedly): It's inappropriate, not unappropriate.
Her bag was wet because 'someone had poured water all over the seat in the bus' and I was busy pulling soggy papers, books, jacket, stones, leaves and other things from the bag, horrified at what my hand touched next.
She: ...inappropriate word and when Maggie and I came back from our reading group, we went to the computer for insect research and there were all these unappropriate pictures...
I found the culprit. That someone who poured water all over her seat was her! The cap of her water bottle was loose. Inappropriate pictures?! Whoa! What was she talking about?!
Me: What inappropriate word? What pictures?
She: Mumma, we know it was a boy. He typed in this inappropriate word and did an image search on Google. So there were pictures on the monitor and you know what else? He even sent them to the printer. He printed them, Mumma!
My alarm level was now really high because I didn't know what she had seen.
Me (as calmly as is possible in situations like this): So what was the word, sweetie?
She: It's un...I mean inappropriate. I cannot say it. It's a girl's body part that's why we know it was a boy!
It was b**bs. It could have been worse. Much much worse. All the kids were banned from touching the computers till the person who did this owned up to it. No-one did so the girls developed their own theories about the boy - better still the group of boys - that did this. She was very indignant about it because she couldn't get onto the Internet to do her research because of that unappropriate - I mean inappropriate - thing that those silly boys did. First they break chairs, now they do this. What next?
I wondered what the school IT department was up to. I thought that SafeSearch would be the most basic standard in any school. Obviously not. Before I opened my big mouth and made suggestions, I thought I'd try it out and sure enough, it worked on most sexual slang that a 2nd grader might come across. It didn't work for an interesting male body part though. There were very explicit pictures in the results. Who decides these things at Google and other search engines, I wonder. But then again the word is not sexual slang; it's a proper biological term.
I decided to report it to Google using their 'Dissatisfied? Help us improve' link at the bottom of their seach results. And it showed me: You searched for <male body part> above the textbox where I was going to write a strong complaint. I felt a tinge of embarassment but then I hoped my story would convince Google that I was not some sort of a pervert. That is, if anyone ever reads the feedback.
My general paranoia which had been on the rise, is now at its peak. I have found my daughter on strange web sites because she clicked on an ad for IQ testing while checking weather online. The site itself was fine but the ads displayed were not. Once off the weather web site, there is no guarantee where she will end up and what she will read or see. According to some stats my husband read up on, children end up on not-so-enchanting web sites in less than 6 clicks. She will be 8 next month and usually she is closely monitored when she is on the computer but when I have my hands deep in soapy dishes and she needs to know the weather right away, I let her do it because I don't expect her to click on anything else besides weather. There's no giving guarantees for what she will and will not do as curiosity is but natural and anything IQ or quiz-like is something she cannot resist. And, the big bad world out there is beckoning...
I don't want to install NetNanny or its ilk. I do use the AdBlock plugin for Firefox to block as many ads as possible, but it's not enough. My husband has been talking of setting up a tracking system that will display on his computer, the web sites she is accessing on hers. He lives at his computer so maybe it will work.
With that, let's move on to something more titillating to another type of gland, the salivary gland...
- 5-6 bunches of garlic
- 10-12 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400F
- Take off as much of the dry skin around the garlic bulbs, leaving the bulbs intact.
- Slice about 1/4 inch off the top of the bulb with a very sharp knife to expose the individual cloves
- Place the garlic bulbs, cut side up, in a shallow baking dish
- Drizzle about 2 teaspoons olive oil over each bulb, making sure that it gets a good coating
- Sprinkle salt and pepper
- Cover loosely with foil and bake between 30-35 minutes till the cloves feel soft when pressed
The aroma that will pervade your home will drive you nuts and you will want to dig into the garlic right away! But, allow the garlic to cool first as it will be very hot.
This roasted garlic will last at least a couple of weeks in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. That's only if it isn't all gone much before then! I like to:
- eat it as is, use a fork to get the garlic out of its skin and pop it into my mouth. Delicious!
- as a spread on toast, mash it with a fork and spread it
- in spreads and appetizers, when you want the flavor of garlic without the overpowering smell of raw garlic
- on a pizza as an additional topping
- in salads, sliced
- in pastas, and so much more!