The Chatterbox | February 8

File under: “Real talk”

• The Chicago Reporter’s series of articles on gang violence has been buzzing in our social feeds lately, and for good reason. Chicago magazine’s Whet Moser published a post on The 312 this week that adds observations from the Chicago Crime Commission’s 2012 Gang Book. The Reporter’s latest installment went up today, and a fourth and final post is scheduled for February 15.
• In related-ish news, the 15-year-old artist behind Chicago’s 2012 city sticker may have included gang symbols in his winning design. The stickers, which are just days away from being printed, are currently “under investigation” by city clerk Susana Mendoza. UPDATE: Mendoza announced at a press conference at City Hall this afternoon that the boy’s design has officially been scrapped, despite protests from his mother and their attorney, Blake Horwitz. Horwitz says the boy has “special needs” and is on the honor roll at Lawrence Hall Youth Services, according to the Tribune. Nevertheless, his design will be replaced by another from contest runner-up Caitlin Henehan, a senior at Resurrection High School.
• Sports columnist Jen Floyd Engel deftly explains why so many moms are annoyed by supermodel mommy Gisele Bündchen. (Hint: Only a small part of it is because she’s gorgeous and married to Tom Brady.)
• We salute your honesty, Brendan Chaney, and sincerely hope that you’ve learned your lesson, young man.

File under: “Vive la France

• Move over, Tiger Mom: Bringing up Bebe, a new book by American mom and author Pamela Druckerman, suggests that French parenting practices might produce better-behaved kids. We think the parents behind this party celebrating potty training (that’s right: a whole party to celebrate going to the bathroom) should read up.
• On a related note, the Christian Science Monitor offers this post on the benefits of maintaining a global view on parenting, citing not only Druckerman’s findings, but also the Tiger Mom and a new book titled How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood.

File under: “Speech practice”

• Just FYI, to those of you filling out ballots for an office pool: The aptly named Annie Awards—a professional peer award for animation—were handed out Saturday in Southern California. Rango took the top prize, positioning a certain Johnny Depp–voiced chameleon, stranded in a lawless town, as an Oscar front-runner.

File under: “Good sports”

The Whistle, a new sports channel that aims be an ESPN for wee sports fans, is carving out a digital domain where kids’ eyes are most likely to see it. According to The New York Times, that means “on its website; a channel on YouTube; channels that it hopes to occupy on the major gaming consoles; and time that it is buying on the NBC Sports Network.” The site launched in beta on February 3.
These photos of a baby polar bear’s first romp in the snow are absolutely killing us. The little guy is being hand-reared in a Danish wildlife park because, apparently, its mother did not produce milk after it was born. The powdered nose! The dangly pink tongue! We almost can’t take it.

And finally, file this one under “Silliest. Ban. Ever.”

• It seems the Simpsons just aren’t mmm-diddily-morally sound enough for export to Iran. Reuters reported Monday that Tehran officials have banned Simpsons dolls and merchandise, claiming that the posse of yellow, four-fingered TV crack-ups “are corroding the morals of Iranian youth.” Mitra Amiri writes, “Dolls based on Bart, Homer and the rest of the American cartoon family joined the shapely Barbie among Western toys targeted by a new crackdown.” Iranian officials did note that Superman and Spiderman are still welcome, although couldn’t confirm whether or not it was simply because those two are more adept at dodging bullets.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)