Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys – "Roly Poly" (1946)

Roly-poly, eatin' corn and taters
Hungry every minute of the day
Roly-poly, gnawin' on a biscuit
Long as he can chew it it's okay

I believe that parents should be allowed to raise their children as they see fit, without the government bossing them around.

On the other hand, some parents are idiots who do things that are clearly hazardous to their children’s health and well-being.

In the United States, parents sometimes find themselves at loggerheads with government officials over home-schooling and vaccinations and such things.

But when parents and the government clash in Italy, the issue always seems to be food.

Here's a recent headline from the Washington Post:

In Milan last July, a 14-month-old boy’s grandparents took him to a hospital because they were alarmed by how thin he was.  Doctors found that the boy weighed only as much as a typical three-month-old, and also had a serious calcium deficiency, which they attributed to the fact that his parents were feeding him a strict vegan diet.  A judge ordered the boy to be taken away from the parents.  

Last year, another Italian judge ordered a divorced mother who was feeding her son a macrobiotic diet to cook him meat at least once a week.  In a Solomonic twist, the boy’s father was ordered not to feed him meat more than twice on the weekends, when he had custody of him.  (It seems the father took him to McDonald’s regularly.)

In response to these and similar incidents, an Italian legislator named Elvira Savino recently introduced a bill that would make it a crime for parents to provide an inadequate diet to their children.  

Ordinarily, I would strenuously object to that kind of government overreaching.  But Elvira Savino obviously knows a lot about proper diet:

Elvira Savino
Savino is a snazzy dresser:

Here are photos of the leggy legislator hard at work.  (She is a member of Italy's Chamber of Deputies. which is comparable to the U.S. House of Representatives):

Elvira Savino is known in Italy as “La Topolona” – a colloquial term that might be translated as “hot chick.”  (The literal meaning of “topolona” is “big female mouse,” which seems like an odd expression to use to describe a fabulous babe.  But referring to an attractive woman as a warm baby chicken is equally odd.)

It’s time to get this post back on track . . . after some more pictures of Elvira Savino (including one from her wedding):

If we’re talking about a serious health risk to children, I’m not going to oppose the government stepping in and dictating to parents.  But we all know that if you give a government an inch, it’s going to want a mile – and the Italian government is no exception to that rule.  To wit . . .

In January 2015, an Italian father was sentenced to nine months in jail for forcing his daughters to eat a macrobiotic diet and do strenuous exercise.  

“You’re fat, you have to do more sport: you will never achieve anything in life,” the father allegedly told them.

The girls’ mother reported the man to authorities.  (The parents had separated.)  They prosecuted the father because his words had a damaging impact on the girls.

I’m not sure whose side I’m on in this dispute – I need to know some more facts.  (For example, how much the daughters weighed.)

But I do know that for every child who is being fed a vegan diet that’s inadequate for his or her nutritional needs, there are probably ten or twenty kids whose parents are stuffing them full of junk food and setting them up for a lifetime of heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and self-loathing.

While I think it’s unforgivable for a father to belittle his daughters over their appearance, it’s equally unforgivable for parents to enable childhood obesity.

I’m not going to pretend that I know where to draw the line between tough love and child abuse.  

*     *     *     *     *

“Roxy Poly” was released by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys in 1946.

Fred Rose with business partner Roy Acuff
The song was written by legendary Nashville songwriter Fred Rose, who was one of the first three men to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame when it opened in 1961.  (Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers were the other original inductees.)

Rose’s other compositions included “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” and a number of Hank Williams hits.

Here’s “Roly Poly”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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