Casey Anthony, Penn State, and why crime always pays

WELL, THAT didn’t take long.

Just four months after a Florida jury acquitted Casey Anthony of murdering her daughter, one of the prosecutors has released a ghostwritten book called “Imperfect Justice.’’ Jeff Ashton has retired from the state attorney’s office, so he doesn’t have to worry about prejudicing judges or insulting the police. Now, he writes, he can speak out – for the sake of deceased toddler Caylee Anthony. And for Caylee’s sake, I’m sure, his book has already been optioned for a movie on . . . can you guess the TV network? Lifetime, you say? Correct! Hollywood is nothing if not predictable.

This is the way the justice system works in the most spectacular cases: There is the legal phase, and there is the cash-in phase, and sometimes the two are concurrent.

Read the rest of the column from the Boston Globe here.

Thomas and the cult of obedience

This one got a lot of feedback from parents and grandparents: Ruminations on the pull of Thomas the Tank Engine, and why I hope his obedience doesn’t rub off too much on the little guy.

Read the whole thing from the Boston Globe here.

THIS ONE goes out to the parents, grandparents, and friends of toddler boys. Tell me if this sounds familiar: Preschooler walks around in a happy daze, ignoring the world around him, mumbling catchphrases about cheeky trains on the Island of Sodor.

Yes, it’s the mind-grip of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, as documented in a study from last year’s Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. A fellow Thomas inductee recently showed me the story: A 3-year-old in California watched Thomas episodes on TV for five hours a day, and descended so deep in his train reverie that he wouldn’t talk to anyone at preschool.