Friday, August 31, 2012


Raised by my daughter

Every once in a while, the Ghosts of Internet Present visit me and direct me to Twitter-less bloggers. I assume that's what happened, since I don't know how else I found Neal's "Raised by my daughter" blog. No matter--I'm just happy I found it, because it's one of those blogs that are filled with character and little truisms you won't find anywhere else, even if you travel back and forth along the series of tubes that make the Internet what it is.

It's a relatively new blog, so you know it's not tainted (yet) (the way my blog is). It's the real thing, and Neal is a natural writer/blogger. There are funny comics, honest stories, and a beautiful daughter who is about the same age as my own.

It's a great find, and I hope you visit the "Raised by my daughter" blog. When you're there, say Hi from me (or skip the middle-man and say Hi directly from the Ghosts of Internet Present), and stick around to read as many pages back from the blog's history as you can. I promise you'll thank me in the morning.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Five Pictures. Words With Friends Edition.

Words With Friends Labia
Sometimes I get a word I can't resist, even if it doesn't give me a lot of points
Words With Friends Vag
Well, excuuuse me
Words With Friends MILF
Excuuuuuuuuuse me!
Words With Friends Jew
Oh. OK. See, Jew is not an acceptable word, but--
Words With Friends Yid
But Yid is fine. Especially when combined with an "Oy."

(By the way, if you love waiting at least a week before your opponent makes the next move, you can find me on Words With Friends under the username "Oren!")

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nuno Nono: The Future of Preschool?

Think your kid's preschool is too much fun? Hate sandboxes? What's your gut telling you about posters on the walls? Or about walls in general?

Well, if you think walls should be round and see-through, if you think adult-created art is distracting, and if you think the sound of chaotic joy is the sound of wasted childhood, you would love this planned nursery in Valencia, Spain.

If you go to the architects' site, you will get a chance to read their side of the story, filled with grand ideas and grander architectural-theory-that-goes-nowhere-fast.

In that way we decided to “learn how to unlearn”, to blur reality, to reduce resolution, information… designing undefined spaces, abstract ones… “spaces of opportunity” where children’s imagination and their way of looking the world around them regains a leading role. Confronting the present moment of “destruction of imagination by hyperrealism” where there is no space for own subjectivity.
Nuno nono is a transmitter of sensations, a scene of possibilities, not of certainty. Nuno nono proposes, does not impose… insinuates, does not determine.
Or you can just take a look at the pictures, where joyless, invisible kids play inside a utopia one can only find in an airport smoker's lounge and in futuristic movies about jails.

Nuno Nono

Nuno Nono

Nuno Nono

Nuno Nono

Nuno Nono

Nuno Nono
Mind your heads


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Giant Food and Tommee Tippee: These Companies Get It

Every once in a while I see something that makes me feel good, or at least optimistic about the way companies and society in general treat fatherhood. It happened a few months ago, when I went to buy Playmobils, seeing only dragon-slayers and pirates at first, but then suddenly noticing there was also a dad Playmobil piece, complete with a stroller and a tired smile.

And now I have two more companies to add to the list.

Here's what Giant, the supermarket chain (also known elsewhere as Stop & Shop), mailed its customers:

  • This is not a Father's Day special mailer.
  • The father is not shown as a clueless visitor to the kitchen or clueless about interacting with his son.
  • And the best part: No grill! The father and son are making salad! How the hell did that happen? Wasn't there a marketing wunderkid in the room, telling them that dads only grill, and may only be shown surrounded by burgers, buddies, and beer?

So well-done to Giant Food for thinking beyond the grill and beyond the stereotypes.

The second praise goes to a company selling baby feeding products, baby bottles, pacifiers, baby monitors, and even breast-pumps. This is what you see when you go to

I'm sure that like Avent, a company that completely ignores fatherhood because its research has confirmed the shocking statistics that moms buy more baby bottles than dads do, the people at Tommee Tippee know who buys what. But they also know that when a mother sees a company that respects fatherhood (or at least accepts it), the mother is not going to leave that website and take her money to Avent just because Avent likes to pretend fathers don't do the parenting thing.

I mean, seriously. Is there a mother looking at that picture, thinking, "This place is not for me"? So many marketing companies are stuck in this concept that they must target according to gender while excluding the other gender, not realizing that, for example, mothers actually like the idea of a man hugging a child. They're not offended by the image above, and they don't feel excluded. Marketing to moms doesn't mean excluding dads.

Good luck to the two trend-setters. And thanks, on behalf of all parents.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Daddy's in Charge?

I've mentioned John's "Daddy's in Charge?" blog here in the past, but until just now, I haven't included him in the Blogging Fathers section for two important reasons:

1. Didn't get around to it.

2. The check hasn't cleared.

Well, I'm happy to say everything is fine now, and so it is my great honor to write about "Daddy's in Charge?"

First of all, I'm going to write some nice things, but you have to keep in mind that I'm not happy. John, who is a LEGO-connoisseur, or for the English-speaking crowd, a LEGO-aficionado, has made some LEGO videos about other bloggers, even one starring the arch-nemesis of all blogging dads, Dan from Single Dad Laughing, but I haven't been immortalized in brick. Yet. Maybe now that I suck up to him here he will reconsider. Or maybe there's a payola system. I'll have my people talk to his people.

Anyway, it's not just LEGOs videos. John can write too, and without him on Twitter, chatting with me and often mocking me, I would have been lost a long time ago.

So if any of you has somehow missed that blog, head on over now. You'll be thankful you've found a blog that is not afraid to be original.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spider-Dad and Son

In this video, a dad takes his kid to the trampoline park after being inspired--yes, INSPIRED--but an Adam Sandler movie. It's a cool video, and watching the proud kid in his Spiderman costume will bring out an involuntary "awww" even from people who think they're too cool to watch kids in videos. We only have one chance at being great dads, so the least we could do is try to make it awesome.

And at the end of the video, when the kid tells his dad he wants to go with Spiderman to Walmart the next day, you can't help but think a father-and-son Spidermen won't be the weirdest thing in the store that day.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Five Photos. A Few Words.

I tagged my wife in this picture on Facebook. Thought it would be funny. A day later, dozens of her friends Liked it, many also commenting on how absolutely beautiful my drawing was. Someone suggested commissioning me to draw their family portrait. Well, they better be ready for some expensive stick figures... (FYI, the name of the app is My Sketch.)

My boy
I used this picture recently for a post about feeling like I'm failing my boy. The picture itself doesn't have much to do with the writing, but I think it shows my boy as an individual, which is something I must remember and remind myself of constantly. I have to see his struggles from his own perspective if I want to understand what he's going through.

Mini Me
It's crazy how much he looks like I did when I was his age. Same smile--we have the same mouth. Same a lot of things, actually. Poor guy.

Baby's First Bubblewrap
Baby's First Bubblewrap

I love this picture of my daughter. Makes her look like a propaganda poster.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Family Man -- A StoryCorps Animated Short

A Family Man

I've mentioned StoryCorps in the past. It's an oral history project that aims to "provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives." Here's more information from their site:

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.

They're now not limited to audio interviews, but to short animated videos as well. In this touching video, a man tells his wife about his father's lasting legacy and the power of a look.

Read more about StoryCorps on

Friday, August 3, 2012

Leaving the Middle-Class Trap

In 1996, The Onion described the irony of modern life for the middle class.

Middle Class Irony

It's incredible that most of us live like that, unable or unwilling to see the irony.

Our family is going through some difficult changes now. To escape the ironic lifestyle, to be able to see her kids more than a tired hour per day, my wife has found a new job. This job will allow her to work from home a lot, which is the good part. The bad part is that there will probably be a lot of travel, too. And the worst part is that now, because it's a new job, she must leave home and travel to the end of the world (Seattle), and stay there for a couple of weeks (then return to Baltimore for a week, then again to Seattle for even longer).

It's not going to be easy for me, it's not going to be easy for the kids, and it's definitely not going to be easy for my wife, who will have to settle for Skype to see her kids.

But it's worth it. It's worth it because we must escape this terrible contradictory, ironic life. The idea of being with the kids and NOT being exhausted is something I experience every few days, but it's something she knows nothing about.

For 4+ years, she had woken up, rushed to work, and come home just in time to make dinner (after a day at work, she now faced a tired husband demanding a break and tired children who needed to sleep but didn't know it). Then she cleaned up the kitchen, and went to bed, falling asleep less than an hour later. And when people mentioned women who "had it all," they were talking about her. She had a great job, great kids, a beautiful husband, and a new Prius V. She had it all, alright.

And that's the sad irony of the middle class. Being constantly tired, spending a couple of hours driving to and from work, seeing kids an hour a day at their worst and at her worst is not even considered settling. It's the good life, because we could spend time on the weekends, and because we could travel as a family once a year.

Only it's not the good life. It's the middle-class trap, and it's something we should escape from or we'll sink into the same old tired routine that will end up destroying us.

Two weeks in Seattle is a small price to pay. Constant travel later in the year is nothing, compared to the benefits of being able to spend weeks together as a family.

It's hard, and my wife is a little depressed after two days in Seattle. This post is for you, Honey. I know it's hard, but you're pulling us out of the middle-class trap. You're our hero.

Baltimore to Seattle


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