One New Permit, Many New Gray Hairs

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Another important milestone was reached here recently, another step taken towards adulthood and self sufficiency. The teenager is now officially licensed to begin practicing driving, written test past and knowledge of the state’s laws and regulations demonstrated. We are still a ways away from requests to borrow the keys and nights spent pacing with worry but the first steps there have been taken.

 

she’s more excited than I am

 

I fear that once again the reason for my trepidation lie in my own past, a sixteen year old with a car faster than he should have been driving and a penchant for showing off in front of his friends. She’s older than I was, nominally wiser, and faces stricter state laws than I did at the time. New drivers are prohibited from driving with other teens for the first six months and are only allowed immediate family under twenty years old for the second six. She’s old enough to not be required to follow the state’s driving curfew but still will remain beholden to mine.

 

this kid drove like a jerk

 

None of which changes the fact that motor vehicle accidents are still the leading cause of death among 15-20 year olds and that as a parent to a teenager worrying and nagging are how I spend the vast majority of my time. Anything that can be done to lower the frequency of either is going to be appreciated by us both.

One way I’ll be able to do that is by trying to put her in the safest vehicle possible. Once she leaves the house I can’t control what she does and even more alarmingly can’t control the actions of other drivers but I can control what she is driving.

cars.com  will help me with that, not only by helping me find a quality vehicle for sale in my area but by providing either an Autocheck or CARFAX report to review and by providing easy research options on different makes and models.

 

 

I’ll take all the help I can get.  I’m proud of her accomplishment and look forward to reducing my time behind the wheel of the dad taxi but not the dramatic increase in gray hair that I can foresee happening in the coming months.

 

I was compensated for writing this post, but all ideas and opinions are my own. 

 

Making Football Great Again

 

It’s a bit of a somber day today, the first Sunday without NFL football since the beginning of last August. The Pro Bowl will be played later today, an exhibition that may hold some interest for the friends and family of the players involved, but the sad truth is that after next weekend’s Super Bowl we enter that weird part of the sporting world’s calendar where there is not much to do but feign interest in baseball’s spring training and hope that our NBA and NHL teams are among the half of those leagues that qualify for their several month long playoffs.

WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon wants to change that, using $100 million of his own money to re-start the XFL, a second professional football league that played for one season in 2001. It will have eight teams and play a ten week schedule starting in 2020.

 

making football great again

 

This time around the XFL will be supposedly be different, without all the foolishness that made it hard to take seriously the first time around. Details are still forthcoming but McMahon promises a simpler game, with less downtime and games that should finish about an hour faster than those of the NFL.

He’s also making some rules, rules that as sole owner of the league he is completely within his rights to implement.

A person’s character, based apparently on his interpretation of it, will determine whether or not they get to play. Anybody that’s ever been arrested, conviction or not, is immediately disqualified. These past several weeks of workouts and strict adherence to the Tom Brady Cookbook apparently in vain as my final attempt at sports glory ended before they ever really began.

All players will also be required to stand for the National Anthem, saying that “people don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained” and “we want somebody who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time.”

I’ve never been a big fan of this particular form of protest. I’ve even more so never been a fan of those telling these players that they can’t. I appreciate Mr McMahon’s and every other employer’s right to impose whatever rules, within reason, that they feel might influence the success of their business.

It’s certainly not my place to question the business acumen of a billionaire, but I’ll admit to wondering if Mr McMahon might be reading the room incorrectly in this case. I do know some people that were boycotting the NFL this year, and even a local bar that refused to show the games on Sundays. I decided to boycott that bar.

The last time around the XFL was seen as an alternative to the buttoned down, too conservative NFL that was increasingly legislating out the fun and hard hits that had made the league so popular too begin with. Is this new incarnation a reaction to a perceived liberalism that some see as the reason for a 17% drop in ratings over the past two seasons?

The truth is that I’m not sure, no longer comfortable assuming that I know how reasonable people think anymore, or that there are that many of them. The truth is that NFL players are arrested much less frequently than than the general population but I’m just as guilty about writing more about Adrian Peterson than about the the good guys in the league as anybody else. I don’t know how many people even pay attention to the Anthem or just have strong ideas about what should happen when it’s played.

I know that football in America still draws more viewers than any other televised event and that ratings are down across all sports and all programming, the amount of competition for viewership and attention unprecedented.

I also know that people won’t watch mediocre or bad football without some sort of emotional attachment. I still watch the Miami Dolphins (mediocre) and the Uconn Huskies (bad) because they are my teams. During the one year that the United Football League was in existence I attended a Hartford Colonials game because it was local. If the XFL isn’t coming to a city near me I’m going to have a hard time gathering all that much enthusiasm.

 

her first tailgate

 

Will I watch? It’s hard to say. I love the game but have no problem admitting my feelings of hypocrisy for doing so, the inherent cop out that I have by having  daughters and being able to avoid any decision about whether or not to allow my child to play. That CTE and player injuries weigh heavier on my mind than they used to.

I’ll admit that a distaste for Vince McMahon and the direction that that WWE has gone in since the days of my childhood and my own memories of Hulk Hogan and others of that era clouds my perception. That I can’t ignore the fact that our current President  once body slammed him and shaved his head as part of WrestleMania 23 or that his wife now holds a cabinet position as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

 

making football great again
sitting US President and WWE Hall of Famer

 

Apparently this is where we are at America, so divided by partisanship and ideology that even the prospect of watching a few extra months of football now requires a decision about whether or not we are going against our principles by supporting it.

How did this happen?

 

25 Questions Revisited

 

Nothing very deep here today I’m afraid, just taking a break from math homework. I’m not sure if this is the “new math” that I’ve heard so much about, a new way to introduce basic principles, or if I’m just not as bright as I was thirty six years ago, but I’m getting a headache.

Instead we played reporter, a interview with a movie star that I first conducted back in June of 2015.  It’s been making the Facebook rounds again so I thought I’d see how her answers had changed.

 

25 questions revisited

 

What is something that daddy always says to you?
Then: I love you
Now: I love you too.
Apparently she says it first more often now.

What makes daddy happy?
Then: When he plays with me and gives me fruitsnacks
Now: When I say “I love you.”

What makes daddy sad?
Then: When I jump on him
Now: Nothing
Glad that she thinks that. Also, that she jumps on me a lot less.

How does daddy make you laugh?
Then: Giving me stuff, like smoothies
Now: telling jokes

What was daddy like as a child?
Then: He liked smoothies too
Now:  How should I know?
Bit of a smarty pants now.

How old is daddy?
Then: 14
Now: 25
I do feel like I’ve aged nine years in the last two.

How tall is daddy?
Then: to the tippity top
Now: 32 inches.
Seems I’ve shrunk a bit

What is daddy’s favorite thing to do?
Then: Dishes
Now: Go to the park.
I feel like I spend more time doing dishes than at the park

What does daddy do while you’re at school?
Then: Goes to the gym
Now: Goes to the gym
You’d think I’d be in a lot better shape

If daddy became famous, what would it be for?
Then: Nothing
Now: Being a good X-Ray guy.
I’ll take it

What is daddy really good at?
Then: Doing tricks and hula hooping
Now: Washing dishes and folding laundry
Told you I did a lot of dishes

What is daddy not very good at?
Then: Going on the slide.
Now: Being scared
I think that I would be scared of getting stuck in the slide

What does daddy do for a job?
Then: Dishes
Now: X-Ray

What is daddy’s favorite food?
Then: Chinese food
Now: Beef jerky

What makes you proud of daddy?
Then: Hula hooping
Now: That he helps people at his job and keeps me safe
I don’t think I’ve ever actually hula hooped

What cartoon character is daddy like?
Then: The Hulk
Now: The Hulk
Fair enough

What do you and daddy do together?
Then: Laundry
Now: watch superhero shows

How are you and daddy the same?
Then: We both have ears
Now: Our eyes and hair are the same color

How are you and daddy different?
Then: We have different toes. Mine are painted
Now: He has to shave so he doesn’t grow a beard

How do you know daddy loves you?
Then: He says “I love you”
Now: He buys me stuff
Not too sure about that one

What does daddy like best about mommy?
Then: She’s so beautiful
Now: She’s beautiful

What does mommy like best about daddy?
Then: He buys flowers
Now: He’s handsome

What is daddy’s favorite place to go?
Then: To work
Now: The movies with me

How old was daddy when you were born?
Then: A grown up
Now: How should I remember
A valid question

What’s your favorite thing about daddy?
Then: He loves me
Now: That he’s handsome

 

 

Not Everybody Sucks

 

I don’t usually get overly excited about the start of a new year, the idea that the flipping of a calendar is going to lead to any sort of renewal or change in fortunes one that seems a bit silly to me. That being said, I’ll admit to hoping that the beginning of 2018 would be a happier time than the last few months of 2017. I’ve been a bit down lately Thirsty Nation. I’ve been a bit down and the main reason why is people, specifically grown up people. Too many of them just seem to really suck.

Many of you currently reading are “real life” friends with my wife and I and may have recently seen a Facebook posting about a leaky pipe in our basement. You also probably know that my skills in fixing problems of this nature are only moderately more helpful than those of our six year old. If it can’t be fixed with massive amounts of duct tape, chances are that I’m not going to be able to fix it.

With the previous person that would have been called for assistance now falling into the category of “people that really, really suck”, a call for recommendations was issued.

It was answered quickly, a friend of the missus messaging her with the name and number of a guy that worked with pipes for a living and would more than happy to come over and take a look at the situation.

This, it turns out, was a surprise to the guy, his actual profession as some sort of nuclear engineer at the power plant only marginally “pipe” related. I can’t say with certainty what his thoughts may have been about a random woman calling and asking if he’d be willing to come over and help her with her plumbing, but if he’d seen any of the same “movies” that I have over the years, I can venture a guess. Obviously, some sort of secret spy mission.

The other obvious scenario was that he was being lured to our house, naturally located in the woods at the end of a dead end street, so that his organs could be harvested and sold on the black market, something that he admitted to thinking as he drove up our darkened hill. He thought that but continued anyway. A complete stranger, with no actual plumbing background, taking time out of his day to journey across town to see if he could help, then returning the following day with the necessary parts and refusing any monetary compensation for his trouble. For those of you that thought I was referring to a different type of movie earlier, he received no other compensation either and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

I’m not usually a fan of unknown men coming to my house while I’m at work at night and hope that this doesn’t become a regular occurrence, but in this instance I’m grateful. My basement is dry, everybody involved still has their organs intact and in the following days enough people reached out to us that if the problem recurs we have a few other numbers to call.

It was also a good reminder that not everybody sucks. I won’t be overly dramatic and say that my faith in humanity has been restored, but it’s good to be reminded of that every once in a while.

 

 

 

Lost in the Noise

 

I’d like to think that fairness, respect and equality were always issues that I took seriously but will reluctantly admit that as a father to girls, women’s issues have taken on an added significance for me. My desire for them to be able to lead happy, successful lives bringing into clearer focus some of the obstacles that they may face in reaching those goals.

It was with those obstacles in mind that when my news feed became inundated with outrage over the wage discrepancy paid to stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams for additional filming necessary on the film “All the Money in the World” I was absolutely stunned.

Stunned that there are so many people so desperate to find something to be outraged about that they would choose this story to fire their ire. Think what you may about his acting skills or some of the absolutely horrible movies he’s appeared in over the years, Wahlberg is an internationally recognizable movie star, the highest paid actor of 2017 according to Forbes magazine.  Its reported that he took a pay cut simply to be in the movie to begin with. Michelle Williams is apparently an amazing actress, having been nominated for four Academy Awards, and probably has people that will see a movie based only on her appearance, but I’ll confess to not being able to name anything that she has previously been in without looking it up.

Perhaps this speaks more to poor choices in the movies that I watch or perhaps it’s simply the “mansplaining” that I will undoubtedly be accused of, but I find it hard to use this case as an example of the income bias that is a real and relevant issue in society.

One of the main problems with the 24/7 news cycle and the pay per click advertising business model that so many websites now rely on as their business model is the constant need for content, for stories that elicit a response. I bear no love for our current President and find his attacks on the media boorish and immature but there is truth to the idea that he could try and slip out a silent fart in a closed elevator and CNN would immediately have a panel of experts explaining why this lack of decorum makes him unfit to lead.

The irony here is that the reason for the re-shoots was the unprecedented move by director Ridley Scott to replace actor Kevin Spacey after the movie had completely finished filming. Spacey being one of many in Hollywood recently exposed as taking advantage of a culture of silence and fear to sexually harass and assault.

Before he also became persona non grata amid similar allegations there was a Louis CK quote that I would come across often : “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” As much as I understand the sentiment behind his words and agree with them in principal, it ignores the fact that offense spread too thin becomes dilute, instead lending credibility to those that would rather mock and ignore the voices calling for fairness and decency.

The result is a tuning out, an exhaustion for controversy. I applaud and encourage all who would speak out against wrongdoing and injustice, but how often are these voices being lost amid all the excess noise?

All parents have had days when it seems like your child has done nothing but whine the entire day. It becomes nothing but a distraction, ignored and disregarded. Think of the people that you know that are constantly bitching, a complaint about everything and anything at all times. What happens eventually is that they have a legitimate concern, something important to them that needs to be heard.

It often isn’t.

It isn’t and only after the fact are we left to wonder what else we might have missed.

 

 

 

 

Adventures with girls, from preschool to proms