Category: Parenthood/family

TAKE me out to the ballgame(s) …

For those interested in seeing the baseball game I mentioned Wednesday, here are the pregame interviews …

… the ballgame (Foreshadowing Alert: make sure you watch the last inning) …

… and the postgame.

The video and sound quality is not the greatest. (Nor is the announcing since the announcer did rudimentary game prep, though more than none.) For whatever reason the videos are in HD on the newspaper Facebook page but only SD on YouTube. Fortunately the game probably makes up for that.

Given how the Brewers’ pitching has been since the All-Star break, you could take the four pitchers in this game and send them to Milwaukee and they’d do better than the Brewers’ bullpen, and some of the starters too.

This started, as I wrote Wednesday, because I came up with the idea where I come up with my best thoughts — in the shower the morning of a tournament championship game. (Wauzeka 14, Platteville 12.) I also did it for two professional (as much as this is) reasons — to improve my baseball play-by-play since baseball is the worst sport I announce due to my having not done enough baseball, and to get the experience of calling my own child’s games, which I might have to do in future years.

Submitted for your approval as well are the first-round game against Shullsburg …

… the first …

… and second parts of the quarterfinal against Kieler …

… and the semifinal game against Cuba City (hint: watch the beginning):

Some boys of summer

An outstanding newspaper editor writes:

Take me out to the ball game: Those of you who have Liked The [Platteville] Journal’s Facebook page (and pushed it over 7,000 Likes) may have seen a few eighth-grade baseball games streamed on the previous three weekends. (I came up with that idea where I usually get my best ideas, in the shower.) Game one was a 14–12 Platteville loss. However, after a nailbiting 3–2 win over Kieler, a win preserved by a bases-loaded two-out strikeout, and a 13–7 semifinal win over Cuba City (it turns out scoring six first-inning runs — after the first two batters went out, the next seven reached base — before your opponent can bat is good for your chances to win), the Hillmen will play at Dickeyville (weather and bandwidth permitting) tonight at 7:30 for the league tournament title.

Readers might say I’m bringing this up because my youngest son is one of the pitchers on the Platteville freshmen-to-be team. To quote a friend and former coworker of mine, who is now a judge: What’s your point?

That’s what I’m doing tonight at 7:30 Central time, weather and bandwidth permitting.

Dylan, photographed at a Milwaukee Brewers baseball camp at UW–Platteville.

Related is what Kate Leavell writes:

A letter to my former self as a new sports parent:

One day you’re going to get in the car with your kid’s water bottle that he left at home for the last time, that sour shoulder pads and cleat smell coming from the back seat, and the little chunks of dirt that have been knocked loose from muddy cleats all over the once new floor mats. You’re going to climb the stadium stairs one last time, listen to his name announced, watch him take the field and shoot a glance up your way and a little wave. You’re going to hear the last whistle, watch the last half time talk, the last hand shake, eat your last stadium hot dog, shade out that last bright sun beam blocking your view, and then you are going to get in the car and you won’t ever be back again.

Today may be the first time he sits in your lap as you lace up his cleats and then walks onto that field, and he may be terrible, he may be fantastic, he will likely have moments of both, but when it’s all over he’s still that piece of you that you love no matter what.

All I care about now at the end of this journey, is that he had fun, that he has memories that he cherishes rather than ones he hopes to forget. His playing time, lack of college offers that he never cared about or wanted anyway, coaches’ philosophies, club teams, stats – none of it mattered. Not one bit. Don’t waste time keeping up with the joneses of sports parents, just love every.single.second.

When he is small, sports will seem like such a milestone and you will be in a hurry to get him into as much as you can. If he shows promise you may start looking ahead, thinking you are depriving him if you don’t get him the training he deserves. Be ready, because the second it starts the comparison and expectations are instantly out of reach. Don’t miss the fun, don’t miss the laughs, don’t miss the chance to reassure when the tears come, hug him tight, hand him an ice pack when he gets hurt and then send him back out there. And when he wants a break, when he says he misses his friends, respect that request.

Don’t worry about what the coaches are doing, how the team is playing, who should be playing, if they are learning as fast as other teams, if they are a super star, or if they are winning. Just look at them – are they happy? Are they growing and learning and reaching and stepping outside of their comfort zone? Because at the end of their sports experience that’s all that matters. You won’t care about anything else when it’s over.

There are so many things outside of sports that he loves to do, that he is so amazing at. There are so many opportunities that are going to get missed if he is training all the time. He doesn’t want to play in college, that was my destiny, not his. But the things he learned playing sports he will use every day when he leaves for college next year.

Don’t let him forget that he has other talents, to explore as much as possible, to focus on the things he loves but to also constantly try something different just for the experience. Don’t let his self worth become directly tied to his athletic abilities. Don’t let your relationship become coach and player instead of parent and child.

Soak in every moment of every game, absorb the cheers, the goof ups, the missteps, the sometimes less than perfect effort, the sometimes mind blowing plays, the team events, the mud, the smell, the tears, the joy, because one day its going to be over.

You’re going to miss the smell that you think you hate on that drive home from practice, you’re going to miss the constant shuttling to and from practice, volunteer responsibilities and team events, you’re going to miss all the time you spent worrying about team stuff instead of just relaxing and watching him love the game, you’re going to remember those band-aid moments, emergency room visits, got cut from the team and then, years later, the being made captain moments. Hold on tight, and remember why he is playing, never miss an opportunity to experience the complete and total joy you get from just getting to watch him play, because it doesn’t last, and it doesn’t come back.

Related is this comment:

Try marching band. It’s a sport. Why?Try lifting a heavy instrument, (maybe a bari saxophone, 20ish pounds) holding it out at the correct angle, counting your steps so you are where you are supposed to be at any given time on the field, blowing through your instrument, and remembering the notes you need to play, wearing a band uniform in hot weather and sweating buckets, bugs land on you? Too bad, you can’t blow them off, you have to keep going, friend passes out, too bad you have to step over them. And that’s after 2 months of conditioning…yoga, stretching, jogging, marching, getting your steps down. Starts in July, ends in mid November. It, unlike normal sports, builds team work, they become a tight knit group. It’s not a 7 minute show where one person shines. It’s either they all score well together or they all mess up together. Most parents are at every performance cheering and screaming, getting their band kids pumped up. All of them. It’s nine weekends of sheer craziness. And it’s an all Saturday adventure. It involves the whole family, if there are affordability issues, they get covered. It is a community. We’ve even gone on to competition when right before our band director found out one of his students died. It took him to his knees. It was awful. Our band director spoke with our kids and they, as a team, decided to go on for their friend. Her marimba was draped in flowers and set where it normally would be.
These kids learn discipline, working as a team, and how to resolve issues. ThiS mom had NO idea the hours it took to go from point a to polished program. Blood, sweat, and tears. Try band, in the 7 years we were involved, I never heard any booing from the crowd and I can say that because I was there, every performance, I was the video person. We cheered for each other. I love all sports but I love band too. Sorry this got long. You just got a condensed version of behind the scenes. Crazy awesome.

A personal highlight today

I have a doubleheader of sports to announce today, ending with Lancaster at Clinton in Level 3 football at 6:45 p.m. on WGLR (97.7 FM) in Lancaster, available online at wglr.com.

Before that, I will be announcing state tournament soccer, Rice Lake against Mount Horeb, in Milwaukee for Rice Lake’s WAQE (also 97.7 FM), also available online at waqe.com and msbnsports.net. (Which marks the first time I have ever announced games for two different radio stations on the same frequency in the same day. I hope I keep one separate from the other, lest one get an unscheduled format change, given that the first is a Hot Adult Contemporary station and the other is a country station.)

When I was asked to announce state soccer, it occurred to me that there was someone residing in Presteblog World Headquarters who would know something about Mount Horeb, since the Vikings ended his season last week. And so …

… Platteville/Lancaster goalkeeper Michael Prestegard will join me on the broadcast. He’s certainly seen enough of my on-air work from the booth (including when I accidentally hit him in the face with my clipboard), but today will be his on-air sports broadcasting debut. (To add to various things he and his brother and sister have done for my main employer the newspaper.)

The closest I have come to this before now is when my father accompanied me on two interviews with microbrewery owners for a magazine story. The owners and he kind of monopolized the conversation, but I got enough material for the story just by listening and taking notes. (My father’s career was not in journalism, but if you can talk to people, that’s a start. My kids already know Who, What, Where, When, Why and How and What Does This Story Mean to the Reader.)

Mrs. Presteblog has been with me for many games over the years …

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… but sadly not today due to this thing called work.

It’s a much smaller scale than, say, having Chip Caray work with his father Skip and Skip’s father Harry …

… or the numerous other father–son baseball teams (Marty and Thom Brennaman, Harry and Todd Kalas, etc.). But today will be a personal thrill for me.

On day number 8,767

There we were, 24 years and an hour of so ago, the media geek and the returned Peace Corps volunteer.

Twenty-four years, three children, four dogs and four cats later …

Players at Alone for Christmas.
Michael the potential future firefighter.
Michael the potential future firefighter.
Dylan plays trombone.
Dylan plays trombone.
Shaena the violin player.
This is Leo and Max
This is Leo and Max “playing,” not an argument between the human siblings.
Oskar and Luna couldn't care less, unless they're hungry, which is only in the a.m. or p.m.
Oskar and Luna couldn’t care less, unless they’re hungry, which is only in the a.m. or p.m.

Five years ago I wrote this on the occasion of our 19th wedding anniversary.

A few things have changed, like jobs and address. We also have three teenagers in the house, including the child who is not a chronological teenager. Other than that, you can probably add five years to everything listed in there. (The march of time!)

Here’s what has not changed: I still love my wife.

 

The latest observation of our impending demise

Steven Crowder asks:

Is liberalism killing the real, masculine male? It seems that way. Keep in mind here, that when I say “man,” I’m not talking about the clichéd embodiment of false machismo who throws back macro-brews, chases skirts and scratches himself in public. By “real” I don’t mean someone who has to be tough, brawny or even rough around the edges. …

In all seriousness, my father (like most fathers) always taught me that a man is someone who stands by his principles, someone who lives with integrity and puts his family before himself. That last one is important, because as a young boy, it’s your pops who provides you with security.

The financial, emotional, even physical security of the son rests squarely on the shoulders of his father. What could possibly be more manly than providing all of the above for your kin? …

Here’s the problem with the modern, liberal man — he can never fully provide that sense of security for his family, because he doesn’t believe that he can provide it for himself.

Liberals don’t believe in the ultimate concept of self-reliance, which is why they look to the government for stability. Extravagant welfare programs, the near impossibility of getting fired on the public dole and an increasingly complicated tax code are all products of the same deeply rooted concept that man cannot provide for himself.

Liberals simply believe that man is not good enough. Indomitable spirits be damned! That’s why most college students are liberal. Living on a diet of Kraft Dinners and Mountain Dew would make anyone yearn for somebody else to step in and take the reins. Instead of looking to a dietician they reach for Uncle Sam (and a keg).

When a child can see this belief in his dad’s world view, it makes him uneasy to the core. Words like “Everything’s going to be okay” ring completely hollow because children understand that daddy doesn’t even believe himself that he can make everything okay. That’s why daddy votes for Democrats.

Every manly icon the West has ever admired has embodied the very spirit of American independence. …

The truth is, that the spirit of the great American man is dying. In the age of entitlement mindsets and a perpetually defeatist attitude, if we don’t pro-actively pass the concept of independent self-reliance on to our children it could be lost forever.

Crowder’s essay required all those ellipses because of his failed attempts to be funny, but his larger point is correct.

There are two ironies in this piece. The first is that we have done this to ourselves to a large extent. Every generation is softer than the previous generation due to advances in technology and creature comforts, but that’s not what Crowder’s talking about. (Fortunately, since unlike the generation before me, I suck at athletics, I neither hunt nor fish, and I will never build an addition to any house.) Every single-parent household represents a failure, usually on the part of the father, to step up to his responsibilities once he made the mother of his children pregnant. The fact that everyone knows some children of single-parent families who turned out OK doesn’t mean that single-parent families generally turn out OK.

One of the comments on Crowder’s piece adds:

The self-absorption and self involvement I see in young people today starts with the parents being generally unavailable emotionally. Mothers walking, with their children asking a question, the mom relentlessly ignoring them and vigorously texting or scrolling on her phone. The young men being unable to show any respect or concern for any female, but still bonding heavily with the male group by verbal abuse of women, hooking up, no emotional content or commitment involved. Unable to become an adult because their role models were insecure, ineffective parents, in conjunction with an overbearing, intrusive government, and the overexposure to a relentless media showing parents as buffoons, plus foul-mouthed, violent, disrespectful videos. I couldn’t agree more…if you grow up insecure, you can’t make anyone else feel secure.

Men of my grandparents’ era were unlikely to have been able to define the term “emotionally unavailable,” and perhaps many of those fathers wouldn’t fit today’s definitions of proper parents. But society isn’t getting better in any meaningful sense, is it?

Here’s the second irony:

By the definition of his non-political life, Theodore Roosevelt unquestionably demonstrated the manly virtues, as an outdoorsman, big game hunter and officer in the Spanish-American War. He was also, according to accounts of the time, a doting father, except for the period when he bugged out for the West after the simultaneous birth of his daughter and death of his wife and mother.

By the definition of his political life, Roosevelt’s progressivism helped started us on the path we’re on now. I’m sure Roosevelt never intended for bigger government to replace families, but he wasn’t smart or foresighted enough to see that once the snowball started rolling, no force on Earth was going to stop government from getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I’m not sure Wisconsin’s own Fighting Bob La Follette, another giant of the Progressive Era, was smart enough to see that either, but apparently Bolshevik Bob was OK with that.

Someone claimed to prove this premise otherwise by claiming that such traditionally blue states as New York and California have higher incomes than now-red states. The fact is that such 1-percent liberals as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates not only came from stable families, but raised stable families themselves. Apparently personal conservatism allows you to be a liberal. As Margaret Thatcher pointed out, the facts of life are conservative.

Happy Thanksgiving? Certainly for nothing outside our own families.

Modern manhood, according to an unreliable source

My high school days coincided with the publication of a book named Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, about, as described by the always accurate Wikipedia …

” … a man who is a dilettante, a trend-chaser, an over-anxious conformist to fashionable forms of lifestyle, and socially correct behaviors and opinions, one who eschews (or merely lacks) the traditional masculine virtue of tough self-assurance. A ‘traditional’ male might enjoy the ironically not so exotic egg-and-bacon pie if his wife served it to him; a quiche-eater, or Sensitive New Age Guy is alleged to make the dish himself, call it by its French name quiche, and serve it to his female life partner to demonstrate his empathy with the Women’s Movement. …

The book’s humor derives from the fears and confusion of contemporary 1980s middle-class men about how they ought to behave, after a decade of various forms of feminist critique on traditional male roles and beliefs.

The satire prompted others to write their own “Real ________” pieces, including my contribution, a “Real Lancers” piece in my high school’s student newspaper, as well as Real Men Don’t Cook Quiche, Real Women Don’t Pump Gas, Real Pets Don’t Eat Leftovers, and Real Kids Don’t Say Please.

Thirty or so years later, the New York Times apparently found an actual stereotypical quiche-eater to write this, responded to in boldface by the writer of the Monster Hunter Nation blog, with creative expletives retained:

Being a modern man today is no different than it was a century ago. It’s all about adhering to principle. Sure, fashion, technology and architecture change over time, as do standards of etiquette, not to mention ways of carrying oneself in the public sphere. But the modern man will take the bits from the past that strike him as relevant and blend them with the stuff of today.

My sons, as you go through life you will learn that libprog rags like the NYT, Slate, and HuffPo usually start their bullshit articles with a paragraph that sounds all sorts of reasonable. Beware. It is a trick.

What follows is one dude’s bizarrely specific pronouncements, which range from preachy but passable, to full turnip. Now, if this jackass had just lived his life according to his own code, real men wouldn’t give a shit, but of course not… This is the New York Times, bastion of bullshit, which will not be content unless it is telling you how you’re living your life wrong.

1. When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small.

Who the hell buys shoes for their wife? As you grow older you will learn that many women like to shop for clothing and shoes. No. I don’t understand it either. But as a manly man, your duty is to work and provide money to your woman, so that she may go and do this sort of thing if she wants.

 As for knowing sizes, no. As children, your mother buys clothes for you. Right now your requests for her seem to be “Get a shirt with Deadpool on it” and that is good. But as men large of stature you will eventually purchase your own clothing from the Extra Large Casual Male Outlet or the Cabela’s Catalog.

For you who are descended from giants, you know man sizes starts at 2XL (or 3X if you need to carry your pistol concealed under an untucked shirt) and shoes sizes begin at 15, but unlike the wimpy New York Times reporter, manly men understand that all men are different, and we do not judge them, even if they shop in the children’s section.

As for knowing your woman’s sizes, no. Your mother owns like 40 pairs of running shoes. She doesn’t even know which brands run big or small, and she has a uterus.

2. The modern man never lets other people know when his confidence has sunk. He acts as if everything is going swimmingly until it is.

This sounds like good advice, boys, but it is trickery.  A real man assesses his situation and does what is best. A real man must know when to ask for help. You have had the opportunity to grow up around warriors, and some of them have experienced terrible things. Even these great men need help at times. Hiding depression leads to things like suck starting your 12 gauge.

3. The modern man is considerate. At the movie theater, he won’t munch down a mouthful of popcorn during a quiet moment. He waits for some ruckus.

Or you could just close your stupid face hole as you chew your food, you slack jawed idiot.

And by “ruckus” I’m guessing he wasn’t watching something like The Expendables, but rather he’s talking about the song and dance numbers on Mamma Mia.

4. The modern man doesn’t cut the fatty or charred bits off his fillet. Every bite of steak is a privilege, and it all goes down the hatch.

A real man lets other men eat what they want and isn’t a self-righteous prick about it.

But this talk of steak is just more trickery, sons. This is a Pajama Boy trying too hard to sound like a man, because steak is considered a manly food. Note that he spells filet wrong. That piece of meat isn’t fatty, and what kind of doofus burns a good piece of meat?

5. The modern man won’t blow 10 minutes of his life looking for the best parking spot. He finds a reasonable one and puts his car between the lines.

Again, a real man doesn’t care what other men do as long as it doesn’t infringe upon him.

In real life, park wherever you feel like. You will either spend time looking for a close space, or you will spend time walking from a far one. That is your decision to make.

6. Before the modern man heads off to bed, he makes sure his spouse’s phone and his kids’ electronic devices are charging for the night.

No. That is their problem. If you fail to plug your crap in, and you run out of power tomorrow, then you’ll learn. If your father comes and bails you out every time you make a stupid little mistake, then you will never become accountable for your actions, and then you will grow up and make foolish choices, like becoming a New York Times reporter.

7. The modern man buys only regular colas, like Coke or Dr Pepper. If you walk into his house looking for a Mountain Dew, he’ll show you the door.

Look, boys, nobody likes a bossy asshole. I like Coke the best, but since I’m not a pretentious dickweed, I don’t presume to speak for other men. The thing about “taste” is that it is subjective, and so can’t be wrong.  

Besides, do you know what manner of man drinks Mountain Dew? Coal miners and Boyd Crowder. Men like your uncle Jack, who can bench press like 400 pounds because he pulls industrial electrical cables at construction sites all day, drink Mountain Dew. Do you truly believe that this effeminate, limp wristed, debutante could “show them the door”?  

Also, Dr Pepper isn’t even a cola, idiot.  

8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.

Yet “GET TO THE CHOPPA!” will always remain a thousand times cooler than anything this Pajama Boy ever says.

I am a bestselling novelist. Words are my profession. So I really hate the Word Police. Beware anyone who tells you what words you can, and can’t use. They only want to control you. That said, when you see somebody using the word “gauche” they’ll usually prove to be a pretentious dipshit.   
9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day.

I have daughters as well. I actually agree with this one.

Don’t worry. I’m sure he’ll fuck it up somehow.

10. Te modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away.

Can’t the “modern man” afford a dishwasher?

Boys, as you are aware every family will have a division of labor known as chores. You will take your assignment and fulfill it to the best of your ability. Doing a half ass job is unacceptable. This Pajama Boy is bragging about merely not doing a half ass job. It is sad that he is so proud of this minor achievement that he felt the need to put it on this list.  

11. The modern man has never “pinned” a tweet, and he never will.

I do not know what these words mean.

However, because each generation is more technologically savvy than the one that came before, I’m not going to presume to tell anyone else what they can and can’t do. That is naïve. That would be like your grandfather telling me not to “internets” or his father telling him that color TV is a fad.

12. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out.

And Real Men have more important things to do than worry about how another man bathes himself.

I don’t care if you take all the little bits of soap and smoosh them together into a ball of mutant soap. I don’t even know what brand soap we have, because your mother buys it. The only time a real man cares about the bathing habits of another man, is if he smells bad, because then his stink is now intruding on your turf. Then you will inform him to get his shit together.

Besides, I’m betting this New York Times reporter smells of lilacs… and shame.

13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week.

Who is she?

Okay, seriously, yes, I do know who Wu-Tang Clan is, but only because of the Dave Chappelle Show.

Here’s the thing. In grown up life, nobody gives a flying fuck what you listen to, and only pretentious cock nozzles feel the need to judge others based upon their tastes. He could have changed that to Frank Sinatra, Pearl Jam, or Garth Brooks, and it would be just as pointless. Being a fan of something doesn’t make you inherently better than someone else. That’s hipster nonsense.  

14. The modern man still jots down his grocery list on a piece of scratch paper. The market is no place for his face to be buried in the phone.

Who cares?

No, really. You write it on a piece of paper, put it on your phone, scribble it on your hand with Sharpie, fly by the seat of your pants buying whatever you feel like, or your wife does the shopping… NOBODY GIVES A FUCK.

You sensing a trend yet, boys?

This guy is a symptom of a much bigger problem. People like to make themselves feel more important by telling other people that they are having Wrongfun. Judging others makes them feel special.

15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.

Most real men have whatever flooring their wife wanted when they built their house, because we don’t care, because we’re working all day so don’t get to stand on it much. Or they have whatever flooring came with the house when they moved in, and eventually when they can afford to they’ll put in whatever flooring their wife wants, because they don’t care. Some men do care, and they can put in whatever floor they feel like. Good for them.

All of those men think this reporter is a douche.

I don’t even know what a Kenneth Cole is. I’m not sure what an oxford is, but from the context I believe it is a type of shoe. As a man who usually wears size 15 Danner boots, this is my Not Impressed Face.

16. The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away.

This one sounds good, but as we go down the list you’ll see the reporter is completely full of shit again. His ability to fight off an intruder is as questionable as his understanding of manhood.

Plus, kids, your mom isn’t going to “get away” she’s going to go for her gun too.

17. Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped?

I’m picturing an Army Special Forces A-Team, somewhere in Afghanistan right now, questioning their manhood because of their complete lack of melon ballers.

My sons, when you grow up, if you want to uniformly shape cantaloupes, I will not judge you, but I will profoundly wonder where I went wrong.

18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.

Hell, I’m surprised this fucker didn’t say what brand of shoehorn was mandatory!

19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry.

Boys, this is actually good advice. So I think we’re at 2 for 19. But since you both understand sports, you can see that he’s not doing well.

20. On occasion, the modern man is the little spoon. Some nights, when he is feeling down or vulnerable, he needs an emotional and physical shield.

See? That’s the kind of bullshit that you just never need to know about another dude! This is just as bad as pontificating on what somebody else does in the shower.

But hang on. Isn’t this the same inconsistent twit who wrote #2?

Fuck it. Real talk time, boys. Women don’t respect pansies. Those who say they do are lying, and once they marry their sensitive little Pajama Boy, they will dream about actual manly men, who take care of business rather than fretting about melon ballers.

21. The modern man doesn’t scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere.

That is so insanely specific… What is this, Leviticus? But if thy daughter doth sneeze while eating a maple bar, though shall beat her with a rod!

22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper.

My kids were all like, what’s a newspaper? …

And next, half-naked? Which half? Are the neighbors going “Damn it, there’s that Lombardi asshole without his pants again!”

23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time).

I call bullshit on this one. This is a Pajama Boy trying too hard. The only thing he has on Blu-Ray is the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.

I like Michael Mann movies. I’m trying to think of a Michael Mann main character who wouldn’t call this reporter a pussy to his face. …

24. The modern man doesn’t get hung up on his phone’s battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it.

You are out of batteries because you were plugging in your kid’s shit in #6, you inconsistent spaz!

Now kids, listen carefully. If you’ve got a friggin’ clue, you know that a phone is just another tool, and if you’re going to carry the stupid thing around, you might as well have it charged, that way if you need it to call 911 after you see this Pajama Boy get beaten up for insulting Mountain Dew drinkers you’re ready.

25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.

This is probably the stupidest one in the whole bunch.

You have no use for the gun? What about in #16? Oh, that’s right. We’re dealing with a chickenshit talking out of his ass about a subject he doesn’t even begin to comprehend.  

So, you’re going to fight off that intruder with what? Your shoe horn? Clue time, fuckwit, the kind of guy (let’s call him T-Bone) who invades your house in the middle of the night doesn’t give a shit about melon ballers. Uh oh! T-Bone drinks Mountain Dew. SHOW HIM THE DOOR. Only he spent time in prison learning how to fuck people up, and his idea of winning at Modern Manhood is being a pitcher rather than a catcher in the prison showers. What are you going to do to defend your wife and children now? Talk to him about your shared love for Wu-Tang? Show him your Kenneth Cole oxford collection?

No. T-Bone is going to hurt you in ways you can’t even imagine, and then you’re going to lie on your hardwood floor, bleeding, praying that your wife got to the phone in time so that a Real Men with guns might come and save your pathetic hipster ass.

Boys, the single most important responsibility of a man is to provide for the safety and well-being of his loved ones. Period. The gun is simply the single most effective tool to stop a violent aggressor. Real men understand that. Which is why I’ve also taught you, your sisters, and your mom to shoot, so if I go down, you still have a chance.

This bullshit modern man is a selfish, irresponsible child, banking on good intentions and wishful thinking to ward off evil. Only real evil simply does not give a shit about your good intentions.  

26. The modern man cries. He cries often.

I’d cry too if T-Bone murdered my family because I was a useless sack of crap.

But wait… #2 is pretend everything is okay, but #26 is cry like a big baby.

To my sons, I’m not going to feed you a bunch of nonsense about how real men never cry, because I’ve seen some bad asses cry. But damn it, I try to save it for a good reason, like somebody died, or one of you did something that I’m ridiculously proud of. You’re overcome in a particularly spiritual or emotional moment, and you tear up? Great. I’ve known men far better than I who do that.

All that said, if you cry all the time like this doofus, then you’ll be seen as a loser, and if you’re lucky enough to trick a woman into marrying you, she will eventually cheat on you with the mail man, because at least he isn’t a wimp.  Women don’t desire men who cry freely about wanting to be the little spoon.

27. People aren’t sure if the modern man is a good dancer or not. That is, until the D.J. plays his jam and he goes out there and puts on a clinic.

How much you want to bet his jam is really “It’s Raining Men”?  

##

If this is modern manhood, then I’m proud to be an old fashioned man.

One good thing about reaching the age I’ve reached is that the older you get, the more you can ignore others’ opinions of you, as well as opinions like Lombardi’s. (Assuming it wasn’t satire as well.)

I admit to not fitting Monster Hunter Nation’s stereotype of he-manness. I’m a hideously bad athlete and a poor shot. I am pretty inept with tools. (My abilities go up to assembling toys and Ikea furniture.) I do know how to cook and wash dishes and clothes. (Of course, MHN is an accountant and fiction writer, neither of which qualify as macho vocations.) To quote Bill Belichick, by now it is what it is.

One point in which Lombardi is completely wrong and MHN is completely correct is the gun issue. I’m always amused when I hear a Wisconsin liberal preface comments in favor of gun control by talking about his or her gun ownership or use. (Which is a rhetorical feint, but that’s a subject for another day.) I am unconvinced Lombardi is from the Midwest (he’s listed as living in DeKalb, Ill.), because Midwesterners hunt. With guns. And even if you’re not a hunter, the husband in a family must protect his family if a situation comes up by any means necessary — guns, knives, baseball bats, your own fists, whatever.

As for the rest, while Dr. Pepper is clearly not a cola and Mountain Dew is something you drink only to rot your insides, I agree more with MHN than Lombardi that most of the stuff on Lombardi’s list isn’t anyone else’s business. John Boehner is one of the most powerful politicians in the U.S. (for now), and apparently his personal waterworks flows for few apparent reasons.

Manhood is more about doing what you say you’re going to do, doing your work and other things well, and setting an appropriate example for your own children, your sons and daughters. (For one thing, children’s models of how they should treat their future spouses inevitably comes from their own parents, for better or worse.) I’d add knowing when to use, and not use, profanity is a helpful skill as well, which is why I don’t use it in this blog except when quoting others.

My favorite comment was:

I’m highly disappointed he didn’t have this:
#28: Modern Man drives a Hybrid or all-electric car.
Frankly, If you can’t drive a stick, your father was a failure. And the only hybrid you should ever even be allowed to consider is a Denali… and even that is pushing your manly man manhoodliness to the edge; it is only allowed because you can rub the ‘hybrid’ in the pretentious face of some Prius driving college professor.

 

The devolution of parenthood

George Will:

The Meitivs live in suburban Montgomery County, Md., which is a bedroom for many Washington bureaucrats who make their living minding other people’s business. The Meitivs, to encourage independence and self-reliance, let their ten- and six-year-old children walk home alone from a park about a mile from their home. For a second time, their children were picked up by police, this time three blocks from home. After confinement in a squad car for almost three hours, during which the police never called or allowed the children to call the Meitivs, the children were given to social workers who finally allowed the parents to reclaim their children at about 11 p.m. on a school night. The Meitivs’ Kafkaesque experiences concluded with them accused of “unsubstantiated” neglect.

Today’s saturating media tug children beyond childhood prematurely, but not to maturity. Children are cosseted by intensive parenting that encourages passivity and dependency, and stunts their abilities to improvise, adapt, and weigh risks. Mark Hemingway, writing at the Federalist, asks: “You know what it’s called when kids make mistakes without adult supervision and have to wrestle with the resulting consequences? Growing up.”

Increased knowledge of early-childhood development has produced increased belief in a “science” of child rearing. This has increased intolerance of parenting that deviates from norms that are as changeable as most intellectual fads.

“Intensive parenting” is becoming a government-enforced norm. Read “The day I left my son in the car” (Salon), Kim Brooks’s essay on her ordeal after leaving her four-year-old in the car as she darted into a store for about five minutes. Writing in the Utah Law Review, David Pimentel of Ohio Northern University notes that at a moment when “children have never been safer,” government is abandoning deference to parents’ discretion in child rearing. In 1925, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of parents “to direct the upbringing and education of children.” Today, however, vague statutes that criminalize child “neglect” or “endangerment” undermine the social legitimacy of parental autonomy. And they ignore the reality that almost every decision a parent makes involves risks. Let your child ride a bike to school, or strap her into a car for the trip? Which child is more at risk, the sedentary one playing video games and risking obesity, or the one riding a bike? It is, Pimentel says, problematic for the legal system to enforce cultural expectations when expectations, partly shaped by media hysteria over rare dangers such as child abductions, are in constant flux.

Time was, colleges and universities acted in loco parentis to moderate undergraduates’ comportment, particularly regarding sex and alcohol. Institutions have largely abandoned this, having decided that students are mature possessors of moral agency. But institutions have also decided that although undergraduates can cope with hormones and intoxicants, they must be protected from discomforting speech, which must be regulated by codes and confined to “free-speech zones.” Uncongenial ideas must be foreshadowed by “trigger warnings,” lest students, who never were free-range children and now are as brittle as pretzels, crumble. Young people shaped by smothering parents come to college not really separated from their “helicopter parents.” Such students come convinced that the world is properly devoted to guaranteeing their serenity, and that their fragility entitles them to protection from distressing thoughts.

As Penn State historian Gary Cross says, adolescence is being redefined to extend well into the 20s, and the “clustering of rites of passage” into adulthood — marriage, childbearing, permanent employment — “has largely disappeared.” Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Cross says that “delayed social adulthood” means that “in 2011, almost a fifth of men between 25 and 34 still lived with their parents,” where many play video games: “The average player is 30 years old.” The percentage of men in their early 40s who have never married “has risen fourfold to 20 percent.”

In the 1950s, Cross says, with Jack Kerouac and Hugh Hefner “the escape from male responsibility became a kind of subculture.” Today, oldies radio and concerts by septuagenarian rockers nurture the cult of youth nostalgia among people who, wearing jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers all the way, have slouched from adolescence to Social Security without ever reaching maturity.

Do as Obama says, not as he does

Meanwhile, back at the White House, BizPac Review reports:

President Obama’s lack of self-awareness was on full display when he spoke at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit at Georgetown University today and criticized people who send their kids to “private schools” and “private clubs.”

A panel including Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute were discussing ways to overcome poverty.

Obama stated that those who have economic advantages are withdrawing from societal common areas. He claimed those who socially separate themselves are contributing to a sluggish economy that lacks opportunity.

The hypocrisy was not lost on social media users who were quick to point out Obama’s glaring hypocrisy. …

This all comes from the president whose net worth has magically reached eight digits since he became president. That’s rich.

To be fair, if I were president and had school-age children, I would not sentence them to the D.C. public schools either. But I wouldn’t criticize parents’ educational choices for their children, nor would I work to sentence them to the bad educational status quo in order to mollify teacher unions.

Breitbart also reports that Obama said this:

Obama scorned Christians at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Tuesday, twisting the words of Jesus Christ into an insult against the Savior of the believers he was addressing.

“It’s important for us to guard against cynicism and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us and there’s nothing we can do,” Obama said. Lest leftists and liberal Christians say his comment was “taken out of context,” but here are his full remarks:

“One of the things I’m always concerned about is cynicism,” Obama said. “My chief of staff, Denis McDonough, we take walks around the South Lawn, usually when the weather is good. And a lot of it is policy talk, sometimes it’s just talk about values. And one of our favorite sayings is our job is to guard against cynicism, particularly in this town. And I think it’s important for us to guard against cynicism and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us and there’s nothing we can do, because there’s a lot we can do. The question is, do we have the political will, the communal will to do something about it.”

Obama’s quotes Matthew 26:11 in a manner that’s utterly contrary to the verse’s meaning.

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Far from heaving a resigned sigh, Jesus is reminding the disciples that poverty, like death or the pain of childbirth, are constants in this fallen world that can be attended to but never wiped out. The Complete Commentaries of minister Matthew Henry affirms this:

“Observe his reason; You have the poor always with you,” Henry writes. “Note, 1. There are some opportunities of doing and getting good which are constant, and which we must give constant attendance to the improvement of. Bibles we have always with us, sabbaths always with us, and so the poor, we have always with us. Note, Those who have a heart to do good, never need complain for want of opportunity. The poor never ceased even out of the land of Israel, Deu. 15:11.” [For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.]

Twisting the words of the Gospel to push unjust, disastrous government programs robbing Peter to pay Paul? For shame.

Given that Obama has been nothing but rude and dismissive towards Christianity, why do Christians keep falling over themselves to give him a platform to rip their faith? It’s understandable for those who reject Christ to call him the “next Messiah,” but Christians ought to know better. From Matthew 10:16:  “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”