Dad’s Clues

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues

NASA issued a statement today that a (bus-sized) satellite is expected to crash to Earth on Friday 9/23. But why…? How can…? I’ve got too many scientific questions with 0 educated answers. Apparently I’m not alone.

On WNPR there was an engaging discussion regarding the Scientific illiteracy in this country, involving Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Director of NY’s Hayden Planetarium, and NJ Representative Rush Holt (also a Princeton physicist). Unless we are on the road to becoming an engineer or a scientist, chances are that our level of science is sub par and even worse…this is a conscious decision on our part. Not only are we left to trust some unreliable information that’s being fed by some politician but we have little knowledge of how the world works around us.

While our world and our nation’s economy is so engrossed and dependent upon science and technology, why is it that the majority of us dismiss science and choose not to educate ourselves beyond the bear minimum to graduate undergrad? While knowledge is power, why is that not enough for most? The conversation also discusses the benefits of raising our kids to be budding scientists, with the thirst & desire to KNOW. Check out the talk from this a.m.’s WNPR segment of Where we Live and be careful out there!

[Also, see Angela’s interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on an earlier episode of The Parent Show]

 

 

 

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues

Years back at NBC, there was this urban legend about Muppets creator, Jim Henson and some pals. Rumor had it, they had some down time waiting to be brought onto a show that was in progress. So they did what any other creative would do after noticing some paint cans sitting idly in the corner…they converted a utility closet into their own masterpiece, simply out of boredom.  In my seven years at the network, I nor anyone I knew had evidence of this space’s existence but people swore it was hidden behind some wall or closet.

I received this post today from Marty Geller, an incredibly talented artist & good friend:

“On November 15, 1964, while waiting many hours to tape an appearance on The Jack Paar Program, Muppets creator, Jim Henson and Muppeteers, Frank Oz, Don Sahlin & Jerry Juhl discovered a utility closet full of pipes in their dressing room (28 years later to become Max Weinberg’s dressing room from Late Night with Conan O’Brien). Jim decided it would be fun to decorate the pipes with fanciful creatures with paints they had found.

After being hidden for 47 years, it was opened up & unveiled to the public.”

I never knew Jim Henson, but there’s something to be said for a man that so enjoyed what he did & that enjoyment made a lot of people happy.

Cheers to all the creators of quality content!

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues

I can honestly say that I have no idea where we’re headed.  With earthquakes in the Northeast, Kardashians dominating the headlines and a Where’s Waldo search for Gadhafi, it’s quite difficult to tell.

Aside from the abundant abuses of the word “surreal”, one of the most over-worked cliches in history has got to be, “Look forward, not back.” I beg to differ. We need to take a glance back every once in a while as we’ve come quite far from A LOT of absurdity!

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues

At the arcade this afternoon, our girls were ready to take that stroll to the ticket redemption desk with fistfulls of folded tickets. After so excellently hiding his sheer passion for his job, the employee behind the desk showed us from where, on the multitude of shelves, my kids could select their booty from. We all had learned, then & there, that 273 hard earned tickets would only allow us our choice of ONE prize from the items on the lowest shelf.  But not the entire shelf. More accurately 1/4 of the items displayed on that shelf..so we’re talking somewhere between rainbow pencils and 2″ inflated spiky balls.

Life is not always fair.

This got me thinking about the past week. Not since Lucy Ricardo’s dual twin beds appeared on tv in 1955, has there been so much cohabitation controversy in the media. We owe this to our felt, downtown friends Bert & Ernie. Mature adults are up in arms about the lackluster disclosure of the sexual orientation of pieces of colored felt with sewn on buttons & hot glue gunned acrylic hair! While some undoubtedly see the humor here, the flip side of the argument is respected and crystal clear as well.

What gets us so impassioned is that we simply love confirmation or validation of our own beliefs. The fact is that people (or puppets) are much more than left/right, straight/gay, etc., but once the labels are affixed, many feel the need to remove their velcroed ears.

Life is not always fair. But once we move beyond narrowly defined labels, we can learn so much more and not lose sight of the really important stuff!

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues, Parenting

I was driving on the Westside Highway this morning, leaving New York City around 10am. I had the latest npr chatter on the radio, while my mind was sifting through it’s to-do lists and trying to trouble shoot a few projects that I’m presently in the midst of.

Cell phone rings. Looked at the #..not ready to take that one. I’ll return it later.

My head was not made to multi-task..wish it were. Once I go past four or five items, my head starts to automatically purge little pieces of data. Angela can force feed me more Omega than exists in a stream of spawning, freshwater salmon, but it just seems that the older I get, the fuller my cerebral in-box gets. And the fewer the hours on the clock to tend to it all.

But then on the horizon..Wham-O! I saw it! Not gonna go as far as to say enlightenment, but perhaps a smidgen of it, with a dash of interconnectedness. There on a little grassy patch, on the (east) side of the Westside Highway..with cars whizzing by at 60+mph..was a woman hula-hooping. I kid you not.

Don’t know Who.

Don’t know Why.

But “How Great is that?!”

I’m sure she has her lists and concerns, which are just as important to her as mine are to me. But you know what? When she woke up this morning she wanted to hula hoop.  So, you know what she did?  [brief pause]  She hula hooped! Didn’t bother a soul in the process.

Mind you, I’m no fan of hula hooping per se..not against it, but no fan. My point is, we need to learn from hula hoop lady.

Work hard, but take the time to enjoy life so that you respect it.

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues

Today we took the kids to Broadway in the Park to see some of their favorite Bway shows live, al-fresco, in Bryant Park. The girls were very excited to see & hear some of their favorite #s from The Lion King, Wicked & more! What could be more enjoyable to two “will-be” thespians? Apparently, the last leg of our drive into the municipal garage was!

As a literal 8-yr old, Emma asked why all the pedestrians couldn’t “stand” on the sidewalk in midtown Manhattan, as she read the “no standing” street signs posted all around us. We tucked away our parental maturity and pointed out all the people who should immediately drop to a seated position on the sidewalk, regardless of their business at hand or they’d risk being ticketed by the nearest police officer. So, the last 10 minutes of our trip was monopolized by our shouting out “ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket” or “sit, sit, sit, sit…” every time we passed a violator. To the kids, this was comic genius and their gasps for air in between big belly laughs made the day an early success. Who needs Broadway performances in a beautiful park, on a clear day in NY anyway?

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues

I know, I know.  Everyone’s got their list of enlightening summertime ideas.  But we’re descending to the depths of ours, we’ve nearly finished our summer reading lists & it’s NOT EVEN August!

Gotta improvise where you can!    Let’s hear your most unique suggestion!

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues

Heat wave or no heat wave, it didn’t slow this old man down. I found myself toe tapping away in a crowd of about 14,000 last night. Looking around, I could tell that I was one of the few who didn’t pick my outfit off the rack from Justice/Claire’s with my BFF.  No, it wasn’t U2 or some indie band, but Taylor Swift. Yup.  Full disclosure here, I grew up on Public Image, Psych Furs, Pixies, Echo, etc., so in the words of David Byrne, “How did I get here?”

Acceptance. You can fight the cards that are dealt or play them out. I accept the fact that my time in the mosh pit is over and it’s my daughters’ turn to sing at the top of their lungs with eyes wide, taking in the incredible energy and youthful solidarity of their first concert. So pardon me while I speak now…I enjoyed it.  We should all enjoy the now because who knows what tomorrow will bring our way.

Let’s hear your comments about things you’ve done as a parent that you NEVER would have believed back in the day.  Feel free to submit it below.

 

 

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues, Kids

I  recently returned from a week away with Angela and the girls.  Note the omission of the word “vacation” which I’ve reserved for the long gone days of Penrod’s/Beachcomber T’s…being 1 of 8 guys stuffed into a 1BR motel (simply because the brochure said it was “conveniently located near the beach”), sleeping with a solitary pillow in an empty bathtub (which at the time was actually more comfortable than it sounds) and awaking slightly before noon for the delicacy of an egg sandwich on a hardened & questionable roll at the corner bodega.

Don’t get me wrong, my family’s had it’s share of dining with the princesses and pruning my flesh from the 17th time down the flume, while our neighbors in the NE were shoveling out, but the word vacation has gone through a transformation process as I’ve aged.

So this time, to really get immersed within it all, we decided to stop cold turkey…to UNPLUG.  Which was, for the most part, a success.   We needed to escape it all & leave our laptops at home.  And after being pleasantly awoken by our daughter’s friend at 6:30a, via FaceTime on her stowaway iTouch, we tucked that away as well.  Into our suitcase for the remainder of the vacation.

The unplugged environment left us with more time for connect the dots, pictionary on random napkins and just spontaneous laughter, conversation & a few tears.  Overall, a success.  And I didn’t have to wash that smudged stamp off the back of my hand when I returned home!

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues

I know that it’s cliché to say that one of the most powerful moments in a man’s life is when his child comes into his world, but it is nonetheless true.  With any assemblance of strength, you can harness it and make it stronger…but fail to nurture it and you’ve allowed it to slip through your fingers.

The whole sperm and egg thing, that’s the easy part.  It’s so true that most anyone can be a father, but how to become that Super Dad?  You know, the one who has a loving, communicative and respectful relationship with his child?  He allows her/him to take educated risks, exposes them to what the world has to offer but also allows himself to laugh and cry with them.  How do I strip off the tie and glasses to become this man of men?  Full disclosure here, I do not know.

However, what I have picked up in my ten years as a parent would be to love them, create with them, expose them to all that you can, listen to them, listen some more and love their mother with all your heart.   Hopefully, when/if my daughters choose to marry, they’ll pick a partner that treats them just as well, if not better than I did.  And THEN I would know that I did my job.

Happy Dad’s Day my Brothers!


[other topics to note that almost made my 10yr tips: Forget about cool (it’s long gone) and consistent sleep patterns (hope for 4-6hrs).  Also, remember that if you’re constantly on the other side of that digi camera for family events, your existence will be virtually undocumented.  Lastly, your vernacular will be hard to return to normal (i.e. words like potty and bye bye might be mistakenly brought up during Poker night..which goes full circle to Pt #1: cool) ]

 

See this post on PBS Parents: