Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some Zzzs Please

Have you heard about "Go the Fu*k To Sleep?"  Described as a "children's book for adults," it's pure genius.  Check out Samuel L. Jackson on this youtube link:

C'mon, this is funny stuff.  It's O.K. to laugh.

I love "Go The F*ck to Sleep" because it's another chink in the "perfect parent" armor; A sippy cup in the eye of the parenting fantasy as nothing but smooches and ice cream.

Parenting is a full contact sport.  I would love for my kids to go to sleep on demand, just like I'd love walls without hand prints or a bedroom that doesn't double as a doll and toy minefield.  And while we're at it, I'd like to wear dry cleaning within a mile of my house. 

How can beings so small, so cute, be so utterly destructive and exhausting?

As far as kids and sleep goes, so far I'm 2-for-4.  My twins were easy on the sleep front once they passed age two, though early on it felt like Vietnam.

These days, my younger ones are creating their own legacy.

When Audra was two she went through a diva phase, constantly changing her clothes.  One night I awoke to the thump of little feet.  Over the next week or so I would open her bedroom door and find her in one of three states:

1.  Naked in front of a pile of clothes.
2.  Asleep on top of a pile of clothes, either naked or in a, ahem, creative ensemble.
3.  Running around the room in a creative ensemble.

We were forced to move all clothes to the top shelves of her closet. 

As parents, we continually move things higher, out of a kid's way, as if a flood has struck the living room.  Show me your refrigerator door and I can guess your kids age within two years. 

Then there's Drea, who somehow can't fall asleep unless strapped into a car seat, and appears ready to vault out of her crib a la Mary Lou Retton.

If I can stay awake long enough, look for my follow-up book, "I'm Too Old For This Sh*t."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Unknown Blogger

A friend of mine was recently lamenting the fact that a member of his family, an elected official, is often attacked on Internet message boards. 

He's not bothered by criticism per say but that the fact that most of it comes via anonymous "comments" on political and newsie websites.

In the old days a dissenter had a few choices. Either show up at a meeting or hearing, call or write letters.  And if your letter made it into the local rag, it was signed.  By you.  Name and city. 

I'm not a fan of message boards, which are kind of like shouting out the window at passing cars. 

But they're here to stay, along with our increasingly "anonymous" society. 
Ironically, we become more anonymous by embracing Facebook and Twitter,  "sharing" technologies that allow us to secretly view each others lives.

Does anonymity have limits?

The other day I came across this item in the Chicago Tribune in a story about President Obama's jobs plan. 

"In his remarks, the president will make clear he's not going to support any plan that asks something of some Americans and nothing of others."  This was according to a White House aide, speaking on condition of anonymity in a conference call with reporters. 

Something is amiss here, beyond my "well duh" reaction to Deep Throat's earth shattering revelation.

A conference call? 

First I've heard of that one.  When I hear "anonymous source" I think of trench coats, chapeaus and parking garages, not a conference line and bank of microphones.  I suppose the source used one of those voice altering machines you see on shows like 60 Minutes, or maybe as an extra precaution sat behind one of those kiddie "puppet stages" with the shade drawn. 

And how did this source get the word out for the conference call?  Maybe via email: "Please join me as I leak very special information about the Obama jobs plan."  Or perhaps, borrowing from Gordon Gekko, "Blue Horseshoe loves Obama's jobs plan."

The conference call had to be set up en masse, no phone calls, because any reporter worth a darn would beg for an exclusive. 

This is cheating, plain and simple.  The annonymous source meets message boards. 

If you are going to hurl tomatoes, or leak information, follow the rules. 


The Unknown Blogger

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nobody's Foil on 9/11

Aluminum foil.

My wife will tell you I have an aversion to it.  A big one.

I'm not afraid of it, but won't use it, unless I have no choice. 

Growing up, my father used aluminum foil.  And reused it.  There was a drawer in our kitchen full of crumpled, crinkly used pieces of foil. 

In fact, I don't recall seeing a fresh sheet of aluminum foil, coming from the box, until my mid-twenties.

We didn't grow up poor, and my parents aren't cheap. 

My father, my parents, were children of war. 

My Dad was 8 years old on December 7, 1941.  

He grew up outside of St. Louis in a home often shared with soldiers from a nearby military base.

He knew sacrifice.  As part of the war effort, aluminum was rationed along with food and other commodities.  

He never forgot. 

Growing up I remember hijackings and showdowns with the Soviets.  I remember sitting in the school hallway with my head under a book, hiding from nukes, or whatever was headed our way. 

I wondered how, when I heard about guerrilla warfare, they managed to escape the zoo and learn how to use a gun. 

I remember vividly "The Day After," a movie about life after a nuclear bomb hits Lawrence, Kansas. 

Have you seen any 9/11 specials, or read any articles?

So far I've seen little.  It's too raw, too soon, too real. 

They say 9/11 is our generations' Pearl Harbor.  

If 9/11 was our Pearl Harbor, the parallel ends there, as we engaged in two wars which involved no shared sacrifice.  No draft, war bonds or rationing.  A missed opportunity by our leaders to truly unite our country. 

My oldest children (twins) were 3 years old on 9/11.

My children, like my parents, are children of war, but they're growing up with little sense that life is different.  They need to be reminded of war, which is sad. 

So do we.  Other than a longer wait for an airplane, we have little tangible evidence of war, other than lives sacrificed and a $3 trillion Visa bill. 

Are we safer today than ten years ago?  It seems we are, but seems is the operative word. 

My twins, now in 8th grade, came home from school this week with a questionnaire for parents about 9/11.  I found myself defining terrorism.  "If we're scared or back down from our way of life, the terrorists win."

My daughter Nora asked, "What can we do to remember 9/11?" 

That's an easy one.  Cherish our freedom, and never forget.

My parents probably don't know Kid Rock from a pet rock, but they would appreciate his anthem "Born Free."  My kids do. 

And they don't use aluminum foil.