7 Reasons Why I Refuse to Watch the Royal Wedding

I’m quite sure I’m not the only one out there who thinks that the media coverage of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton’s wedding has been a smidge overdone. You can’t turn on the “telly” without getting a face full of speculation that strains to make even the minutest of details newsworthy.

Yesterday, one of the morning programs showed a paparazzi-style picture of the happy couple driving from the bride’s hometown in Buckleberry to London. “Notice how Kate’s hair is worn up,” one of the anchors said. “Could this be a hint of how she’ll be wearing if for the wedding?” Oh, yes. I don’t think I can finish my bowl of Cheerios without knowing.

The best part of this story was when the British newscaster sitting nearby tempered the overblown analysis by pointing out there were two full days remaining before the ceremony, plenty of time for Kate to hit the salon and have her hair styled in an infinite number of ways; thus proving even the English are sick of America’s stalker-ish coverage of the event. I swear he rolled his eyes just prior to offering this common sense observation, after which he proceeded to do a 15-minute segment on the tradition behind the inclusion of jelly molds at all royal wedding receptions. Apparently King Henry “Turkey Leg” the VIII was a big fan of the jiggly little buggers, and they’ve been a mainstay ever since.

The thought of this actually happening, most likely at the beauty parlor where DiCaprio and co. pose as hairdressers who then proceed to drug Kate into a deep enough sleep for them to burrow down to a level three dream state only to witness the bride in the nude, proved to be the final straw. That’s when I officially decided to get a full eight hours of sleep rather than rouse myself out of bed at 3 AM for the live broadcast of the royal nuptials. But this isn’t the only reason I won’t be watching; here are a few more:

Read the rest here, at Man of The House


My Kids, Discipline, and Ties to al-Qeada

Kids easily change tactics
NPR recently aired a report on the United States’ need to shift its strategy in order to keep up with al-Qaeda’s constantly changing tactics. Suddenly I thought to myself, “Hey that’s just like me and my kids.” I mean this metaphorically, of course, even though there are moments when it feels as if they are plotting against me. But that’s another story. No, what I’m referring to is the shift in strategy I have to employ when it comes to disciplining the children as they get older.

Just when you think you’ve got the little buggers figured out, they adapt and move on without saying a word. This extends to correcting their lapses in behavior as well. What used to work when the kids were toddlers won’t when they are teens.

Although, being a 17-year-old in time out would probably be a tad humiliating.

Read the rest at Dads Good


My Children and Sports: Yes I'm Watching

With this being Safe Kids Week I was reminded of the rare opportunity I had to see my two younger sons play basketball earlier this year. It was such a special moment for me, especially given that we live so far apart. This is something I’ve been working to change, hopefully before the boys start playing competitively in high school.

Basketball warm-ups before the game
If there was any question as to which person I was among the other parents rooting on their kids, all one needed to do was look for the guy holding a camera in his left hand and a Flip video in the right while trotting up and down the sidelines in an attempt to capture every pass, dribble, and shot involving my boys. I really didn’t care how out of place I may have looked. For the parents in the stands this was just another Thursday night of watching their elementary-age kids running around in an uncoordinated gaggle on the hardwood for a couple hours.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to imply that these moms and dads were apathetic as many of them cheered their kids on just as they probably did week after week. For me however, it was different, not only because I was able to be there with my boys, but also because this constituted the very first time I saw them play any sort of organized sports. And I didn’t want to miss a single second.

To anyone who may have noticed, my face was flush with an obvious amount of pride for all the reasons one would expect. What father doesn’t beam as he points towards the boy or girl who just scored a layup. “That’s my kid.” Everyone may already be aware of this, but it doesn’t stop him from reminding those within earshot of that fact as often as possible. I of course was no different except that my method for letting everyone know which superstar was mine came in the form of yelling things like, “Great shot!” and “Awesome pass!” at volumes that drowned out the rest of the crowd. (Incidentally, my 8 year-old scored 16 of his team’s 20 total points in a crushing win.)

Glory days. 
During my high school glory days I lettered in two sports, earning first-team, All-State nods in both soccer for two years and basketball for three. After graduation, I never really followed through on the possibilities these honors might have led to. I had other plans. Now, standing at the threshold of my forties, I’ve all but forgotten these accomplishments. They have lain dormant for over twenty years between the pages of old high school annuals and tattered scrapbooks stashed somewhere in the most insignificant reaches of our storage closet.

However, as my sons run back and forth across the hardwood, I feel a familiar sense pride that came from playing ball in my younger days as it fuses with this new pride derived from watching my boys mimic these same interests. It’s these sorts of mirrored patterns that link fathers and their children together. Yet at the same time, just as a reflection is reversed, so too are these roles in that the perspectives have changed.

As a high school athlete, my concerns consisted of how to break down a full-court press and anticipating which corner of the goal an opponent was aiming for on a penalty shot. The focus was on performance and winning—simple and straightforward. As a parent, though, I suddenly recognized the host of considerations and worries that go through your mind watching your child take to the field.

Recently my 8 year-old stepdaughter asked if she could play volleyball after watching her older cousin play in a big tournament. My wife and I thought it would be a good way to build her confidence, but as we checked out the nearby teams for kids to join, I was surprised at how competitive these leagues were. (That and how flippin' short their shorts are!) Apparently, according to my stepdaughter’s aunt 8 to 10 is exactly the age girls start training seriously if they want to play in college.

Why so intense so early? I remember talking to guys from other schools during summer basketball camps, and they would complain about being so burnt out from playing. Burnt out? I didn’t even know what that meant, but then they told me about extra practices they had to attend during the off-season, and traveling leagues, and then here they were at one of the several camps they had been signed up for by their coach. It was basketball 24/7, 365 days a year. Ironically, these guys always seemed to be hurt, knees, back, shoulders—and it wasn’t hard to understand why. No pain, no gain as the cliché goes, begging the question as to how much of a factor is this when high school players suffer from dehydrated, a concussion, or worse. If my kids get a coach like this, what will I do to ensure their safety?

And there are other things I wonder about too, like when to push the kids and when do I back off? I resolved a long time ago not to be that parent who tries to make their children into being something they’re not or don’t want to be. My oldest son who’s 12 has zero interest in sports, as opposed to his brother who’s a natural athlete. And then there’s my youngest—his signature move is sprinting to the complete opposite side of where the action’s at and then do a swan dive onto the floor. Talk about your head not being in the game, his isn’t even in the gym. (But he is having a heck of a lot of fun in the video ...until the poor little booger gets it in the face with the ball.)

I know the answers here might seem obvious, but I could not have cared less about kicking a ball around until someone gave me a bit of a nudge when I turned 13. Who knows how my life would’ve ended up without the self-esteem I gained from playing sports. Will any of my boys need that same nudge at some point? 

I realize that maybe this sounds a little premature on my part. I mean, after all, I was watching a bunch of 7 and 8 year-olds mobbing whoever had the ball the way goats at a petting zoo do to people who enter the pen holding a handful of grain over their head. Even so, the fact that these considerations didn’t even exist in my mind until this moment is what caught me off guard. Sometimes we as parents tend to make assumptions, not intentionally, but rather as a lapse in awareness. Then we find ourselves in the middle certain situations thinking, “How did I not think of this before?”

That’s the thought that hit me as I stood there videotaping my son tossing the ball into the net. “Dad, Dad! Did you see that?” he said running back on defense. “Were you watching?”

I held up the video camera and laughed. “Uh, yeah, whadda ya think I was doing with this thing? I was totally watching.” And I’ll be watching you and your brothers in all sorts of ways because looking out for your wellbeing is my job.

* * *

This post was sponsored by Safe Kids USA in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson. Safe Kids is an organization dedicated to child safety “at home, at play, and on the way.” April 19 – 22 has been designated as Safe Kids Week, an annual nationwide event introduced by Safe Kids USA and founding sponsor Johnson & Johnson in 1988. This multifaceted public education campaign is created each year to help parents and caregivers understand a different part of childhood injury prevention.

On May the 2nd at 12PM EST, Safe Kids USA will be airing an educational webcast about sports injury prevention.

The webcast be streamed live on the Safe Kids Facebook Page and will be hosted by:

• Dr. Angela Mickalide, CHES, Director of Research and Programs, Safe Kids Worldwide
• Dr. Douglas Casa, Director of Athletic Training Education, University of Connecticut
• Dr. Gerard Gioia, Chief, Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology and Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children's National Medical Center
Steve Young, former NFL Star Quarterback and On-air Talent ESPN (and this guy knows about concussions)

To mark this webcast on your calendar, you can RSVP at the Safe Kids Facebook Event Page

* * *

Disclosure: In accordance with FTC regulations I am required to disclose that I was compensated monetarily for this post by Johnson & Johnson; however, payment for services does not represent an endorsement of their products by myself as the creator of Clark Kent’s Lunchbox. 


Rumors Surrounding the Formation of a Secret Dad Blogger Summit Confirmed at Mom 2.0

NEW ORLEANS—Late last week rumors alluding to formation of a secret society of dad bloggers were confirmed at the Mom 2.0 Summit which took place in New Orleans, Louisiana. During the mom blog convention’s closing remarks, Doug French (aka Laid Off Dad) and John Pacini announced the creation of Dad 2.0 Summit, a shadowy male-oriented organization in the same vein as the Masons and the Stonecutters. Aside from sharing that Dad 2.0 (@Dad2Summit / Facebook ) will convene for its first annual meeting in March 2012, French and Mays provided minimal details, fueling the bounty of speculation that had already existed among conspiracy theorists, cryptozoologists, and FOX news commentator, Glenn Beck.

Chevy Texas kindly lent me a GMC Terrain for the trip 
However, as part of my continuing investigation into the corrupt underbelly of the parent blogging-industrial complex, I once again infiltrated the Mom 2.0 Summit disguised as the mild-mannered blogger behind Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, and what I managed to uncover during my time in the Big Easy was telling.

From the moment I set foot inside the Ritz Carlton Hotel and strolled along its marble floors and paneled walls, it was clear Kirtsy founders Carrie Pacini and Laura Mayes had put together a top-notch event of the highest caliber, which immediately piqued my journalistic curiosity. Certainly a site with a sole function of aggregating information supplied by mom bloggers couldn’t have orchestrated such a gathering without the outside support of some silent backer or backers. Running through the possibilities, I jotted down several of the most credible theories, which included the Chinese Triad, National Public Radio, and Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, either working separately or together.

(R-L) Whit Honea, JCO, Me, Beta Dad, Clay Nichols

Before I could prove the existence of these connections, though, I had to keep up my cover by attending conference’s opening reception and later, the speaker’s dinner. If I squealed out loud upon seeing some of the biggest and most respected names in the mom blog community, it’s only because I was trying to maintain my ruse as a bumbling, unmemorable representative of the Y chromosome with kids and a URL, a feat I managed to pull off by awkwardly engaging the likes of Eden Kennedy (Fussy), Alice Bradley (Finslippy), Aimee Giese (Greeblemonkey), Laurie Smithwick (LeapDesign, Kirtsy), Anissa Mayhew (Free Anissa), and a litany of others. Not since Donny Brasco penetrated the inner workings of the Mob, has someone ever fooled so many so completely for so long.

Thankfully dad bloggers such as Beta Dad, Father Muskrat, Bobble Head Dad, Clay Nichols, Whit Honea, and John Cave Osborne were in attendance, allowing me to further fade into the backdrop as we stood together in a loose gaggle during many of the social events much like seventh-grade boys hanging out in the corner of the gymnasium during school dances. Later in the evening, however, we made a rapid advancement through puberty, acting closer to college fraternity brothers as we worked our way down Bourbon Street. (New Orleans must have a magical Benjamin Buttons-in-reverse effect on the aging process because all of us relived our teens, our twenties, and upon waking up the next morning, our sixties in under 24 hours.)

A Confederacy of Dunces or Dad Bloggers?
Day two was filled with a number of breakout sessions, and my journalistic senses told me that if I wanted to confirm the existence of any male secret societies, attending the dad blogger meetings would be my best bet. My hunch here proved to be right, and I was stunned that French, who played a major organizational role in this event, was not the least bit shy in referring to these discussions as the “Dad 2 point oh” tracks. What followed was even more disturbing, and I barely could keep up with my notes as men and women on the panels spoke to full rooms about such topics running ads for the Nazi party on your site, utilizing exploitative capitalistic practices on your site, and embedding secret codes within blog posts that will help keep the Declaration of Independence out of the hands of Nicholas Cage, who was arrested later that night by New Orleans police. Coincidence? I think not.

In session one Jim Griffioen of Sweet Juniper and Jon Armstrong, who, as the executive director of the dooce empire, many consider to be the parent blogging equivalent to media mogul Rupert Murdock, joined French in a conversation dealing with building your brand through content and extending your reach beyond the niche community. The underlying message to me was clear: find and enlist more converts for the secret society.

This panel was then followed by a moderated discussion lead by the famously intelligent Catherine Conners of Her Bad Mother in which author John Cave Osborne, Dad-Centric contributor Whit Honea, and the mysterious blogger known only as BetaDad shared what they felt the roles of fatherhood were within the context of their blogging experience. Tensions flaired momentarily when Honea, threw down his microphone and kicked over a chair as he talked about his family. Later it was learned that the move was meant as a joke to distract the audience from noticing the tears forming as he got a little choked up about the topic. Even so, Honea’s beard and ties to the Pacific Northwest, in my mind, had al-Qaeda sleeper cell written all over it.

Higley, Chase, Ross, & poser
In the final panel, the question of, “Do Dads Want What the Moms Have” was raised by Edelman PR’s and The Exceptional Man writer Caleb Gardner. The question was then batted around by Jim Higley (Bobblehead Dad), Renee Ross (Cutey Booty Cakes), Kristen Chase (Cool Mom Picks, Motherhood Uncensored), and, through masterful undercover skills, myself. (I will admit to almost blowing my cover when Chase, who also wrote the The Mominatrix's Guide to Sex: A No-Surrender Advice Book for Naughty Moms, pulled out a crocheted pair of male genitalia in front of me and then proceeded to use them as a finger puppet. Having grown up in rural America, I’ve attended my share of craft fairs overrun by crocheted doilies and Kleenex box covers, but never has the sight of yarn ever subconsciously caused me to cross my legs until now.)

What 6AM looks like with beer
The first full day then gave way to an evening of social gathers hosted by sponsors such as Truvia, Lego, Dole, PBS Kids, TiVo and others. Here, I thought, is where the real deals go down as bloggers and brands exchanged envelopes containing crisp stacks of hundred dollar bills, and discussed ways of pimping products via the internet. My hope was to find evidence of companies interested in enlisting financially desperate dad bloggers as a sort of “e-mule” if you will, that would carry the company’s products on their personal blogs much in the same way the drug cartels use college students to smuggle goods across the border.

Despite my efforts however, I saw nothing of the sort, only groups of people sincerely enjoying themselves. My suspicions were briefly aroused coming across the likes of French around 3AM at the Ritz’s courtyard as he concocted unheard of cocktails such as “The Louisiana Purchase” (Jamison whiskey mixed with the cleaner CLP) for a group that included IzzyMom, Chicky Chicky Baby, and several of the dads. But if I thought by joining this group I’d be privy to a planning session for a secret society, I was wrong as this band of merry pranksters turned out to closer to a bunch of Beatnik bloggers than anything else. By 6 AM, after joining Honea, BetaDad, and Father Muskrat for one more beer, I figured this to be a dead end, and I retreated to my room.

The third day turned out to be just as unproductive in rooting out information for my research. That afternoon I tailed BetaDad and Lesbian Dad to the eastern side of New Orleans where volunteers were building a community playground as part of the Let’s Play initiative. Let’s Play is a partnership formed by Dr. Pepper Snapple and the good people of KaBoom as an advocacy program aimed at getting kids more physically active. Turns out, my ability to assemble wooden park benches resulted in me producing something close to Escher’s Never Ending Staircase. Fortunately, the kids didn’t seem to notice based on the joy in their faces after seeing the playground they had designed, come to life before their eyes. (sniff!)

The conference officially closed out with a keynote panel on the future of media as viewed by some of the most accomplished and intelligent women in the business—Vanessa Holden, Margaret Gould Stewart, Sarah Bryden-Brown and Andrea Wishom. It was right after this that the Dad 2.0 initiative was announced as well as news that filmmaker Doug Block’s documentary, The Kids Grow Up, which follows his daughter as she grew from a child to young adulthood, would be released nationally this Father’s Day on HBO.

Armed with confirmation that the Dad 2.0 secret society actually was in the works, I pushed my way deeper into the inner workings of the community landing an unexpected invite to do a reading at the conference’s final social event, a Red Cross fundraiser sponsored by Tide laundry’s Loads of Hope program. It was more than a little unnerving to be amongst a roster of writing talent that included such well-known names as Liz Gumbinner, Alice Bradley, Eden Kennedy, Maggie Mason, Megan Jordan, and, of course Heather Armstrong.

Richard Marx is making a comeback
However, despite extreme nervousness, my persistence seemed to pay off as I came across a strange white powder while waiting backstage. Ah ha! Loads of Hope is actually Loads of Dope! Unfortunately, after realizing I would be immediately following The Bloggess, arguably one of the funniest women on the web, my anxiety got the best of my and I snorted two lines of this powder before realizing it was actually the spilled contents from Tide laundry detergent samples.

From that point on the evening was a blur but according to the eyewitness accounts of my fellow Aiming Low compadres, Faiqa Khan and Britt Reints, who graciously cheered me on, I did okay despite loudly announcing that Richard Marx would be making a 12-city comeback tour this summer. I took their word for it seen as how the only thing I can recall is flashbacks eerily similar to that of Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuis and Sammy Davis Jr. dressed as belly dancers at a bordello in the movie Cannonball Run 2.

Final Thoughts: The Mom 2.0 Summit proved to be highly professional and well organized event. I thought it appropriately symbolic that a gathering of the parent blog community’s most elite and accomplished women took place in New Orleans, which also served as the backdrop for Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, a literary classic with a core theme that centers on women defying archaic societal expectation.

However, it was disappointing that in a city commonly associated with voodoo, political corruption, and the assassination of JFK, I was unable to compile more details about the secretive Dad 2 Summit. Questions still exist as to conference’s whereabouts, but unconfirmed sources claim that Da Vinci Code-like symbols in blog posts will reveal the answer to “true believers,” and Fruit of the Loom, as one of the sponsors, will be supplying the hooded cloaks conference attendees will be required to wear during all ceremonies including the singing of the supposed members-only theme song (a blatant rip off of the video below).

Who knows where Big Foot’s found?
Who keeps NASA on the ground?
We do! We do!

Who controls MTV?
Who really owns AIG?
We do! We do!

Who knows where LOST’s survivors are?
Who makes Seth Rogan a star?
We do! We do!

Who keeps the Cubs from being champs?
Who makes Midol for your cramps?
We do! We do!

Will Dad 2.0 as a stand-alone conference be a success, erasing any previously created doubts? That depends on a number of factors, the biggest being dad bloggers’ willingness to take the same leap moms have in becoming successful. However, through the efforts of Doug French and John Pacini, the Dad Track sessions at the Mom 2 Summit proved to be an overall success, and with them at the helm for the Dad 2 Summit, I believe it has the best chance of establishing the professional footprint of dads as part of the parent blogging community.


Daddy Blogging is for "Losers"

I’ll be the first to admit that telling people, especially other men I was a daddy blogger brought on a flush of embarrassment. Granted part of this had to do with the fact I was more or less unemployed, and every post I spent an hour putting together carried with it the feelings of guilt associated with knowing this could’ve been an hour spent job hunting. I remember making small talk with some of the guys at my wife’s former employer during their Christmas party around a year and half ago. Invariably, this sort of clunky chit chat that occurs between sips of bottled beer wrapped in damp cocktail napkins includes two questions: “So, do you golf?” and, “What is it you do?”

Well, you see, I got this daddy blog, Mr. Potter.
Within the right group, wanting to know what someone does for a living can be a genuine means of getting to know one another. In this situation, however, such an inquiry was guy-code for, “How big is your pecker?” This is typical of douchey males whose large, salary-fueled egos are inversely proportionate to the size of their genitalia, and at the moment I stood smack dab in the middle of the largest concentration of douche bags this side of a Masengill production facility.

How exactly does one explain to the VP of an investment banking firm that your career consists of cranking out silly stories about being a stay-at-home dad? Well you see, I’ve got this daddy blog. Big future in blogging—real growth industry. 

With the myriad of options available to me, I chose something classic with a touch of mystery on the side. “I’m a writer.”

“Oh, a writer. I see.” He seemed almost impressed. “And what kind of writing? History? Politics?”

“Creative non-fiction.”

And here’s when the VP’s tone changed to that of a father disappointed his son decided to be an interpretive dancer instead of heart surgeon. “Creative non-fiction? What’s that?”

“Essays—opinions and observations on different topics.”


“Mostly parenting and fatherhood.”

The expression on his face told me I needed to check out the superfluous nipple that had somehow magically appeared on my forehead. Call me a social suicide bomber, but often when I’m in a conversation where I’m made to feel not good enough, I tend to lob out any ol' answer hoping something I say will reestablish my credibility. This is where I mentioned my regular writing gigs, my blog, and my upcoming book.

“A book? Is it a novel?”

“No, it actually based on my daddy blog.” High-pitched whistling. Big explosion. Textbook crash-n-burn executed flawlessly.

“Well, I’ll have to check that out. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Everything about his body language and departure signaled that he could only tolerate being in the presence of losers like gas station attendants, fast food servers, and Bachelor of Arts majors for so long. I think it’s safe to say dad bloggers just made the list.

In hindsight, I should’ve lied about my golfing prowess. You could be changing out tubs of expended salad topics on the buffet table at Golden Corral for a living, but with the right golf handicap, the fact that you’re making minimum wage is suddenly immaterial. To guys like the ones above, mad golfing skills can add a couple of inches to your pecker quicker than OD’ing on a bottle of ExtenZe. Unfortunately, those who’ve been on the fairway with me and have the bruises to prove it can attest to my shortcomings in swinging wood on 18 well-manicured holes. Cue slide whistle.

* * *

Fast forward to ten months. I’m sitting with several lawyers and businessmen when the topic of parenting comes up. I make a few comments on the matter which in turn leads to, “So, Ron what is it you do?” 

This time, rather than dance around the answer like coked-out Michael Flatley in a saloon full of trigger-happy cowboys, I mention my blog up front.

“A daddy blog. Is that like a mommy blog?” one of them asks.

“Mommy blogs. I’ve heard of those,” another chimes in.

“Yeah, mommy blogs—what exactly are those?” the third guy wants to know.

Hey gents, did I mention I have an eight handicap?

I answered their questions by first defining the term “mommy blogger” as a marketing reference used to categorize a particular niche demographic, not a gaggle of women with kids and internet access.

“Oh, I thought it was just a bunch of moms trying to sell crocheted tissue-box covers and bitchin’ about their husbands,” the attorney says.

Not quite. Then I gave everyone a quick rundown on what mom bloggers have accomplished over the past few years—negotiating major media deals, building ad networks, running marketing consultancies, influencing major brands, book deals, TV appearances, and the list went on. This seemed to get their attention.

“And so you’re doing this too, but as a dad?”

“Well, yes …sorta.” That last part warranted some explaining. “Dad’s aren’t at the level moms are. There’s a bit of a gap.” I went on to out some of why that was which then lead into sharing a few business models bouncing around in my head. Somewhere over the course of this I mentioned how Chevy has lent me cars to go traipsing around the country in, and my roles as a brand ambassador for Let’s Play (in conjunction with Dr. Pepper) and Carnival Cruise Lines.

“So lemme get this straight,” one of them asks. “Carnival just sent you and your family on a vacation to the Caribbean and all you had to do was write about it on your blog?”

I started grinning. “There were a few other things involved, but, yeah, that’s basically it.”

All of the guys stopped for a moment. Then one of the businessmen says—and I kid you not, “You know, I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while now.”

Well, give me a shout when you do, buddy, and I’ll see if the people at ExtenZe would like to have you do a product review for them.

* * * 

So what was the difference in these two conversations? The difference was me and how I viewed daddy blogging and subsequently presented it to these other men who otherwise, could not have cared less. With my investment banker buddy, I talked of it as a creative endeavor—my writing pursuits. Among those other chaps, however, I spoke within the context of the business elements associated with parent blogging. 

Why the switch? Even though I put a lot of effort into blogging, the former business executive side of me kept me from taking what I was doing seriously. Sure, I picked up some paid writing jobs and got a book published, but none of this was going to yield the serious income needed to pay the bills. But, somewhere in between the two above situations I was struck with a blinding flash of the obvious: the real earning potential comes, not directly from a blog itself, but rather from the opportunities created as a result of that blog.

There are exceptions of course, but a key component to these few bloggers’ success is a high number of sustainable traffic, and face it dads, we don’t have that going for us. According to Blog Rank, of their list of the Top 50 Parent Blogs, only two are written solely by dads—Daddy Types and The Father Life. (There are two more that are co-written by couples.) Assuming their data is correct (and stats are always up for debate), then I’m going to make a broad leap and say that receiving large bags stuffed with cash from pay-per click campaigns and selling ad space isn’t in the stars for us dads.

What then is? Well, that’s the real question, but even more fundamental is what do we dads really offer to the parent blogging niche that differentiates us from the moms while still bringing added value to the table. I mean, if we don’t have the large audiences and the corresponding influence to go with it, then what do we have? (Don't anyone dare say a list of Top 25 Dad Blogs.) I have my own opinions here, but for the sake of discussion, I’m going to leave that question open to debate for readers.

Before I say anymore, I should probably clarify that not every dad out there with a blog cares about the business aspects of blogging, and so I don’t mean to unfairly lump them into this conversation. These guys blog purely because they enjoy their role as fathers as well as the opportunity to interact with other dads who feel the same. The one thing I will say, though, is that as I explore more of the business boundaries of blogging, this great bunch is a touchstone that keeps me mindful of why I started posting in the first place.

However, for those dads who view blogging as a profession in one way, shape or form, I’m curious as to where we’re headed with all of this. My concern (and that might be too strong of a word for it) is that in the wake of attention gained during the “Year of the Daddy Blog,” we dads could fail to capitalize on that momentum in YoDB + 1, and thus, end up being viewed as some form of anomalistic appendage to the mom blog marketing demographic rather than a separate, viable entity that enhances the community.

Granted, I might be off my rocker here (that happens a lot), but given the off-line conversations I’ve had with both moms and dads, there is more than enough consensus here to justify such thinking. It’s not enough (or in my view, professional) for us dad bloggers to thump our chests and demand that brands and marketers grant us their attention. Even if they do, at some point these companies and firms will want to see a return on their investment, and what will that be? 

So, on the eve of Mom 2.0, arguably the most serious business-oriented of the mom blogger conferences, where several dads including myself have been granted the opportunity to speak on such topics, these are the questions I am wondering about. Admittedly, there’s a part of me that’s somewhat intimidated to be entering into a dialogue with such an accomplished and savvy gathering of women who are having highly intelligent debates about what they are earning from and as a result of their blogs while we dads, as a whole, are still trying figuring out how to not just successfully monetize our blogs, but to also take advantage of larger possibilities that arise because of our blogs.

In the meantime, I keep having this reoccurring nightmare that halfway through the panel session I’m a part of, I inexplicably start talking about my golf game and then realize I forgot to wear pants. 


The Asshole in Me

*** Warning: This post contains strong language. I'm justifying it as "stylistic effect." ***

Hank Moody, Don Draper, and ...Superman?
The other night I was telling my wife Ashley about an idea I had to start an anonymous blog where I would be a complete asshole, but yet still arrive at the generally correct conclusions on the chosen topic. For instance, I’d claim to envy Charlie Sheen for being able to balance porn stars and fatherhood before alluding to the imminent downfall of such a lifestyle. That’s not a perfect example, but as I explained things further to her, my ultimate motivation for such a project came down to a feeling that I had pigeonholed myself as a writer into this wholesome, Clark Kent-like persona specializing in cutesy, mildly amusing stories about life as a stay-at-home dad.

My impetus for such an idea was spurred on by my attempt to catch up on the current season of Californication, which if you’ve never watched, follows the infamous exploits of the well-intentioned, yet decidedly fucked up writer Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny). For brevity’s sake, I’ll skip all the (many) gory details except to say that Hank is a complete asshole who truly loves his teenage daughter and her mother, but has a penchant for poor decision-making when it comes to booze, drugs and other women. To give you an idea, Hank is now on trial for statutory rape, but even thought the charge is technically true, it’s not his fault …kinda.

I’m not sure what it is, but like a lot of people, I’m fascinated by male characters who straddle the duality of being both genuinely good and morally flawed at the same time. Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the 1960’s ad exec with lady-killer looks and a troubled past on TV’s Mad Men is another one who falls into this category. The guy cheats on his wife as often as he drinks (which is a lot), and yet still proves to be a good father along the way.

The aspect of characters like Moody and Draper that I marvel at is how they can exhibit remorse while weathering the consequences of their bad behavior only to turn around and make the same poor choices all over again. And here’s the real kicker—we continue to love them in spite of it and so do the characters they hurt over and over again.

Watching these shows, I’ve wondered to myself what it must be like to play the part of an asshole—I mean for real. This question has been so strong of late that it has since brought on the sudden impulse to suck down a handful of Marlboros, reserve a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at the library, and place an order at my sister’s Etsy shop for a vintage electric typewriter on which I planned to write really fucked up shit that I would then scan into my computer and use for my new, in-your-face blog.

Ashley, however, didn’t think this to be such a hot idea. This sort of annoyed me, partly because she was so sure in her feedback, and partly because the UPS guy would be showing up any day now with an 80-pound, Smith Corona from the 1970’s. She conceded that it would be a lot of fun to unleash my inner Hank Moody on the world, but she’s also known a lot of people who have gone this route and wound up taking on that make-believe role a little too seriously. She continued her thoughts by asking why I needed to be anonymous all of a sudden. Why not just write honestly on the blog I already have? Ashley then named off a handful of popular bloggers known for being candid without being complete jerks about it.

My wife’s reasoning, whether I wanted to admit it or not, was sound. The secret identity aspect already bothered me to a slight extent well before I mentioned anything to her. Remaining anonymous to protect your family’s privacy is completely understandable, remaining anonymous just so you can say whatever you feel like without impunity felt somewhat cowardly. I mean, it’s easy to flip someone off from behind the steering wheel of a moving vehicle after they cut you off, but how likely would you be to give that someone the bird if they did the same thing on the way to the check-out line? How is this any different online?

Even so, her point about using my better known blog to sharing my honest opinions, no matter how controversial, failed to convince me completely. Previous posts taking jabs at topics such as daddy blogging and politics didn’t go over so well, and in fact, probably caused me to lose readership. Cutesy stories mixed with the occasional heart-felt piece about life and fatherhood are safe and unlikely to raise other people’s ire. It’s that kind of content that has helped get me paid writing gigs so why take the risk of scaring people off with my blistering commentary?

But where then, do I write about the tough issues? Where do I take on controversial aspects of politics, parenting, society and pop culture, and do so unapologetically? Where can I be bold and unabashed in challenging mouthy dads who demand respect while doing nothing to prove they deserve it, or feminists tripe that rails against men while using backlash emotions to ignore the truth? Hank Moody and Don Draper wouldn’t back down in speaking their minds and the masses would cheer them on. Me? I’d be deemed a first-class nut case, earning a labeled of the “Gary Busey of Daddy Bloggers.”

* * *

Last night, Ashley told me that my stepdaughter, Allie was upset over some boy telling her she was ugly. Apparently, according to the teachers, this boy is the most popular kid in the third grade and everybody wants to be him.

I wasn’t impressed. “Sounds like a punk-ass bitch to me,” I said.

“Allie thinks he was just joking around,” my wife added.

Hank would approve. My wife, not so much.
I took this to mean Allie was making excuses for the little turd because she wanted him to still like her, and I responded with a few unrepeatable thoughts, Hank Moody style. This in turn garnered a stern rebuke from Ashley. Winning!

Throughout life, I’ve always hated those guys who intentionally acted like jerks knowing women would fling themselves at their feet in an attempt to seek male approval. No way was I letting my stepdaughter fall into that bullshit cycle, especially this early in life. I pictured myself lighting up a cigarette and telling her verbatim that she should walk straight up to that boy and nut-punch him as hard as she could. Then I'd tell her that boys like him are nothing more that weak pussies who grew up to be selfish assholes that continually fucked over the people they claim to love. Ironic.

At the bus stop the next morning, I said nothing of the sort. Instead, I told her that she was the prettiest girl in her class and she should ignore any boy who says differently. Plus, those boys qualified as being so stupid natural selection would take its course and they would die early age anyway ...or at least they'd have to repeat the third grade. Okay, the last part I didn’t say either, but I sure as hell wanted to.

The good vs. evil in Superman
By the time we walked out the door, however, I had already accepted the fact that I’m not an asshole (not intentionally at least). I have made basically good choices in my life, and of the many poor ones, I’ve learned from them. I love my family through my actions, which means I don’t have to sift through the frequent guilt that would come as a result of hurting them all the time by being a jerk regardless of my altruistic, yet misguided intentions.

I am not Hank Moody, or Don Draper or any other fucked up characters in TV-land, and trying to be otherwise would be like that part in Superman III where the “Man of Steel” turns evil. Talk about weird, it’s bizzaro watching the Big Blue Boy Scout go from Superman to super jerk as he proceeds to get sloshed in a bar, hit on women, and blow off those in need. It's something of a coincidence for me that this asshole-e-o behavior came to a head during a mildly existential fight scene between Superman and his wholesome alter ego, Clark Kent. Clark of course wins, restoring the world greatest superhero back to the guy who fights for truth, justice and all that other wholesome, American stuff.

There is, however, some commonalities that Hank Moody, Don Draper and Clark Kent all share. They know right from wrong; they love and fight for their families; they’re bold and passionate about what they believe; and they don’t sacrifice their basic identities to become something they are not. To me, these are the essential fundamentals for being a good man in today’s society. If nothing else, that at least makes watching assholes somewhat redeemable.

Now, what to do with this carton of Marlboro Ultra Lights and that monstrosity of a typewriter due to hit my doorstep any day now?

* * * * 


Mommy and Daddy Blogger Jokes

How many mommy bloggers does it take to change a light bulb?

Well, just one actually, but it takes her at least a week to review the product, organize a Twitter party and then do contest giveaway before she actually replaces it.

* * *

What do you call two daddy bloggers with no arms and no legs hanging in a window?

Kurt and Rod (drum roll: ba-da dum!)

* * *

"Knock, knock"
"Who's there?"
"Thesis some dumb pitch about some dumb product that your readers are going to love."

"Knock, knock"
"Who's there?"
"Summer who?"
"Summer dumb pitches about dumb products that your readers are going to love."

"Knock, knock"
"Who's there?"
"Consumption who?"
"Consumption be done about all these dumb product pitches filling up my inbox?"

* * *

A Rabbi, a blonde, and a mom blogger walk into a bar. The bartender goes over to the Rabbi and asks, "Whaddya have, Rabbi?"

Looking over the drink menu, the Rabbi exclaims, "I'd have some wine, but Oy vey! These prices are too much!"

The bartender, being a religious man, pours the Rabbi a glass of wine and hands it to the Rabbi. "It's on the house." Then the bartender turns to the blonde and asks, "Whaddya have, sweetheart?"

The blonde, who's very attractive, licks her lips suggestively and responds, "I'd love an apple martini. They make me so tipsy."

The bartender can't help but to fall for her beauty, and he whips up an apple martini lickity split. "Here ya go, sugar. It's on the house."

Finally the bartender walks over to the mommy blogger. "Whaddya have, ma'am?"

The mommy blogger, having watched what had happened with the Rabbi and the blonde says, "I'll have a vodka tonic." Then she adds, "And it better be on the house, or I'm going or I'm gonna tear this place a new one in my next blog post."

* * *

What do you get when you cross a mommy blogger with Godzilla?

I don't know, but you sure as hell better make sure she gets her swag bags at the next BlogHer.

* * *

Why did the dad blogger cross the road?

He was told he could nominate himself for Best Daddy Blogger in the Universe on the other side.

* * *

Why did the mommy blogger cross the road?

She was told their was a $10 dollar gift card if she did a product review on the other side.

* * *

Two college students and a mommy blogger volunteer for a medical research project. The three of them are taken into a room with a large observation window and asked to sit down at the table. A few minutes later a man in a lab coat walks in carrying three glasses, hands them to volunteers, and instructs them to drink the contents one at a time. The first college student picks up the glass and takes three big gulps; within seconds he falls out of his chair and starts shaking uncontrollably. The scientists on the other side of the window write on their clipboards and ask the next college student to drink the substance in his cup. After seeing what happened to the first student, the second college student is a little nervous, but desperate for the cash promised to the volunteers, he chugs down the strange liquid; within seconds he drops to the floor and starts shaking wildly. The scientist jot down some notes on their clipboard and then tell the mommy blogger it's her turn.

Witnessing what happened to the college students, the mommy blogger eyes her cup suspiciously and looks up at the scientists behind the glass window. "I don't know what this stuff is, but it sure better not have any high fructose corn syrup in it!"

* * *

Warner Brothers announced it would be making a new martial arts movie about two kung-fu warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive who cross paths with the extraordinarily skilled, teenage daughter of a strict, traditional Chinese mother. They're calling it "Crouching Tiger Mama, Hidden Dragon."

* * *

What do you get when you cross a '34 Ford and a mommy blogger? A "dooce" coupe. (yuk, yuk, yuk)

* * *

The marketing team at Charmin was trying to come up with a name for a new type of toilet paper the company wanted to sell. Stumped, the team decided to enlist the help of consumers in order to come up with something catchy and memorable. Several candidates were selected and handed a roll of the nameless product with instructions to provide some suggestions after they had used the entire sample. The next morning the marketing team was surprised to find one of the men who was part of the consumer feedback group already waiting for them in their office.

"I've got a name for your new product," the man announces. "You should call it Mommy Blogger Toilet Paper."

The marketing team gives him confused looks. "Mommy Blogger Toilet Paper? Why would you call it that?"

Without missing a beat the man replied, "Because it's rough. It's tough, and it doesn't take crap off of anyone."

* * *

Yo mama blog got so much drama on it, it makes Snooki look like Hilary Clinton. (eye roll)

* * *

Three dad bloggers were sitting around a campfire talking about their sites. The first dad blogger started bragging about being named Best Daddy Blog in the Galaxy after he nominated himself for the award and then dedicated every minute of every day for a whole week asking people to vote for him. The second dad blogger said that was a pretty good accomplishment, but then puffed up his chest, going on and on about 100,000 hits his site gets daily and all the company's offering him tons of money for ad space and the gobs of major brand flying him all over the country to represent their products. Impressed, the first dad blogger conceded that this was really incredible. Then he and the second blogger looked over at the remaining dad, expecting him to share the many great feats he had achieved with site. But the third dad blogger didn't say a word. He just sat there in silence gazing into the fire and stoking the embers with his "willy."

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Ads Section

Ads Section

  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP