Porn: A Personal History

I am by no means a porn fiend. I have no enslaving compulsions that keep me shackled in front of a computer screen pulsating with digital smut. In fact, my feelings about porn in general are on par with the same ambivalence I reserve for the release of another Fast and Furious movie, which is probably the reason why the whole idea of porn addiction baffles me.

I’m not denying that pornography has tragically ruined lives, marriages, and families. It's just that when I think of addiction I envision gaunt junkies shooting up the second they get out of bed in the morning or douchey Wall Street brokers snorting lines in the company washroom during lunch—quick fixes that keep you high throughout your day. In contrast, it seems to me watching porn would require something of a significant time commitment, and who can free up those kind of hours these days? By the same token, another part of me, the part that tends to gravitate to morbidly extreme consequences, views addiction within the context of death. With drugs, you can OD. Alcoholics can get cirrhosis of the liver. Cigarettes lead to cancer. And porn? Heart attack maybe? Friction burn?

To be fair I’m not downplaying the reality of porn addiction. I’m only saying I don’t understand the mindset much the same way I don’t understand why anyone would take anything that comes out of Ann Coulter's mouth seriously or how so many viewers could manage to keep The Mentalist running on TV for seven seasons. Then again I have so much wrong with the dysfunctional chemical fruit salad that is my brain, a porn addiction might be welcome change. (Click on the title to read more)


What's The Deal With Me And Kentucky Basketball? TuneIn

Fun fact: For a short (I emphasis short) period I attended Liberty University. Yes, that Liberty University, which, given the school’s history and depending on what side of the liberal-conservative fence you’re planted on, may or may not seem like an interesting choice for perusing my degree in—I think it was political science? Who knows anymore? It was 20-some years ago, but whatever the case, apparently that one semester was enough to qualify me for frequent (mail) flyer miles on LU’s alumni donations list. (I swear, I could move to outer Mongolia and those guys would find my mailing address within a week.)

I do, however, recall without relying on raw brain math, that it was the spring of 1992. Why is this particular bit of trivia so prominent in my mind? In a word: basketball. More specifically, March Madness. Even more specifically, The East Regional Finals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 28th between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Duke Blue Devils. And to be even more specific I’m referring to “The Shot.”  


Gone Girl

I took a writing course at Rice where the instructor explained that real life couldn’t be strictly followed as the script for a novel. Real life, she contended, is “too messy” which is why the closest any writer can get is to say their novel is only based on true story.  Blog writing, of course, isn’t constrained by such conventions and is, in actuality, the ideal canvas for capturing all that messiness of real life.

If my life were a novel for instance, then Ashley and I would’ve met, fell deeply in love, and overcome crushing obstacles together on our way to a satisfyingly romantic ending. In reality, however, my life is a blog with buckets of greasy, smudgy messiness that ruin the chance at a pristine story, and in this version Ashley and I are no longer together.


6 Things I Want My Sons to Know About My Depression [TODAY Show]

As it did to so many, the news of Robin Williams’s death came as a great shock to me. How could a man with such talent and charisma who brought me to tears, both of joy and sadness, on so many occasions be gone so suddenly? Then details of his depression came to light, and I understood. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 6.7 of American adults live with major depression, and of those, 2.6 percent, or 6.1 million people, are afflicted by bipolar disorder. I understand, because I am one of them.

When I initially informed my first wife of my diagnosis and the associated concerns I held for our three boys, she expressed strong reservations about saying anything to them. This, however, is exactly the problem for men with depression. It actually needs to be talked about more, and if I don’t talk with my sons about the twisting despair brought on by depression, who will? There’s actually a lot they need to know. So, boys, listen here:

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Why I Write

Remember this. It's going to come in handy for understanding the context of what is posted here in the coming months.


5 Things I Wish My Bosses Knew About Fatherhood [TODAY Show]

I consider myself fortunate to be working for an employer who understands the demands of fatherhood. This hasn’t always been the case. Through the course of my professional life, which has spanned the military, corporate America, freelance work, and small business, I’ve had bosses who discounted the value of fathers.

Such attitudes come from a general cluelessness shared by men who represented a different generation — everyone knows that fathers are much more involved these days. Still, half of working fathers surveyed in 2013 consider work-family balance a challenge while 46 percent feel they are still not spending enough time with their children.

I have certainly felt the pressure of this crunch, and it would be a lie to say I always chose family over work. Some circumstances, deployments for example, deny the option of choice; however, there have been other moments when I wished my superiors knew a few things about what it means to be a father. Here are five:


TODAY Show Parents: The Sugar Milk Hack

If you haven't already heard I've got a new writing gig at--wait for it--the TODAY Show via their website which just this week they renamed from Moms to Parents. I am thrilled and honored to be part of an all-star lineup of fellow dad bloggers that includes Doyin Richards, Jim Higley, Whit Honea, Carter Gaddis, and Adrian Kulp who in our inaugural week of posting shared their favorite dad hacks (#dadhack). As you will see, their clever tips are much more advisable than mine. Below is an excerpt from my patent-pending, sugar milk hack.

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One would think a guy with five kids would have a whole slew of shortcuts to help ease the burden of parenthood. I do not.

This is not to say I am without creativity. It’s just my techniques lack a certain classiness. While many parenting hacks warrant viral validation via Pinterest, mine rank with the redneck who crafts a BBQ grill out of a shopping cart. Effective? Yes. Share-worthy? Possibly after obliterating a case of Milwaukee’s Best.

Case in point: My teen son and tween stepdaughter are now of an age where they require deodorant, yet they are afflicted by some form of adolescent dementia that causes them to forget to apply said deodorant. The solution: Affix the deodorant to the door frame at eye-level using Velcro, and voila, no more stinky kids. It’s effective because it’s unorthodox. CONTINUE READING 

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The Power of Dad: Lessons Learned

My father as a Green Beret in Vietnam
My father is, hands down, the toughest, hardest working man I have ever met. A lot of people say this about their fathers, and I don’t doubt them, but how many can say they watched their father calmly hobble into the house to take a shower and then drive to the ER after accidentally sticking an ax blade into his shin? What truly amazed me about that memory, though, was waking to the sound of the crunching gravel from our driveway as my father left for work the following morning. At the time he was the company president, and everyone would’ve certainly understood had he decided to take it easy for a few days. But that wasn’t my father.


How Social Media Ruined Me as a Parent

I’ve been blogging for a little over six years now, seven if you count that first year when I posted nothing but inane drivel. In that time I also gained familiarity with the various social media channels—Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, the Twitters, etc. And while blogging provided me with an outlet to work through my journey as a stay-at-home dad, social media granted access to a community of fellow parent bloggers sharing their own stories. 

Eventually this lead to substantial freelance gigs, a published book, speaking engagements, and media appearances, not to mention numerous chances to participate in campaigns with major consumer brands. My experience soon resulted in a position as a social media marketing specialist which then morphed into a content marketing strategist before I earned my current title as online marketing manager. In the blogging world such accomplishments are generally considered milestones of success, and I am exceedingly grateful for all the doors my modest blog has opened for me and my family. Despite this, though, in some respects I feel social media has ruined me as a parent.


Mad Men Season 7, Episode 1, Time Zones: The True Don Draper

When we last saw Don Draper prior to the Mad Men Season 7 opener, the normally cool and collected paragon of masculinity entering the beginnings of an existential crisis. Soaked in booze, he's landed himself in jail for the night after punching a preacher. He's alienated himself from his young daughter who earlier caught him in the middle of his latest affair. He’s angered his wife, Megan, by jerking her chain over his previous commitment to move to California, and he’s lost his job after coming clean in front of a major prospective client about his Dickensian upbringing at a sleazy whorehouse.

If we feel any empathy for Don it’s anchored in the irony of his attempts to fix the things he himself has broken. Admitting to being out of control, he pours out his alcohol and promises Megan a fresh start together in LA. The chance to open an office on the west coast, however, was an idea he stole from a co-worker, and later on, to atone for this, Don then offers it to one of the partners who is trying to save his marriage from an affair with Peggy Olson. And although Don’s honesty about his boyhood is courageous if not heart-wrenching, the timing of his self-cathartic admission is wholly inappropriate to the extent that not even his own charm and genius can protect him from the move by the baffled heads of Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce to let him go.

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