In Praise of Step-Parents

First off, happy Father’s Day (a day early) to all of you dads out there, be you step- or non-hyphenated.  I know several good dads of both stripe and at one time (and perhaps again soon) I will be one of both.  Before I was a dad, I was a step-dad.  I have two wonderful grown daughters who mean more than they realize to me, but to be honest I’ve been a terrible father to them for a few years now.  Minimal contact with them, almost no contact with their children; I even have difficulty remembering their birthdays and I haven’t been much for giving them presents on the appropriate occasions.  I hope to change at least some of that soon, with their help and understanding.

But, enough about me for the moment, let’s get to the real reason for this post: to give step-parents their due.  It’s a tough job, and it can be made even tougher by certain circumstances (more on that in a bit).  I had it fairly easy; I had no other father to compete with or to measure up against and I did the best I could.  I hope and think that I made a positive impact on their lives.  That’s still not an easy gig but it’s easier than the other type of step-parenting: the one with other natural parents involved.

That’s the second reason I’m writing this, to give some much-deserved credit to my lovely wife who falls into this category.  She’s a step-mom to my daughter – our daughter – and she has to do that on an every-other-weekend basis.  It’s tough, being a step-mom or step-dad when the mom or dad is there.  You have to establish a bond with the child and keep reestablishing it.  It shouldn’t be a competition but in a way it is.  It’s a long road to establish trust and earn respect.  My wife has done it with our daughter and she’s gone through some minor forms of hell along the way, and there are still gonna be bumps in the road ahead (Zoe just turned 13…yeesh.  A teenager.).  She’s stuck by me through all of this and she deserves all the credit in the world, something I don’t give her enough of.  Vanessa, you do a great job and I’m glad I have you (and your family) in my life to help me raise Zoe.  I can’t imagine doing it without you.

So to my wife in particular and all the good step-parents in general, I tip my cap like Mike Scioscia to you.  It’s a difficult thing to do and you do it voluntarily, and you make so much of a difference.  Keep up the good work.


Election 2016: Punishment boner versus leaky nipples versus more of the same

So here we are in another election year and our choices for president have winnowed down enough that we can reasonably say that only a few people left have a shot at being our next president.  As usual, it’s an uninspiring bunch.  There are five clowns left in the car; let’s take a look at them.

First and least likely, Ted “Zodiac” Cruz and John “Mitt 2016” Kasich.  Let’s talk about Raphael “Ted” Cruz.  My wife and I have a dog that none of the other dogs like.  She’s a sweetheart and she loves to play but the other dogs just won’t let her into their doggie club.  She’s kind of like Ted Cruz, except that she’s a loveable dog and Ted Cruz is perhaps the Zodiac Killer and nobody likes him.  I bet even Ted’s wife is not-so-secretly repulsed by him.  I used to think that to become president you needed to have at least a smidgen of charisma but Ted (and Hillary) are disproving that theory. The only way Ted gets the nomination from the republicans is if they have a brokered convention and decide to give the election to the democrats, perhaps as payback for when the democrats threw John Kerry out there (see again my faulty theory about potential presidents needing charisma).  So, let’s rule him out.

John Kasich is the bona fide republican (see his record on women’s issues if you have any doubts) who is trying to straddle the line of appealing to both the lunatic fringe republican voters and the occasional moderate.  He adopts an “aw shucks!” mentality but you know it’s a fake.  He may be the republicans’ only hope, though.  Ted is unelectable and if Trump doesn’t get the nomination the republican party will shatter like my hopes of the Angels winning another world series do every October since 2002.  If he is the nominee then all republican hell has broken loose.

With these two out of the way, let’s focus on the three that have a legitimate chance.

More of the same.  AKA Hillary Clinton.  She’s like Bill but without the charisma (there’s that word again) and with twice the arrogance.  She’s everything that’s wrong with modern politics and if she’s the democratic nominee I still hope she wins only because of the potential to nominate three Supreme Court justices.  That’s important.  Imagine a republican getting into office and replacing Scalia with another Scalia and then for shits and giggles getting to add two more Scalia’s to the Court.  I’d put up with Hillary for that reason and that reason alone.

That said, I loathe her.  This election cycle, even more so than 2008, has shown us just how horrible and power-hungry she is.  I get that to be president of the United States you have to be something of an egomaniac.  It’s a thankless job that ages you rapidly and has you constantly hated by roughly half of the population.  I wouldn’t want to be president; I’d be much better suited as a tyrant or dictator.  But Hillary, that dame wants to be president so fucking bad.  She wants that legacy of being the first female president and she thought it was hers in 2008, and once again in 2015.  Then came Obama and leaky nipples (more about him next) and we saw Hillary turn from Dr. Jekyll into Missus Hyde, and it’s ugly.  She’s once again cloaked in desperation and that’s the worst thing you can wear.

As an aside: I don’t by into any of the republican-led Hillary scandals du jour.  Well, until the email situation, that is.  I know a little bit about security clearances and classified information (there’s no such thing, that’s a misnomer, but I digress) and what little I know tells me she should at the very least have her security clearance revoked and at most face charges for what she did.  She’s using carefully chosen lawyer-talk to dance around the issue, much like her husband did with “that depends upon what your definition of ‘is’ is.”  I hope she gets nailed for it as she deserves to, but I have my doubts, despite what seems like the FBI getting ready to drop the hammer on her.  Enough about Hillary, our next president, though.  Let’s talk about…

Leaky nipples, AKA Bernie Sanders.  Yep, Bernie Sanders is America’s leaky nipples.  He appeals to those of us that want to help others, especially if said help is presented as cost-neutral to us and only comes from people who make way more than we ever will.  As long as that milk is coming from someone else’s titties, bring it on!  I admit to liking Sanders and his message, as well as his apparent exceptional-for-a-politician integrity.  I also like that most of his promises won’t appear, at least according to him, to have any effect on me or my money.  It’s someone else’s nipples, someone who has much more milk than me.

However, I’ve been around the block a few times.  I’m 46, gonna be forty-goddamned-seven in a few months.  I’m comfortably middle-class.  I know that Bernie’s plans will eventually call for more of my milk and I’m selfish enough that I don’t want to give it up.  My milkshake brings Bernie to the yard, but for some reason, he’s gonna charge.  I don’t like that.  I could afford to lose a few more shekels but lordy, I don’t want to.  I like my shekels.  Bernie’s got the kids, he’s got the bleeding hearts, and dammit I want him to be true but I just can’t believe it.  So, that leaves me with…

The punishment boner, AKA Donald Trump.  Somebody else said it best: Trump wants to be called “Mr. President” but he doesn’t actually want to be president.  How he got this far is amazing.  Four year ago Mitt Romney was doomed by his “47%” comment.  Trump can say whatever he wants and he just keeps getting more popular.  His popularity is because he’s tapped into America’s punishment boner.  Punishment is in our DNA.  We want to punish people who have wronged us, people who we think might wrong us, and what the hell, even some innocent people just to keep the others on their toes.  Trump feeds into that.  Punish the Muslims by bombing the hell out of them, exporting them, and not allowing them into our country.  Punish the illegals by building a completely unpossible wall to keep them out.  Punish the poor and anybody who disagrees with him by calling them losers and making their lives as difficult as possible, because being poor is such a sweet gig.  Punish America itself by making Trump president.  Conan (the Barbarian, not the TV host) said it best when asked what is best in life: “crush your enemies, see them driven before you, hear the lamentations of their women.”  Trump represents that.  He’s Conan with the sword and America is Thulsa Doom at the temple, daring him to chop our head off.  We’ve made him what he is and he’s ready to destroy us.

Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically.  I don’t think a Trump presidency would destroy America any more than a Hillary presidency would, or a Bernie presidency.  I think he would be a disaster at foreign policy but surprisingly moderate in other areas, and he’d only do one term.  Trump is a bloviating asshole who loves himself more than anything else despite his obvious flaws, and I guess that makes him the best possible avatar for America.  We’re the country that knows we have awful fake hair but every day we manage to convince ourselves it looks damn good.  He’s the president we deserve, not the president we need.

Trouble is, none of the candidates are the president we need.  I don’t know if that person exists.  So we’re left with choosing between our punishment boner, our leaky nipples, or more of the same.  Or, you can be smug and not vote, or (best option) vote third party.

Is this really what our election has come to?  Yes, it has.  I for one can’t wait to see how 2020 tops this one.  It’s gonna be horrible, because if there’s one thing Americans do, it’s not learning a lesson.

I Swear, it’s About Time I Joined the Race for President Again

I’ve been doing this every election for a while now.  Write me in for president, blah blah blah.  It hasn’t worked yet but the hobgoblin of little minds compels me to keep trying.  I could tell you about the differences between me and all of the other candidates, and make a laundry list of great reasons to vote for me.  Instead, I’ll just limit it to one thing:

I fucking swear.

Not all the time, and I am trying to cut back (do or do not, shut up Yoda), but yes, I swear.  You rarely see a candidate drop an expletive or two and on the super-rare occasion they do, it’s huge news as people with pop-rocks for brains gasp in shock.

Fuck that shit.

Most of us swear.  To those that don’t, I tip my cap.  I respect that choice and it’s a choice I may make at some later point in life.  That’s my way of courting your vote.  See, I’m almost like you!

I’ve often said I view swearing like spices in cooking.  Let’s call them garlic.  A bit of garlic can improve many dishes.  Too much garlic will destroy anything.  Many dishes are just fine without garlic, but some of them wouldn’t be the same without them.  Used judiciously, garlic swears can be an important part of any vocabulary.

I’ve also often wondered about how absurd the idea of “bad words” is.  For another shitty analogy, think of words as tools.  Now imagine you have all these tools in your garage, but off to one side in the corner you have the “bad tools” that you’re not supposed to use.  They’re perfectly functional and they have a purpose, but you don’t use them much because some people think they’re bad.  Ridiculous, eh?  Perhaps because my collection of tools is small, I like to use them all.  Even the bad ones.  Sometimes they’re the most fun to use.  I just don’t understand having words and placing restrictions on them.

But I can hear you, my imaginary reader, saying “Well, Glen, do you want children going around swearing all the time?  Huh, do ya, because that’s what we’ll get?”  Well…yes and no.  Stick with me.  Remember the tools in the garage?  Now imagine the bad tools in the shadowy corner aren’t bad tools, but privileged tools.  You have to earn the right to use them.  There are different ways to earn that right.  One is with age.  After, let’s say, 16 you should be free to utter whatever you want.  Prior to that, the privilege can be granted upon special occasions.  If you stub your toe hard enough, even if you’re 15 you’re entitled to a “god DAMMIT that hurt!” or something similar.  If you’re 13 and you’ve been studying for weeks for some school test and you think you did well, and then you get it back and see you got an F, well then you’ve earned a “Fuck!”  It encapsulates the situation in one tidy word.  But keep in mind that it’s like garlic – too much is a bad thing.  You can’t be all “fuck this” and “fuck that” and “fuck your mother.”  That’s just rude, and thoughtless.

To get back on topic: vote for me, because I swear I’ll swear for you.  Putin starts getting all cocky on the US?  I’m right there with an “aww hell no, asshole!”  and I’m knocking his dick in the dirt.  Kim Jong Un comes to visit?  I’ll diplomatically ask “dude, the fuck’s up with your haircut?”

Think about it.  You know that behind the scenes all of the candidates are swearing.  Here’s a few examples of how I imagine they’re doing it:

HILLARY CLINTON: “Bill, I swear, if I see that goddamned cunt here ONE MORE TIME I’m chopping your dick off!”

DONALD TRUMP: (Looking in the mirror) “If you were a chick and you were as hot as my daughter I’d totally fuck you!”

BERNIE SANDERS: “I hate that whore Hillary Clinton and I look forward to schlonging her like Obama did!  Take it from a white man this time, bitch!”  (That last sentence may have been overboard, but hey, it’s my racist imagination.  Feel the Bern and whatnot.)

JEB! BUSH: “What the shit, man.  I’m smarter than George.  Why the hell don’t people like me?”

MARCO RUBIO: “A la mierda todos estos pendejos que votan por Trump.”  (Thanks, google translate!)

RAND PAUL: “Seriously, who do I have to fucking blow around here to make people realize I’m the best choice on the right?”

BEN CARSON: He may be the only one that doesn’t swear but I’ll still give it shot.  “Dammit, what happened to me, and why do I always need a nap?”


So yeah, vote for me.  Don’t be ashamed of your garlic.

Happy Octoberrest!

This post is in honor of the first annual celebration of Octoberrest, the holiday that should replace Columbus Day in the US.  Every year at this time we’re bombarded with information about how terrible Chris Columbus was (moderately terrible, even considering the times) and how awful it is that we take a day off work to celebrate his terrible-ness.  We’re also bombarded with the anti-pc crowd who have yet to find somebody they won’t back as long as they think they’re sticking it to whiny libs, telling us to leave Columbus Day alone.


My interest in this is purely selfish and lazy.  I like having a day off work in October and truth be told, I’m not picky about the reason for having it off.  True, if it was Hitler Day I’d make a token effort to get the holiday stopped or changed but I’d still enjoy the three-day weekend because I’m a lazy government worker.  I love long weekends, perhaps even more than I love liberty, justice, and doing the right thing.  I have my price, and it’s an extra day off.

I think the whiny libs have a point here, though.  Look at the real history of Columbus and you’ll see he isn’t worthy of a holiday.  I get that he lived in a different time, but that still doesn’t mean he should be celebrated.  Most of our holidays are for more recent historical events; we don’t need to justify the past.

However, I also sympathize with the people that want to keep this a holiday.  Not because of Columbus, but because of the day off.  That’s why I propose making the second Monday of October the Octoberrest.  A day of rest in October and you can celebrate it however you choose.  Just like in school how if you have a prayer time, you can pray to Jesus, God, Krampus, Ron Jeremey, or Whomever you want.  Octoberrest is non-discriminatory.  Celebrate it however you want within the boundaries of law, but completely free of the boundaries of decency if you so desire.  It’s your day of rest, do what you want to do with it.

Are you with me?  If so, then happy Octoberrest!

Mile-a-whatever blog: whatever

1.05 miles

20:52 pace

Got a late start today so I didn’t go as far as I wanted but the weather was beautiful.  To paraphrase Major League: we went for a walk yesterday.  We went for a walk today.  That’s two in a row.  If we go for a walk tomorrow, that’s what’s called a walking streak.  See ya tomorrow, with more to say.

Mile a whenever blog: The devil went through me!

1.12 miles

19:17 pace

Sometimes it’s an effort in futility to get my dogs on a walk.  One of them loves the walk but is mortified of putting the harness and leash on her, and whenever she senses I’m plotting to walk she hides under the bed and piddles if I pick her up.  Good times.  The other two dogs are tolerant and easier to deal with.

The highlight of today’s walk was the pace.  First time with the dogs under a 20-minute mile!  Well done, bitches.  The other notable occurrence was that on the way back a dust devil blew through us.  It felt great – the breeze cooled us off on one of the hottest parts of the walk and gave us an energy boost to get home.  Of course, there was also the murderous rage that I felt whilst in the eye of el diablo, which was oddly enjoyable in its own perverted way.  It went away, but just in case there’s some little bits of devil dirt left on me I’d advise giving me a wide berth today.

Mile-a-day blog: starting all over again

1.14 miles

20:24 pace

A good walk done in a bit of a hurry because I have to get ready for work early today.  Always a fun walk with the three dogs.  On the way out are pauses and tugs on the leash as they fall behind.  On the way back they suddenly find all of their energy and are bold explorers leading the way.  It’s a good way to start the morning.  See ya tomorrow, for sure.