It’s the second day of autumn, and if you haven’t already talked to your children about pumpkin spice, it might already be too late.
Pumpkin spice is a wonderful and warm mix of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. It signals the coming of the autumnal holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving, easing folks into the also-cinnamon-drenched Christmas season that begins the moment the last person at your Thanksgiving dinner table puts their dessert fork down.
Pumpkin spice is also a historically-weird thing; it’s got a vague rise to American stardom, mired in really, terribly imperialist beginnings. But, but, but – it’s still delicious, you say! It still works in sweet and savory things alike!
But that’s exactly why you need to talk to your kids about pumpkin spice.
Right now, two women are enduring the last week of the United States Army Ranger School in the daunting Florida “jungle” phase, as part of a pilot program to help the Pentagon decide how they might open combat specialty positions to women in the future. Throughout their attendance at the course, these two Army officers have impressed their Ranger Instructors and inspired women throughout the ranks of the entire Army.
A similar experiment has been conducted by the United States Marine Corps over the last several years, admitting women to attend the USMC Infantry Officer’s Course, or IOC. One of these women, First Lieutenant Sage Santangelo attempted to pass the course and failed. She wrote an op-ed following her attempt and attributed her lack of success to a double-standard in training requirements between males and females. She simply did not feel that she had been well prepared for success by adhering to lower training standards in the years preceding her attendance at IOC, where she was held to the same standards as the men.
Taking Lt. Santangelo’s premise that she wasn’t successful because of lower expectations for women, I began to think about how fathers raise their own daughters, and more personally, how I am raising my own daughter. What I never wish to happen is for my daughter to miss out on a personal dream because I held her back from being prepared to tackle the world. So if her dream is to one day become a United States Army Ranger, I had better spend my time getting her ready. While not a graduate of Ranger School myself, I have enjoyed great success as an Army officer and have mentored and trained many for military success. So here is my best advice for fathers who want to show their daughters a world where the ceilings are made of glass…and then show them how fast they can shatter them.
In the 1980’s, Hulk Hogan was a phenomenon. He was the most recognizable face of professional wrestling for decades, and “Hulkamania” swept the nation, creating never-ending waves of merchandising, tie-ins and sound bites. Many people were inspired to wrestle after watching that golden-haired Hulk leg drop competitor after competitor. Others were inspired to name their children “Hulk.” Now, through Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit with Gawker Media, news has emerged that Hogan made racist remarks found in a leaked sex tape transcript. This news has caused the WWE to fire Hogan and scrub their sites of his existence.
So how do parents who named their children after the wrestling icon feel now that we know he’s a flaming racist?
There’s a dad in New Jersey who is “furious” that Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series Slave Leia action figure is in toy stores. “That’s pretty inappropriate. I got 2 daughters I don’t need seeing that crap,” he told FOX 29 News Philadelphia.
So I want to know – is the Slave Leia action figure appropriate for toy shelves? Should it be relegated to online-only sales so kids won’t see it in the store?
There are a lot of different kinds of dads on Instagram. There’s the “blurry vacation photos hurriedly taken on his iPhone” dad. There’s the high-end photographer “I-just-spent-two-hours-taking-the-perfect-shot-of-that-butterfly” dad. There’s the “I just like taking pictures of my grill/Corvette/Settlers of Catan board” dad. But, despite the sheer number of shutterbug dads out there, we can honestly say that there aren’t ANY dads on Instagram quite like Michael Gump.
If you’re not familiar with Gump’s work, you NEED to check out his Instagram account @bobbugs (or the IG hashtag #GumpMasterofDisguise) and prepare to have your mind blown. Almost every day, Gump posts a picture of himself in disguise, but we’re not talking about glasses and a fake mustache. We’re talking about insane, over-the-top, blisteringly creative disguises, in which Gump regularly transforms himself from the neck up into veritable works of art.
Yesterday was the last day of E3 2015. I got a chance to attend and check out some of the really cool upcoming games — Street Fighter V! Disney Infinity 3.0! Mario Maker! — and even got to take selfies with some of my favorite industry personalities. But 10 years ago, I was taking a whole different kind of photo.
2005: E3 has been bubbling up in the early 2000’s and at the show, it’s getting harder and harder to find the games as you drown in a sea of promotional toys and “booth babes.” I’m slowly shuffling forward in a neverending line of nerds, but instead of inching toward a playable demo, I’m — oh, wait, it’s my turn.
I walk up a couple of faux stone steps, and there are three “booth babes” standing at the top. All day, they’ve been posing with men up there. I say “hey, so I’m doing something a little different,” and the second one of them starts to nod, I drop to the ground and slump down the steps. My friend says “it’s okay, this is his thing,” and snaps the picture. The women laugh as we walk away. The next 400 men squeeze between the women and wrap their arms around them, proudly posing for their photo as if they’ve done something other than stand in line for it.
There are certain things you can always expect from a Jurassic Park movie.
Dinosaurs (duh), that iconic John Williams score, a Cliff Notes introduction to chaos theory, someone accusing someone else of “playing God” – Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park really laid out a template that the subsequent films have followed religiously. One could even argue that the huge opening weekend success of Jurassic World is, in some way, due to the fact that it followed the original “Jurassic formula” much more closely than the other two lackluster sequels. (Isla Nublar is WAY cooler than Isla Sorna.)
However, there is ONE strange component to that formula that inexplicably has shown up in EVERY SINGLE Jurassic Park film so far. And it’s not dinosaurs, DNA, or Dennis Nedry.
ALL of the Jurassic Park movies have subplots about divorce. All of those cute kids who spend the movie running away from prehistoric carnivores – every last one of them is a child of divorce. That seems odd, right?
Back when it was a totally dope diss to say “don’t have a cow, man”, kids had a vocabulary full of pop culture. There was something magical about old video games’ vocal snippets. Because games had limited memory, and because we were dealing with cartridges and CDs instead of giant hard drive installs, sound bytes were short, succinct and hilarious.
My friends and I would dole out disses and exclamations based on video game sound bites. I wonder how many of these were common among your group of friends too! The best thing is that I’ve found that some old school video game phrases are totally still usable now that I’m a father…
Game: NBA Jam (1993)
System: Arcade, Genesis, Game Gear, SEGA CD, SNES, Game Boy
Usage: After jamming home some trash next to your unaware child.
Of course. NBA Jam was a game full of sound bites and quotables. And while “he’s on fire” was commonly thrown around by my friends, the more forceful exclamation was a gentle “BOOMSHAKALAKA” yelled into the ear of a friend who merely had the bad luck of standing next to a trash can while you had something to throw out. You’d throw down the trash so authoritatively that let’s face it, you should have looked into a career as a garbage man. Well, now you’re a parent, so part of your job is being a garbage man, so the next time you need to throw something out, do it with style and scream “BOOMSHAKALAKA!” Your kid will repeat it in no time.