Tag Archives: TV

The Best Sick Day Activity for Kids

sicktvNot to be outdone by his little brother’s hospital stay earlier this month, Will decided it was time for him to spike a fever and give us a scare. But I quickly learned there is one thing more daunting than a 104.3-degree fever — entertaining a 5-year-old who is bored and trapped inside the house.

This is tricky business. You can’t go anywhere because he’s sick and you have to limit contact with other people. You can’t take him outside because it’s New England in winter and it’s FREEZING. It also doesn’t help that Will was so tired and his energy so depleted by this 4-day fever, that he really couldn’t be on his feet for very long before he’d start fading. Yet when he sat back on the couch he’d utter the all too familiar hue and cry of kids the world over — “DAAAAAAD, I’M BORED!”

So what do you do? If you’re me, you sit that kid in front of the TV all day!

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Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, and Why This is NOT a Free Speech Issue

robertsonThe one thing that is crystal clear to me in the wake of this whole Duck Dynasty flap (flap…ducks…get it??) is some people in this country have a completely misguided view of the First Amendment.

If you haven’t heard yet, Phil Robertson – patriarch of A&E’s Duck Dynasty show – was quoted in GQ saying some not-so-flattering things about homosexuality. That Robertson feels this way is unsurprising, given that he’s a 67-year-old camo-clad uber Christian from the backwaters of Louisiana. He called being gay an illogical sin — a sentiment I completely disagree with but frankly, I’ve heard far worse.

But he wasn’t content to just stop there. When asked what, specifically, he considers sinful, Robertson said:

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Got that? According to Robertson, if you start with a gay person the next logical step in the sin spiral is fornicating with an animal. Because those two things obviously go hand in hand and certainly should be mentioned in the same breath as one another.

Also, just for good measure, Robertson implies that African-Americans living in 1960s Louisiana were happier before all that pesky Civil Rights nonsense brought them legal rights and basic equality.

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Oh boy. Yikes.

The backlash from GLAAD was swift and justifiably upset. Then, as expected, came the corresponding backlash from the backlash courtesy of the Tea Party conservative Christian right, who hailed Robertson as a folk hero being criticized simply for spreading God’s message.

Honestly, I thought it would be a non-issue for A&E simply because Duck Dynasty draws 14 million viewers and is a cash cow to the network. I figured it would be a slap on the wrist for Robertson and then back to business. But late last night, A&E issued a statement condemning the star’s remarks and suspending him indefinitely from the show.

And that’s when the crazies really hit the roof.

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My Son Was on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Kids. We love ‘em, don’t we?

That’s why, as parents, we work so hard to take care of them. We nurture them as babies, providing sustenance, food and shelter. We shower them with unrelenting love and guide them as they utter their first words and take their initial wobbly steps into the world. We wrap them in a blanket of love and security as they grow, because it’s important as parents that we always make them feel safe and protected. That bond between parent and child leads to a solid foundation of trust that should never be violated.

Unless, of course, you can leverage all that trust to trick your kid on video and put him on national television.

That’s right. Will was recently featured on the late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live. It was a bit Kimmel does in which he tells parents to tell their kids they ate all the Halloween candy on video, and put the reactions on YouTube. Now I know what you’re thinking — “That’s SO mean.” Well, the counter argument is it’s also hilarious. Don’t believe me? Check out the video. Will is at 2:52.

As you can see, the reactions varied. Wildly. And since we pull no punches around here, we can just say what everyone else is thinking: some of those kids are HUGE brats! Now you could argue they’re acting out because they’re being tricked by their parents. However, I say it’s moot. If your kid starts throwing water bottles and haymakers at you simply because his candy is gone, something is rotten in the state of parental Denmark. And the whining from some of the older kids? Yikes.

And even though this is a little underhanded for parents to do, I think it’s a nice test of how your kid reacts to and handles bad news.

Now to be fair, Will did cry. But even though he was sad, he still had the wherewithal to say “I’m not mad” and keep things in perspective. But what I’m really proud of him for wasn’t shown in the Kimmel video, but in the uncut version that I put up on YouTube. Take a peek.

The part I love is towards the end. He already thinks I’ve stolen his Halloween candy, and then I ask him if I can have his future candy that he hasn’t even collected yet. I thought for sure he’d tell me to take a hike, but instead he said “A little bit, sure.”

And that, my friends, is proof that my wife is raising this kid right!

Also, check out this video from a Plainville boy who was also on the show. He’s a really sweet kid and obviously being raised right. Must be a southeastern Massachusetts thing!

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Star Wars, My Son & The Force

There are two things I hate telling people because copping to either one seems to elicit scorn, distrust and general angst:

  1. I don’t drink coffee yet I’m a total morning person
  2. I’ve never seen Star Wars

The latter is especially egregious because I’m a guy. And in case you haven’t heard, guys love Star Wars. A lot. And not just the sci-fi geeks either. Hell, even if I find someone who doesn’t like Star Wars, at least they’ve seen it. But not me.

I don’t really have a good reason, other than my parents weren’t sci-fi people so I never got into the genre growing up. At first I wanted to see it to fit in, but I started REALLY resenting that look on peoples’ faces when they found out I haven’t seen it, along with the all-too-common “What?? You HAVE to see it NOW!” So because I’m just a little bit of contrarian by nature, I made a vow to never see Star Wars just out of spite.

I won’t lie, it was difficult. Star Wars is so ingrained in today’s culture, and there are references to it everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. I’ve heard so much about “the Force,” Luke, Leia, wookies, the Death Star, Vader, Jabba, the Dark Side, Sand People, Jedis, the Empire and why it’s VITAL to remember that Han shot first in the original movie, that I felt like I had already watched the damn thing without ever having laid eyes on it. Plus I’m a Kevin Smith fan and you can’t swing a dead hooker in his movies without knocking into a Star Wars related diatribe.

But it was really put over the top when I started my job last year, and found myself surrounded by some of the nerdiest sci-fi nerds ever to inhabit Nerdville. And, of course, they were all appalled when they found out I’ve never seen the movies. But more than that, they were HORRIFIED I had no plans to show Will the holiest of holy sci-fi films.

But a few weeks ago, Will was playing with a friend who had a lightsaber. He had never seen one, so he asked his buddy what it was. And his friend proceeded to tell him every last little detail about the movies. So of course, Will ran to me and asked me first for a lightsaber, and then wanted to know when we could watch all the movies.

Yikes. The moment I was dreading. But, since I’ve never seen it myself and I didn’t want to seem close-minded, I consented.

As soon as I mentioned this at work, my boss Wendy immediately brought me the first three movies, as well as the Clone Wars cartoon for Will. He devoured them all this weekend. Seriously. This is the kid who can’t sit still for 4 seconds, yet he watched the trilogy in the span of 48 hours. He loves it. Star Wars instantly leapfrogged Spiderman, Batman, Power Rangers and everything else to claim the #1 spot in his entertainment world.

To be honest, I don’t personally think the movies are that great. They’re mildly entertaining and I’m sure 35 years ago they were absolutely astounding. But it doesn’t matter because Will loves it. So because he loves it, I love it.

But I love the cuteness it’s inspired even more. Case in point:

While making Will’s lunch, I noticed I couldn’t hear him playing in the living room. Slightly worried, I walked over to check on him. And that’s when I saw him standing next to the dog — perfectly still concentrating all of his energy — with his outstretched hand pointed at our golden retriever palm down. His face was scrunched up tight with squinted eyes, and it looked like he was muttering something.

I said nothing, I just watched in silence waiting to see what would happen next. Suddenly our dog saw me looking at her and instantly started wagging her tail with the giddy anticipation of an ear-scratch. Will stepped back, smiled, looked at me and said “Dada, I used The Force to make Haley’s tail wag. I’m a Jedi!”

OK…so maybe I like Star Wars a little bit.

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The TV Nut Didn’t Fall Far From the Tree

I love TV. Love it. A lot.

I know TV is a four-letter word for some parents and you’re not supposed to have one in the house or let them watch it until they’re 30, because some mom blogger somewhere read half of an article on the Internet that said someone somewhere had a toddler that watched TV once and automatically had his IQ drop 50 points and he just slumped over and started drooling on himself like Jeff the narcoleptic from The Wiggles. Because we all know Jake & the NeverLand Pirates collaborate with Phineas & Ferb to poison the minds of young kids everywhere.

Needless to say, despite “experts” telling me I’m putting Will in great peril by exposing him to the idiot box, I was raised with the TV on at all times and he’s going to be raised the same way. After all, I turned out fine right? RIGHT??

So yeah, we watch some TV. Movies too. And one of Will’s favorites just happens to be one of my own. So we watch it together occasionally. And by occasionally I mean a shitload. To the point he has started to memorize some of the lines and he and I can recite them together by heart. See if you can guess which movie we’re talking about.

Take careful notice of the umbrella at the end complete with stabbing motions while shouting “DIE! DIE! DIE!” Yup, that’s my boy and that’s some good parenting.

To be fair, TV taught me a lot. Sure I read a lot of books and those helped too, but TV did a lot for me. Mainly it turned me into a bar trivia wiz and exponentially increased my pop culture IQ. Who needs classic literature when you can name every character in Seinfeld and can quote 75% of the lines to each and every Family Guy episode? And yes, Will loves Family Guy. Mainly because that theme song at the beginning of each show is like kiddie crack. They love it.

But just to show you I’m not all about the boob tube, here’s a cute video of Will apple picking last weekend. Sure he was supposed to be putting them in the bag instead of eating them, but we had a good time nonetheless. Enjoy.

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