Friday, March 21, 2008


The following is an actual conversation:

Ethan: "Papa, don't forget you can't eat meat on Friday."

Me: *Staring quizzically at boy child* "erm, what?"

Ethan: "Yeah! You aren't supposed to eat meat this Friday."

Me: *My brain's department of birthdays/holidays/anniversary's brings a notice to my upper consciousness and understanding dawns on me* "No meat, eh?"

Ethan: "Yep that's the rule."

Me: *never missing an opportunity to make a child of mine think a bit more" "Tell me Ethan, from where did this rule come from?"

Ethan: "Ummm, I dunno. They've been talking about it all week at school."

Me: "Were your teachers saying that?"

Ethan: "No, the other kids were."

Me: "Did they say 'why' it was important to skip meat on this Friday and not next Friday?"

Ethan: "No."

Me: "Ethan, you barely listen to any of the requests your mother and I ask of you. So why would you care so much a bout a rule that kids at school spout to you when you can't tell me the origin of this rule and the necessity for it?"

Ethan: "Well they said it's really important!"

Robert: "Indeed? Well please tell me why."

Ethan: "Well...."

Robert: "Did your teachers say anything about this rule?"

Ethan: "No."

Robert: "Did your mother or I say anything about any such rule?"

Ethan: "No."

Robert: "Do you really think it's important that you follow a 'rule' that some children in your school is important? Yet I, your mother and your teachers have said nothing about it."

Ethan: *looks pensive* "Well what the heck are they talking about then?"

Robert: "Christians refer to this coming Friday as 'Good Friday', certain segments of the Christian tradition feel it necessary to abstain from meat on that day because 'Good Friday' is the day that Jesus Christ was killed. But it's not really a rule, unless you observe that tradition. "

Ethan: *eyes wide* "What would be good about that!?"

Robert: "The reasons for why they call it 'Good' are....complicated... and a very long story, you'll learn more about it soon."

Ethan: "Does this have something to do with God?"

Robert: "You could say that, yes."

Ethan: "Why would God care whether or not I eat meat on Good Friday?"

Robert: *smiling slightly* "I don't know. What do you think?"

Ethan: "I think people can do some weird things for God."

Robert: "Amen, E-man, amen indeed...."


Thursday, March 20, 2008

This just in...

Report: 32% Of Prayers Deflected Off Passing Satellites

HOUSTON—According to an official NASA report released Saturday, nearly 32 percent of all prayers exiting Earth are deflected off satellites orbiting the planet—ultimately preventing the discharged requests for divine intervention from ever making it to the Gates of Heaven. "After impact with the satellite, these diverted prayers typically plummet back into the atmosphere, where they either burn up or eventually land, unanswered, in a body of water," the report read in part. "Of the remaining prayers, research confirms 64 percent fail to make it past the stratosphere because they aren't prayed hard enough, 94 percent of those with enough momentum are swallowed by a super massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and 43 percent are eaten by birds." The report concluded that, of the 170 billion prayers issued last month, one made it to God, whose reply was intercepted by a hurricane and incorrectly delivered to a Nigerian man who reportedly did not know what to do with his brand-new 'Bowflex' machine. original link

What?! My world is falling apart! Is that why I never got my GI-Joe with the kung-fu grip? Damn you NASA! I would be a devout Roman-Catholic to this day if it weren't for your nefarious plans!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The fairy tale of modern chemistry!

Much like Evolutionary theory, even the well established science of chemistry goes through revision and refinement. This is what science does!


That was the longest hour and a half I've experienced in a while....

I come home and Libby and the boy are sitting on our love seat in the living room watching "National Treasure'. I greet them both pleasantly as I walk in and proceed to the kitchen where my wife is dutifully preparing our dinner and supervising the younger children as they eat theirs. I greet her and she raises her eyebrows in the direction of the living room. side note: My wife doesn't care for him either.

After stowing my attache case, I rejoin the young couple and it's then I notice the boy has on his
'Red Sox' T-shirt. OK, fine. He's reveling in his support for the home team in spite of the knowledge that both my daughter and I revile them. I'll let that slide. I sit down and watch the movie with them for a while. As I am watching I listen to their conversation.

Something occurs to me at this moment. Teenagers are the most insipid and naive people on the planet! Wow! Did I really sound like this 25 years ago? No wonder my father wanted to kill me. These two knew everything, their teachers are stupid, they have ALL the worlds problems figured out and the rest of us are too clueless understand. During dinner the boy bragged about some many different things I had to suppress the gag reflex on several occasions. Perhaps it was just nervousness on his part so I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

In summary...I'm not this kid's biggest fan but I suppose I'm not required nor expected to like my daughters boyfriends. Personally, I don't see what she sees in him, she could do much much better. Though I suspect the boy's Mom feels the same way about my daughter.

Grin and bear it I guess?

How many more of these damned things do I have to look forward to?


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Enemy at the Gates!

It was bound to happen. We both knew it was coming. As a father of a teenage girl you are never quite prepared when your daughter is going to bring home a friend of the male persuasion! Libby and this boy have been 'dating' (1) for a few months now.

I've yet to exchange more than 10 words with the boy. The interaction has been limited to pleasantries. I felt no need to honor him with any more than that as I consider him nothing more than a nuisance. A pest if you will. Something that you take measures to ensure doesn't infiltrate your happy home, much less your daughters bedroom! Unfortunately as this 'relationship' my daughter has with 'Brendan' (2) has lasted longer than time between oil changes, my wife has suggested it is time to bring the boy over for dinner. To serve him dinner, NOT to serve him as dinner, which is what I had hoped! That dinner will take place in no more than 8 hours.

To be fair, I'm sure that Brendan is at this very moment sitting in his eighth grade classes going over all manner of scenarios which involve him meeting some untimely and unpleasantly gruesome end at the hands of the father of his infatuation. I've gone out of my way to cultivate around myself an air of mystery and uncertainty. Let's be honest it is a good thing when your daughter's male friend doesn't know what to make of the father of the lass he's set his sights on.

I'm not at all worried about this 14 year old boy engaging in some sort of physical act with my daughter, he will not have such an opportunity with my daughter for at least two years. My wife and I are realistic parents. We know that our children will go through the same hormonal urges that we did. Neither one of us has any delusions that we will be able to stop any of our children from engaging in sexual activities forever. But it won't be happening anytime soon and certainly not at the age of 14! We have made it clear to out eldest daughter that there will be NO possibility of unsupervised dating until she is a sophomore in high school. Even then such a scenario will not come to fruition unless we have met and approve of the boy AND her grades warrant the privilege.

What most concerns me most, at this very difficult age in my daughters life, is her feelings. Boys are boys. I was a 14 year old at one time. I know what was going through my mind. I know that a boy in his teens does not generally think clearly or rationally when it comes to matters of sexual politics. I cannot divine what is going through Brendan's mind nor would I try to. What I can do is work to allow my daughter to remain a girl as long as she can and to try to minimize the heartache anybody would try to inflict upon her. Libby WILL have her heart broken, it is as inevitable as is growing up. But my wife and I would try to spare her that pain as long as possible.

So, I will behave myself tonight during dinner. I will smile, I will engage this lad in conversation about which team will emerge the winner of the American League Eastern division, my and my daughters beloved New York Yankees or those second rate pretenders he loves: the Boston Red Sox! I will treat with him over his interests and what right now he sees himself doing with his life.

By the end of the evening the following facts will be abundantly clear to him:

1. The New York Yankees ARE and will ALWAYS BE the superior team.

2. I love my daughter very much.

3. I am generally an eminently reasonable man.

4. Going out of his way to knowingly hurt my daughter, emotionally or physically, through action or inaction, would be a grave error and will render fact #3.....null and void.

5. No God he believes in will save him if he forgets fact #4.

I'll let you know how it goes!

(1) If you would call going to see movies under the strict supervision of either my wife OR the male's mother.

(2) Brendan is NOT a boys name it's the make of a major appliance! (apologies to Jon Cryer, in the 80's movie "Pretty in Pink")