Friday, March 31, 2006

Family Time

Crazy Train (of thought)

Alec Baldwin is just like the rest of the vane egocentrics who think they are right just because. Corner them in an informed, articulate academic debate, and they cry for mommy.

Quote of the day: “Artichoke fartichoke!”

Rep. Cynthia McKenney is the best explanation for why we won’t ever move to Dekalb County.

I’m not sure how it happened, but the CD “Monkey Business” by the Black eyed Peas has become the soundtrack for our morning commute to school.

Linley offered to copy the Monkey Business CD for me, but I declined, citing copyright law. She thought I was silly until I reminded her I have multiple copyrights that generate royalty revenue, which trickles down to allowance. Funny how clear things become when it relates back to your own pocket.

There are always several versions of the “truth.” You might consider not believing the version no one else believes.

Marital Bliss

A few thoughts today:

Jill and I have a great division of labor. We each do what we can see need be done, and then we help each other until it all is done. Partners, we are, in every sense of the word.

Secondly,

My gal has slender legs up to her elbows. I love watching her get ready in the morning. She is BEAUTIFUL and all mine.

Last, how does she know I love her?

1. I tell her everyday that I do, sometimes as many as twenty-times.
2. I wear my wedding band everyday, everywhere I go.
3. I go nowhere I haven’t first told her about.
4. I always come home when I said I would.
5. I end every day with a statement about how grateful I am that I had another day with her.

Kid-bytes

“Hey, I’ve known you for almost two years now,” Meagan said to Jill last night. It’s true, just over two years have gone by since the day my life took the surprise turn in the road that has made me happier than ever. Once a confirmed bachelor who publicly vowed to never remarry, I had lunch with a high school friend in late January 2004. She brought along a friend of hers, a smoking hot woman named Jill. I fell in love with her within the hour. We wed in December that year and merged our families. I could not have asked for a better experience in putting our families together. I have only to think about last night to find assurance that our girls are indeed siblings, and our home shelters one united family. Meagan’s boyfriend was over for a visit and Linley sat and chatted with them for a long time. After he left she gave Meagan her approval and then sat in the club chair with her. Both squeezed in tight side-by-side, they proceeded to play, poking their stomachs out as far as they would go, making fun of each others’ habits, kidding about who Linley’s first boyfriend might be, planning our summer vacation and more. Jill and I sat and watched them, delighted with what we have done.

Today’s Rant

Since when did the door-to-door fund raisers adopt a sense of entitlement? Sure, they might be passionate about their cause, but that doesn’t mean I have to be. Don’t ask for money and then get indignant when the answer is “No.” Besides, Jill and I have our causes of choice to support and we do, quite generously, thank you.

Book Report

In each of my books I write an Acknowledgment section that gives thanks to people that have helped me with that specific book and in life in general. In the book “Life Maps: Simple Directions for Living” I acknowledged a rather long list of people, some going back 20+ years in my life. Since it came out, a few people have jokingly complained they are not on the list and expect to be acknowledged in a future book. I get a kick out of it, seeing the books become so popular that now even my drycleaner wants to see his name in print.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Traffic advisory

Crazy Train (of thought)

Princess was doing so well; two weeks without hurling, until last night. David, sorry about the shoes, buddy.

Dude, don’t pull your car three feet into the line of traffic while you wait for an opening to enter the lane. If you can’t tell when your hood has exited the parking lot, you shouldn’t be driving!

Linley and I watch the Andy Milonakis Show together. So far, after three episodes, I’ve laughed only once at the show and a million times at Linley. She cracks me up.

I am convinced there is an inverse relationship between maturity level and how often adults use LOL and emoticons in their email.

Who said, “I resemble that remark!”?

Marital Bliss

One of the points I make in the book “Why I Love You” is that the simple things speak volumes when they are sincere and without ulterior motive. The other night I stopped what I was doing to ride with Jill to pick up Linley from the Cotillion dinner. She praised me for wanting to ride along, telling me she had spent so much time alone in the past. “It makes me feel good that you want to be with me,” she said. Then she kissed me with one of those full-body-wrap-around kind of kisses. I would have followed her around the world right then.

Kid-bytes

I was in Oakland Cemetery taking photos of statuary when I happened upon an elderly woman cleaning a grave. “Still giving the love,” I said. She stopped what she was doing and smiled. “Yes,” she said. I chatted with her, telling her of how my family has an annual tradition of cleaning the very old family plot in south Georgia. “I come once a month,” she said. A few minutes later, she got in her car and drove off. I walked to the grave she had been tending and read the marker. I discovered it was her daughter’s grave, that she had died twenty years ago, and that particular day was her birthday. I sat down and cried for a moment, and then pulled out my phone to call Meagan.

Today’s Rant

Only in Atlanta does a yellow traffic light mean “Floor it!” and a red light means “Quick, at least five more can squeeze through!” I’m seriously thinking about strapping old tires onto Meagan’s car for extra padding. May God be with the fool that drives like an idiot and causes an accident that hurts my girls.

Book Report

I love photography. As I’ve taken photos to illustrate my books, I’ve improved my skill and developed my own style. Now I have people asking me to pose for the books, and others wanting to hire me to take their own personal photographs. I’ll take that as a compliment! Although each book has several really great photos in it, I think “Why We Are a Family” and “Brothers and Sisters” are breakthrough books. Every photograph in them is a really good one. I enjoy looking at them, remembering the stories behind each one. One of the things I have enjoyed about writing and photography is getting to know my models. It is an honor to be entrusted with the family history and legacy, to be allowed to witness the moments that are shared between people who only moments ago were strangers to me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More about brains...

Crazy Train (of thought)

I think Princess and I have one thing in common – neither wants the other around. I believe this because yesterday after returning home from a hard workout at the gym, I decided to soak in the tub. I had almost fallen asleep when I heard something bumping across the tile bathroom floor. I looked over and saw Princess dragging a hair dryer toward me.

Bonehead devised a plan to defame and slander me, and then sent me an email detailing the plan. That’s just what I meant when I called him “Dumber than a turkey.”

Some might think I go on too much about my wife. Let’s think about this. I praise her, complement her, thank her and honor her in a world wide public forum. I give her credit for all she does for me and the family and I make clear my admiration and lust for and devotion to her. She loves me in return in abundance, by every measure. Shall I rein in my enthusiasm for my wife in order to placate my readers? Hell no.

A brief neuropsychology lesson: The origin of emotion lies in the limbic system, which in a properly functioning brain, is modulated by the frontal lobes, a process known as a higher cortical function. Those with rage control issues might be said to operate without higher cortical functions, or technically speaking, at a more primitive level. It explains a lot when you think about it.

Sure sign you are dealing with a nut: you’ve encountered someone who doesn’t let the facts get in their way.

Marital Bliss

I knew that Jill has wanted to be a teacher for years, but for different reasons in a different life, she was unable to pursue that goal. When we wed in 2004 I told her to make her dreams real, and she has since secured a position in the local public school system and will finish her second-career education this Spring. I can see the joy in her face when she tells me about her students and when she works evenings and weekends preparing for class. This past weekend we attended a soccer game at the invitation of one of her students. The smile on that child’s face when she realized Mrs. Lang had come to watch her play was priceless. When her team won, I’m not sure who was happier, the student or the teacher. I am thankful for many things, not the least of which is being in a position to encourage my wife to follow her heart. Her happy heart makes mine happy, too.

Kid-bytes

Speaking of happy hearts, Linley asked for batteries for her CD player. I asked a few questions and learned the one she had was years old and missing the power cord. I remembered how much music meant to me as a child, how I wore out a few cassette players and replaced albums over and over again when the vinyl sounded more like snap-crackle-pop than the Allman Brothers at Fillmore East. On the way home from school I made a surprise stop at Target and while she was perusing the new music releases, I sneaked over and bought her a CD player. Thirty-minutes later the house was shaking to the weird lyrics of Fall Out Boy. My ears ringing, I couldn’t help but “go back” as I watched her dancing in the kitchen. ‘Wake up momma, turn your lamp down low. You got no nerve baby, to turn uncle john from your door. I woke up this morning, I had them Statesboro blues.’

Today’s Rant

I’m in a great mood, not a mean spirited one, so I won’t stoop to vulgar name calling or other elementary school antics to make myself sound brave, bold or something else that I need to feel in order to make up for my shortcomings. I’ll just point out to the curious that the deleted comments are from a nut and don’t merit publication. There shall be no further mention of this individual as this blog for I have much better things to write about.

Book Report

I got a copy of the new press kit my publicist has made to announce my sales have surpassed the two million copies benchmark. It included copies of letters I have received from readers, including single dads, dads in jail or rehab, dads/soldiers in Iraq, children of all ages, mothers, grandparents, newlyweds, adopted children, people of all sorts. Each has a unique story, a special request, a memorable moment they chose to share with me, but all have one thing in common. Whether they tell me of the longing or joy in their hearts, everyone, in the end, says the same thing – I want to be loved by those I love. I am saddened that some readers have not had the kind of relationship in their lives that I have described in one or the other of my books, but encouraged and honored that these readers use my books as guide stones for learning how to give to someone what they themselves did not have. I may never get to the number one spot on the New York Times list or invited to sit next to Oprah, but that’s okay. These hand-written letters mean so much more.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Teacher, teacher

Crazy Train (of thought)

The other day I saw a Hummer with those silly spinning hubcaps. Is it not ostentatious enough as is? What’s next, a lift kit?

Why is it that 85% of the time we hear about some nut shooting an innocent and unsuspecting stranger, the incident happened in Ohio?

Hey, Kohler guys. Do you really want to sell some showers? Stop having the couple fight to see who gets in first. Put ‘em in there together.

Marital Bliss

My dear wife is really getting into her new career as a school teacher. In fact, the role has begun to show in all aspects of her personality. For example, today before leaving for work she gave me a list of things she needed me to get for her. She didn’t just give me the list. She reviewed it with me, she held up her fingers to make sure I knew which item she was describing and how many of each she wanted, she demonstrated with her hands how each was to be used, and she gave me permission to call her if I had any questions. How did I get by without her?

Kid-bytes

Both girls are back in the house now, and once more our home is filled with love and laughter. Hugs and kisses everywhere, music playing all the time, dirty dishes in the sink, and a thousand “Will you take me…” questions, but Jill and I love it. As I’ve said, we enjoy our alone time, but nothing is better than having our angels within reach. To help us get through the week when the girls are elsewhere, I have covered a staircase wall with photographs I’ve taken of the girls. Meagan and Linley shopping on Rodeo Drive, both beaming in their maids of honor dresses at the wedding, Linley swimming underwater or sleeping in a hammock, Meagan driving or posing like a supermodel, all moments in time that we have spent together, moments we still talk about and will never forget. Moments that make us a family.

Today’s Rant

I was in Little Five Points this weekend taking photographs of the post-hippie urban life in Atlanta. There was this guy holding a sign about saving the homeless and asking passers-by to give money so he could start a shelter. As each pedestrian declined, he hurled insults at them, calling them apathetic, elitist, selfish and more. Later, when a homeless person approached him and asked for a dollar, he turned his back and walked away, carrying his sign. I’m sure his momma is proud of her little entrepreneur.

Book Report

Yes, Mr. Ima Critic, they are books. That’s why the BOOK buyers from Barnes and Noble BOOKsellers, Borders BOOKS, Walden BOOKS, Walmart, Babies R Us, Target, BOOKS are Fun, and thousands of independently owned BOOK stores, as well as Amazon.com, stock them; that’s why the New York Times and USAToday have had them on thier best selling BOOK list, and why over 11,000 online stores carry them in inventory. A manuscript doesn’t have to be about space ships or how to gut a deer with a can opener to be considered a book. Although, I suppose you are more likely to read it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A brain on drugs

Crazy Train (of thought)

Martha MacCallum, you’ve changed your hair. You look smashing!

More evidence Charlie Sheen is an idiot (as if leaving Denise Richards wasn’t enough evidence) – he thinks the Twin Towers were brought down in a controlled explosion and that truth is being covered up by the government. See what street drugs will do to you? Damage from absinth is even worse. Dead brain cells don't grow back.

I also heard another idiot on the Neal Boortz show talking about how the Twin Towers was a planned training mission for the CIA, that the Pentagon was blown up from the inside, not by a plane, that Flight 93 was actually shot down, Bush is a member of a Satanic cult, and more craziness. My one question to him would have been: “How long has it been since you stopped taking your medication?”

Put this in your fortune cookie: Those who spend their time minding their own business succeed at their business, while those who mind others’ business will eventually see their own business fail.

Marital Bliss

A few days before Valentine’s Day I hide a card over the sun visor of Jill’s car. It was one of several I had to give her on this day celebrating LOVE. Days passed and she made no mention of it, and I eventually forgot it was there. Flash forward – now six weeks later – the phone rings at 7:30 AM. It’s Jill. She usually sends me a text message letting me know she has arrived at work; I grabbed the phone thinking she has had an accident or a flat tire. “I found the card,” she says. “I have an awesome husband.” The cheer in her voice lifted my heart. Some things are just worth waiting for.

Kid-bytes

Meagan has several girlfriends who have been around for years. They spend the night here often, go on vacations and out to dinner with us, and have been photographed for one or the other books. Four of them call themselves my “other daughter.” I have not yet mentioned each of them on the blog. As family dynamics would have it, a little competition is emerging to see who gets mentioned next. Hummm, wonder who it will be???

Today’s Rant

The thing about hate mail is that it is usually pretty funny, the kind of stuff you read out loud at parties. I’ve gotten some nasty hate mail, but it doesn’t bother me. I understand it comes with putting yourself out there for others to see, or in my case, read about. Oh well, you can’t be liked by everybody. Like a wise man once said, “He who has every man as his friend has not himself.” Hey, it’s my blog. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. But then again, even bad traffic is web traffic, and web traffic is click counts, and click counts is publicity, and publicity is more brand recognition, and more brand recognition is more sales, and more sales is more moola for me to spend on my beautiful wife and wonderful kids! Yeah! Thanks for visiting my blog, fans and otherwise!

Book Report

I was asked to write a little blurb for a publication that is featuring my story next month. I thought I would share it with you, too:

“I have been an amateur photographer for many years, going back to the first Kodak Instamatic I found under the Christmas tree when I was in elementary school. Later I was given a 35 mm fully manual camera that I used until I wore it out. Today I am a digital photographer.

Like many photographers, I started by taking family photographs and documenting summer vacations. In high school I photographed anything and everything for the school annual and newspaper. Although I have probably taken a hundred-thousand photos, I always considered myself only a moderately accomplished amateur. That’s why when I had the opportunity to publish my first book in 2002 I turned to a professional photographer to take the photos that would illustrate the book. That book was successful enough to lead to a second, and the same photographer worked with me again to complete it.

The success of my first two books then lead to a multi-book contract to create other books about family relationships. However, by this time the photographer had moved to Chicago and was involved in other projects. Feeling brave, or having a lapse in judgment, I chose to do the photography myself rather than find a new co-author. That is when I began to get serious about photography. In 2003 I purchased my first digital camera, a point and shoot variety, and taught myself to use imaging software in the late hours of the evening.

In the next few years my book sales grew. In 2005 I left my 20-plus year career in healthcare and devoted myself exclusively to writing and photography. Today I am working on my 15th book. I am living the dream – I’ve sold over two million books and have had nearly 500 photographs published. Other business opportunities have emerged that build on my current success and promise even more success.

For the first time in my life I live stress free. I set my own hours, wear shorts and flip-flops almost year round, and get to spend lots of great time with the wife and kids.
My life is good. Very, very good. Can I take all the credit? Absolutely not. So many people have helped me, taught me, encouraged me, and much more. But most of all, the credit goes to God. What I have was given to me in answer to a prayer. To you, Father, goes the glory.”

Friday, March 24, 2006

Little bit of this and that

Crazy Train (of thought)

Finally, a new Lost episode. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought Sun was pretty hot in that little teddie.

I’m feeling philosophical today:

The unfortunate thing about being self-righteous is that you can’t see that you are.

Don’t be eaten up with jealousy. It’ll consume you.

Victory goes to the man who sleeps well and whose enemy stays awake thinking about him.

The terrible thing about regret is that it stays with you, haunts you like a bad smell, infiltrates like an infection, until you let go and move on. Those that don’t move on are destined to fester and reek.

Thy shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife, especially when you have your own to tend to.

Clean breaks heal faster. When one relationship is over, let it be over. In other words, you can’t be involved in a new relationship while you are attempting to hang on to another. Spending energy on an ex-love, be it hate, despite or regret, is hanging on. Let go.

Marital Bliss

To my wonderful wife goes my immeasurable gratitude for giving me a new life. She has helped me to be a better man than I have ever been before, she has healed me. She taught me to overcome my base instincts, to rise above the crippling animalistic impulses that drive most men, to ignore the trite, trivial and tempestuous, and to conduct myself with honor and dignity, to not make a fool of myself. It is because of her that I am finally able to step over rabid dogs rather than kick ‘em in the groin.

Kid-bytes

Jill and I have been planning to take the girls to Maui for our summer vacation this year. We have all talked about it for months, watched travel shows to learn where to stay, and read tourist books to find the best restaurants and adventures. The girls have been really pumped about it. Recently I have been digging into the details and have found that it will take 10 hours to fly non-stop to get there, 14 if we connect. That means two days of our seven day vacation is consumed by travel, and one other day is sure to be required after we get there to adjust to the many time zone changes. Jill and I have asked ourselves, is it worth this many thousands of dollars for what will really be a four day vacation? We decided to bring the girls into the conversation, both expecting lots of wailing of disappointment and begging to go and just deal with it. To our surprise, they almost simultaneously suggested we stay on the East Coast in order to have more time together doing something other than sitting on a plane. Our teenagers said having quality time together is more important than surfing in Hawaii! My blessings increase in abundance everyday.

Today’s Rant

Helen Thomas, you have earned your stripes, I am sure. But nothing you have done gives you a right or prerogative to interrupt the President or presume to know what he thinks and wants. If you are such a mind reader, read mine. Get a new wig. We all know you are nearly eighty.

Book Report

Sometimes when I see that sales of one of the books have dropped a bit, I get discouraged and wonder if anyone likes my work, if I should keep writing. Then, just when I need the encouragement, I get an email that simply blows me away…

“I bought a copy of "Why I Love You" for my fiancé, and I just want to tell you it changed my life. The night I was supposed to give it to her we ended up getting in a rather large fight, one that could have ended us. When I got home later that night I picked it up and read through it. I started to cry harder than I have cried in a really long time. I wasn’t sure if they were tears of joy or tears of sorrow. All I know is that after reading that book I knew I couldn’t lose her, there was no way I would just let her go. I was willing to do anything to keep that one-of-a-kind love, the one you find only once in life. I’m the same as you, I dive right in, go with my heart and ignore my head. My heart will make the choices that are best for me, they may not seem that way at first but they always turn out right. I just wanted to say thank you. Because of your book we are now happily married and about to add a new addition our family.”

Sorry, can’t say more, must go now. I have books to write.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Don't pet the Weasel

Crazy Train (of thought)

Right in the middle of the gourmet dinner Caitlyn asked: “Doesn’t it bother you that lobster tail looks like a brain, and asparagus makes your pee smell bad?” Well, it didn’t until then.

A few questions I have about girls:
1. Can you explain the whole color of white before Easter fashion rule thing again? And who cares?
2. Why does your underwear, which is a third the size of a cocktail napkin, cost three times more than my silk ties?
3. Why is arriving late an acceptable trademark?
4. Is all the squealing upon greeting friends really necessary?
5. What good sense does the “You can’t date him because I once did” code of ethics make?
6. Why spend all that money on “pretty” bras when if worn properly, no one will see it?
7. And why can’t it go in the dryer?
8. How is it that you can see the road while putting on eye make-up when driving?
9. How is it that you can essentially get any man to do almost anything you want, and men can barely get a dog to fetch a stick?
10. Why must you pack two outfits per day, plus two in case of emergencies, for an overnight trip?

Marital Bliss


My dear wife has raised her little fur ball beast to expect a treat after each bowel function. First of all, I don’t get rewarding the animal for doing something she must by do by the necessity of nature. Taking a dump involves no talent whatsoever. Yet that is the way it is, and I desire my wife’s happiness. Thus, I spent weeks trying different dog treats for Princess to find one she would not hurl within 3 minutes of eating it. Well I found one; organic peanut wafers stay down every time. The problem is, the mutt likes the treat so much she no longer does #1 and #2 in the same mission. She goes out for one, returns for a treat, and moments later, barks to go out to complete the duty (or doodie, depending on which came first). All I can say is, I’ve got a lotta love for my wife.

Kid-bytes

Meagan, Linley and I were driving home the other day, Meagan at the wheel, when a black cat ran across the road in our path. “Oh no,” I said. “Something bad is going to happen.”
“You believe in that stuff?” Linley asked.
Meagan suddenly sneezed and green slime splattered onto the dash board and steering wheel. I think it started to glow. Some started to drop off the turn signal stalk and onto the recently shampooed floor mat.
“Yes, I do,” I answered.

Today’s Rant

I know a guy who I will affectionately refer to as Weasel. Weasels are smelly animals, more odoriferous than skunks. They also live underground, eat dead things, and have no friends in the animal kingdom. I know another guy whom I shall call Bonehead. I have chosen this name because he has not an ounce of brains in his head. He is dumber than a turkey but thinks he is smart. From time to time I will act out my repressed aggression toward these two by documenting the antics of Bonehead and Weasel. For example…

Weasel once was married, then became divorced and began dating. Eventually his ex-wife began dating and soon had the desire to remarry. Weasel went berserk. He once said, “I could get my wife back any time I wanted, and I could date whoever I wanted, when I wanted. I had my cake and I could eat it too.” First of all, Weasel, the expression correctly stated is “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” There is a difference, although I’m sure you can’t see it. Secondly, only a selfish egotistical ass would say such a thing and really mean it. Perhaps that is why a weasel has no friends.

Book Report

My daughter was the inspiration for my first book. I wrote it because I realized I did not want her to date a guy who might be anything close to who I was when I was a teenager and young adult. I think a father’s hell is staying awake at night hoping his daughter will find someone who is a better man than himself. My books Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, Why I Love You, Love Signs, and Life Maps are all written with the hope that Meagan and Linley will read them and take the messages to heart, and choose a man that will honor and keep them through thick and thin. I know that these thoughts are not mine alone. I get emails from other fathers who share my concern and hope for their daughters, who would lie down in the road and sacrifice themselves to save their little angels from pain and suffering at the hand of a man who is an animal. Please Lord, I beg of you, lead them all far away from the likes of Weasel.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm a stud!!!

Crazy Train (of thought)

Quote of the Day (from Meagan): “At my age, (almost 16) you should be more worried about your future than your boyfriend.” That’s my girl!!!

Second-best Quote (Caiylyn, Meagan’s girlfriend, as they were getting ready for our dinner out over the weekend): “Shoulders back, boobs out.”

Honorable Mention (overheard at a party recently when a woman was examining a guy’s pecs): “Okay, you’ve seen mine, now let me see yours,” he said. She gladly obliged. “Okay, you win,” he said. “Yours are much better than mine.” I couldn’t help but agree.

If I can get the dog to do her business in the same place everyday, why can’t the women in my house?

Marital Bliss

Some people say Jill and I have the best of both worlds. Because of our custody arrangements, we have our girls for half the month, and then we are alone for the other half. I am not sure this is the best world, as we both would want our angels with us all the time. Yet it is wonderful to have so much time to date my wife. Our strength as a couple is that we truly enjoy one another. When our nest is empty, we are not lost. That is when we switch gears and let the good times roll!

Kid-bytes

Meagan, Caitlyn and I were all decked out for our dinner at one of Buckhead’s high-profile places. I had just come back from the men’s room where I checked myself out in the mirror. “Sometimes I think I look fat, and sometimes I think I’m a stud,” I announced as I sat down.
“That’s what I say,” Caitlyn said.
“About me?” I asked, flattered.
“No, about me,” she answered.
“So you think you’re a stud,” Meagan said, looking at Caitlyn.
“No, wait…” she said, thinking fast. “I can suck my nostrils in and make myself look like Michael Jackson.”

Today’s Rant

Once upon a time I thought Susan Sarandon was smoking hot. That was when I admired breasts over brains (thank goodness Jill has both!). Her anti-Bush anti-war rants in the last few years have caused me to see her in a less favorable light. Now that she is going to play Cindy Sheehan in a movie, I find her wholly undesirable.

And furthermore…

The jurors of the Bill Campbell trial were a pant load of idiots. Now there is a question of whether he can be made to serve his sentence because the jury did not complete a form correctly upon finding him guilty of tax evasion. These are the same people who did not comprehend the phrase “on or about.” These people are complete idiots. Campbell is a bright man. Obviously he did not get a trial by a jury of his peers. Throw the whole thing out, start over, and do it right this time! The man’s a crook!

Book Report

The little book that could keeps going, and going, and going…

“I am a father of four daughters. My oldest has been married for just over a year and they have a daughter.
My son-in-law is a hard working, loving young man. When I saw your book, ‘Why A Daughter Needs A Dad’ the title caught my attention. When I read it, I knew this was a book that I wanted in my family. I bought it for my son-in-law, but I think I really bought it for me. I'll just have to borrow it a lot. You have caught the essence of what my wife and I have lived for over 20 years as we have raised our daughters. Thank you for your insight and validating us on every page.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Black Cat

Crazy Train (of thought)

You take a stunning, outrageously good looking woman and put a cigarette in her mouth, and she loses all appeal for me. I thought there was nothing more unsightly, until the other day. I saw a stunning, outrageously good looking too- sexy-to-describe-in-PG-terms woman roll her window down and then launch an oyster. Yuck. She’s nasty.

On the same trip, I saw a Chihuahua hanging her (wearing a pink fuzzy collar) head out the car window, barking at its reflection in the mirror. It reminded me of a time when one of Meagan’s girlfriends came running back to the table to tell us how she saw a girl in the restaurant bathroom wearing the same dress she had on, only to realize a minute later it was her own reflection in a floor-to-ceiling mirror. “I did that once,” Meagan said. Must be a girl thing.

Don’t you hate it that it can take 10 days to drop 5 pounds but only one night out on the town to put it all back on?

Marital Bliss

Jill brought back a new Minnie doll from Orlando to add to her collection. She’s wearing a green dress and a t-shirt that says “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” No thanks; still looks like a rat to me. But thanks, Jill, for thinking of my heritage when you picked her out. Now you kiss me, grá mo chroí, go síoraí. Here's to you, here's to me, the best of friends we'll always be.

Kid-bytes

Meagan and I were out shopping for a prom dress the other day. As I sat waiting for her to come out of the dressing room, another young lady came out in her dress selection and turned in the mirror for her parents to see. She was absolutely beautiful. I turned to the dad. “I bet it seems like it was only yesterday when she was in overalls and asking you to pick her up,” I said.
“That’s so true,” he said.
Just then Meagan stepped out in her dress, looking equally beautiful. “There’s my little girl,” I boosted.
“They don’t stay little very long, do they?” he said.
“No, not long enough,” I admitted. We looked at each other, sharing in that moment the bond between two fathers devoted to their daughters, struggling to balance pride in the woman she is becoming and longing for the little girl that used to be. He shuffled his feet and cleared his throat. I prayed I wouldn’t start crying. For a split-second I think he wanted to hug me in brotherly acknowledgement.
“Does this dress show too much of my boobs?” one of the girls asked.
He and I stared at each other, not saying it but daring the other to look. We finally grunted, nodded to one another, and turned back to our little girls, our machismo in tact, their dignities preserved, our wallets only moments away from being purged.

Today’s Rant

So what if Osama Ben Laden’s niece wants to be a supermodel. She isn’t that pretty, I’m sure she has to wax her lip, she probably won’t get her freak on, and she’s a whiner. The only reason she is getting air time is because of who her uncle is. And that’s a plus? I don’t get it.

Book Report

Here is an email I received recently:

“I just wanted to say thank you for writing the book WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A DAD. My sister bought it for my husband. I just happened to read through it this morning and found myself crying and smiling. It targets everything a girl needs to grow into a beautiful emotionally rounded woman. It brought back many great memories I shared with my father and still today we have a bond that is truly a blessing in my life. I pray my daughter and husband share those wonderful chapters as she grows.”

I love it when I get this kind of feedback. It makes me laugh when I remember that among the 62 rejection letters I have on file for this book, one is from a female editor for a New York publisher who called this book “an insult to intelligent women.” Over 500,000 copies sold. How intelligent do you feel now, darlin’???

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Warden

Crazy Train (of thought)

Where else can you hear a life story in 4.5 minutes but in country music? Don’t believe me? Listen to Tim McGraw’s “Red Ragtop.” When you’re done crying, you’ll love the stuff from then on. Hey, Tim, call me. I’ve got some lyrics for ya.

Sometimes you do things for your kids and later wonder if they’ll remember it. I took Meagan to see June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash about 5 years ago. At the time, when she was not interested in country music, she didn’t really appreciate who she was watching. Now she talks about how glad she is to have seen them before they died. It’s nice when time is on your side.

Driving home from dinner I looked over at Meagan and she was sniffing her loafers. Huh?

Here’s a change of pace – the Hispanic laborers cleaning off my neighbor’s hillside are listening to Elvis singing gospel hymns. The dude was talented!

Marital Bliss

My sweetie came home this weekend. I was so glad to hear her car coming in the garage, I had to go outside and greet her. I’m sure the kids are embarrassed that I had to kiss her before she could even get out of her seat, but love knows no limits, and in this case, had no patience. I needed some sugar, having been without it for four days. I am addicted to my wife, and I don’t need no curin’.

Kid-bytes

I once told a guy with a little too much testosterone who was eyeing my daughter that I could leg press 700 pounds, quite enough to stomp the brains right out of his head if he tried anything. He didn’t. Since then I am known in Meagan’s circle as The Warden. I like it.

Today’s Rant

Rioting in the streets in France again. Idiots. Listen you Frenchie-wimpy people, the world economy is changing. Nowhere else can you expect to keep a job for two years with no risk of being fired. Get competitive or slip even further into insignificance. China and India are overtaking you. Oh, and your cars suck!

Book Report

I watched the American Inventor with great interest. Some were complete nuts; others were smart and passionate about what they had created. I understand the latter, they reminded me of me when I was trying to become published. I was rejected 62 times before a publisher wanted my first book, and now my life has changed in ways I only daydreamed about but never believed would happen. So my word of encouragement: Don’t give up if you believe.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Church Lady

Crazy Train (of thought)

I hate those commercials with people whining about how they need help to buy food or pay for medications. I know they are actors, but I still want to scream “Did you ever think about saving a little money!”

I disagree with the political position of the Dixie Chicks, but I love their music. They are hot, too. I’ll buy the new CD when it comes out next week.

Barry Bonds, we can’t talk just about baseball when you have bastardized the game with your beloved ‘roids. I hope your testicles shrink.

I saw Darwin at work this morning. There was an idiot changing a tire, parked on a bridge in the middle of the only lane that feeds into the on-ramp of the busiest Interstate highway in GA. Cars were backed up for a mile. If he’s not hit by a car first, somebody late for work is going to shoot him.

Marital Bliss

Two nights of hell = two nights without Jill under the covers with me. I’m glad she is having fun at Disney, but I miss my sweeeeeeeeettttt badonkadonk sleeping next to me. This is the first time in 15 months we have not spent the night together. For some couples, love fades. For us, it grows everyday. For some couples, a little time apart is a savored respite. For us, it is torture. I can’t wait for her to get home tomorrow.

Kid-bytes

I’m taking Meagan and one of her girlfriends into the big city of Atlanta tonight for dinner and an overnight in a sweet hotel. They are excited about us having dinner in one of those places where celebrity sightings are common. Last night Meagan paraded around the house in several different dresses, wanting to know which looked best with her Prada shoes, which twirled best when she turned, which flattered he legs the most. I love it when my girl wants my opinion on something, when she doesn’t think I’m a blooming idiot.

Today’s Rant

I kept telling the guy I was not getting a fence installed, and he kept insisting that I was. He only needed to mark where the underground utilities were, he said, and he would be gone. I begged him to check his paperwork, and I had to trust that he would because I was late leaving for an appointment and couldn’t wait for him to figure out that he was at the wrong address. A few hours later, when I returned home, my yard was painted in lovely shades of fluorescent yellow, orange and red paint. My neighbor, who is getting a fence installed, was outside admiring it. To look on the bright side, at least the fence poles were delivered to the right address. However, they were the wrong ones.

Book Report

Yes, it’s true, authors live for praise. That’s why we, at least I, Google our names once in a while to find reviews or mentions in online content. Just yesterday I found an article in the Reporter-Times, a little newspaper from Martinsville, Indiana (population – 11,698), that describes a woman giving a reading from my book “Why I Love Grandma” to a book club at the local library. I pictured a little old church lady, wrapped in a hand-knitted shawl for warmth, reading out loud and wiping tears from her eyes as she recalled her own grandmother or grandchildren after each page or photograph. In my imagination she looked like Olympia Dukakis.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sake to me

Crazy Train (of thought)

I suppose one of the best things about being a sushi chef is you can drink beer on the job, and your customers buy the beer for you.

I have this song stuck in my head – “there’s a gnat on the worm on the frog on the back of the fish on the log in the hole on the bottom of the sea, there’s a gnat on the worm …”. Now it’s stuck in your head, too, isn’t it.

How do they get sake out of rice? Is it different if they use brown rice?

How come the letter W is one letter, but depending on where in the country you come from, it is pronounced with two or three syllables?

Marital Bliss

Jill is on her way to Orlando with Linley for a Disney Spring vacation. They are huge Disney fans and are so excited about the trip I am sure one of them has wet their pants already. Jill even has a Minnie doll collection as evidence of her devotion to ol’ Walt. The first challenge to our engagement was when she wanted to buy a cabinet to display the collection in the living room of the house. I am a man. If there were going to be animals on the wall, it was going to be a talking fish of something, but not a mouse dressed in a hula skirt. Much discussion later, the doll collection is on a shelf in our walk-in closet, and there are no fish anywhere in the house. However, as a compromise, we did agree that after Princess passes (cannot be soon enough), we’ll have her stuffed and then use her for a door stop.

Kid-bytes

Meagan and I ate sushi last night, reliving one of our rituals we shared before I remarried. As we ate we recalled lots of things we used to do together, and somehow we ended up singing old camp songs, Grease tunes, and Captain and Tennille hits. We did our best to dance in our chairs without distracting others at the sushi bar. It was somewhere around then I noticed our sushi chefs were downing big bottles of Sapporo. I’m sure it was just a coincidence.

Today’s Rant

Admitted sex offender, Andrea Selva was brought up on 20 counts of child abuse for raping and sodomizing two young boys over a period of three years. He was then sentenced only to probation by Ohio Judge John Connor. I think we should shave the good Judge down, rub him in baby oil, clothe him in a diaper, and toss him in a pit of crazed and deprived pedophiles. Maybe after he can empathize with Selva’s victims, he will have a change of philosophy about just punishment for those who sexually assault children. I suppose the problem with my scenario is the Judge is a bald, fat, ugly old man. Maybe if we gave him a baby bottle filled with vodka (he’s an admitted alcoholic)…

Book Report

While taking photos at a friend’s house she showed me her new pet, one of those ugly hairless felines, like Doctor Evil’s cat, Mr. Bigglesworth. “Touch it,” she said. I did. “Feels like a penis, doesn’t it,” she said. Realizing this was a trick question, I asserted my rights under the Fifth Amendment.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Blonde joke

Crazy Train (of thought)

There is a new community of million dollar homes going up nearby. It sits at the foot of an earthen dam holding back acres and acres of water. Whose good idea was it to pick that location?

Don’t those Scientologist wonder why would God have chosen a science fiction novelist to be his messenger?

Don’t buy Citgo gasoline. It’s owned by the Venezuela government, which is run by Hugo Chavez, Cindy Sheehan’s boyfriend.

Marital Bliss

Jill and took a bubble bath the other night. She has a little problem with measurement (don’t even go there) and poured in way too much bubbly. I didn’t see her do it, so none the wiser, I turned on the jets. Within seconds our bathroom looked like an I Love Lucy episode. We tried to salvage the romance of the occasion, but it was a bit of a challenge when we had to push the bubbles aside to see one another. I finally switched gears and played naked hide and seek.

Kid-bytes

“Meagan, do you realize you are driving 85 miles an hour.”
“No, how was I supposed to know.”
“The fact that you are passing everybody might be a clue.”
“Oh, there’s my exit.”
She started to switch lanes. I glanced at the rearview mirror on my door and read “Objects may be closer than Mack,” it read. Mack? Mack truck!
“Meagan, Meagan, Meagan!” I screamed while flailing my hands about, pointing her back into her lane. After my life and dreams flashed before my eyes, I saw that she was back in her lane. “Good God!” I shouted.
“Dad, I don’t know what Meagan, Meagan, Meagan means.”
“It means ‘Oh shit, I am about to die,” I said.
“Good thing I saw him coming,” she said.
Oh Lord, she’s going solo in four weeks. Please give me strength.

Today’s Rant

Carla Martin, TSA attorney, the blonde bimbo who trashed the Zacarias Moussaoui trail, should be held responsible for the legal bill shouldered by the American taxpayers who are now deprived of the ultimate justice because she couldn’t see her way to a victory without committing horrendous blunders by coaching prosecution witnesses. Maybe it was because she couldn’t keep her fake “I’m beautiful” stringy, dyed too-long-for-her-age hair out of her face. Winch.

Book Report

I took more photos of a few women for a book I’m working on, and as usually happens, sometime after they have warmed up to me and the camera, someone asked, “Do you want us to make out?” I love my job.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Real boobs and cat matter

Crazy Train (of thought)

Even dogs take advantage of differences in parenting style. When I take Princess out in the morning, she does her business in the same 3-square feet everyday. Apparently when Jill takes her out, she goes wherever she wishes. I believe this because while doing my first tour of duty Spring cleaning the yard this weekend, I found doggy-dung in five restricted areas. As you can tell, I am the parent who sets the limits.

As I’ve read back over my earlier posts, I’ve become alarmed that so many include a reference to poop.

Meagan told me a story on the home from school about how she stepped into a pile of fresh cat poop and slid across her bathroom floor. I’ll spare you the details.

Marital Bliss

A conversation I overheard between Jill and a neighbor:

“Are those real?” our Neighbor asked.
“Yes, these are mine,” Jill answered, pushing her cleavage forward.
“What size are they?”
Jill politely answered, revealing her impressive dimensions (Let’s just say she will never drown).
“Good God,” the Neighbor said, “I paid six grand to get a pair of those!”

Kid-bytes

It only took four days for Meagan to girlify her new car. I got in it yesterday for her parallel parking practice and noticed the following: pink visor mounted CD case, pink credit card wallet for prepaid gas cards, pink flip-flop shaped air freshener hanging from the mirror, trunk organizers neatly organized, door pocket organizers complete with alphabetized Mapquest directions to her friends houses, and more. Now that she has it all decorated, I hope she doesn’t forget again to come to a complete stop before she shoves it into park. Ouch!

Today’s Rant

Ex-Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell was found not guilty of racketeering and corruption charges. Now he is going around town boosting he was “proven innocent.” Sorry Mr. Bill, just because you got off for raping the city doesn’t mean you are a virgin again. You weren’t “proven innocent,” you were not found guilty due to juror error, as we all well know since their interviews with the press immediately after your verdict.

Book Report

While getting the tour of the newly decorated Meag-mobile, I noticed the glove box was short a map. I told her I would get her a city and county map today. It made me think of my newest book, “Life Maps: Simple Directions for Finding Your Way.” It uses driving lessons as a metaphor for teaching life lessons. Here’s an excerpt:

I know I have to let my child go. I cannot keep her under my wing, not that she would she let me. Yet I asked myself, how do I let my daughter go before I am certain she is ready for what she will face? I thought of Meagan’s fear of becoming lost and my own fear of her losing her way. I suddenly wanted to write down some directions for driving, even for living, and stuff them into the folds of the maps in the glove box. I smiled as I imagined her pulling off the road one day to refer to a map, unfolding it and my hand-scribbled notes falling into her lap. “Don’t drive too fast,” “Follow at a safe distance,” “Keep a diary,” “Laugh often,” and “Come home now and then,” they would say.

Life Maps has turned out to be my favorite book thus far. Please go out and buy one. I may be replacing Meagan’s transmission soon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Dog treats

Crazy Train (of thought)

More reason to believe the good folks in France are pampered little wimpy whiners – riots in the streets because a new law now permits employers to fire employees without notice during the first two years of employment. They just don’t live in the real world.

Jill wants Princess to have a Burberry dog collar. It costs $165. Sorry babe, that ain’t happing until that little dust mop can use the toilet and flush it afterward.

Last night my neighbor and I watched our wives dancing on the kitchen counter. We easily agreed the martini shaker was a worthwhile investment.

Marital Bliss

Jill and I spent all day together Sunday. We were up early, read the paper together over coffee, took a walk through the neighborhood, had brunch with friends down the street, planned menus for the week and went to the market, came home and took a nap, worked together in the home office, made dinner together, sat on the front porch and shared a bottle of champagne, and finally snuggled together and chatted a while before falling asleep, me with my hand on her badonkadonk. For some reason I think Princess is going to get that new collar, whether she can flush or not.

Kid-bytes

Linley left Saturday for a spring break vacation with her grandparents. I rose early to get her up, then made coffee for she, Jill and I as we awaited the grandparent’s arrival. She and Jill were all kissie-face and going on and on about how much they will miss each other while apart this week. Linley usually reserves her affections exclusively for her mother and I have sometimes wished for more than the “Yo, G, you’re all right,” but have come to accept that I will receive only little doses of my step-daughter’s affection. My in-laws arrived, visited briefly, and then we all walked out onto the front porch for the good-byes. Jill and Linley continued their hugs and kisses, and I watched from a distance. Suddenly Linley ran up onto the porch, leapt into my arms and gave me a big hug. I was surprised but delighted, and feeling lucky, I tried to kiss her on the cheek. She turned her head, grunted, wiggled free, and jumped into the car. I smiled at her in the backseat, happy to have gotten her affection but wishing for it more often. As they began to pull away, she rolled down the window and blew me a kiss. I felt it all day long.

Today’s Rant

I love watching little kids play, until one of them has one of those little shopper in training carts gone wild excursions in a store with no parent to be seen for miles. Whose bright idea was it to make those things? I hope they get their toes smashed.

Book Report

I got this email yesterday:

“I just received your book ‘Why a Daughter Needs a Mom’ as a gift from my 11 year old daughter. I read it from cover to cover and wished my mother had read this book. My parents divorced when I was 11 and my mother made the kids choose between them. My dad never acted that way, yet he suffered because of my mother’s conduct. When my husband and I got divorced, we swore that would not happen to our child. Our problems were ours and ours alone. We divorced six years ago, but her Dad sees her several times a week, comes over for dinner now and then and we have spent countless hours on the phone talking about "our" daughter! As I read the introduction, I couldn't help but feel you were describing us. I thank God every day that this man is her father.”

It is mail like this that keeps me writing. I am in a unique position where I get to tell my life story AND have a positive impact on those that hear it. Meagan’s mom and I have our ups and downs, and sometimes it is just plain ugly hard work to get along, but at least we have managed to let our daughter have both of us. We have never made her feel that she can only be loyal to and love one of us. If only it could be that way for everyone.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dog Day Afternoon

Crazy Train (of thought)

I saw the Dog Whisperer on Fox yesterday. The first piece of advice given was to stop humanizing your dogs. “They want to be dogs, not little humans,” he said. Exactly, I thought, I’ll tell Jill. I ran downstairs to the pantry where the doggie wardrobe is kept, bent on tossing them, envisioning a bonfire in the yard blazing as each dress was thrown in. Scooping them up, I made my way into the garage, headed for the trashcan, when the garage door began to open, and my wife drove up. She stopped abruptly and jumped out of the car. “What are you doing with Princess’s clothes,” she demanded. Caught and thinking fast, I said the only thing that came to mind, “Ah, taking them to the drycleaner.” Her eyes lit up. “I knew you loved her!” she said with delight. Dog, 1; Man, 0.

Marital Bliss

Well, I was right. Jill came home last night looking bacon-smokin’ hot. Yesterday I said she looks a lot like Katherine Hepburn just after having her hair done. She does. And on other days? Like Ms. Hepburn crossed with Rene Russo, but with a bit more boobage. Dear Lord, thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon me! And Princess, count your blessings, too, you little stinking, bulimic turd machine.

Kid-bytes

Last night Meagan got her first car, a small SUV with all the trimmings. She didn’t know it was coming, a complete surprise it was. When we drove onto the lot there it was, covered with balloons and waiting for her. She shrieked, jumped, cheered, and hugged and kissed everybody in sight. I handed her a heart-shaped keychain as we walked toward the car. The look in her eyes when she took it from me, the smile across her face, is an image I’ll never forget. I love my kid.

Today’s Rant

If JD Powers wants me to continue completing these 12 page surveys, they need to start sending more than $1 with each one.

Book Report

Yeah, progress! I have finished the first draft of the 100 reasons and half the necessary photographs for two upcoming books, and I am scheduling models for photographs for a third project due next Spring. I’m really getting into the creative aspects of photography and am playing with the idea of finding a gallery to represent me. It would be fun to have a book signing at a gallery on opening night. Still no word on the novel; its floating around NY hoping to find a home. I guess I can’t have everything.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Running naked

Crazy Train (of thought)

No, I don’t want a cookie of muffin with my coffee. If I did, I would have ordered it.

More evidence of Spring: the joggers around here are wearing less and less.

The weight loss plan is back on track. It sucks trying to stay fit.

I meet with some photographers the other day. It was like a scene out of a western movie. Everyone boosted about their zoom lens, the old “My gun is bigger than your gun.” Voyeurs (I didn’t have the biggest gun).

Marital Bliss

Jill is getting a hair cut today. Why am I excited? Well, she never dries her hair, just combs it out and lets it dry. It is naturally curly, beautiful, but very curly, like Shirley Temple. When she gets it cut, the stylist dries it straight and it is then long and full, with a little bounce. She comes through the door looking like Katherine Hepburn. I’ve got candles and champagne ready! Now, how can I make myself look like Gregory Peck?

Kid-bytes

Linley is going on a cruise with her grandparents, Jill’s parents, during her Spring break. They are leaving this coming Saturday. We told Linley we would take her to dinner Friday night to spend some quality time with her before she goes; she gets to pick the restaurant. Of course she chose Chinese, her favorite. I responded only if we went somewhere new for a change. “Only if it isn’t an authentic place,” she said. Well, what would be the point in that?

Today’s Rant

Would you stop calling the USA a democracy! It isn’t! Don’t believe me? Let’s repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. “I pledge allegiance to the flag and the republic for which it stands…” A democracy is a system of majority rule. A republic is a system where citizens vote for representatives who then rule in accordance with law. Thank George, Ben, John Quincy, Thomas and all the rest that we are a republic.

Book Report

I got another letter, this time from a nine-year-old girl who says she and her mom have been having problems, until her mom bought the “Why a Daughter Needs a Mom” book, that is. She said they read it together and she then realized how much her mom does for her, so now she “is a lot nicer to her.” I love fan mail. When I am old and wondering if I accomplished anything with my life, I’ll read these letters again.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Twice burned

Crazy Train (of thought)

Men who act out their aggression toward their ex through their children have enormous egos but small private parts and even smaller brains.

Teaching is the art of raising good questions and challenging students to think differently through considering hypothetical scenarios. It is not a license to stand on a soapbox and indoctrinate a captive audience.

Spring is coming. Ladies, if your child is still in diapers, keep ‘em out of the pool unless it is your own!

I have a cast iron stomach; I like my food spicy HOT HOT HOT. I had Korean for lunch and Ethiopian for dinner yesterday, and am looking forward to Thai for lunch today. If only my rectum was as tough as my gut.

Marital Bliss

I was taking photos of a friend of mine who had invited a few of her other friends to pose with her. As she introduced me she said, “he cooks, he takes care of the kids, and he worships his wife.” Yes I do. I worship my wife. She has given me so much to be happy about. I am truly blessed to have a woman in my life who cares for me like Jill does. I feel her love everyday. I was highly complemented that someone else sees how much I love my wife. I want it to be obvious to all. I want Jill to move through her day with the knowledge that I can’t wait for her to come home to me.

Kid-bytes

Meagan and I are in conversation about purchasing her first car. We are looking at small SUVs and she was asking me to explain 4-wheel drive and whether it is necessary for her. After some technical explanation, she summed it up with “I guess it depends on whether I want to go redneckin’ or just city-slickin’.

Today’s Rant

I’ve raised Meagan to speak her mind, but always with respectful tact. I think I am in the minority with that value. I see so many kids and teens today who have no respect or deference to others, particularly elders and public servants. We are raising a bunch of Churls in America. Maybe we should go back to the time when an adult could grab a kid by the ear and get the message across rather than get child protective services in their business.

Book Report

Once in a while I get fan mail the old fashioned way, delivered by the post office. These mean a lot to me because it suggests someone went to the trouble to locate my address, write the letter, and get it delivered. I got such a correspondence yesterday from a 23 year-old dad. It seems he has had some bad luck, taken a few missteps, and is now in rehab for drug addiction. He has a child less than a year old, one he didn’t think much of or make a priority in his life, until someone sent him my book, “Why a Daughter Needs a Dad.” He writes that he now has a new vision for his life, a mission to guide him, a drive to get sober and attend to his daughter. He included a photo of his child with the letter. It had pin holes in the corners, making me think it was his photo that until this letter, had hung on a bulletin board for all to see. I can’t tell you how much I now prize that photograph, knowing that a father somewhere now wants to be a better dad to his child, and has committed himself to that goal in his letter to me. He has a beautiful child, and I pray for him as he stands up to his challenges, for her.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A little dab will do ya

Crazy Train (of thought)

I hope to be independent for many, many years, but I also hope if I cannot drive more than 15 miles an hour or turn a corner in less than 20 minutes, my children will take my license away from me.

Emerging celebrity has its downside. I’m getting mail from people who want me to help them write their book – after they get out of prison or rehab. Yikes!

Why is it boxes of Girl Scout cookies are on every corner each and every time I am on a diet?

Men are very simple creatures to manipulate. Promise us more money, fame or sex, and we will do almost anything for you.

Marital Bliss

As I write this Jill is seated behind me at her desk, busy with her after school teacher duties. She doesn’t realize I can see over her shoulder, or that I can see what she’s doing. She’s multi-tasking, spending a little time preparing a test or teaching notes, a little time on a chat board where other women talk about the wonders of their dogs, and a little time shopping online for a new dress for, guess who, the dog. She’s been asking me to increase the clothing budget to accommodate Princess’ wardrobe. Wait a minute, now Jill is looking over my shoulder.

20 minutes later.

OK, I’m back. Jill just negotiated an increase in the clothing budget.

Kid-bytes

My neighbor, his friend, and I, had lunch together the other day. My neighbor and I have daughters, his friend, boys. His friend got caught checking out the waitress. My neighbor and I agreed that having daughters changed the way we looked at and thought about women. His friend asked why. My neighbor summed it up beautifully. He said, “When you have a son you only worry about one penis. When you have a daughter, you worry about all the penises.”

Today’s Rant

So, the guy in NC said he ran over the other students to avenge the manner in which the US is treating Muslims. Is there really a debate about whether this is a hate crime or an act of terrorism? Must we get shot first before we realize the guy with the gun in our face intends to hurt us?

Book Report

I received this in an email yesterday:

“I feel so blessed to have this girl in my life; I strive everyday to be a better father than the day before. Since she has entered our family, my wife and I sleep a lot less, but are way more content with our lives. We both loved your book. Sometimes it takes someone to point out the obvious for us to realize what we don’t see ourselves. Thank you very much for now being a part of our family.”

I read it to Meagan, and she cried along with me. It is so touching to see that the first book I wrote, the book about my daughter, is still touching fathers today, four years after it first hit shelves. A philosopher once said all men seek immortality, but when they realize they won’t live forever, they leave something to be remembered by. I am proud that at least for a while, my books serve as my mark, my evidence that I did something worthwhile in my lifetime.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Celebrity sighting

Crazy Train (of thought)

I love to listen to classic rock radio. The other day Meagan and I were driving along and the song “Who Are You,” by The Who, came on. Meagan squealed, “I love this song, listen, it’s the CSI song!” Just when you think you were going to be cool…

I agree with Somebody that the worst kind of buggers are those that block your nasal passage and you are in a place where you can’t pick it out. It’s even worse if it whistles when you breathe.

Isn’t it funny that those young Turks who rail against capitalism are always wearing the latest trend setting shoes and lots of bling-bling.

I’m beginning to think the reason I watch Fox News all day long is because they keep finding new unbelievable hotties to report the news.

Marital Bliss

There is a moment in our church service when we are asked to turn to someone and greet them. Jill and I always turn to each other and have a big hug. I can’t help it; she’s irresistible.

Kid-bytes

I took the kids to target to buy a pack of pencils and two 3-ring binders. How did we manage to leave with that and three CDs, game software, mascara and a new bikini? All I got was a pack of mints.

Today’s Rant

What has happened to manners? When did women stop saying “thank you” when a man holds the door for them, why do people not reciprocate a “Good morning” to a passing stranger, and why, pray tell, do people not say thanks after receiving an unexpected gift? I was raised better than this. I keep thank you notes in a drawer and I use them. Sometimes I call instead of write, sometimes I do both. I answer every email I receive, promptly. I arrive on time. I wait for all to be served before I put my fork in my food. Am I a relic, old-fashioned, old-school, arrogant and snobbish? Or courteous and polite? Call me what you will, but I’ll be dead before I fail to acknowledge the grace offered me by another.

Book Report

We had a brief moment of celebrity Saturday night. I took the wife and girls to dinner at a hot spot in Atlanta. Half-way through our meal we noticed a table of ten adults sitting nearby. They were all from our neighborhood, and many had attended the party Jill and I hosted to celebrate Valentine’s Day. During the party I gave a copy of my book “Love Signs” to each female guest. Two women around this table yelled out “We love your book!” A brief exchange ensued and soon may ears tuned in. It was fun for a moment, watching others at surrounding tables try to figure out if I was a “somebody.” As long as my wife and daughters think so, then I am.

Friday, March 03, 2006

To me, it's all about "us".

Crazy Train (of thought)

Whatever happened to the expressions dad-gum-it and dad- blame-it?

The funniest thing about watching reality television is hearing the stuff people will say without realizing they will have to live with it later. Just the other day, after escaping a scary experience, some church lady said “I just crapped a big load of turds.” Nice, grandma.

Jill tells me of a news story she saw about a Chihuahua that was trained as a police dog. Yeah, that’ll keep criminals on the straight and narrow path.

Call me a cynic, but I think high school students who stage a walk-out are more interested in skipping class than making a valid political statement.

Marital Bliss

Jill and I recently overheard someone say “I’ve been a wife for x number of years, and a mother for x number of years, now it’s time to be me.” We looked at each other and simultaneously agreed that “being me” is being a spouse and a parent. There is nothing about our relationship with each other and our children that deprives us of personal fulfillment. Call me naïve, call me romantic, but I just didn’t get the “me” thing without the “us” thing.

Kid-bytes

When Meagan arrives for her stay at my house, it takes me at least two trips to get all her stuff into her room. This is a big deal to me because her room is on the third floor of a house with 12 foot ceilings. She packs for “just in case,” rather than only what’s necessary. Just this week she arrived with eight coats. It’s been in the high 60s all week and she attends a school that has a dress code, one that allows only the school coat to be worn on campus. Ohhh, my aching back.

Today’s Rant

It’s the weekend, and I am in the best mood. There is nothing to rant about. Enjoy your time off!

Book Report

I’m working on a book about best friends. Yesterday I was taking photos of more lovely women (I’m seeing a trend here) who are dear friends to one another. I had them sitting together on a couch toasting one another with Mimosas. I had a great time with them and took lots of photos, but when I got home I was disappointed to find that some of the shots were out of focus. Note to self – do not drink the props until the shoot is finished.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Nerd Love

Crazy Train (of thought)

I agree with those who say J. Howard Marshall had a right to marry gold digger if that’s what he wanted to do. I also believe that those who marry for money usually end up earning every penny.

I think it’s a shame more people would rather watch car chase coverage on the news than a presidential address.

Who are those daredevil idiots who try to snake their cars across three lanes of traffic to make a left turn rather than go one block to the right and make a U-turn at the traffic light?

Meagan seems a bit disturbed a salesgirl at Victoria’s Secret knows me by name. Hey, I like to bring home a little sexy something-something for Jill now and then.

Marital Bliss

Jill thinks we have Nerd Love. Linley agrees with her. I’m not sure how I feel about this….

Kid-bytes

I’ve learned that if the conversation with your daughter lulls, ask what’s going on in Desperate Housewives. She’ll talk so much you’ll want to take a nap afterward.

Today’s Rant

I had a conversation recently with someone who thought the “wealthy” have a moral obligation to pay a higher percent of the US tax burden because they are better able to provide resources for the “less fortunate.” Moments later she started telling me how she has learned to take advantage of certain things to minimize her own tax liability. So in other words, “You should pay the taxes needed to fund the social programs I endorse, but don’t ask me to do the same.”

Book Report

My new book, “Life Maps: Simple Directions for Finding Your Way,” arrived on the doorstep yesterday. It is a beautiful book about all the little lessons a parent hopes to teach a child before he or she leaves home. I read it and fell in love with it; its message is so deeply personal and emotionally powerful to me. Meagan and Linley didn’t read it but instead inspected their photos with a magnifying glass and complained about their blemishes, which to me were not noticeable but to them were larger than our house. Jill stopped at the photo of Princess, and mesmerized, managed to say through tears of joy, “Princess, you need an agent!” Such is life at home for an author.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"I bought you a Lexus!"

Crazy Train (of thought)

Well, I am disappointed to confess that I did not shed any weight in February. The good news is that I am still ahead of my timetable because of the pounds I lost in January. I added 15 minutes to my treadmill time today, and will keep that up. Hope it works.

The AJC still has not called. Funny, I do radio interviews all over the country and have articles about the books appear in all sorts of papers in the US, but my hometown has no interest.

My cousin Marie Brown walks for a breast cancer fund raiser every year because, she says, “I can’t walk away.” We all love her.

Marital Bliss

Some people think public affection is sickening to watch. I guess it is a matter of degree. I don’t want to watch someone’s full-on make out session either, unless I could arrange it between, well, never mind. But little gestures of public affection are sweet, even inspirational. I always open the car door and gym door for Jill, we hold hands when we walk across the parking lot, we work out together and cheer one another on, and we kiss at the end of every workout. I leave the gym with my hand on her back. The folks behind the counter always smile at us; they think we are a sweet old couple. Ah, I’m only halfway to ninety!

Kid-bytes

Somehow Linley and I got on the subject of how we would want to die. We agree that passing in your sleep is the best way to go. Number Two would be in an explosion, because it would be quick, and we both like fireworks.

Today’s Rant

I know of a guy who thinks that just because he bought his wife a Lexus, he owns her and has a right to expect nothing less than total compliance with his wishes. I hope that Jill and I are leaving our girls with a different understanding of what they can expect in marriage. I hope they would kick the shit out of a man who would treat them like property.

Book Report

Here’s an email I received last night:

“Today is my 16th birthday. I am not big on birthdays, but my family makes me celebrate them every year. Tonight I had a party with my family, and while I was opening my gift from my mom, it was you book, "Why a Son Needs a Mom". At first I didn't think much of it and rested it aside to open my other presents. At the end of the night when everybody left, I was thinking about how lucky I have been in life to have such a great family. My family is the best. We are all so close and love each other so much. I was thinking about how much I loved my family and how lucky I am to have them, so I sat down and read your book. I started to cry because I realized how much my Mom means to me. We were very close as kids but have grown distant over the last few years. I just wanted to say Thank You because I haven’t thought about how important that she is in my life in a long time.”