Let’s Get this Regret Party Started!

Hunt and Peck? Good luck.

Hunt and Peck? Good luck but bring the carafe of coffee, Pandora Radio, Jim Beam, daddy's going to need it!

Punditdad has an inner image of himself, much like you, the valuable reader has an image of yourself. We have visions of our lives–both in the future and in the past.  Although we live day to day, we see the possibility of many paths before us and our choices in taking them.  Sometimes we are happy about those choices, sometimes we regret them or put them aside for another day.  When we put those choices or dreams or goals aside for too long, what happens to them? Do they disappear or become disappointments? I’ve been thinking about those goals and maybe making a few new ones that have been sitting around in the shadows.

I started this blog to start writing and to help me think about the challenges to being a parent, and as a corollary, the issues that surround our policy to families and children as I began helping raise our first.  There is still a huge election in 40 days and the movement in Washington DC is furious. I don’t feel right now that i can tell you anything about the current situation except to watch the debates and you knew that didn’t you?

Here’s how my recent trouble started. I try to go to other blogs and leave funny, snarky and playful comments and compliments so other bloggers will come to my site and send some of their readership my way. It’s also helpful to see what people are thinking about parenting though most have children older than the Bean.  The other day I left some brief comments on Mr. Lady’s site Whisky in My Sippy Cup when she talked about writing a book here. She mentioned the term NaNoWriMo but I didn’t click on the hyperlink so I didn’t really understand what the hell she was talking about. You know, you read a word but it doesn’t register and you don’t think about it.  In fact, though I read her blog entry, I didn’t UNDERSTAND it.  I had thought about writing a screenplay recently and was starting to read movie screenplays and their “inner workings” but her novel idea went WHOOSH right over my head. Didn’t care, didn’t notice. Move. On.

Yesterday somehow, in that serendipitous way the internet works, I found my way to THAT NaNoWriMo site through another link and was entranced. You can see it here. I swear the friggin Internet gods have a plan man!

What’s the point of NaNoWriMo? All those lazy asses out there who say they have one good book in them need a way to get it out of them and put it to paper in 30 days. To unleash the shackles of all the “could have’s” and put 50,000 words down no matter what. Doesn’t have to be Cormac McCarthy or even Jackie Collins, but it’s gotta be the length of a novel.  I love it. Fuck. Yes.

Aside: Wednesday I went to the doctor as a regular checkup. Because I have a specific condition that needs consistent monitoring so it’s pretty normal for me to see the Doc about every 4 months. I came through with flying colors and left elated. Not only was I doing great but I was thinking about how much better physically I had/could become, even better than I am now (which is the best shape I’ve been in my life).  I’ve recently started thinking about running the San Diego Rock’n Roll marathon next spring. It wouldn’t be my first marathon, in fact it would be my 3rd! My other times were sucky but when you run a marathon, it’s usually 26.5 miles further than a lot of other people have run and it’s something you never forget…and certainly never regret.

So here I am at NaNoWriMo after thinking about running the San Diego marathon. Could I write a novel in 30 days? Could I run a marathon in a few months? Fuck ya. The novel wouldn’t be worth the .txt file it’s written on but for the rest of my life I would be a novelist just like I’m a marathoner.   My marathon time, if I ran a good race would be over 4 hours.  Good enough. In the American way, I tried to solve my obstacles through purchasing–I bought some crap to help me out. Already have the marathon books somewhere.  I ordered the book they suggest on Amazon for NaNoWriMo entrants, a week by week accounting of what to do and how much to write. They suggest 20,000 words in the first week. I can do that. This blog reads at 500 words and it’s taken me 20 minutes to type.  Glass half full you know?

Am I fooling myself that I can do both?

Do we set goals to keep us going or do we really believe in ourselves? Follow through is the critical step right sports fans? As a the Butthole Surfers say, “it’s better to regret something you have done, than to regrets something you haven’t done.” Let’s get this regret party started!

I have an idea, a plot and a storyline. Just need scenes and to construct how the characters think. I need to start running and get some new New Balance shoes. There’s a lot of work to do and little time to do it. Thankfully the bean sleeps 4 hours a day and 12 at night straight through. I’ll keep the 2 or 3 people who read this blog updated on the book, the training and the bean as it continues. Thanks for reading my blog. If you would like your blog on my blogroll, email me at punditdad@gmail.com.

F*ck you: Cursing and Parenthood

Talking to PunditMommy the other night while watching Rachel Maddow, I brought up the subject of blogging about swearing.

“So, are you pro or anti-swearing?” she said.

“Pro, I think” I said.

“Nice, you’re a great example to your daughter”, then she gave me that “yer crazy” look and continued to read Newsweek.

Those of us prone to having a salty mouth have much to consider after having a child.  Do swear words have a place in our society out of the mouths of babes? Fuck no. On the other hand, do swear words have an appropriate place in the mouths of daddies who are pissed off at idiot drivers, lack of wipes or beer-less refrigerators? I think so. But let me build my case.

Editor’s Note: If you don’t get a distinct pleasure out of swearing then none of this will make sense. I suggest you go to YouTube and find your favorite Pat Boone concert video and take a nap with Prince Valium. You and I have nothing in common.

If you, on the other hand, feel the need to call someone a M*THERF*CKER! at the following instances, please continue reading:

1) Car passes you in left lane, gets in front of you in your lane then immediately takes right turn forcing you to slow down. M*THERF*CKER!

2) Dude/Dudette walking in front of you approaching door to retail/gym/coffe…too fast to pass but too slow for comfort, talking on cell phone about getting drunk at TGI Friday’s last week, probably works at AIG or Lehman. M*THERF*CKER!

3) Person abandons cart in middle of store aisle, goes to other aisles forcing patrons to move said cart. M*THERF*CKER!

4) Any parent who yells irrationally at their children in public or spanks in public (also, parents who let children drink condiments off table, i.e. catsup, mustard). M*THERF*CKER!

These are just some examples of instances in everyday life that drive me crazy. Do I swear in all instances? No. Do I have an anger management problem? No. But are those instances where humanity is de-evolving because of idiots and a profane, self-exclamation might be an option? Fuck yes. Most imbeciles in life cause the most damage behind the wheel of a car or on a cell phone or both.  Behind the Orange Curtain, these types of crimes against humanity are common place but incredibly unacceptable.

Now that we have appropriate M*THERF*CKER! instances. Let’s talk about how this changes when the Darling Daughter (DD) is inserted into the equation as well as some awkward, unanticipated moments.  First, Punditdad has to concede that everyday swearing must be eliminated — this is where terms like “asshole”, “shithead”, “dipshit are thrown around in casual conversation in the presence of the  DD.  For example:

PUnditdad: “Did you see that dipshit defending John McCain’s economic plan today in the NYTimes?

Punditmommy: “Don’t swear in front of the baby!”

Point taken. Unnecessary swearing is a hard lesson to learn, but Punditdad has reconciled that it’s necessary.  Could I have said “jerk” instead of “dipshit”? Certainly and that’s something I need to learn. The thing with swearing is that the words are precious diamonds and rubies of filth, not everyday nouns/verbs. They spill forth with great satisfaction because they are self-rationed.  Although Punditdad thinks that the word “fuck” itself is more powerful than “mutherfucker”, he thinks anything that incorporates Richard Pryor’s favorite noun, verb and adjective is probably off-limits.

But don’t think that Punditdad’s DD is going to grow up to be a “fucking redneck” like Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin’s new beau — someone who, in his own words, likes to “do some fishing, shoot some shit and just fuckin’ chillin’ .” and, if pushed will also, “fuck with me I’ll kick your ass.” Not quite. The difference between Profanity Pete here is that he uses cursing as a substitute for his own masculinity and judgment. Nobody told him when it’s appropriate to curse and when it’s appropriate to use the English language.  Certainly not use such language when the WORLD MEDIA descends on your MySpace page. Jerk.

Now, you may be thinking that Punditdad is an elitist that approves of cursing for other people, including DD, behind closed doors, in post-modern rock bands and in Bukowski poetry or at famous institutions of higher learning. Bingo! The Bean has permission to swear up a storm after 18 if she a) is getting straight A’s in her first year of Harvard, b) is a high school dropout who has become the lead singer for a Rolling Stones/Grand Funk type post-modern art rock band and/or c) becomes the first young Poet Laureate of the Obama Administration and utilizes cursing as a statement on the destruction of the Wall Street era and the rise of Marxism. I can overlook those instances.

But life has a way of sending in curveballs that you don’t think about or expect. The other day I was cranking the stereo with DD in the car seat the other day and this song on my mp3 player came on.  It caused me to think:

Dr. Dre “The Chronic” Fuck Wit Dre Day

Yeah, Mista Busta, where the fuck ya at?
Can’t scrap a lick, so I know ya got your gat
Your dick on hard, from fuckin your road dogs
The hood you threw up with, niggaz you grew up with
Don’t even respect your ass
That’s why it’s time for the doctor, to check your ass, nigga

Ouch! Although there are legitimate lessons in loyalty to thug life here, there’s some real tough language that, when you put your PARENT hat on, you can’t really ignore.  Now, after reading some more lyrics Wu-Tang Clan, NWA and Soundgarden, I’ve determined most of it I can’t play in the car. Most of the music Punditdad listens to, the lyrics are often indecipherable to me anyway, so I don’t see how she could hear them but some rap and hiphop is crystal clear and might be too much for a kid trying to learn “Dah-Dah”.  Let the music self-censorship begin!

So, until DD is older and can download her own filth she might have to hear the occasional “lite” swear word when Punditdad sets the hammer on his hand, the toilet overflows or he spills coffee on the clean white shirt. I’m going to try, try, try to keep the bad words for when she’s asleep or out of earshot. I know Punditmommy is there to support me and “help” me when I need comfort and reminding!

I’m wondering if you use the occasional language now and then and if so, is it ever in front of the kid/baby/young-ins? How important is it? Does it drive one spouse crazy? What’s acceptable and what’s not? Spill!

So a SAHD and a baby go to a store…

Bean sits in the Ikea return lounge -- just another stop in the life of a SAHD and a baby.

Bean hangs in the Ikea Return lounge -- just another stop in the life of a SAHD and a baby.

SAHD life includes a considerable amount of shopping. This is compared to the pre-SAHD life that many noble gentlemen have led in the past — an existence relegated to the 7-11 for supplies and cold beer.  But SAHD life is dramatically altered.  The SAHD must go to the store because the breadwinner is at friggin work and not sitting around in their PJ’s while the child sleeps.  SAHDS, can’t say; “Sorry honey, I can’t pick up any fresh fruit today, I have to go to the pool and I have an afternoon playdate.” That goes over like a lead balloon.

Whether it be going to the grocery store for food or picking up some baby-proofing equipment at a department store, the dynamic SAHD is a roving “can-do” machine ready to knock off errands with vigor. So what do you need to be properly equipped? Knowledge my friend. Knowledge.

The SAHD shopping experience, in all its varieties, is different than mommy shopping.  Mommy shopping is quite frankly, pedestrian.  We’ve seen 10 million moms out with their babies or kids. It’s nothing to raise and eyebrow over or take a second glance at. But a grown man with an adorable baby or toddler? That’s a sight that doesn’t fit the normal paradigm. So where does a SAHD shop and what retail establishments are the most SAHD friendly? Punditdad has done extensive research and created a simple algorithm based on 3 major factors:

Family Friendly: Does this store have decent looking carts that are covered in grime? Does the cart have a suitable restraining device so baby doesn’t do a nosedive into the pork chops? Family restrooms or diaper changing stations? This stuff is only important until it matters MOST.

Femininity: Some stores are so overwhelmingly female that a less-confident SAHD can be intimidated or uneasy in the shopping experience.  Are you going to purchase tampons or deodorant for your wife if there are 3 ladies in the aisle? No, you’re going to go to the meats or beer section until the area clears! It’s important to be prepared before you enter.

Customer Service/Efficiency: The hallmark factor for any man’s shopping experience; how fast can I get in and out. Long lines or crowded checkouts? Maze like aisles or confusing product arrangement? Punditdad dad views this as one of the most critical factors.

Now that we have the criteria set, let’s take a look at our stores.

Your local grocery store: In my case it’s Albertsens here in California.  Most stores are one of 3 major chains (Punditdad has shopped in most) in America; Kroger, Safeway or Supervalu stores.  Some are cleaner than others and some are newer than others but that doesn’t change the SAHD factor.  Undoubtedly, an active SAHD will go the grocery store at least once every week so finding the best SAHD friendly store is critical. My Albertsen’s is the one place I go where the Bean is a star; the checkout ladies coo over her, the other patrons smile and wave at her, hell, even the manager told me how cute she was the other day.  Why? Again, they see hundreds of moms with babies but much fewer SAHDS.  The grocery store takes a punch in the area of efficiency: Punditdad takes a list EVERY time but still finds himself backtracking like a lost drunk wandering home from the pub.  Albertsens and other take a hit in the family friendly factor too, though most have changing tables, I’ve found the buckles on the carts destroyed or frayed (like some baby Hulk went on a rampage) which causes Punditdad endless headaches. Safety is rule one daddies!

Babies ‘R Us: The granddaddy of all baby/kid retail experiences!  Thankfully, trips to BRU are rare for Punditdad. Why? Fear. Many patrons there are “extreme” pregnant — ready to go at any minute. I can’t bear to see them teetering around, I’m afraid I’ll be witness to a live birth in the diaper bag aisle! The rest of the patrons are new mommies/new daddies (realizing their bachelor days have been burned to a crisp)who had their baby yesterday and already are buying the expensive Bob strollers and BPA free bottles. Unfortunately, BRU has some items that might not be available except over the internet.  That said, BRU has excellent bathroom facilities! Big doors, great diaper changing tables. Also, since most other kids are screaming, it doesn’t matter that yours is too. Nothing is out of place. Finally, the efficiency is low — it’s nearly impossible to get in and out without a troublesome line or even worse, the dreaded return.  Punditdad tried to do a return just yesterday on an item mommy kept for 8 months expecting to get a full cash refund (it was a gift). No chance. Bring your crap back within 90 days with your receipt or you’re screwed. Overall, the BRU experience is like chocolate fondue, too much will make you go insane and watch out for that lady in the sippie cup section, she could go at any second.

Target: My god, is there a woman in America who doesn’t shop at Target? Back in ’92, Punditdad worked at the Olympia, WA midtown Target —  there were no stylishly designed clothes or expensive “student friendly” furniture.  Our number one seller was motor oil and Coke.  Swear. Place was dirty, loud, bright lights with harsh fluorescent coloring and in-bred coworkers from the forest (present company exempted).  A universe away from the happy, red paradise that draws women in like crack.  The actual retail Target experience is fine, friendly and efficient, with many checkouts, and clean family bathrooms.  If you’re a single guy, you definitely want to go to Target on your lunch hour and check out the scene — I suggest the greeting card aisle and toothbrushes (you want someone with clean teeth right?).  Unfortunately, Target rates high on the feminine scale, so to ensure the SAHD maintains his “dude” image, it’s important to check out sporting goods and electronic gizmos with every visit as well. Overall, Target rates the highest with this SAHD for overall shopping experience.

Costco: Home of the 54 pack of toilet paper and the 20 lb. roast! Who doesn’t love walking amongst the sample trays staffed by rejects from the Manson family central casting department.  Delicious cheeses and sausages await.  Hurmph! For SAHDs, Costco is a loud, cavernous, inefficient and daunting experience best conquered with mommy as a wingman rather than solo.  The bathroom is miles away from the shopping. Always scrounging for your card, your receipt and whatever “papers” they demand is a pain.  The Bean survives Costco in short, brief visits only. It’s just too crazy in there.  Thank god for the cheap ‘dawgs! You can’t beat a huge Hebrew National with all the onions piled high. None of that crap at Target.

Whole Foods: Ahh, the 7-11 of Orange County.  I used to think that Whole Foods was the exclusive domain of long-haired 60’s sociopathic candle freaks who practiced twice daily colonics and ate only locally grown organic figs.  This coming from someone who graduated from a serious hippy college. Nevertheless, that vision has been shattered after frequent visits to the local Whole Foods. While quality is high here and the Bean has a number of soy/organic yogurts to chose from, the prices and attitudes of the patrons is sky high. Never have I gotten a smile from another customer. These people take their organic foods far too seriously, not in a health way, but in a competitive way. The OC mentality (I’ll blog on this further in other installments) is more about being seen making purchases at the appropriate establishments, not because you actually believe in what they are selling. Thus, this cycle drives up costs for those like myself just trying to feed my daughter some food that doesn’t cause her to go into puberty at 7 or get diabetes at 13.  I have to hand it to Whole Foods though, they have great sample stations, friendly checkout people and few long lines.  Their bathrooms are usually too far away and set back in such a way that you can’t bring a cart in.  Whole Foods provides a negligible SAHD retail experience — not bad enough that I avoid it, but I’m constantly looking for other organic stores to fulfill the Beans’ needs.

IKEA: If you want to furnish your home for few dollars and have it look half way decent, I can’t think of anything better than IKEA.  Great products, a wide range of products and most aren’t THAT bad to put together.  Shout out to the 5 drawer Malm! That said, Ikea trips must be carefully planned. SAHD team members must be well fed, well rested and first and foremost, have a laser-like focus on the goal. Going to get a throw rug? Don’t dawdle in the poster section. Like that recliner? Move along. Ikea gets high marks for it’s good bathrooms, well constructed carts (omnidirectional) as well as multiple checkouts with plenty of employees.  Unfortunately, I’ve found that the Ikea floor plan is specifically designed to send you to all the departments you want to avoid.  OC Ikea is a maze that puts as much product between you and the checkout – especially if you have a cart and must use the elevators as opposed  to stairs or escalators.  That said, what Ikea has lacked in some areas, like Costco it makes up for in food. Can you beat the $.99 breakfast with another buck for a bottomless coffee. Playground equipment in the food court too. Hell no. Can’t touch this.  From one SAHD to another though, avoid Ikea at all costs on weekends when the hordes descend. Weekdays are fine, even during lunch. Parking is easy and all the other people there don’t have jobs either so everyone’s in good mood. Enjoy!

Do these descriptions seem accurate? I’m looking for more ideas on which stores are the most family friendly and SAHD friendly. Do you have a grocery store chain or local establishment that you think scores high on my criteria? Let me know and the Bean and I will put together a crack investigative team to check it out.

No SAHD is an Island

The paradigm of the SAHD compels that there be a mommy (or another daddy) making another type of sacrifice to make the family successful.  Such is the case of Punditdad.  I would be lost in life and without the greatest love of my life if I didn’t have PunditMommy.  With that in mind, I wanted to spend a little time “counting our blessings” as we call it at the PunditEstate.

Mommy and Daddy have been married more than 7 years.  The years have gone by quickly but they’ve been full of laughter, adventure and many changes. We’ve moved several times across the country and adapted to new environments with a smile.  We’ve left long-time friends and familiar places for new faces — a tough proposition sometimes. How? By being each others’ best friends and closest confidantes. When we decided to have a family, we talked and talked and talked about how we would make it work and want we most wanted out of the experience. Punditdad had a great job but Mommy’s job relocation to the Golden State created an opportunity to have me stay home and oversee the Bean while Mommy went to work.

Punditdad feels eternally grateful to Mommy for her sacrifice, love, understanding and humor in going to work. Her strong work ethic and drive make Punditdad seem small by comparison and often I wonder how I could have married such a person of such gargantuan intelligence, kindness and love.  Many times she is deeply sad to leave for work in the morning and I know it. Yet, sometimes I’m jealous she gets to leave the house.  It’s common for us to want to exchange roles.  It’s a very practical realization that sometimes she has the better role and sometimes I do. We are both doing what we think is best for our family right now. It can be a difficult path but we talk it out and we share what makes us frustrated so we can both be successful. It ain’t easy but Punditdad would rather talk than have a marriage full of inner anger and silent resentment — things that seem to increase the more you put children into a marriage and the need for sacrifice becomes even larger.

My blessing is my beautiful wife who has worked so hard and cared so deeply and sacrificed so much that I can sit here and type these words. I hope she knows how much I love her and how much I want her to be proud of me as a father and a SAHD.  She works so hard –she sets expecations very high!

No SAHD is an island and no family can be successful unless everyone works together because we are all in it together.  Thankfully I get to “work” with a wonderful and beautiful woman who understands me, tolerates me and continues to let me “be” me everyday. Punditdad has much to be thankful for and many blessings to count.

The Next President’s Playlist: An Analysis

Bush can get down, but what do Johnny Mac and Barry rock to?

Bush can get down, but what do Johnny Mac and Barry rock to?

Punditdad used to think he had cutting-edge taste in music and a strong ear for rock that tended towards the heavy side but never grew tired or flat.  Now, one 10 month year old daughter, quitting illegal downloads because of two infections through a BitTorrent client and the creation of Jack FM, Punditdad plays the same old music over and over and inflicts it on his daughter.  No doubt, he’ll be singing the lyrics to “Monkey Gone to Heaven” while driving the mini-van with no sense of irony or taste in a number of years.

Music, in our youths, define who we are and our world vision. Sinatra, Elvis, Beatles, The Cure, Daft Punk, Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, Metallica, or whatever you listened to in your formative years likely shaped what you are listening to now.  I remember a fascinating story on NPR about a professor who had a summer intern that bugged the sh*t out of him but he couldn’t place why. Then he realized; the kid listened to different music every day on his stereo in the office. One day it was Gregorian chants, the next day someone from the Grand Ol Opry and maybe the next day it was punk rock.  What the older professor couldn’t understand was the variety of music the kid liked. He himself had been listening to the same Bob Marley “Legends” tape in his car for 10 years.  He was so piqued in his interest he did an informal study on what age do people quit taking “risks”.  People who don’t have tattoos don’t tend to get them after 26. People who don’t have piercings, the same age. People tend to listen to the same music such as “classic rock” or the music of their generation don’t change after 28 or 29.  After those ages, our minds are essentially programmed to be attracted to the familiar rather than to the new or the unknown. We stay with what we know and feel secure by it.

What does this pre-programming say about the presidential candidates? In an earlier disclosure to Blender music magazine,  Johnny Mac and Barry let loose with the top 10 songs you might find on their Ipod (or Sony Walkman in Mac’s case).  If they are illustrative of where the next president’s head is at, we may not be off to such a bad start. The list:
Sen. John McCain
1. Dancing Queen ABBA
2. Blue Bayou -Roy Orbison
3. Take a Chance On Me -ABBA
4. If We Make It Through December -Merle Haggard
5. As Time Goes By -Dooley Wilson
6. Good Vibrations -The Beach Boys
7. What A Wonderful World -Louis Armstrong
8. I’ve Got You Under My Skin -Frank Sinatra
9. Sweet Caroline -Neil Diamond
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes -The Platters

Analysis: Johnny Mac’s top 3 songs include two ABBA songs? WTF? Dancing Queen, made popular most recently in the musical Mamma Mia is pretty catchy and a dance favorite. It was released in 1976, presumably at a time when the Mac had just been released from the Hanoi Hilton. I doubt he was able to shake his tail feathers.  Same with Take a Chance on Me. Most likely these two songs represent the “private collection” that he and Cindy used to shake to while lathering themselves in Budweiser and soaking in her 15 foot hot tub on those pretty Arizona nights during the early 80’s.  In short, a Cindy favorite rather than a Mac favorite. Roy Orbison’s Blue Bayou makes the most sense here and is likely a song he’s been humming for many years. Released in 1963 while Mac was overseas, I’m sure he had plenty of time to play the record while on an aircraft carrier Enterprise touring the Caribbean or Mediterranean.  If We Make it Through December by Merle Haggard is a similar pick, talk of moving west, of hard luck relationships (read: Mac’s first marriage) and the time period of release suggest a theme and a quiet rhythm that has legitimately stuck with the Mac since ’62.

Here’s where we get to the filler. As Time Goes By (Casablanca Theme), Good Vibrations, What a Wonderful World are clearly the only songs Mac could think of.  Talk about some of the most popular songs of the 20th century. Sinatra too. Good songs, don’t get me wrong, but hardly a personal touch.  Would you ever say, “Hey Cindy, let’s crank up the Casablanca soundtrack that was released 66 years ago!” Doubtful.  By the time we get to friggin Neil Diamond and the Platters we’re safely back into genuine territory.  Clearly an anthem like Sweet Caroline, a song that’s been rockin’ folks since ’69 belongs on any president’s list. Did Mac know that Caroline is Caroline Kennedy, the inspiration for the song? Probably not. Overall, nothing inspired but not as bad as it could be.  I would have like to see Johnny Cash, Elvis or even Buddy Holly. They seem like appropriate choices for his generation.

Ok, here’s Barry’s list and we get the same mix of filler but a bit more intrigue:

Sen. Barack Obama
1. Ready or Not -Fugees
2. What’s Going On -Marvin Gaye
3. I’m On Fire Bruce -Springsteen
4. Gimme Shelter -Rolling Stones
5. Sinnerman -Nina Simone
6. Touch the Sky -Kanye West
7. You’d Be So Easy to Love -Frank Sinatra
8. Think -Aretha Franklin
9. City of Blinding Lights -U2
10. Yes We Can -will.i.am

Analysis: Boom! Right out of the gates with the Fugees. Good song, one of the most original non-gangster rap groups of the 90’s and a very influential group as well. Lauryn Hill went on to an illustrious career as did Wyclef Jean but the band basically was a one album wonder.  Marvin Gaye is a sensible choice and this anti-Vietnam war/peacenik anthem created during Gaye’s most purposeful time is a classic to many.  I wouldn’t want to take it to run on the treadmill at the gym, but it’s got a place in the record collection. I’m on Fire by the Boss seems pretty inexplicable.  A dry tune about staying up at night holds plenty of emotion but little purpose.  I can only imagine that the melody captured Obama after he graduated from Columbia in ’85. At that time, Bruce was friggin huge with the Born In the USA tour, but please, there’s better tunes on that album and this one is certainly no Nebraska or Streets of Philadelphia.

The Stones are presumably on many peoples’ favorites list so Gimme Shelter is no surprise. A band that has influenced many could arguably have many songs here.  Let it Bleed, their ’69 album which includes Gimme Shelter is a classic.  Shelter talks about many of the same things that Gaye talks about; unrest, war, love and violence. Gawd is this guy a peacenick or what? Punditdad prefers Monkey Man on the same album though. Sinnerman, a huge Punditdad favorite is a long time spiritual done best by Nina Simone, the high priestess of soul and a must have song. It talks about sin, salvation, the devil and prayer with a huge build up in the ten minute version that Simone made famous.  I like this pick a lot because he could have picked a typical Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, Gladys Knight or Supremes but he didn’t.  Maybe he missed a big chunk of Motown? Possibly he made up for not having his African American father around by investigating some of the roots spiritual music he wasn’t exposed too? Wait! We have the obligatory Aretha Franklin song Think.  I think that if Obama wasn’t a Chicago inhabitant, this song might not be here.  It’s a stand up and shout type anthem that the South Side loves but offends no one.

Touch the Sky is the most recent of all the songs despite being several years old (2005). It’s a catchy and telling song by Kanye West off his Late Registration album but not to explicit or naughty. Whaddya expect? Straight out of Compton?  F*ck tha Police? Hardly. You’d Be Easy to Love is a bit inexplicable. I’d never heard the song until today and it’s not a classic Sinatra song. With lyrics by Cole Porter, I’m thinking it’s a “marriage song” like ABBA with Mac, meaning it’s a song both Michelle and he like to dance together with (maybe wedding song of some kind). Altogether though, Frank Sinatra ain’t going out on a limb. Especially for a guy who grew up in Hawaii.

Finally, I would say the two most disappointing songs of Barry’s list are City of Blinding Light and Yes We Can. Both are great songs to play at political rallies after the speeches are over and the confetti are coming down and everyone’s heading to the bars, but are they songs you have on you shelf or your Ipod? U2 are masters at the positive anthem (see Joshua Tree) but after 150 years they’re not doing anything you wouldn’t expect from U2. That album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, from which this song comes from, is a yawner.  A more inspired choice would have been Pride (in the name of love), Where the Streets have No Name or One.  All are a bit more powerful in terms of imagery and substance. Finally, Yes We Can was written for the Obama campaign as part of Will.i.am’s support of Barry. Good song, positive message but does this have the same presence as the Stones or Marvin Gaye? I don’t think Obama was obligated to thank the artist by putting it on the list but maybe he wanted more airplay…who knows? Admittedly it’s better than the the piece of shit, Raisin’ McCain that is altogether embarrassing, shameful and jingoistic written by John Rich and performed at the Convention in St. Paul. Punditdad hates country (and western).

So what does the list say about the candidates? Mostly that there is a solid mix of pandering, waffling and a tiny bit of genuine soul in each of them.  They don’t have anything new, they don’t pander to the point of disgust and they don’t cross the line to offense.  Each appeals to some aspect of the population, but I would venture to guess the grey-haired crowd would be solid on Mac while the mid-30, early 40 crowd would be comfortable with Barry’s list.  I give both lists a sold thumbs up for originality and taste. I would guess that Mac and Obama’s list is FAR SUPERIOR to Mitt Romney’s list which undoubtedly includes such non-offensive artists as Linda Ronstadt, Crystal Gayle, and Air Supply. To Romney getting down is putting on a Huey Lewis album and rocking out. Deliver me.

Now, if Sarah Palin will put out a list we can have some real fun! Do you have comments on what Sarah might listen to? Leave a comment.

A SAHD Daily Grind

Staying home has been a fantastic experience for me the past 8 months.  The Bean is fun, growing and a delight to be around.   I get to do whatever I want! Go for a bike ride? Check. Go to the pool? Check. Take a walk at the beach? Check.  But these brief extravagances are sandwiched in between a strict sleeping schedule Punditdad has implemented to further the brain power and towering intellect of my child.  Nobody rides for free as the bumper stickers states. It’s the SAHD daily grind and not all milk honey baby.

Most brain development is done during sleep in the “formative” years so Punditdad and Punditmommy have become sticklers for sleep.  As a result, Bean sleeps pretty much 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM every night with slight variances.  No wake ups, no fussing (generally) and no 3:00 AM feedings.  Punditdad long ago determined that a higher overall sleep quotient of the family resulted in a better attitude for everyone. Everyone sleeps through the night and everyone is happy and a better parent.

In addition to sleeping through the night, the bean takes 2 naps of an hour to two hours in the morning and the afternoon.  During that time, daddy is home.  If that sleep cycle is altered dramatically the Bean generally turns into a bright red burning skull with a fierce and terrifying scream that echoes through your skull.  Once you get a kid accustomed to something, you have to stick with it. We’ve made our bed and we gotta sleep in it.

SAHD life at the beginning was much more interesting than the daily grind of the cubicle monkey.  No commute, no designated lunch hour, no juggling time off.  So much more possibility! The world is your oyster baby! But now, months later, the world is a SAHD oyster between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM and between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM.  Damn small oyster. Hard to go the Getty Museum in LA baby.

Now doing a few errands eats my whole day. Picking up some groceries on foot across the street is my major afternoon accomplishment. Getting the mail can be an expedition. As Dave Barry said, “Parenting is laughably easy as long as you aren’t doing anything else!” A truly wise man.

So, as our structured days trudge on and nap after nap goes under our belts, we try and shoot for the little things in life that make the day a bit more exciting.  Playing on the swings. Making funny sounds at the store.  Going fast in the bike trailer.  The little things that make every second with the Bean a true gift.  And there is no commute.

Conservative Love Child OR Wrap that Rascal!

Thanks to Mudflats.wordpress for the pic!

Thanks to Mudflats.wordpress for the pic!

Punditdad wants to lay out that teenage pregnancy is no laughing matter.  When you have a 17 year old girl with her face on the cover of national newspapers all talking about her unplanned pregnancy, you can’t help but feel heartbroken.  Can you imagine how mortified Bristol Palin is right now? Can you imagine how scared to death Levi Johnston is to show his face in these United States? I’m sure Todd Palin wanted to cut Levi’s family jewels off and feed them to the crabs and drag ‘ol Levi out to Hatcher Pass on his Ski-Doo.

Couple of points:

  • I think this Palin Familiy is Irish Catholic.  Every time they have sex they have a baby. Mom, 44 has baby in office.  Was pregnant with Track BEFORE getting married to Todd. Four children later, daughter get’s pregnant with teenage boyfriend.   All together, this family will have 7 people under the age of 19 involved. WTF? Quit pretending to be Baptist.
  • What kind of dumb ass kid bones the Governor’s DAUGHTER without some kind of backup plan? Levi Johnston, self-promoted redneck must go into the history books along side the Bush daughters for lack of judgment.
  • I don’t even know what abstinence education is….some dude at the front of the class says, “don’t have sex” and everyone leaves for recess or lunch with corn dogs and tater tots? Conservatives like Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Jack Ryan, Vito Fossella, Newt Gingrich (to read more go to this authoritative list) have been pushing family values and it turns out they were a bunch of perverted amoral weirdos.  When does a fractured and beaten political party start growing up and moving out of the middle ages?
  • Johnny Mac is a completely tortured, gutless little whip for not picking who he wanted to pick as Veep– Joe Lieberman. Unfortunately, his Commanders over at Bush/Rove Headquarters told him he couldn’t do it because the Flat Earth Society of the Republican Party would bolt the convention. They’d cause a media dust-up the size of Barbara Bush’s mu-mu.  Point taken, but 5 yard penalty for stuffing your “Party Maverick” label in the paper shredder.
  • I have to hand it to the liberal bloggers, they caused a sh*t storm on this topic and have attempted to nail Sarah Palin to the wall as a sign of Johnny Mac’s complete and utter lack of brains.

Now, the question is will Mother Sarah help or hurt this already tough campaign that Johnny Mac has going? Will she come off as a fighter, as a charismatic, maverick, independent outlaw during her acceptance speech? I have my doubts she screws up terribly in the next 60 days.  I think instead she puts together just enough decent performances to not hurt the ticket but not enough “grand slams” to really put McCain over the top. Let’s face it, not matter what you think, this election is about Barack Obama and whether the country believes he’s ready to be President.

Stay tuned!