Dad Approved: School Zone’s Award-Winning ‘Little Scholar’ is Pure Money

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Little-Scholar-TabletRegardless of what side of the fence you sit on when it comes to technology in the hands of our children, the Little Scholar tablet is sure to make you and your kids smile.

With each new holiday season comes a tidal wave of new gizmos and gadgets that do their best to separate you from your money. I’ve lost count of how much I’ve spent on toys, games, and apps that promised to turn my kid into the next Jamal Wallace. Nevertheless, not all so-called “educational” toys are created equal. Some will teach your kids basic math skills in a style reminiscent of Ben Stein. Others are all sizzle and no steak (Baby Einstein, anyone?). Sure it makes your son laugh so hard milk erupts from his nostrils, but don’t count on that to help his test scores.

Since before preschool, my kids enjoyed going through workbooks, doing science experiments, and playing online games designed to elevate their academic performance – each a helpful step in raising a lifelong learner. While your mileage may vary, it’s safe to say that our kids would rather play games on the iPad in all their magnificent glory instead of picking up a book that “doesn’t even make any sound.” (4-year-old logic at its best) As a concerned parent, though, I’m often left worrying about in-app purchases, in-game advertising, and the ability to stumble upon the seedier parts of the internet. But what’s a guy to do?

Behold! Creative Child Magazine’s 2014 Preferred Choice Award winning Little Scholar tablet by School Zone. Consider your Christmas shopping done, dad.

A company like School Zone (kick-butt company that’s been producing children’s educational products for more than 30 years) needs no introduction, but here’s what you need to know about the Little Scholar:

  • It’s jam-packed with over 150 premium preloaded learning apps, including educational games, videos, e-books, and songs.
  • All of the content on Little Scholar was created by School Zone and covers an essential curriculum that builds kids’ skills in areas such as reading, math, spelling, science, logic, geography, and creativity.
  • The intended target is children ages 3 through 7, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not totally digging “Napoleon Bone Apart.”
  • The built-in wifi grants you access to the School Zone Market – an app store for additional content – but it’s completely unnecessary to your use and enjoyment of the tablet.
  • Covers Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade
  • Built-in 300KP front & 2MP back camera
  • Has parental control options
  • Google Android™ OS
  • My son LOVES the “ABC Train” and the movies

littlescholarstatsThe A+ Report Card app is one of my favorite features because it tracks and guides progress. This is crucial if you’re looking for a way to get in a little extra practice in a particular subject like reading, science, or problem solving. Now you’ll know exactly how much time is spent in each category and can encourage or reward Little Man’s dedication to improving his grades.

The Little Scholar comes with a surprisingly high number of songs ready to groove to. Unfortunately, the built-in mono speaker does little more than aggravate the user despite having the volume maxed out. This is my biggest (dare I say only?) complaint – the speaker sucks. If you only have one kid in the house and there are no other living things doing anything at all whatsoever, the speaker might be able to overcome the deafening silence. It’s a shame, too. That James Vanderbeek Ark looks like he could shred a Gibson in his sleep.

For all of the tech specs and detailed info about the rest of the features the LS offers, you can check out School Zone’s website. That’s also the place you’ll head to place your order for the tablet and any additional accessories (stylus, headphones, carrying case, screen protector, etc.) you want to stuff in the overpriced, officially licensed character stocking.

You want a big bang for your buck? You want to give a gift your kid’s won’t outgrow or get bored with before Spring Break? You want to invest in your child’s academic future… and have a blast in the process? Then drop a little extra coin buy the Little Scholar. It’s the best way to insure your kids know more about the alphabet than they do Angry Birds.

Order it at Toys R Us today!

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Apocabox – The Manliest Gift Ever

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apocaboxYou say you don’t, but you do. It’s your guilty pleasure, your dirty little secret. If any of your friends or family knew, you’d be crestfallen. No, it’s not your re-gifting habit – I’m talking about your fascination with survival and preparedness. You can’t help but daydream about catastrophic circumstances and what you’d do if you had to bug out or rescue your neighbors from disaster. Don’t worry, dad, it’s not only acceptable, it’s en vogue. So this Christmas season, tell your wife and kids what you really want this year – an APOCABOX!

Sparked by TV shows like The Walking Dead, Survivor Man, Doomsday Preppers, and Fat Guys in the Woods, your love and interest in survival situations and post-apocalyptic living have enabled you to see ways to start a fire when others only see a bag of chips from the vending machine. You wish you could convince your family to go camping for a week without taking an RV or staying on a campground. Aren’t your tired of just thinking about cool stuff like that, though? Fight the urge no longer! Sign up for an Apocabox subscription and let the journey begin!

Created by world-renowned survival instructor, author, and television host, Creek Stewart, “APOCABOX is a subscription based survival box.  Every other month, a hand-selected collection of survival tools, information and gear is packed and shipped direct to your doorstep.  The subscription charge is $50 per APOCABOX + $8.95 shipping.  Your APOCABOX is guaranteed to be a good deal – regularly with a retail value of $100 or more.” Inside each box you’ll find a content list that highlights the features and uses of the individual pieces of gear and their respective cost as well as a rundown of the month’s Survival Skills Challenge.

In October’s box, I received the following:apocabox3

  • Fire Keeper – custom molded Kydex sheath for your lighter
  • 550 Fire Cord – can be ignited with just sparks from a ferro rod.
  • Olympia Granola Trail Bar – decent tasting granola bar
  • “Survival is Simple” Patch – put on your favorite jacket or B.O.B.
  • EDC Inconspicuous Handcuff Key – useful to counter illegal detainment
  • Bug Out Band – I could tell you about this, but then I’d have to…
  • Marbles Razor Knife – sharp & compact; perfect for mini-tin survival kit
  • Solar Parabolic Fire Starter – harness the sun’s power to start fire/burn ants
  • Zombie Tinder – Ghoulish, indestructible fire tinder burns hot as Hell
  • Wild Edible Card Deck – Learn what’s safe to eat in your backyard; helps pass time as it doubles as playing cards
  • Creek’s Going Native Bandanna – perfect for cosplay, preventing sunburn, and filtering water

Many dads today are skipping the golf course, bowling alley, and bar to seize the day with their kids. As one such dad, I love that I got to use my Apocabox to help illustrate things they’ve learned about in school and taught them new skills while enjoying a gorgeous fall afternoon outdoors. The look on my son’s face when he say daddy make fire without matches was truly priceless. My daughter’s thought it was awesome that I now had cordage to use as boot laces that had a special string inside to make a fire quickly in case we were ever stranded on the side of the road – something all too common in The Mitten.

We all know kids are a little more easily impressed than we adults. So what did I think of all the stuff inside? Glad you asked. I was blown away at the sight of some of the killer gear packed inside. My personal favorite is the Bug Out Band, which just barely edges out the parabolic lense for the top spot. Not only did I get those major things, Creek packed in a handful of “smalls” for my EDC and get home bag. Truly, though, the highlight of the Apocabox is the Survival Skills Challenge.apocabox2

Previous months may have been a little more cut and dry, but this go around required a special video link to help teach the necessary skills to pass the challenge. All subscribers focused the sun’s rays at a piece of punky wood and in a matter of seconds (SECONDS!) had a smoldering ember that was ready to be placed into a well constructed tinder bundle. In less than three minutes from start to finish, I had successfully created a life sustaining fire from nothing more than a “mirror” and some dry wood.  To the right you’ll see my tinder bundle engulfed in flames. What an incredible feeling!

No longer did I have to imagine if I’d be able to create a fire without matches. I knew that I could (with full sun, of course). The 550 Fire Cord produced the same exhilarating results after it ignited from sparks that flew off the ferro rod. It didn’t go as quickly as the previous method, but it worked in less than ten minutes. That’s a winner in my book.

Share your love of the outdoors and having a survivalist mindset with your children. It’ll be good for both of you to unplug, whether it be for a few hours or a few days. You can get prepared for that camping trip in the Sierra’s you’ve always dreamed of by first honing your skills and obtaining the proper gear for your bag. Sign up for your APOCABOX here or leave the page open for your spouse to see. She’s a smart lady (she did marry you after all), she’ll get the hint. It’s well worth your money, unlike that Diaper Genie you splurged on. You’ll enjoy learning a new skill and avoid being busted for re-gifting  another reindeer sweater.

Gerber’s Order – An Ideal EDC Blade

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According to Fat Guys in the Woods host, Creek Stewart, “The underlying concept behind EDC is that you are carrying the necessary tools on you to help get you through a survival situation in the event that something unexpected happens.” For most of us, the biggest challenge we’re likely to face is how to get both kids to stop crying at the same time. That’s no excuse for not being prepared for something more intense like, say, your son’s shoestring getting stuck in the escalator or bike chain. As fathers, we’re asked a million questions a day and are expected to have an answer for all of them – which, many times, is a knife. Why not carry one yourself?

I’ve written before about EDC (every day carry) items that no man should be without. The feedback was immensely positive, so I figured I’d cover more on the topic.

Gerber has been producing knives since 1939 and is widely considered as one of the industries standard-bearers. Proudly manufactured in the United States, Gerber’s line of tactical knives is amongst the finest you’ll ever carry. The Order proves just that.

Equipped with a glass-filled nylon handle, over-molded with a rubberized diamond texture, this legendary knife provides a secure grip during cutting, prying, digging and other utility tasks. The Order is surprisingly lightweight (2.6 oz. to be exact), while retaining the balance only found in high quality knives. Sporting a 3.1″ partially-serrated 420HC blade with thumb hole for easy one-handed opening and dressed in a black ceramic coating which protects against corrosion and minimizes reflective surfaces (that is, until it scrapes off from normal use), Gerber gives you maximum bang for your buck.

Regardless of what your dominant hand is, you’ll be able to whip this out and open it to its full 7.6″ length at a moment’s notice with ease. I love that. Seriously. What good is an EDC knife if you have to fight to get it open or if it did so with the fluidity of Campbell’s chunky soup? Quality materials, sharp blade, great balance, and smooth opening function are all present with the Order.

Since I’ve been carrying this knife, I’ve used it a handful of time for various tasks around the house and at work. The Order does the job well and continues to impress me with its reliability. If you’re looking to upgrade your primary blade on a budget or just looking for a companion, this is the knife for you.

You can sharpen small branches for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows, slice an apple at snack time, or -after being alerted to the situation by Commissioner Gordon- cut zip ties off hostages thus saving the day. Most likely, you’ll only be cutting the tags off your daughter’s pajamas and stuffed animals, but still.

It’s been said that it’s better to have something and not need it than to need it and not have it. That statement is just as true for bacon and Nutella as it is for Gerber’s Order. Get yours here.

Warrior Dash 2014: Veni, Vidi, Vici

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It’s reported that Julius Cesar, after he gained a swift victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus, penned these three powerful words to the Roman Senate: “Veni, Vidi, Vici.” Which, loosely translated, means, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Now it’s my turn. After successfully completing the Warrior Dash in Michigan over the weekend, I bring the same message. “I came, I saw, I conquered.” While not as colorful as what Bill Murray screamed in Ghostbusters, the level of passion is just as high.

I was set to run my dash at 11am and thus arrived 40 minutes early. Unfortunately, a frustratingly lengthy amount of my time was devoured by a snafu when my name failed to appear on any list of participants for either of the two event days. Long story short – I did get to participate, but I didn’t start until 12:30pm. Warrior Dash apologized for everything, which did little for my mood. When you dial in your nutrition in such a way to peak at a certain time, all delays are costly.

Instead of running with a smile on my face, looking forward to the obstacles, I ran hangry. But, hey… stuff happens. I dropped off my bag of clean clothes to change into, along with another pair of shoes and a towel at the free bag check (which is conveniently located next to the free I.D. check) and took my spot among a hundred other adrenaline junkies. Looking at around at the racers, you’ll quickly learn that people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and fitness levels come out to test themselves. That’s awe-inspiring at its best and ridiculously dangerous at its worst. That said, it’s well known that no one is required to run the entire course and there is no shame in walking around an obstacle you’re either afraid of or cannot physically execute.

As you can see from the picture above, the start of Warrior Dash races are a bit cramped. I started about two-thirds of the way back and quickly bolted toward the frontrunners as soon as the landscape allowed. The event wasn’t timed, but I still felt compelled to finish in front of more runners than I finished behind. The only thing stopping me was the 3.2 mile, 12-obstacle course featuring a unique blend of ever-changing trails of grass, dirt, sand, mud, a precarious swim across a lake and traipse through a filthy, stinking swamp. And the hills. They took more of a toll on my gas tank than the obstacles.

warriordash2I don’t know exactly how well I finished. My wave of competitors bumped into the previous wave as they bottle necked leading up to Dead Man’s Drop. Which I guess is normal, since the wave after me ran into my wave at the Warrior Peak. This is the obstacle I witnessed a girl fall (slide?) 20′ and land with a thud. I asked her if she was okay. She said “I think it’s broken” while holding her right leg in pain. I told her not to worry, that I would send a medic as soon as I saw one. Thankfully, they were not far on the other side of the obstacle.

Warrior Dash had volunteers passing out much needed water in a few hydration stations along the course and had medical personnel at the more hazardous obstacles – the sight of which was as comforting as it was unnerving. Especially as you approach Goliath. That’s an interesting name for an obstacle, when you think about it. Goliath is the giant who lost his head for blaspheming God. His story is often summed up as, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Naming something Goliath is like naming something Al Gore. You realized he lost, right? But I digress…

After at least an hour after the torches shot up flames high into the air signaling the start of my wave’s dash, I plunged down the water slide into a pool of muddy water. If anyone finds a black Under Armor headband, please let me know. I lost mine as soon as my head went under. Slowly wading my way through the muck, I mentally prepared myself for what lie ahead. The final obstacle of this Warrior Dash was Muddy Mayhem. Crawling through a decent stretch of mud, mud, and more mud is one thing. Ducking under the barbed wire is quite another. I loved every bit of it.

Pulling myself from the quagmire I shouted, “I am Warrior!” as I was awarded my medal and greeted with applause from spectators. It didn’t matter that essentially everyone finishes the course (because no one is forced to do anything they’re uncomfortable with), it only mattered that I did what I set out to do. I left my comfort zone in the dust and, after spending the past five months training, conquered the first of many obstacle courses and mud runs.  Now when anyone asks me about the Warrior Dash, I have a new message, “Ibi fecerit, obtinuit tuniculam.” It’s a Latin phrase, which, loosely translated, means, “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

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… time is steadily slipping through my hands. The way I see it, I have ten years left – and the clock is ticking down. I’m running out of time. As of this writing, you will turn eight tomorrow. You’ve been with your mother and I for over 3,000 days and not a single one of them have ever been less memorable than the one before. Try as I might, though, with every ounce of  strength and selfishness, I am humanly incapable of stopping you from growing up. That, my dear daughter, is bittersweet at its core.

You see, I’m stoked to think of the adventures we’ll have and the memories we’ll share as your courage, intelligence, and abilities increase. At the same time, I really dig the person you are now. We talk about your favorite cartoons, pretend to be on epic quests, create silly refrigerator art, and share our thoughts and goals with one another. It’s not that I want you this young forever (well, part of me does. What 24-year-old still builds forts with her dad or excitedly asks him to take her out to the buoys?), it’s just that, well, I’m scared.

I’m scared that this will all someday change… that somehow, you will outgrown me the same way Andy does Woody and Buzz. Terror creeps over me as my thoughts move toward the road that lies ahead. Watching the world around me, it seems if it’s a foregone conclusion. But this daddy isn’t going down without a fight.

I must be intentional with the precious little time I have remaining. Therefore, as I’m prone to do, I’ve created a plan that will help me make the most of the time I have with you before you head out into a brave new world.

My plan is this: Live in the “Is,” not the “Was.”

As each new day brings about its own unique experiences, challenges, and choices, I will do my best to be present in this moment. I hope to teach you new things at every turn of life, and when the moment arises, challenge what you think you know just to keep you on your toes. Instead of longing for days gone by, like the first time you went to the beach or when you first realized how talented of an artist you are, I will realize that no memory could ever hold a candle to today because I have the real you, not just a memory. What could possibly be better than that?

 

Illustration courtesy of  lookoutforhope.

Milestones: Teaching Your Son How to Pee Outside

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There are few moments as monumental as learning how to take a leak in the great outdoors. Since the beginning of time, man has been relieving himself on trees, rocks, and whatever else he can aim at. What, you thought God gave Adam a toilet in the garden? If you haven’t yet experienced this wonderful occasion, take a few pointers from the guys above: Perfect stance with legs shoulder width apart, pants still around your waist (depending on age) and no eye contact. Dad even takes the time to look over his shoulder to make sure his boys are doing it right.

The only problem with teaching your son how to pee outside is getting him to stop. Could be worse, I guess. He could’ve learned how to twerk. What’s the most embarrassing story about you or your kid answering nature’s call outdoors?

A Dad’s Ace in the Hole: SOG Access Card 2.0

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It seems like there’s severe weather threatening to wreak havoc on our modern way of life around every corner lately. Tornadoes, hurricanes, super storms, and blizzards. Polar vortex, anyone? And while there’s nothing we can do to prevent an attack from the elements, we can at least be ready for them.

It’s not just extreme weather that inconveniences us, either – it’s the minivan breaking down on the side of the expressway, getting lost on a hike, or that annoyingly loud punk on his cell phone behind you at Starbucks. These are all situations that fuel the EDC (Every Day Carry, for the uninitiated) movement. Okay, maybe I should just let the loudmouth off with a dirty look instead.

More and more, dads are looking for ways to keep themselves and their family safe by preparing for situations that, if not for the right tools or supplies, would make their lives even more miserable than cleaning up puke at 3:15 in the morning. The most common, and cost-effective, EDC tool is the knife. But which one should you pick up?

SOG makes an excellent case for their Access Card 2.0 with its practicality and size. From their website:

Description

The Access Card 2.0 doesn’t grant admission into top secret facilities, but it does give a sense of security! This minimalistic sliver of a knife (3/16″ thick without the clip) won’t take up much room in your wallet, pocket, attached to a ballistic vest, or around your neck. The 2.75″ formidable VG-10 blade opens and closes with one hand like a magic trick and locks with our famous Arc-Lock.

Although every bit of excess weight has been engineered out of the Access Card, you will be surprised at the power it conveys.

 

I’ve been carrying the knife they sent me for review for over a month now and have been happy to have it. I love that it is small enough to fit in my pocket or wear around my neck without being burdensome. The Access Card fits in my hand well despite its slim design and can be opened with one hand in a pinch. This has come in handy opening boxes at work, changing my alternator in the garage, and opening toys in blister packs from the big box stores.

Overall, the SOG Access Card 2.0 is a great start to your EDC kit or a reliable addition to your existing items (extra diapers, pacifiers, animal crackers). The only complaint I have is that it doesn’t lock, like some of their other knives do. Not to worry, though, none of my wife’s kitchen knives have locks either and my kids still have all their fingers.

As one dad to another, it’s a good idea for you to start thinking about how you’d benefit from carrying a knife every day. Far too many tragic news stories on the news could’ve been thwarted and emergencies dealt with much easier if only someone had a good knife on them. Think about, will ya?

10 Reasons To Skip Your High School Reunion

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Bringing Rain put it best – “If I’m back here at a reunion in twenty years talking about how wonderful high school was, just shoot me.” I’m truly amazed at how excited some people are to attend their high school reunion. Did they attend a different high school than I did? One on a different planet where high school didn’t completely suck the life out of you and drama didn’t leave a pile of bodies in its wake. The rumor du jour caused more casualties than drone strikes under Obama.

Some may write this off as nothing more than typical rant from a cynical loser who went through his formative years in the shadows. While I won’t can’t argue that, it does little to change the fact that hike school is, and always will be, slightly preferable to prison. That said, here are the top ten reasons to skip your high school reunion:

10.) vinelogo9.) pintrestlogo

8.) apple_facetime_ios_7_logo7.) Instagram-logo16.) twitterlogo

5.) facebooklogo

4.) facebooklogo3.) facebooklogo2.) facebooklogo1.) facebooklogo

There you have it. You already know everything you could ever possibly want about the people you actually cared about from high school. I just saved you $100 on pretentious clothes you’ll never wear again, $50 on gas to some random event hall, and an entire day of pretending you didn’t want to give the guy you’re talking to an atomic wedgie because he was such a (fill in the blank) back in the day. In closing, You’re welcome.

 

P.S.

HSreunion2

Let’s Celebrate Batman Day!

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Greetings, Dark Knight fans! If you haven’t noticed already, you most certainly will very soon. DC Comics has officially declared July 23rd “Batman Day.” From the press release:

“In celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary, DC Entertainment is partnering with thousands of comic book retailers and bookstores across the nation to celebrate “Batman Day” on Wednesday, July 23. As part of the festivities, fans who visit participating retailers receive a free, special edition of DETECTIVE COMICS #27, featuring a reimagining of Batman’s 1939 comic book debut, designed by Chip Kidd with a script by The New York Times #1 bestselling author Brad Meltzer.”

Growing up watching Batman: The Animated Series and (for better or for worse) all of the Batman films of the 80′s and 90′s, the Caped Crusader has been my favorite superhero for quite some time. As such, I find it only appropriate to let you, the reader, know how to celebrate “Batman Day” in style – with a little help from the fine people at ThinkGeek.

From hats to tees to watches, nearly everything Batman fanatics could wish for (minus the actual Batsuit, of course) can be yours in time for the big day. I wore my patriotic Batman shirt while out and about celebrating America’s birthday and turned heads everywhere I went. People couldn’t resist admiring the epic combination of two iconic symbols – the Bat logo and the stars & stripes.

Mark you calendars, stock up on snacks, and pop in your favorite Bat flick in honor of 75 years of crime-fighting action. If you’re feeling bold, do a little cosplay and visit the local children’s hospital. The kids there sure could benefit from having their spirits lifted in a way that only the Batman can. You may not be the hero they deserve, but you can be the hero they need.

For the latest information and exclusive content celebrating Batman’s 75th anniversary, please visit www.batman75.com.

I Need Coffee Because… (A Kid’s Perspective)

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Coffee has bean the grounds of many a heated and strong discussion – and not just amongst coffee snobs (I’m looking at you “I grind my own beans”, French press guy). Now it’s being talked about with our children.

My friend’s eight-year-old daughter passed this note to him, possibly with a twenty she swiped from his wallet (hey, it worked with the babysitter) in an attempt to convince him to pour her a cup of java.  It reads:

I NEED COFFEE BECEUSE…

  1. I love it
  2. I need it
  3. I want it
  4. U get to have it
  5. Mommy gets to have it
  6. It is healthy for U

THE END

I say give her some. Her letter is just as good as the kid from summer camp and there are far worse things to be addicted to. Besides, insomnia builds character.

Review – Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

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You know Marvel from the annual summer box office blockbusters from the past decade including the likes of Spider-Man, X-Men, and The Avengers. You also know the intricate and sometimes intertwined storylines of all your favorite characters. But what you probably don’t know is how it all began, who really created your favorite comic book hero or why it took so long to make it big in Hollywood. ‘Marvel Comic: The Untold Story’ offers all of that in an exhaustive look behind the curtain dating back to its inception. Sean Howe tells how Marvel Comics broke the fourth wall.

The book starts with the story of New York publisher Martin Goodman who would go on to launch Marvel Comics leading up the humble beginning of the man you know as Stan Lee. Yes, that Stan Lee, the one who wrote to readers from “The Bullpen.” It’s really quite fascinating, even if you’re not a comic book nerd. Oh, and there’s even a mention of Hugh Heffner, oddly enough.

Back in Marvel’s heyday, there was a revolving door of freelancers who worked on the 25-cent comics day and night – and sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) tripping on acid or LSD. Yep, that explains the peculiarity of the Marvel Universe. Life in the smoke-filled “Bullpen” wasn’t without its share of controversy. In fact, there was a time one of the artists threatened to throw his editor out of the window. Geesh! And you thought your office sucked.

You’ll be surprised to learn about the assembly line production of almost every single comic. From the editor to the writers, artists, colorers and inkers. Being able to see the amount of work that went into each page gives you a new appreciation for the art of comic production. Given the amount of recreational drugs these guys used, it’s astonishing that any issue ever hit newsstands (but explains how they came up with THIS).

Alright, back to the reviewing part. The first half of the book is about the birth and growth of Marvel, the creative process, and the oft-tumultuous relationship between Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko among numerous others. The trouble dates all the way back to Fantastic Four #1! It always boiled down to who created what. What you’ll learn is that working for Marvel wasn’t as marvelous as one might have you believe, especially when you consider that anything you created for the company became property of said company. Sorry, kid, you belong to Marvel.

The latter half of the book is a tale of legal woes with everyone suing each other, followed by a close look at how Marvel hit the Silver screen. There are mentions of James Cameron and Michael Jackson; I’ll let you find out on your own how they fit into the picture. It’s more captivating that it sounds, I promise. You’ll learn about the Comics Code seal, adult themed comics with some of your favorite heroines and depressing behind the scenes look at the comic industry.

Throughout it all, I’ve come to realize that Stan “The Man” Lee is a prime example of when talent and luck meet. If he were only talented or just lucky, I don’t think Marvel would be the comic book/cartoon/move juggernaut it is today.

The book is out today. Grab your copy of Marvel: The Untold Story on Amazon.

What it’s Like Being A Dad

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Being a dad is the greatest thing in the world. That much I know is true, and I’m sure you would likely agree. But what do we tell our friends who ask us what it’s like actually being a dad? The guy whose lucky lady have a bun in the oven and the guy who doesn’t, but someday might, are curious to know your take on fatherhood. They ask you because you’re in the trenches, fighting the good fight to raise your kids well. What do you tell them?

If you’re at all like me, you fail to find the words to adequately describe the intense highs and debilitating lows of fatherhood. Don’t get me wrong, I have an answer. It’s just that, I don’t know… it never seems to be as powerful as say, a heartwarming video. Roll the film.

“What Do You Want For Father’s Day, Daddy?”

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Realizing that #OperationMothersDay was a smashing success, my kids quickly started interrogating me as to what I wanted for Father’s Day.

It was no surprise to them that The LEGO Movie was on my wish list, but with its release date two days late, they needed a solid replacement if they were to celebrate my very existence in their life on the same day as the rest of America (June 15th for the uninitiated). What their approach lacked in subtlety was made up for in their amusing suggestions.

“I bet daddy wants to go back to Great Wolf Lodge!” “Where can we buy a Batmobile?” “Daddy, I know you want ice cream for Father’s Day!”

These kids, they remind me of me when I was in their shoes; always wondering what I could get for my dad that I would also like having around the house. Like the time I bought him the ‘Led Zeppelin Greatest Hits’ CD or the time I took him to see Styx and REO Speedwagon.

My answer was the best I could muster, knowing that the money they use to buy me a gift is coming out of my wallet (there goes the crossbow) and that no kid wants to buy their dad a gift they never see him use like, say, an iTunes gift card so he could update his running playlist.  Still, my answer was truthful – just not particularly helpful.

I told my kids that daddy wants something no store can sell. Something no one can create – no matter how many bottles of glitter glue and googly eyes are in the craft bin. Daddy wants time.

Time. That’s it.

I want more time to enjoy them all at such a creative, adventurous, and precious age. I want time to read them their favorite books, build the biggest fort, and have the best campfire s’mores the world’s ever tasted.  I want time to stand still, if only for a moment, so I can be sure I never forget how proud of them I am and the people they are becoming. They’re compassionate, ambitious, and sarcastic – three characteristics no person should ever be lacking.  I want to live these days over and over again.

Daddy wants time. Lots of it. He wants time to tell you about God, how much mommy and I love you, and how to do this thing we call life without making the same mistakes I’ve made. Well… most of them anyway. Daddy wants time to just be with you, because you’re awesome and without you he wouldn’t even be qualified for this special holiday.

I told my kids I wanted time for Father’s Day… either that, or LEGOs. At least then I can spend the day having fun with the people I love most.

 

What did you tell your kids you wanted for Father’s Day this year?

Discover and Master ‘The Art of Roughhousing’

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I never knew someone would actually write a book about roughhousing with the kids let alone actually defend the time-honored tradition of putting a toddler in a rear naked choke, but they did (okay, not the sleeper hold part but you get my point). In fact, The Art of Roughhousing even encourages you to try think outside the box with their colorful full-page depictions of various “moves.”

“Everywhere you look, physical play—what some might call “roughhousing”—is being marginalized. Gym classes are getting shorter. Recess periods are being eliminated. Some new schools don’t even have playgrounds. Is it any wonder children retreat to “virtual horseplay” via video games?

But Drs. Anthony T. DeBenedet and Lawrence J. Cohen are here to shake things up—literally! With The Art of Roughhousing, they show how rough-and-tumble play can nurture close connections, solve behavior problems, boost confidence, and more. Drawing inspiration from gymnastics, martial arts, ballet, traditional sports, and even animal behavior, the authors present dozens of illustrated activities for children and parents to enjoy together—everything from the “Sumo Dead Lift” to the “Rogue Dumbo.” These delightful games are fun, free, and contain many surprising health benefits for parents. So put down those electronic games and get ready to rumble!”

When my daughters were younger, I needed to be reminded that they weren’t made of porcelain and that it was okay to wrestle, spin, or tumble with them. When I finally was, they loved every minute of it and jumped at the chance to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you happen to share my feelings towards your own princesses, this book will help subdue your uneasiness. The authors do a great job explaining the mental and health benefits for children and adults that stem from roughhousing. Did you know that physical play promotes emotional intelligence and helps prevent your kid from dying from obesity at age 9? Yes, that’s your cue to buy and read the book then prepare for all out chaos on the couch cushions!

Everything is Awesome at LEGO KidsFest!

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I’ve never seen as many LEGO bricks as I did while attending LEGO® KidsFest.

Innumerable as the grains of sand in the Mojave, bricks of all colors possible paint the floor everywhere you step. But first, our recently minted heroes, Emmet and Wyldstyle, greet you at the entrance.

Covering more than 150,000+ square feet of space, the North American LEGO KidsFest tour consists of five sessions over three days. Each of the sessions offers the same interactive activities and play areas for all ages, including:

• LEGO Model Gallery: dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks
• LEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from professional LEGO builders
• Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.
• Race Ramps: build your own custom car, and race it down the ramp against friends and family
• Construction Zones: creative free build, play, and display areas
• LEGO DUPLO®: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
• LEGO Retail and KidsFest Marketplace: purchase LEGO and official KidsFest tour merchandise
• Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment
• Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color to foster group creativity
• Brickscapes: fantastic displays that combine lots of LEGO and DUPLO sets
And much more!

Even after four hours of walking around posing for pictures with the incredibly awesome LEGO models, racing their own four-wheeled creations, and building towers, ships, and Picasso-esque Mixels, my kids still weren’t ready to go home. Who could blame them? LEGO tossed Chuck E. Cheese out the window – KidsFest is the place a kid can be a kid. And so can you, Pop.

From drool covered Duplos in the hands of tots still in Pull-Ups to the software running Mindstorms EV3 robots in the hands of tweens doing their best to reboot Battlebots and every awesome thing in between – the kids were in a state of nirvana. I know this because I witnessed it firsthand. People of all ages found something that interested them and they camped there to explore, create, imagine, and enjoy themselves in a way that many are seldom ever allowed.

I saw teamwork rue the day in both the Brick Battle Zone and the Challenge Zone and lone wolves dominate the race ramps. I saw moms, dads, and grandparents laughing and smiling with their kids. Sure, I saw a disappointing number of people goofing around on their iPhone as their son or daughter’s childhood slipped away, never to be repeated. But I saw far more parents side by side with their kids having a good time. I was encouraged greatly by that. And thanks to LEGO, they’ll have these memories for a lifetime.

Did you know that LEGO minifigures (4 billion produced in the last 30 years) are the world’s largest population? Did you know that there are 915 million+ possible combinations for six 2X4 LEGO bricks of the same color? Did you know that there are over 2,500 different LEGO Star Wars minifigs? Yeah, me neither. At least not until I picked up the event program. I bet I can win enough bets at the office to cover a return trip to KidsFest the next time it returns with the trivia packed into that little bad boy.

Speaking of bad boys… let’s say “mini you” can’t wait for you to finish helping your daughter put her chariot next to Cinderella’s castle and runs off after the ginormous Hulk LEGO statue. Great! Now you can’t find him, not with all of these little people running around like a pinball off the bumpers. All you have to do is go to the ‘Lost Parent Zone’ and security will help you find your son who will, as long as you filled it out, have a Lost Parents Contact Card in his back pocket so you can be reached by phone.

LEGO KidsFest was a great way to spend time with my kids. If you and your kids are already brickheads, have seen The LEGO Movie multiple times in the theaters, or have ever made someone a Christmas gift out of LEGO, you’ll love it just as much as we did. If you’re a casual fan of the popular building toy, it’s safe to say you’ll still probably find something that sparks your interest, even if you never thought it would. You’ll never see that many LEGO bricks on the floor again in your life. Thank God they don’t make you clean up your mess.

All photos courtesy of LEGO® KidsFest

I’d Give Anything

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They say that it’s something all dads experience, that it’s normal. An unavoidable part of life. Something to be worked though and learned from. They may be right, but that does nothing to lessen the sting of rejection. These emotions need to be unshackled. Soon. I haven’t written poetry since my goth phase in high school. It sucked then and it sucks now. Still, I feel the need to write, and so I do.

I’d Give Anything

I’d give anything to bring back

The smile you used to have

I’d give anything to return

To the time we used to get along

But you keep pushing and pulling and running away

I’d give anything today

I’d give anything to hold you

While we laugh and play

I’d give anything to hug you

And wipe your tears away

But you keep pushing and pulling and running away

I’d give anything today

I’d give anything to know why

You can’t seem to stand me

I’d give anything to know just

What it is that I did wrong

But you keep pushing and pulling and running away

I’d give anything today

I’d give anything to have back

My special little dude

I’d give anything today

More Proof That Everything is Better With LEGO.

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Why do Minifigs hate going to the doctor? Because plastic surgery (literally) costs an arm and a leg! Why do your kids hate going to the doctor? Well, probably because you let a stranger poke them with needles, shove popsicle sticks down their throat, and they get yelled at as soon as they start playing with the giant Q-Tips.

On top of that, Dr. Mario asks the kids to tell him how much pain they’re in by looking at a bunch of Microsoft Word clipart faces that are more ambiguous than Hillary Clinton’s sexuality Bert and Ernie’s relationship. Fear not, dad, the brick stops here. I think it should’ve been extended to 11 – “Stepped on a LEGO. Tell my wife and kids I love them.”

The best thing about this highly unofficial LEGO Pain Assessment Chart is the emotion displayed in those little pencil eraser sized faces and the accompanying description below them. “But isn’t that everything there is to this incredibly geeky chart?” you ask. Indeed. Everything is awesome.

Resistance is Futile. Embrace the Chaos.

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As any co-sleeping parent will tell you, the hours between the time you lay your head on the pillow and the moment your alarm clock starts playing ‘Everything is Awesome‘ to wake you for the new day can be the most dreaded, frightful, rage inducing part an your life. And like Bill Murray in ‘Groundhog Day,’ you must relive it day after day after day.

The cause of such torment? Your heir apparent and his manifest destiny to rule the land of Serta by any means necessary. Resistance is futile. Embrace the chaos.

 

Tell me your funny stories about co-sleeping in the comments below.

A Less-Than-Lethal Way To Defend What Matters Most

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A couple of months ago, ABC News ran a 20/20 special titled ‘Kids and Guns: By the Numbers.’ And while it was a bit misleading, it got me thinking nonetheless.

Regardless of what you think about gun control, the fact remains the same. From Omni Security:

Did you know:

  • Crime in the United States accounts for more death, injuries and loss of property then all natural disasters combined.

  • 1 out of every 24 people is a victim of crime each year.

  • The most common location for victims of violent crime was in their own homes.

  • 38% of assaults and 60% of rapes occur during a home invasion.

  • Every 2 minutes, somewhere in America someone is sexually assaulted.

  • Every 3 seconds, a crime is committed against someone’s property; that comes out to be 1 of 5 households each year.

  • Over 200,000 inmates on parole return to prison each year.

  • A violent crime occurs every 22 seconds.

  • The total amount of money lost each year due to crime is over 40 BILLION dollars.

  • Every 14 seconds, a home is broken into.

With numbers like that, you’d think we were living in Los Santos. Yeesh! Now you know why so many people are so adamant about their second amendment freedom.

Maybe you have small children who love exploring every square inch of your house to find the ultimate Hide-and-Go-Seek spot or maybe you’re not comfortable having a firearm in your home. Or maybe… you know you never want to shoot and possibly kill someone – for any reason. All of the aforementioned reasons for not owning a gun are valid, but that doesn’t mean you should be defenseless. That’s where less-than-lethal options such as the Mace Pepper Gun Distance Defense Spray with strobe LED come into play.

I wasn’t completely sold after watching Mace’s promo video, so I had Mace send me one to test out for myself. After opening the package, the first thing I noticed was how well it fit into my hand. It had a nice weight to it – not too heavy, not too light. It features a thumb-lock safety, trigger activated LED strobe light, and it’s refillable. Each cartridge holds enough vomit-inducing spray for up to seven bursts. The Pepper Gun is user-friendly in that it’s easy to figure out how to load a cartridge. After that, all you need to do is cock it, lock it, and you’re ready to unload.

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In order to test the range and accuracy of the Mace Pepper Gun, I asked my wife if she’d be willing to help. She said, “Yes!” of course, but only if I was the bad guy. (Yeah, now she wants to role-play!) So, I manned up and stood 20 feet away from her, waiting for my beloved to pay me back for all the times I left my socks on the floor. And then I kept waiting.

She couldn’t do it. She said she loved me too much to do this to me, no matter the reason. Not one to back down from a challenge, I quickly told her how I always thought her sister was the cute one, and then WHAM!!! Two direct hits to my ocular cavity.

Don’t worry; it was just water. Ohhhh, you thought she… but then I said… (laughing).

The fine people at Mace want you to know how your defense weapon is going to respond when you’re in crisis, therefore, the gun comes with a water cartridge for practice as well as Mace Pepper Spray, which is a formulation of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) a natural ingredient derived from hot peppers. Upon direct facial contact, OC Pepper causes eyes to slam shut, coughing, and an intense burning sensation to the skin with extreme discomfort of vision and the respiratory system.

This is something, in my opinion, you can count on to protect yourself wherever you happen to be (unless, of course, your state prohibits citizens from carrying pepper spray. In that case, don’t leave home without a Louisville Slugger.) It’s a great tool to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. In the off chance one of your kids gets a hold of the gun and shoots himself or someone else, you’ll all be happy knowing pepper spray wound is  much more survivable than one involving 9mm Zombie Max ammo.

How To Train For A Warrior Dash – Daddy Style

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Emotionally draining. Grueling. Uncomfortable. Messy. Excruciatingly painful and yet, totally worth it! No, I’m not talking about childbirth, I’m talking about the ultra-adventurous obstacle course Warrior Dash. Leave the namsy-pamsy colors and bubbles of other 5Ks for your wife, this challenge is for dads.

Warrior Dash is headed to Michigan in July and I’ll be running alongside other brave dads (and a few moms, too), many of whom are looking to burn off the remaining sympathy weight. That shouldn’t be too hard considering we’ll be running 3+ miles with 11 obstacles scattered throughout to push us to our limits. Want to know when they’re headed to your city? Check here and register now before the price goes up.

Now that you’re all signed up, it’s time to start training. But how’s a busy dad to get ready for the biggest challenge he’s faced since the twins came down with the flu? Easy – just follow my DadFit regimen three times a week in addition to a few decent runs to get your endurance to a respectable level.

These exercises are designed to make you uncomfortable (just like you will be on the obstacle course) while also preparing the muscle groups you’ll rely on the most to complete the Warrior Dash. Bonus: you can still spend time with your kids!

The goal is to do as many reps as possible (AMRAP) with good form in one minute before moving on to the next exercise. Rest for thirty seconds in between exercises. Complete all exercises listed and you’ve completed one circuit. Do as many circuits as you can in 15 minutes for a killer DadFit workout sure to whip your butt into shape.

Army Crawl Through LEGOs (Shown Above): All mud runs require you to army crawl through or under something. Better get used to the pain now. This exercise is almost exclusively upper body strength movement that puts constant, unyielding pressure on your chest and arms. Make it through a ten foot stretch of colorful bricks and you can make it though anything.

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Weighted Push Ups: You’ll need to increase your upper body strength to successfully conquer the Diesel Dome or the Great Warrior Wall. The most popular body weight exercise is just the thing you need to do the job. “If you do pushups correctly, you develop your scapular muscles and your rotator-cuff muscles to stabilize your shoulders.” says Michael Clark, C.S.C.S., a physical therapist and president of the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

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Weighted Crab Walk: I realize you probably haven’t done this since you were the same age your kids are now, but the crab walk is one of many beneficial exercises that have long since been forgotten, despite how simple and fun it is. AskMen.com goes on to say, “Not only will it challenge your balance and agility, but you’ll also really work the hamstrings, glutes, abs, triceps, and shoulder muscles while doing it.” – exactly what you need to dominate the Pipeline.

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Weighted Forward Lunges: Two of the most beneficial aspects of including lunges in your workout are increased core stability and increased balance, both of which come in handy should you face Mortimer’s Crossing, Teetering Traverse, or Two X Fall.

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Swim in Your Kids’ Dirty Bathwater: Nothing can prepare you for the grossness and filth of Muddy Mayhem like taking a little dip in the bath after your kids are finished. Nothing.

By the time you’re done, all major muscle groups will burn like you’ve never felt before and you’ll be a well-toned leg up on the competition. Helmets up, dads!

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Men and Women – The Difference is in the Details

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Cheap. Easy. Trite. Yet, we gobble it up like the last slice of grandma’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.

For years, it’s been ingrained in our brain that men and women couldn’t possibly be more different. The list of differences between the sexes grows by the minute. Society tells us ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus‘ and ‘Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti.’ Enough already! We get it!

This tired plot device has carried plenty of sitcoms to prime time and far too many would be direct-to-DVD films to the silver screen. Studios bank, nay, prey on, our unwavering interest in having this timeworn stereotype entertain us. The least they could do is mix it up a little bit and pretend to have served us a fresh meal instead of last night’s leftovers. 

Broad strokes of the brush will cover a lot of canvas, and fast. But ask any painter worth his palette and he’ll tell you it’s the smaller #2 brush that brings the portrait to life. Likewise, the details explain the differences between men and women best – and without insulting either gender with archaic clichés. A perfect example of this is a conversation I recently had with a female coworker of mine.

Me: “How was your weekend? Did your son find an affordable car yet?”

Her: “Yeah! What about you? Did your sister have her baby yet?”

Me: “Yep – finally. What kind of car did he get? You know – year/make/model/miles?”

Her: “I dunno… a blue one. It’s got two doors. She had a boy, right? How big was he – you know weight/length/ pounds and ounces?”

Me: A boy. “How big was he? Ummm… baby size? A blue one, really?”

Her and I simultaneously: “What do you mean (baby size/blue one)? That’s all you remember? And to think (he’s/she’s) your (son/sister)!”

Me being a guy, wired the way I am, wanted to know if her son got a sweet ride or a beater with known problems. I wanted to know if I should expect to hear about him breaking down in the weeks to come or if about him loading it up with his friends for a cross-country trip before he heads off to college.

She, being a female on the other hand, only remembered what was important to her – it’s a car and it runs. And in case she hears from her neighbors complaining about someone doing doughnuts in her yard, what color is was. Blue.

In my defense, though, nothing I failed to mention (or didn’t care to remember) takes away from the value of my nephew. It’s not like there’s a Kelly Blue Book listing for kids – although I’m sure some of you wouldn’t mind knowing what the trade-in value is on your moody teen.

There we were, XY and XX, both concerned about the others’ family member. And yet, neither could understand how the other didn’t know such blatantly important details. The difference, you see, is in the details. How’s that for a plot twist?

‘The Squared Circle’ Triumphantly Tells Touching Tales of Tragedy

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In the world of pantomime violence, buxom beauties, and smooth talking muscle heads, execution is paramount; not just in what you do, but in what you say also. The best wrestlers are the ones that make all they do seem effortless, but even that doesn’t guarantee success.

Several factors are at play in determining a wrestler’s destiny, not least of which is remarkability. The tried and true method of fully embodying the gimmick one plays inside the ring is nothing, if not dangerous – often times leading to a shortened career and an early demise. Over the past one hundred plus years, wrestling fans have seen this story play out repeatedly and now is their chance to get the nitty-gritty on the fallen heroes of yesterday thanks to David Shoemaker’s ‘The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling.’

From The Press Release:

“A dead wrestler is more than just a sports hero or TV character. He (or she) is a demi-god, a cultural icon. And these modern mythological characters have had a wider impact on our culture than one would imagine. Film, politics, and modern folk-lore stem from their bravado. …the fans of wrestling are numerous, culturally relevant, and profoundly interested in those iconic figures who have moved onto the big WrestleMania in the sky — and how they shaped the minds of generations.”

The Masked Man” waxes poetic (read: breaks kayfabe eloquently) about the history of the business and its causalities over 371 pages in ‘The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling.’ Thanks to him and my friends at Gotham Books, I received an advance copy for review. I laughed. I cried. I took notes.

Anyone who enjoys intelligent sports writing has visited DeadSpin.com and has more than likely stumbled across (if not sought for outright) the popular column Dead Wrestler of the Week. If you’ve been keeping up with it over the years, you’ll come across a few retreads (Crush, Miss Elizabeth, Yokozuna, and Macho Man to name a few), but you’ll also discover new stories (or at least have the rest of the story) about the Von Erich family, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, and Chris Benoit.

Yes, David Shoemaker dares to mention the legendary Chris “The Crippler” Benoit in a book about WWE and pro wrestling in general. How’s that for a swerve? And if you’re not down with that, I’ve got two words for ya’…

I was born in the WrestleMania Era, grew up during the Modern Era, and fell out of love with the spectacle in the Reality Era of professional wrestling. Truth be told, I’m a smark and proud of it. As the built-in audience the author had in mind when putting together this collection of essays about sports entertainment’s closetful of skeletons, I found it remarkable that someone could write so beautifully about something so seemingly, well… not. Shoemaker’s nostalgia and passion cover every page and deliver a powerful finisher when it’s “time to go home.”

Keep the Thesaurus app on your phone handy when you’re reading ‘The Squared Circle’ though. If you don’t, you might be left scratching your head if not skipping entire sentences altogether. Not to worry, though, you’ll get the gist of it and bounce right back off the ropes and into the next chapter in no time. “TSC” is filled with high-spots and will easily become a babyface in the Sports section of both brick-and-mortar bookstores as well as Amazon.com.

In writing, as in pantomime violence, execution is paramount. While there may only be one “Hitman,” Shoemaker is the “Excellence of Execution.” His enlightened, thoughtful, potato-ing (read: hard-hitting) approach to the tragic world of professional wrestling is a refreshing and welcome addition to any fan’s bookshelf.

‘Boys Should Be Boys’ Gives Parents Tools Needed To Succeed

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Of all the parenting books I’ve read, only one has had as much of an impact on me as a  father as ‘Boys Should Be Boys’ by Dr. Meg Meeker and it was her other book – ‘Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.’

Dr. Meeker challenges fathers to examine their own media consumption, how they spend time with and communicate with their son. She answered questions I hadn’t realized I had until that point and clued me in on what I knew I didn’t quite understand. Admittedly, though, I argued with the book one night while reading on the couch. My wife thought I was losing it, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how someone so smart could be so dumb when it came to video games.

Okay, so maybe I have a soft spot for the gaming industry. What can I say? I’m a product of the Nintendo Generation. I played whatever I wanted regardless of ESRB rating (at least when my mom wasn’t home) and turned out just fine. (Yes, I realize how moronic my logic is, thanks for asking.) Meeker insists that playing violent games make boys more aggressive. Maybe it’s just me, but I actually want my son to be aggressive. I’m not talking about biting every kid in Sunday school who won’t share the Legos kind of aggressive. But he being assertive, bold, and energetic could be the very thing that keeps him from being bullied down the road or enabling him to come to the aid of others.

She did, however, make very salient points when it comes to video games and movies regarding what our kids are able to handle at different ages and stages. Meeker goes on to say that “when boys repeatedly see men they admire ridiculing others, lying, and acting [violently], they attach these qualities to the actor’s manliness, and they will think that adopting such behaviors will make them manlier.” I know from experience just how true that statement is and it got me to thinking.

Even if I tell my son that these guys are the good guys and these are the bad guys in the movie, sometimes the lines are blurred and young boys (and a lot of young men too) will get a mixed message if they sit and watch the story unfold on the silver screen. This inevitably causes problems and unnecessary headaches for both parent and child alike. Had my own parents done a better job monitoring my media consumption growing up, I wouldn’t suffer from as many character flaws as I currently do nor would I have been in so many fights.

Back to the rest of the book…

Mothers and fathers each get their own dedicated chapter, which is quite helpful for understanding specifically what is needed and expected of both moms and dads. I didn’t realize how unique my wife’s relationship with our son is until I read this book. I hope to encourage my little guy to keep the relationship strong so he can have what I never did.

The real reason I’m writing the review of ‘Boys Should Be Boys’ is that I hope each of you at the very least pick up a copy from your local library. (For the uninitiated, it’s the big building filled with paper bound books, many of which are fantastical.) After having finished all 247 pages, I feel so much better equipped to serve in my role as father to my son. The last few chapters do an excellent job in making clear the uneasiness about raising a teenage boy and how to navigate the waters – whether he’s a popular kid with good grades or troubled soul who you can’t seem to understand. I don’t want to give away any of the secrets, but let it suffice to say, “Masculinity begets masculinity – whether good or bad.”

I fail on a daily basis to be the dad my kids deserve, that I aspire to be. But with the knowledge and tips I’ve acquired in Dr. Meeker’s book, I’m more confident than ever I’ll hit a home run before the game is over.

Pick up your copy here.

The Usual Suspects: 8 Valentine’s Gifts Dads Don’t Want

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There must be something in the wintertime air that makes women stupid. No offense ladies, but you’ve bought us dads a bunch of ka-ka in the past. You can joke all you want about guys having two heads and only enough blood to use one at a time. Fair enough. But what’s your excuse?

This non-thinking gets worse on Valentine’s Day. It’s the thought that counts but sometimes the gifts men get from their spouse are as if the thought was “here’s something they’ll never use.”

Here’s a list of eight things husbands and dads get for Valentine’s day but really, really don’t want.

Stuffed Animal Holding A Heart

This is not a gift for a man. This is something we get for you or the kids. What are we supposed to do with it after we receive it? Put it on our desk at work? Well that’s one way to get the hot secretary to stop flirting with us. (I kid. Promise.) We get this and by next weekend it’s the dogs new chew toy. Don’t blame us – he’s the one that dug it out of the garbage.

Seasonal Clothing

When you take a perfectly fine tie or tee shirt and put hearts or kissy lips on it you’ve ruined hours of work that was probably done in a small sweat shop in Asia. No self-respecting man walks out of the house wearing a “I’m with my Valentine” shirt.  Seasonal clothing at any holiday is a gift that is only useful once a year, barely. The only thing this gift is good for is wiping up oil in the garage.

Tools

While it may seem innocent at first to the unsuspecting husband, tools are her way hinting that she wants you to put down the video game controller, pick up the cordless power tool and actually get something productive done. I know, how dare she. This is the equivalent of getting the Mrs. a vacuum cleaner. It’s odd how double standards are fine when they work in her favor. Unless you specifically asked for it, tools are one of the top offenders on our list.

Underwear

Of the five common types of men’s underwear, does she honestly think that she knows what you like? (Some of you stopped reading and started counting on your fingers.) Maybe if you’ve been together long enough she knows you’re not really into thongs or that you can’t stand how silk makes your boys cold and if she does good for you. For the rest of you dads out there, you struggle to fake a smile when you open up your gift to find a near naked Homer Simpson that reads “Simply Irresistible”. The only thing remotely close to irresistible is your murderous rage after finding out she wasted money on yet another pair of novelty boxers that you wouldn’t wear back in college when you thought Top Ramen was international cuisine.

Personalized Candy Hearts

Let’s cut the bull and be brutally honest for a moment; candy hearts taste worse than your kid’s yogurt covered chicken nugget. She can’t make them any more palatable by printing “Justin and Jessica 4 Ever” on them. If she wants to personalize something that’s going in my mouth then get a custom temporary tattoo. Now that’s more like it!

Jewelry

You don’t need a watch thanks to your cell phone. You’ve probably already got the only ring a man is permitted to wear. The MLB hasn’t called you up to the Bigs, so a gold rope chain necklace is out of the question. You are not Mr. T. Any gift you receive that falls into this category will be the cause of mockery from your male friends… providing you humor her and actually wear it.

‘X’ of the Month Club Subscription

Why is it that every time I’ve gotten one of these I always feel robbed? And I didn’t even pay for it!  Microbrew, wine, hot sauce, jerky, BBQ sauce – it doesn’t matter. None of these horrible concoctions are sold at my local store for a reason. Women think we’ll like to try something new. She’ll say it’s “different and exciting” hoping to elicit a positive response from you, not remembering the last time she said something would be new and exciting was when your daughter poured orange juice in your coffee.

Sex Coupons

Has a dad ever actually had a ‘Fantasy of His Choice’ not vetoed by the mother of his children? No. It’s just cruel to get our hopes up. These cards should read more like: Have a passionate night interrupted by a two-year-old followed by a lightning quick (and ninja quiet) love-making session, without all the cool positions mentioned in her latest issue of Cosmo.

Zombie Apocalypse Essentials: Books That Will Save Your Life

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Sirens have been blaring for hours. The stench of burning corpses and death penetrate your nostrils, violating you like “Rampage” Jackson doing an interview. Only the sound of low groans fill the air, making the drop of an empty cartridge pierce the nearly silent night. Life as you once knew it is nothing more than a distant memory. The promotion you wanted, seeing Episode One in 3D, and hoping your landlord will let you slide until payday are things you no longer care about anymore. Nearly everyone you have ever know has either been devoured by a mob of zombies or they themselves have been infected and are now on the hunt for flesh. Left to your own devices, you could only hope to live long enough to see another Friday. Thankfully, there are a few books that will not only prepare you for what is to come, but increase your chance of survival as you either wait for rescue or trek to the nearest safe point.

As we’ve mentioned previously, if you’re going to survive Z-Day you’ll need special gear. But what good is the gear if you don’t have a plan? Our friends over at ThinkGeek sent us a little zombie book bundle in hopes that we’ll survive long enough to give them that five bucks we still owe them. The guys here at Nerdvolution wish you nothing but the best when the hammer drops and we highly encourage you to read these two books: ‘The Zombie Survival Guide‘ by Max Brooks and ‘The Zombie Combat Manual‘ by Roger Ma, and the take the ‘Zombie Survival Aptitude Test‘ by Casey B. Bassett. Next is a breakdown of what’s between the covers of each.

The Zombie Survival Guide – The author of ‘World War Z’, Max Brooks, expounds on key elements and strategy to surviving in the end times. This detailed book is just shy of 250 pages excluding an “outbreak journal” in the back. Broken up into seven major categories, Brooks’ lessons are many and vast. Page after page you’ll learn to distinguish truth and myth, which weapon is best for a specific scenario (close range/long range), as well as a profile of the many common locations (supermarkets, banks, hospitals,etc…) survivors usually try to hole up in and set up camp. I can personally attest that I would undoubtedly die within the first 24 hours because of my ignorance. Knowing the pros and cons of many types of shelter and weapons has greatly impacted my own personal plan of attack.

One of the best features in this book are the illustrations. They may be in black & white, but the visual aids come in handy when describing the ideal living quarters or how remain undetected while on the run. The last third or so of the text is detailed record of attacks dating all the way back to 60,000 B.C in Katanda, Central Africa. These accounts can give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be literally preyed upon by the living dead. Knowing what others have tried and failed to accomplish affords the reader the opportunity to learn from their mistakes as they attempt to live to see another day.

With over one million copies in print, it’s no wonder this New York Times bestseller has captivated the hearts and minds of geeks everywhere. The Zombie Survival Guide leaves no stone unturned, or no room unchecked if you prefer, and is the most trusted source for the tactics you’ll need to survive.

The Zombie Combat Manual – The back cover reads, “When the bombs stop falling… When your ammunition runs out… When the dead are still attacking… Will you be ready?” What I find eerily fascinating about this 296 page treasure is just how realistic it is. Eventually your supply of shotgun shells and homemade explosives will be depleted. This is the primary reason that any weapon with a finite number of uses is, at best, as decent secondary line of defense. As a survivor, whether alone or not, you will be faced with the nightmarish task of defending your unarmed self against at least one reanimated corpse. Even if you’ve read Anderson Silva’s ‘MMA Instruction Manual‘, you’ll still find yourself in a world of hurt (or worse!) if you don’t know the basics of hand-to-hand combat.

If for nothing else, buy this book to see the hilarious depictions of the numerous ways to defeat a zombie. While the pictures are laugh out loud funny, they’ll help you remember where to aim  for when swinging a machete, how to utilize proper footwork to avoid being directly in front of an assailant without tripping over your own feet, and how to property transport a child to safety should you ever have the need. My favorite section of the book is the weapon selection and combat strategy. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the weapons available to me in a time of crisis may just save my life in the future. What’s more is that I now have military-esque knowledge of how to win the war survive.

Z-SAT: Zombie Survival Aptitude Test – Think you know enough to survive the Zombie Apocalypse? Are you willing to bet your life on it? You will never know if you are knowledgeable enough unless you take this test. This 90+ page test will take a few hours to take and then grade yourself (no cheating!). After completion, you will be given a grade, just like in school. The only difference is that if you bomb this test you don’t get detention or grounded – you’ll die a premature death. All of the questions are multiple choice where you fill in the little circle next to the correct answer. Most questions offer four choices while there are a few True and False scatter throughout. Some questions are straight forward while others require to examine a picture to find the correct answer.

The confidence instilled in the student after taking and hopefully passing this test is enough to push the biggest nerd to a whole ‘nother level. Without this book you’re only guessing at how much you know and how good you’ll be at surviving after the world crumbles around you. Please don’t leave your fate in the hands of a whimsical guess.

These books weigh roughly two pounds and take up very little space, making them perfect to carry along on camping trips, long flights, and running from shelter to shelter after Z-Day. I require no thanks for sharing this information with you. Buy them. Read them. Survive. That, my fellow nerds, is thanks enough.

Finally a Book Dads Actually Want to Read! All Pro Dad – Seven Essentials to Be a Hero to Your Kids

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So you wanted to be a superhero, huh? Don’t feel bad, big guy – we all did. We wanted to savage the villain, save the day, and scoop up the damsel in distress… even if it meant running around in absurdly tight tights and a ridiculous mask. Eventually, we put down the juice boxes and sobered up a bit to realize that we were more likely to be picked first in gym class than fly around Metropolis. That being said, being a dad is so much more awesome than changing in phone booths or dodging attacks from a sadist creep in clown makeup – and you can still be a hero to your kids. Not sure how? Keep reading and find out for yourself.

At the beginning of  last school year, I started an All Pro Dad chapter at my daughter’s school and became Team Captain of the Father-centric program. During that time, I learned and shared many helpful ways to become a better dad. When I found out that All Pro Dad co-founder Mark Merrill had written a book, I jumped at the chance to get an advanced copy for review. Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, I find it only appropriate that you know why this book is so awesome… if only so you can drop a not so subtle hint to the wife and kids about what you want this year.

All Pro Dad – Seven Essentials to Be a Hero to Your Kids takes a realistic and meaningful look at your job as a father and draws up the X’s and O’s for a winning gameplan to be the dad your kids need you to be. Seriously, just look at the title! Who doesn’t want to be their kid’s hero? After reading the foreword by Tony Dungy, you’ll be asked a few questions over the remaining pages. Who am I?, What’s my purpose?, and What should I model to my children? are a few examples of the questions you can expect to have answers for as you embark on the journey of becoming an All Pro Dad.

At the end of each chapter, you’re provided with “huddle” questions to ask your kids. These little zingers can be painful, especially if you’ve been the “Do as I say, not as I do” kind of parent. Try asking your five-year-old if she’s seen you act selfishly or how you could be more patient with her. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it’ll be worth it at the end when you have a more connected and meaningful relationship with your children.

I highly recommend you put this at the top of your Father’s Day wish list. For my female readers, get your guy this book and watch his relationship with your children take off faster than Flash Gordon.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Comission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Which Superhero Are You, Dad?

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We all wonder what it would be like if we were comic book super heroes from time to time, our own parental hero status notwithstanding. Sometimes we envision being Thor, others Aquaman Mr. Incredible. Even still, there are times we let our imagination run wild and we’re a spectacular combination of brute strength, spidey sense, nifty gadgets, and charming wit all rolled into one. But have you ever considered which superhero you are as a father? Check out these character profiles to find your super hero counterpart.

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Batman 

The Caped Crusader is a wealthy businessman by day and a crime fighter by night. Dark Knight dads go do the 9-5 thing, whether it be the office or the warehouse, and then instead of kicking back in the recliner while catching the highlights on Sports Center, immediately prepare for an adventurous night getting their hands dirty. Between changing diapers, building forts, attending tea parties, and reading bedtime stories, you’re left exhausted, yet proud of the good work you’ve done for the people of Gotham.

Bruce Wayne gets the Batmobile; you get the minivan. He spends his down time in the ultra-high-tech Batcave. Everywhere you look, you see gadgets that appear as if they’ve leaped right out of a sci-fi novel. You spend yours in a playroom with enough toys to choke an elephant. Your high-tech gadget of choice is the $700 iPad on which your three-year-old is reading Moo, Baa, La La La. It may not stop anyone from robbing banks, but it will prevent a nuclear meltdown in the backseat on a family road trip.

What you lack in powers you more than make up for with your indomitable will and genius-level intellect. Okay, so maybe I’m embellishing that last part just a bit, but you get the point. Most men would be driven mad and committed to Arkham Asylum if they were required to host a play date or chaperone a 2nd grade field trip to the zoo. But not you. There’s something intangible that makes you the superhero that you are.

Captain America

Captain America

Ah, good ole Captain America. The man literally symbolizes the American spirit. Depending on what generation you grew up in, there’s a good chance you aspired to be Steve Rogers – taking names and kicking tail. Capt. America excels at (much like most popular superheroes of his time) virtually everything: shooting, fighting, and strategics. What sets him apart from the rest of the pack is how he became what he is today. His is a tail of rags to riches, where most other superheroes were bumped from the middle class.

Dads who identify with Captain America are the ones who started from nothing – no positive role model, no mentor, nothing that would help him do anything great as a father. Rogers was injected with the Super-Soldier Serum and was transformed from a puny little runt who couldn’t even get his name on the Army’s papers during wartime. You more than likely realized you and your spouse were expecting when out of nowhere an insatiable thirst for knowledge about being a great dad. You went from not knowing how to change a diaper to feeding, burping, and bathing the little guy while mommy enjoys a much needed (and deserved) soak in the tub.

Without those miracle elements – super soldier serum or the epiphany –  neither of you would be the image of hope and awesomeness that you are today.

 

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 Incredible Hulk

The duality of the Incredible Hulk’s ethos is perplexing. On one hand, you have the brilliant nuclear physicist Dr. Bruce Banner (Happy Dad), who is deliberate, reserved, and otherwise “normal” in every regard. On the other hand, however, you have the loud, short-tempered, intimidating monster with superhuman abilities that often leaves a pile of debris in his wake (Angry Dad).

You and the not-so-jolly green giant are both well-meaning men of integrity… when things are running smoothly, the kids are behaving well, and Chitauri isn’t attacking the Earth. Everything changes as soon as the road gets a little bumpy. Those close to you know to run for cover before you “hulk out,” which makes for an uncomfortable situation for all involved. When you’re known to team up with people just as often as you fight them, it’s hard to have you around. Just ask your son… or the next guy on our list.

Wolverine

Wolverine

Wolverine, also referred to as Weapon X, is the lone wolf of the X-Men. His rough-around-the-edges exterior and no non-sense attitude are betrayed by the emotion displayed when you bring up “the one that got away,” Jean Grey. Despite his lone wolf persona, his friends know they can count on him when the need him the most.

Dads that identify most with Logan are the single-fathers of our community. Your agility and stamina help you juggle numerous responsibilities without coming to a crashing halt. When the other mutants are getting together to enjoy the fruits of their labor, Wolverine is often still on a mission – one that only he can pull off. Guys like you are virtually indestructible; no matter how many times that kid sneezes in your face when you’re tying his shoes, you never get sick.

Superman

Superman

Regarded by most as the quintessential man, superhero or otherwise, Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman is the fictitious character most revered by men across the world. Seemingly, “The Last Son of Krypton” has it all: muscular body, supernatural strength, and the ability to fly. All of us have a different vision of what the perfect dad looks like (stay-at-home-dad or works outside the home but is actively involved), but there are a few constants no matter who you ask.

Super dads possess enough strength to give all three of his kids a piggyback ride at the same time or to carry 27 bags of groceries in a single trip from the van. His hearing and sense of smell is able to discern the cry of his own baby in a room full of newborns and track down a messy toddler from three hopscotch grids away. While superdads lack the ability to fly, they can see right through the “I didn’t do its” and “She started its” without fail. But what about his glaring weakness? Kryptonite can bring the Man of Steel to his knees with only a tiny fragment.

It’s only fair that if you’re lucky enough to have that many super powers that you have an egregious weakness. Your Kryptonite comes in the form of pride. Sometimes your pride allows you to get so upset that things didn’t go the way you planned that you yell at your kids. Other times your pride rears its ugly head when you are excessively critical of the way others parent their children. Worst of all, your pride can cause you to push your kids too hard, to the point of ignoring them completely, doing irreparable damage to the relationship. Thankfully, more times than not, Superman avoids the cause of such a great weakness and is all the better for it.

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Spider-Man

As one of the youngest superheroes in the Marvel Universe, it should come as no surprise to you that spider-dads are the child rearing guys in their twenties. Peter Parker goes to school, holds down a freelance gig at The Daily Bugle, and has an ongoing relationship with the lovely Mary Jane. But that’s just one side of the web slinger. The other part of his identity is that of a crime fighter – and it is often interrupting every facet of Parker’s life.

Young fathers dig their daddy duties don’t give much thought to disappearing in the middle of the day when their “daddy sense” starts to tingle. These modern dads bug out from the office at 3:30 in the afternoon to catch a t-ball game, skip class for dance recital, and pass on the party at the club because it’s family movie night. Parker’s friends and co-workers don’t know why he goes missing at the most inopportune times, but yours do – and chances are they don’t get it either.

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man scales New York City’s skyscrapers, swings from place to place, and shoots webs at Dr. Doom and the Green Goblin. Spider-Dad builds scaled down versions of the same buildings with Legos (possibly his, but the kid can have them when he’s older), swings at the park with his six-year-old, and shoots Nerf guns at the monsters under the bed and in the closet. I wonder if, in a different reality, they would be friends.

Ironman

Iron Man

You could look at the Iron Man character in one of two ways. On one side of the coin, you have Tony Stark the eccentric, billionaire playboy who just happens to be an international arms dealer with a strong business acumen and a penchant to drink his problems away. On the other, you have Iron Man, leader of The Avengers and Head of S.H.I.E.L.D., who has dedicated his life fighting evildoers all across the Marvel Universe. However, as Stark once said, “The suit and I are one.”

Fathers who fall into this category are possibly, but not necessarily, affluent, intelligent, well dressed, and above all… they totally dig being a dad. I mean, they revel in such a sweet gig – sometimes a bit too much. But hey, who can blame them. Iron Dad’s J.A.R.V.I.S. consists of a combination of a bluetooth on his ear, tablet in hand, and a pair of Google Glasses. These certainly come in handy when safely scheduling birthday parties while on the way to Jiu Jitsu class or helping your kids learn how to read on a road trip, but it leaves you almost defenseless when it’s time to recharge. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done for these great men and their dependence on electrical devices.

So guys, whose mythos matches up best with your archetype? Are you more of a team player or a loner? Are you high-tech and dependent or supernaturally gifted and fatally flawed? Or, dare I suggest, have you let your imagination run wild thus becoming a spectacular combination of brute strength, daddy sense, nifty gadgets, and charming wit all rolled into one?

10 Things You Should Never Say to Dads

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A generation ago, men weren’t allowed in the delivery room. Today, they are not only suiting up in scrubs and cutting umbilical cords, but are becoming stay-at-home-dads… on purpose. Men were not expected to know, say, or do much in the way of parenting back then. Now we have our own manly diaper bags, support groups, and daddy blogs. Nevertheless, if this progression in parental activity is to make a successful transition from trend to permanent shift, you need to be more thoughtful when talking to fathers. To start, here are ten offhanded comments we really wish you would stop saying.

10.) “You really should look into (fill in the blank).”

He knows you mean well, but when you phrase it that way, there is a good chance that he will ignore you completely. Advice is best given — and received — when requested. Feel free to tell him about the cool potty-training trick you used or the new certified organic baby food, but don’t suggest he do it solely based on one positive experience you had or because it comes recommended from a friend of yours. He will be the one who decides if something is worthy of his time and money.

9.) “Changing diapers? Time to revoke your man card.”

Fathers of yesterday may have deigned this responsibility, however, this is 2013 and real men change diapers. Besides, today’s dad stopped caring about his man card back when he stopped caring about mid-terms and frat parties. Furthermore, smart dads realize that changing diapers is excellent choreplay. According to a recent Parenting.com survey, chipping in around the house is a bigger turn on for women than enjoying a glass of wine.

8.) “I bet you can’t wait until they grow up and leave you alone for more than five minutes.”

On the contrary, many dads in society today can wait. After having dawned on them just how fast time flies by, many fathers wish their kids would stop growing. They will have all the time in the world for kayak trips and classic car restoration once the kids are grown, but only a modicum of sand remains in the hourglass with which to adore his munchkins. There will come a time, all too soon and ineluctable, when dad will be left alone; a time when his kids no longer want piggyback rides, underdogs, or bedtime stories. Don’t think for a second that this hasn’t already dawned on him either. He knows the days are numbered, that is why he smiles when recalling the hiking trip that wasn’t after volunteering to coach his daughter’s soccer team instead.

7.) “Let them cry long enough and they’ll stop.”

Dads usually hear this from other guys, making it rather tricky to combat without coming across as weak. Dr. Darcia Narvaez, a Psychology professor at Notre Dame, published a piece in Psychology Today making a case that the cry-it-out (CIO) method of sleep training damages babies, making them less intelligent, more anxious, and less connected to their parents. You would think that would stop the CIO proponents in their tracks, but no. Many men commend one another for rescuing a damsel in distress but belittle the one who comforts a baby with the blues. Turn the tables on the opposition and ask if you ignore them long enough if they will stop.

6.) “The kids are at their mom’s house for the week, you should be thankful for the break.”

This might come as a shock to some of you, but not all divorced men are deadbeat dads. Regardless of what you’ve heard in hair salons or seen played out in Hollywood for years, a copious number of them are just guys who experienced a failed marriage and lived to tell the tale. Being held hostage by drug cartels south of the border would be preferred to being away from his kids for days or even weeks at a time. What is just as troubling is that people suggest he should feel relieved for being “let off the hook” when it comes to his responsibilities as a father. The assumption is that because the children are with their mother, dad ought to be carefree and enjoy the time off. But that simply isn’t the case.

“When you look at the stress and emotion and worry that fathers go through, they still want to support their kids financially, emotionally,” said Katherine Conger, a human and community development professor at the University of California, Davis. “They still are focused on the health and well-being of their kids, even during the process of becoming divorced.”

5.) “Wait, what? You’re having another, isn’t it a little too soon?”

You can be the most successful child in the family, on both sides, and still have dissention heaped upon you from your family. If there is one unbiased certainty in parenthood, it is that you will have to endure criticism every time you announce that you are expecting again. It’s almost as if the joy expressed in your baby-making abilities summons critics to occupy Sesame Street in protest of your thoughtlessness, timing, and tactics. A man’s natural reaction is to get defensive when anyone questions his authority or decision-making, thus a little familial dissonance is to be expected. At a time when dad should be focusing his energy on taking care of his pregnant wife, it is rather depressing that he will be dodging slings and arrows from friendlies instead.

4.) “Can’t you just find a sitter?”

One does not simply ‘find a sitter’. Modern fathers don’t trust their kids with just any available stranger whose number they picked up from a super market bulletin board just so they can run off with you and the boys for an impromptu trip to B-Dubs. Finding a reputable baby sitter is an intricate process; finding the right one is even harder. Furthermore, dads today are already stretching themselves thin doing everything from packing lunches to filing sales reports to hitting the gym a few times a week, causing them to question whether they are truly spending an adequate amount of time with their children.

According to a recent Pew Research survey of over 2,500 adults nationwide conducted last fall and an analysis of the American Time Use Survey, fathers are much more likely than mothers to feel this way. An astounding 46% of fathers say they are not spending enough time with their children. Consequently, even if he already has a go-to sitter for during the workweek, chances are he won’t be calling in any favors before kickoff.

3.) Anything related to ‘Mr. Mom.’

Unless you’re talking about the Michael Keaton movie from the 1980’s, using the term ‘Mr. Mom’ should never be uttered as it sets the fatherhood movement back light-years. Scratch that; don’t ever say it period. The movie wasn’t great and the connotations associated with the term are harmful to actively involved dads from coast to coast. Remember, we are a rare breed. Equal parts G.I. Joe, Bill Cosby, and Martha Stewart, we have become the ultimate triumvirate. We know how to make a bottle, cook dinner without a microwave, wash laundry without magically changing the original size or color of the clothes, help with homework and change a diaper. We are not Mr. Mom; we are Dad and quite proud of it. Yes indeed, the paradigm has shifted.

2.) Saying that a dad is “babysitting” or “daddysitting” his own children.

Based on the very definition of the word, dads are incapable of babysitting their offspring. Go ahead, look it up. You see, it is impossible. Given that he is the father of the children in his care, it is called parenting. If you continue to refer to the time dad spends with his kids while mom is away as babysitting, you are inadvertently reinforcing gender norms that could prove to be detrimental. No one wants to be guilty of such duplicitous behavior, so it would be wise to nip this in the bud before someone is stuck with the thorns.

1.) “Which one is your favorite?”

A perennial hot button issue, the idea of having a favorite kid whom you love more than the rest, has left many a parent demurring to the necessity of the question. Asking ridiculous questions such as this can only lead to injured feelings and fractured relationships. Why bother asking in the first place? To understand better the frustration that dads feel when fielding this inane question, try to remember watching your toddler play with her bucket of shapes. She’d sit there on the polka dot throw rug laid out for her as you folded laundry for what seemed like a full five minutes trying to fit the sphere in the cube hole. You witnessed your little girl attempt the impossible for the first time. Maybe you giggled as her frustration grew, but you knew she would figure it out eventually. No matter how strong her desire to push the ball through the opening, it simply could not be done. The same is true for picking a favorite child.

This article first appeared on The Good Men Project.

Not All Super Heroes Wear Capes

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Not all heroes were born with the supernatural ability to fly like Superman or Thor. Nor were they exposed to toxic chemicals that, in turn, gave them otherworldly strength like Captain America, Hulk or Wolverine. Not all heroes are independently wealthy, granting them seemingly unlimited access to cutting edge weaponized technology like Iron Man or Batman.

Not all heroes wear a uniform and a pair of dog tags, although many do.

So, who are these people who don’t fit the typical profile? They’re involved parents who make personal sacrifices for the greater good of their family. Instead of fighting crime or terrorism they battle the toxic culture in which we live, change diapers, check under the bed for monsters, kiss boo-boos, and give piggy back rides after pulling 10 hour shifts. You’re more likely to find them in a tree fort than atop a skyscraper and they certainly don’t get to cruise around town in anything slightly resembling the Tumbler.

You’ll never hear of the awe-inspiring feats they accomplish on the 6 o’clock news, nor will they ever make front-page headlines. Their deeds go all too often unappreciated or unnoticed. But you won’t hear a peep about it from them. In fact, they wouldn’t trade this gig for all the power in the world. And that’s another reason why they’re so super.

Win or Lose at UFC 162, Anderson Silva is the Greatest Ever

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(“It is true greatness, to have in one the frailty of a man, and the security of a God.” – Sir Francis Bacon / Image via Stephen Torreno)

For as long as man has competed against one another, man has been keeping score. What was once recorded on a stone tablet is now saved on a laptop somewhere in the annals of sports history. A quick search for “greatest of all time” will reveal a list of several sports, both familiar and alien. Click on ‘Basketball’ and you’re redirected to a page for Michael Jordan, ‘Hockey’ for Wayne Gretzky. When you reach the ‘M’s,’ somewhere between ‘Marathon Running’ and ‘Motocross,’ you’ll find the sport that connects us all — Mixed Martial Arts. One more click of the mouse and you’re staring at the image of unequivocal excellence, and he goes by the name Anderson Silva.

The unassuming Brazilian stares back at you, championship belt draped over his shoulder. If you didn’t know any better, you’d never in a thousand years peg him as the guy who’s left a pile of broken bodies from multiple weight classes in the wake of his seven-year, seventeen-fight win streak. Among the casualties are five (current and/or future) members of the illustrious UFC Hall of Fame. Those battle-tested titans of the arena were no match for “The Spider.” How could they be? The UFC middleweight champion posses otherworldly skills and ability, and an uncanny penchant for violence. Which reminds me; one of the greatest things about modern record keeping is the ability to relive history through streaming video. Check this out:

During Silva’s sensational career, he’s amassed a spectacular number of UFC records. And while a summary of his accomplishments fail to do his legacy any justice, they’re too remarkable not to mention. The 38-year-old Muay Thai savant owns records for the most knockdowns landed (17), longest winning streak (16), and longest title defense streak (10). The São Paulo native is the most accurate striker in the organization, landing 67.8% of the significant strikes he hurls his opponent’s way. What’s more is that 63% of his opponent’s significant strikes touch nothing but air. Did you know he’s tied with Joe Lauzon for the record for most post-fight bonuses (12) and he’s been awarded Knockout of the Night honors (6) more than any fighter to have ever stepped in the Octagon? His numbers are outstanding, but they only tell half the story.

When talking about a fighter’s greatness, you always recount the reasons he’ll be remembered for generations to come. For Silva, an unparalleled fighter with a unique combination of grace, speed, precision, power, artistry, and fundamental soundness in multiple disciplines, it’s difficult knowing just where to start. We could talk about his dominance, records, or any of the “Holy S***!” moments he’s given us, of which there are many. Instead, let’s talk about the perseverance displayed in his extraordinary comeback at UFC 117 against Chael Sonnen and the rivalry that lead to the UFC’s biggest rematch since Liddell vs. Ortiz 2.

During the summer of 2010, after months of listening to a previously unimaginable amount of trash talk, Anderson Silva was locked in steel cage with the man who insulted his credentials, country, and wife. If you expected to see Silva throw Sonnen a beating so bad his mother wouldn’t recognize him, you were sorely disappointed. Quite the opposite occurred at Oakland’s Oracle Arena that night. We all know the story by now. For four and a half rounds, Chael Sonnen treated the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt like a flank steak, pounding and hammering away until was good and tender. Mere mortals (with healthy, uninjured ribs) would’ve tossed in the towel between rounds, but not the champ. He was hell bent on victory…and he got it in the closing frame of the bout when he trapped the American in a triangle choke. Silva’s warrior spirit and unrelenting will to succeed not only shocked the fight world, but also gave way to arguably the most anticipated fight in the history of the promotion.

Two years later fans were treated to another epic showdown. At first, the middleweight tilt looked to be a rerun of their initial encounter, with Sonnen dominating Silva from bell to bell of the opening round. Unfortunately for the gangster from West Linn, Oregon, the champion capitalized on his missed spinning backfist in the second with a vicious ariel attack and never let off the gas. Anderson couldn’t have penned the storybook ending any better than what played out in Vegas that night. During his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Silva forgave Sonnen for his anti-Brazil rhetoric, going as far as to invite him to a barbeque, and then walked back to the locker room the undisputed baddest man on the planet.

They say heroes are remembered and legends never die. I hope that’s true. I hope all of our great-great grandchildren know of the intense feud between Silva and Sonnen and the last-second miracle that took place on the blood stained canvas in Oakland. By then, all sports records will have vacated their homes on Dell or Mac hard drives and moved to the cloud — a much cushier and convenient place to reside.

But what about Georges St. Pierre or Jon Jones, you ask? Have they not reigned supreme in their respective divisions, fought legendary battles, overcome adversity, and racked up their own impressive stats? Of course they have. But no matter what the numbers say in the end, Silva will still come out on top when it comes to mesmerizing performances and likeability.

A quick word association game helps confirm this. Someone says “GSP” and you immediately think “boring.” They say “Jon Jones” and you think “spurious.” But when someone utters the name Anderson Silva, you immediately think of greatness. And not just individuals either — blue chip sponsors like Nike, Philips, and Burger King agree as they have all attached their sails to his ship. Fans, fighters, and media alike generally agree that “The Spider” is the pound-for-pound king. He’s doesn’t serve up lukewarm leftovers like the champ a weight class below nor does he polarize the crowd like the champ a weight class above. As if that weren’t enough, Silva is known for his charity work such as visiting sick kids in the hospital. In a sense, he’s everything a promoter, fan, or writer could ever ask for.

When DMX’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” hits the speakers in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Saturday night, as Anderson Silva walks out for the main event at UFC 162 against undefeated Chris Weidman, the world will watch with great anticipation to see if history repeats itself or if it will be made anew. But what if I told you it doesn’t matter whose hand Herb Dean raises at the end of the night? Because it really doesn’t. Silva has nothing left to prove. In a sport where participants risk career-ending injuries most days of the week, the champion has been a force to be reckoned with for the better part of twenty years. Savor it, enjoy it, and most of all, appreciate it. No matter what happens after Silva and Weidman touch gloves in the middle of the Octagon, it won’t take away a modicum of legacy from Brazil’s Spiderman.

Raising a Son in a Bro Culture – What Every Dad Must Know

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When your son was still pink and covered in amniotic fluid, a million thoughts raced through your mind. I hope he has ten fingers and ten toes. They better cut the right cord! Why does he look like my boss? Okay, you can (hopefully) scratch that last one. As a father to a son, you were more concerned with the immediate future, the here and now, than you were with anything else. I’m guessing a very small number of you were contemplating what sport he would excel at instead of his how long it would take his Bilirubin levels to drop so you could finally take him home. Once you were finally released from the hospital, the farthest thing from your mind was probably the world into which you would be raising your heir apparent.

The world in which we now live is largely a “bro culture.” As one writer for Kotaku put it, bro culture is often marked by collar-popping young men with a creed as sophisticated as YOLO. While that’s an entertaining bubble gum way of describing it, it’s much darker than that. Just take a look at the trailer for BroCode.

Executive Director of Shaping Youth, Amy Jussel, had this to say about the movie: “Filmmaker Thomas Keith gives us a show-n-tell glimpse of the mass media and marketing machine lauding ‘permission’ upon males to act like thuggish jerks, cads, and misogynistic monsters, disrespecting women with ramped up, amped up buffoonery ranging from ‘rape jokes,’ to crass, coarse entitlement. Why do boys feel they have the right to behave this way? Look no further than music videos, movies, ads and a pop culture of pornification, The Bro Code conveys.”

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve harassed my guy friends with the line, “Man Card revoked!” after they’ve done something that no “real man” would ever do. (Ironically enough, I’m the guy who professes that he’s too pretty to fight and that’s why he writes about MMA instead of actually stepping in the cage.) In my defense, however, it’s always been something trifling such as having their significant other go warm up the car for them or for having Bieber on their iPod – and it’s always done in a playful way, free of any real ball busting or social consequences. This is not the same as what’s depicted in mainstream media and reenacted in high schools and universities across the nation. Little jests between grown men are just that. However, the same cannot be said for our sons. This bro culture, the one we’re raising them in, will chew them up and spit them out if we’re not careful.

You’ve seen a bro before, right? He’s the young buck whose emotionally stunted self can only find comfort in dressing and acting like the rest of his bros – even when it would benefit him not to. His self-identity begins and ends with his bro-ness. He only wears bro-approved clothes and only hangs out with other bros, oftentimes sacrificing life-long friends so he won’t be ostracized. On the weekends, a bro is typically at a party where he gains acceptance and praise for binge drinking, dangerous (and sometimes illegal) activities, and rating women based on their physical attributes. Sadly, if his bros don’t think a certain girl is on his level or isn’t down to play, they mock her mercilessly both in school and on social media. What’s most troubling is a bros approach to sex. For many, sex is just something the get from women – no matter if they get it by trick (read: drugs) or force. For some unfortunate victims of this type of bullying, there is only one way out…

Clearly, this bro culture has to end. It’s ruining otherwise halfway decent young men and making life for our daughters a living nightmare. So how do you navigate the shark-infested waters as a dad? How do you raise a son to become a man of integrity and good character, a man whose self-worth comes from within and therefore won’t succumb to idiotic peer pressure? How do you raise your son in such a way that he will be a true “alpha male” and lead the way by standing up for what’s right even if it’s inconvenient? Glad you asked. All you need is a little LED.

L – Lead by example

E – Encourage virtuous character traits

D – Define what true manhood is… and isn’t

In the song Criminal, the inimitable Eminem raps the following line, “But how the f*** you supposed to grow up when you weren’t raised?” Most of today’s youth are the modern equivalent of Mowgli from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book or Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan; boys left to fend for themselves without a positive male role model to look to for instruction. These wild characters had no choice but to conform to their surroundings in order to survive, much like this generation’s batch of young men. Filling the role of a father, you must carry yourself in a way that worthy of being emulated (by your son and your peers), which may mean you need to change your media viewing habits and how you interact with members of the opposite sex. Any man who’s been around the block before knows all too well that young kids mimic daddy’s behavior – for better or for worse. If that’s not enough motivation for you to get your act together or cause you to be more self-aware, think about your daughter. You are her first love and she looks to you to see how she can expect to be treated by the men in her life. Chew on that one for a minute.

It has been said that compassion is the saving grace of humanity. Every CEO in America wants to hire an honest employee. No one really likes the irresponsible friend, you know, the one you can never count on to pick you up from the airport or help you move across state. To avoid the trappings of the toxic bro culture, you must encourage your son to be a man of integrity, whether it is on the playground, in locker room, or at his dorm. Humility, compassion, and respect are all qualities that will benefit your son for as long as he lives. Teach and help him to be the best he can be in all that he does and he will be head and shoulders above the rest of the so called “men” out there.

Real men define themselves. Some are warriors; others are poets. A select few are the much sought after “Warrior-Poet.” True masculinity is more than talking tough, having big muscles and possessing the ability to procreate. Real men allow themselves to show their emotion – to their family and close friends. Authentic masculinity involves respecting women for more than their bodies and treating them with respect and equality. Real men have the courage to stand tall in the face of adversity and apologize when it’s appropriate, not simply to placate others.

Real men don’t trick or intimidate women into having sex. Real men do not assault women or those too weak to defend themselves. Real men do not eat quiche. (Seriously, they don’t. Look it up.) Masculinity doesn’t demand that you act like a misogynistic, jerkface from sun up to sun down nor does it require you to drink until you can no longer remain conscious. Additionally, real men don’t rely on others’ perception of them to determine their value. Bros are most easily identified by their look. It must be written somewhere in the BroBible that you can only shop at certain stores in the mall, wear a certain brand shoe, and never go more than three hours without reapplying the Axe Du-jour. I’ll borrow a line from Tyler Durden and say, “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f***ing khakis.” Contrary to bro belief, the clothes don’t make the man – and we had better make sure our sons know this.

Being A Dad Just Got A Whole Lot More Fun With Cooper & Kid

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Dad and flying box kid pointing

Most days, being the father of three kids under seven is the most awesomest job in the world. They get along fairly well (at least better than the neighbor’s bratty spawn and definitely better than me and my sister when we were growing up), I’ve got enough time and energy to play whatever game their crazy sugar-addicted imagination can fathom, and we’ve got all the pieces, Lego or couch cushions, to build whatever fort/pirate cove/princess tower we need. And then there are days when I’m so tired you couldn’t pay me enough to get off the couch if my house were emblazoned in a raging inferno. These are the days being a good dad takes every last bit of restraint I have to resist the urge to give them all $20 and tell them to go see what’s playing at the theater. That’s all about to change thanks to Cooper & Kid.

Explosion w logo hi res

From the press release:

“Cooper & Kid is a new start-up on a mission to enhance the critical rite of passage into fatherhood. As a lifestyle brand that serves fathers of today, we offer curated goods and services and a community of like-minded men. Our first product is the Cooper Kit, which is the instant ‘Dad is Awesome Box’, filled with themed projects that, yes, both dads and kids find cool. Plus, it contains entertaining and educational mental fodder for the mature male mind.”

Cooper & Kid take some of the guesswork out of how to make the most out of the time you get with your kids. Between working a job that all but sucks out your soul, hitting the gym hoping to shrink your beer belly, and mowing the lawn before the neighbor goes into passive aggressive cardiac arrest again, it’s not uncommon to find yourself unmotivated to put in any extra effort at home. Don’t let exhaustion get the best of you, dad; you’re better than that. With this subscription-based service, you’ll have a boxful of fun shipped to you with (almost) everything you need to complete a handful of themed projects with your little crew.

The kids literally begged me to open the box as soon as I got it. I was happy to oblige them. We were all surprised at how much was waiting for us inside. The theme was “How Things Fly” and included feathers, army guy with parachute, catapult, sky lantern (like the ones from Tangled) and a bunch more. One of the first projects we completed was the catapult.

catapult

Apparently, my love for medieval weapons wasn’t lost on them. My daughters we’re itching to launch the included mini-beanbags at anything they deemed threatening to their fortress. While we did make a trip to the garage to grab some Gorilla Glue once we ran out of the glue the project came with, that didn’t stop us from having a great night creating a working catapult. It’s a toy my kids take pride in and enjoy telling others they built it themselves… with a little help from daddy.

At $65 a box, Cooper & Kid may be pricing themselves out of an otherwise profitable market. However, that doesn’t have to be all she wrote for the dad-centric start-up. With monthly, quarterly, and yearly subscriptions coming, anyone can seize this opportunity regardless of budget.  We had a blast learning how things fly and then actually making flight happen with the things we put together as a team! Even on my worst day as a dad, a kit like this could turn me into an All-Star. Let’s just hope the next kit comes with more glue.

Unforgettable memories and countless smiles await you. Get your kit here.

‘The Passionate Mom’ Will Change Her Life

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If you’ve been reading this site since infancy, you already know how much I love books. I mean, really love books (okay, except that one). Books are the gateway to foreign lands, directions for projects our dads were too lazy or drunk to teach us, and a means of escape from this life – which, quite frankly, kinda feels more like torture at times. When I found out the wife of Mark Merrill, from All Pro Dad fame, wrote a book for moms, I jumped at the chance to give it a read. I may not be a mom myself, but I’ve been called a mother more times than you’ve watched Kate Upton do The Dougie.

In the book, The Passionate Mom: Dare to Parent in Today’s World, you’ll learn that what makes mom the best she can be isn’t more sleep, better scheduling, or even a few extra hands (although that would be pretty awesome, too) it’s passion. Starting with a vision borrowed from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, Susan Merrill – mother of five – informs her audience of how to protect their children better. It doesn’t matter if you’re a noob mom with toddlers or a seasoned pro with teenagers, your job is ultimately the same; you are responsible for protecting the children in your care and making sure they’re ready to take on the world when the time comes calling.

How do you do this? What if you’re doing it wrong? How can I get from point A to point B? According to the press release, you’ll find out all of that and more:

In every chapter of “The Passionate Mom,” Merrill shares stories and confessions revealing what she has learned: that no mom can control her child’s future, but every mom can parent well. And that there is indeed a plan—a roadmap for how a passionate mom can parent almost any child, confidently.

By introducing the “Ten Ps” presented in the book—perception, pondering, passion, prayer, patience, preparation, purpose, planning, problem solving and perseverance—into their parenting habits, Merrill believes that moms will discover a pattern to accomplish the goal of becoming the best mom that they can be.

Moms have the hardest job in the world. Yeah, I said it – so what? It’s true. And as such, the job sure takes its toll on the ladies we love most – physically throughout nine months of pregnancy reaching crescendo at birth and emotionally for the rest of her life. Good moms never stop worrying about their kids. I know this because mine stopped when I was a freshman in high school when she ran out on my family. Sadly, I’m not making this up. Moving along, good moms are put through the ringer frequently. I’ve seen my wife battle discouragement, self-doubt, and other women throughout her journey as a mother. It’s times like those when she (and all mom’s, really) need support and a boost of inspiration to help them get through the rough patches. This book does just that.

Sometimes, it only takes a spark of hope to change the world. The Passionate Mom is more Roman Candle than it is sparkler and will make a noticeable impact on your life and that of your spouse. There’s a calm sense of confidence knowing you have the right tools for the project and the right plan of attack to see it through. Reading this book will give her a new outlook on parenting and fill her with excitement to “get her hands dirty.” You can’t possibly be unmoved as you watch her passion for being the best mother a kid could ask for be ignited.

Show the mother of your children your appreciation for all that she does this Mother’s Day by picking up a copy of The Passionate Mom HERE.

 

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Comission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The 25 Most Essential MMA Twitter Feeds: 2013 Edition

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Back in 2010, the brain trust at CagePotato HQ compiled a list of the 25 most essential MMA Twitter feeds to follow. Boy, do we sure know how to pick ‘em. Miguel Torres, Kimbo Slice, Mayhem Miller, Reed Harris, Shane Carwin, and Strikeforce have all since faded out of relevance or gone off the deep end. Wait, Reed does what now? Are you sure? Nevermind — we’re back with an updated list of who you should really be following on Twitter, and this time we’ve actually put some thought into it instead of blindly tossing darts at our screen while simultaneously using a Shakeweight. Please note, this is 2013 and if you don’t already know you should be following Dana White, Arianny Celeste, or Ariel Helwani, you’re probably the reason Jon Jones is defending his title against Chael Sonnen this Saturday at UFC 159. Speaking of the gangster from West Linn…

twitter.com/sonnench

Bio: “Godfather of integrity; dual masters in dominance and modesty; once outboxed Hemingway; & author of this year’s bestseller, available NOW on Amazon”

If you thought Sonnen refused to break kayfabe only when the cameras were rolling, you must not have been paying attention because his gimmick is boundless. The People’s Champion maximizes his 140-character limit with every emasculating jab at his opponents, peers, and detractors in the MMA media. The American Gangster is the only man on Twitter to follow absolutely no one, not even his own mother.

Sample Tweet: “15 – the number of letters in the word hydropneumatics as well as Chael beats Jones. #4/27/13″

twitter.com/JoshGrossESPN

Bio: “Born and raised in Los Angeles. Don’t Tread On Me.”

One of the sport’s most seasoned journalists has articulated what many people couldn’t (and frankly still don’t) understand about what they witnessed in the cage since 2000. His name is Josh Gross and he will not play nice if it compromises the integrity of his craft or the oath he took upon entering the profession — even if it means getting blackballed by the UFC President himself. Gross always offers interesting insight with a wealth of knowledge to back it up.

Sample Tweet: “Least surprising headline in a while: NY won’t regulate MMA in 2013. So bye-bye UFC 20th anniversary in Madison Square Garden.

twitter.com/thejadebryce

Bio: “Actress/Bellator/FHM/Maxim/Playboy/Pacsun For pretty eyes see best in others.For pretty lips spk kindly.For poise walk knowing not alone.Live a beautiful story”

After interviewing Ms. Bryce at the end of last year, I realized that she is one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met. She’s one of the Bellator MMA ring card girls and she’s trying to feed the starving kids in Africa. No, seriously, she is. Twitter is Jade’s way of giving back to her fans and it shows. Male and female followers alike love her photo shoot pics and inspirational quotations. We’re sure you will too.

Sample Tweet: “Sharing a hotel room with a drunk psycho model. ???? Seriously think she might hit me. I’m trying to just play dead.”

twitter.com/MMACurmudgeon

Bio: “The MMA Curmudgeon loves the sport of mixed martial arts. The MMA Curmudgeon hates dirtbag reporters and reprehensible fighters. Beware”

We have our suspicions about who is at the helm of this brutal Twitter troll, but at the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter. As the name suggests, following this guy is like listening to a crotchety old man talk about this generation’s lack of aptitude. MMA Curmudgeon says what most are thinking but too afraid to tweet for fear of the Baldfather wrath. Retweet at your own risk.

Sample Tweet: “Only MMA media would make the secret hero of the Ronda Rousey story. If White has a dry spell, he can count on Yahoo for a BJ.”

twitter.com/Fightnomics

Bio: “Dropping science in the cage with statistics & analytics. Quantifying underlying drivers of the fight game, and ending barroom disputes everywhere.

Over the last several months, Reed “The Fight Scientist” Kuhn of Fightnomics has been dropping databombs on cage potatoes like you on this site — breaking down everything from submission success rates to striking performance by division. But over on his social media home-base he takes it a step further and laces you with timely truths about the guys you’re watching on the big screen at Hooters. Bonus: Fightnomics’ pithy tweets enable you to sound like you actually know what you’re talking about.

Sample Tweet: “In over 61 total minutes in the Octagon and 859 total strikes attempted, Darren Elkins has yet to throw a single leg kick

twitter.com/ZProphet_MMA

Bio: Multimedia Editor

This is the guy who was behind Teh Gifs, amazing little video snippets of the most gnarly action in the cage, so we won’t hold it against him for collecting a paycheck from one of our competitors. If you like watching incessant KO kicks and flying submissions, this guy has you covered.

Sample Tweet: “GIF – We end todays trip down memory lane with Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim

twitter.com/RondaRousey

Bio: “World / Olympic medalist in judo, Strikeforce / UFC Champ in MMA”

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is many things, as you can glean from her bio, but she’s more than that. She’s the first female fighter to ink a deal with UFC, she took the cover spot on ESPN the Magazine‘s Body Issue, and she’s undefeated! When she’s not trash-talking her opponents or putting the Kardashians on blast, Rousey is sharing her journey to superstardom with all of her 278K+ followers through instagram. It’s there you’ll get the access not even puppets are privileged to. Expect the arm snatcher to amp up her game throughout the next season of TUF.

Sample Tweet: “A guy wearing his cell on his belt is the male equivalent of a chick wearing uggs

twitter.com/MMAPayout

Bio: “Leading source for news and analysis of the business of MMA. From financials to marketing and from the latest business deals to regulation.”

You will know you have transitioned from casual fan to serious fan when you start caring about numbers. We’re talking PPV buys, TV ratings, and fight purses — the stuff the big boys talk about while others sit at the kiddie table and play UFC Undisputed. Every day you’ll be provided the latest news whenever money changes hands in the MMA world. What’s more is the “Payout Perspective” you get that will help you better understand the way the game is played backstage.

Sample Tweet: “Court denies Bellator’s Motion to Dismiss Alvarez Counterclaims

twitter.com/BjornRebney

Bio: CEO of

Quite possibly the second most influential man in all of mixed martial arts, Bjorn Rebney never lets the spotlight blind him like it has others. Follow the face of the Toughest Tournament in Sports for fight announcements, personal commentary, and as of late, giveaways. Even if you’re not one to follow a “suit,” you should tag along until the lawsuit with Eddie Alvarez is over just to see it unfold firsthand.

Sample Tweet: “Today, you can get the App at . Download it and use it tonight while watching the event on .”

twitter.com/goldberg_ebooks

Bio: N/A

I’m unsure of the story behind this parody account, but it makes me legit LOL on a regular basis — unlike “The Mitrione Minute.”

Sample Tweet: “Todd Harris And Bass Rutten Are Starting To Make Me Look Competent. SO Yeah I Feel Pretty Good”

twitter.com/fundafighter

Bio: “We provide an alternative sponsorship platform for fighters that empowers them to execute their next MMA project, funded by fans.”

Inspired by Evan Tanner’s simple approach to sponsorships, MMA trainer Firas Zahabi and company launched FundaFighter. You the fan can sponsor your favorite fighter on their way to the top of the division. Maybe you help buy new equipment, and another time it’s supplements. Once the goals are reached, rewards are given out based on how much you donated. If you’re looking for a worthy cause and want to help support the sport, give these guys a follow.

Sample Tweet: “Pick up a one-of-a-kind fight-worn memento from ‘s historic first female FOTN win Saturday night here:

twitter.com/lorettahuntmma

Bio: “Happy wife, NFL and MMA writer for SI, NYT bestselling author. Thank you, readers, and God bless.”

Along with a few others that pop up on this list, Loretta Hunt is a consummate professional who has lent a great deal of credibility to our sport. She is one of the pound-for-pound best sports writers today. When you follow the right people, you’ll be privileged to “listen in” to the pros. Imagine Midnight in Paris but from your apartment at three in the afternoon.

Sample Tweet: “Just caught Mr. on , as part of its “Making It In America” series, following a TQ fighter’s prep for bout in Moscow”

twitter.com/BensonHenderson

Bio: “just your average joe, trying to live the american dream…oh yeah and my best friend was born in a manger…”

When he’s not defeating the best Zuffa can throw at him, Benson “Smooth” Henderson is retweeting anything and everything anyone writes about him. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, because as champion his game should be winning. Let the other guy hype the fight. Oh, wrong guy. I apologize. Henderson also shares quite a few pictures for the fans. Follow his training and words of inspiration right here.

Sample Tweet: “The thing about dieting guys, is that every1 is unique, what works for me won’t work for everyone…

twitter.com/MindOfHelwani

Bio: “Video Interviewer, Company Man, Beef Squashing Propagandist, Professional stirrer of the pot. People love me because I don’t make them read.”

I swear this is the last parody account on the list of top 25 essential MMA Twitter feeds to follow. Okay I take that back. Kind of. You be the judge. Subconscious Helwani is exactly what I’d expect an alter ego of an admitted smart mark pro wrestling fan to be like. Essentially, it’s one big trash talk marathon and no one is safe. While it’s eerily similar to @MMACurmudeon, the tone is a bit more personal. If you’ve ever wanted to see a video journalist snap at people he feels are inferior in every way, here’s your chance.

Sample Tweet: “If you reported the Wandy story, and feel like your reputation took a “hit” . you have bigger issues than a tricky Brazillian.

twitter.com/Jon_Anik

Bio: “UFC commentator/play-by-play voice for events on FX/FUELTV. Host, ‘The Ultimate Fighter Live’ on FX. Identical twin. Riley’s Dad.” (This will soon be updated to say “Riley and Tatum’s dad.” On behalf of Potato Nation, congrats!)

On top of all his duties listed above, Jon Anik also hosts UFC Ultimate Insider on Fuel TV. On Twitter, you’ll notice his love of all things Boston (his hometown) and his ever-growing bromance with @KennyFlorian. He tweets betting lines and retweets some of the day’s best stories from around the net.

Sample Tweet: “For those who’ve inquired, of course Josh Thomson deserved a post-fight interview in the Octagon. Simply a timing issue when we’re on FOX.”

twitter.com/FrontRowBrian

Bio: “Coming soon….”

FRB has had run ins with the likes of Ariel Helwani, Luke Thomas, and Nate Quarry. Regardless of what side of the fence you sit on, watching the verbal sparring could get you through the worst of bad days. If that weren’t enough, he’s scooped more than his share of journalists and broken news on the UG days before anyone else caught wind of it. FRB isn’t your average fan, but he’s not exactly a journalist either. To hear him tell it, he’s a character in the MMA community who tweets what’s on his mind. From UFC locker room stories to WWE pop culture references, FRB brings his A game every day and seems to enjoy fielding his followers questions.

Sample Tweet: “If Nate Diaz wants to want fight at 170 and stay gainfully employed, he better consult Vitor Belfort’s gimmick doctor. Really poor decision”

twitter.com/davemeltzerWON

Bio: “Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter () and ()”

For over 25 years, Dave Meltzer has written the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, an insider’s perspective at professional wrestling. Since UFC 1, Meltzer has also parlayed MMA coverage into his analysis, sometimes drawing the ire of Vince McMahon and Dana White. Meltzer’s reputation as an analyst of the cable TV and pay-per-view businesses is well established as evidenced by his impressive resume. At the end of the day, if you’re not following @davemeltzerWON you’re missing out on incredible “combat sports entertainment” commentary.

Sample Tweet: “Lots of name women fighters trying out for TUF right now, including Invicta fighters. Shannon Knapp told them they all could”

(pic props: @UFC_Tonight Twitter)

twitter.com/UFCTonight

Bio: “UFC Tonight is the official weekly news and information show of the UFC. Tuesday nights at 10/7p ET/PT on FUEL TV.”

Since most of you don’t have Fuel TV, following UFC Tonight is an absolute must. Tweets come in heavy on Tuesday night as they do their best to keep you in the loop on late breaking news and fight announcements during the show.

Sample Tweet: “Cruz on Faber – “He’s had 5… I’m not here to give more title shots. I’m here to beat the best guys. I’m going to fight Renan Barao next.””

twitter.com/rosenamajunas

Bio: Future UFC Women’s champ (She left it blank, so I took it upon myself to connect the dots.)

Pat Barry’s thugged-out girlfriend, Rose Namajunas, is undefeated and currently fighting under the Invicta FC banner. She finishes fights in spectacular fashion and is sponsored by this site. What’s not to love?

Sample Tweet: “After my fight with THE ORIGINAL BLACK POWER RANGER!!!

twitter.com/MMARoasted

Bio: “MMA Jokes by Comedian Adam Hunter. Ronda Rousey said it’s her new fav follow. Hope you enjoy. Check out

We’ve all seen some fading celebrity with enough moxie to endure the publicly humiliating spectacle that is the Comedy Central Roast. Take that kind of humor/vitriol and aim it at everyone in the MMA community and you’ve got the MMA Roasted Twitter feed. Come for the funny, stay for the irony.

Sample Tweet: “Bendo’s fiance just hired Stripper Ramsey Nijem for her bachelorette party.

twitter.com/malkikawa

Bio: “THE BEST DAMN SPORTS AGENT AROUND”

As President and CEO of First Round Management, Malki Kawa has knowledge of many facets of the fight game outside the cage. Continually sitting at the negotiating table, Kawa represents the likes of Jon Jones, Frank Mir, Benson Henderson, and Miesha Tate, giving him one of the most talent-rich stables since D-Generation X. Follow him for news on the happenings of his fighters and find out what he thinks of the competition on fight night.

Sample Tweet: “Whoop his ass no problem “: would you be able to take out in a three round fight?””

twitter.com/mauroranallo

Bio: “Combat Sports Broadcaster for Showtime Boxing, InvictaFC. Host of with Mauro Ranallo on my website.”

Mauro Ranallo is affectionately known as the “Bi-Polar Rock & Roller” whose rap sheet spans four decades including notable stops in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the legendary Hart family’s “Stampede Wrestling,” Saitama, Japan for Pride FC, San Jose, California for Strikeforce, and most recently, Kansas City for Invicta FC. Tweeting at you with all the Chi power one can muster, Ranallo fill your need of WWE, MMA, and boxing opinions and notes all in one place.

Sample Tweet: “Fathers of Boxers have taken over for the Bobby “The Brain” Heenans, Jim Cornettes & Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Harts of the world.”

twitter.com/shanknapp

Bio: “President Invicta Fighting Championships”

Women’s MMA is here to stay and Shannon Knapp knows it. Invicta FC is the world’s premiere female MMA promotion and if you want to keep your finger on the pulse, you’ll need to check out Knapps’s feed. You can usually find her using social media to share interviews and articles about her ferocious ladies.

Sample Tweet: I just got word from CEO of and we had the most ppv ever sold on Ustream! So proud of our athletes and staff! :)

twitter.com/JonnyBones

Bio: “Youngest world Champion in UFC history, Fighting toward Greatness, Glorifying Christ, Breaking down walls, Living amazed, Will YOU be a witness? #607 #585 #505″

Not only is Jon Jones arguably the greatest fighter of all time (of all TIME!), but he also speaks English. That’s +100 in my book. (Sorry Anderson, but no one understands what you’re saying. Obrigado!) Take Jones’s twitpics detailing his diet and free time combined with tweets of inspiration and greatness and you’ve got a refreshing tweet mixed in with the rest of the garbage you read. The cherry on top is a carefully protected behind the scenes look at the life of a young champion.

Sample Tweet: “Okay I’ll stop I don’t want to come across as preachy.. I respect everyone’s beliefs, just sharing a few of my own

twitter.com/TommyToeHold

Bio: “Host of TTTHS! I’m a cartoon character! New shows every Wednesday! Inquiries, fan mail, or anything else: TTTHSmail@gmail.com”

Tommy ToeHold is the funniest real fake guy in the Twitterverse. His weekly talk show is half TMZ, half Dr. Phil. Each episode recaps the highlights and low lights of the past week in MMA including interviews with champions, up-and-comers, and media personalities from around the globe. Hit him up on Twitter and bust his chops. Best insult wins Viewer Comment of the Week on the TTHS.

Sample Tweet: “I made a Best of Dana White on !!! And yes…there will be a Diaz and Chael compilation in the future. :)

Who’d I miss? Is there anyone you think is undeserving of the Top 25?

*This article originally appeared on CagePotato.com.

A Night Not Soon Forgotten – Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream Edition

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If there’s one thing Disney knows how to do, it’s make you feel like a kid all over again.

When my wife and I took our daughters to The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons,  last night to see Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream, we half expected to sit and watch our kids’ faces light up when they saw their favorite princess come skating out with one eye while watching the clock with the other. This was going to be one of those, “We’re only doing this for the kids” sort of thing, when in reality it turned out to be quite the opposite. Now that it’s over, I really wish it were Groundhog Day. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were so impressed we’d gladly go back to experience the show all over again – with or without kids.

The two plus hour show was just the right amount of time for the story of The Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, and of course, Tangled. And the much needed potty break in the middle gave the kids enough time to make it through the line and back to their seat before the second half kicked off. Well, at least one of my girls anyway. She said she didn’t need to pee during intermission, so my wife took our other daughter and started making her way up the stairs. Not more than 45-seconds later, she tells me she changed her mind and she does have to go now. Wife returns and is not so pleasantly surprised that she needs to make another visit to the little girls’ room as the show begins again. Remind me again why we potty train kids.

Back to the actual performances. The Frog Princesses’ dialog was reminiscent of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises in that it was almost indecipherable. Actions speak louder than words though (just ask Bruce Wayne) and the story progressed with a magical transformation from waitress to amphibian and back again. The kids jumped up and down in their seats and clapped their hands to the sounds of the Bayou.

Next up – Cinderella, man. I hated this movie growing up as a kid, probably mostly because my sister loved it. Nevertheless, I was impressed with the choreography, timing, and overall entertainment of this story. It was nice to have a little interaction between the actors and the audience as the Fairy Godmother claimed to have forgotten the magic words and asked the kids in attendance if they remembered what they were. Ask and ye shall receive – LOUDLY!

Rapunzel and Flynn aerial

The main event of the evening was the story of Rapunzel. I’ve never seen so many kids simultaneously lose their minds. I imagine the reaction to seeing Disney’s newest superstar is the same as watching your team come from behind with a last-second miracle to win the Super Bowl. The Palace hasn’t been that loud since Chauncey Billups was in the lineup.

Tangled is in my Top 5 list of favorite Disney movies and for good reason. The comedy is timely, the songs are catchy, and the story is full of heart. The ice skating performers captured all three with impeccable choreography and death defying aerial acrobatics. No, not under the sea, Little Mermaid stuff. The up in the air, Cirque du Soleil stuff. You could ask a hundred kids who saw the show last night and they’d all tell you their favorite part was watching Rapunzel and Flynn Rider being caught up in the air whilst flying around the arena. And I thought I’d be bored. What was I thinking?

At the end of the night when the smoke had cleared and lights came back on, we made our way up the popcorn covered stairs. Looking down at my daughters’ faces it was clear to see that this would be a night not soon forgotten. I asked my little princesses if the show was cool and the said, “No, this is awesome!” I shared the sparkle in their eye, spring in their step, and the overflowing of excitement in their voice. If there’s one thing Disney does right, it’s making you feel like a kid all over again.

Check out the highlights below and click here for a list of local listings.

The Manliest Diaper Bag Ever

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For many men, respect is something strongly desired and rarely received – at least to the extent we think we deserve. At no point in the history of fatherhood has it ever been cool to carry a diaper bag. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of “neat” (read: marketable) diaper bags made for dads, and carrying one is definitely a manly thing to do. Then again so is actually changing diapers, but that doesn’t make it cool nor does it gain you any respect.

Most of you already know this; I can see it in your eyes. You know the Hooters girls giggle behind your back for toting around a pastel bag filled full of spit up rags and soiled onesies and you’ll never forget the feeling you had when that teenage punk barista made a crack about your apparent fondness of teddy bears and rubber duckies. All of your experiences have left you feeling emasculated. No one respects a guy carrying a murse, even if you boisterously protest the contrary, including your own children.

The madness ends now! Hazard 4 produces the coolest, most rugged diaper bag – and they don’t even know it yet. ThinkGeek sent me a Plan-B Evac Sling Pack to put to the test. Over the past month I’ve discovered several ways this bag will have your back and help you be prepared for almost any disaster a dad can expect to face while out with a little one. When you’re walking around the mall, park, or zoo with baby/toddler in tow you’re going to want something comfortable to carry, able to withstand being dropped off the roof of the car without falling apart after you forgot it was there, all while providing enough room to be stuffed with three (potty training is crappy) changes of wet clothes. The Plan-B Evac Sling Pack has offers all that and more.

Here’s the rundown of details and specs for this gnarly bag:

  • The total-customization Evac w/ full MOLLE coverage
  • 3-D thermo-moulded back-panel for support w/ flex
  • Padded, moveable internal divider like those in photo bags
  • Small top-zipper to pass long objects like souvenirs/posters
  • Side elastic-topped-pockets for baby bottles, sippy cups, etc.
  • Compression-straps also cross to secure large objects (think giant stuffed animal you own at the fair)
  • Compression straps can cross on sides & over top
  • Relatively large volume will hold bulky items with ease
  • Generously padded back with air circulation pad array
  • 3-D air-mesh under strap for ventilation & comfort
  • Full hydration bladder compatible (up to 67 Oz./2 L)
  • Can fit 3 L hydration bladder up to 2.5 L capacity (that’s a whole lot of Red Bull)
  • One large pocket for access while on chest w/ organizer (perfect for wet wipes)
  • One smaller stuff-pocket for soiled diapers etc. w/ patch area
  • Large grab-handles for carrying and pulling to front/back
  • Trap-door pass for hydration hose w/ large bite-valve cover
  • Internal mesh zip/elastic pockets for organizing items
  • Top-open panel zipper can be accessed while on chest
  • Wind-flap zippers on all pockets to keep out the elements
  • 3-D, padded shoulder strap built without any sharp edges (you know, ’cause those are dangerous)
  • Large, locking side-push buckle is easily indexed on chest
  • Stabilizer strap links to either side/ keeps bag from sliding
  • Top/bottom compression-straps, also secure tubular items, bro
  • Velcro patch is a recessed window style
  • Material: DuPont® Cordura® 1000D
  • Main compartment dimensions: 19.5″ x 6″ x 5.9″ (lots of room for diapers, clothes, blankets, baby food etc.)

If you couldn’t tell from the photos, Hazard 4 made this bag for our military men and women while out in the field. It’s tougher than that wise cracking barista and more macho than your wife’s teddy bear and rubber ducky bag you’ve been lugging around for who knows how long. Everything on this bag supersedes expectations for diaper bags.

I loaded this bag with enough supplies to cover the boy and me for a trip to Hooters to watch the UFC fights while tossing back a few cold juice boxes. Respect was commanded when we walked through the door. No wise cracks. No giggles. Just father and son enjoying each other’s company, the ambiance of the restaurant, and the bloodshed of the guys on TV.

Buy your own Plan-B Evac Sling Pack from ThinkGeek here.

A Fond Farewell: The Six Most Memorable Moments in Strikeforce History

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In what comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone with a double-digit I.Q. or higher, Strikeforce will reportedly put the final nail in the coffin after their next event, which is currently scheduled for January 2013. Like any good friend, we tried to talk them out of their appointment with Dr. Kevorkian. Sadly, our friend just could not be reasoned with, leaving us no other options — we have to prepare for the funeral.

Here at CagePotato HQ (read: my desk at work when the boss is in the crapper), we feel it only necessary to start writing the eulogy now, while the memories are still vivid, in an attempt to bring comfort to the grieving family and friends when the time comes. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we, and look back fondly at the most memorable moments in Strikeforce’s storied mixed martial arts history.

Frank Shamrock Gets a Friendly Stockton Greeting From Nick Diaz

In the spring of 2009, Strikeforce served up a hot matchup between former UFC champion and MMA legend Frank Shamrock and the future Strikeforce Welterweight champion and world-renowned trash talker Nick Diaz. As you can glean from the above photo and the ensuing nut grab you can see on YouTube at roughly the 3:23 mark, these two were about as cordial as a Kentucky Derby winner who had just spotted Alistair Overeem waiting in the stable with a knife and fork.

The remarkable thing about the whole ordeal was that Diaz remained true to himself at the risk of coming across as a disrespectful punk, not willing to play nice simply to placate other people, even if they did sign his paycheck. In all of the press conferences that have been held over the years, fighters have generally been pretty calm and polite — so much so that you have to wonder if they realize that the guy they’re shaking hands with is the same guy who’s getting paid to cave his face in come fight night. Not the Stockton, Calif. native, though, who’s about as subtle as he is media friendly. You’ll never have to guess what the Cesar Gracie product is thinking. This classic photo by Esther Lin is a reminder of just that.

Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg, The Biggest Women’s Fight In History

Before Ronda Rousey stole Dana’s heart, before Bellator ever had a woman’s tournament, and before Invicta FC ever promoted an entire fight card with nothing but female combatants, there was Gina Carano. The world loved her after being introduced to her on the revamped American Gladiators as “Crush.” From there she went on to become one of the most searched for people of the year — being named in Maxim‘s Top 20 Hot List didn’t hurt either. To say that the future Hollywood starlet had a following is a bit of an understatement. The buxom brunette was more than just a pretty face though, sporting an impressive 7-0 record heading into the inaugural Strikeforce women’s featherweight championship fight against the roid-fueled always-game Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.

I’m a firm believer that more people were interested in seeing Carano fight than they were in WMMA. That being said, it doesn’t change the facts. Scott Coker had big brass balls to promote an MMA event with two women’s names on the marquee and broadcast it on Showtime to boot. At the time, no one had any real sense of how successful the ladies would be at selling tickets or drawing the coveted 18-34 year-old television viewers. That’s how it is when you’re blazing a trail.

The fight was lopsided and with literally only a second to spare in the first round, “Cyborg” punched her way to a TKO victory earning her a place in Strikeforce history as the first women’s champ. According to the events Wikipedia page, Coker’s gamble paid off.

The event averaged 576,000 viewers on the Showtime cable network. It peaked with 856,000 viewers for the night’s main event between Carano and Santos. The Carano vs. Cyborg event set a new MMA ratings record for Showtime, eclipsing a card headlined with Kimbo Slice and Tank Abbot, which averaged 522,000 viewers. It also more than doubled Strikeforce’s previous offering, Lawler vs. Shields, an event that averaged 275,000 viewers.


Arguably the Greatest Round in MMA: Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley

Lately, when the UFC kicks off another abominable installment of The Ultimate Fighter, they host a special two-hour (or more!) season premiere wherein all the hopefuls are cheered on as they drink donkey ejaculate paired off and given one five-minute round in the Octagon to prove their mettle. Sadly, most of the neanderthals that drag their knuckles up the cage steps aren’t particularity familiar with clocks or the concept of time.

Again and again, we see guys completely oblivious to the beating they’ve been dished out and are content to clean their plate. All the while Dana and Lorenzo are baffled that the kids don’t just go for broke, swing for the fences, something (anything!) instead of pulling guard or playing patty-cake. In short, the fights to enter the TUF house are the polar opposite of the championship bout between Nick Diaz and Paul “Semtex” Daley.

These two welterweight bad boys had no intentions of leaving the opening frame, let alone leaving it in the hands of the judges. Fists flew with ill ambition. Caution was not only thrown to the wind, it had a jetpack strapped to its back and shot out of a cannon. If you didn’t know any better, you might’ve thought they were told the loser of the bout would have to spend a year in jail with War Machine because neither man seemed to conserve energy for the “championship rounds” — instead opting to kick it into high gear when the tide shifted in their favor.

This one round is a casual fan converter. Have your buddy from work/gym/AA meetings watch this and soon you’ll only have to pay half price for the next PPV.

Zuffa Purchases Strikeforce

The beginning of the end for the San Jose-based fight promotion came as a shocker to many in the MMA business. One fateful March morning, all was the same as it had always been, with Strikeforce chugging along in the massive shadow cast by the juggernaut that is the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Then suddenly, the game got switched as Dana White and Co. added another name to their list of conquests. Cries of “business as usual” notwithstanding, the nineteen months since have been anything but. Without a doubt, this moment has forever changed the landscape of MMA and is one of the more memorable in all of the sport’s history — not just Strikeforce’s.


(Photo via Sherdog)

The Last Emperor is Dethroned: Fabricio Werdum Subs Fedor Emelianenko

Man + Myth + Legend = Fedor. Luck + 1 soul traded to Satan = Werdum.

Emelianenko, much like the Titanic, was quite the spectacle to behold back in the day. The media lauded them heavily for reasons both real and imagined. And, as history records it, both ended up sinking despite the popular notion that both were invincible.

Going into the fight, “The Last Emperor” was high atop a 31-1 record; not losing a fight in over a decade — and even that sole loss was due to an illegal blow. (Not exactly a “defeat,” right champ?) For the record, Werdum was no slouch; his only loss in the previous two years came at the hands of current UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Still, no one thought the reigning ADCC heavyweight champ had a chance to defeat the legendary Fedor, let alone finish him barely a minute into the first round. To put into perspective just how unlikely of an outcome this was, just take a look at the betting line.

Such a monumental shift in paradigm made for an incredibly historic night. I’m not sure the words “Holy Sh*t!” have ever been uttered by so many people at once. It’s been said that crews working in the International Space Station a whopping 220 miles above Earth’s surface could hear those two words. No matter how old you get or how shot your mind is, if you were an MMA fan in 2010 you will forever recall the night Fedor’s myth got busted.

Strikeforce Nashville Brawl by snakerattle79

‘Strikeforce: Nashville’ Brawl Broadcast Live on CBS

When you watch a fight on TV, no matter the combatants or their records, you know full well that anything can happen and that both men have a chance of winning — however small it may be. Even Fabricio Werdum had a chance, albeit not a good one, to upset Emelianenko. What happened in the final moments of the Strikeforce: Nashville event was not even in the realm of possibility. It had absolutely zero chance of happening — and yet it did.

The infamous picture of Nick Diaz (man, he sure has been talked about a lot today) drawing back his fist, mean mug in full effect, is the image that nearly every fight fan conjures up when discussing the biggest black eye on the sport. My colleague Jared Jones has already covered the ins and outs of this epic post-fight confrontation, eliminating the need to rehash the details here, but no way could this list be complete without the most electrifying, controversial, ridiculous, and horrifying moment in the six-plus-year history of Strikeforce MMA. For those who get it, no further explanation is needed. For those who don’t, no explanation will suffice.

Out of the Blue: The Explosive Rise of Johny Hendricks

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Johny Hendricks vs Martin Kampmann

(Destroys some of the UFC’s toughest welterweight contenders; still afraid of spiders. / Photo via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting)

At the end of 2011, UFC Magazine (now known as UFC 360) released their Complete Fighter and Event Guide for 2012, highlighting who they thought were the movers and shakers in each division. Surprisingly absent from the list was welterweight wrestler-turned-knockout-specialist Johny Hendricks. Fast forward a year and he’s next in line to face Georges St. Pierre for the gold. After his 46-second KO of Martin Kampmann at UFC 154, Hendricks’ emergence as a legitimate threat to and rise to the top of the 170lb. division is undeniable.

Although this past year has seen the Oklahoma native’s stock price triple — thanks in large part to his powerful left hand — he was anything but an overnight success story. To hear Hendricks’ diehard supporters tell it, he’s always been this good; we’re just now noticing it. One quick Google search is all it takes to confirm; the two-time NCAA Division I National Champion (2005, 2006) has been just as dominant in the cage as he was on the mats, though he no longer seems to be interested in playing the bad guy.

Starting his professional MMA career in 2007, Hendricks only competed on regional cards in Oklahoma at first, racking up a 3-0 record with all wins by stoppage. That was until he signed a multi-fight deal with the now-defunct World Extreme Cagefighting where he continued his winning streak against Justin Haskins by TKO in December 2008. Three months later at WEC 39, Hendricks was featured in the last welterweight bout in company history, defeating Alex Serdyukov in a Fight of the Night performance. After Reed Harris and company announced their intentions to focus solely on the lighter weight classes, Johny Hendricks was in need of a new home. Although his fights in the blue cage were few, they were the perfect appetizer for the next stage of his slow-cooking career.

It wasn’t long before the UFC came calling, looking for a relatively unknown prospect to throw in against Amir Sadollah at UFC 101. If they were hoping to bolster The Ultimate Fighter season 7 winner’s record with an easy win, they were in for a rude awakening. In less time than it takes to nuke a Hot Pocket, the OSU graduate had improved his undefeated record to 6-0 after punching Sadollah until the ref pulled him off.

The Team Takedown product went on to win his next three fights, most notably TKO-ing Charlie Brenneman in the second round. Now at a perfect nine wins and zero losses, Hendricks’ would face his toughest challenge to date, Rick “The Horror” Story. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it what you will, but no one can remain undefeated forever. Story took home the unanimous decision victory at the TUF 12 Finale, serving the four-time All-American his first defeat in the cage.

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but they don’t know what it’s like to lose a fight in front of thousands in attendance and millions watching at home on live TV. That’s the sort of thing that sticks with a guy, regardless of where it happened. The sour aftertaste must have been a fearsome motivator, considering the five-fight win streak and three Knockout of the Night bonuses the welterweight has racked up in the wake of the solitary blemish on his record.

Since that UFC publication hit newsstands, “Bigg Rigg” did what BJ Penn and Georges St. Pierre could not — finish Jon Fitch. It took only twelve seconds for the southpaw to stamp his trademark on the fight and turn off the lights with a left straight. A full training camp later, perennial contender Josh Koscheck showed up to derail Hendricks’ hype train — one that was steadily gaining steam. Promoters will tell you that styles make fights and in this case, it almost bought another mark in the ‘L’ column.

The judges scored the bout 29-28, 29-28, 28-29. Luckily for our hero, two of the judges gave Hendricks the nod thus furthering his win streak. That’s not to say, however, that the fight couldn’t just as easily have went the other way. Both Hendricks and Koscheck had moments of dominance. The momentum shifted back and forth throughout the duration; as soon as one fighter appeared to have the upper hand, the holes in his game were exploited only to have the same thing done to him. In the end, it was Kos who went home upset.

It’s fights like this that make writers everywhere thankful they’re not judges.

Speaking of judges, Hendricks gave them the night off over the weekend in Montreal. In what many considered to be a title-eliminator, the twenty-nine year old utilized his best-in-class left hand to quickly dispatch Martin Kampmann, effectually declaring himself the number one contender to GSP’s welterweight championship. If a 46-second knockout isn’t a compelling enough argument in support of that, I don’t know what is.

Looking back on the past 12 months, it is clear that Johny Hendricks is not only a highly-skilled fighter with an elite wrestling pedigree worthy of gracing the pages of UFC 360′s 2013 power list, but he’s also the most qualified, well deserving challenger for the welterweight crown. But that doesn’t mean he’s who I want to face GSP next.

Chael Sonnen: What’s Next for the Gangster From West Linn, Oregon?

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Once again, the curtain was pulled back and we saw that he was just as human as you or I, despite his best attempts to convince us otherwise. Once again we witnessed his mystique fade into oblivion with every gloved fist to the face. For a moment, it appeared as if he had been fooling us this whole time. He had to have been. I mean, how can a guy be so unbelievably amazing in the Octagon and do what no other before him has ever come close to doing, and still come up short again?

Now that the cameras have stopped rolling, Chael P. Sonnen finds himself at a crossroads in life, a time when decisions like changing weight classes or changing careers — decisions of great consequence — have to be made,  or so it would seem. Some have tossed around the idea of retirement for the thirty-five year old southpaw. Need I remind you that Sonnen is the one that said, You cannot ‘retire’ from a sport unless you win a world championship. You only quit.”? Even after two title shots against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Sonnen is still a lot like my second favorite type of bra: strapless. Add that to the poetic role reversal of Silva making a quip about having his wife fix him a steak after the fight — that twist of the knife, delivered with a champion’s smile — and you can better see how dejected the American Gangster is feeling after his performance at UFC 148.

Maybe you, like many others, think the former politician should change weight classes or go take his shtick to WWE. It’s absurd to think he would move down to 170lbs. given the reported 20+ pounds he had to cut the day before the weigh-ins. Similarly, a move to the 205lb. division isn’t exactly any less of a career suicide than propositioning Dana White to ‘Free CagePotato’ in a hotel lobby. But that WWE idea seems totally legit, right? WWE thinks so too, even if there are others who would advise against it.

I’m not saying that I wouldn’t tune in to watch Sonnen on Raw, if only to see how he’d respond when he’s encouraged to let his character become his identity, and everything he says is scripted. (Oh wait.) But the thing you’ve got to realize is that there is a world of difference between being a wrestler and being a ‘rassler, and if you need an explanation then you probably love drinking cheap pop and don’t mind being called Mark even if it’s not your name. Sure, Sonnen can cut a promo that would make “Rowdy” Roddy Piper proud, has a familiarity with performance enhancing injections, and a silo full of charisma, but he’s a competitor at heart. With a successful pizza restaurant lining his pockets, he doesn’t need to strap on a pair of tights and trade figure-four leg-locks with CM Punk — especially when he’s a pugilist, a fist-fighter, a gangster from the mean streets of Oregon. When you need a sports entertainer, go call up Brock Lesnar. When you need a cage fighter, you call Chael Sonnen.

What then, does Sonnen do now if he can’t beat the champion, but he’s better than everyone in his weight class? Do you give him another rematch? That’s what he’d like to see happen, but that idea has been nixed by the Baldfather himself. Death threats notwithstanding, it’s far more probable that “The Bad Guy” will eventually find himself in a soccer stadium in Rio standing across the cage from the likes of Vitor Belfort, whom Sonnen’s mother just absolutely loves, or Wanderlei Silva, whom Rex absolutely loves. Given the stuff he’s said about them, I’m sure both of these Brazilians would be more than happy to be Sonnen’s next dance partner.

So you see, nothing is really going to change. Chael Sonnen will keep doing what he’s been doing for years…and so will we. He’ll get a phone call from Joe Silva with a name and a date. He’ll sign that contract and, should he get the itch, relentlessly talk trash about his opponent until the point of insanity. All of the major radio hosts will get a heaping pile of witty one-liners, memorable quotes, and sound bytes that will live on forever, like the one about Nogueira trying to feed the bus a carrot.

On the appointed night, as soon as his music hits those speakers, he’ll make that walk and do his job. As for you and I, we’ll eat it up — every last minute of it — and we’ll throw down our money and buy the next card he’s on because we can’t help but want to see him try to back up his outrageous claims. We’ll continue to turn a blind eye to Sonnen’s slightly less-than-honest material and laugh at the absurdity and hilariousness of it all, enabling him to stick with the gimmick that’s brought him so far already.

When the time comes, Sonnen will play his part. What else would he do with himself? An athlete can quit, but a performer will always find his way back to the spotlight.

Old Spice, Chevy, and Six More Corporate Sponsors That Should Tap Into MMA

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In the ever-competitive world of professional mixed martial arts, the men and women are fighting for more than just the fans and their next paycheck; they’re fighting for survival. When you barely have enough money left for yourself after paying your training partners, coaches, and buying nutritional supplements, it’s time to find another source of income. Most do this in the way of sponsorships — you know, like the Nike deal Jon Jones recently signed, or Anderson Silva’s relationship with Burger King. And if more of these well-known mainstream companies would sponsor a few fighters, the smaller companies that currently sponsor fighters could move to guys and gals who are still making their way up the ranks without anyone losing out. Let’s look at the companies that best suit MMA, how they should be involved, and why it makes sense.

Company: Old Spice
Ideal fighter to sponsor: Cheick Kongo, Alistair Overeem

Why it makes sense: Standing 6′ 4″ and weighing 230 pounds, and 6′ 5″/263, respectively, the Frenchman and the Dutchman are the most physically imposing fighters in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Old Spice is known for their funny commercials targeting the same audience watching PPV’s on a Saturday night. In the past, Old Spice has used NFL players Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis as spokesman for their ‘Swagger’ line of men’s body products, as well as jacked Expendables cast-member Terry Crews. And if those guys can do it, why not Kongo and Overeem? In particular, “The Demolition Man” is the type of guy you want your customers to think they’ll be more like by using your product. Alistair could even make his commercial debut by eating the horse the original Old Spice Guy rode in on.

Company: Chevrolet
Ideal fighters to sponsor: Joseph Benavidez, Demetrious Johnson

Why it makes sense: The 2013 Chevy Spark may be small, but what it lacks in stature, it more than makes up for in heart. The potential to save drivers a small fortune on gas is enough to get most excited, and the 18-34 male demographic includes cash-strapped college guys and new dads — definitely a bunch a dudes looking to save a few extra bucks any chance they can get. Who better to market your product than your Ultimate Fighting counterparts, the UFC’s two smallest and most fuel-efficient contenders?

Both the fighters and the mini-cars are well equipped, fast, and flashy. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the unbelievably high MPG, which means you won’t ever have to worry about running out of gas when you enter the championship rounds. Isn’t it obvious that this is a match made in mini-heaven?

Company: Lunesta
Ideal fighters to sponsor: Jon Fitch, Jake Shields, Ben Askren

Why it makes sense: From Lunesta’s website: “When you want to sleep, do you lie awake? When you get to sleep, do you wake up often during the night? Sleep is here on the wings of LUNESTA. Some sleep aids are approved to help you fall asleep and others to help you stay asleep. Prescription LUNESTA is approved to do both.”

4 out of 5 doctors recommend you watch a fight featuring Jon Fitch, Jake Shields, or Ben Askren, if you do not wish to use or cannot afford prescription medication. It’s a known fact; these boring wrestlers will put you to sleep before they even break a sweat. While most fans spew vitriol every time these fighters are mentioned, a large percentage of the audience is insomniacs and singing their praises. MMA managers these days tell their guys in the gym to make themselves into a brand. It just so happens that the brands these guys have created have the same tags as Lunesta: sleep, helps me sleep, cures insomnia, best sleep I’ve ever had.

Company: Tampax
Ideal fighter to sponsor: Ronda Rousey

Why it makes sense: Hear me out. Back in 2009, Tampax signed Serena Williams of tennis fame to an endorsement deal during their “Outsmart Mother Nature” campaign. The commercial was clever and effective. After watching it, you believed that one of the best female tennis players to ever step onto a court could go on with life as usual, despite her monthly visitor, with no major adjustments to her schedule. Skip ahead to present day where Strikeforce Women’s champion Ronda Rousey graces the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue, appears on Conan O’Brian, and has a two-part all-access pass look at her life filmed by Showtime. Sounds like Tampax has a fresh face with enough exposure to take home a larger share of the feminine hygiene products sales. Rousey is the perfect example of a woman that demands a lot out of her girlie products. Training for a championship bout consists of running, strength training, kickboxing, and most of all, jiu jitsu — and all of the rolling around that comes with it. Just like there’s no crying in baseball, there are no time outs for leaks. Not to worry, she has Tampax in her corner.

I envision some poor soul getting a text from his girl while he’s out getting snacks for fight night. She asks him to do the unthinkable — pick up some tampons and hurry back. So he makes his way to the pink aisle and scans a ton of pink boxes that may have been written in gibberish. He wants to make this as quick as possible so there’s no time to ask his damsel in distress what kind she wants. He’ll just have to figure this out on his own. *Boom!* “Yep, these are the ones Ronda Rousey uses, so they must be good.” he says to himself. Brand association is a powerful tool — one that makes a deal like this all but certain in the years to come.

Company: Jimmy John’s
Ideal Involvement: Submission of the Night

Why it makes sense: Since Brock Lesnar‘s departure, Jimmy John’s has been absent in the MMA world. This is a shame for all gourmet sammich lovers. The ‘Submission of the Night’ will no longer be presented by TapouT; instead it’ll replaced by Jimmy John’s with the “Subs so fast you’ll freak” tagline. It may seem a little cheesy, but who doesn’t like cheese on their sub?

Company: Listerine
Ideal fighter to sponsor: Lyoto Machida

Why it makes sense: Remember that thing I said about brand association? The same is true of word association. When you see a picture of “The Dragon,” you immediately think, “That guy drinks his own urine!” At the suggestion of Chael Sonnen on UFC Today, Lyoto buys himself a bottle of Listerine to freshen his breath after his morning constitutional. Listerine, not being one to walk away from cash on the table, inks a deal with Machida. The deal consists of a new commercial, a sticker on his shorts and banner, and a vlog leading up to his fight showing him using the product. Next thing you know, thousands of kids from strip mall dojos are out tossing Listerine in their parents shopping cart.

Seriously though, Listerine has sponsored garlic festivals in years gone by and it’s time they launch a major campaign promoting the mouth rinse’s effectiveness at eliminating bad breath. In such a bleak economy, people are cutting corners at every turn. Sadly, parent company Johnson & Johnson’s consumer products sales fell by 2.4% in the first quarter of the year. To keep the stockholders happy, they should consider helping Machida cleanse his mouth if they want to revitalize their earnings.

Company: UPS
Ideal fighter to sponsor: Travis Browne

Why it makes sense: The Heavyweight division is top-heavy and it’s only getting stronger as undefeated contender Travis Browne continues to deliver right on time. UPS is the gold standard for parcel delivery around the world, but they could use help of the MMA community to keep them there. I’ve been told FedEx has gained market share for 54 straight quarters. UPS would be wise to associate itself with a rising star, one that can make a statement in the division. At this stage in the game, “Hapa” is only another win or two before he gets a shot at the gold. Of his 13 professional bouts, 9 have come by way of knockout and two by submission. Exciting fighters tend to have a greater following on social media, which lends itself to contests and giveaways that could endear his followers with the gigantic shipping corporation. Lastly, the play on words at the end of every interview and post-fight speech is perfect: What can Browne do for you?

Company: Dos Equis
Ideal fighter to sponsor: Chael P. Sonnen

Why it makes sense: The gangster from West Linn, Oregon already is The Most Interesting Man in the World. Is there really anything left to say?

Bjorn Rebney Speaks Out on Randy Couture, Eddie Alvarez, And the Real ‘Toughest Tournament in Sports’

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Between preparing to launch a new mixed martial arts reality television show on Spike TV, to selecting venues for 2014, Bjorn Rebney‘s time for small talk is sparse. But the Bellator MMA CEO always seems to have a moment to discuss his favorite topic — how much he loves running the second-largest MMA promotion in the world, and what the future holds in store.

Early Friday morning, just after the Bellator 87 post-fight press conference concluded at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in frigid Mount Pleasant, Michigan, I had the opportunity to speak with Rebney about some of the important topics that have developed in the past few weeks, and the impact they would have going forward for the ever-expanding fight promotion.

You could tell the man was tired by the look in his sleep-deprived eyes. Sitting on stage, and probably still laughing on the inside after having watched lightweight contender Lloyd “Cupcake” Woodard shave his facial hair after losing a stipulation match to David “Caveman” Rickels not more than five minutes prior to our conversation (the clippings were still on the table next to him), the most powerful man in the building finally had a fleeting moment to collect his thoughts while resting for the first time that day…

On Randy Couture Signing with Spike TV/Bellator:

“Randy’s a great addition to the team and is known to fans everywhere. We’re excited for the role he’ll play in helping Bellator reach the next level. I know you and the other media want more info than that, but wait until Tuesday [February 5th] — that’s when we’re holding the big press conference and that’s when you’ll have all the details of what’s going on. That’s when all the questions will be answered.”

On the Controversial Stoppages Earlier in the Night:

“I have an unfair advantage; we’ve got probably the best sound team in all of MMA production. What I’m able to do is, when there’s any kind of controversial stoppage, I can go back into the truck, super slo-mo things and listen to things. I can hear the things the fighters say because our sound design inside the cage is so spectacular. You can literally hear what the fighter’s saying and what the referee is saying — you can hear everything. I think they were great stoppages. I think Dan [Mirgliotta] did an amazing job and when you see it in slow motion, for example on the knee lock, you hear him scream and then see his head go back and ultimately see one tap. Now it’s a super soft tap, but you see it. Inside the truck, in super slo-mo, you can hear the screaming and see his head go back and that’s a verbal submission. According to the Unified Rules, when your head goes back and you scream out — it’s over whether you tap or you don’t tap. But I thought he did a great job.”

On Whether or Not the UFC’s Insistence That The Ultimate Fighter is the “Toughest Tournament in Sports” is an Attempt to Create Brand Confusion Among New Fans:

“[Laughing] No, I don’t think so. What we do is, we let the fighters make their next fight. You win or you go home. That’s a real sport. You won’t see anyone sitting in a chair in some luxurious office somewhere saying, “I think I can sell that fight.” No, we’ve got the tournament format — something that has been around in sports for ages — and when one fighter wins, he gets one step closer to a title shot. That’s it. You have to win to get a championship opportunity. No one here is going to be able to talk their way into a title shot. That’s how a real sport works.”

On the Latest Developments Regarding Eddie Alvarez‘s Contract Situation:

“You know, we won in court last week so that’s a step in the right direction. There’s still a lot that needs to be sorted out. We still have to meet again [in court] to see what the judge says about the rest of the case. You know, Eddie’s been with us for a long time and I’m hopeful that we can come to terms and work something out. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process, nor do I hope it to be one. I know what we want and I know what Ed wants, it’s just a matter of getting it down on paper and signing on the dotted line. Will it happen? I’m hopeful, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

5 Lessons Every Dad Can Learn From an MMA Fight

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As a new dad, I’m sure your wife has hit Amazon for a plethora of books covering myriad of topics from baby names to knowing what to expect until the kid is old enough to drive. Your bank account has become victim of a devious marketing scheme preying on emotionally unstable women. From one dad to another, let me save you a buck or two while enlightening you with some lessons you can’t learn from any book. I’m also going to put it in a way every man can understand.

Raising a family is very much like an MMA fight. MMA fights are just a little shorter and involve less blood, sweat and tears.

Here are 5 things you can learn about fatherhood from an MMA fight.

Nothing Prepares You for ‘Getting Caught’.

At UFC 115, Hall-of-Famer Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell was KO’ed with just five seconds remaining in the first round by Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin. With just a minute left, Liddell was on the way to winning the round. However, with only moments remaining, Franklin landed a straight right. Liddell went down unconscious and it was over. Done.  Just like that.

There will come a time when your kid pees through his clothes, covers your back in puke, or bumps his head at the most inopportune time. You’ll fear that someone is staring at you, judging your every move as if you’re trying to diffuse a bomb Jack Bauer style. Don’t sweat it. These moments happen to even the most prepared dad. Clean yourself off, pick yourself up and walk it off. If the wife asks what happened just say “Hey, I got caught. I’m ready to keep fighting.”

♫ Go to sleep – Little Creep ♫

When Trying to Put Someone to Sleep, Patience is Key

Unlike the fan favorite Knockout, putting your opponent to sleep via Submission is an art form that requires strategy and skill, and doesn’t usually happen in the blink of an eye. It’s not uncommon for a fighter to spend the majority of a fight on the ground setting up their submission. UFC fighter and ESPN Analyst Kenny Florian had ten of his fourteen wins come by way of putting his opponent to sleep (or making them tap, but I don’t suggest you go that far). The reason he’s so good at what he does is two-fold: He practices daily at the Florian Martial Arts Center and he’s patient in the heat of battle.

This translates over to parenthood. Set a routine. Stick to it. Don’t force it, sometimes the lil’ guy just isn’t ready to sleep – that’s why God gave us coffee and RedBull. Above all else, don’t give in. The kid will fall asleep eventually. Just make sure it’s before you do.

Awww c’mon! I sear he didn’t hear that from me.

Never Leave it in the Hands of the Judges

Fighters only have fifteen minutes – that’s roughly one minute for every year you kid will actually care what you say – to get their point across and either finish the fight or convince you that they won. We’ve all seen guys get robbed thanks to a bad judge.

Your success as a father depends not on what some loser on a TV show thinks, but rather on the role you play in your child’s life. Society would prefer that your son or daughter appreciate the finer things in life like bodywash and toothpaste, but other than that who cares what they want. You should raise your kid how you see fit, unless you attend Westboro Baptist Church. In that case, “suck it.”

Behind Every Champion is a Great Corner

Arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time, Georges St. Pierre hasn’t lost a fight since 2007. He’s won Fighter of the Year and Canadian Athlete of the Year three years running. The only thing the man hasn’t done is hold two titles at the same time – although he could have if belts changed hands regardless of weight class.  So what’s his secret? How does he do it?  He’s got a great corner in Greg Jackson and Phil Nurse. Before and after every fight, between every round, these guys help him stay focused, correct his mistakes, and support him every step of the way.

You’d be wise to start building your corner now – and start with your wife. After that, start a support group of friends and other parents that have either been through the kid wars before or are in the trenches right now. They will be the ones to pick you up when you just can’t make it another round.

Always, Always Thank Your Sponsors

Fighter’s shorts often look ridiculous plastered with company logos all over them. The funniest sponsor to date has to be CondomDepot.com – and if shopped there in the first place you wouldn’t have a kid now would you?

When the fight is over and your hand is raised in victory, follow suit and thank your sponsors – those that put money in your pocket or had a helping hand in getting here. Some are parents or an old teacher, others are a good friend or a job you had that worked with your schedule around weeks 39 and 40. Whatever the case may be don’t be an a**hole and pretend that you did it all on your own.

Cool Gadgets That Will Help You Satisfy Your Woman – in the Kitchen

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Every man desires to please his woman, whether it’s an occasion that’s been tediously planned for weeks or a spur of the moment ‘she wants it now’ kinda thing. You should never be caught off guard nor should you ever not have the right tools to give her what she craves. This handy little guide is one you should print out and take with you the next time you head to the mall. All of the following items will not only help you get the job done right and leave her smiling, it’ll give her the impression you might actually know what you’re doing – and possibly even be good at it.

13-Pc Set Contour Stainless Cookware – Cuisinart

(Laughing) What did you think I was talking about? Cookware is what makes or breaks a kitchen. I’m not here to hurt anyone’s feelings, but that kitchen set you got for a wedding gift needs to scrapped ASAP. One of the most well-known and highly respected companies, Cuisinart, offers the most practical set of pots and pans around for a great price. Once she sets her eyes on this sexy cookware set, she’s sure to know that you have good taste and something shiny.

The Contour set is superior to everything you’ve used before; even heating, no aftertaste, no chipping Teflon, no warping or hot spots. Not only is it better, it has everything you really need to get started: 8″ Skillet, 10″ Skillet, 1.5 Qt. Saucepan with cover, 2.5 Qt. Saucepan with cover, 3 Qt. Sauté Pan with cover & helper handle, 4 Qt. Dutch Oven with cover, 8 Qt. Stockpot with cover, and a Steamer Insert (fits 8 Qt. Stockpot) – think healthy, colorful vegetables.
When cooking that great piece of meat you need to get a good sear on it before placing it in the oven – try doing that with your current pan. On second thought, please don’t. Be sure to follow the instructions (yes, you read that right) to an easy cleanup.

                                                             Let’s make a drink to help you look better.

SmartPower 7-Speed Electronic Blender

Joe Nichols sang about the universal truth that ‘Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off’, but when’s the last time you saw your wife double fisting Jose Cuervo? She picks her poison in the form of a Tequila Sunrise or a Matador. This kick-ass blender Hulks out and crushes ice on command – just the way she likes it. Still not convinced? The 40 oz. jar holds more than enough to get your evening buzzing or enough to help your buddy get over an ex.

Some nights get out of hand so your vision might be impaired after a while. Not to worry, Cuisinart thought of that and gave you easy to read/easy to clean 7-speed touchpad controls with indicator lights. From now on when your babydoll wants to get her drink on you be her bartender. Let her know drinks are on the house as long as she tips well at the end of the night.

Griddler Jr. – Cuisinart

Don’t let the name fool ya – the only thing small about this is the space it takes up on your counter and the hole it’ll leave in your wallet. It can be used three different ways to prepare a variety of favorites – steaks on the open grill, crisp-grilled sandwiches with the panini press, or burgers cooked to perfection, both sides at once, with the contact grill. Your woman will be amazed that you even know what a pa-ni-ni is let alone how to make one. With New Year Resolution’s in the rear view mirror, she’ll appreciate your ability to grill some apples sweetened with cinnamon sugar – a healthy alternative to a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Owning a Griddler Jr. is the equivalent to having a multi-tool in the garage – the sheer versatility of said item will always leave you happy you had it.

Cool Shooters Ice Shot Glasses

Head on over to ThinkGeek and you’re sure to find more than a few quirky yet functional items. Near the top of that list is the shot glasses made of ice – or whatever your demented little mind can think of. What I’m about to say may cause extreme distress and anxiety for some of you – you’ve been warned. Stop thinking about alcohol for a minute and think of a romantic night in… you’ve blended her favorite cocktail, used your awesome pans to cook up the perfect steak, grilled a handful of fresh asparagus and now it’s time for dessert.

While she’s dropping the kids off at the Grandparents, you’ll fill the molds with melted chocolate making chocolate shot glasses which you’ll later fill with a Frappe and top with whipped cream. After seeing how much effort you put into her fine dining experience topped off by an exquisite sweet treat, she’ll be willing to reward your labor of love.

The Ex- Unique Knife Holder

You’ve probably seen this on the internet a few times, but did you know that you can own it? To be honest, it’s more of an art piece or conversation starter than it is a knife set that a Michelin Star chef would use. As soon as she see this unusual upgrade from the old wood block she’ll either appreciate your sense of humor and laugh or run away screaming. All five knives are included and secured with magnets which is good ’cause I imagine it’d be hard to play Uncharted missing a few digits.

Look like a geek or cry like a biatch? Your Choice.

Onion Goggles

The image caption pretty much sums it up. Do you want her to see you crying like a ‘B’? Didn’t think so. Man up bro and slide on a nifty pair of onion goggles. I’ve tried these several times and to my surprise they actually work. If I’m lying, I’m crying… and I ain’t shed a tear.

Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter

OK, ya got me – no woman has ever been satisfied by anything Star Trek related. In my defense though, some of you nerds may actually be dating a nerd chick. Ah who am I kidding? You’re still single and you live in your mom’s basement. C’mon, you had to see that one coming. Alright, now that I got that out of my system let me drop some knowledge on you.

You can tell if a girl’s worth keeping around by answering one question. Does she like pizza? If she does, great. If not, run, run as fast as you possibly can. Man and his better half are hardwired to like pizza. Anything that contradicts that should be burned with fire. Pizza has been your friend since grade school, now show some respect and cut it in style. You’ll need a sharp pizza cutter to slice the pie come dinner time and the Enterprise’s stainless steel blade is just what the Captain ordered.

5 Things Every Man Should Know About A Vasectomy [From A Guy That Had It Done]

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There comes a time in every man’s life when he must chose whether or not to put an end to his baby making days.  Earlier this year, I decided that three kids was enough (and I finally got a boy!) and that I should get a vasectomy.  You know how hard it is to make enough time to play with the kid(s), spend quality time with the wife, hit the gym every once in awhile and hold down a soul crushing 9-5 job… having another child would make it that much harder. Besides, the price of diapers isn’t going down anytime soon.

If you’re thinking about getting snipped or know someone who is, here are five things you need to know before making your decision:

It’s going to hurt


Imagine having your toddler kick you in the family jewels. Hurts enough to drop you but not enough to make you puke. Yeah, and this time it won’t go away in ten minutes. It’s going to be a week – at least.

Post-Op is a great time to catch up


You won’t be doing much of anything except sleeping that Friday. But you can rest assured you can milk the pain for the entire weekend. I did. Catch up on the DVR, read that book you just haven’t got around too, and log some serious hours online with your gaming console of choice.

Ice ice baby


You’ll undoubtedly be rotating bags of ice more frequently than you changed diapers that first year. Your Dr. may also suggest frozen peas, just make sure you don’t go grab a can of peas and toss it in the freezer. From this point forward you will always know exactly how long 20 minutes is.

From golf balls to softballs (no pun intended), you are going to swell


Yep, this part really makes life suck. It’s uncomfortable and gross but hey, you can at least say you’ve got bigger balls than all of your friends.

It’s totally worth it


Much like childbirth, getting a vasectomy is a necessary evil to endure to reap the tremendous rewards afterwards. Don’t let the guys in the office bust your balls over getting fixed.  Simply remind them of all the Trojans running bare back and how they still need to saddle up their horses before heading out.

Tech Toy Review: LeapFrog Leapster Explorer

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If you’ve been dragged down the toy isle at your local big box store, you’ve undoubtedly seen the plethora of tech toys that look like a kiddie version of the classic GameBoy. You’ve probably even found yourself staring off into space as you ponder why there are so many of these systems, and which one is the best?, not noticing the little girl push past you to grab the new game she wants for her birthday. Luckily for you, the nice people over at LeapFrog sent us the 2011 Toy of the Year award winner. After being put to the ultimate test by my three munchkins (and mommy and daddy too, of course), here’s what can honestly be said about the Leapster Explorer.

 

Right out of the box, you’re ready to play, as long as you remembered to grab some batteries. You did remember to get batteries, right? Good, just checking. Now that you’ve managed to install a few copper tops, turn on the system. Create a user profile for your kid(s), yep; LeapFrog gives you multiple users on the same device so you don’t have to worry about making your younger kid play a game that’s too difficult. Use the included stylus on the touch screen to type in his name and grade. Now it’s time to play.

 

The only game you get with the system is Pet Pad, but when you connect the handheld to your computer, you’ll get to use a free code to download another. Young kids love having a virtual pet that they need to feed, play with, and clean. Best thing about this is that, unlike many other pet games/apps, no real money is needed to “buy” food or accessories. Instead, you’ll be rewarded for your time spent playing games and answering questions correctly with tokens that are used to buy threats and shampoo for your pet.

 

To truly get the most out of your Explorer, you’ll need to shell out a few clams and either download games through the LeapFrog Connect or buy cartridge games at the big box stores, just be sure to steer clear of that pushy girl. Kids these days, sheesh. Me and my crew ventured out to Walmart, dropped $25 and picked up a copy of Disney Tangled, you know, that chick with the long hair. My girls really loved shooting arrows, painting, and navigating Rapunzel through the forest as the narrator and animations helped the story come to life. Little did they know, their tiny little brains were learning. (Cue evil laugh) I was personally amazed that an educational game could be as much fun as it is.

 

Thankfully, the game self-adjusts the difficulty to match the user’s level. In other words, your preschooler will get easy questions and more visual hints whereas your second grader will be expected to answer correctly quicker and with less help. If that’s not awesome enough for you, wait until you check your offspring’s’ progress with the help of the Learning Path, a free online resource that allows you to take a more active role in your child’s education. Now you can see exactly what areas the user struggles.  Genius!

 

If you’re in the market for a handheld educational game thingamajig, you’d be foolish to buy anything other than the LeapFrog Leapster Explorer. For all of the reasons already mentioned and many more that can’t fit into this review, dad, you’d be a superstar if you got your little tyke one of these. Just be sure to buy the ac adapter (sold separately) unless you own Energizer stock.

 

PROS:

 

  • Big, bright touch screen.
  • 40+ games and activities available for purchase (games, e-Books, videos, flash cards and more)
  • Multiple user accounts
  • Self-adjusting difficulty
  • Children can learn school and life skills (Math, Science, reading, geography, creativity, music, health and problem solving)
  • Parents can track and view detailed progress
  • Games are exciting and engaging, a winner among kids

 

CONS:

 

  • Doesn’t come with a cartridge game
  • Apps are a bit pricy ($7.50 – $10 each)
  • A/C adapter, rechargeable battery pack, carrying case, camera… are all sold separate meaning you’ll  drop a decent chunk of change in the near future
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity requires a USB connection to download and synch your device
  • Not 3D capable – ok, obviously I’m joking here.  I’m just trying to keep the pro/con ratio balanced.

 

At the end of the day, the Leapster Explorer is a true gem. Buy your kid one at LeapFrog.com.

 

Geek Dad Gadget: Sanus XF228 Full-Motion Mount

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Look, sometimes we guys can make Abe Lincoln say “ouch!” We walk up and down the aisles of our local big box electronic store and grab the cheapest cord, remote, or wall mount we can find and call it good (enough). Not anymore, not this time. You’re going to spend your hard-earned money on a quality product that will keep your prized possessions safe – just like when you and the little lady go out for a night on the town.

Now I’m not comparing your child to a flat screen TV per se, ok… I am just a little, but you can see the similarities, right? You love them both dearly. They both make your life worth living. Moreover, you don’t want anything bad to happen to either of them. Looking for a babysitter is a lot like looking for a TV wall mount. You check the prices, ask if anyone you know has had any experience with it, and spend some time on Google pouring the reviews. Then you find the all-star sitter, one that may cost a little more, but it’s certainly worth every penny..

The Sanus XF228 Full-Motion wall mount is that all-star. This isn’t your mediocre hunk of metal that screws into the wall and holds your $1,200 flat screen on a lip no wider than a Hotwheel. Instead, the XF228 uses a mounting plate, two arms, and a handful of lag bolts to fasten the centerpiece of your man cave or family room to the wall. You’ll be amazed to learn that the hideous cords from your cable box, blu-ray player, and PS3 can be concealed within the arms (including the elbow) that hold the TV.

Although that’s pretty sweet in and of itself, I was more stoked about the full-motion capabilities because it allows for the TV to extend, pan, tilt and swivel for easy viewing anywhere in a room – a handy feature if you or your wife love rearranging your furniture as often as I do. Still not convinced? Sanus even thought to include adjustments for leveling the mount in case you happen to screw it up when you were drilling the pilot holes.

Speaking of drilling pilot holes, installation is quite a lengthy process, even with the aid of the installation video. But what do you expect from such a complex mounting system? After a few hours, you finally realize something just isn’t right. That’s when you’ll be thankful the arms swing left and right to make it possible to center the tv on the wall even when the studs aren’t.

One last thing about the XF228 that separates it from its economy counterparts is the security screw nicely tucked in the back. As long as this baby is snug as a bug in a rug, the only way to get the TV off the wall is to remove the mount from the wall entirely. This tiny little guy makes it that much harder for a thief to make off with your idiot box. I know, that’s no way to talk about something I just compared to your kid.

When it comes to protecting and properly displaying the ultimate HDTV, you’d be foolish to skimp now and get anything other than this. With a plethora of cool features, a reasonable price, and the strength of Sampson, the Sanus XF228 is not going to leave you feeling buyer’s remorse.

The Case for a Home Theater

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There’s no doubt a man’s home is his castle. As such, it’s his responsibility to ensure the general well-being of his loyal subjects, protect the kingdom from threats, and make sure his Queen is satisfied. His days are filled with meetings, due dates and deadlines. Complicating matters, however, is the arrival of an heir to the throne. Ask any King and they’ll tell you that making time for a date night with his queen is sometimes harder than it is to laugh at the jester’s joke the third time around.

What is his royal majesty to do then? Heaven forbid he treats his better half like a common peasant. Here’s an idea: make date night one she won’t soon forget all while staying in the confines of your house, err…. castle. Enter the home theater.

Consider this, in order to successfully execute a “Dinner and a movie” date, you must first line up a trustworthy babysitter. Good ones cost more money – and they’re worth every penny. Not as easy as it sounds, trust me. Next, you need to make dinner reservations and then you need to use you phone to snag two tickets to whichever ‘chick-flick’ is on that night.

While you’re out, she’ll want to call to check in on the kids every thirty to forty-five minutes, the food will be okay, but the loud bozo three rows back is enough to make you almost wish you could go through a dry run of ‘Fight Club’ in the basement.

All of this could have been avoided with a nice home theater in the family room. Date night could have been six steps from the bedroom. No lines, overpriced snacks, sticky seats, and no loud talkers. Bonus: not having to deal with the meatheads who just watched Fast and Furious 10 as they peel out in their tricked out rides.

Her royal highness wanted to eat too, right? Grab a few of these kitchen gadgets and whip her up something special for her or order “to go” from your favorite local hotspot. What your dining room lacks in ambiance is more than made up for with the customer service the two of you receive both during and after dinner, when she generously tips the waiter.

As parents, we’re generally broke all of the time, which means you’ll need to remind your wife that the mini-fortune spent won’t be used only two or three times a month. The TV will be a good sitter in its own right when you need to fold laundry or go pee. SpongeBob looks great when he’s 50″ tall. And did I mention that she’d love seeing Brad Pitt or George Clooney in full 1080P high definition? So what do you say, guys? Is it time to make a stop at Best Buy or what?

Five Movies Every Dad Should Watch

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Let’s be real here for a minute. Life sucks sometimes. Maybe you’re having car troubles and your barista forgot the shot of espresso in your morning java. Your boss is a jerk, the baby’s teething, the wife is dealing with her feminine issues, and you have to chose between mowing the lawn and hitting the gym. You don’t really want to do either, but you’ll regret not doing both later in the week.

To prevent from having a meltdown, we guys like to unwind by watching a movie. Every now and again Hollywood delivers a movie so profoundly close to home you would swear someone had been spying on you for the last few years. These movies teach us about ourselves and our fathers or warn us of what could happen if we don’t take this gig as a dad seriously. Here is our Top 5 movies every dad should watch, in no particular order.

 Big Daddy

Quite possibly Adam Sandler’s last truly great film, Big Daddy captures the ups and downs of what it would be like to have a kid – if you’ve never had one and realized that’s just not how it works – at all. Although not exactly a “how-to” fatherhood flick, the audience walks away with a few salient points about being a dad. For instance, if you don’t love your son he’ll turn into an anti-social goth and if money ever gets tight, you can save money on groceries by throwing your canned goods on the ground. Also, newspaper is an acceptable solution for any and all messes. All kidding aside, you realize that it takes a lot of work to be a good dad. You’ve got to feed and bathe a kid, but you’ve also gotta make sure he gets his homework done. Sandler does this all while keeping us laughing at his unorthodox parenting tactics.

The movie’s finest moment is the climax in the courtroom scene near the end of the movie. It’s here that we’re not only told, but also shown, what a good dad does. After explaining to his skeptical father how much he loves Julian, Sonny convinces him that he’s going to do what he himself is doing at that very moment – loving and protecting his son. With not a dry eye in the house, father and son share a manly hug while all of the guys in the courtroom start calling up their fathers to say, “I love you.” When it comes to fatherhood, we should always have our kid’s back, we should love unconditionally – even if we disagree with their life choices, and we should always make the most out of Halloween.

 Warrior

I see you sitting there scratching your head. Why, you ask? Why should every dad see this movie? That’s easy; Warrior gives you a look at the things real men deal with on a daily basis. One review remarked, “The question of faith, forgiveness, trust and reconciliation are powerfully presented from a primarily masculine perspective, something most films do not understand or authentically present.”

On one hand, you have a dad who is literally fighting to keep a roof over his family’s head and put food on the table. As any dad can tell you, there is a unique fear that comes with looking at the bank statements and seeing red while trying to figure out how to make ends meet. From teaching high school during the day to submitting punks in the cage at night, Brendan sacrifices time and tears to keep his ship afloat.

On the other hand, you have a former Marine who went AWOL only to end up ironically being in position to save the life of a fellow Marine. Now trying to get enough money to fulfill a promise to provide for the family of his fallen friend in the Marine Corps, Tommy enters the same tournament his brother is competing in to save his house. Complicating matters is the broken relationship with their father, a former abusive alcoholic. Tommy asks his father to help him train for the tournament, but only under the condition that Paddy does not try to reconcile their relationship

The old man seeks forgiveness from his eldest son after finding God, but is met with skepticism. After informing Brendan that he’s been sober for over a thousand days, Paddy does receive forgiveness, but his son withholds trust. Think about that for a minute. How bad would it suck to screw up so bad that you have to beg for forgiveness? I’ve messed up before, and have asked my kids to forgive me, but I have yet to blow it that bad. I hope that remembering this scene will help us all to refrain from doing anything that would ever put us in this bad a situation.

We are men, brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers. Not one of these roles is left untouched in Warrior. It’s comforting to know you’re not the only one with a stack of bills piling up, a sometimes hectic home life, and a few dysfunctional relationships to work through. During the entirety of the movie you ask yourself, “What’s worth fighting for?” It’s only at the end that you realize your full answer.

 

The Family Man

It’s Christmas time when one of  New York’s most wealthy businessmen stops at a convenience and has his life changed forever. In short, The Family Man is a story of what might have been. Where would you find yourself if you had decided to stay instead of go, said yes instead of no? One unsuspecting bachelor is about to find out.

After his chance encounter with what appeared to be a common street thug, Jack returns home to his downtown penthouse suite. And then things get all supernatural. In the morning, he wakes up in bed next to his former sweetheart and now wife just before his daughter comes barging in. In a moment of panic, Cage’s character escapes the domestic madness in search of answers. Once he gets them, however, Jack begins to have a new outlook on life.

This film encourages fathers and husbands to appreciate their lot in life, to be thankful they have all that they do. Even the richest of men desire the very things that we enjoy each day: a loving wife, beautiful kids, and a warm home. The Family Man makes this list because it’s good for dads to realize how special their family is before it’s too late. Don’t take anything for granted, because it could be gone in an instant.

Courageous

“I don’t want to be a ‘good enough’ father.,” says the film’s protagonist, a well-meaning father of two. As I imagine many dads do, Adam Mitchell delights in his young daughter but struggles to connect with his teenage son. As much as he loves his kids, Mitchell sometimes can’t be bothered to go the extra mile for them. Suddenly, his outlook on fatherhood changes drastically, but only after experiencing a pain no man should ever have to endure. A drunk driver tragically kills the apple of his eye, the all too young daughter.

Faced with the reality that he will never get another chance to be her daddy again, our main character sets out to turn his lamentations into battle cries for dads dedicated to becoming better fathers. Enlisting a few of his closet friends, Mitchell signs a Resolution that he drafted in the aftermath of his daughter’s passing.

Courageous not only shares with the audience the cautionary tale of an average dad turned super dad, (It does that quite nicely, though, especially in Mitchell’s attempts to reconnect with his son and be the dad he needs) but also the story of a loving dad whose strict rules is the cause of much tension between him and his teenage daughter. As it all plays out, you’ll see the struggles of  several fathers, from various walks of life, and how they deal with what life throws their way. Some succeed. Others fail. Such is life.

If you need a little motivation to be more active in your child’s life or would just like to see that you’re not the only one who struggles to get through the day as a dad, then Courageous is for you. Guaranteed, you will have a better relationship with your kids after watching the movie.

Your Child’s Favorite

If I had a dollar for every time I watched Cars or Toy Story, I could afford to quit my real job. True story. Don’t get me wrong, I totally love watching the Disney Pixar classics, but seriously, a thousand freaking times?! Yeah, probably. Every chance you get to sit back and relax with your kids is a chance to bond with them doing something they like. They don’t yet realize that you could quote the entire movie verbatim at this point or that you’d probably rather watch the Best of PRIDE; they just know that daddy is taking an interest in something they love and cherish every minute of it. (Until they lose interest and go play with their toys while you sit there totally engrossed in the toy’s plight to get back to Andy before he moves)

Simply put, your kids will appreciate when you can make references to the movies they like best. They’ll be encouraged knowing you care enough about them to actually get to know them on their level. What town does Lighting McQueen finds himself stuck in? How about the name of that talkative blue fish from Nemo, what’s her name? Never underestimate the power of knowing the little things about your kids and their interests. Show your kids you’re willing to do stuff they like to do, create memories together, and keep doing so as long as they let you.

ABC’s of Fatherhood

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A is for Always carry wet wipes, you’ll thank me later.

B is for “Because I said so.” Not exactly the greatest answer, but it’ll do in a pinch.

C is for Classic Cartoons. Don’t let them grow up not knowing about The Flintstones, Jetsons, Looney Toons, or Anamaniacs.

D is for Damage Control. You’re kids will undoubtedly say the darndest things at the worst possible times.

E is for Exersaucer. Get one.

F is for Five Fantastic Things: Faith, Family, Friends, Fighting and Football

G is for Grandparents: America’s #1 free babysitter.

H is for Hero. Be a dad worth looking up to.

I is for Ice cream: great for dessert, rewards, and bribes.

J is for Just in case: From diapers and a change of clothes when they’re younger to a cell phone and credit card when they head off to college.

K is for KEEP HER OFF THE POLE! By any means necessary.

L is for Lack of sleep – get used to it.

M is for Milf. We should all be so lucky to wake up next to one.

N is for Ninja Sex. Because God knows that if either of you make one little noise it’s all over.

O is for Oreos. You must teach your kids the proper dunking method.

P is for Privacy. Wait, what’s that?

Q is for ‘Quality over Quantity’. From toys to clothes to family vacations, always choose quality. Except for when it comes to your time spent with the kids. Make excuses if you have to, but spend time with them every chance you get.

R is for Refereeing. If you have more than one kid you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not. See here.

S is for Spying. With all of the dangers out there, you’re darn right I’m gonna be spying on my kids – and you should be to.

T is for Take time for yourself. Your wife and kids will like being around you much more if you’re happy, okay, Hulk?

U is for Umpteenth; the number of times you’ll have to tell the kids to get back in bed or clean their room.

V is for Vasectomy. This is a milestone of maturity and sadomasochism.

W is for Western Union, because sometimes Life throws a curve ball. Thanks dad!

X is for X-Factor. It’s the thing that separates your kid from all the others.

Y is for Yard work. It can wait. Take the family to the park, go for a bike ride, build an obstacle course, or have a tea party. The grass will be there tomorrow.

Z is for Zero; the amount your bank account will hold after the 1st year buying diapers.

5 Parenting Tips From Homer Simpson

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“When will I learn? The answers to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle, they’re on TV! “- Homer Simpson

For over 20 years, this dimwitted TV dad has dispensed great deal of knowledge to fathers across the globe. Although 90% of his actions are atrocious at best, you must admit Homer means well. While I’m not suggesting you become a drunk, ignore your wife and kids, steal from your neighbor or choke your problem child, I am hoping you’ll consider these parenting tips from “Mr. Plow” (There’s a reason he has 3 kids) and become a better dad in the process.

“Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.”

Stop trying to be the perfect dad and then beating yourself up when you fail. None of us are perfect. Wait, let me rephrase that- none of you are perfect. You’ll be a much better/happier father once you come to terms with that.

“If you really want something in this life you have to work for it. Now quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”

If your last name isn’t Trump or Gates, you can rest assured that you’ll work to get what you want in life. I hope that you’re mature enough to understand that lottery tickets are for suckers. You want your kids to stay outta juvey? It’s going to take some work on your part. Teach him the ropes and don’t be afraid of a little discipline.

“Back, you robots! Nobody ruins my family vacation but me, and… maybe the boy!”

You, dad, have the power to make a family outing successful and enjoyable. Your wife always tries to make the best of everything while you’re used to blowing up because the price of gas went up. Quit crying tightwad – don’t let oil prices or robots ruin your special time with the family.

“I want to share something with you. The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here.”

Upon hearing that he was about to die, Homer J. shared these words of wisdom with Bart. You don’t have to wait until you think you’re about to die to share advice with your kids. Your influence over your children is huge – use it wisely.

“My father never believed in me! I’m not gonna make the same mistake. From now on I’m gonna be kinder to my son and meaner to my dad.”

Don’t crush your kids dreams. Step up and be supportive. Encourage your children to pursue whatever it is that they love. Remember the T-shirt that reads ‘Be nice to your kids. They’ll chose your nursing home.’