Don't cry, baby. Don't cry.

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“Each child is biologically required to have a mother. Fatherhood is a well-regarded theory, but motherhood is a fact.” – P. J. O’Rourke

“Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.” ― John Wilmot

“Much therefore of that humour which transported the last century with merriment is lost to us, who do not know the sour solemnity, the sullen superstition, the gloomy moroseness, and the stubborn scruples of the ancient Puritans; or, if we know them, derive our information only from books or from tradition, have never had them before our eyes, and cannot but by recollection and study understand the lines in which they are satirized. Our grandfathers knew the picture from the life; we judge of the life by contemplating the picture. It is scarcely possible, in the regularity and composure of the present time, to imagine the tumult of absurdity, and clamour of contradiction, which perplexed doctrine, disordered practice, and disturbed both public and private quiet, in that age when subordination was broken, and awe was hissed away; when any unsettled innovator who could hatch a half-formed notion produced it to the public; when every man might become a preacher, and almost every preacher could collect a congregation.” -Dr. Johnson

“I believe these are the days of lasers in the jungle, lasers in the jungle somewhere, staccato signals of constant information a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires, and baby these are the days of miracle and wonder, this is the long-distance call, the way the camera follows us in slo-mo, the way we look to us all, oh yeah, the way we look to a distant constellation that’s dying in a corner of the sky, these are the days of miracle and wonder and don’t cry baby don’t cry. Paul Simon

Once again we’re staring it right in the face.

SXSW is about to ramp up.

Our streams will explode and our various media will bloat. For an entire week there’ll an endless parade of hype which will revolve around new companies that have the half life of a cheap isotope. Sure, there’s cool moments like the congressman who was so clueless he sent the festival a registered letter and last year’s keynote by Bruce Sterling was pretty damned amazing, but despite all that you do wind up with lots and lots of hurt feelings.

Speaking of your age and your credit score being the same number …

Before the sun came up last Tuesday morning Mom presented me with two facts as I was making coffee.

1. The most famous daddy blogger of them all had died.

2. Per her further reading on Mr. Miller she found that one no longer is a stay-at-home parent, instead one is a parent blogger. As Mom said, “See? You were ahead of your time again! You stayed home and you had 367,152,459 blogs!”

That number might be a single percentage point or two high, but otherwise accurate.

For those of you just tuning in – 10 or so years ago I was the only hairy, smelly, mommy blogger who needed a shave. Back then there were only mommy bloggers and the oddity known as the stay-at-home dad. Back then you didn’t claim another title like daddy or mommy blogger. You focused on the the daily routine rather than claiming that your avocation was documenting each and every twitch or hiccup your child made. Back then – as has been pointed out here before – parent blogging was never a long-term affair. Sooner or later kiddie soccer leagues are joined and that is, as they say, that. Which is why the culverts and the frontage roads of the Infobahn are overrun with rusting and abandoned parent blogs.

Too bad really as it gets far more interesting as you go along. Case in point – this was the week where we watched Alaska Wolf Joe (formerly Mr. Man) drag ever stitch of bedclothes he has across the living room. It took a few trips and after a long silence we heard the washing machine start. Shortly thereafter he emerged and announced, “I am washing my sheets for the first time in months. I am going to rise up out of the state in which I found myself – not unlike a 19th-Century, tubercular, Russian poet, encompassed by gloom and lying in my own filth!”

I don’t know about you, but that beats the hell out of “I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH!!!”

Why stop parent blogging now?

It’s just getting interesting.

At that point Mom once again added, “You were ahead of your time.”

Yes, but only by default.

This is a point that’s been driven home more than a few times in the past year as I’ve been forced to explore the mystery that is the luddite nature of people roughly my age. I’ve met people in their late 60s who are digital audio and Photoshop wizards. I’ve even run into people in the 70s who are designing web sites. But for some odd reason there’s something about those of us who barely stuck our toes into the Murder-She-Wrote demographic that I just cannot understand.

Two examples –

– Completely out of the blue a guy from my high school graduating class sent me an email last summer. He hadn’t been in touch and I hadn’t had any contact with him in at least 30 years, but his kid found a magazine article that I was supposedly mentioned in. The email was very long as he had copied and pasted the whole damn article. While I was giving it quick scan to see if it tested positive for being tl;dr my email notifications said he sent yet another email. This one read, “My daughter is helping me with this email. She said I shouldn’t have sent what I sent and I was to send you this. She will fix it for me now.” Below that was a link to the previously copied and pasted article.

This from a man with a phd.

From an Ivy League school.

And an AOL account.

Which isn’t to say that he got lucky and the kid was home doing a load of washing which lead him to hollering down the basement stairs, SWEETIE CAN YOU COME HELP DADDY WITH THE EMAIL?

– More recently I was contacted by some one I used to work with, 54, who insists on staying in touch. He bought some whiz-bang $500 vape pen which he said up and quit working. As I seem to be his tech guru he asked if I could come over and have a look. Upon arrival he handed me something the size of a shoe box that contained the pen, two software cd’s, a very large owner’s manual, and a variety of cables. Poking a finger at the cables he said, “I think this is for overseas … gray market.” Then he plucked out one cable, and added, “I think some one busted off a piece of this one.”

I told him it was a USB connector.

He studied it for a long while and finally said, “Ahhh … Russian…”

Yeah.

“So like, I can get something at Radio Shack to make it work?”

Hurry.

Sadly the vape pen was the most expensive thing in the room. Life for the guy is largely his ancient dirty couch and a coffee table featuring a mostly empty jar of peanut butter with a spoon sticking out of it, half a bag of marshmallows, and an aging bong. In discussing this some one asked, “So what does his wife think of all that?”

OK – so a young woman Alaska Wolf Joe knows once told me that I would never understand post-structuralist feminism because I am a man. Which is true on at least one count, but despite that I have reason to believe that the decor described doesn’t exactly evoke images of June and Ward Cleaver’s home much less anything any woman in her right mind would want to live in. More to the point – the wife took off over a dozen years ago. She met a guy who had both a steady job and a short list of vices which did not include a penchant for – what was then – illicit substances. As Mr. Vape Pen said of his ex, “She liked to talked all the time and she said this guy listened to her and if she asked a question he had like answers. Like he heard her ‘n stuff!”

Slick devil.

Be that as it may – I seem to be the tech guru for those people in their 50s who have matured to the point that they are now using their brand new AARP card to clean the seeds and stems.

Imagine my joy.

If I had to give it a reason maybe I achieved an arrested stage of development at my uncle’s house eons ago. He had a 20-year supply of Popular Mechanics in the garage. At any given time he brought about two year’s worth into his family room. I used to read those endlessly and think how great it would be to live in the future and have a whole life revolving around what’s going to come next. Sure, we don’t have flying cars or the Pan-Am clipper to the moon, but my phone does more than Cap’n Kirk’s communicator and my stereo is an Bose Bluetooth speaker and my old iPhone.

And the fidelity is better than any component stereo I ever owned.

Be that as it may – while I go off to once again wonder if I will ever be able to grasp post-structuralist feminism, please feel free to watch this short film about parenting which I am pretty sure has nothing to do with post-structuralist feminism.

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