(Last) Weekly Roundup: Theory And/Of/Or Practice Edition

(Something to think about before you read this: Watch a few moments of the above video and get a sense of who these three people are. We will come back to that at the end of this post.)

Instagram is currently targeting your humble author with advertisements for something called Wonderdads. It tells me that “91% of Dad-Kid bonding happens between the ages of 0-12.” What a bizarrely specific way to state such a shapeless fact! Yet it’s not specific enough to guide any further action. My son has just rounded the corner towards his twelfth birthday. So we have six months left. What percentage of Dad-Kid Bonding(tm) is still available to us? Five percent? Fifty? Ninety point nine? I’m not going to piss away real money on Wonderdads if we’re looking at a minor uptick in bonding here. If you could give me twenty percent more bonding, I’d think about the product, which apparently is a pre-written routine for “dad-kid traditions” and whatnot. Every day you wake up and the Wonderdads app will tell you how to be a more wonderful dad. Thus the name of the app. I’m not against it. But I need a better sense of the cost/benefit ratio here.

How much bonding my son and I have done is debatable. Possibly none, since I don’t yet have the app.

That being said, the choices his mother and I made in the past few years are now coming into sharper relief as he passes the five-foot-tall mark. In 2015 I got John his first 50cc kart. Just short of four years ago, he and I started riding bikes together on a constant basis. Almost three years ago, we started playing music on various instruments. At the same time, his mother was offering him kind of a serial look at various potential hobbies. They tried flag football, at which he was very good. They tried fencing, and he won a tournament after just a few months. There was a 90-day stint of tae kwon do, as well.

I don’t know why none of Mom’s ideas stuck while all of mine did, but I think it has something to do with my ex-wife’s admirable sense of balance, restraint, and normalcy. She didn’t force him to keep working on things, she didn’t undergo tremendous inconvenience or hassle or expense when it was necessary to continue with those activities. That mindset is not necessarily compatible with young boys. You have to be unstinting about the money you put in — but the time is even more important. In the long run, my persistence and stubbornness appear to have paid off, because my ideas of his preferred hobbies “took” and hers didn’t. This was solely because I didn’t lay off or give up. I’m not interested in balance, restraint, or normalcy.

So in this, my son’s twelfth year, his mom has waved a sort of white flag and she now mostly has him do the stuff he does with me — slightly differently, and more sensibly, of course. He has a single $900 mountain bike at her house instead of the six-bike stable totaling the purchase price of a new Honda Civic we have here. He’s allowed to have one bass guitar at her place, so he has a fretted four-string; at Casa Baruth there’s a five-string, a custom short-scale with active EQ, and a fretless short-scale Jaco replica, plus a few other musical toys.

Having given up the viola after high school, my son’s mother doesn’t have any way to play music with him. To her considerable credit, she recently addressed this by signing him up for “Rock School”, in which he will learn then perform four tunes with a band made up of other children. Due to an accident of scheduling I was the one to take him for the first session. I promptly went home afterwards, picked up all four tunes myself, and prepared to play them with John when it was time for him to learn them.

Which leads, finally, to today’s dilemma. Whenever John and I do anything — work on a bike jump, build a bike jump, play a tune, clean a car — we are task-oriented. His mom, on the other hand, is time-oriented. I’ll suggest to my son that we sit down and learn a song. It might take us twenty minutes to get it right-ish, at which point we will quit. Or it might take ninety minutes. Every once in a while he will hear a song and be able to play it back almost immediately, at which point we high-five, unplug the amps, and go back to playing Counter-Strike.

His mom, on the other hand, thinks in terms of time spent to learn. So she will suggest that he spend half an hour, or an hour, on his Rock School stuff. This is immensely frustrating for my son, because he doesn’t ever see the need of practicing based on time. Every musician, of course, knows that time-based practice is part of the game. You sit down and play scales for an hour. You don’t play scales until you get them “right”, because that’s not something you can easily define. Instead, you just improve as much as you can in the time you have.

If I wanted John to be a world-class musician, I’d force him to practice based on time. I don’t want that. My goal is him to be task-and-accomplishment focused. I never want him to say “I have to put in ten hours at the office/restaurant/shop/skatepark/bandstand today.” My experience is that highly successful people don’t think like that, and they don’t create (or, where possible, accept) those kinds of situations for themselves. Most successful people think in terms of tasks and goals. Time is irrelevant. I’ve written dozens and dozens of 3,000-word feature stories in the past decade. Sometimes it takes me a week or more to get one together. Other times I’ve sat down and written the whole thing in ninety minutes then submitted it without so much as a look-over. Never has there been a correlation between the time I spent and how much I got paid. The same is true for every commercial program I’ve ever written, and for every technical architecture I’ve ever created. Results are not a factor of time.

In Winning Through Intimidation, Robert Ringer talks about his Uncle George Theory. (It’s on page 13 of the linked PDF). This theory states that there is almost never any direct correlation between how “hard” you work and how much you earn. I can confirm this from my own experience. I’ve worked construction-site cleanup at five dollars an hour; I’ve also done deals for five-figure personal profit in three-minute phone calls. The former is hard work. The latter is real money.

Similarly, Mike Gancarz notes in The Unix Philosophy that the best sysadmins are lazy: they will take the shortest and more efficient route to a given outcome. That’s not the same as being sloppy or neglectful; those qualities doesn’t get you the right outcome. A first-rate sysadmin will look at a task and say, “Instead of doing this by rote, can I think a little harder and automate it?” A very long time ago, I took a gig doing some basic data analysis for an online contest. The client used Excel spreadsheets and they wanted some operations performed on them. It was about a three-hour job and didn’t pay much. Yet I had an inkling of future possibilities so I wrote a bunch of Perl routines to automate the import and manipulation of these spreadsheets. It took me the better part of a day to learn the modules involved, to test my scripts, and then to confirm that they worked by doing the original hand work myself to compare the results. I made something like $250 for that; basically fast-food money since I’d stayed up overnight to dpo the work and test the first results. The next time I also got $250, but it took me a total of five minutes to run my routines.

Yes, I was smart enough to wait a day before sending the results back.

Looking back at the total amount of money I earned on those spreadsheet deals, the work I did building those initial routines was probably compensated at well over a thousand bucks an hour. More importantly than that, it confirmed for 27-year-old me that there was no actual link between time and money, unless you work on an assembly line somewhere. There’s a negative correlation to that lesson, of course. If you’re paid on goals/results rather than time, you’re not guaranteed to get a penny out of it. The assembly-line worker walks away at the end of the night knowing he’s earned money; the self-employed coder or writer cannot say the same. Higher risk, higher reward.

Here’s the toughest part. This week I’ll sit down with my son and ask him to play through his four songs. He’s been doing his time-based practicing for about ten days now. Chances are that we’ll have one of two scenarios. In Scenario Zero, he doesn’t have the songs correct, at which point I will have no trouble forcing him to drill through them with me until they are correct. I will have some trouble with Scenario One, in which he’s perfect on them from the jump. Will I have the courage of my convictions then? Will I be able to immediately unplug the amps and tell him he’s free to go? The problem with the time-for-labor mentality is that once you’ve learned it, really learned it through years spent in fast-food restaurants and in call centers, you can never really shake it. I continue to struggle with guilt when I make real money doing something that isn’t difficult for me. I don’t want my son to have that unprofitable attitude.

My long-departed grandmother on my mother’s side once walked into a room where I was struggling to build a working two-speed transmission using parts from the LEGO 853 Expert Builder set. I was no more than seven years old. She watched me for about five minutes, then suggested in her flawless Main Line Philly enunciation that “Oh well, the world needs ditch-diggers, too.” An hour or so later I got the thing to work, at which point she asked me if it took other children that long.

“The box,” I replied, “says it’s for kids twelve and over.”

“It doesn’t matter what the box says,” she snapped, and she was right. The world works on what we call deliverables nowadays. No credit is given for trying hard. Not for people like me and my son, anyway. Which means that I have just one deliverable left before I die, and it is: accurately convey this truth to him. Doesn’t matter if we do it the hard way, via philosophy and instruction, or through the instant lesson of unplugging an amplifier when a song is right. Note to the makers of “Wonderdads”: I won’t pay you a penny in the cause of “bonding” with my son. But I’d pay you everything I have if you can teach me how to break our bond, to make him self-sufficient without his wonderful dad, to give him the confidence to accomplish the tasks at hand and the nerve to demand the appropriate payment, to send him into the world needing nothing but what he carries in his own head and heart.

* * *

(So, if you watched the video that starts this article, apropos of nothing… Did you see that as three old white guys playing jazz? If you did, take a look into their backgrounds, and have a laugh at your own expense. None of the three identifies as “white”.)

For Hagerty, I wrote about some really terrible Land Rovers.

44 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: Theory And/Of/Or Practice Edition”

  1. Tom KlockauTom Klockau

    A friend of mine, Joe, had a couple new Range Rovers circa 1999-2003. He summed them up this way: “I loved them and I was so happy when I got rid of them.”

    Reply
  2. AvatarJosh Howard

    Wonder Dads almost sounds like something a mother recommends a father use to be “the perfect dad”. While well meaning, I find it gross. It’s like the Beta dad app. There was a time before kids that I would have thought it was a good idea. Now, I’ve started to realize that I myself am not all I could or should be and should invest time in myself rather than having apps tell me to take care of kids. The best way to service my kids is to be the best version of myself.

    It’s why I work out. It’s why I don’t eat like garbage anymore. It’s why I’m staying off social media more. Sober October isn’t just for not drinking.

    On another note: I find it incredibly easy to fall into the trap that “if I just made more money then perhaps they’d have it better”. I have never been in the position of earning even hundreds of dollars an hour. But, what I’m noticing is money simply doesn’t matter. It only matters when you don’t have it. Being present is half the battle and the other half is patterning the things that your kids should do as they grow up.

    I never expected to have girls, but I hope they look at their father and see a high bar other men must get to before they marry. I won’t be doing that with quantity, but with quality. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Did I mention social media is a time suck? So is tv.

    On the cleaving: They’re ready when we as fathers are gone. I am not the closest with my father like what I should be. However, there are many times when I need to talk to him. Someday he won’t be on the other end. When that day comes, I will be ready. Your son will be ready too. I know it.

    Why? Because you’re giving him lessons right now that will program him for when things get even harder than they are now. God help us when that future arrives.

    Reply
  3. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    I think they’re kinda right about the 0 to 12 thing, thought I wouldn’t exactly put in age on it. When we hit puberty is when we start to pull away from our fathers and try to start being or own man.
    If we’ve bonded well with our father, then it’s only got a few bumps in the road, the occasional head butting as we try to do things our own way and our dad’s remind us of just whose house we’re living in, etc.
    By the time we hit 18 or so and all the hormone driven silliness has settled down, we go back to having a good relationship, but on more of an adult level, which builds until you view each other as equals.

    If you haven’t bonded well by the time puberty sets in, it becomes a much rockier road and in many cases you end up hating your dad and possibly even end up living separately before your 18th birthday. You never view each other as equals or develop a strong relationship.

    I was the former, but I saw a couple of my friends go through the later. I saw kids kicked out of their homes by the time they were 16 (emancipated minor), etc.

    Personally I think you’re doing a great job from the sounds of it.

    Reply
  4. AvatarScottS

    And don’t ever sell your old Land Rover to a family member. It would be better to set it on fire and be permanently rid of it.

    Reply
  5. Avatarstingray65

    I think the time versus task orientation you are describing is also why there are so few self-made female billionaire entrepreneurs, or female Fortune 500 CEOs, or female authors of top selling game software, or females in most other high risk high reward professions. Almost all females (and a lot of males) want a risk free life where they work a certain number of hours and get a predictable paycheck, but relatively more males are willing to put in major hours and/or risk a major financial investment on projects where the payout might be zero (or bankruptcy, hospitalization, or death) or with a little luck might be significant fame, status, and fortune that they hope will also land them a woman. Of course many women no longer want to risk being dependent on a male who isn’t a proven and reliable money maker, and since getting the right to vote single women tend to also be strong supporters of the welfare state to make sure that they are taken care of by Uncle Sam should they make bad relationship choices or not find any man of sufficient attractiveness and means. Evolutionary biology and psychology provide reasons for this key gender difference, but feminists don’t like such explanations and would rather just have gender quotas that make sure a populationally proportional number of corner offices, prestigious board seats, and Ivy League STEM positions are allocated to females to take the uncertainty and risk out of getting such high status positions where they will be miserable because they will still want a fixed schedule and a higher status male partner who are mighty rare at such high strata.

    Reply
    • Avatarbjarnetv

      What about the huge amounts of women working in the arts (acting, film, music, painting)
      Not exactly a risk free life with a predictable paycheck there.

      Success in business is also very dependent on network building, and if the network is mainly male to begin with it can be hard to get in and be accepted as an equal if you are a woman.

      Not going to argue that males tend to be bigger risktakers overall, but the differences aren’t quite as big as you seem to think, and a lot of it is cultural and not purely genetical.

      Sure having gender quotas is a pain, and in the short term will probably have a slightly negative effect, as its not always the “best” people who are promoted, but after a generation or two, am pretty sure increased competition will raise the bar and overall skillset, as more women understand from an early age that they can do whatever they want and not default to the traditional female jobs.

      The biggest thing holding people back when they are young isn’t their built in “potential”, but peer and familial pressure.
      If you grow up knowing that you have a shot at doing what you want, with support from the people around you, you will have a way bigger chance of succeeding compared to people growing up in more traditional places being a misfit because they are a girl who wants a “mans job”, and dare to dream big.

      Reply
      • Avatarstingray65

        “What about the huge amounts of women working in the arts (acting, film, music, painting)
        Not exactly a risk free life with a predictable paycheck there.”

        For most it is a risk-free life with a predictable paycheck because almost all these “arts” women are supported by wealthy parents (or inheritances/trust funds), wealthy husbands (or healthy divorce settlements), or if all else fails various welfare programs including those that support the “arts”.

        I have never heard a story about a “starving” female artist because most dabble in it as a hobby and have family support to keep them fed and comfortable. In contrast I have heard about many “starving” male artists who are consumed by their art to the exclusion of making a living or eating, and most of them stay starving while a handful became rich and famous, which are of course the ones you hear the inspirational stories about.

        Gender differences in risk taking are large, but even larger at the tails where most of the huge success stories come from. Taking the assignment to turn around the failing business unit, or go overseas to start up a new business unit, or taking a poorly paid job with stock options in a shaky startup are the types of jobs that men are much more likely to take than women. When the few succeed they become billionaires and highly paid CEOs, but most don’t and are never heard from again, which is a risk most women aren’t willing to take – especially when HR departments will promote them ever upward simply because they have lady parts.

        Reply
        • AvatarDan

          “… all these “arts” women are supported by wealthy parents (or inheritances/trust funds), wealthy husbands (or healthy divorce settlements) or if all else fails …”

          , and often enough even if doesn’t, the casting couch. Nowhere except academia skews harder left than the arts but the shrill and unbeddable are notable there only for their near absence. There is a reason for that.

          Reply
        • Avatarbjarnetv

          well, i guess we will never agree, since it sounds like you are pretty set in your rather depressing view on women.
          i personally know a lot of the so called “starving” female artist, who are dedicating their lives to become artists, and most of them with rather sad results, as is tradition in the arts.
          i also know and have worked with several women who have tried starting their own businesses and business ventures, using their own savings, and the success rate is pretty much equal to all the guys i know who have tried the same.
          Now i know that men and women are quite different, and im not trying to convince you that they are the same but with different packaging, but in my experience their different mindset can be a good thing, and businesses with a good mix of (the two) genders seems to work pretty good in my opinion.

          Reply
          • Avatarstingray65

            A different mindset is because men and women have always played different roles. Only women can gestate and nurse babies, which means they have evolved to be nurturing, neurotic, risk adverse, and people centered. Since one man can service many women, men have historically been expendable and to “win” a woman typically meant taking risks to get the resources and status that would attract women and provide for a family’s welfare. Thus the success of the human race has depended on gender roles best suited to each gender’s strongest and/or unique (child bearing) abilities. In the modern world, feminists have devalued the traditional female role of mother and homemaker, and instead pushed the idea that men and women are interchangeable and that the only reason women aren’t equally represented in all high income and high status professions that have traditionally been men’s roles is because of sexism and patriarchy despite 50+ years of gender quotas, female mentoring programs, inclusivity training, female only scholarships and internships, effective and cheap birth control and child care, and legal systems totally biased towards female interests. The only people who have a depressing view of women are feminists who say there are no differences between the genders, devalue the things women are good at and most often get great satisfaction from, and insist that females needs special protections and favors to compete against the men.

          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

            In hunter-gatherer societies one could be an individual hunter and still successfully kill some game for one’s family or clan but it’s hard to be a successful gatherer if the other women won’t tell you where the berries are. Human females are exquisitely attuned to group status and are loathe to do anything that will make them pariahs. Because of motherhood they are also more concerned with their and their kids’ material security, which is why they tend to vote for leftist programs that provide government funding. Maybe the 19th Amendment wasn’t such a great idea.

        • AvatarLynnG

          stingray65, normally I would not disagree with your insights but in this case I have just two words, “Sally Mann” one of our generations best artist. And knowing her, I can assure you she is not a “trustfund” child of the wealthy.

          Reply
          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

            LynnG, if you were given the option of owning one of Sally Mann’s negatives, or one of Ansel Adams’, for free, which would you choose?

          • Avatarstingray65

            LynnG – I never said that no women can be great artists or great at any other profession, or that they should be discriminated against for trying, but that because of differing interests and abilities that are to a large degree genetic in origin and based on thousands of years of evolution, we cannot and should not expect equal gender outcomes and certainly shouldn’t discriminate against men to try to achieve the impossible.

          • Avatarstingray65

            Just looked up the biography of the talented Sally Mann. MD father, academic administrator mother, raised by a nanny, father indulged her with her photography hobby, went to expensive private schools, married a lawyer, lives on inherited family farm…not exactly the story of a person sacrificing for her art or coming up from a disadvantaged background.

      • AvatarKeith

        In the realm of investing and financial instruments the differences are tremendous. I only know one woman taking investing and her financial future very seriously. Her tolerance for risk and the level sophistication in markets and instruments she uses is a fraction of what I regularly participate in. She has her series 7. I don’t even work in finance.

        Reply
      • AvatarDan S

        Are you seriously suggesting that throwing away the idea of awarding things based on merit in gender quotas is justified?

        That somehow, after discriminating against well qualified men (for college spots, job promotions, etc), and awarding those things to women based on their gender, that there will be more competition based on merit? The idea if merit that you suggest is okay to abandon for a few generations?

        Reply
        • Avatarstingray65

          Dan – throwing away the idea of awarding things based on merit and awarding things based on gender or race is the whole “progressive” agenda. Anti-racism is defined by discriminating against more successful racial/ethnic groups in favor of less successful, with the idea that once the less successful get their spot in Harvard or Silicon Valley or Congress they will “catch up” and create the “diversity is a strength” for the organization. 50+ years of giving spots based on gender or race has increased diversity, but there is zero evidence it actually has increased academic performance, innovation, or profits for the organizations, and ample evidence it hurts the groups it is supposed to help.

          Reply
          • AvatarDan S

            I know and agree with everything you’re saying here.

            I’m just shocked that anyone could perform the mental gymnastics required to think that handing people things they didn’t earn over those more deserving will lead to “increased competition will raise the bar and overall skillset”.

            You could boil it down to saying “getting rid of meritocracy will help meritocracy in the long run”. Nevermind the harm it does to the people you’re putting at a disadvantage.

    • AvatarDaniel J

      I’ll disagree a little here. I’m a Software and Hardware engineer, and everything I do is task oriented. I can’t however be so task oriented with the value of time and that the economies always just don’t work out. I believe that the difference is that there needs to be just as much emphasis is getting value out of doing something even if the task isn’t finished. I’ve been on many ventures where I’ve spent too much time on trying to accomplish the task making all sorts of risks along the way and failed. We all learn why an endeavor fails, but the time is gone as time is finite. Having value on the time spent on any endeavor makes us better risk takers, and that we should get something out of the time spent on the endeavor, not just the end result or task once accomplished.

      Most people aren’t as smart as Jack nor as successful. Most people fail at most things they do.

      I was a semi-professional bowler for a short period. One simply doesn’t say, I’ll practice until I bowl a 300 and then I’ll put it up for the day. I can also say that no amount of time I spent on doing it would allow me to be as successful as truly professional bowlers, as I was not as talented or physically gifted as they were.

      I believe balance like in all things, is the key.

      Reply
      • Avatarstingray65

        “I believe balance like in all things, is the key.”

        That is precisely what Jordan Peterson says about why women fail to make it to the top to the same degree as men. Women on average want more work-life balance, and far fewer women are likely to be driven by competition or passion for their work and success than men. Balance is not a bad thing, but it will seldom take you to the top of any profession, which of course very few people have the talent, luck, and drive to attain anyway.

        Reply
        • AvatarDaniel Sharpe

          Ah, Jordan Peterson. I’m glad he’s doing better.

          I’m not talking about work life balance, really. I’m talking about that time has value.

          As a software/hardware engineer, I could spend weeks or months trying to finish a task that cannot ever be finished. A deliverable that just can’t be met. The time spent is still valuable.

          The other side of the coin is that being too task oriented leaves no time for anything else. If someone has multiple goals or hobbies or whatever, if I spend only X time practicing on one hobby that gives me time to spend Y time on another hobby. If I only worry about completing some task for X hobby, I may never have time for Y hobby. Time is finite.

          One of the few things college taught me was prioritize and tackle the tasks I knew I can complete within a reasonable amount of time, and then move on to spending time on other tasks as I can.

          My father was a carpenter/woodworker. He developed his craft not from the deliverables, but from the time actually spent on the craft. In most cases, spending time just to complete a task leaves little room for new ideas or imagination, or room to grow.

          If I spent all my time just on trying to deliver products to a customer, I wouldn’t always have time learning new technologies, learning new ways of using hardware or software or just honing my craft in general. Spending that time to hone my craft allows me to complete customer tasks quicker and faster.

          I don’t know anything about music. I don’t know the differences of someone just spending a given time on learning a song compared to just playing and playing until they get it right. I’d imagine that there would be diminishing returns as there would be mental and physical fatigue if a session goes on too long trying to “get it right”.

          Reply
  6. AvatarOne Leg at

    I love the smirk from the bassist at 1:06 – they hit a tricky syncopation like they were nailed together, and that was the only acknowledgement.

    On the other hand, I feel like they completely lost the thread around 5:03. Do all Jazz musicians struggle to end a tune, or just the ones I have listened to?

    Reply
  7. AvatarChristopher Feola

    Whippersnapper,
    Careful what you wish for; you’re gonna get it, good and hard. After your son turns 12 he’ll next turn into a teenager. No worries; he’ll break your bond. Hard. And you’ll have an unbearable urge to call various and sundry elders and say “I’d like to apologize for 1986…1989…all of the 90s…”
    But there’s good news, too. All this time you’ve put in means he’ll be fine. And he’ll come back. And that will be something special.
    Gotta run; off to dinner with my 26-year-old son. I was quite the idjit for the better part of a decade, but apparently I’ve smartened up since he graduated and has a job, and he once again wants my opinion.
    Life is good.
    Cjf

    Reply
    • Avatarhank chinaski

      Yes, this. Everything is an argument salted with snark and sarcasm. I can’t imagine where it comes from.

      What were the gorram 4 songs?

      Reply
    • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

      For some reason I have found that as I get older, my dad gets smarter. When I was a teenager he was dumb as a box of rocks. Scientists ought to study that.

      Reply
  8. AvatarJohn Marks

    Dear Jack,

    This one brought tears to my eyes. Thanks, in a way.

    I did what I could, to bring up my older children to be literate, compassionate, and empathetic.

    My son and his sister had enviable musical educations.

    My son turned down a music scholarship at a university college with a choral tradition that stretched back, at the time, 900 years.

    Instead, he volunteered for six deployments to Afghanistan; but, before that, he had already talked down “from the ledge” a military classmate who was holding her personal protection weapon to her own head. She’d just gotten a “Dear Jane” letter from her hubby.

    In short, I don’t deserve him; but the world is better off, that he is in it.

    I have found out that gratitude and humility is the best path for a parent to take.

    Each child is born for a destiny; we have a choice to enable it, or to screw it up, via micro-management.

    amb,

    john

    Reply
  9. AvatarJeff Zekas

    Hey Jack, I raised four boys and a girl. Mainly, I focused on two things: teaching them to be tough (“Suck it up!”) and having them stick it out (“You committed to a whole season so you’re gonna play the whole season!”). They all turned out pretty good: one became a computer geek, one retired as a Navy Seal, another is CEO of a lumber company, the youngest is a firefighter, and daughter is a teacher. Mainly, I spent lots of time at the skate park, at the river, at the snowboard lifts, and at the lake. I always made sure they had what they needed to get out there and succeed. Oh, and I coached, even though I hate coaching, soccer and baseball. And I went to the gym, “Cos if we have to go, you have to go, Papa!”. It all works out. My wife still doesn’t get it. Male culture is not the same as female culture. We’re not all the same. Thats okay, cos she’s a hippie, and the hippies never got it, anyway. What I’m saying is: I can’t take all of the credit, or all of the blame. They are good men. That’s all that matters.

    Reply
  10. AvatarRick T

    “Age is nothing but the narrowing of potential and possibilities into reality.”

    This is one of the most profound observations I read in a very long time. As one approaching the end of his 7th decade, this rings so true. Very little potential and few possibilities left but not none, thankfully. Bravo.

    Reply
  11. AvatarCrancast

    Jumping the gun …

    AC #81. Struggled to get to the end (odd), but I stayed with it to see how big the target would be. And that did not disappoint. Vague enough that nearly every journo will read something into it about themselves.

    I’d figure the target from your auto frenemies is now a full face Mike Tyson tattoo.

    BTW, Andrew did a very nice job on the review. I never did bother to read Jalops, but stopped by after reading AC #81, figuring, well you know … icing on the cake, malaceful.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      #81 is as close as I’ll get to a traditional Samuel Johnson style morality essay, so I expect it won’t be all that widely read. I appreciate your sticking with it.

      Reply
      • AvatarScout_Number_4

        Just finished #81 and hit the over of 3.5 times I had to Google something you mentioned that I didn’t know about, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it–spot on again, Jack.

        Reply
  12. AvatarChristopher Feola

    >>For some reason I have found that as I get older, my dad gets smarter. When I was a teenager he was dumb as a box of rocks. Scientists ought to study that.<<
    Truth. Amazing how much my old man learned while I was away in the Army.
    Cjf

    Reply

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