The Graduate, 2012


It hardly seems like it’s been almost 13 years since we watched the little boy board the bus and set off to his first day of school, and it seems like a lifetime ago.

Congratulations to my son Cameron on the occasion of his graduation from Parkland High School. You’ve made a lot of people proud, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

Happy 18th Birthday, Son!

Wednesday, February 9, 1994, 5:34 a.m. That’s when my life changed for the best. Not just better; I know my superlatives. Whatever was good in my life up until that moment was magnified, whatever was bad didn’t matter any longer.

You turn eighteen today, kiddo. You’ve made me proud. You’ve grown into an intelligent, compassionate, caring young man, a talented musician with a bright future, surrounded by family and friends who would do anything for you. And you’re way cooler than I ever was.

Enjoy your day.

Happy Birthday, young man!

The First Step In A Long Road Trip

Yesterday my 16-year-old son Cameron took the test to get his learner’s permit, and aced it with 100%. Well done!

Now that he’s about to prepare for getting his driver’s license, I’m hoping he can put aside the years of bad habits he may have picked up from Mario Kart, Gran Turismo, and Grand Theft Auto. When he’s behind the wheel for real, there’ll be no running down pedestrians or ramming into police cars at high speed, please!

$4 Billion For Teenage Goofiness? Puh-leez!

If you haven’t seen this picture before now, you’ve certainly heard about it. The young lady in the middle of the group finds herself in the middle of another photographic controversy. She is, of course, Miley Cyrus, offspring of Billy Ray, who’s built a mini-empire for herself since she began appearing as Hannah Montana in the Disney Channel’s tv show (and movie and guitar and CDs and sundry other merchandise) of the same name.

The OCA issued a statement that “The photograph of Miley Cyrus and other individuals slanting their eyes currently circulating the Internet is offensive to the Asian Pacific American community and sets a terrible example for her many young fans. This image falls within a long and unfortunate history of people mocking and denigrating individuals of Asian descent…Not only has Miley Cyrus and the other individuals in the photograph encouraged and legitimized the taunting and mocking of people of Asian descent, she has also insulted her many Asian Pacific American fans..” Except, I would guess the APA in the picture. He doesn’t appear to be too annoyed.

Someone who was very annoyed, though, was a Los Angeles woman named Lucie J. Kim who filed a class action suit against Cyrus for $4 billion. Yes, that’s right: $4,000,000,000.00.

Now, after double-checking this with some friends of mine to make sure, I counted a total of seven people in that picture. Why is Miley the only one being sued? Why not sue the lot of them for $28 billion and really make a point? Yes, even the Asian American. He apparently condoned the behavior of his friends, or he would have asked to be Photoshopped out of the offending portrait.

Maybe it’s because they’re not newsworthy? Without Miley in the picture it’s just a bunch of kids goofing around, and nobody, even Kimberly Castro, would give a shit.

I’m still waiting for the ASPCA and PETA to weigh in about the guy holding up the bunny ears behind the other guy’s head. Surely that has to be offensive to rabbits.

But since it’s not Miley holding her fingers up, it’s not worth the quarter to call a lawyer.

I See London, I See France…

I am by no means a fashion maven. I’m not really sure what a fashion maven even is, but I know I’m not one. As I write this, I’m wearing my everyday clothes: t-shirt (Walt Disney World ‘06), jeans (Wranglers, from K- or Wal- or some other Mart), white socks, slip-on Skechers. Until my son made the switch to jeans, his mom would always get a good laugh on the days I dressed him (why doesn’t a blue cotton tee go with a  pair of green basketball shorts, I’d like to know). I have only two fashion rules: no bluetooth earpieces (someday you’ll  be subjected to my rant about those technological monstrosities and the clowns who wear them in public), and remember to wear underwear on karate nights.

If I’ve never mentioned this before, my son Cameron stays with me on alternate weeks. I live literally within three minutes of my ex’s house, so it’s no big deal for me to get Cam to his bus stop on school days.

There is a kid that catches the bus at his stop that, no matter what kind of mood I wake up in, makes me literally laugh out loud when I see him.

The kid’s parent doesn’t make me LOL; in fact just the opposite. This moron brings his/her (their vehicle, an SUV roughly the size of Montana, has tinted windows, so I’ve never been able to see whether it’s Mom or Dad who drops him off) son to the bus stop every morning – God forbid he has to walk for 5 or 10 minutes like everyone else to get there – and in order to see when the bus is coming, parks their gas-guzzling behemoth on what most would consider the wrong side of the street. About this far from the corner. And there is a huge bush at the corner at the street. The first time I came around the corner when this mindless moron was parked there, I almost hit them head-on. Not that I was traveling at an excessive speed, but this jerk was parked right behind the bush where I couldn’t see until I came around the corner. Since then, every time I turn that corner, I have to stop and try to look around this Bozo to see if another car….or more importantly, one of the other schoolkids…is coming up the street. This happens on a daily basis during the weeks when I take Cam to the bus stop, but this loser is completely oblivious to the fact that they’re posing a potential threat to other drivers and pedestrians.

I think it may be that they want to keep their son out of sight for as long as possible, though.

The first time I saw this kid get out of the vehicle, I was stunned, because at the Parent Night Orientation I went to, the principal specifically mentioned that the Dress Code forbids students showing up to school in this manner. Even the Student Handbook proclaims that not permitted, under threat of disciplinary action, is the “wearing articles of clothing in which undergarments are deliberately exposed to view.”

Yes, friends, this kid, looking to be about 15, white and nerdy, pulls down the back of his pants so that his ass hangs out.

Now, I’ve never really understood the appeal of this particular fashion trend. When I was 15, if any square-inch of my Fruit-of-the-Looms was visible to the public, I would be devastatingly humiliated. Why the hell is it considered cool to have your ass hanging out of your pants?

When I first saw this kid, it was still nice weather out, and he was wearing oversized basketball shorts. I wondered at the time how he was going to keep his street cred when it turned cold out. When the weather started turning, he stuck with the shorts, but eventually he had to turn to sweatpants. Which, of course, were pulled down in the back to expose his boxers.

This morning, for example, it was 11 degrees out…minus 1 wind chill…when I took Cameron to the bus stop. The SUV was parked in the usual spot, I almost head-on-ed it, blah blah. The bus came, the kid got out of the SUV, his ass hanging out. As I mentioned, it was frostbite-cold out, and instead of pulling his pants up, this work-of-art pulled his jacket down to cover himself up. Amazing!

What’s more amazing is that he even gets this far dressed as he is. As a father, I can’t imagine letting my son go out in public like that. I’d be concerned that he’d never get a girlfriend, and on top of that, get the shit beat out of him on a regular basis. From experiences with my ex, I can’t imagine a mother letting her son go to school without looking like it’s Picture Day.

Seriously, what parent could watch their son walk to catch the bus with his ass hanging out and think, “I’m so proud of that kid!”?

I see that President Obama has said that “Brothers should pull up their pants.” I hope to the fashion god that brothers of all colors are listening.