Friday, May 22, 2015
In the past few months, I've had 3 female friends in their late 30s/early 40s who elected to have children on their own.
All of them wanted to become moms, had spent time unsuccessfully looking for the so-called "Mr. Right" (as the NFO knows full well, he doesn't exist), were successful professional women, and ultimately chose to embark upon the adventure solo.
Again, this is probably nothing new for many people who follow this issue closely, but it made me think about the long-term role (or even need) for men in the child-rearing process.
I'd like to think there's some value, but it's obvious that for women it's now a question of "if" in terms of whether she wants a man to be involved.
I wonder if the age at which women choose this route will get increasingly younger or are there other factors involved?
(For example, you would need to be established financially as an individual which might take longer).
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
While it is certainly nice that we have a culture that celebrates the contributions of Fathers (witness the recent spate of Super Bowl ads about dads), I think the movement seeking to address gender inequality issues should take aim at Father's Day.
The goal should either be the elimination or, more likely, the relegation of the day to a more minor status.
The problem with Father's Day is that it is put on the same level as Mother's Day. This implies that Mothers and Fathers should be equally revered and that the contribution of men and women are equal.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The contribution of women far exceeds that of men.
As Jacob pointed out (roughly paraphrasing):
The relative Return on Investment of the effort exerted by the woman or the man to earn the relevant title is complete disproportionate.
For a mother, while the end result is worth it, the process is full of sweat, pain, blood, and a ton of labor, literally.
For a father, however, it is a few minutes of work that he would gladly do again.
It's really not equal.
Saturday, May 09, 2015
I've met guys who have the stereotypical relationship with their mothers-in-law, e.g. they are criticized and second-guessed.
I don't have that at all. In fact, the opposite.
My MIL basically leaves me alone most of the time.
Then, when she comes to visit, she takes care of my kids-thereby relieving me of responsibility and saving me time. What's more, she brings me highly personalized gifts (usually books) that are always on target.
I definitely scored well in that department.
See what I mean? ;-)
Happy Mother's Day to my MIL.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
I was initially very reluctant, for two reasons.
- I felt like it was unnecessary given that he was going to be with his friends for the entire time and that, well, in my day, we didn't have iPads to "keep us from getting bored."
- I was assuming all of the risk for the damages and I wanted him to figure out a way to address my concerns.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
They are Chuckdog, Vito, Frankie, Tony, Hunter, and Stefan. And believe me...those are a long way from those kids' actual names ;-)
Anyway...the other day, I saw Paco in the youth groups at our synagogue through the window. He was actively participating.
As I reported back to the NFO at lunchtime, with Paco present, "yes, he was in groups. He was praying with gusto."
To which Paco (aka Jokinen) said: "who's Gusto?"
Monday, April 27, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
While it could be sometimes construed as awkward (not for me, but so I'm told), I find that seeing people in person after 5, 10, or 15 years (which is why I have so much fun at reunions) gives you a chance to reflect on who you were, where you are, and have someone help remind you of things that influenced your path.
In this case, I had a chance to see Petras (with whom I worked at Fact Communications in Tokyo) and whom I hadn't seen in 17 years, Jim Weisser (who I saw 5 years ago, but knew from 17 years ago) and Brent (who was at Int'l University of Japan) with me.
I would encourage you...even if it's only for 20 minutes/coffee, next time you are traveling somewhere, make the effort and reconnect with a friend from a past life.
With Brent Mori...
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
More to come.
They have chargers for your phone in taxis.
The order of the numbers in the elevators is pretty straightforward.
People line up for the subways (there are lines on the platform) and wait patiently for everyone to exit.
And anyone who knows the country, knows that the names of products are somewhat unique...but entertaining nonetheless.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
It is my hope/belief that the arrival of technologies such as social, mobile, and user-generated content sites will change that.
Part of that is making sure that people know you are holding them accountable. Here's how I did it with Elite Automotive in Potomac, MD. Their willingness to go on video showed me their trustworthiness and then, of course, I validated it with my trusted mechanic (unless they are in cahoots with each other :)
Seriously, these guys were great and I highly recommend them...even when your car isn't broken.
Enjoy the videos
Thursday, April 16, 2015
My car's radiator blew out so we ended up being stuck for about 3 hours. I got a coffee, got him a hot chocolate and we sat down for the long wait. I gave him a copy of the paper, but he quickly got restless, saying "I need to DO something."
Right about that time, Nick comes over and says, "I hope you guys don't mind, but I am going to mop now."
So I said, "hey, my son needs something to do, he'll do the mopping for you."
And Nick said, "ok!"
So, he let me do some mopping.
Boy happy. Father relieved.
And SBUX delivers yet another great customer experience!
Don't worry, Starbucks, Nick eventually took over and did the job perfectly!
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Now, normally, I wouldn't care, but seeing as I had also seen SportsCenter a few nights ago (now you get my viewing habits) when they had a guest appearance by Jack Eichel who was the player of the year.
So, it led me to thinking...
- Boston U had the player of the year in hockey and they lost in the championship game
- Wisconsin had the player of the year in college basketball and they lost in the championship game
- Oregon had the Heisman winner (same thing) and they lost in the championship game
Thursday, April 09, 2015
Paco, to his credit, took on a huge challenge by attempting to read a long, extremely dense biography of Winston Churchill. It was certainly above his vocabulary level (to be fair, many of the words were above the NFO's and my vocabulary level!). He was supposed to read it over Passover break, but with every page requiring a visit to a dictionary (or Google), it became obvious that we weren't going to finish the 300+ pages.
I really enjoyed reading the book with him, as did the NFO. It was a mini-adventure and we actually learned a lot about Churchill. However, at some point, we had to admit that we weren't going to finish before the deadline, so we had to step back.
Paco apologized to me.
He felt bad that he had "wasted time" by reading a book with the NFO and me and "taking you away from your work."
I felt bad. The fact that my son thought that ANY time I spent with him in the pursuit of knowledge, education, experience, and just being together was a waste and that work was more important than he, indicated to me that I was/am sending the wrong message.
I tried to explain to him that my entire reason for being is to be his dad (well, and his sisters). Certainly in the biological sense and that, while I love my work and I do work a lot, it is with his ultimate needs in mind.
Sure, we lose focus on this and money doesn't replace time. But, it's not even time, it's about focus and communicating that we care.
In general, I think (hope) I do a pretty good job of communicating this to my kids, but every now and then, I really appreciate the strong reminder.
He's a great kid (all of my kids are) and I am blessed that they are able to tell me when I have messed up.
Sunday, April 05, 2015
Monday, March 16, 2015
I wasn't originally planning on going to Israel with the kids this year. The NFO was taking them for our nephew's Bar Mitzvah, but a few factors-most notably that I didn't want to miss being there with them—led me to make a last minute decision to attend.
I'm glad I did.
This was my 10th or 11th visit to Israel and every time I go, I learn something new about the country.
While taking the kids to places like the Western Wall, Yad v'Shem (the Holocaust Memorial Museum), Mt. Herzl (the military cemetery), the Mahane Yehuda market, or just walking down Ben Yehuda (the main drag in Jerusalem) is always exciting and meaningful, the point of these trips is to instill a sense of connectiveness-to build the connective tissue, if you will, between my kids and the Land of Israel.
Our goal is to have them understand that this place is not just another place. It's a special place for them and a part of their identity. As parents, you always wonder if you are making the impact you hope to make.
We do our best and I suppose time will tell.
But what strikes me in Israel in 2015 is much of what strikes me every time. The "bizarro world" that is sometimes the country and the Middle East.
This week is an election which could have huge ramifications for the future of the country and the region.
- How big is the Iranian threat?
- Will a united Arab list and a potentially larger than average Arab turnout be a determining factor in the election? (I find this particularly ironic given the charges of "apartheid state" that are leveled at the country.
- The never-ending discussion about how to be both a Jewish country and a democracy.
- How to maintain the ongoing economic miracle/"start-up" nation/technology hub that has resulted in a country where GDP per capita is going to soon exceed that of France. Yes, France.
- And a whole lot more.
It's not a perfect country. Never will be, but it's a country based on an ideal and a belief…that the Jews have a right to their own country and that, when all is said and done, Jews need a country where the primary raison d'etre is the defense of people's right to live as Jews.
I hope my kids walked away with that.
And I just wish all of the haters could take a step back and walk through the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv or wherever and see how the country functions. How people are just trying to live their lives and do better for their families.
They would be blown away to see that…and they'd be really blown away to see Arabs walking amongst the Jews in these same places with no fear at all, no reason to be afraid, accepted for who they are.
Then they might ask themselves, "would a Jew be able to walk around as a Jew in many Arab countries with no fear whatsoever?" They can't do it in Sweden or Paris, after all…which proves the very point.
Israel, despite being nearly 68 years old is not guaranteed. It's a daily struggle and every moment is infused with a sense of urgency, a sense of life-or-death consequences that few others places or people in the world have. There's an unspoken tension that just exists. There are shelters, there were (and will be, unfortunately) air raid sirens. There are soldiers carrying guns, security checkpoints at malls, metal detectors, and profiling.
Those aren't disappearing anytime soon, I'm sad to say. Maybe never.
There's the irony that being outnumbered nearly 150 to 1 is the root cause of the country's competitive advantage.
But it's all this, the living in a pressure cooker that creates not just innovation, but also a heighted joie de vivre that can't be understood by an outsider. Nor can it be understood fully by someone who is unfamiliar with Jewish history.
Hopefully these trips will help our kids see this and understand their place in it.
In reality, it's not something about which to be super proud. Proving your road warrior toughness is, well, maybe a sign of misplaced priorities.
Yet, with not so many accomplishments to tout, I submit for your consideration the current itinerary in which I am currently engaged.
Sunday evening, March 8th
- train from DC to NY Penn Station, arrive at 11pm
Monday evening, March 9th
- train from NYC back to DC, arriving home at 10:30pm
Tuesday morning, March 10th
- Leave home at 7am for a 9am flight from DCA to Toronto with entire family.
- Sit in Toronto airport for 6 hours. Fortunately, there's wi-fi and kids have iPads.
- Depart Toronto at 5pm to Israel.
Wednesday, March 11th
- Arrive in Israel at 9am. Get car and drive to Jerusalem. Stay in Israel for 4 full days.
Sat. night, March 14th
- Leave Israel at 10:55pm, flying to Newark.
Sunday morning, March 15th
- Arrive in Newark at 4.30am
- The baggage door on the plane won't open, so we all wait by the carousel for 90 minutes (we can't go through customs w/o our bags). A huge line amasses. Fortunately, I have Global Entry and get my own line.
- Go to United Club, where I take a shower and drink the 2nd of what will be multiple coffees.
- Take shuttle from C gates to A gates for 8:55am flight to Austin.
- Get on the plane, only to find out that there's a maintenance issue and we have to deplane.
- Then, we have to change gates, so we take the shuttle BACK to C gates for a new plane.
- That plane, eventually, leaves Newark at 11.55 (3 hours late).
- Arrive in Austin at 3pm local time (roughly and hopefully as I'm writing this while on the plane)
- Oh, by the way, I have brought 2 HUGE bags back with me to try and make things easier for NFO and kids when they fly back from Israel w/o me. (Needless to say, one of them-the one I needed-didn't make it to Austin in time)
- Attend Sprinklr SXSW party
Monday, March 15
- Leave Austin around noon and fly (via Houston) back to Reagan National where I will wait for about 4 hours and meet up with family returning from Israel via Toronto. They will have a 4-5 hour layover and get in around 11pm.
- Take family home and hopefully help get them settled.
Tuesday, March 16
- Home. Yay.
Wednesday, March 17
- 8am flight from Dulles to Seattle. Arrive in Seattle at 11am local time. Give presentation at 4.15pm local time.
Thursday, March 18
- 8am flight BACK from Seattle to DC. Arrive home around 5pm.
So, when all is said and done, we are looking at:
- 8 days
- 8 airports
- 4 time zones (where a night was spent)
- 3 countries
- 2 continents
- 2 train stations
And let's not talk about next week!
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Even more so, the leader of the Arab parties says they are fundamentally against the existence of the State in which they are members of Knesset (parliament).
Can you imagine a party in the US running for seats in Congress and saying "we don't believe in the Constitution or the bill of Rights. We're just running in order to get more power and have ppl pay attention to our unique demands."
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Recently, I've been making my way through a compilation book of scientists who were challenged to answer the question of "what 1 scientific idea should people know that would make them better off?"
The book is called: This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking (Edge Question Series).
The essays are about 2-3 pages long and, for the most part, really good.
Two that stood out for me are: The Pessimistic Meta-Induction from the History of Science which essentially says that in each era, people think they are at the end of modernity, having figured it all out, and that everyone beforehand were ignorant. Yet, 85% of what we think of as "truth/fact" will be proven to be false at some point. Stay humble
And Self-Serving Bias which essentially says that we aren't nearly as open-minded as we though (which we knew), but reminds us that we are always looking for things to confirm what we think is the right thing.
Just wanted to pass these along.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Yesterday, I was looking at Paco's iPad (well, it's mine, but I let him use it) and I noticed that he didn't have any of his pictures on it.
"What happened to all your pictures?"
"I deleted them all," he said.
"Why?" I asked.
"I needed the cap space," he replied.
"You mean the 'storage space,'" I asked.
"Yes, that's what I meant."
Gotta love that the 9 year old is talking about 'cap space.' He's ready to be a GM.