Fatherly Stuff: December 2012

Dec 28, 2012

Top 4 Awesome Father Figures in the Comic Book World

In honor of Stan Lee’s birthday , I figured I would explore the subject or fatherhood in the comic book universe.  For better or worse, fathers have shaped the lives of some of our favorite superheroes (and villains). The following is a list of the best dads, in my opinion.
Before I get into it, I'd like to mention that while researching for this article, I had a difficult time finding good dads. Even the characters that I mention below had some sort of terrible tragedy that befell them that directly or indirectly affected the people who loved them. I guess it would be a boring comic if mom and dad were nurturing, caring and lived to be 85.

4.       Ben Parker (Spiderman/Marvel)


While not his biological father, Uncle Ben has been a huge influence on Peter Parker’s life. When Peter’s parents died in a plane crash, Ben and his wife Mae stepped up to the plate without another thought and raised Peter as their own son. His untimely murder at the hands of a bank robber had a long lasting effect on Peter’s psyche, ultimately guiding him in his decision to become Spiderman.  He realizes that he needs to use his newfound powers to help others over personal gain. Because after all, “with great power comes great responsibility”. As a matter of fact, if you look at earlier issues, you see a Peter Parker that is constantly bullied due to his nerdy disposition. He is actually quoted as saying something along the lines of, "Someday, I'll make them pay". If Peter wasnt given that moral compass by his uncle Ben, who know? Maybe he'd be one of the greatest villians of all time as opposed to heroes.


3.       Jim Gordon (Batman/DC)


Okay, this one is a little tricky.  As an actual father one could argue that he wasn’t really that great. His son, James Jr. became a psychotic serial killer that he eventually had to bring in. He is completely aware that is adoptive daughter Barbara (actually his niece) is running around in a skin tight outfit, fighting all sorts of sordid characters in Gotham city, yet he chooses to be in denial about it. 

To me, what deems him worthy of being on this list is his relationship with Batman. Over the years, their relationship has evolved from one of skepticism, to one of great trust and dependence. There are numerous occasions where Batman has looked to him for advice and Gordon has even saved his life at time or two.



2.       Charles Xavier (X-Men/Marvel)


It has been said that the inspiration for Prof Charles Xavier came from Martin Luther King Jr and his struggles during the civil rights era. In that spirit, Prof X has always been portrayed as the fearless leader of a peaceful solution between humans and mutant kind (with the exception of that Onslaught period (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onslaught_(comics) )). Once he founded the school, Xavier’s School for Gifted Children, it has been a haven for persecuted mutants all over the world. Xavier has been a strong father figure for countless people.



1.       Jor-El and Jonathan Kent (Superman/DC)


These guys are my number ones. To me, they both are the epitome of fatherly love and sacrifice.

 Jor-El, a brilliant Kryptonian scientist who after realizing that his volatile planet was going to explode, sacrificed his own life to ensure his son Kal- El would survive. Once Kal- El’s ship landed on Earth, he was found and quickly adopted by the Kent family. Through the lifelong teachings of Jon, Kal-El (Clark) developed those small town values and love of Earth and the people in it. This laid the groundwork to what eventually would become the driving force behind Superman's desire to help others.


So what do you guys think? If there is anyone else that I am missing on this list, please feel free to comment below and why. Happy reading and happy 90th, you iconic bastard!

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Monster shields up!

What is it about blanket forts that make them so effective against monster attacks? They worked for me when I was a kid an the technique has been passed down!

Dec 27, 2012

Dads Receives Best Gifts Ever

Usually the Holidays consists of parents working hard and going above and beyond in order to find that perfect Christmas gift for their child. I wanted to share a couple of touching stories I came across that celebrate the opposite: children who went above and beyond to give thier dad the perfect gift.

1.  Nebraska native Earl McConnell  received the greatest gift any dad could ask for from his son Justin.

Last year Earl was told by his doctors that his kidneys were failing. Being faced with his own mortality and the low prospects of an organ doner had taken a severe toll on him and his family. Once Justin realized just how sick his dad was, he did not hesitate to donate his own kidney. Although they had to spend Christmas away from home, the surgery was a success and they are going to go back home closer than ever.

When Justin was called a hero, he simply stated that he only did what his dad would have done for him.

You can read the full story here

2. Below is a video that has gone viral with over 4 million views. Initially, it looks like a dad was given a nice hat for a Christmas present. When he looks inside that hat however, he finds two tickets to the Alabama BCS game. Apparenty the father is a diehard fan becasue once he sees these tickets, he laughs tears of joy.

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  The love that is displayed between these fathers and sons is truly heart warming and I tip my hat to all of them.

Dec 25, 2012

Rudolph the Christmas pancake

It was a hit! Shout out to pintrest for the idea!

Merry Christmas!

It's 6 am Christmas day.

As I'm sitting at the table next to the plate of half eaten cookies and milk that was enjoyed by "Santa", I look outside and our entire neightborhood is covered in a blanket of snow. This is quite a surprise considering the fact that we went to bed on Christmas Eve without any snow at all and no indication that there would be. It's as if some little girl or boy prayed for a Xmas miracle...

It's really a very peaceful and serene moment. In about a half hour that'll all be replaced with sounds of excitement, music, electronic toys and little feet running through the house. I am definitely looking forward to all of that, but for now I'm taking in this white Christmas and thinking about all the blessings that my family and friends have experienced. Moments like these always seem to put things into perspective and allow me to take into account what matters the most in my life, while letting go of the things that don't.

Although the media tries to tell us otherwise, we must always keep close to our hearts the true meaning of the holiday season. Religious background aside, the holidays are not about what we see on the surface (food, gifts etc), they are about taking time to reach out to the ones you love the most and strengthening those connections. It's about understanding that love is self sacrifice and putting someone else's wants or needs before your own can be fulfilling in its own right. These are the things that I remind myself of around this time of year and I encourage you all to consider them as well.

I'd like to close out this article with a very special announcement: We're expecting! One of our many holiday blessings! Here's one of his/her first pictures.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Dec 22, 2012

Reflecting on Newtown

Hey guys.
It’s been a while since I posted my last article. I actually wasn’t sure if I’d ever post another article again. While the “mission” of Fatherly Stuff was to share my experiences as a dad with the general public, it eventually got to a point where the blog was taking me away from those very experiences that I treasure.
So I figured I’d take a little hiatus so I could focus more on my family. At the time I thought, maybe I’d write again in a few weeks. Well, those weeks turned into months and eventually, the blogosphere was pushed so far back into my mind, I wondered if I was really done with writing.
Then the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut occurred. 26 innocent people (of which 20 were young children) were senselessly murdered by an individual who obviously had severe mental health issues at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the country grieves for the families of these victims, we frantically attempt to find answers to rationalize the unthinkable, as our government furiously debates gun laws, parents all over are  hugging their children a little tighter every night. With this event, the dream of moving your family to a quiet little suburb so your children may be safe has been shattered into pieces, left for us to reassemble. The pure brutality of the event has touched my heart in such a way I felt the need to speak on it a bit.
Besides the fact that I am a father of my own, there are a couple of additional indirect connections that I have to this event. The first one is the fact that my wife is a kindergarten teacher. Newtown is not far from the school where she works and at the time, I had no idea the extent of the attack; if Sandy Hook elementary was the only location, or if the violence would spill in nearby schools. Needless the say, I was kind of on edge until she text me to let me know she was fine. Also, one of my best friends is coincidentally a rookie police officer in Newtown. It is typically just a quiet, picturesque town, when he first told me he would be working there, we used to joke that his biggest emergency would probably be that the local doughnut shop ran out of supply. Now, he is in the middle of an international whirlwind, working virtually non-stop shifts in order to ensure the residents in his town are safe and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Lastly, I learned that all four of the staff members who were killed attended the same university as me. While I did not have the honor of personally knowing them, after hearing the stories of their self-sacrifice, I couldn’t help but feel a great sense of pride to know that we are a part of a shared tradition.
So now what? Where do we go from here?
Well, the very next day in the midst of all of that death and devastation, I went to see Santa. Weeks prior to the Event, we had purchased tickets to the East Haven Trolleys. They have an event set up for the holidays where their trolleys take you to Santa’s workshop and your children are given the opportunity to speak with Santa as well as a photo op. Of course, this is all my son could talk about for all the days leading up to this, as he wanted to make sure Santa knew that what he wanted for Christmas was a Lightening McQueen stuffed toy. Overall, the trip was a success and the little guy was happy to find out he was on Santa’s good list.
In the back of my mind though, I felt a little guilty. The term "survivor’s guilt” is probably too strong of a word, but it definitely felt a little strange to be out enjoying my weekend knowing that there are families out there who just yesterday saw their children off to school without realizing that would be the last time they would ever get to hug or kiss them again. For those families, the holidays are forever tarnished with feelings of grief and here we are drinking hot cocoa hanging out with Santa Claus.
But then I realized something. Besides disappointing a toddler, what would I accomplish by staying home and doing nothing? Whatever the gunman’s full motives were, he obviously wanted to cause as much pain and grief as possible. So my thinking is this: if we allow that grief to consume us and run our lives, his mission would be successful. Maybe going out and having a fun family day was the perfect way to honor those children.
By doing this, we are proving to him that despite his grievous attempts, we are stronger and more resilient than he could have ever imagined.  With that said, I encourage you all to continue living. Continue loving each other the best you know how, and we will all get through this together.