Link-apalooza #2

Welcome to Link-apalooza #2! 

My apologies for being a bit late this week; however, in my defense, I did technically meet my somewhat nebulous publication schedule. If you missed out on Link-apalooza #1, check it out here and get up to speed on what this is all about. 

Anyway, we traveled to North Carolina for a family function this past weekend, which I’ll use as another excuse for my lateness. Jacob and I drove up, while Michelle and Bennett flew. I heard that Bennett became intimately acquainted with his seatmates on the flight up, but decided to sleep it off on the flight home. Overall, I think it was a good decision to save him (and us) from the 9-hour car ride. Jacob did very well on the drive: He only cried a couple times, so we were about even in that regard. Quick tip though for any of you planning to travel with two or more small children for the first time: Block out about 4 or 5 days on each end of your trip for preparation and recovery. My goodness, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a production. In addition to the 9-hour trip up and back, I believe we logged about 5 hours a day in the car, mostly to encourage sleeping: Pretty great. The trip was overall excellent, though. I just don’t consider it to be over yet: I’ve still got about 3 days left in my recovery buffer. 

Now, let there be links!

Teething symptoms in babies are not as bad as parents think

Oh, teething. The bane of every parent’s existence. Little Johnny is fussy: must be teething. Little Sally is waking up at night: must be teething. Little Esmerelda has a fever: must be teething. The only thing that comes close to competing with teething as an explanation for…well…everything wrong with babies is gas. And gas is a distant second. Gas is basically the horse that finished second to Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes (FYI, that horse was Twice a Prince...thank you Wikipedia). Teething is the real problem: always and forever. 

Not so fast, pump the brakes people. This article says teething really isn’t all that bad and most children only have very mild symptoms, if any. But, who really listens to doctors anyway? I’m sticking to my guns: Bennett will sleep through the night once he stops teething. Unfortunately, he’s been teething for the last 13 months, which has to be some kind of record. Not surprising though, I always knew he was special. I’m hopeful that the teething will end tonight….

The Curse of Segregation

Following up on last week’s articles about Baltimore, this piece expands from Baltimore outward, summarizing recent studies on segregation and economic mobility in U.S. cities. Bullet point summary: Where you are born and how long you live there makes a huge difference in your long-term prospects and some cities are better than others at promoting upward mobility. 

Welcome to Pariahville

This is simply a fascinating article from GQ on a very ‘unique’ community. Remember, if there is one thing I like, it is an interesting and unusual story. 

On Bill Simmons and his firing from ESPN

This one is a bit off topic for what we typically do here (what is it that we typically do here?), but I’m including it because it’s important to me on a personal level. For those of you that don’t know him, Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy or The Boston Sports Guy) is one of the more influential sports writers of this century. He ascended from relative obscurity to prominence in a very short period of time: transitioning from a freelance writer and bartender in Boston to one of the leading personalities on ESPN to the editor-in-chief of the ESPN-owned sports and pop culture website Grantland. He was more or less fired last week in a rather sudden, but not entirely unexpected move. 

I have had a strong affinity for Simmons since I first came across his work on the old ESPN Page 2 more than 10 years ago. He’s known for his highly casual, discursive, and wordy articles sprinkled liberally with references to seemingly unrelated and often obscure topics and persons. Sound familiar? If so, it's no coincidence. To the extent that I am a writer at all and to the extent that I have influences, Simmons is one of my top ones (along with Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, and probably a few others I can’t think of right now). For example, I borrowed the running diary format from him. Of course, I recently heard on his podcast that he borrowed it from someone else, which is not at all surprising: after all, almost everything is borrowed. Anyway, this is a very nice piece on Simmons’ career to date (including links to some of his best pieces) and his possible next steps. 

Oh yeah, I admire Simmons and Grantland so much that I even pitched a parenting column to them a few weeks ago. Guess it wasn’t the best timing; I’m sure that’s why they didn’t reply. Anyway, thought I would share my pitch here…I amused myself with it (but, I never fail to amuse myself, really). 

Editorial Pitch - Rookie Mistakes: A column on dads and fatherhood

I am a freelance writer, stay-at-home dad of two young boys, and an avid Grantland reader. My writing has been featured on the Huffington Post and I operate a personal blog. 

I recently came across Michael Lewis’ “Dad Again” Slate column that was later adapted into the book Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood. It struck me that Grantland would be the perfect place for a new spin on such a dad column and that I would be the perfect person to write it. (Yep, I just equated myself in some way to Michael Lewis. That just happened.) 

For men in their late 20s to 50s, which I assume is a key Grantland demographic, fatherhood is increasingly an integral part of their lives. There are more expectations on dads to contribute to their children’s care in a meaningful way. Gone are the days of dad dropping mom off at the hospital, heading home to catch a few more hours of sleep, and returning to the maternity ward after all the dirty work is done to light up a cigar with his buds. Thus, the new dad experience is increasingly a shared one for men in our society. I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that when ranking topics the modern guy thinks about most, kids and family are right up there with sports and entertainment.

So, why me? While I might not have the career stats of Michael Lewis, I do bring to the table a different perspective: that of a dad who performs about 64% of the childcare activities in his household. You might say I’m the Dion Waiters of dads: a high volume shooter. (Yep, I just compared myself to Dion Waiters. I like the direction this is heading.) Plus, unlike Lewis who is clearly a max contract player, I can certainly be had for a rookie-scale deal. (Jay Bilas scouting report – Pros: Upside; Needs to Improve: Negotiating skills) 

What I think I would work well is a biweekly (or monthly) column of the personal narrative variety with a balance of both introspection and comedy. In the future, I believe there is also available space in the market for more journalistic articles on topics such as youth sports culture, portrayal of dads in the media and entertainment, and the evolving societal perceptions and expectations of dads and fatherhood.

Blah, blah, blah…formalities, work samples, and thanks…etc.

Seriously, how did this not work?

Alas...To cheer us all up, I'll leave you with this:

Jacob's Story Corner: Intergalactic Goldilocks