sign of the times

The Bat Signal was a distress signal.

It was a big searchlight with an enormous (and fire retardant) ‘Colorforms’ bat attached to the front. It projected a large emblem on the sky when crime was out, trying to get paid. In movies and graphic novels, the signal is used by Gotham Cities finest as a method of summoning Batman to their assistance in the event that some craziness was in the works. It also doubled as a weapon of psychological intimidation to the villains of Gotham City.

This brings up a few questions, like…

If it was a really clear night and there was nothing to catch “the bat shadow”, would everyone simply think that Kathleen Kelly was hosting a no-holds-bared book signing at “The Little Shop Around the Corner” in the attempts to put Joe Fox out of business once and for all?

What if the crime was being committed during one of those overactive heat lightning storms and Batman’s eyes were very dry and he was hyper-blinking at the same but opposite rate of the signals visibility?

What if, during this tough economic time, Batman had to substitute his HD-DVR box for a basic cable set up and he was chilling on the couch watching The Walking Dead. I know that I would find it very difficult, without the ability to pause live T.V., to get up off the couch every 10 seconds to look out the window to make sure that it the cops weren’t crying for help again.

What I am getting at here is that there are holes in their plan.

Plus, there are bunches of ways that Batman can be better equipped with some more relevant tools of the trade. Worst case scenario, I think that you can pick up a beeper on eBay for about 4 cents and clip it onto his utility belt between his Phantom Snap Crackers and his Grappling Gun. However, in actuality, it may look more like and Android Phone with an unlimited data and text plan that is linked to his email, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts.

There are much easier ways to stay connected now that technology is such a huge part of our existence.

This is a great visual for parents of teenagers.

Think about how easy it was to be a superhero to our kids when they were tiny little people running around a controlled environment. There was only so much trouble they could get into based on the arena we staged for them to run around in and there were very clear signs as to when we needed to get involved. A whine, cry, or smoke alarm got our attention and we sprung into action. There was almost nothing that stood in our way of interacting with them and they always felt our presence.

But then they get older and the landscape expands.

They have bicycles and/or cars. They have computers and phones. They have friends and social networks. They spend a good amount of time out of reach and on their own in a huge world trying to fend for themselves. These are the same kids that can’t remember to clean their rooms, do their homework, or bathe regularly. These are the same kids that would rather ‘game’ or talk on the phone all night than get a good night sleep for school the next day. These are the same kids…don’t get me started.

Here is the reality that we are faced with as parents.

If we do not take time to interest ourselves in what is relevant for our kids today, we might as well turn in our utility belt and cape and hand over the keys to the Batmobile. There is an ever-changing trend in communication between a parent and their children along with ever-morphing rules of engagement. It is our job to stay relevant for our kids, not their job to tone down their understanding so that we can keep up. This means staying interested in the things that they are fascinated with. This means understanding what reaches them and speaks to their interests.

This means taking time to be more like them. And since all we are really trying to do is make better versions of ourselves, what is the harm in that?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it strange how much time I spend texting, emailing, facebooking, etc. with my children. It is a sign of the times that I have embraced gladly because my lines of communication with them remain strong and it has been an effective way for me to show them that I am ready to meet them in their world.

I show them that I care about what they care about.

This helps me quite a bit when I choose to dust off the Bat Signal and call them all to diner table for some old fashion face to face time or when I kidnap them for a weekend away from the inventions of the world so that we can make sure that we all remember that we are a family, and what that really means to all of us.

Some families treat guys like Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, or those kooky cats at Google like they are archenemies that are trying to tear apart their families one GB at a time. I look at them like they are spandex wearing sidekicks that I bring along because my utility belt can only hold so much…

…and I would rather have a tool and not need it, than need a tool and not have it.


the end is near

img00155I met two very interesting people while I was attending two very different events.

The first interesting person I met was while I was at Super Bowl XLIII. It was actually the night before the Super Bowl XLIII, but I had to say somewhere in this blog that I went to Super Bowl XLIII without sounding like I was showing off. A group of us were hanging out at Ybor City. Ybor city is a street in Tampa that people, young and old, visit that are looking for big crowds, loud music, and adult beverages. There are about 20 nightclubs and bars and a handful of restaurants, none of which would get a blessing from your pastor or Dr. Atkins.

As you can imagine, the Saturday before the Super Bowl pushed the standard holding capacity of this street to its maximum. To put it in layman’s terms, it was a sea of Pittsburgh black and yellow with hints of Arizona red and more beer that I have ever seen readily available for human consumption in one place (At least since I visited the Fort Myers Budweiser plant). Read more of this post

sideline parenting (12 of 12) — batteries not included

Parenting Advice from the World’s Greatest Coaches (with a charlie’s house challenge)

Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good. (Joe Paterno, Penn State football coach)

Have you ever encountered someone that is so good at lying that they actually start to believe their lies themselves? I always wondered if there is a specific day that they actually choose to leave our planet in search of one that better suits their needs? Or do they just float away unknowingly. I wonder if some of them find that they must leave our solar system entirely, because they found another that actually revolves around their needs, wants, and ideas. They obviously must have scoured the universe in search of a galaxy that was missing a Sun , so that they could apply their version of a gravitational pull on an unsuspecting civilization.

Read more of this post