How To Talk To Your Kids About Donald Trump

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Soap Box

This election is completely bananas. It seems like it started five years ago when Donald Trump paid a bunch of actors to show up to his kick off announcement, and then descended into anarchy when 17 Republicans joined him in the field. Hillary Clinton was supposed to sail through the primaries, but now finds herself going toe-to-toe with a guy who seems more suited to the role of “crazy guy sitting next to you on a bus” than president. Things have devolved to the point where press coverage of the election has the same tone as two 13 year old girls texting one another:

OMG, did you hear what Cruz said about Trump’s wife?

Crazeballs. Trump threw shade right back, doe. Called Cruzzz a man-ho.

WTF?  Cruz a total creeper.

Normally, you want to get your kids into the political process as much as possible. This year? Not so much. Watching and listening to Donald Trump will undo more of your parenting than a family camping trip to Burning Man. (“Like, wow, man, I never thought mushrooms belonged on a s’more… until now!”) If you are having trouble explaining the Trump phenomenon to your kids, fear not. I have put together this little FAQ guide to help you through this troubling time. Here’s what to say when your kid asks:

  1. Why is he so mad?

Donald Trump isn’t really mad, he is just pretending to be because he thinks it makes him look strong. He thinks that if people think he is strong, he will be a good leader. You can take this opportunity to point out leaders who were strong without being angry, like Nelson Mandela or Yoda. You can also say that Trump is angry because he been divorced twice and declared bankruptcy four times. If they won’t know what that means, you can just say that he is mad because he is orange.

  1. Why is he so orange?
I was too was well on my way to becoming orange. #SeniorPicture

I was too was well on my way to becoming orange. #SeniorPicture

Shoulda saw that one coming! Nobody knows why Donald Trump is orange. Maybe he eats a lot of carrots. Maybe one of his parents was an Oompa Loompa (that would certainly be ironic, wouldn’t it?) Don’t tell your kids about spray tans, though. As soon as you do, they will want one too. This is a great opportunity to tell your kids that, as MLK said, people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I don’t think that Dr. King ever thought his quote would one day be used in defense of orange people, but hey, look how far we’ve come! Unfortunately for Donald Trump, the content of his character is nothing but a sack full of money and some old pornography.

  1. Why does he call everyone ugly?

Sadly, Donald Trump’s vision of beauty is chiefly derived from old pornography. In his world, if you aren’t good looking, you aren’t worthy. You might be tempted to discuss the obvious disconnect between his comments about the way Carly Fiorina and Heidi Cruz look and the road kill he has affixed on his dome, but that would be giving into the madness. Instead, tell your kids that Trump looks for any potential weaknesses in people and tries to exploit them. He is, in short, a bully. Bullies are bad, you and your kids already know this.

  1. Why is he rich?

Donald Trump was born rich. Even so, he took risks and got richer. There are lots of people who inherit a fortune and then lose it all. To his credit, Trump has been successful in business. Not all his businesses have been successful, but some of his risks have paid off. I think that is useful to kids. You can have stupid ideas like “Trump Steaks” and survive them as long as your good ideas pay off. It’s a great way to learn modern portfolio theory! If kids have a hard time understanding it, try the jelly bean way: Some jelly bean flavors are good (buttered popcorn, cherry, key lime pie,) and some are terrible (vomit, canned dog food.) As long as there are enough good jelly beans in your bag, you will keep buying and eating them right?

  1. Is he racist?

I think it’s usually pretty destructive to point fingers at people and call them racists. Well, most people anyways. It’s pretty easy to call the members of the KKK and white nationalists that support Trump racist. (It’s kinda their thing, just look at their tattoos!) That should also be a signal to you that you are doing something wrong. Tell your kids that if white men in pointy, hooded robes ever hold rallies in their honor, your kids are probably on the wrong track. Trump has no problem lumping every member of a group together into a homogeneous category, (“Ban all Muslims” & “The blacks love me!”) which to me is the very definition of racism. If your kid does the same, you have some parenting to do.

  1. Will he be president?

He could! Evidently, there is a small portion of people in this country that thinks that a risk-taking racist orange man with a dead animal for a hairdo should be our commander in chief. This is an excellent opportunity to talk to your kids about voting. The people who actually vote in this country have an exaggerated effect on the future of the country. Why is this? Nobody votes! In the states where Trump won the primary, here is the percentage of population in that state that voted for him:

Iowa                            2%

New Hampshire        9%

South Carolina           6%

Nevada                       2%

Alabama                     10%

Alaska                         1%

Arkansas                    6%

Georgia                       6%

Massachusetts           6%

Minnesota                  1%

Oklahoma                   4%

Tennessee                  6%

Texas                          4%

Vermont                     4%

Virginia                       5%

Kansas                        1%

Kentucky                    2%

Crikey! The people who are inching us toward a Trump presidency represent a tiny minority of the population. It’s pretty easy to see that voting matters, and matters a great deal. Even a kid can see that. The question becomes, will that tiny minority of the population actually pick a president?

Urban Montessori

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Soap Box

Hello people! Today’s topic is very special. I know what you are thinking, “But Paul, every topic of yours is special.” True. So very true. Today’s topic, however, does have a higher level of importance to me than, say, my post on eating ox penis or killing the tooth fairy. Today, on big Daddy Paul, I am going to talk about school.

A wise crackhead once said, “I believe the children are the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” (This is but one of the many ways Whitney Houston touched our lives. I tell Amy every morning that IIIIIIIIEEEEEEIIIIIIII will always love her.) In this country, we are not doing a good enough job at teaching kids well and letting them lead the way. We have replaced art, music, sports, language, and lunch ladies with “test prep,” “extra test prep” and “test prep for kids who really don’t get it.” Our educational system is designed to leave “no child behind” when it should be striving to “make all kids awesome.”

Oakland schools are particularly troublesome. According to a recent poll, 10 out of every 7 Oakland school kids are bad at math. (Just let that sink in for a minute.) Less than half of Oakland school kids are proficient in English. About a third of Oakland kids dropout before graduating from high school. To make matters worse, the corn dogs they serve for lunch are (gasp) soggy! You can screw with a kid’s future all you want in my book, but a soggy corn dog? That’s fucking sad.

Despite all this, I stand before you today to announce proudly to the world that we are sending our delightful little boy to public school in Oakland next year! “But Paul,” you say, “why would you do such a thing? You just got done telling us about how bad things are out there.” My friends, the answer is simple: we are insane.

We are insane because there is a new school opening up in Oakland next year, and we are so sure it is going to rock the educational world that we are sending Malcolm there. The school  believes there is a better way to educate kids. The school will develop a child’s love of learning, help them to think critically and become adept problem solvers. The school will teach grace and courtesy, soccer and foreign languages. The school? Urban Montessori.

Urban Montessori is opening? Huzzah!!!!

You could call Urban Montessori a school, but I like to think of it more as a social movement. The school will implement arts integration, design thinking and a montessori curriculum in its classrooms for a truly unique educational experience. I could try to explain what all these concepts mean, but frankly, I’m better at making jokes about Whitney Houston. Let’s just say they are all fantastic ideas and bringing them together in one classroom is even more fantastical. (It’s like the first person at a baseball game who thought, “You know what would be nice to have right now? A hot dog and a beer.”) If you really want to learn more about the school check out their website, or this really cool video they made.

Up til now, such innovative educational models have been reserved for people who can afford to pay for private school. Urban Montessori is a public school and will serve the diverse population of awesome people who call Oakland home. This means that people who can’t pay for private school, like single parents who work multiple jobs to get by, will have access the kind of elite education normally reserved for people with names like Winston Howell III or Baron von Schnicklepants. That sounds kinda awesome.

Now comes the hard part. The school has had it’s charter approved and will open this fall. It has money, but it’s not nowhere near enough. For comparison, let’s say you wanted to open your own barber shop, but your funders only gave you enough money for a bean bag, a weed whacker, and some Crisco to use as hair gel. Could you open? Technically yes. Would be a success? No.

The school needs money to buy things that it can’t right now, so I write today to beg for your support. Please give the school money. Give whatever you can.  $10? $20? I don’t care. Every little bit is going to help the school open and give the kids in Oakland a chance to thrive. I want everyone who reads this to follow the link here and donate money to this school. Sure bigger donations are better, but the real key is to have participation from everyone. If everyone contributes a little, the results add up. The algebraic formula can be read as follows: (a little money) x (a lot of people) = a lot of money.

Sadly, without your help, the school is probably not going to be able to accomplish its mission. That means a lot of kids running around with Crisco in their hair. Please, please, please give whatever small amount you can and help this awesome school get off the ground. Give because you want to ensure that everyone in Oakland has a chance at a quality education. Give because you want your kids to go to Urban Montessori whenever they are ready for elementary school. Give because you want want quality corn dogs. I don’t care. Just give. Thanks!


Big Daddy Paul In The News!

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Soap Box

Amy and I are in the Sunday SF Chronicle! The best thing is that it is in the style section, which is the first time that the words “Paul” and “Style” have been uttered without the qualifiers “Has no” or “reminiscent of a homeless clown.” I will take it! Check out the cool article about how Amy and I met and how we got where we are today.

P.S. If you are worried that I will get a big head over this, don’t worry. My head is already as large as humanly possible. Seriously! Look at the picture they put up of me, It looks like my head is about three sizes too big for my body (and I am not a thin person!)  The photographer told me he was charging the Chronicle $5 per head for the photos he takes, and he was gonna charge $15 for ours! The title of the article needn’t be about Role Reversals, it should be about how I train my neck muscles to hold up a melon that size. Yowza!

Props to mother in law Jean for coming up with this joke and for not instructing Amy to dump me when we joined bank accounts when our relationship reached the ripe old age of 6 weeks old. Thanks Jean!  Happy late father’s day everybody! I am in Hawaii right now and will be blogging as soon as I can put down the mai tais….

Real Food

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Soap Box

I am going to start this post by saying that I am not a doctor. Like most politicians, I don’t really understand how “science” works, and the only real area of expertise I have is mid-80’s baseball stats. Following my advice will probably make you sick or worse yet, have bad skin. But, if you like living adventurously, listen to this, ’cause I got something to say.

Eat anything you want, as long as you make it yourself. That’s right, real food. I have been eating for several years now, and can gladly recommend a diet that is high in butter, cream, bacon, oil, cheese, salami and chicken wings. Those don’t sound good to you? STOP READING MY BLOG! If that list doesn’t make you salivate, I have nothing to offer you. The truth is, the so-called “bad for you” foods are actually really good for you, as long you balance things out and don’t ruin everything by putting a bunch of processed crap in your meals. Real, whole, naturally occurring foods bring a wealth of nutrients to your body, and also have the added bonus of correctly telling your body when it has had enough (most of the time right after you’ve downed the second bowl of hot buttered popcorn.) Stick with the real stuff and you will have a healthy, happy eating life.

You may think you are doing yourself a favor by ingesting low-fat cookies, diet soda and fat free chips, but you are actually doing yourself a disservice. All that processed crap may be appealing at the store when you are looking at the nutritional information, but your body doesn’t care about that information. The only thing it cares about is the ingredients, and when it receives a heavy dose of artificially created ingredients, it freaks out. That’s right, it freaks out and shuts down. It gets heart disease, diabetes, and sometimes even syphilis. (I told Amy that I got Syphilis from a taco truck in Mexico, and I’m would appreciate it tremendously if you could all do me a solid and back me up on that one. OK?)

Why does it do this? I have no idea. Remember, I know nothing about science so I am clueless as you are, but I am going to make a stab in the dark. When food becomes processed, it stops working correctly. If it helps, just think about like this: if you severed someone’s arm at the elbow and then put it through a meat grinder and cooked it up and served it up to them, they wouldn’t be able to use the arm-burger to throw a baseball. Much in the same way, processed fats don’t aid in the digestion of vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates don’t store the right kind of energy, and proteins get wasted and act like a bunch of douche bags. Trust me, you don’t want that.

So what to do? Nothing.

Do NOT let this man make any decisions for you...

Never ever make large changes in your life because of what some idiot says on his blog. (That goes doubly when the idiot has no job, a suspect intellect, and spends large portions of the day alone.) Just go about your daily business, but try to eat unprocessed food. (And don’t be afraid to use a little butter!)

I on the other hand, am making some big changes. That’s right, big. It starts on Monday, and trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

To Purell Or Not Purell, That Is The Question

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Soap Box

It is a fact. Kids get dirty. Oh, you can try to stop them from picking up goose poop and then jamming their tiny little fingers in their nose (and then eating the whole mess, something we call the “Canadian Boogie” in our house,) but the truth is, kids are going to explore the world. Sometimes that means getting dirty. The real question is, “How do you deal with it?”

A growing group of parents are dealing with it by sanitizing the shit out of their kids. Each contact with germ laden materials is immediately met with a visit by the hand sanitizer fairy with the hope that a cleaner child is somehow a healthier child. In this world, there is no five second rule and touching anything at the doctor’s office is a strict no-no. Forget about play dates with the snotty kid from school. Germs are the enemy of the people and must be eradicated by any means necessary.

Well, I am here to tell you today that this is all nonsense.

I need a name for this drink

Sure, it’s handy to have a high-alchohol gel on hand to take quick nips from when you desperately need some hair of the dog to combat last night’s festivities, but it’s just not worth it. A recent Slate Article interestingly found that what this 100 million dollar a year industry doesn’t want you to know: these hand sanitizers won’t stop you from getting sick. Worse yet, a recent study found that pervasive use of these products will actually make you sicker later in life. The theory goes: if you expose yourself to germs early on, your body learns how to deal with them. When you don’t, your body struggles with germs later in life (in the same way that people who take up golf later in life suck at it.) Consider early childhood germs the equivalent of locking your child in a closet with a box of cigars so that they will think smoking is a disgusting activity. The kicker is that, since sanitizers can’t kill all of the bacteria, the bacteria that survive become resistant to anti-bacterials and become something totally frightening called “super bugs.” There’s only one place in this world where “super bugs” should be allowed and that’s in a smash up derby.

In light of all this, we have made a conscious decision to expose Malcolm to as much filth as possible. In China, we smiled when he grabbed a lollipop from a local kid and licked it, and smiled even more when he dropped it on the ground (in Tianenmen Square, mind you) and then plopped it back it his mouth. If he starts licking the backs of seats on an airplane, we call it, “character building.”  We don’t have a five second rule. In fact, we slow cook meals on the hood of the car. If it’s true that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Malcolm will become a bodybuilder (until he dies of E.Coli exposure.)

Oh sure, we tell Malcolm to wash his hands after pooping in the middle of dinner, but we don’t sweat the small stuff. Germs are everywhere, and each disgusting lollipop he eats is one bug that won’t get him later in life. One day he’ll figure out on his own that there are places his tongue doesn’t belong, but only because it’s embarrassing and not unhealthy. So let your kids give eskimo kisses to the snotty kid and at school, and if one day your kid’s  sandwich accidentally falls into a homeless person’s shoe, let it slide. They’ll be better off for it. We don’t carry around a diaper bag anymore, but, even if we did, it wouldn’t have Purell in it. No need to, it’s in the flask!

I Love Getting Fresh

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Cooking and Eating, Soap Box

I have, recently, begun to concentrate on where our food comes from. Now, I know what you are going to say, “When one carrot and another carrot love each other very much…” No, not that part. I am talking about where in the world our food is grown. Why do you ask? Let me tell ya.

Food travels, on average, 1500 miles from the farm it is grown on to your plate. That means every time I eat an “average” meal, it is like I traveled to Denver to eat it. Yikes! I don’t even like Denver, why would I want to eat all my meals there? Needless to say, a lot of fossil fuels are burned by the planes, trains and automobiles to get broccoli and raspberries to my house. In order to accommodate this rigorous travel schedule, growers select plants that can withstand brutal harvesting techniques and survive for longer on the shelf. (If you ask me, they should select plants that are tasty. I picked Amy as a spouse because she is fun and hot, not because she can hike and doesn’t bruise easily!) All this is done so that large, multinational corporations take your money at the grocery store and spend it on corporate retreats in the Caribbean. It all sounds pretty fishy to me.

There is a better way, though. Eat locally! For those of you lucky enough to live in California, there are tons of easy ways to ensure that you eat food that is produced close by. For those of you in Montana, you are stuck with Moose Jerky and Huckleberries (Hey, I didn’t tell you to live there!) We have selected a company that gathers local, organic fruits and veggies and drops them off in a box at our house every week. The veggies are in season, perfectly ripe, and delicious. Since we get a large box, I broaden my culinary horizons and fit the meal around what is in season, rather than fitting the season around what I want to eat. I also have started paying attention to where food I buy in the grocery store comes from. So now, I buy the organic, California grown tomatillos instead of the ones grown in mexico. What’s a tomatillo? Here you go!

Buying locally does many things. It cuts down on fossil fuel use. It keep your food money in the community, so that we can tax the hell out of it. Farmers are a bit odd, so it is likely that they will use this money for strange things like tractor cozies or pig lipstick. Buying locally will also prevent the countryside from turning into one giant housing development and strip mall. In short, buying local produce will solve all the world’s problems and make your sex life better.

I saw that someone who ordered a local, organic produce box compared the price of the box to that of produce bought at a major supermarket, and found that the local organic produce was cheaper (on average $.20 of your food dollar goes to growers, the rest is spent on packaging, distribution and marketing, not to mention CEO salaries). I can’t vouch for that, but I do know that I have really enjoyed the locally produced meals I have been making a lot more. Isn’t that all that really matters? At the very least, it beats eating in Denver.