Dear Jack: The Glory Of Classic American Holiday Sweaters

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: The Glory Of Classic American Holiday Sweaters

Dear Jack,

I recently realized that of all people, I didn’t own an official holiday sweater. Seriously, I’m the epitome of dads who should own one!

A few days ago at work, my friend Sam walked in wearing a holiday sweater featuring two reindeer facing each other, with a giant snowflake in between them.

That’s the moment I became aware of my sweaterless condition.

Conveniently, the same day I received a gift card for Target. I was there for probably 30 minutes, not really impressed by any of their holiday sweaters; either too expensive or just not enough character.  But right as I officially gave up, I saw it…

A Captain America sweater! Seriously, how awesome is that?!

It couldn’t be more perfect.

Turns out, today at your school, KinderCare, it was “holiday sweater day.” So you got to wear your grumbly monster sweater, while I wore my new one as well.

Dear Jack: The Glory Of Classic American Holiday Sweaters

So now you and I are both set when it comes to owning that special token holiday sweater. Both of ours are funny, masculine, and awesome… to represent us, right?

I feel that little stories like these really help represent my pride as your dad. I love it that you enjoy making goofy selfies with me.

It’s so much fun to celebrate in stuff like this together with you. I keep reminding you that a year from now, the first of the new Star Wars movies will be in theatres and we’ll get to see it together. What a perfect time to be a little boy!

You’ve already expressed interest in Yoda.

And I think daily about how next summer, we get to camp out in the backyard of a new house, that we are scheduled to close on January 29th.

I like being your Daddy.

Love,

Daddy

dad from day one: Mommy’s Little Monster

Week 8.

The weekend after we found out we were having a baby, we spent 45 bucks on “cute clothes” for Jack at a Carter’s outlet.  One of the outfits purchased that day says, “Mommy’s Little Monster”.  I have a feeling that this monster-themed attire was designed with the idea in mind of “oh, he’s such a messy little boy… he’s always gettin’ into everything…” .  But for me, I look at this whole “boys are little monsters” as a literal thing: Boys are actually a wonderful representation of what classic monsters are in my mind.

So far, having a baby boy has totally met all my expectations as far as his lack of politeness (passing gas while people hold him for the first time) and becoming the baby version of an angry, drunk, and ranting Jack Nicholson the moment he realizes he’s hungry and we didn’t already have a bottle ready for him right that second.  Not to mention the percentage of milk that comes out of his mouth as opposed to the amount that goes in and stays in.  But I once was (and in a sense, always will be) a boy.  Baby Jack is indeed a friendly, little beast.  He really sounds and acts like a literal monster.

My dad Jack and my son Jack

When he’s sleeping, he often makes this “ghurr, ghurr” sound.  And sometimes instead, the noise sounds more like the Smoke Monster from Lost.  It doesn’t help that he can’t actually speak yet.  How could I not be reminded of a monster when I see a little baby (but big for his age… he looks like he should be six months old) flailing his arms around during pretty much all of his waking hours who makes noises like that scary beast thing (R.O.U.S.) on The Princess Bride? He’s a monster all right.  But a loveable one.

Jack is a little bit like the TV version of The Incredible Hulk mixed with Jabba the Hut and a Mongolian warrior. But the most adorable and cuddly version you could imagine.  I love having my own little monster around the house.  I will teach him everything I know.  And that, friends, is the truly scary part about this whole “monster” thing.

The picture above was taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

In case you don’t know what the Smoke Monster from Lost sounds like, click on this minute-long video clip:

Visuals of the monsters mentioned here today:

Manspeak, Volume 2: Heroism

Subconsciously I view handymen and auto mechanics as super heroes. Because the only thing I can build is a Lego house and the only vehicle I can fix is a Lego car. While I’m not a “slow learner”, I don’t learn new skills quickly. It takes daily practice for at least several weeks before I master something new. So to see a man who gets daily exposure to these expected masculine events, I can’t help but have admiration.

Any laugh track infused sitcom that features a typical “dad figure” has had at least once episode where there is a need for home repair and the man of the house rises to the occasion (against the advice of others in the household, namely the wife). Of course, the man botches the job for the comedy highlight of the episode: On Who’s the Boss, Tony “fixed” the toilet upstairs but smashed a hole in the floor which he fell into, causing only his butt to be visible from the living room ceiling by his family below. On Perfect Strangers, Larry “fixed” the shower but it caused the shower head to shoot water across to the other side of the bathroom and blasted Balki in the face, who decides to just stand there with his mouth open and drink the water instead of move out of the way. And as for Home Improvement, “man hilariously attempts home repairs” was the theme of every entire episode.

The fact that under-qualified men continue to try to fix things when they don’t really know how to, is a universal issue. Why? Because it is a man’s job to fix things. It is literally the way men were wired. A woman says to a man, “Our garbage disposal isn’t working right. I think we should call someone to come fix it.” The man hears this: “You’re a man, capable of figuring out how to fix this, but instead, I’m going to call another man to get the job done because he’s more qualified than you”. Shrinkage follows at just the thought of another man walking in the door with his tools.

A man walks around with this hidden fear that he will not be successful in life. In all ways big and small. If he can’t successfully make the evidently simple home repair, he fears he may be seen as insufficient, incapable, and useless. When he longs to be the hero. And hiring someone else to do the job makes him feel unnecessary. May seem a little over the top, but being a man, I recognize the tendency of thinking in terms in worst case scenarios about this stuff.

This also explains the all too familiar (yet somehow not cliché because it’s so true) story of the man who won’t stop to ask for directions. It’s a man’s job to explore and find his own way if he’s lost. A major sense of accomplishment if he can do it. And just for the record, he’s not lost. He’s either taking the scenic route or the short cut (depending on how much time is delayed).

One of my proudest accomplishments regarding home improvement was when I turned down an aggressive salesman who knocked on the door one sunny Saturday morning. If I signed a year-long contract right then since his company was already in the neighborhood, his company would regularly spray my house for bugs for the low, low yearly fee of $545. He inspired me to immediately drive to Lowe’s and purchase a 5 gallon sprayer for $11. Needless to say, I now consider myself a professional bug killer.

Last week as I was getting ready for bed I heard my wife scream loudly from the stairs. My initial thought is that someone broke into the house. I ran over to the stairs to find the intruder to be a wolf spider. A very large scary spider that appeared quite afraid to end up lost and confused at the top of the stairs. I took on the form of the 1984 no nonsense straight-faced Bill Murray, racing downstairs to transform the vacuum cleaner into a proton pack with which I sucked up the monster with great force, feeling the vibration of the thump as it was crushed to death by my weapon. I was a hero. An ego trip shortly followed.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

rock

The Opposite of Evolution: Intelligent Design

 

I remember being in high school thinking, how can I honestly believe God created the Earth in 6 days when there were obviously dinosaurs who would have wiped man off the face of the planet? Dinosaurs that are inconveniently not mentioned in the Bible. So I decided to compromise: I convinced myself that they were not 6 literal days, but that a “day” was equal to millions or billions of years. That way, I don’t look like that naïve neighbor kid of The Simpsons whose idea of fun is playing Family Bible Trivia.

Then during my first year of college I had such an eye-opening revelation that I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.  A splendid epiphany of  relief and amazement.  Such a nugget of information that it literally changed the the way I see life as I know it.  That’s what happened to me in 1999. I learned how God actually could create the Earth in just six 24-hour days and how gigantic dinosaurs fit into the equation.

It wasn’t until Noah built the ark that it rained, for the first time ever.  That is a big deal. Genesis 2:5, 6- “…the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.”

From Adam to Noah (10 generations, as listed in Genesis 5) there was no rain. We also know from that chapter that men lived between 365 and 969 years, the average age of all 10 forefathers being 857 years old each. So the point is that before it rained, people lived a LONG time.  Over 10 times the average of what people live today.

So there had to have been many millions of people who were born and lived during just those 10 generations. Obviously there wasn’t birth control so just one man would have probably produced many offspring during his lifetime alone, then his children his children, and so on. That’s a lot of people living a long time…

So Noah was 600 years old when it rained for the first time. That’s thousands of years with no rain. Genesis 7:11- “In the 600th year of Noah’s life…all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”  So there was plenty of water under the Earth (which watered it) and plenty above the Earth, which created a greenhouse effect. That’s part of the reason they lived so long. It was a completely different living environment. I haven’t even mentioned yet that the all people in the history of the world at that point were all vegetarians.

After the months of flooding were finished, God told Noah some history-changing news: “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant” (Genesis 9:2, 3). So prior to this, they were only eating plants. Thousands of years and millions of people eating plants.

Not only did the people not eat animals, the animals did not fear the people. Comprehend this: vegetarians living amongst tame animals. Tame cows are easy to imagine. Even tame birds. But what about tame tigers? And bears. What about dinosaurs? Keeping in mind the environment of the world prior to the Flood was a greenhouse. It’s no wonder that ancient cave drawings have been found that show people riding dinosaurs. People capture in art what they value and what is familiar to them.

But how did a brontosaurus fit on the ark? The same way any large animal fit. Get ‘em while they’re young and small, of course. But by the time they got off the ark, and the greenhouse effect was gone, the survivors found a different Earth. The huge dinosaurs did not have enough to survive on.

The Great Flood broke apart Pangea, the land mass which made up all the continents. The zebras from Africa once freely crossed the then-nonexisting border to South Carolina. (Zebra skeletons have been found as far as Salt Lake City, Utah.) But they just couldn’t survive in the new land mass now known as America. The penguins in the tropics died off. The penguins in the Arctic survived. The kangaroos in the Russian tundra couldn’t survive, but the ones in Australia did.

And of course I was wrong about dinosaurs not being mentioned in the Bible. It’s just that the word “dinosaur” was not coined until 1929. Instead, there is a “leviathan” (mentioned a total of 5 times in the Bible: Job 3:8, the entire book of Job 41, Psalms 74:14, Psalms 104:24-26, and Isaiah 27:1). It refers to a giant see monster that is impossible to capture.

Another word for a dinosaur in the Bible is “behemoth”. It is mentioned in Job 40: 15-24 as a beast that was created “with man” (as in the same week, not millions or billions of years before.) The verses describe the creature having a tail of cedar; the behemoth’s massive strength is compared to God’s. I can’t think of any animal living today that has a tail anywhere near the size of a cedar tree.

This has been a briefing of the history of the ancient world. Should anyone worry about “carbon dating”, just keep this in mind: When Adam and Eve were created, they weren’t babies. They were “man” and “woman”. The animals and plants were also fully grown. So why wouldn’t the rest of the universe be fully grown as well? Something to think about the next time while during a tour in a cave there is a stalactite growing over a wooden sign that was posted 40 years ago which explains to you that it took thousands of years for the stalactites all around to grow.

walrus