Dear Jack: Your Very 1st Transformer/We’ve Now Moved Out Of Our Townhome

4 years.

Dear Jack: Your Very 1st Transformer/We’ve Now Moved Out Of Our Townhome

Dear Jack,

Back in August, while reviewing the 2015 Cadillac Escalade on a road trip back to Nonna and Papa’s house, I let you inherit one of my old Transformers from 1985; his name is Blitzwing.

Turns out, I was 4 years old back in 1985, and you just turned 4 a few weeks ago. It was simply inevitable you would spend some of your birthday money on your very own Transformer.

It sweetened the deal that in addition to receiving a gift card to Toys “R” Us, the store also sent you a $5 off coupon. A few days before the purchase, I even used my lunch break to make sure they had in stock the one you wanted…

Dear Jack: Your Very 1st Transformer/We’ve Now Moved Out Of Our Townhome

So after a weekend of you diligently helping Mommy and I finalize moving the rest of our stuff out of our townhome and moving it into storage, and spending our last night in our townhome this past weekend, we decided to let you buy your very first Transformer.

Dear Jack: Your Very 1st Transformer/We’ve Now Moved Out Of Our Townhome

For weeks now, you’ve had your eye on a blue and green Dinobot named Slash.

Immediately once we walked into the Transformer aisle at Toys “R” Us, you screamed, “That’s him!”

Dear Jack: Your Very 1st Transformer/We’ve Now Moved Out Of Our Townhome

I happened to notice they had a reissue of Blitzwing (the one I gave you from my childhood), as well as Bumblebee, who you also are crazy about.

Dear Jack: Your Very 1st Transformer/We’ve Now Moved Out Of Our Townhome

But you didn’t flinch, Slash the Dinobot it was!

You practiced transforming him all the next day, even in the dark. By the next day at school, you were able to instantly transform Slash for your teacher Ms. Michelle.

I was also proud of you for so willingly sharing him with your friends at school. I could tell you were happy to show him off.

Dear Jack: Your Very 1st Transformer/We’ve Now Moved Out Of Our Townhome

Something tells me this is the first of many Transformers to come. After all, this is your 1985; the year that Transformers became extremely relevant for me.

Now, as for our family moving out of our townhome, and why so quickly, I’ve got more to tell you, but not today.

Dear Jack: Your Very 1st Transformer/We’ve Now Moved Out Of Our Townhome

Maybe next week…

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter To His Son On His 4th Birthday

4 years old!

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter To His Son On His 4th Birthday

Two years ago, on your 2nd birthday, I started a tradition of writing you a letter on each of your birthdays; which started me writing to letters every week.

A year I wrote to you on your 3rd birthday, right as you were making that unofficial transition out of “toddlerhood.”

And now a year later, here you are, a year into boyhood. There is no doubt you definitely a real boy; not a toddler, not a baby.

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter To His Son On His 4th Birthday

Those funny “onion head” pictures on packages saying that toys are not suitable for ages 0-3 are a thing of the past.

You can now easily handle smart parts without it being a problem; as demonstrated in your amazing Lego creations.

This evolution of my son is present in the wallet cards I get from your school each time they have picture day.

I see a chubby blonde-haired baby who turned into a brown-haired boy.

These are the new “good ole days.”

I can honestly say I’m just as happy as you are to see you open your presents. These are the days of Legos, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, and Captain America. (Sounds a lot like my own childhood!)

Gone are the days of changing dirty diapers and cleaning bottles. Gone are the days of you stuttering and speaking in pigeon-English.

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter To His Son On His 4th Birthday

The fact that we’re building this new house (and hopefully moving in it in January) only compliments your coming of age to boyhood, as well as our family’s coming of age to a family with a real boy.

I am so excited to teach you to learn how to ride a bicycle in the cul-de-sac we will live in. And can’t for the day we get to “go camping” in our backyard; even though I convinced you’ll ask to go back inside after about an hour.

Things are good and about to get even better.

Happy 4th Birthday, Son. I love you with all that I have.

Love,

Daddy

Why Eighties Movies are So Hard to Remake

And what happened to the genre of romantic comedies…

Back in October I was stuck at home for a few days with severe sinus and allergy problems, streaming Netflix instantly on my laptop all day. I decided to take a break with an ‘80’s movie that I had nothing but fond memories of since my family rented it on VHS when I was in the 3rd grade.  A movie that the general American population still only refers to with a smile and a goofy laugh: Weekend at Bernie’s.

I made it through 38 minutes before shutting it off.  That movie is so boring.  Not funny.  Too unbelievable.  It took them 33 minutes to kill Bernie, and by the time they finally did, I stopped caring.

As I thought more about it, ‘80’s movies aren’t easy to successfully remake because those cheesy, far-fetched, imagination-dependent ideas just don’t fly now that Aerosol hairspray isn’t clogging our brain anymore.  The Eighties were the only ten years that we would buy those concepts.

Like Tom Hanks in Splash (1984).  He falls in love with a mermaid.

Or Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf (1985).  He is a high school basketball star who happens to have inherited “the werewolf gene”.

Or Andrew McCarthy in Mannequin (1987).  He falls in love with a mannequin that comes to life at the mall he works at.

Or Tom Hanks in Big (1988).  He transforms from a boy to a man and falls in love with a grown woman. And just the record, it remains one of my all time favorite movies.

There was this reoccurring mix of fantasy and romance.  Often with drab dialogue.  But completely overshadowed by its towering gimmick of a plot.

These days, we’re too cool for silly ideas like that.  Since Terminator 2 impressed us with believable CGI (computer generated imagery) in 1991, then Jurassic Park in 1993, we’ve been straying from fantasy and romance, and focusing more on sci-fi with some romance.  Leading us to the days of Avatar and Transformers.  And most obviously, the soon-to-end TV series LOST.

And that’s why if today, if they Steven Spielberg remade Gremlins, it would be a hit.  Or Ghostbusters 3, if they ever actually end up making the movie.  Because that’s something the Eighties gave us that worked: horror and comedy along with sci-fi.  They are currently remaking Child’s Play.  And of course, the Nightmare on Elm Street remake comes out this Friday.

We adopted sci-fi horror comedies and sci-fi romance from the Eighties, but what haven’t translated over are romantic comedies and romantic dramas.  Yes, romantic comedies and dramas still exist.  A new one is released into theatres every week.

But overall, they’ve earned a lousy reputation.  Romantic comedies have become “chick flicks”, typically meaning they’re too predictable and cliché for a man to enjoy.  The “girl goes shopping and tries on ten different dresses for her girlfriends during a musical montage” scene.  Too familiar.

The Eighties pulled off romantic comedies.  They knew how to make them work for both men and women: Can’t Buy Me Love, The Princess Bride, Roxanne, When Harry Met Sally, Overboard.

But there’s only so much Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant a man can stand watching.  So what happened because of it?  Judd Apatow and his friends made the genre of bromantic comedies more popular than romantic comedies.  And not just films that feature Seth Rogan.  The Hangover and I Love You Man had nothing to do with Apatow.

I’m all for seeing a good romantic comedy.  Truly.  I like the good ones, unashamedly.  But it’s been a long time since one has been made.

It’s simply unnatural for the romantic genre to be catered towards women- because romance is about a man and a woman.  Because Katherine Heigl and a remote controlled dildo device don’t make a great team (reference to The Ugly Truth).  But Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan do.

After enough corny romantic comedies, we men got the point:  Romantic comedies are no longer for couples- they’re for single women.  So we avoid them and instead run to R-rated comedies featuring funny Jewish lead comedians like Paul Rudd and Jason Segal (Manspeak, Volume 7: Bromance).

The concept of romance in movies has become polarized.  Women watch chick flicks and men watch bromantic comedy.  Ironic.

As for romantic dramas these days, Nicholas Sparks pretty much has the monopoly on that: A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, The Last Song, Nights in Rodanthe.

Someone tragically dies.  A disapproving mother.  A Southern setting.  Got it.

So what can we say about remaking ‘80’s movies?  Some of them, many of them, most of them, need to stay where they belong- in the ‘80’s and in our fond memories.  But the ones that made us laugh, while freaking us out, while being drenched in sci-fi, well, we want more of those.  And the ones that were truly romantic, catering to both men and women, we want more of those.

We’ll always have a love/hate relationship with the Eighties.

Long Sleeved, Button Downs are the Shirt

In 8th grade, I saved my parents plenty of money because instead of hoping for new cool clothes for the 1994-1995 school year, I just used my dad’s closet as my wardrobe. At the time, I was around 5’ 6”, compared to my dad who is 5’ 11”. Obviously there was a notable size difference at the time, but it didn’t matter.

Because I didn’t need Tommy Hilfiger to be cool. I needed my dad’s long sleeved, button down shirts (AKA “casual dress shirts”). Worn unbuttoned over any random t-shirt pulled out of the drawer. And it didn’t really matter if the shirts matched each other either.

shirt

Fifteen years later, I now wear long-sleeved, button down shirts every day to work. Uncomfortably tucked into dress pants to look professional. And when I get home, I change into jeans. But the shirt stays.

Why are casual dress shirts so awesome? A few simple reasons.

Most importantly, they are made from thin, yet quality material. I am a man, therefore I get hot easily. That being said, casual dress shirts are designed so that the sleeves can easily be rolled up, and because of the turbulence of the buttons on the sleeves, they actually stay up, unlike a sweater or hoodie. And people think that rolled up sleeves on these shirts look good. It’s professional/hip.

And with a casual dress shirt, no one really has to know how little money I spend on them. There are no obvious logos to notice. I buy most of mine from the Unclaimed Baggage Center near my hometown for around $6.

transformer_retro

These shirts link back to boyhood. Transformers, Go-Bots, and even Legos. Boys love things that change into different things. I can go from a professional working man to a casual dude (but not a slouch).

Hoodies are great, but they do have a sloppy connotation attached. And sweaters are okay, but sometimes when I wear them, I feel like I’m wearing a sweatshirt, which makes me think of Hanz and Franz from early 1990’s Saturday Night Live.

Long sleeved, button downs are the jam. And best of all, when my wife and I are out somewhere and she gets cold, which is indeed a constant occurrence, I can sacrifice my casual dress shirt to keep her warm. Only to reveal the dorky Transformers t-shirt I happen to be wearing underneath. Double win.