Home of all things PRODIGAL DAD

Ask Prodigal Dad

Monday, October 20, 2014

A letter to a daughter gone

My darling daughter,
Thanks to the Internet I now know where you are and I can breathe again. Your pudgy parents are very good detectives thanks to SVU-TV and a few years working with inter-city youth when you were just young. I never thought I would use my hunting down skills on you.
Your mother was very upset when you left without telling anyone. She assumed the worst, and frankly, I did as well. Those were a few very frightening hours for both of us because we love you, want the best for you, and certainly don't want you in any danger.
I am relieved to hear that you have only run away and not something horrible from my list of horrible things that could happen. (Running away was number 14 on my list of bad things -- becoming a Ute fan is currently about number 35 and I don't even want to think about the top ten.)
As a dad, I think it's good that you are being assertive. I think you should have taken the reins years ago. Well, not years ago, but I am glad that you are trying to take control of your life. You always had the ability to, and I'm so pleased you see that now.

Of course, the way you did it was problematic. Not telling anyone you were going, and leaving when we were asleep was scary. Now that we know where you are, lets talk about what you need and a little about what we need as your parents while we are at it.
Concerning this boy; He does sound like a nice guy, but it might be a good thing if he and I meet in a public place for the first time or two. Right now I want to feed him to the chicken, and if that means me investing time to make bite sized pieces of him... well, I have the skills, the energy and the inclination for that.
Maybe we should hold off on introductions until you mother can hide all the pocket knives.
Right now I am just so happy that we know where you are and that you are safe that I am tempted to say, "just come on home and don't worry about anything!". But if you are home for a couple of weeks and we are having to pick up after you, I cant guarantee that I won't ask you to help.
I am OK with you taking over the basement, but I don't want to have to bring in a bulldozer once a month to clean it. If you want claim the space as yours, you will need to keep it relatively clean. If I see any raccoons crawl up the stairs I might set up an appointment, as your landlord, to spray for what-evers.
We need to get your health to a manageable level: that's first priority. But there is something else that is going to be huge. You need to find something that you are passionate about, and it can't be Facebook and phone games. There needs to be something you love to do that makes a difference, even if that difference is only in your heart.

If you come home, I will do my best to respect your space and help you find something you can live for.
I don't want anything happening to you, and your mother and I have been around long enough to have good feelings about you not being here.
So here is my "dad list" of things I can do to help you. I am a dad. Dads make lists.

See how nice a purple room can be?  
1- Get you feeling better health-wise.
2- Set your bedroom up in the basement and prepare to have a wall painted purple of some other ghastly color.
3- Help you find something she loves to do.
4- Show you every day how much I love you.
5- Don't kill the boyfriend dude.
I will abide by this. If there is something else I can do, let me know and I will add it to the list.
Now, I am going to go take a well deserved pill -- but before I do, let me sum up. Be kind to your mother; I like the fact that you have a boyfriend -- though if you think anything of him at all you will keep him away from me for a while; Way to go with showing some "ummph" and being proactive; I will try to do better.
And I love you very much.   - Dad


Annie has returned, folks.  Things are better, and I have not had to paint anything purple...yet. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Now that you've met the Mormons

Here is my review of the reviews of "Meet The Mormon" and then a few comments of my own

 

This week a few people met the Mormons in over three hundred theaters nationwide. As an ex-theater man and a current Mormon, I logged onto the Internet Saturday afternoon to see what the nation thought of me -- even if they hadn't met me specifically.

Local reaction first; One fraction of local news publishers loved it, and the other hated it -- a wash that was not completely unexpected.  Is it OK now to stop pretending that the News does not report to the church and the Trib does not report to Beelzebub?

My next go-to news source is generally, and was on Saturday, the New York Times, which review was titled,"A Glimpse of Mormon Diversity".
A boon that my family wasn't used

"... Mostly the idea is just that these are diverse, interesting families — as if that should be so shocking." NY Times columnist Ben Kenigsberg also commented that the PG rating was for "Implicit proselytizing".
 
On the other coast, the LA Times headline read "'Meet the Mormons' shows diverse lives, to a point".

"The film operates under the assumption that the average Joe associates Mormonism more with "Sister Wives" than Mitt Romney," the brief review stated, "...so the film will be an eye-opener only for subscribers to such".

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a review made available by the Associated Press that describes “Meet the Mormons” as "nothing but propaganda."

"...by being, in essence, a wholesome, sugar-coated recruiting film, “Meet the Mormons”... seems destined to preach only to the choir, the most famous of which is in that famous Salt Lake City Tabernacle."

The Hollywood Reporter stated "Although clearly not its raison d'etre, there is virtually no information offered about Mormon history, its tenets or its controversies. Instead, we're offered platitudes about the strength of friends and family, the importance of physical fitness, the joys of doing good deeds and the importance of following the teachings of Jesus Christ."

I am hoping, personally, that the film also made clear that "the importance of following the teachings of Jesus Christ" is more that a platitude to any Mormon you are bound to meet.

"To its credit," the critic continued, "the film looks good, with glossy production values indicating a generous budget".

Yes the reviews were mostly negative. However, audience response has been a different issue. Fandango's fan reviews are off the charts.

My own critical thought after having seen the movie? What were people expecting, The Cougarettes? Gandhi? Tod and Julie? 

Yeah that would have been cool.

So, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints releases a movie originally slated for their largest visitors center's theater, and guess what? It is an optimistic portrait of members of the LDS church that have interesting and diverse backgrounds.

It's produced well -- like everything the church does. (Have you seen the grounds on temple square?) Many of our youngsters serve missions for years proselyting, teaching, converting, & lobbying, and the rest of us pray for them to find those who should have already been Mormons in the first place. We're Mormons, for heavens sake -- It's what we do.

The film doesn't bring up controversies or scandals -- the ones that can be found with a google search. The film does bring up positive points in the churches favor -- much as a film about the United States produced by the United States would mention the Grand Canyon and the fourth of July but not Vietnam, or a movie about the Jazz would mention John Stockton and the 1998 NBA finals but not last years season record.

Or a film made by me about me would have had its entire budget spent on special effects to make me look like I have a chin.

The Arizona Republic, an other review that was not so positive stated that, "You'd learn a lot more if you went out and, well, actually met a Mormon." ​

Which, for the producers of this film and Mormons in general, is exactly the point!                   
 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ask Prodigal Dad: On men and facial hair

Article Tone: Humorous, Wife Doesn't Find Funny, Informative-Borderline All-knowing, Preachy, Medium Rare, Death


Dear Prodigal Dad: my husband wants to grow a beard. He asked me what I thought and I don't know what to expect. - Ogden by a Hair

Dear Ogden: He wants to grow a beard, you say?

Throughout time, at least the human turn of it, men have strutted their facial hair stuff for their mate. Some of it has been great. Some of it not-so great. Some of it has been laughable. The good news is that it all comes off eventually. Let him do his thing. Prepare for one of the following.



The Moses Beard, as seen on Dumbledore, ZZ Top, Duck Dynasty, George Surat and Tom Hanks in Castaway. Suffice it to say: If he wears his facial hair like an Old Testament prophet, he may be creative and somewhat unpredictable. Of course he could be unemployed. Still, he is either very comfortable with himself, or he doesn't care how he comes across to others. He is whimsical, capricious and a little scary to young children.

The Brigham Young, as seen on Kenny Rogers, Bob Vila, Loggers and, well, Brigham Young.
Suffice it to say: This is a distinguished look. The Brigham Young, a full beard that sees a weekly trim, says: I have been around, and I like who I am. It could also mean that his wife, Mary Todd, told him he has a weak chin. Professors tend to lean toward the full beard. Sit down with this gentleman. He may be writing a novel. He has a few things to tell you. For example, how long he has been growing a beard.

The Tight Goatee, as seen on Pro baseball players, guys who watch NASCAR and Leonardo Dicaprio. Suffice it to say: I have worn this myself. It's a great beard for those with no chin, or with too many chins. Oddly, I fit into both categories. It's generally a gateway beard, sort of non-committal, for guys who haven't figured out facial hair yet or for those on the facial hair fence.

The Chin Beard, as seen on roofers, plumbers and professional wrestlers.  Suffice it to say: This dude is a hard worker and a party all-nighter. Is the chin beard dyed red or blond? This dude likes the attention given to rockers. He is probably both insecure and wants more attention at the same time.

The Chinstrap, as seen on Chris Daughtry, guys who like gold chains and guys who can afford to have someone trim it up for them.  Suffice it to say: Men sporting the chinstrap have spent a whole bunch of time planning how they want to look. They don't worry about it — as Chinstrapers are not worriers. They take pride in their grooming. Do you smell a faint hint of body odor? It ain't coming from Mr. Chinstrap. A lot of bald guys who shave their heads try this style to show they have hair and are in control.

The Tom Selleck, as seen on Tom Selleck. No one does the mustache like Mr. Selleck, except for maybe Freddy Mercury.  Suffice it to say: If you wear a Tom Selleck, then you have a sense of humor. Middle aged men wear it best. Young guys should stay away from it unless they want to be considered akin to the guys that drive windowless vans. Mustaches can also be for someone who is in transition. Bottom line: Don't get used to it because it won't be around for very long.

Mutton chops, as seen in the Civil war, Graceland and X-men.
Suffice it to say: The man who grows Mutton chops doesn't live in the past, but he appreciates it for what it's worth. He may eschew old fashioned values and listen to a little Credence or, you guessed it, Elvis. He may also have his dad's old wooden tool box and some vinyl records he's been collecting. Either that or he is in a grunge band.

The Soul Patch, as seen on: Ethan Hawke, French guys, me, Billy Ray Cyrus and men with earrings.
Suffice it to say: The soul patch is for those with a teeny bit of soul and a whole lot of self-doubt. It is for guys who are generally creative but unreliable — the guys we used to call flakes.
It is for guys in conservative situations who push the envelope and grow just enough hair to be a rebel, but not enough to get called to H.R. — not a rebellious streak, but more of a rebellious skid.

Day-old stubble, as seen on: Every guy that wants to look sexy, and appear aloof or men who can't find where the baby dropped his electric razor. Suffice it to say: The man who wears this has looked at himself in the mirror a lot today. His CDs are in order of musical styles, and he probably has bed-head. It is important for him to look like he just doesn't care, or that he is too successful to have any time to shave. Did I mention that he doesn't care?

Of course, you may have just caught him on a Saturday after he's mowed the lawn.

Sporadic stubble, as seen on Al Pacino, computer software developers and hikers.
Suffice it to say: This man is easy going and doesn't care what his face looks like. Sporadic stubble happens when a guy does not look into the mirror for a week or two. There are few methods to trim and shape facial hair in the Outback, bringin' in the cattle, or while trying to get that guy back safely from the international space station.

Clean shaven, as seen on everyone else. Suffice it to say: Conventional? Run of the mill? Boring? Actually, your guy's personality has little to do with facial hair at all as you may have guessed. What's important is how he treats you, and that he cleans out the sink when he's through shaving.

Published on http://familyshare.com/what-a-little-facial-hair-says-about-your-guy