Tag Archives: superman

Mixed Signals

17 Oct

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letter This year for Halloween my son will be going as “John Williams Music”.

…not really. But this picture was so awesome I just had to share.

-Dork Dad

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Dude Date

12 Jun

letter you may remember last year about this time the big Batman movie was about to come out. Just as I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t find anyone in my sphere of influence excited enough to see the movie with me on opening night, a piece from the New York Times titled “Friends Of A Certain Age – Why is it hard to make friends over 30?” came across my newsfeed and struck particularly close to home. (See my related blogpost “Where do dads get friends?”)

Later that year, for my birthday and the coinciding release of “The Hobbit,” UnDorkMommy managed to cobble together a group of likeminded nerds for a nerds-night-out. Among that group were three other local dads, all of whom could appreciate beer, burgers and dorky movies.

Where last year was Batman, this year is Superman. I wasn’t about to let that opportunity pass. Months ago I called the other dorky dads and gauged their interest in another dads/dudes night out to see “Man of Steel.” They were all in – tentatively, pending schedules, release dates, and permission from the wives of course. “Awesome,” I thought. Four dads/dudes out for beers, burgers and “Man of Steel.” I was stoked.

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A few weeks ago, after the release date was announced, one of the dads had to drop out. This weekend is his son’s birthday. Can’t fault him there. That’s OK. The other guys were firm. Three dads/dudes out for beers, burgers and “Man of Steel” would still be awesome. I was still stoked.

We pinged back and forth coordinating work schedules, figuring logistics, and finally last night it came time to buy advanced tickets – 7:20pm show. Meet at my place between 4:30 and 5… head out from there. Awesome. So stoked.

Then this morning I get a text message from dude/dad #2. “I am out. Will not work for me. Enjoy boys.”

So now it’s just me and dude/dad #3 – which presents an unforeseen, awkward dynamic. My epic, 4-man, dork/dads/dude’s night out for beers, burgers and “Man of Steel” has turned into… well… a date.

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I relayed the story to my assistants during the first filling of the morning. I should have known better. “Wait a minute,” said my assistant as she handed me an instrument. “Just you and another guy? Dinner and a movie? Yep, it’s a date.”

My patient agreed. “uhh, huuh” he managed, despite the fact that I was drilling his tooth at that exact moment. The conversation only degenerated from there.

From across the office my other assistant said “You don’t want to have too many beers. You might make a bad choice you’ll regret the next day.”

“Just make sure you aren’t wearing too much AXE body spray” said assistant #1, clearly enjoying watching me squirm.

“Oh, and make sure you don’t shave your legs the night before,” said assistant #2. “That way no matter how bad you want to take things further, you’ll be too embarrassed to do it.”

At this point the patient was totally gagging, launching water and fluids all over the operatory, not because of anything I was doing, but because he was laughing as my assistants gleefully twisted the knife in my back. As she offered some suction to the choking patient my assistant gleefully said “Just remember, he won’t want to buy the ice cream truck if he gets the popsicles for free.”

I finished working in his mouth and made my way back to my private office. “What movie are they seeing?” I heard one assistant ask the other.

“Thuperman,” came the response (emphasis in the sibilant “S”). “He’th tho thtrong with hith muthleth and hith thkin tight thuit.”

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I closed the door to my private office and relayed the recent conversation via text message to the two dudes/dorks/dads. The last text read “Jokes about AXE body spray and shaving your legs. My patient was gagging, cracking up so hard while I was drilling on him.”

The remaining dude/dad texted back “My text window just displayed ‘hard while I was drilling on him.’ Should I just show up to your office with leather pants?”

“The innuendos are popping up all over today,” I replied.

“You can tell your staff it was going to be a group thing,” he texted back. “But Corey pulled out.”

This always happens with the tentpole movies.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a very long work day today. The thinly-veiled jokes are going to keep coming and coming

-Dork Dad

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Why Superman Is A Better Dad Than Batman

10 Jun

letter The boys over at HowToBeADad posted their thesis “5 Reasons Why Batman Would Be A Better Dad Than Superman” with full knowledge of the reaction it would bring. They knew a few of us couldn’t let it slide. They knew we’d be forced to blog our counterarguments, thus driving more attention and traffic to their site. Moreover, they knew we knew they knew, and they knew we were powerless to resist. They are diabolical that way over there… one might say “evil geniuses.”

Ron Mattocks and Alan Kercinik have made their counterarguments, and mine, the third and final installment in the series, follows below:

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WHY SUPERMAN WOULD BE A BETTER DAD THAN BATMAN

1)      Batman is nocturnal.

HowToBeADad presented this as evidence in Batman’s favor, but given a little thought it becomes pretty clear that on balance, this can’t be a good thing. Where’s Bruce Wayne for that class field trip? He’s in the batcave getting his lacerations stitched up and dislocated shoulder reset by Alfred. You want your dad to be there for your first T-ball game? Sorry kid. He’s sleeping right now because he’s been up for the past 72 hours chasing supercriminals.

Then picture this scenario from the Wayne household: You’re a 5 year old kid. It’s the middle of the night and there’s a violent storm outside. The power is out and everything is pitch black around you. You’re scared and you can’t sleep. Your sense of fear slowly turns to panic as the sound of the wind and the driving rain intensify outside your bedroom window. You stare into the inky darkness, unable to see anything, wondering who might be stalking you from impenetrable night all around. Suddenly a bolt of lightning, and in an instant, only inches away, the face of a man is harshly illuminated, looming morosely over you in your bed. How did he get there? How long was he hovering, silently over your sleepless body? Blinded by the sudden flash you reach out into the darkness, feeling … nothing. Another flash of lightning, and this time the figure is gone entirely — disappeared as silently as he came. When the flash dims you are left alone in the dark again, wondering what else happens in your room in the black of night when you are asleep. You stare into the void utterly alone as the sound of thunder finally reaches your ears.

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Nocturnal dad. Yeah… not so great.

2)      Origins.

The father figure plays chiefly in the forging of the Man of Steel, so much so that Superman actually has TWO fathers to draw experience and guidance from. Batman has only himself. It isn’t much of a stretch to draw conclusions from there. When asked the question “Who would make a better dad, Superman or Batman?” far too many people confuse the word “better” with “cooler”. I’ll grant you, especially in today’s angsty, murky shades of gray times, Batman would be the cooler parent. Heck, I’ll even go so far as to say he’s a more interesting character. But where Superman’s origin is a story of love and sacrifice – two crucial themes central to the experience of any parent – Batman’s story is one of tragedy, trauma and vengeance. In that light I ask you, which hero would you want your child raised by?

For crying out loud, Superman’s kids would have freakin’ grandparents.

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3)      Track record.

No need to dive too far into obscure canonical details about the backstories of each character. Certainly HowToBeADad didn’t feel compelled to adhere to any standards there. But you can’t discuss parenting competence of Supes vs. Bats without bringing up precedent.  In the parenting department no doubt Bruce Wayne has vastly more parenting experience than Clark Kent. In fact, Clark Kent has had precisely zero children during his tenure as a superhero. So we can’t really draw on his past as in indicator for his skills as a parent. Not so with Batman.

In his 70+ years Bruce Wayne has been responsible four different wards, each of whom took on the mantle of Robin during his time spent at Wayne Mannor. Of those four…

…two have died.

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Any chance you’re going to name Bruce Wayne in your living trust as guardian of your children, given the fact that those in his care have precisely a 50% chance of making it to adulthood?

I don’t think so.

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Personal Testimony:

Beyond all of that, as my final testimony I’d like to present a personal story:

This weekend UnDorkMommy took my daughter to a mother/daughter thing until very late, leaving the boys at home to fend for ourselves. After resisting naps all day, Episode VI went down early without a struggle, and Episode V and I found ourselves in the rare situation where we had the house (and the DVD player) all to ourselves. A little dude-time was in order.

Cognizant of the fact that I likely won’t be able to take a 4.5 year old to see the PG-13 “Man Of Steel” this weekend, I opted instead to show him the 2006, Bryan Singer movie “Superman Returns,” which ultimately comes across more of a sequel to the Superman movies my son has already seen. Granted, not a masterwork, but a crucial part of my son’s education nonetheless.

We snuggled under a big poofy blanket and munched on popcorn and salami slices (his request). Towards the end of the movie there’s a scene where Superman is watching his son sleeping peacefully in bed, coming to terms for the first time that he himself is a father. He looks down at the boy, who he only just learned is his own, and with a tear in his eye speaks to his sleeping son, paraphrasing the words his own father (Marlon Brando’s Jor-El) said to him.

“You will be different. Sometimes, you will feel like an outcast, but you will never be alone. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father becomes the son.”

I haven’t watched that scene since having a son of my own. I don’t mind saying, sitting there snuggling with my boy, it got me more than a little choked up. Now my son is an incredibly empathetic child, and although he isn’t old enough to understand the complexities of a scene like that, on an emotional level he totally gets it.

There’s a quiet beat at the end of the scene when Superman puts his hand on his son’s sleeping head, as every dad in the world has done to his child. Just as I was fighting to keep my own composure, my son leans over to me and whispers “Daddy… I love you.”

You just don’t get that kind of thing from a Batman move.

-Dork Dad

 

Post Script – 24 hours later:

The debate has grown and taken on a life of its own. Here is a list of the relevant posts on the subject, all well worth your time:

wonder-womanProbably the most intelligent retort to the original premise… and it’s made by a woman (of course). Escaping Elegance made her position known (in defense of Superman) in her piece “Boys, boys… must we bicker?” but with an important addendum… Wonder Woman would likely do a better job than either of them.

 

 

 

2712662-670376_green_lantern___rebirth_06__2005___team_dcp__pg03_04_superAfter following the discussion, fellow dadblogger Eric Bolton felt compelled to tell us that we’re all crazy, and totally off the mark. He contends that as usual, the flashy 1st stringers get all the attention, when there’s another hero just outside the limelight (as opposed to emerald light) that deserves some consideration, with his post “Why Green Lantern is a Better Dad Than Batman AND Superman [Because No One Asked]”

 

batman-son-daddy-issuesCaptain of Team-Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, this is Ron Mattocks’s response to the question at hand. “A Letter To Batman From His Son” examines the long term effects on a child raised by The Dark Knight. The results aren’t pretty.

 

 

 

Screen-Shot-2013-06-09-at-4_13_07-PM-300x285Alan Kercinik, founding member of Team-Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, takes simultaneously an academic and viscerally emotional approach to the debate with his piece “6 Reasons Superman Would Be A Better Dad Than Batman”. As you might assume from the title, his feelings are pretty strong.

 

hywiv8JThe original post from the boys over at HowToBeADad. Their blog is a traffic-generating machine, so they don’t actually need any more hits via links from piddly little blogs like this one, but it’s the original post that sparked the debate. To understand the stakes involved you must first read the buffoonery “5 Reasons Batman Would Be A Better Dad Than Superman.”

Supes or Bats — Who’s The Better Father?

7 Jun

letter yYesterday the boys over at HowToBeADad crossed a line. They worked up a clever little post they titled “5 Reasons Batman Would Be A Better Dad Than Superman.” You can imagine the fallout. Commenters on their blog and dadbloggers in our dadblogging Facebook group split right down party lines, and the debate continues.

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But from the ashes emerged a group of Super-Dadblogger-Heroes to bring order to the chaos. Defenders of Truth, Justice and the Fatherhood-way rose up to challenge the grave crimes perpetrated against fatherhood by the unholy alliance of Charlie Capen and Andy Herald. Those three champions, Alan Kercinik (the brain behind “Always Jacked” and contributor to this blog as a Guest Dorkdad), Ron Mattocks (chief power behind the blog “Clark Kent’s Lunchbox“) and DorkDaddy himself have come forward because in times like these, when evil is on the rise and everything seems in doubt, the world needs true heroes.

it's on

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Your champions have orchestrated a three-pronged response to HowToBeADad’s evil master plan. This morning team captain Ron Mattocks’s “A Letter To Batman From His Son” is the first response of three to come from Team ClarkKent’sLunchbox.

 

Dear Father Bruce,

I am writing this letter to you as part of my anger management treatment which, of course, you know the court mandated. Dr. Friskin, my therapist, thought this would be a good way to constructively work through my feelings. Honestly, though, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess my biggest question are all why. Why did you want me? Why did you fight my mother for full custody in the divorce? And why did you think you could ever be a father to me given your dual identity?

I want to believe that as a baby our family was happy one, but over the years I’ve realized that it couldn’t have been if Mother left you so soon after I was born. Did you even love one another? I guess it all didn’t matter after one of those freaks–what’s his name, Penguin–killed her. Listen to myself; a bird man murdered my mom with a stupid trick umbrella, and that’s not even the most bizarre part! That would be that my dad dresses up as a bat to fight other such loonies around Gotham City, in alternate dimensions, and God only knows where else! << click here to read the full letter >>

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Fear not, true believers. Truth and justice will prevail. Stay tuned.

In the meanwhile, please share your thoughts below in the comments about who you think would make a better father, Superman or Batman, and why.

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!!

 

-Dork Dad

“Daddy, how does Superman shave?”

30 May

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letter unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you know that there’s a new Superman movie coming out this summer (June 14, thankyouverymuch). This is the movie that’s supposed to relaunch the franchise, and as you might guess I’ve been following its development for years. All during the lead up I hoped against hope that it would be a movie I could take my kids to. Then came the announcement of the PG-13 rating. Well crap. I guess we’ll be waiting a few years before the kids can see that one.

…but that doesn’t mean I can’t show them the trailers (much like I did with “The Hobbit”).

Besides being incredibly well crafted (they play me like a fiddle with themes of fatherhood as well as superhero-y goodness) the trailers show Clark Kent during his vagabond years between Smallville and Metropolis, as he’s trying to figure out who he is and what he’s going to do with his life. At some point he seems to wind up on a fishing trawler, “Deadliest Catch”-style, and while he’s pulling king crab out of the sea Clark Kent is sporting a very respectable beard. Then later, as he accepts the mantle of the Man of Steel, he appears again cleanly shorn — the clean-cut, all-American big, blue boyscout. The beard is something new to Superman lore. In his 75 years of service, Superman has never really done the facial hair thing. Before the “Man of Steel” trailers came out, a google search for “Superman beard” yielded precious few images. But search now and you’ll see this:

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A couple Saturdays ago I was showing Episode IV and V the “Man of Steel” trailers on YouTube (there are 10 or so, if you count TV spots). After each one I could see the wheels in my 4.5 year old son’s head turning. I could tell his mind was chewing on something. After a few minutes he finally asked me, “Daddy, how does Superman shave?”

Think about it. The question totally makes sense. Dude is impervious to bullets, asteroids, knives, radiation (except the kryptonite-variety). What material on earth could possibly shave off the whiskers of an invulnerable super-being? As it turns out, Gillette has launched an advertising campaign on just that notion. They’ve employed top-notch TV scientists (and Kevin Smith) to discuss that very issue. “How does Superman shave?” Maybe my son has a future in advertising and marketing. You hear that Gillette?

(incidentally, if you want to see all their theories and weigh in on what your favorite is, click on the link here)

In any case, longtime Dorkdaddy.com readers may remember an older post “Now I’m Smooth” where Episode V came up to me one morning and asked for a shave. I used a picture in that post relevant to the topic at hand. You see, serious Superman nerds have known the answer to Gillette’s question for some time. Back in the mid-80’s DC comics rebooted the entire Superman character in a series coincidentally titled “Man of Steel”. In that series, artist John Byrne provided this gem of a picture to answer the question Gillette is asking now — “How does Superman shave?”

SupermanShaving

The answer, of course, is Kryptonian heat vision.

I just don’t want to know what burning Kryptonian hair smells like.

-Dork Dad

The Nutcracker vs. My Mancard

21 Dec

hen I was a kid I hated “The Nutcracker”. You couldn’t drag me to it if your life depended on it. As far as I was concerned it was for girls, it was boring, and it was full of all that fruity dancing. Of course I knew what it was all about. I’d seen enough clips on TV, and enough re-enactments by the girls during recess at elementary school to know it wasn’t for me. I could be wrong, but as un-American as it sounds, it is entirely possible that up until today I had NEVER actually seen a full-length production of “The Nutcracker”.

My son nutcrackers me up.

I’ve got kids now, and that means I do things outside of my comfort zone. My wife and I decided that the kids were old enough and we would go see “The Nutcracker” as a family this year. We picked this particular showing because it was billed as “family friendly”, which indeed it was — it was a matinée on a day I wasn’t working, it was relatively short (90 minutes) and the costumes were kid-appropriate. A friend recently posted on Facebook “Took two boys to the nutcracker… One fell asleep at intermission and the other said ‘mom, I can see that guy’s p3nis’”. Yeah, I didn’t need to deal with any of that. I am happy to report that in fact yes, the costume designers from the show came from the Christopher-Reeve-Superman school of codpiece design, rather than the George-Clooney-Batman school of codpiece design. As an aside, during his brief tenure as The Man of Steel,  Brandon Routh quipped how the producers and costume designers spent more time and energy worrying about how his package came across onscreen than they did the rest of his entire Superman costume. But I digress.

One is classic Americana, the other is Joel Schumacher ruining a franchise.

Not subtle enough? Fine. THIS is what I mean:

 

 

I’m older now, and my white hot opposition to all things “Nutcracker” has long since flamed out. I can certainly appreciate the athleticism, discipline, artistry and showmanship it takes to do what those performers do. In fact I actually WANT to expose my kids to as much of that sort of thing as possible. Additionally, “The Nutcracker” is one of my kids’ favorite bedtime books. We’ve read it 100 times. Put those things together and I was actually looking forward to today’s performance. I was completely prepared to come back and write a blog post about how I thoroughly enjoyed the entire outing. I was going to make a joke or two about going to the ballet and taking a few points off of my man-card, about how I was a bigger person because of it and what a Norman-Rockwell-Holiday-Spirity experience it was for all of us…

…this is not that post.

"Where's his sword, Daddy?" At the San Francisco show, son.

I want to be clear, the first half was wonderful. My kids already knew the story, so they were able to follow along and anticipate what was coming next. My 5-year-old daughter loves the princess, fairy tale parts. My 3-year-old son couldn’t wait to see the mouse king and the fight scene. It sparked some fantastic conversation about how you could tell a story without any words, and I was especially pleased when the light bulb went off in my daughter’s head and said to me “Hey. That’s the music from the movie you made of me when I was 2-and-a-half”.

 

 

The narrative clipped along nicely and it was filled with charm, humor and a little magic. It was very engaging. The kids were into it. We were into it. All the signs pointed to Norman Rockwell.

Then there was the second half.

If you’re familiar with the story, this is where the main character is whisked away by her handsome prince to many far-off lands, and they experience those foreign cultures through dance. Essentially, the story drops off a cliff. Imagine the “Whole New World”/magic carpet sequence from “Aladdin” lasting 40 solid minutes. It’s a potpourri of different cultural costumes and choreography, devoid of any real narrative which ultimately spells a death-sentence for a 3-year-old’s attention span. If the first half is for the lover of stories and theater, the second half is for the lover of dance. I realize what I’m about to say may upset a few people, but I’ll just put it out there. The second half of “The Nutcracker” is just freakin’ boring – and there’s STILL all that fruity dancing. My kids picked up on it immediately. “When is it over?” my son said every 120 seconds.

“When are the sugarplum fairies coming?” asked my daughter every 180 seconds. It was the only thing keeping her there in her seat. As it turned out, to keep the time down the sugarplum fairies were cut from the program entirely. My daughter felt totally gipped. Add to that the ridiculous souvenir push the instant you walked out the door, and the resulting double-kid-meltdown when we refused to wait in the 45 minute line to buy a $16 stuffed rat, and Norman Rockwell was pretty much blown out of the water. When we got back to the car we were all done.

To be fair, on whole the kids liked it. I liked spending time with my family and taking them out for a little “high culture” and holiday tradition. We got some cute pictures. The kids didn’t hate it. It was a net-positive. I daresay next year we’ll likely entertain the idea of doing it as a family again. I think my daughter will even be old enough to go up to San Francisco with my wife, make a fancy dinner/ballet/hotel date out of it, and see “The Nutcracker” put on for real…

…I’ll just prepare myself for a few uncomfortable questions when she sees what those guys are carrying around under their tights.

-Dork Dad

P.S. On an entirely unrelated note, I came across a video when I was looking for a clever picture to use with this post that tied Superman to ballet and dance. I first saw this video a couple of years ago. It has absolutely nothing to do with “The Nutcracker”, but I couldn’t deprive you of the experience. Enjoy.

 

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