First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Cat Puked My Cable Box to Death and other Letters.

True story. I came home today and the cable box was dead. After wandering around for 15 minutes tearing my hair out and screaming "get me the president!" into the phone, I took a look at it. As far as I can tell, everything is plugged in. As far as I can tell. The back of our tv cabinet looks like the wiring in a meth lab's exhaust system.

I'm pretty sure the cat puked it to death. She's been sleeping on and puking in the thing for two years. How do you clean cat puke out of the tiny vent holes of a cable box? You don't. I'm going to write an angry letter to the company.

Dear Cable people. You send a cable box into an American home and it's not able to with stand two years of cat puke? You should be ashamed, sirs. Ashamed. 'Twas once a time when cat puke was a lubricant for the engine of economic growth in our country and not a hindrance. Cat puke is the very foundation upon which the electronics industry was built, would not a cat puke catchall be a common sense feature to add etc etc.

Speaking of letters written . . .

A couple of days ago, I wrote a letter to a venerable local news television magazine because they hate dads.* That sounds harsh. They hate fathers*. Better.

They ignored fathers anyway. On a half hour show with "parenting" in the title, they spent approx. 5 minutes doing empty dad talk. So I wrote them a testy, snippy letter which absolutely screamed "shred me" to the bored faceless intern who first read it.

However, I received two responses. One was faceless yet gracious. And one was from one of the two broadcasters who appear on the show. Mr. Ted Reinstein. His partner--and lead anchor-- Anthony Everett has yet to reply. I'm guessing because of Anti-Semitism.* Or maybe because who the hell has the time to read some shitty letter that the fucking faceless intern who is now fired should've shredded in the first place. Whatever it was, it definitely wasn't Anti-Semitism (had my fingers crossed!)

Mr. Ted Reinstein was pretty amicable. For the most part. I myself think I detect a note of defensiveness in the letter (not being sarcastic) but I will let you judge. Also, I've yet to write back to Mr. Ted Reinstein, so any suggestions are welcome. If anyone wants to read it,  I'll post the letter I wrote at the end to dispense with the bothersome clicking. Faceless intern letter first:

Good Evening Mr. ________,
We want to thank you for your insightful comments. Chronicle is always interested in the thoughts of its viewers. We are sorry to hear your displeasure with the "What Kind of Parent are you?" program. We fully understand that there are many fathers out there who are just like you, who work just as hard and maybe even harder to create a nurturing home for your family. For this episode we chose perhaps a more traditional path. It was never our intention to cause offense to you as a viewer. Your comments have been forwarded to the producers.

We hope you continue your loyal viewer-ship and thank you for watching,
To receive Chronicle's newsletter, sign up here

Now, Mr. Ted Reinstein:

Mr. _______-
Thanks for your thoughts on our "Parenting" show last week.
I can well understand your frustration with the emphasis on "mom
types," but please understand, that premise grew largely out of our
choice to use Amy Chua's book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" as
our jumping off point.  I think another show might well add in more of
a dads element; although dads were certainly represented in some of
last week's show as well (boomerang kids, etc.).   But again, the "mom
types" segments were, just that--about moms this time.
For the record, while I may not be a stay-at-home dad, I am integrally
involved and engaged in all aspects of my childrens' lives, and don't relate
at all to some outdated "Father Knows Best"/50's notion of fatherhood. 
Just sayin'.........
Nonetheless, I will personally pitch for doing a follow-up show that focuses
more, or at least equally, on dads.
Again, thanks for taking the time to write.
Ted ReinsteinReporter
5 TV Place
Needham, Ma 02494
781-433-4035 office781-433-4427

Is it me, or does it seem like a struck a nerve? In my original letter, I was careful to point out that I was talking about how their opinions came across on the show, and not who they actually are as fathers. I would never assume to know that. 

What can you expect from someone who neglects his kids though,* am I right?


*Not intended to be a factual statement.

*Neither was that

* Or that one, for G_d's sake.

*Duh, obviously.

Letter I originally wrote:


I am a fan. I have been for some time. I usually find your show well researched and thoughtful.

However . . . the episode on April 6th entitled "What kind of parent are you?" was an abject failure in that the part of parenting known as fatherhood was largely overlooked.

In a half hour show, you spent 20 minutes on mothers. You asked "What kind of parent are you?" and you answered that question by interviewing mothers. There were helicopter moms, best friend moms, and dolphin moms. There was a Tiger Mom. Psychiatrists, sociologists, and writers were interviewed about parenting but the word parenting was placed squarely in the context of motherhood.

The other ten minutes of the show--and I'm not counting commercial breaks--were split between a discussion of the trend of adult children moving back home and fatherhood talk.

The fatherhood talk consisted purely of your two broadcasters, Ted Reinstein and Anthony Everett, spending 3 minutes at the end of the show chatting about what fatherhood means to them. No experts, no filmed segments, no research.  Just two guys tossing around cliches and platitudes like "(paraphrasing) sometimes you've got to be their best friend and other times a disciplinarian. I'd call it a benign dictatorship."

I'm sure the gentlemen in question are nice men and fine fathers, but their opinions as presented on the show were banal echoes of 1950's parenting archetypes. The segment came across as what it was: an empty, half-hearted, pandering attempt at "equal time." I looked at my wife at about the 15 minute mark of your show and I said, "You see this? It's going to be all moms." You did not disappoint me.

I am a stay at home dad. It was a choice my wife and I made while she was pregnant with our first child and it is a choice we're very proud of.  There are millions like me now. If not stay at home dads, then dads that are just as committed to and involved in the parenting of their children as their wives are.  We make decisions about food, education, safety, morals, religion, money and all the other infinite responsibilities that come with the title parent.  

You attempted a discussion about parenting and instead gave us a 30 minute long reinforcement of parenting stereotypes. 

Chronicle, you owe us an apology.


_________________, Father and Homemaker


  1. Sup, Musings.
    Thanks for posting this topic. You are a champion. While I'm not a stay home, I am given my fair share of bath time, diaper changing, nose blowing, nightmare soothing, teeth brushing, hair drying, dinner monitoring, school chauffeuring, "why" answering, back scratching, shoe tying, education worrying, etc.
    My father wasn't involved in much of that. I vowed to be different. It's rough, but worth it. SO worth it. Keep up the good work. You're my hero.

    The Cheek Daddy

  2. I think it's weird that he put the phrase "Just sayin'..." in his letter. That's a little to colloquial for his position at the station and for the purpose of responding to you. Don't you think? That phrase might belong on a blog or a humor piece, but it's not appropriate for this kind of letter.

    Good for you for adding to the discussion.

    And I hope you saw Stephen Colbert's bit on the "factual statement" debacle. It was the funniest television I've seen in years. I'll send you the link if you haven't seen it...but I'm guessing you have.

  3. Good for you for rattling their cages! What you said is very true!

  4. After reading Ted's response, I'd have to say their error was one of a titular nature. Double entendre intended.

    Had they given this 5 seconds of thought, they'd have chosen a more fitting title for that episode. Something more in line with any one of a gazillion chosen by every momblogger who's written about this book. "Tiger Mom: Yes or No?"

  5. Tiger Moms kinda scare me. Just sayin'........

  6. Who would win in a fight, Tiger Moms or Momma Grizzlies?

    What if it was mud wrestling, (and in my basement?)

  7. Way to fight the Dad fight, HM.

    And that last response letter was odd. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but it didn't smack of professionalism.

  8. Yup, nerve struck. Nice work, homey.


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