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Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. This week, my focus is on Sunday’s upcoming Father’s Day (in the U.S.) I didn’t highlight Mother’s Day because it’s so well covered in other sources, but fathers tend to get socks, ties, and otherwise short shrift, so here goes.

I hope you find these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com) And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.

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The Quirky Quote
Booking plane tickets for a family trip is a fun little test to see if I still remember all my kids’ birthdays and genders. ~ Ken Jennings

(Sometimes even the smartest fathers have difficulty looking smart in all situations.)

The Quirky Observations
Look up “Dad Jokes” under Amazon books and you’ll find over 50,000 entries. Google “Dad Jokes” and there are 142 million entries. What they tend to have in common are language play and a lack of sophistication. Here’s a random sampling:
  • Why do seagulls fly over the ocean? Because if they flew over the bay, we'd call them bagels.
  • What did the zero say to the eight? "That belt looks good on you."
  • A skeleton walks into a bar and says, "Hey, bartender. I'll have one beer and a mop."
  • Two guys walked into a bar. The third guy ducked.
  • What did Tennessee? The same thing as Arkansas.
A lot of Dad Jokes are groaners that illicit an “Oh, Dad,” from his children (particularly if the same joke is repeated at every Thanksgiving dinner, for example), but the children indulge their father because he takes such delight in telling them. They are amused and pleased by the fact that he wants to delight them, that he wants to be seen by them as fun and funny.

Second observation: Some fathers love to treat babies like toys or pets. Several years ago Bored Panda published an article, “111 Reasons Why Kids Can’t Be Left Alone With Their Dads.”  I have included several photos from the article here. I applaud the fact that fathers as famous as George Clooney are involved in the nitty gritty of child-raising, but some of these photos do worry me a bit.

The Quirky Facts
Fathers on American TV sitcoms have undergone major transitions over the decades.
  • Moral compass: Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver
  • Upstanding, but in the background: The Brady Bunch, Happy Days
  • Fatherhood was secondary to their main role on the show: The Andy Griffith Show (He was the town’s sheriff.)
  • Responsible job holders, but shallowly focused on power tools and sports: Home Improvement
  • Responsible job holder, but clueless in relationships: Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Seriously flawed: Married . . .with Children
  • Idiot: The Simpsons, The Family Guy
More diversity has entered the picture (gay fathers in Modern Family) and better examples of it: Sanford and Son vs. Black-ish. Are any realistic? My opinion? Only in the fact that every one of us, male and female, is a combination of the bumbling and the better person we try to be.

The Question
Is there a TV father you admire? Who and why? What are the best things you learned from your father or other male role model? In my case, it wasn’t about humor, but about hanging onto your curiosity. Without it, apathy and depression set in.

Featured Product
This week I am promoting The Archie McPhee catalog. I have made quirky purchases from this catalog for more than 20 years. I admit I don’t understand all of its humor (like squirrels in underpants), but I recommend it not just for dads, but for anyone who needs a little stress reduction. I just bought a series of desk toys for a relative returning to the office for the first time in a year. The catalog has themes that include bacon (wrapping paper, band-aids, candles, soap) pickles, cats, rubber chickens, (Shown: car full of rubber chickens sun shade) and wonderfully imaginative inflatables, (tiara, beard of bees), finger puppets (crows, possums, eyeballs), sound clickers (goats, chickens, sighs) – well, you get the idea.

On the other hand, experiences – a hike or heartfelt talk, for example – can be a better gift than anything you buy.


The Quiz
This is a quiz about some of the best fathers in the animal kingdom, and it’s not easy to make my cut. They can’t just sit on or play host to a female’s eggs (looking at you Giant June Bug). They have to play a role in raising the offspring. And they are automatically eliminated if they even occasionally eat their offspring (no lions).

Can you match the father to his description?
  1. Arowana fish
  2. Emperor penguin
  3. Flamingo
  4. Jacana (pictured)
  5. Pygmy marmoset
  6. Rhea (South American ostrich-like bird)
a. After Mom lays her egg, she takes off on a 2-month feeding sabbatical, leaving dad to keep the egg and eventually the newly hatched chick warm in freezing temperatures. Because the father must survive two months without food, the females purposely seek pudgy partners (identified by their hoarse mating cries as compared to the steadier cry of buff males). Dad also provides the newly hatched chick with a milky-type substance until Mom returns with a belly full of fish.

b. The male mates with many females in his harem, builds a nest on the ground where all his mates lay their eggs, and then incubates them while the females take off. Dad protects the nest from predators and raises the newborn chicks as a single parent until they are independent.

c. This dad is hands-on during birth, going as far to clean up the afterbirth and bite off the umbilical cord. In rearing, he becomes responsible for feeding his young, and carrying them on his back until they’re strong enough to venture on their own. The mother is often disinterested and recovering from giving birth to a baby about one-fourth her size.

d. This father not only builds nests for his young but is a mouthbrooder who can harbor hundreds of offspring in his mouth, letting them out only on occasion to explore. When he does so, he always takes special care to seek them out and suck them back into his mouth to keep them safe from predators.

e. These dads also do all the hard work of making the nests, incubating the eggs, and caring for the chicks. They are loyal homemakers who will even stay with the nest long after females have left on their migration, AND they will even care for eggs fertilized by other males.

f. This dad appears to believe in gender equality, mating for life even while living among a flock of thousands. He helps select the nesting site, build the mud nest, incubate the egg and once the hatchling is born, shares parenting duties equally, even feeding the chick with his crop milk (a secretion produced by both parents). In addition, he defends the nest from predators.
 
The Shameless Request
Please share Wiser Now Wednesday with anyone you think might be interested, and if you represent an organization that would like a customized version, send me a note at Kathy@WiserNow.com.

 

The Resources

My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com)
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